Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter movies, says that he would have loved to come back to work on the two-part movie adaptation for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The first Harry Potter film came out almost 20 years ago and was a huge success, kickstarting careers for the then-child actors Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley). Because J.K. Rowling’s series had a large and enthusiastic fanbase, it was critical that the first movie did well. Luckily for them, Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone was a huge success, leading to a successful franchise that people still rewatch today.
One of the important masterminds behind the first two Harry Potter movies was director Chris Columbus. Columbus put a lot of work into ensuring that Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets did well, paying attention to the minutiae of creating an entrancing wizarding world, setting the tone for visual effects, and casting the right actors to be the face of what would be a 10-year adventure. After making the first two films back-to-back, Columbus switched to producer for Prisoner of Azkaban and then left the franchise for good. Even though he was not a part of the other five movies, that does not mean he wanted to cut ties with the franchise completely.
Columbus told Collider in a recent interview that if asked, he would have come back to work on the final films of the franchise, which was Part 1 and 2 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The films were instead directed by David Yates, who also worked on Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and has stayed with the franchise for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise. Columbus concedes that Yates did a great job directing, especially with Deathly Hallows Part 2. You can read his statement below:
“I always wanted to go back and shoot the final two movies, but Yates decided he was gonna stay with the series, and it was a great thing to do because I particularly love the very last movie. I think that is just a brilliant film, the second part of Deathly Hallows.“
It’s worth pointing out that even though Columbus did a tremendous job with the first two movies, that does not mean he would have done as well on the last two films, which had a drastically different tone and story. Besides the first two Harry Potter movies, Columbus also directed Mrs. Doubtfire and the first two Home Alone films, which are more lighthearted watches. That certainly does not mean that Columbus is not capable of taking on more serious subject matter. It just means that there are very different skill sets needed for world-building and new discoveries that fans see at the beginning of the series and for the tragedy, war, and conflict that is rampant at the end of the series.
While Columbus, Yates, and other directors from the series did an impressive job with the movies, fans have not always blindly praised the movies. Often times, the films strayed far from the plot of the books, and there were a number of characters who were left out of the Harry Potter films. Additionally, the franchise has faced a lot of controversy with J.K. Rowling’s viral anti-trans comments and the firing of Johny Depp from the Fantastic Beasts cast. While the plans for the Harry Potter franchise are unknown after Fantastic Beasts is over, it’s always possible Warner Bros. could tap Columbus for a future project down the road.