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.
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.