Daniel Radcliffe isn’t keen on returning for future Harry Potter films, but Fantastic Beasts 3 demonstrates that the character can be replaced.
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has demonstrated that recasting Harry Potter can work for the Wizarding World, even if Daniel Radcliffe maintains that he does not wish to return for additional Harry Potter films. With the box financial failure of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the Harry Potter universe’s future is currently uncertain. If Warner Bros. Discovery wants to reboot the Wizarding World brand with a film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Daniel Radcliffe’s refusal to return needn’t be a deal-breaker, as Fantastic Beasts 3 has shown.
Throughout the Harry Potter/Wizarding World films, Gellert Grindelwald has been played by various actors, with Johnny Depp portraying the criminal wizard in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Mads Mikkelsen replaced Depp after Warner Bros. asked him to drop down after filming on The Secrets of Dumbledore had already begun. Daniel Radcliffe is the only actor who has played Harry Potter in the movies, except Harry as a newborn.
Daniel Radcliffe stated that he has no plans to reprise his role as Harry Poter in a future Cursed Child film. On the other hand, the Harry Potter series has demonstrated that recasting a significant character isn’t a problem for in-universe storytelling. Gellert Grindelwald was altered in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Mads Mikkelsen’s performance as Grindelwald was positively acclaimed by critics and audiences. More importantly, the characters don’t notice that he looks different since the actor playing the role has changed. If Daniel Radcliffe does not want to reprise his role as Harry Potter, the same can be done. Except for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’s epilogue, Cursed Child, takes place 19 years after the Battle of the Hogwarts, allowing for the suspension of disbelief due to the passage of time and the fact that when spectators last saw Harry Potter, he was an adolescent.
There may have been a slew of in-universe justifications for why Grindelwald has taken on the appearance of Mads Mikkelsen, but they aren’t essential. The audience is aware of the real-world reasons for recasting. Thus bringing it up in the story detracts from the overall story. The performers sell the transformation by acting as if Grindelwald hasn’t altered. It works just as well as recasting James Bond all over the years within the same continuity, and it can work in the same way if Daniel Radcliffe does not want to reprise his role as Harry Potter. In addition to recasting Grindelwald, the Harry Potter films have successfully altered characters in the past. When Richard Harris passed away, Michael Gambon was cast in the role of Dumbledore. Though both character depictions have virtues, his is likely the most revered and iconic.
Even though recasting Harry Potter could work, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint reuniting for other Harry Potter films are the preferred and best option. Still, as the recasting of Grindelwald with Mads Mikkelsen has demonstrated, no single actor, not even Daniel Radcliffe, is more significant than the Harry Potter franchise itself. With the disappointment of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Warner Bros. Discovery is unlikely to greenlight Fantastic Beasts 4 and 5. Still, the Harry Potter series is too valuable for the studio to put it in limbo. More Harry Potter films will be done, with or without Daniel Radcliffe, but it is a question of when not if.