Amid recent reports of Warner Bros. eyeing Mads Mikkelsen to replace Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3, new fan art has emerged depicting how the Hannibal star might appear as the character. While asking Depp to resign from the role brought about great controversy for the studio, many fans seem to feel that Mikkelsen would do just fine as Grindelwald if the part must be recast. Digital artist ApexForm agrees, taking to Instagram to post an image of Mikkelson as Grindelwald.
"The Hannibal star is in talks to replace Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3. I think he'd be a strong replacement," the artist notes in the caption.
After playing the role in the prior two installments of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Johnny Depp was set to return as Grindelwald and had even begun filming scenes in character. That footage is now headed straight to the cutting room floor after Depp released a statement revealing he had been asked by Warner Bros. to resign from the production, a request the veteran actor honored. Director David Yates is now reportedly interested in bringing in Mikkelsen as Grindelwald, and it has been reported that the actor has begun negotiations to take the part.
Depp's exit from the series comes almost immediately after he lost his libel lawsuit against the U.K. newspaper The Sun. After the tabloid had referred to Depp as a "wife-beater" in a 2018 article, Depp and his legal team argued that these allegations --- stemming from claims made by ex-wife Amber Heard --- were completely false. During the trial, audio tapes surfaced online of Heard allegedly admitting to striking Depp, and the actor had many witnesses testify in his defense. Regardless, the court ruled against Depp, though the now-former Fantastic Beasts star said he plans to appeal the decision.
With many of Depp's fans unhappy with his Fantastic Beasts 3 ousting, a petition has been launched for Warner Bros. to reverse course and bring him back to the role. Another petition calling for the studio to fire Amber Heard from her role as Mera in Aquaman 2 has also been picking up steam, recently surpassing a million signatures. For her part, Heard has labeled these kinds of fan movements as "paid rumors and paid campaigns," further stating that she's "excited" to begin her work filming on the superhero movie sequel next year.
David Yates directs Fantastic Beasts 3 using a screenplay from Steve Kloves and J. K. Rowling. The story is set several years after the events of Fantastic Beasts 2 and follows the lead-up to the Wizarding World's involvement in World War II. Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, and Katherine Waterston star.
Along with Mads Mikkelsen, Colin Farrell was also suggested by fans as a contender to replace Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3. For better or for worse, that probably won't be an option, as Farrell will likely be too busy filming The Batman to take on the role of Grindelwald. In any case, the movie will be released with a new actor in the role on July 15, 2022. The fan art of Mikkelsen as Grindelwald comes to us from ApexForm on Instagram.