Stunning ‘Harry Potter’ Fan Film on Voldemort’s Origins Given the Okay by Warner Bros.

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Fan films have a short shelf life — either they’re forgotten in the netherworld of the Internet, or they’re taken to court by the studios that own the franchises upon which they’re based. Either way, despite the fans’ passion for the subject, they’re often doomed from the beginning.

That was almost the case for a Harry Potter fan film that explored the origins of the immortality-seeking villain Voldemort, Voldemort: Origins of the Heir. A crowdfunded film that got started on Kickstarter, the project caught the attention of Warner Bros., who initially was resistant to the fan film. But a deal was struck, and a surprisingly stunning and well-shot teaser for the fan film was released.

From the start, you can kind of see why Warner Bros. was concerned — this fan film looks good. Like, almost too good. Not only does it have surprisingly high production value (that rendering of the house elf is on par with Dobby in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!) but the story and acting doesn’t seem to be half bad, with a new original female character Grisha McLaggen, the heir of Gryffindor, on a quest to stop Tom Marvolo Riddle’s rise to power before he faces his end at the hands of baby Harry Potter.

Voldemort: Origins of the Heir creators Gianmaria Pezzato and Stefano Prestia raised funds through Kickstarter, but were given a notice to take down their project by Warner Bros., which owns the film right to the Harry Potter franchise and is currently producing its own prequel series, which began with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last year. While the timelines of those stories don’t necessarily collide — Voldemort’s story in this fan film would take place roughly during the 1940s to ’50s, while Fantastic Beasts gets started in the 1920s — you can see where the conflict lies.

But luckily, Pezzato and Prestia struck a deal with Warner Bros., allowing them to continue the project. Pezzato told Polygon:

“We had a private and confidential discussion with Warner Bros who contacted us during the period of the crowdfunding campaign. The only thing we can say is that they let us proceed with the film, in a non profit way, obviously.”

The story of Voldemort: Origins of the Heir is based on the flashbacks to Voldemort’s youth as Tom Marvolo Riddle (as told in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) as he sought immortality through the use of horcruxes. Pezzato and Prestia wanted to explore the unknown aspects of his descent into darkness.

“We wondered, ‘What made Tom Riddle become Voldemort? What happened in those years, and what really went down at Hogwarts when he came back?’” Pezzato said. “There are some clues in the books which have not been transposed at all in the movies, but a lot goes unspoken. This is the story we want to tell: The rise of the Dark Lord before Harry Potter and his first demise.”

Voldemort: Origins of the Heir will probably be a massive success, as Harry Potter fans are always thirsty for more content about their favorite series — just look at the popularity surrounding Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s tweets, and the low-budget A Very Potter Musical that launched the career of Glee‘s Darren Criss.

Pezzato and Prestia plan to have the film available for fans to stream by the end of the year.

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