Why David Yates Was The Perfect Director To Finish The Harry Potter Series, According To Chris Columbus

Chris Columbus is the legendary director behind Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Have you ever wondered why he didn’t direct all of the films? He’s recently shared why, along with why David Yates was the perfect director to finish the series, and which film is his favorite. 

Harry Potter fans agree the first two films, which were directed by Chris Columbus, are a lot of fun. They’re full of magic and wonder as Harry learns that he’s a wizard and starts exploring the Wizarding World. Once the third film begins, the rest of the series is much darker, both literally and figuratively, as Harry gears up for the battle against He Who Shall Not Be Named. I sat down with Chris Columbus for an interview with CinemaBlend, and he shared why he only directed the first two films and why he thinks David Yates was the perfect director to finish the series. Here’s what he told me:

At the point I left, I had done 320 days of shooting, so I didn’t have the physical energy to be on set 12 hours a day and to deal with visual effects for 16 hours. So I produced the third, thought maybe I’ll come back for the fourth, but after we had finished Prisoner of Azkaban, my kids were kind of ready to come back to the States and see their friends. And I thought, maybe I’ll return for one of the later movies, but I never got around to it. I think if I wanted to return for any movie it would’ve been Deathly Hallows. In retrospect, I thought David Yates did a brilliant job. Deathly Hallows makes me cry every time I see the second half and I can’t think of a better director who could do that.

For any who are unfamiliar with all that goes into directing a film, it’s a lot of hours. They oversee all aspects of the production, so they’re being consulted on things like set design and lighting before the actors even get to set, then there’s the shooting, and after that, as Chris Columbus mentioned, there is another set of hours dedicated to visual effects. It’s mentally and physically exhausting, and what a fantastic job Chris Columbus did setting up the world for others to take over. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was directed by Mike Newell. All films from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix through the finale were directed by David Yates. 

Chris Columbus gave David Yates a glowing review for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 which I can’t disagree with. I also cry every time I watch, and something that can elicit that emotion on subsequent viewings is hard to come by. David Yates was absolutely the perfect choice to finish the series for all that he brought to the production. 

The 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is November 16, 2021. The full series is available to stream on HBO Max.

Samantha LaBat

Obsessed with Hamilton and most things Disney. Gets too attached to TV show characters. Loves a good thriller, but will only tolerate so much blood.