After the death of Richard Harris Friday, the big question plaguing Warner Bros. is who will play headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the third Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Production on the film is to start either February or March and Harris had signed on to play the part, the studio told Variety.
Harris became ill after shooting the second film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which hits theaters Nov. 15. His agent, Sharon Thomas, announced Oct. 15 that the veteran actor was being treated for cancer, but he would likely be able to make the Azkaban film, based on the third J.K. Rowling novel about the boy wizard learning his trade at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, Harris died 10 days later of Hodgkin's disease, a form of lymphatic cancer.
According to Variety, Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., and Alan Horn, president of the studio, released a statement expressing their "deep and heartfelt condolences" to Harris' family, but declined to comment on the future of the Dumbledore role.