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The Lovely Way HBO Max’s Harry Potter Reunion Special’s Ending Paid Tribute To Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Harry Potter franchise has been entertaining audiences for decades. This started with J.K. Rowling’s beloved novels, before growing into movies, theme parks, and even Broadway plays. The cast of the eight-film franchise recently reunited to film HBO Max’s Harry Potter Reunion, which had a special ending that paid tribute to the late Alan Rickman.

A number of Harry Potter actors have passed away since the movies ended with The Deathly Hallows- Part 2. They are appropriately memorialized throughout Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, although Snape actor Alan Rickman got one special tribute at the very end of the special. Namely through his character’s heartbreaking line “always.”

Snape is one of the most fascinating characters in Harry Potter lore, originally seemingly like a villain before being revealed as the ultimate double agent and unrequited love of Lily Potter. A flashback shows him famously tells Dumbledore that he’ll “always” love her. And that same line reading by Rickman the last thing seen in Return to Hogwarts before the credits roll.

Ending Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts with “always” is an emotional way to end the HBO Max special, and pay one final tribute to the legendary Alan Rickman. The folks I watched the reunion with had an audible reaction to that final line, and smart money says that was the intention. After all, Rickman’s performance as Hogwarts' Potions Master has aged like fine wine.

Throughout the course of Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, a few members of the beloved cast mention how Alan Rickman was the only one who knew his character’s full story upon signing onto the film franchise. After all. J.K. Rowling’s books were still being released at the time. But Rickman got insider information, leading to his layered and moving performance throughout eight movies. As a reminder, you can check out the iconic “always” scene below,

Aside from paying tribute to Alan Rickman, ending Return to Hogwarts with “always” is also effective because it encapsulates how the generations of Harry Potter fans feels about the Wizarding World. Generations have been brought up on the magical franchise, with the OG Potterheads now grown and passing it down to their children. As such, we should expect more emotional reunions as the years go by.

Of course, some fans are holding out hope that the cast of the Harry Potter franchise might reunite on the big screen sometime down the line. Namely a film adaption of The Cursed Child, the stage plays which serve as sequels to the main franchise. But there aren’t currently any plans for a movie version, and it’s unclear if names like Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson would be interested in playing their characters again.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is streaming now on HBO Max. Be sure to check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.