Fan films can be tricky things. Just ask Star Trek fans — when one fan film began to look a little too professional (and promised to actually make a profit), CBS/Paramount imposed strict guidelines on what form a fan film could take. The last year or so have seen the Harry Potter franchise face a similar issue, when one fan film, Voldemort: Origin of the Heir, raised 15,000 euros in order to launch what looks like a very slick, professional production.
In news that's sure to delight Harry Potter fans across the world, though, Warner Bros. has actually given the go-ahead for the film, meaning Voldemort: Origin of the Heir will stream later this year!
Here's What To Expect!
You can immediately see why Warner Bros. would be worried — this is a very smart, very slick production. It stars Stefano Rossi as the young Tom Riddle, the future Dark Lord who's rising to power: Maddalena Orcali plays an original character, Grisha MacLaggen — apparently the Heir of Gryffindor!
Adding another complication to the mix, of course, is the fact that Warner Bros. is now telling their own 'prequel' stories. #FantasticBeasts launched a new series that will span up to 1945, telling the tale of Dumbledore's battle with Grindelwald. The studio will surely be reluctant to give up such a powerful brand, so could conceivably wind up competing with a well-produced fan film. You're talking serious risk to the trademark. No surprise, last year Warner Bros. initially served a takedown notice, warning Tryangle's creators Gianmaria Pezzato and Stefano Prestia to abandon the project.
Good News For Harry Potter Fans!
In a spectacular but delightful twist, though, Warner Bros. has actually given the fanfilm the go-ahead. Although Pezzato and Prestia aren't allowed to disclose the nature of their agreement with Warner Bros., a couple of things clearly worked in their favor: they weren't doing this to make a profit, and they were planning to distribute it online for free.
The project sounds absolutely thrilling, spanning the course of years. As Pezzato told Polygon:
"We wondered, ‘What made Tom Riddle become Voldemort? What happened in those years, and what really went down at Hogwarts when he came back?’ There are some clues in the books which have not been transposed at all in the movies, but a lot goes unspoken. This is the story we want to tell: The rise of the Dark Lord before Harry Potter and his first demise.”
There's likely one other reason Warner Bros. is willing to okay this project, of course. The future of the Harry Potter franchise is in the hands of its creator, J. K. Rowling. And you get the strong sense that, for Rowling, the story of Voldemort is over and done with; the Fantastic Beasts series, for example, is focused on the rise and fall of Grindelwald. If Rowling really isn't interested in exploring Voldemort's origins, then it's likely Warner Bros. recognized that they'd never wind up competing in the first place.
I've got to say that, for me, this is a thrilling twist. It's nice to see Warner Bros. willing to work alongside the fans, allowing these fan films to come to life — even ones that look as professional as Voldemort: Origin of the Heir. The trailer debuted a few days ago, and has already been viewed more than 30 million times on Facebook and 1.8 million times on YouTube. It's clear this is one fan film that's caught the fans' eyes!
Do you want to learn the secrets of Voldemort's origin?
(Source: Polygon; Poll Image Credit: Warner Bros.)