It can be billed as a Harry Potter reunion of sorts. The Sun reports today that cast members have returned to Leavesden Studios, where all eight films were shot, to film scenes for an attraction at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
We suspect these scenes are for the rumored Gringotts thrill ride being built for the Diagon Alley expansion at Universal Studios in Orlando. For over a year now we’ve been telling you about these rumored plans which call for a real Hogwarts Express, The Leaky Cauldron restaurant, and Gringotts Bank.
The Sun’s report specifically names Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) as one of the cast members involved. Since she’s there, this further confirms our long-running suspicions that the thrill ride at Diagon Alley would center on the Gringotts break-in and escape.
Although The Sun isn’t always reliable, this report makes complete sense to us. The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride currently at Islands of Adventure had scenes that included many of the cast (see below).
Universal has not yet formally announced details surrounding the expansion. We shared construction photos with you in November which indicated the first parts of the ride track were going in at the Gringotts building. The real Hogwarts Express will connect the existing Wizarding World at Islands of Adventure with the new Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando. Recent reports indicate that there will be storylines taking place aboard the train and out the windows, and you’ll get a different experience each time. It is all rumored to open in 2014 or 2015.
For reference, check out the video below which gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the cast filming scenes for the Harry Potter park in June 2008. You may notice that on the director’s slate reads the word “Strongarm,” referring to the secret project name for the park before it was announced. They used the phrase “strongarm” because Universal considered the Harry Potter park its way to strongarm Disney parks and get some of that popularity.
So while it’s not a new Harry Potter movie, or a ninth Harry Potter movie, it is nice to hear some of the cast have reunited for the park.