The Harry Potter Trio All Thought About Quitting The Franchise

In the words of Gilderoy Lockhart, "Fame is a fickle friend," a sentiment that echoed in the hearts of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, the three young child actors who became famous overnight, thanks to their central roles in the "Harry Potter" franchise.

Warner Bros. Pictures recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first of eight blockbuster films that earned the actors their global star status. The franchise has since spawned multiple theme parks, the "Fantastic Beasts" spin-off franchise, a Broadway sequel, and much more. For the first time in over a decade, the cast and crew reunited to return to Hogwarts and reminisce over past memories in a special event for HBO Max, and there were plenty of fascinating stories to hear.

While the reunion allowed the cast and crew to display rare behind the scenes footage and share numerous incredible stories (for instance, Richard Harris thought Fawkes the phoenix was a real bird), it also gave Daniel, Emma, and Rupert, a platform to look back and reflect on the enormous pressure and isolation that came with their fame. At some point, every member of the golden trio considered quitting the franchise, even if they hadn't necessarily voiced it.

The Perils Of Fame

"Harry Potter" kickstarted the careers of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, who played Harry, Hermione, and Ron in the films respectively. After the first few films, the strain that comes with fame had hit home, which led Watson to consider pulling out of the franchise. 

During the reunion special, David Yates, who directed the final four "Harry Potter" films, discussed that Emma Watson wanted to quit halfway through, and the actress acknowledged her wishes, detailing that she was lonely at the time. Watson recalled feeling isolated, and the fame got to a tipping point, and finally caught up with her.

"I did find a diary entry that was kind of like mm...I could see that at times I was lonely," Watson said.

When Rupert Grint asked his co-star if she ever considered quitting the films, she replied, "I think I was scared. I don't know if you ever felt like it got to a tipping point where you were like, this is forever now."

Watson's candid answer led the others to open up, and both Grint and Radcliffe revealed they had similar feelings. They just didn't know how to communicate it. Radcliffe and Grint resonated with Watson's feelings at the time, but the actors were young and didn't think about how their co-stars were navigating through it.

Grint admitted he "had moments like that all the way through," adding, "I guess we were kind of in the moment it just didn't really occur to us that we were all having similar feelings."

Radcliffe added, "We never talked about it on the film because we were all just kids." The actor said, at 14 years old, he would never think to "turn around to another 14-year-old and be like, 'Hey, how are you doing? Everything ok?'"

Never Alone

"Harry Potter" was always a big commitment — it's why Daniel Radcliffe's father was so hesitant to bring him to audition in the first place. Not only were the actors' personal lives under media scrutiny, but they were being constantly photographed, and the lack of personal privacy appears to have taken a greater toll on them than they may have let on.

Ultimately, all three actors decided to stay until the very end and see it through. Looking back, they're proud of their decision. "No one had to convince me to see it through," Watson said, crediting the fans and her co-stars for having her back. "The fans genuinely wanted it to succeed. And we all genuinely have each other's backs. How great is that?"

Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint contributed to a world that means so much to many, even as franchise creator J.K. Rowling came out as a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) in 2019, devastating transgender and non-binary fans of the franchise. Thankfully, her absence in the reunion event (aside from a small piece of archival footage) just might give "Harry Potter" the opportunity to move on without her.

"Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts" is now streaming on HBO Max.