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Steven Spielberg

The biggest franchise around nearly ended up with the biggest director around: Steven Spielberg considered the gig, before ultimately turning it down. Other contenders included Jonathan Demme, Tim Robbins, Wolfgang Petersen, and Rob Reiner, before a final shortlist emerged of Brad Silbering (‘Casper’), Alan Parker (‘Evita’), Terry Gilliam (‘Brazil’) and Chris Columbus (‘Home Alone’), with the latter landing the job. (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

An Alternate History of 'Harry Potter': Just a Few of the Big Names Who Could've Landed At Hogwarts

By Oliver Lyttelton

The Harry Potter series is one of the most beloved and popular of all time, and it's about to get a whole lot bigger, with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, a spin-off/prequel penned by J.K. Rowling that brings her wizards and witches to the United States for the first time.

The new characters could soon be as beloved as Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Co., but it's easy to forget that the Potter world could have looked very different, with all kinds of actors and filmmakers who nearly took roles or directing jobs with the franchise over the years. So, ahead of the release of Fantastic Beasts, here's a look at the what-ifs, near-misses and alternate ways that Harry Potter could have reached the screen.