The ‘Harry Potter’ series still has the world under a magic spell, long after the book and film series have both ended. Celebrating 20 years of the films, a special reunion, titled ‘Return to Hogwarts’ is out on HBO Max. 

Several notable actors, who portrayed fan-favourite characters, have died in this time including Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape, Helen McCrory, who stepped into Narcissa Malfoy’s shoes, and Richard Harris, who appeared as Albus Dumbledore, a part later taken on by Michael Gambon. 

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Moreover, many prominent actors have decided simply not to return, leaving a gaping hole in the reunion. 

Maggie Smith

Smith, who plays Minerva McGonagall in the series, charmed us with her sternness towards Harry and his friends. Professor McGonagall also amazed us with her steely courage and loyalty to Hogwarts, when facing Voldemort and his army. 

While fans might have been expecting to see the ‘Downton Abbey’ actress make an in-person appearance for the reunion, Smith can only be seen in archive footage, much like ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling. 

Robert Pattinson 

Before becoming somewhat of a heartthrob for teenagers, playing Edward Cullen, in the ‘Twilight’ series, Pattinson’s character, Cedric Diggory was already the heartthrob for many at Hogwarts. 

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Since then, Pattinson has tried to avoid being boxed in as a franchise actor and taken on challenging roles in Robert Eggers’ ‘The Lighthouse’ and ‘Good Time’, the Safide brothers’ panic-inducing directorial venture. With his new ‘Batman‘ movie coming up, Pattinson was conspicuously missing from the ‘Harry Potter’ reunion. 

Kenneth Branagh 

Everyone remembers Branagh’s performance as the boastful Gilderoy Lockhart, the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, who meets a dismal end in ‘Chamber of Secrets’. 

Notably, Branagh did not return to the reunion, probably since he’s tied up with promoting ‘Belfast’, his directorial debut that has gained some acclaim. 

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The reunion is also suspiciously missing well-liked Defense Against Dark Arts and Potions professors, Remus Lupin and Horace Slughorn played by David Thewlis and Jim Broadbent, respectively. 

Brendan Gleeson 

The eccentric Auror Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody, stands out for giving Harry some much-needed tough talks during the series. Brendan Gleeson, who plays the part, is also missing from the reunion. 

His son, Domhnall Gleeson, who plays Bill Weasely, also didn’t appear for the special.  

David Bradley 

Nobody could have pulled off the grumpy Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch’s character, as well as David Bradley. He made us despise and at the same time fear Filch, who’d roam the halls of the castle at wee hours. 

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However, Bradley didn’t return either to the reunion, but fans might take some pleasure in seeing him play an equally hated character in ‘Game of Thrones’. 

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Among other cast members who were missing are Timothy Spall, who plays Peter Pettigrew, and Julie Walters, seen as Molly Weasely. The former has recently appeared alongside Kristen Stewart in ‘Spencer’, while the latter announced her retirement from acting in 2020, following a cancer diagnosis.