It’s creeping towards five years since Potter hung up his film-making robes in 2011, and since then the question of what would come next has kept Potterites mesmerised. Would the cast be able to cast off the shackles of their most famous roles? Could Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson avoid the curse of the big franchise that so many Star Wars actors couldn’t?
2015 is going to be beyond massive for fans of the silver screen with Star Wars, Jurassic World and the Avengers sequel all likely to make hundreds of millions (if not more). Luckily though, in amongst those tent-pole releases are signs that there definitely is life after Potter, and not just for the Boy Who Lived himself.
And even if they’re not up to expectations it’s good to know that familiarity and some of your favourite Harry Potter characters will be appearing on a big screen near you in the not too distant future. And you can at least pretend they’re just the same characters living out undercover missions in the Muggle world or something…
26. Emma Watson & David Thewlis – Regression
New Oscar darling Ethan Hawke plays the detective who is brought in to help solve the crime that Watson accuses her on screen father of so it’s safe to say the accused is going to remember one way or the other.
25. Rupert Grint – Moonwalkers
But if it’s anything like the Ron Weasley that fans know and love, you can guarantee it’ll be some quirky comedy probably about the moon landing conspiracies from the 60s?
Set in July 1969, Moonwalkers will follow Ron Perman’s CIA agent who is sent to London to find Stanley Kubrick and ask him to shoot a fake moon landing in case the real one fails. Who he meets instead is Grint, the loser manager of a rock band, and together they attempt to make the film.
24. Gary Oldman – Man Down
Oldman is cast as Captain Peyton in the story where LaBeouf desperately searches for his son and wife with the help of his friend and a fellow survivor.
Quite how any LaBeouf film will go these days is far from certain, but Oldman at least guarantees some good quality.
23. Ralph Fiennes – A Bigger Splash
Of course, it’s never all plain sailing when you invite your former lover and their offspring on your trip, so expect to see some jealousy and Fiennes’ perfect “why did you bloody do that?” face.
22. Alan Rickman – Eye In The Sky
Rickman takes on the role of Lieutenant General Frank Benson but let’s face it, as soon as he starts speaking all you’ll think is “wow, Snape looks weird in uniform.”
21. Evannah Lynch – My Name Is Emily
This will be the third feature for Luna Lovegood since leaving Harry Potter behind, and it looks like a good fit.
Evannah takes on the role as Emily in this story of redemption. The story shows Lynch portraying a sixteen year old girl Emily, who runs away from her foster home in the search for her writer father who has spent the past two years in a psychiatric institution.
Will there be a happy ending for Emily and her yellow Renault? Let’s hope so.
20. Clémence Poésy – The Ones Below
Kate (Poésy) and her husband Justin (Stephen Campbell Moore) are expecting their first baby but it isn’t all rays of sunshine and ice cream as Kate has doubts about her lack of maternal instincts and desire to be a mother. To rub it in, a couple who are also expecting a child move into the apartment below.
Naturally, a dinner party ensues and reveals that not everything is as it seems and the story gives birth to a never ending nightmare of terror for the couple.
As if the creepiness factor wasn’t high enough, The Walking Dead’s David Morrissey also stars.
19. Warwick Davis And Domhall Gleeson – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
What do you really need to say about Star Wars. The hotly anticipated seventh in the space opera will be a continuation of George Lucas’ saga, and while there’s very little in terms of plot detail, what is known is hugely exciting.
But then JJ Abrams could quite easily have just released the title and a release date and left the fanbase to fill in the gaps with their own excitement. And it would still make at least a billion at the box office.
Gleeson is rumoured to be playing a Skywalker and Davis could well be playing Wicket. But knowing Abrams, there’s some subterfuge going on.
18. John Hurt – ChickLit
This one is pretty much what it says in the title; a group of four men band together to write a piece of Chick Lit or Mummy Porn as it seems to be referred to as these days, in order to save their pub from being closed down.
Luckily, their book gets published and becomes a hit until the publisher requests that the female author of the novel address the public for press.
Which is somewhat tricky since none of the group actually possesses a vagina.
17. Helena Bonham Carter – Suffragette
2015 is a busy year for Carter as she’s also been cast as the Fairy God Mother in the live action Disney movie Cinderella.
The Suffragette however, is based on the feminist movements of the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century focusing on the actions of Emmeline Pankhurst and fellow pioneers of equal rights for women.
It also stars Meryl Streep so you know it’s going to be good, and that the Oscars are likely to be sniffing around next year.
16. Jason Isaacs – London Fields
Nicola Six (Amber Heard) has a premonition of her death – more of a murder really – so to work out who it is who is going to kill her, she starts a love affair with three different men at the same time.
Not bad for someone who is about to pop their clogs but also pretty awkward as she’ll then find out which man is her killer. Sort of like Mamma Mia, but considerably more grim.
Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) plays one of those lover/killer types alongside Johnny Depp, which means the film could really go either way.
15. Helen McCrory – Bill
McCrory – or Narcissa Malfoy to Potter fans – takes on the role as Queen Elizabeth I in this period drama revolving around the life of William Shakespeare.
It will apparently focus mainly on Bill’s ‘lost years’ so probably don’t take this movie’s word on historical accuracy. Hopefully it will be considerably better than Anonymous from fellow Harry Potter actor Rhys Ifans, which was like a crime against literature.
14. Tom Felton – Clavius
Felton’s role hasn’t yet been confirmed in this new Bible Epic but the movie revolves around the story of what happened after Jesus’ death.
Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) is sent by Pontius Pilate to investigate the events that happened after Jesus’ horrific death on the Cross, what happened to his body after the Resurrection and all of the rumours that followed him being the genuine Son of God.
It can’t be any worse than Aronofsky’s Noah, can it? Maybe keep the stone angels out of this one.
13. Ciarán Hinds – The Driftless Area
The Driftless Area is based on the novel of the same title by Tom Drury. Although Hinds – who played Aberforth Dumbledore under some brilliant make-up – is just in a supporting role, his role in The Deathly Hallows show just how important these roles are to any storyline.
This newest movie follows a bartender Pierre Hunter (Yelchin), who returns to his small hometown where he falls in love with a mysterious young woman and into the hands of a violent criminal. Intriguingly it’s billed as equal parts about fate, love, coming-of-age, and life in a small-town.
12. Jessie Cave – The Tale Of Tales
There hasn’t been much reported about former Ron-obsessive Jessie Cave’s role in this film, which stars Selma Hayek who plays a Queen for Italian director Matteo Garrone.
It’s safe to assume there will be a few fairy tales thrown together for this one, since it’s based on the collection of 17th century stories, containing the earliest versions of famous fables like “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Cinderella.”
11. Bonnie Wright – A Christmas Carol
This latest adaptation of Charles Dicken’s novel is given a Scottish make-over – in the wake of the success of Sunshine On Leith perhaps – as it explores the different transformation of Scrooge, the helplessly selfish businessman who learns his lesson but not until the very end.
Wright plays the major part of Nell and while she came a long way from the start of the Potter series, let’s hope that she isn’t as stiff as she was when portraying Ginny for most of that run.
It’s hard to justify another retelling of the classic tale, but at least this sounds intriguingly different.
10. Maggie Smith – The Lady In The Van
Maggie Smith is swapping her robes for rags as she tells the true story of The Lady In The Van who lived in her broken down vehicle on playwright Alan Bennett’s driveway.
The film shows the strained relationship that Bennett had with this rather eccentric homeless woman, which was also turned into a beloved play.
Expect a hugely dependable performance from Smith, who never seems to disappoint.
9. Jim Broadbent – Cooking Cats
Unfortunately for Broadbent fans, there isn’t a lot out there in the way of detail relating to his upcoming film. What is known is that Broadbent has been cast as a British ambassador in this grotesque drama set in the world of international aid schemes.
It looks like a thinker for the former potions master, who will be part of a web of contradictions of jet-setting lives and Third World poverty.
Let’s just hope the title isn’t taken literally and everyone is subjected to a few hours of different ways to prepare and eat cats. That’s probably more up Potter fans’ streets.
8. Scarlett Byrne – Skybound
Supporting villainess (it’s fair to say that of all Slytherin, frankly) Pansy Parkinson finally gets her comeuppance in this thriller where herself and a group of fellow passengers are unable to land on the ground after there has been a pretty massive disaster.
Hopefully though, she’ll be able to magic up some fuel and get home safely. Though presumably with fuel running out and the film billed as a pacy 90 minute thriller, it’s probably not going to end well.
7. David Thewlis – Legend
Legend – which stars Tom Hardy as twins – focuses on the destructive journey of the Kray Twins during their rise through the London crime world in the 1950s and 60s. Thewlis plays the part of Leslie Payne, the Kray twins business manager who was later sickened by the actions of the two boys.
The story ultimately focuses on the actions and destruction that the twins had on themselves and on the city of London up to their ultimate imprisonment in 1969.
With Hardy involved, it’s likely to feature at least two very strong performances surrounded by a very impressive British cast, including Taron Egerton and former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston.
6. Mark Williams – The Curse Of The Buxom Strumpet
Former Weasley father Williams takes on the part of Father Thomas in this horror film alongside wizard legend Sir Ian McKellen and Gillian Anderson, which is based on the short written by Matthew Butler ‘E’gad Zombies’.
The story revolves around villagers of a town set in 1713 who are struck down by an illness, which turns them from humans to creatures who eat anything and anyone. Lord Fortitude must lead the survivors to France where they can escape the ones who have succombed to this deadly illness.
And who says the zombie movement is over?
5. James And Oliver Phelps – Own Worst Enemy
The Weasley Twins take on the roles of Constables in Philip Pugh’s’ black British comedy.
Let’s just hope that they both have their ears and their lives left intact in this one because no one is ready for that emotional rollercoaster again.
It’s just good to see them both back on screen together, even if the tagline – “A heart warming tale of infatuation, asphyxiation and relentless precipitation” – is a little disturbing.
4. Emma Thompson – The Legend Of Barney Thomson
Directed by Robert Carlyle, The Legend Of Barney Thomson tells the story of a very awkward barber from Glasgow who enters the world of a serial killer, making his life a little bit more exciting – if you could call it that.
He and his mother (Thompson under some seriously impressive prosthetics) both have secrets to hide from the police as this black comedy of errors unfolds and reveals the grotesque life of a serial killer.
3. Geraldine Somerville – Kids In Love
This British coming of age drama is an independent feature film, depicting what it’s like to find your feet as a young adult and what it’s really like to fall in love, not only with another person but with a place.
Kids In Love show a group of friends who enjoy a fast-paced lifestyle in England’s capital and discover what it is that they really want and how they want their lives to be.
Lily Potter actress Somerville’s role in this film is as Linda but nothing other than her character name has been revealed at this stage. But expect more than what she was given to do for Potter.
2. Timothy Spall – Special One
Not a biopic of Jose Mourinho, sadly.
Instead in this odd-ball sounding comedy, Spall will play an eccentric prisoner obsessed by the English football team in the World Cup, who have improbably got to the final.
He then works with a mysterious and powerful fellow inmate to find a way to escape prison and watch the big game. But inevitably, there is a sting in the tail.
He could have just saved himself some time and became Scabbers for a day. Quickest prison break ever.
1. Daniel Radcliffe – Frankenstein
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is re-born as it is told from the perspective of Igor, Frankenstein’s laboratory assistant, played by Harry Potter himself.
Radcliffe who plays the lead, portrays the dark origins of this character and how he ended up befriending Frankenstein. In that description alone it’s already better than I, Frankenstein.
Radcliffe has come a long way since the early days of Potter, making some brave choices to push the spectre of the Boy Who Lived out of his image. And if he pulls this off, his profile can only improve.