It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the world was introduced to Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and the rest of the Harry Potter cast in the first movie of the series — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in the U.K.). For the next 10 years, across eight films, we watched these young actors grow up, saw new additions to the Harry Potter universe arrive (the films seemed to employ almost the entirety of the British acting community) and, in some cases, we said goodbye to favorite characters.
Where are members of the Harry Potter cast today? From the main trio to actors you may have forgotten were even in the movies, here’s some of their best work post-Potter.
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Swiss Army Man
After being plucked from relative obscurity to lead what would become one of the biggest movie franchises in history, Daniel Radcliffe has managed to avoid the potential pitfalls of famous child actors and has built a fun and interesting career post Harry Potter. He hasn’t been afraid of taking risks, but none as big as playing a farting corpse in the wonderfully absurd movie Swiss Army Man.
Directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (the directing duo collectively known as The Daniels), Swiss Army Man sees Paul Dano as a castaway who discovers a dead body (Radcliffe) washed along the shore. However, the body soon shows the ability to help Dano’s character, from serving as a transport (propelled by farts) to a weapon and eventually as a friend and confidant. Radcliffe brings the body back to life in an incredibly entertaining and heartfelt way.
Up next for the actor will be the Lost City of D and season 4 of the comedy Miracle Workers.
Emma Watson (Hermione Granger)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: The Bling Ring
Out of the main trio, Emma Watson has arguably had the biggest Hollywood career post Potter, starring in box-office hits like Beauty and the Beast and This Is the End, while also giving critically-acclaimed performances in films like Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah and Little Women. But, in our opinion, her best performance after Hermione Granger comes in Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring.
After portraying the bookish, brilliant and good Hermione for eight films, Granger got to play on the darker side of things — as a selfish, spoiled California teen who robs celebrities’ homes with her group of friends. It’s more than just the shock of Hermione going bad, Watson nails the entitled, self-centered character who then is befuddled by why her actions result in negative consequences.
Watson has no upcoming projects listed.
Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Servant
The final member of the Harry Potter main trio, Rupert Grint, has seen his movie career mainly stay in the U.K. since the Potter franchise ended — starring in the likes of Snatch, Sick Note and more. But he has also been a part of the Apple TV Plus original series Servant since the beginning.
Grint plays Julian Pearce in the M. Night Shyamalan-produced series, who is related to the central couple at the center of this mysterious horror mystery. Grint was cited for his acting by the Hollywood Critics Association in 2021. Servant season 3 is expected to debut on Apple TV Plus on Jan. 21, 2022.
Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Belle
Tom Felton’s Draco Malfoy was a fantastic minor villain in the Harry Potter series, and the actor has continued to play detestable characters after ditching his wand. His biggest film was probably Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but his best turn is in the period drama Belle, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Felton has a supporting role as a cruel man who is prejudiced against the mixed-race Belle (Mbatha-Raw). Felton has a number of indie films lined up, including Save the Cinema and Burial.
Michael Gambon (Dumbledore)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Paddington
Michael Gambon joined the Harry Potter franchise as Dumbledore after the passing of Richard Harris — ultimately playing the role in six of the eight movies. Gambon, who is now 81, hasn’t been in a movie since 2019, but he kept busy in his initial post-Potter days, starring in films and TV series that included Quartet, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, playing Winston Churchill in the TV movie Churchill’s Secret and voicing Uncle Pastuzo in the wonderful family films Paddington and Paddington 2.
Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Downton Abbey
Dame Maggie Smith’s output has slowed down since Harry Potter, but every time she appears it is almost exclusively in something that catches people’s eye. Most notably that has been Downton Abbey, where she played the fan-favorite character the Dowager Countess in both the original series and the 2019 movie. She also starred in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel, as well as in Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van. Upcoming, Smith will be in the Christmas movie A Boy Called Christmas and return to the role of the Dowager in the second Downton movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ralph Fiennes has always been great at playing villains, and He Who Shall Not Be Named (ah screw it, Voldemort) is an all-timer. He’s played a few villains since, but his best role after Harry Potter (and possibly his entire career) was in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel as the concierge M. Gustave. However, his most widely known role has been taking over as M in the James Bond franchise, including the most recent No Time to Die. The next film on the horizon for Fiennes is the Kingsman prequel The King’s Man.
Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: The Crown
You have to love Helena Bonham Carter, as she can go fantastically weird like she does as Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter or a Tim Burton movie, but can also be the epitome of class and aristocracy in shows like The Crown. It is the latter that has seen the actress give her best performance, taking on the role of Princess Margaret for two seasons on the hit Netflix series. Her time unfortunately is over on The Crown, but Bonham Carter will next be seen in the U.K. adaptation of French comedy Call My Agent and the Netflix original movie Enola Holmes 2.
Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy)
Best Role Post Potter: The Death of Stalin
Jason Isaacs isn’t a massive box-office star, but most viewers will recognize when they see him, even if it is just as Draco’s dad. Isaacs has been consistently starring in new projects post Potter, with probably his best turn coming in the Armando Iannucci-directed dark comedy The Death of Stalin. However, this could very soon be replaced by Mass, an indie film that is garnering some Oscar buzz.
Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: The Guard
Brendan Gleeson’s best role after Harry Potter wasn’t very long after he left the franchise, when he played a foul-mouthed, ornery police officer in the dark comedy The Guard from John Michael McDonagh. The Irish actor has been in plenty of memorable roles since then, including Edge of Tomorrow, Paddington 2, Mr. Mercedes and The Comey Rule, where he played President Donald Trump. Up next, Gleeson will be seen in The Tragedy of Macbeth alongside Denzel Washington.
Gary Oldman (Sirius Black)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Since Harry Potter ended, Gary Oldman has won an Oscar for his incredible transformation as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. He is undoubtedly great in that film, but it’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which earned him his first Oscar nomination, that may be his best role. Oldman stars as the mole-hunting George Smiley in the adaptation of John le Carré’s classic spy novel. Oldman will once again play a spy in his upcoming project, Slow Horses, which will premiere on Apple TV Plus.
Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: All Creatures Great and Small
As the Harry Potter franchise was ending, many fans found something to rally around — Neville got hot. Matthew Lewis’ change from his awkward pre-teen years (which so many of us can relate to) to his early 20s became the stuff of memes. The young actor hasn’t just been getting by on his looks. He’s starred in a number of popular British TV shows, including Happy Valley, Ripper Street and All Creatures Great and Small and is currently, including appearing in the latest season of the latter.
Julie Walters (Molly Weasley)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Wild Rose
After saying goodbye to Molly Weasley, U.K. national treasure Julie Walters has starred in countless films including Brave, Paddington, Brooklyn, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and Mary Poppins Returns, but it was playing another mom, in Wild Rose, that is arguably her best recent work. Walters plays Marion, whose daughter Rose — the wonderful Jessie Buckley — is just out of prison and needs her help to her life back on track. Her most recent credit, per IMDb, is the animated program Master Moley.
Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Good Time
While he is better known for starring in Twilight, Robert Pattinson’s first heartthrob moment was as Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter franchise. Similar to Radcliffe, Pattinson has opted for smaller, indie fare more than big Hollywood blockbusters again, with some notable performances coming in The Rover, The Lost City of Z, High Life, The Lighthouse and his great turn in the crime thriller Good Time. Pattinson is working his way back to big Hollywood titles, having starred in Tenet in 2020 and taking on superheroes with the upcoming The Batman.
Emma Thompson (Professor Trelawney)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Late Night
The incomparable Emma Thompson had a small but fun part in the Harry Potter franchise, but her best work has always come outside of it. In recent years that has included projects like Saving Mr. Banks, Beauty and the Beast, The Meyerowitz Stories and deviously fun turn in Cruella. Fans of hers should definitely catch her in Late Night, opposite Mindy Kaling, where she plays a late night talk show host in need of a career restart. Thompson’s most high profile next project is the adaptation of the Broadway musical Matilda, where she’ll play Mrs. Trunchbull.
Timothy Spall (Wormtail)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: Denial
A fantastic character actor, Timothy Spall has had a few opportunities to shine bright after his villainous turn in Harry Potter, most notably as iconic painter JMW Turner in the biopic Mr. Turner as well as the film Denial, where he plays a Holocaust denier that takes the issue to British courts. He can now be seen in Spencer, the latest film about Princess Diana starring Kristen Stewart.
Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley)
Best Role Post Harry Potter: The Queen’s Gambit
Similar to Matthew Lewis, many people may not recognize Harry Melling as Dudley Dursley, but puberty is a weird thing. Melling has found his most success starring in a number of projects that have ended up as Netflix originals, including The Old Guard, The Devil All the Time and the hit series The Queen’s Gambit, where he plays Harry Beltik, a friend and mentor to Anya Taylor-Joy’s Beth Harmon. Melling will head to another streaming service with his next film, The Tragedy of Macbeth, which will be available on Apple TV Plus.
Before we go, we’d be remiss not at least mention one of the most crucial members of the Harry Potter cast, the great Alan Rickman. After memorably playing Severus Snape for the entire franchise, Rickman unfortunately passed away in 2016. In addition to Harry Potter he had a career of so many fantastic roles, from Die Hard to Sweeney Todd to Love Actually and Galaxy Quest, just to name a few.