Recently, Johnny Depp was cast in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 in an unspecified role. There had been speculation that he will be playing Gellert Grindelwald, "a dark wizard who was once a friend of Albus Dumbledore". Thanks to director David Yates, we can now confirm that is indeed going to be the case.
David Yates recently did an interview with the Harry Potter fan site The Leaky Cauldron. During the interview, the subject of Johnny Depp's casting came up and not only was it confirmed that he is playing Grindelwald, but the director also talked quite a bit about the decision. Here is what he had to say.
"The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, 'Who's going to take this in an interesting direction?' In this business, it's a weird old business. You're brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent. Johnny Depp is a real artist. He's created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He's a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He's fearless; he's imaginative; he's ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don't care if he's famous or not famous. We just know he's interesting."
David Yates also recently confirmed that a young version of Dumbledore will appear in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2, but an actor has yet to be cast. It is definitely starting to seem like we will eventually get to see the famous Grindelwald/Dumbledore duel. One can only hope. Outside of that, the director also confirmed that the next movie in the series will be taking place in Paris, but also in the U.K., returning to the setting of the original Harry Potter movies.
"We do go back to the U.K. in the second film as well-it's U.K. and Paris. I'm not sure where Jo is setting the rest of the movies, but they'll be European-centric. I think it will be difficult to ignore America, but the next one is predominately Europe."
The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes place in New York in 1926 and follows Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) as he tries to round up a bunch of magical creatures who manage to get loose in the city. So given the setting for the first movie, it makes sense that America will factor into the sequels, but it is also significant that the sequels will largely take place in Europe. In addition to the setting, David Yates divulged a bit more information on another character. According to David Yates, Ezra Miller, who is playing a character named Credence, will have a significant role in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2.
"Credence, we follow Credence further. He becomes quite pivotal actually, Credence is quite crucial."
So even though Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has yet to be released, the franchise is starting to take shape. It seems like the sequels will be establishing more connective tissue between this new series of movies and the Harry Potter movies. They will also be exploring elements of Harry Potter lore, like the relationship between Johnny Depp's Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters on November 18 with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 set for release on November 16, 2018. Assuming those do well, J.K. Rowling has laid out plans for as many as five movies, which will come out every couple of years.