johnny depp grindelwald exits fantastic beasts harry potter warner bros. j.k. rowling

Johnny Depp Leaves Fantastic Beasts After Being Asked to by Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has asked Johnny Depp to step down from the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spin-off franchise, Fantastic Beasts. The actor has been embroiled in controversy over his allegedly mutually abusive relationship with Amber Heard, but Warner Bros. had stuck by him until today, when he announced that he had been asked to leave.

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Depp wrote on Instagram, “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 followed this up by letting everyone know he would be appealing the recent libel case he lost against The Sun, which called him a “wife beater.” It’s not known if the loss of the case had any impact on his removal from the role.

Warner Bros. has confirmed the role of Johnny Depp’s evil wizard will be recast in the third film in the series. “Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date,” said a Warner Bros. spokesperson. “Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.”

Depp appeared briefly in the first film before taking on a major role in the second. Even then his casting was controversial with fans balking after abuse allegations surfaced from Heard. Throughout the years, Warner Bros. and Rowling have stood by the actor, so it is unclear what tipped the scales recently. The second film in the series, which is planned for five films, did see diminished returns compared to the first film, but Depp’s casting was far from the only problem people had with it.

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Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is a News Writer and film aficionado at Escapist. He has been writing for Escapist for nearly five years and has nearly 20 years of experience reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and video games for both print and online outlets. He has a degree in Film from Vassar College and a degree in gaming from growing up in the '80s and '90s. He runs the website and has written for The Washington Post, Destructoid, MTV, and more. He will gladly talk your ear off about horror, Marvel, Stallone, James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.