Yet, though Glee was most certainly Darren’s big break in Hollywood, it was by no means his first standout role.
When the then-23-year-old first joined Glee, he was already a sensation on YouTube — thanks to his starring role in the viral 2009 parody hitA Very Potter Musical and its 2010 follow-upA Very Potter Sequel.
Not only did Darren play the role of (an adorably mop-haired, guitar-playing) Harry Potter, but he also wrote most of the full-length musical numbers for both shows.
Fans of Darren’s from his days with Team StarKid feel a close connection with the star, having discovered and come to love him before he really made it big. They likely know all the words to every song on Darren’s 2010 EP, Human, and could easily tell you that before landing a role on Glee, he once played a hippie on CSI and also scored a recurring role on ABC’s now-cancelled witch drama, Eastwick, + of a character played by Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson (Hanna).
So is Darren Criss famous because of Glee? Absolutely. But there’s a bit more to the story than just that.