Several times in J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel, published in 1997, Peeves wreaks chaos and troubles Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, and Percy Weasley. Most of these sequences were filmed for the first Harry Potter film by director Chris Columbus, but all of Peeves’ scenes were subsequently removed from the 2 hours and 32-minute version that was released to the public. Following Return to Hogwarts’ heartfelt In Memoriam tribute, the original 3-hour version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone can finally do honor to Rik Mayall’s Peeves the Poltergeist.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary
Return to Hogwarts served as an important In Memoriam tribute to all of the Harry Potter performers who unfortunately passed away including Alan Rickman. The fact that UK comics legend Rik Mayall was highlighted in the tribute makes this the ideal time for Chris Columbus to fulfill his dream of releasing the original Sorcerer’s Stone 3-hour cut in Mayall’s honor. In the novels, Peeves was a fan favorite, and the 3-hour cut would do the character and his actor, Rik Mayall, honor.
Despite the fact that all of Peeves’ sequences were eliminated from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Percy Weasley’s actor Chris Rankin confirmed in a YouTube interview that Peeves appeared early in the film, in a scene identical to his initial introduction in the books. When the Gryffindor students were heading to the common room, the poltergeist made his first appearance. “Without warning, the walking sticks come flying forth,” Peeves mockingly tosses them at the students, and Percy “sighs in disgust,” as per the original screenplay. However, there are a few more sequences that Columbus may have included in his initial version. Nearly-Headless Nick tries to prevent Peeves from attending the Start-of-Term feast in the first book, but Peeves responds by writing harsh comments on a classroom whiteboard and pitting Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville against Filtch, and likewise.
Rik Mayall was best known for his humorous roles in films including The Young Ones, Drop Dead Fred, and Bottom (and his perfect role as King Herod in the 2000 version of Jesus Christ Superstar). It’s apt that he was picked as a person who brings both fun and turmoil to Hogwarts, and it’s strange that Mayall’s moments are still unknown to the saga’s numerous fans two decades after the first Harry Potter film was released. Columbus previously stated that Peeves was removed because he and producer David Heyman were unhappy with the design, but a 2022 3-hour release would undoubtedly address any design issues and ultimately bring Peeves the Poltergeist justice.