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Voldemort’s Sorcerer’s Stone Actor (& Why They Were Changed)

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Harry Potter.

Lord Voldemort’s Harry Potter movie debut was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first film of the franchise, and by the time the character returned for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he was played by a different actor. In order to properly portray the integral character of Lord Voldemort, actor changes are quite common throughout the franchise. So who played the first version of the murderous Voldemort, and why was the role recast?

Ralph Fiennes was known for portraying Voldemort in the Harry Potter films, but, the actor didn’t join the franchise until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The Dark Lord plays a central antagonist role in the Harry Potter movies, tormenting Harry to the bitter end. Before eventually facing his archnemesis, Harry Potter, Voldemort was portrayed in a few other forms: as a child, teen, in disguise as a Hogwarts teacher, and in his true form. The Wizarding World may not be done with Voldemort, either. By the most recent installment of the Harry Potter prequel franchise, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Voldemort is still at Hogwarts and hasn’t yet appeared again in the series. However, there’s a chance that Voldemort will return, adding further performers to the list of the 6 actors who played Voldemort.

Related: Harry Potter May Have Just Explained Nagini’s Lord Voldemort Fate

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, a flashback revealed that Lord Voldemort killed Lily and James Potter. The scene was key to explaining the Harry Potter timeline, as it revealed insight into the meaning behind the name “The Boy Who Lived.” Actor Richard Bremmer portrayed Lord Voldemort in that particular flashback scene. Voldemort’s body was destroyed in the attack but his soul escaped and hid for nearly a decade. Lord Voldemort later managed to overtake Professor Quirrell as a host body on his quest to acquire the Sorcerer’s Stone and, in turn, regain his physical form.

The 6 Actors Who Played Voldemort

Tom Riddle seeing his role as Voldemort.

Richard Bremmer: Other than the flashback, Bremmer didn’t appear in any other scenes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as Voldemort in his normal form. However, the actor did lend his body for additional scenes. Voldemort’s face was hidden behind Quirrell’s turban after he embodied the professor. Bremmer’s own face was transformed through makeup and prosthetics for the visual effect.

Ian Hart: Richard Bremmer and Ian Hart, the actor who played Professor Quirrell, set the tone for Lord Voldemort’s design in the films. Hart provided the voice for Voldemort during the scenes where Quirrel and Voldemort shared a head.

Christian Coulson: A teenage Voldemort appears in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, played by actor Christian Coulson. Before he became the Dark Lord, Voldemort was a promising 16-year-old Hogwarts student named Tom Marvolo Riddle.

Related: How Dumbledore Knew Harry Would Survive Being Killed By Voldemort

Ralph Fiennes: Voldemort first appears in his true form in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, portrayed by the actor Ralph Fiennes. Apart from the fourth movie, Fiennes also plays Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Hero Fiennes-Tiffin: A child version of Voldemort appears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth movie, portrayed by actor Hero Fiennes-Tiffin. The actor is also a nephew of Ralph Fiennes.

Frank Dillane: Another adolescent version of Voldemort appears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, played by actor Frank Dillane. Why did they change actors for young Voldemort? During filming for the sixth movie, Christian Coulson, who first played Tom Riddle, was too old for the role. Actor Thomas James Longley was initially cast as teenage Voldemort. However, last minute renegotiations led actor Frank Dillane to bag the role.

Ralph Fiennes’ Voldemort Casting Was The Character’s True Entrance

Voldemort's Name Meaning Explained

Although Fiennes’ first appearance is in the fourth movie, there’s no doubt that Fiennes is the definitive version of the Dark Lord. Before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire premiered, Fiennes had acted in notable roles such as Schindler’s List, The English Patient, and Red Dragon. Due to Fiennes’ status, Bremmer believed he was replaced so that the franchise could add a bigger name. That said, Fiennes not only redefined the role, but was even integral to Voldemort’s creepier film design, as it was Fiennes’ idea for the character to have human eyes. Bringing in Fiennes certainly added more buzz, although it’s unclear if the franchise really needed the extra hype.

Related: Fantastic Beasts 3 Needs To Explore Its Voldemort Connection

Other Harry Potter Recastings That Really Worked

Fantastic Beasts secrets of Dumbledore who plays grindelwald mads mikkelsen

Harry Potter‘s Lord Voldemort actor changes are far from being the only successful recastings in the franchise. Griphook, the Gringotts Bank goblin, was first played by Verne Troyer in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, with his American accent and high-pitched voice being overdubbed by Warwick Davis. The voiceover actor then completely replaced Troyer as Griphook in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Meanwhile, Albus Dumbledore’s best friend Elphias Doge was played by bit actor Peter Cartwright, who had no dialog in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in which Doge actually speaks with Dumbledore, Doge was successfully replaced with 50-year film and theater veteran David Ryall. Out of all the recastings, the decision to sub in Mads Mikkelsen to replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore had the most significant impact on a movie. Mikkelsen turned out to be far more effective at portraying Grindelwald’s slimy but intoxicating charisma.

More: Hidden Fantastic Beasts 3 Detail Links Grindelwald To Voldemort

The Harry Potter movies are streaming on Amazon Prime.

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)Release date: Apr 15, 2022

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