‘Fantastic Beasts’ Sequel Delayed As Johnny Depp Leaves Series

by Erik Amaya

Fate is a fickle thing sometimes.

Critics of Johnny Depp‘s presence in the Wizarding World breathed a sigh of relief Fridays as the actor revealed he is leaving the Fantastic Beasts franchise. He first appeared as Gellert Grindelwald in the closing moments of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and was a key player in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. At the time the film was first released, the actor was under fire after ex-wife Amber Heard release photos indicating he had beaten her severely.

Her accusations, and a British tabloid referring to him as a wife-beater, led to a libel case in UK courts over the last few months which Depp lost earlier in the week. And as the actor himself revealed on Instagram early in the day (via The Los Angeles Times), the studio asked for his resignation.

“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request,” he wrote. Depp additionally promised to appeal the court’s decision and vigorously fight other legal battles with Heard.

His departure means the third film in the series, original set to debut in November of 2021, has been delayed to 2022 as the studio begins to search for a new actor to play the lead villain.

Of course, the Fantastic Beasts series is still mired in controversy as Depp’s fellow castmember Ezra Miller was seen allegedly beating a fan earlier this year and, perhaps most disheartening, Wizarding World creator J.K. Rowling continues to support transphobic ideas on her Twitter account. Indeed, some of those thoughts have spilled into her new non-Wizarding World novel, which features a cross-dressing serial killer.

But, in the interim, it seems one form of Grindelwald has been vanquished. It, of course, remains to be seen who will be willing to enter the Wizarding World firestorm as his replacement.

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