The last few Harry Potter movies have rebellion at their heart, with the forces for good rising up against the increasing power of Voldemort as the de facto ruler of the Wizarding World. But one deleted scene contains a smaller moment of defiance for a character who never got a chance at redemption in the finished movies: Dudley Dursley.
Harry Potter didn’t have much room for the Dursleys on the big screen, with the monstrous Muggles mostly left out of the later movies in favor of the more magical Harry Potter characters. In the books, these Harry Potter villains got a redemption moment of sorts, and versions of these scenes were shot for director David Yates’ pair of Deathly Hallows movies.
Unfortunately, the Dursleys’ goodbye scene ended up on the cutting room floor for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One. This does a particular disservice to Dudley, who got to say a surprisingly warm goodbye to Harry in the scene. But before that, he very clearly and deliberately walks all over his father’s beloved front garden.
It’s a beautiful moment for Dudley, in which he finally showed that he could think for himself rather than just blindly following his parents’ beliefs. As Vernon tries to hurry him into the car for their escape, Dudley looks him dead in the eye as he steps on the perfectly manicured front lawn.
On the face of it, this is the mildest possible rebellion. But Dudley’s world is very small, mostly confined to the suburban tedium of 4 Privet Drive and his posh school, Smeltings. To him, the choice to defy his father was about as big a “screw you” as he could possibly offer.
The rebellious walk and the subsequent quiet handshake is a great pay-off for Dudley and a showcase for how far Harry Melling had come as an actor. There’s a reason his career is among the most impressive of the entire young Harry Potter cast, including work for the Coen Brothers and alongside Christian Bale.
However, we can understand why this scene didn’t make the final cut. When you watch the Harry Potter movies in order, you can see how impressive they are as a feat of adaptation, snipping the fat from the books in order to make the best movies possible. There was no room for the Dursleys after the main story around Voldemort kicked in.
But those who take the time to watch this deleted scene will have a renewed respect for Melling, his work as Dudley, and his reckless attitude to his dad’s gardening pride and joy. Here’s hoping they find a great new Dudley actor by the time the Harry Potter TV series release date comes around.
That TV series is likely to be the next Potter project off the blocks, but there are also new movies to come. We hope that the Fantastic Beasts 4 release date does eventually come around, and we’re sure that there will be a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child movie release date in the near future.
Speaking of the latter, we think the Cursed Child movie needs to lean into its gay romance to really work. Or for more hidden wizarding moments, find out about the Harry Potter deleted scene that revealed too much about Snape.
The creator of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling, has made a number of transphobic remarks on social media in recent years. If you’d like to learn more about transgender equality or lend your support, here are two charities we encourage you to visit: the National Center for Transgender Equality in the US, and Mermaids in the UK.