The film’s impeccable production has gotten everyone buzzing.

A Voldemort origin movie has hit the internet in full force. Well, it’s fan-made, which might not sound like the most appealing thing. However, having been Warner Bros.-approved last year, this seems pretty legit. The Italian fan film, titled Voldemort: Origins of the Heir, has garnered over 6 million views (at the time of writing) since it was released over the weekend.

Despite being fan produced for no profit, the cinematography and special effects in Origins of the Heir actually fit rather well into the oeuvre of the existing Potter films (maybe it looks a little more video game-y). Written and directed by Gianmaria Pezzato, the fan film was originally going to be made using Kickstarter funds, but Warner Bros. got wind of the situation and shut the project down. It was eventually revealed that the film had been given the go-ahead by the studio and would be released on YouTube. Of the film’s plot, Pezzato stated in an interview with the Independent last year:

“We wondered, ‘What made Tom Riddle become Voldemort?’ There are some clues in the books which have not been transposed at all in the movies, but a lot goes unspoken. This is the story we want to tell: The rise of the Dark Lord before Harry Potter and his first demise.”

In digging deep into Potter lore the way WB’s own films never touched on, Pezzato and crew found the perfect narrative gap to explore and hopefully provide a new headcanon about the books’/films’ main antagonist. Voldemort morphed from an idea into a fully fallible human character over the course of the series, and Origins of the Heir finds a reasonable starting point while also adding some typical fandom flair to the project. The premise of the film involves an old classmate of Voldemort’s — an original character named Grisha McLaggen (Maddalena Orcali) — who suspects that Tom Riddle (Stefano Rossi) has embraced the dark side and is trying to track him down.

Even if the writing and acting are a bit over-the-top, Origins of the Heir has more technical and conceptual value than the average fan film. It’s also rather lengthy, running at 52 minutes. But if you can free up an hour of your time and are a Potter fan, it’s worth a watch.

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