Chris Columbus has called on Warner Bros. to release the three-hour cut of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, reinstating scenes with a fan-favorite character from the books.
In an interview with The Wrap, Columbus said he once previewed a version of the Sorcerer’s Stone that was three hours long and included an appearance from the prankster poltergeist Peeves, played by Rik Mayall, who didn’t end up making it into the 2001 theatrical cut of the first Harry Potter film because it was cut down to run for two hours and 32 minutes.
“We knew that the film worked because we did a couple of previews,” Columbus said of his original cut of the film. “Particularly a Chicago preview where our first cut was a three-hour cut. Parents afterwards said it was too long, the kids said it was too short. I thought, well, the kids presumably have a shorter attention span so this is a good thing.”
While the longer version of the Sorcerer’s Stone proved to be a smash hit with younger audiences, nearly half an hour of footage was removed from the film before it hit theaters, including scenes with Peeves, a prominent character in the books, who also didn’t make it into the Ultimate Edition of the film that is seven minutes longer than the theatrical cut.
Columbus would now like to see Warner Bros. release the three-hour version of his film, bringing back the scenes with Peeves that were shot with actor Rik Mayall. “We have to put Peeves back in the movie, who was cut from the movie!” Columbus exclaimed after agreeing with The Wrap reporter who said they’d love to see the original cut be released.
While we wait for news of such a release, Harry Potter fans are invited to join Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson for HBO Max’s Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts reunion show on January 1, 2022, which will feature all-new interviews and cast conversations celebrating the history of the Wizarding World franchise.
The retrospective special is just one piece of programming scheduled by WarnerMedia in celebration of the first film’s 20-year anniversary. There’s also going to be an unscripted Harry Potter quiz show that will see Harry Potter superfans compete in four one-hour challenges over four consecutive days leading up to the Return to Hogwarts.
Adele Ankers is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.