Ian McKellan
Actor Ian McKellen poses for photographers at media event for the film Beauty and the Beast in London, Britain, February 23, 2017. Reuters/Neil Hall

Though the “Harry Potter” series (and its original run as a movie franchise) has long since passed, its legacy continues to live on in its fans and community. Most recently, the story was reopened once more with a comment by renowned actor Sir Ian McKellen.

McKellen, who starred with Potter alum Emma Watson in the live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast,” recently revealed to BBC’s “HARDtalk” that he had the opportunity to portray none other than Hogwarts headmaster himself, Albus Dumbledore, in the film adaptations of JK Rowling’s beloved book series. The chance to play the character came after the untimely death of Dumbledore’s original actor, Richard Harris, back in 2002.

Despite the chance to join the Potter train dangling right in front of him, McKellen chose to decline the role instead. This was due to the fact that McKellen wanted to honour the late Harris as he knew the actor did not necessarily approve of him.

The “Lord of the Rings” star revealed that Harris had previously made a comment about him and his acting. Though Harris praised the “X-Men” actor, he ultimately referred to McKellen as “passionless.” Thus, when the opportunity to take over as Dumbledore after Harris’ death came knocking on his door, McKellen felt obligated to decline.

“When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the ‘Harry Potter’ films, they didn’t say in what part,” McKellen shared. “I worked out what they were thinking, and I couldn’t … I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I’d known didn’t approve of me.”

The role of Dumbledore ultimately fell on actor Michael Gambon’s shoulders. As Harris was only able to bring Dumbledore to life in the first two movies of the franchise, Gambon took over for the remainder of the series. Some would argue that Gambon’s translation of Dumbledore gave the character a more gruff interpretation, as his portrayal was a stark contrast to Harris’ softer delivery of the character.

The “Harry Potter” movie series ended its run in 2011 with the second part of the “Deathly Hallows” film. The franchise, however, lives on in the film media with the 2016 spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” This also marked Rowling’s debut in screenwriting. Considered to be a spinoff prequel, “Fantastic Beasts” is slated to be a five-film series that will continue on with Newt Scamander’s adventures.