Alan Rickman Was Confused by Snape’s Original On-Screen Death, Candid Diaries Reveal: ‘Impossible to Comprehend’

The late actor mused that, even in the finished version of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” it was “unsettling to watch”

Alan Rickman as Professor Snape from Harry Potter
Stephen Lovekin via Getty Images/Warner Bros.

Alan Rickman may have been proud of his contributions to the “Harry Potter” franchise, but as it turns out, he wasn’t always thrilled by the decisions made from page to screen. In fact, in new diary entries from the late actor, it’s revealed that he found Snape’s death in the final film “impossible to comprehend” in its earliest versions — and “unsettling to watch” in its final one.

In new writings obtained by The Guardian, Rickman chronicles his experiences on the Potter set, dating all the way back to the beginning. He recalls asking author J.K. Rowling for a private conversation on the phone to learn more about Snape, which of course went on to become infamous when Rowling and Rickman revealed years ago that he was told back then of Snape’s true motivations.

According to Rickman, the knowledge that Snape was in love with Lily Potter “gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.” The actor also wrote of his admiration for Snape’s death in the books, calling it a “genuine rite of passage” when Harry Potter names his son in part for Snape. But on screen, things nearly looked different. In the entries, Rickman noted that director David Yates was “stubborn” about Snape being killed by a spell at first — specifically, the infamous “Avada Kedavra” killing spell.

“David Y stubborn as ever about V[oldemort] killing me with a spell,” Rickman wrote. “(Impossible to comprehend, not least the resultant wrath of the readers.)”

In the end, it was Rickman’s wife Rima who helped avoid that particular means of death, arguing that “He can’t kill you with a spell – the only one that would do that is Avada Kedavra and it kills instantly – you wouldn’t be able to finish the scene.”

As Potter fans well know, Snape eventually met his demise via Nagina, Voldemort’s giant snake. But even with that adjustment, Rickman’s diary reveals that the entire plot point of his character dying threw off the enjoyment of “Deathly Hallows Part 2.”

“I found it unsettling to watch – it has to change horses midstream to tell the Snape story and the camera loses concentration,” Rickman wrote. “Audience, however, very happy.”

Elsewhere in his writings, Rickman was open about the struggles of even getting through all eight movies, writing repeatedly about wanting to exit. Among his many reasons is the toll that the character took on his real self while on set.

“It becomes alien to be chatty, smiley, open,” he said. “The character narrows me down, tightens me up. Not good qualities on a film set. I have never been less communicative with a crew.”