The rich world J.K. Rowling built for “Harry Potter” overflows with fascinating characters and detailed backstories ― so much so that she had to leave a great deal out of the books themselves, and even more out of the films. Perhaps the most tantalizingly underexplored story: Tom Marvolo Riddle’s transformation into Lord Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard in history.
There’s good news for those who’ve always wanted to spend more time on Riddle’s unsettling backstory, however; a long-teased, fan-created movie is expected to fully explore his youth and his rise to power. Teasers for the film released on YouTube indicate that the story will explore Riddle’s time at Hogwarts and his growing submersion in dark magic, as well as the efforts of a witch named Grisha McLaggen, heir of Gryffindor and a Hogwarts classmate, to defeat him.
“Voldemort: Origins of the Heir” first took shape when a group of Italian filmmakers, fascinated by the character of Riddle, decided that he deserved his own movie. Gianmaria Pezzato and Stefano Prestia began work on a film that would, according to their production company Tryangle Films, “show the psychological aspect of Tom Riddle.”
“There are some clues in the books which have not been transposed at all in the movies, but a lot goes unspoken,” Pezzato told Polygon recently. And where Rowling leaves things unspoken, fan writers, artists, and filmmakers have always been eager to fill in the gaps.
In 2016, a Kickstarter was launched to fund the project. Just one problem: Voldemort, as part of Rowling’s Harry Potter universe, does not belong to the public domain. After Warner Bros., which produced the official “Harry Potter” movies, intervened, the crowdfunding campaign was shut down, leaving the project in a public state of limbo.
Recent days have brought good news for fans who thirst for more insight into Voldemort’s youthful psyche, as Tryangle released a new teaser for the film on YouTube and announced that they had reached an agreement with Warner Bros. to proceed with the film. “The only thing we can say is that they let us proceed with the film, in a nonprofit way, obviously,” Pezzato told Polygon.
Warner Bros. confirmed the agreement in a statement, according to the BBC. “This fan film project is not endorsed by or affiliated with Warner Bros. at all,” the distributor stated, adding that “We are generally supportive of non-commercial fan activity relating to Harry Potter,” provided the creators “work within appropriate parameters and that it is clearly identifiable as a fan created film.”
In accordance with their agreement, Tryangle now plans to complete the film as a nonprofit work, which will be released on YouTube for free. Talk about a passion project ― and one that many devoted Potterheads will doubtless be passionately excited to see.