Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit cinemas in the UK 21 years ago today (16 November), beginning one of the most popular film franchises of all time, and launching the careers of several young stars. By the time the eighth film had completed its cinematic run the franchise had raked in more than £6 billion.
And the wizarding world doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon - the Fantastic Beasts films, though not as well received, have still made plenty of money and another two films are expected to complete the spin-off franchise. Meanwhile, Potterheads can still visit Harry Potter studios in London or see the play The Cursed Child in theatres.
The franchise has been so successful that many of its stars may never entirely outgrow their connection to the films, but as the movies made millionaires out of several cast members, they may not want to. This is what the main cast members of the Harry Potter films have done since filming on The Deathly Hallows Part 2 wrapped:
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter
Daniel Radcliffe, then aged 12, had two acting credits to his name when he took on the role of the boy wizard - and now he has an estimated net worth of more than £90 million and has appeared in a range of big-budget and independent films. His first screen role since Harry Potter was that of Arthur Kipps in the Susan Hill horror adaptation, The Woman in Black.
He has also starred (as a corpse) in Swiss Army Man, played an undercover FBI agent in Imperium, and a priest in the comedy series Miracle Workers. Radcliffe’s latest venture is taking on the lead role of the wacky musician in the upcoming Weird Al Yankovic biopic.
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
The Philospher’s Stone was Watson’s screen debut, playing the brightest witch of her age, Hermione Granger, and. like her co-stars, she has spent a decade establishing an identity outside of the Harry Potter films. She played a fictional version of herself in the comedy This Is the End, in which the other characters constantly referred to her as Hermione, did her best to put on an American accent for the 2012 coming of age film The Perks of Being A Wallflower, which she picked up again seven years later for another adaption, Little Women.
Watson has also devoted much of her time to life away from the camera, working as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, and raising feminist issues internationally. She has embarked on a modelling career, recently starring in and directing a Prada advert.
Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley
Grint was also new to acting when he was cast as Ron Weasley, Harry and Hermione’s loyal best friend, and the youngest of five other red-headed brothers. Grint’s first move after Harry Potter was to calloborate with fellow ginger Ed Sheeran, appearing in his music video for Lego House.
Since then he’s appeared in the films Cross of Honour, Postman Pat, Moonwalkers, and Cabinet of Curiosities. His TV roles include playing Charlie in Snatch, adapted from the Guy Ritchie film of the same name, Inspector Crome in The ABC Murders, and Julian Pearce in Apple TV series Servant.
Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy
Felton played Harry’s secondary arch-nemesis in the films (let’s face it, Draco wasn’t a patch on Voldemort), and their rivalry went from quiddich grudges in second year, to almost killing each other in the final films of the series. Felton has gone on to have a successful career, starring in a number of popular films including Rise of the Planet of the Apes, A United Kingdom, and the Netflix original Second World War film The Forgotten Battle.
He also played Julian Albert in Marvel series The Flash, and Logan in the YouTube original sci-fi series Origin. In October, Felton released his book Beyond the Wand, in which he discusses what it was like growing up on the set of one of the most popular film franchises of all time.
Michael Gambon as Dumbledore
Gambon played Dumbledore from the third film in the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban, after the death of the first actor, Richard Harris. Gambon brought his own style to the character, who has since been played by Jude Law in the Fantastic Beast sequels. His later films include Quartet, Paddington, Victoria & Abdul, and Dad’s Army .
He’s also one of two Potter veterans to play Winston Churchill, doing so in the TV movie Churchill’s Secret. In 2018 he played Billy the Fish in crime caper King of Thieves alongside Michael Caine and Ray Winstone. His last screen role to date was playing Moses in the horror film Cordelia.
Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
Oldman played Harry’s godfather in serveral instalments of the franchise, becoming one of the most well-loved characters. Oldman is well known for another major film series, having played Commissioner Gordon in the Dark Knight Trilogy. Since his Black days, Oldman has been nominated for three Oscars, winning Best Actor for playing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
He also played Herman Mankiewicz in the David Fincher-directed Best Picture nominee Mank, and appeared in the comedy film The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard. He also played Jackson Lamb in the AppleTV series Slow Horses.
Robbie Coltrane as Rubeus Hagrid
Coltrane played Hagrid, one of those most protective of Harry throughout the series, and the one to first introduce him to the world of magic, telling him: ‘you’re a wizard, Harry’. Coltrane sadly died last month, aged 72, but he leaves behind an impressive body of work, not the least of which was his appearance on the Potter reunion special, Return to Hogwarts.
After Harry Potter, Coltrane lent his voice to several animated features, including Arthur Christmas, The Gruffalo's Child, and Brave. He also played Jaggers in the Dickens adaptation Great Expectations, and Orson Welles in the comedy series Urban Myths (which also starred Rupert Grint).
Matthew Lewis as Neville Longbottom
Neville Longbottom was the Gunther of the Harry Potter world, the fourth friend who was always eager to get involved in the action, though the character didn’t really get his dues until the final film when he brandished the sword of Griffindor and cut the head off Nagini. Lewis has since appeared in the war comedy series Bluestone 42, BBC drama Happy Valley, and played Sgt. Drummon in Ripper Street.
He has landed roles in films including Me Before You, Our Boys and Baby Done, and also played the romantic lead Hugh Hulton, in the Masterpiece series All Creatures Great and Small. That’s quite a turn of events after having to wear a fat suit and fake teeth to appear as the geeky and awkward Longbottom.
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
Rickman, who played the triple agent and unfriendly potions master, Severus Snape, is another Potter legend who is no longer with us - he died from cancer, aged 69, in 2016. One of his first post-potter roles was that of Ronald Reagan in the historical drama The Butler. He also played Hilly Kristal in the crime drama CBGB before taking on a royal role, playing King Louis XIV in A Little Chaos.
His last film roles were as Lieutenant General Frank Benson in the thriller Eye in the Sky, and the voice of Absolem in Alice Through the Looking Glass. However, Rickman will forever be associated with two roles, Snape, and Hans Gruber in the ‘80s classic Die Hard.
Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall
Maggie Smith was already a veteran of the silver screen when she began playing Professor McGonagall, the stern but loving transfiguration teacher - but like all the other cast members it has become one of her most well-known roles. Since hanging up her wand, she’s appeared in several movies, including Quartet and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as its sequel.
She took on the leading role of Miss Shepherd in the drama biopic The Lady in the Van and played Violet Crawley in the historical drama series Downton Abbey from 2010-2015. She reprised the role for two film spin-offs in 2019 and 2022.
Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort
Voldemort was the big bad of the Harry Potter franchise, the Dark Lord who sought to kill the boy wizard, and was hyped up for three films (and most of the fourth) before making a proper appearance, perfectly embodied by Fiennes. Since his Voldemort’s demise, Fiennes joined the other biggest British movie franchise, playing M in the last three James Bond films.
He has also done some voice acting, playing Alfred Pennyworth in the Lego Batman films, Moon King in Kubo and the Two Strings, and Barry in Dolittle. He’s also taken on several dramatic roles including The Dig, Official Secrets, and The Menu.
Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange
Carter brough reali life to the twisted witch Bellatrix, Voldemort’s sycophant and the killer of Sirius Black. She’s also been busy over the last 11 years, featuring in a slew of popular films including Dark Shadows, Les Misérables, Cinderella, and Ocean’s Eight.
She played Eudoria Holmes in the Netflix films Enola Holmes and its sequel and has appeared in two seasons of The Crown, playing Princess Margaret. She has several projects in the works, including roles in the comedy Not Bloody Likely, and the lead in the drama miniseries Nolly.
Warwick Davis as Professor Filius Flitwick/Griphook/Goblin Bank Teller
Warwick Davis is the only actor to multirole in the series, (unless you count characters impersonating others after taking polyjuice potion) playing a bank teller at Gingotts in the first film, as well as Professor Flitwick and the devious goblin Griphook throughout the series. He has since played himself in the comedy series Life’s Too Short alongside Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, as well as a host of celebrity cameos.
Davis’s other acting roles include appearances in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, as well as Rogue One, Solo, and the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. Davis also played Lickspittle in the Disney fantasy film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and voices Sniff in Moominvalley.
Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge
Umbridge in some ways came a across as a more dislikeable character than Voldemort, she as a sadistic and quasi-fascist teacher who did her best to take the magic out of Hogwarts. Staunton has had plenty of success since Harry Potter, playing Aunt Lucy in the Paddington films, Maud Bagshaw in the Downton movies, and reuniting with Davis for her role as Knotgrass in Maleficent.
She has also played two queens, though in very different roles - she voiced Queen Victoria in the animated feature, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! and recently took on the role of Queen Elizabeth II in season five of The Crown. She is also due to appear in the upcoming Chicken Run sequel, Dawn of the Nugget.
Brendan Gleeson as Mad Eye Moody
Mad-Eye was a master auror (dark wizard catcher) in the series, though for most of Gleeson’s appearance in Goblet of Fire, he was actually playing Barty Crouch Jr. who had taken polyjuice potion to impersonate Mad-Eye. Gleeson has kept himself busy with plenty of film roles over the years, playing Gerry Boyle in black comedy The Guard, Paddy James in Calvary, and Inspector Arthur Steed in Suffragette.
He took on the main role of Bill Hodges in the Stephen King series Mr. Mercedes, and played Scott in the 10 minute episode comedy series State of the Union. His latest film, The Banshees of Inisherin, is a blistering attack on partisan violence in Ireland over the years.