The much-awaited Harry Potter reunion began streaming on Amazon Prime Video on January 1. It brought back several stars such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Gary Oldman, Tom Felton, Jason Isaacs, Ralph Fiennes, Evanna Lynch, Matthew Lewis, Mark Williams and Helena Bonham Carter, who reminisced about the iconic franchise that continues to enchant fans.
However, a crucial cast member was missing. Michael Gambon, who played Albus Dumbledore in six films, after taking over from the late Richard Harris, didn’t appear in the reunion special at all, beyond footage from the films. In fact, he was barely mentioned in the episode, which led fans to wonder why he had been ‘completely snubbed’. “Why was Michael Gambon completely snubbed? Is there a story there?” one fan asked on Twitter.
Another mentioned how their joy of watching the special was ‘overshadowed’ because of his absence. Also missing were Maggie Smith and even series author JK Rowling. One fan tweeted, “My enjoyment of the Harry Potter 20th anniversary was overshadowed by the missing cast, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, David Bradley to name a few. Whatever your thoughts are on JK Rowling, she should have been included.”
Return to Hogwarts was interesting. Overall was pleased and thought it was a nice reunion and homage to the movie universe specifically. I do wish they talked a bit more about key cast members who weren’t there like Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon. Otherwise very well done ✨
— tired (@incognito_mood) January 2, 2022
Okay, so the most bizarre thing about the Potter reunion is not even the JKR stuff…it’s the fact that they talk SO much about Richard Harris and barely mention Michael Gambon. Who did he piss off?
— Esther Zuckerman (@ezwrites) January 1, 2022
— Cindy Rodriguez (@rubyalexi) January 1, 2022
In contrast to Richard Harris’ serene take on Dumbledore, Gambon’s more fiery portrayal has always been the subject of debate. His interpretation of the character deviated from how he was described in the books.
Michael Gambon had expressed his excitement to play the role of the headmaster, as he was used to ‘playing crooks and killers’ prior to Dumbledore. “Then Dumbledore is the complete opposite, isn’t he? He’s a nice old man,” he had once said in an interview. He had mentioned how it would ‘always be a happy memory’.
In 2015, Michael Gambon revealed that he could no longer do stage plays, owing to memory loss. “It’s a horrible thing to admit, but I can’t do it,” he had told the Sunday Times. He said that it took forever for him to ‘learn the script’ and that it was ‘frightening for him’.