Robin Williams Was Denied A Part In Harry Potter Franchise For The Wildest Reason

Robin Williams wanted in on the Harry Potter film franchise, and you'll never believe the ridiculous reason he was kept out!

By Jason Collins | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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It has been nearly 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released, introducing generations of fans to its captivating narrative. The cinematic franchise, or at least its main storyline, became wildly popular, partially because of the brilliant writing by J.K. Rowling and other scriptwriters and partly because of its beloved cast of actors. Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films, just recently disclosed that the late actor Robin Williams was interested in portraying the role of Professor Remus Lupin.

But wait, Chris Columbus only directed two Harry Potter films, and Professor Lupin appears in the third movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, so how are the two connected? Well, Chris Columbus also produced the third film, and Robin Williams wanted in on it. According to ComicBook, Robin Williams, best known for 1995’s Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Bicentennial Man, was also interested in portraying Remus Lupin, a werewolf-turning professor and personal friend of Harry’s parents. However, Columbus had to turn Williams down for a particularly ridiculous reason.

“It’s all British. There’s nothing I can do,” said Columbus to Robin Williams, turning him down for a role because the legendary actor was too American for a film that’s clearly taking place in England. Unfortunately, for Williams’ fans, the part of Remus Lupin went to David Thewlis, best known for his work in 2005’s Kingdom of Heaven and 2008’s The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, who, admittedly, did a fantastic job. In fact, the role of Lupin garnered him quite the following. Regardless, Williams’ unique ability to perform would be equally as good for the part.

The success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ultimately led to seven sequels, ending with 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, sadly without Robin Williams. Since then, the franchise has launched a theatrical play, an upcoming video game, countless merchandise items, and most importantly, two cinematic prequels to the main storyline, titled Fantastic Beasts. The new cinematic series initially originated as a Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them guidebook, centered around numerous magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe.

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The franchise’s third film, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, currently in post-production, is expected to arrive in April 2022. Unfortunately, the lackluster performance of its predecessor brought the franchise’s legacy into question, partially due to the fact that the story’s spell isn’t quite as binding as its earlier installments. The other part probably has something to do with J.K. Rowling’s political views and severe backlash by Twitter’s Cancel Culture over her anti-trans views – which later got the attention of Lord Voldemort, or Ralph Fiennes, who spoke up in Rowling’s defense.

But, when it comes to Robin Williams as Remus Lupin, the actor would’ve nailed the part. Especially in The Boggart in the Wardrobe scene, in which Lupin teaches Hogwarts’s students how to defend against the magical creature. It’s interesting that Williams didn’t get the role, considering he and Columbus worked together previously on Mrs. Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man.