It was positively enchanting to watch the cast of Harry Potter reunite for the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special on HBO Max. Throughout the special, the actors revisit prominent Harry Potter sets. From the Gryffindor common room to Gringotts bank, and even the iconic Hogwarts great hall, the special was full of nostalgia.
Was the special filmed on the exact same sets used for the Harry Potter films? Or did the production team reconstruct sets at a new filming location? Here's what we know.
Where was the 'Harry Potter' reunion filmed? Those are, indeed, the original 'Harry Potter' sets!
The sets featured in the special were actually the same sets from the Harry Potter films. The Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special was filmed at Leavesden Studios in London, England. This was the same studio complex where a majority of filming took place starting with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone all the way through Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II.
Potterheads can actually visit Leavesden Studios themselves and tour the famous sets. According to the official Wikipedia page for Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, the Harry Potter studio tour typically gets around 6,000 visitors per day! The Burrow (aka the Weasley home), Professor Dumbledore's office, Diagon Alley, and more were all included in the special.
When was the special filmed?
Social media appears to be the best clue for this question. Cinemablend caught an Instagram post from Harry Potter star Tom Felton in November 2021. In the post, Tom (Draco Malfoy) jokes about sharing a trailer with his fellow Harry Potter star Gary Oldman, who played Sirius Black in the films. Tom tagged the aforementioned trailer's location at the Warner Bros. Studios in London. So we do know that filming took place in 2021.
Emma Watson didn't post any BTS pics on her Instagram. However, she also started mentioning the special on her page in November 2021. So we think it's safe to say that filming for the special must've primarily taken place in November 2021. We also know that the special employed archival footage of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling from 2019.
Is the special actually worth watching?
Is the Harry Potter special worth signing up for an HBO Max subscription? If you're in the mood for a magical nostalgia fest, then yes, absolutely. The 100-minute special is packed full of behind-the-scenes secrets and emotional moments between the Harry Potter cast members. Any moments with Emma, Daniel, and Rupert are guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye.
Afterward, you can binge all of the Harry Potter films because they're also available to stream on the platform! You can stream the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special now on HBO Max.