Alan Rickman Quitting As Snape Would Have Killed The Harry Potter Movies


The late Alan Rickman is iconic as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, but the English actor almost quit the films, which would have been detrimental to the franchise. Starting in 2001, Rickman embodied the half-blood wizard for eight films, although recent revelations have pointed to the fact that he may have wanted to exit the franchise before reprising his character in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Such an exit would have meant recasting his now-famous role, creating a problematic situation both for continuity and the emotional dynamics on screen.


After Alan Rickman passed away in 2016 from prostate cancer, excerpts of his diary entries surfaced noting his hesitation to keep going with the Harry Potter films after completing work on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The actor enjoyed seeing his costars in the Harry Potter cast but expressed that the movies felt never ending to him, and he possibly wanted out. Tim Roth was initially tapped to play the role of Snape before Rickman was eventually cast, meaning that there could have been a backup plan for Warner Bros. Pictures had Rickman chosen not to return to the role, and Roth wanted to take it on.

Related: The James Bond Villain Alan Rickman Almost Played

Having been diagnosed with cancer and beginning treatment before filming the fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Alan Rickman again considered leaving the franchise. However, he once again reconsidered his position, writing that it was right to “See it through. It’s your story.” This decision had huge implications for the Harry Potter franchise as a whole as Rickman was both inextricably linked to the part of Snape and had unique insight into how the character’s story would end. This allowed him to bring a level of nuance and understanding to the role that would have been simply impossible to replicate. As such, recasting Snape would have had a disastrous effect on the whole Harry Potter series both from a continuity and performance perspective.

Recasting Snape Would Have Been Almost Impossible For Harry Potter

Recasting a character in the Harry Potter films could have been difficult at the time since most actors saw their characters through from the first film to the last. The prime example of recasting a Harry Potter character was when Dumbledore actor Richard Harris passed away after filming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and producers chose to recast Dumbledore with Michael Gambon for the rest of the film series. The precedent was there, but Rickman’s impeccable ability to express sarcasm and deep-rooted emotional anguish in his performance made him a much better fit for Snape than Harris had been for Dumbledore. As a result, replacing him at any point, after several film-defining performances, would have been a huge miscalculation.

If Alan Rickman had left the Harry Potter series, it would have been an unwelcome distraction as he formed a unique onscreen dynamic with Harry Potter performer Daniel Radcliffe. While Snape was initially hostile to Harry Potter due to his resemblance to Snape’s school bully and Harry’s father, James, his love for Harry’s mother, Lily, helps Snape turn his back on the dark side, playing the ultimate double agent until the heartbreaking Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 ending. Alan Rickman encapsulated this complex emotional dynamic beautifully in his character’s relationship with Radcliffe’s. In many ways, he was uniquely suited to playing a complex role like Severus Snape, and his absence from the franchise would have dramatically affected the bond between Snape and Harry Potter, effectively killing the Harry Potter films.

Next: One Secrets Of Dumbledore Line Proves Credence Is The New Snape


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