Even given the calibre of the Harry Potter cast, Alan Rickman always stood out as someone elevating some of the best fantasy movies of the 2000s to a whole new level. And he had some strong opinions about the direction of Severus Snape – inarguably one of the best Harry Potter characters.
Rickman famously knew Snape’s ending before the rest of us, but he also found himself embroiled in discussions with director David Yates about his fate in the final Harry Potter movies.
In an extract from Rickman’s diaries published posthumously by The Guardian, the star explained that he and Yates disagreed over a particular element of Snape’s death scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.
In the finished movie, released in 2011, Voldemort used his snake Nagini to kill Snape in the belief that doing so would grant him mastery of the powerful Elder Wand. That’s in line with the novels, but Yates wanted one of the best movies based on books to go in a very different direction.
“Cold, wet, draughty but the crew seem miles away so Ralph [Fiennes] and I can just get on with inching our way towards the scene,” Rickman wrote. “David Y stubborn as ever about [Voldemort] killing me with a spell. (Impossible to comprehend, not least the resultant wrath of the readers.) Great working with Ralph, though. Direct and true and inventive and free.”
Rickman said that it was his wife Rima who saved the day. “Back home and Rima (narrative brainbox) says: ‘He can’t kill you with a spell – the only one that would do that is Avada Kedavra and it kills instantly – you wouldn’t be able to finish the scene’.”
Given the narrative importance of a dying Snape providing his memories to Harry, it certainly would have caused problems if the character had died instantly. It sounds like we have Rima to thank for the moment being preserved. If only she had intervened on Voldemort disintegrating like a victim of Thanos’s snap. But that’s a discussion for another day.
For more of the Wizarding World, check out our guides to the best Harry Potter villains, the Harry Potter TV series release date, and the possible Harry Potter and the Cursed Child release date. You can also find out why Alan Rickman was unconvinced by the final Harry Potter movie.
Away from wands and wizards, we’ve got our list of the best movies of all time, and a guide to all of the new movies coming your way in 2023.