For those still watching the Johnny Depp drama going on in the margins of the Fantastic Beasts series, the new Grindelwald has been chosen.
IndieWire reports Mads Mikkelsen will take Depp’s place in the Wizarding World spinoff film series, confirming reports from last week indicating the Hannibal star was in talks to become the new face of the series’ big bad. Depp played the character for a few scenes in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and throughout Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
But as that film was preparing for release, stories about his relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard surfaced indicating he beat her during their marriage. More recently, Depp took a British tabloid to court for referring to him as a wife-beater. He lost the case and in the last few days, a higher British court ruled he cannot appeal as the tabloid’s claim was “substantially true.” In the wake of the earlier ruling, Warner Bros. Pictures asked Depp to step down from the part, although he will still be paid his salary.
In the ongoing story of Fantastic Beasts, Grindelwald is the previous Dark Lord who championed wizard supremacy and any number of awful ideas. Depp, as Grindelwald, outlined the villain’s aims in an exceptionally tone-deaf Comic-Con International: San Diego appearance a few years back.
Unfortunately, the upcoming film is still mired in bad press thanks to video of Ezra Miller allegedly attacking a fan and Wizarding World creator J.K. Rowling‘s seemingly transphobic Twitter posts. Nevertheless, the Wizarding World continues to represent a cash cow for WarnerMedia, so the series will go on. At least Mikkelsen’s inclusion makes the proceedings a little less disagreeable.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is set for release on July 15th, 2022