Sorry, Wand Goon Squad, you can’t have him. He doesn’t belong to you. Any more than Alec Guinness belonged to Star Wars. Because both men were cut from the same mold, and it showed in the way they lived, and in their best roles.
But sorry, Potter was not one of his best roles, and it’s not how he should be remembered. I’ve never read the books, so maybe Snape is more of a relevant presence in there. But in the movies (which I was forced to watch) Rickman‘s talents are devalued on a character who’s about as critical as a coat stand. Even Snape’s death scene in the last film feels like it’s completely wasting Rickman‘s immense talents, like they’re just going through the motions.
Don’t get me wrong, the Potter films aren’t completely horrible, they’re fairly decent. There are some really, really powerful scenes in there. But claiming Rickman’s life over them isn’t right. Guinness didn’t want Star Wars that way either.
So where do we place Alan? Best villain of all time? Yeah, maybe that’s a start. To me, the best villain of all time knife fight might be between Hans Gruber and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Who would win? Us, by watching it.
Just drink in this deleted scene longer clip from the Robin Hood extended edition.
This was the film era where a villain was fun, sharp, cool, even bordering on campy. But you knew they meant business. They also had motivations behind their actions. Both Gruber and the Sheriff’s purpose make sense as Rickman skillfully reveals their character. Whereas nowadays most villains are just stark-raving-mad-brutal-psychopaths.
And yet, I think Rickman wouldn’t want to be known for these either. He was always afraid of being typecast and having these two lovely roles ruin his range and reputation. He did theater, did it superbly, but also painted and was in general (as most like him) a true artist.
But more than anything he was just fun, fun to watch, fun to listen to, fun to see. And you can tell whether he’s poking at himself in Galaxy Quest or acting in the oh so weird but delightful Alan Rickman Tea Time, that he’s having fun too.