Fans are still in shock over the news that Johnny Depp has been replaced by Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Various members of the cast and crew of the series have taken to social media to address Depp's departure. Dan Fogler, who plays the role of Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts, took to Instagram to explain how Depp's exit is in the best interests of the franchise.
"What's best for Johnny and what's best for the film may not be equal. The right decision may not be what's fair. It's not simple. I love Johnny and want him to be the best he can be. I selfishly want him at his best if I ever get to work with him again. It's not my decision. If it was, I'd bend over backwards to shoot around him and HOPE production doesn't come to a screeching halt amidst lock down rules which are already precarious, and pray that we get a decent performance amidst all the stress. That's a huge gamble some are not willing to take with so much on the line, guilty or innocent- and add on no guarantees and the film needs to be a hit... there's too many moving parts. Any decision will garner losses... damned if you do...it's messy."
At the end of 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it was revealed that the powerful dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, played by Johnny Depp, was responsible for the bad stuff that had taken place in the film. In the sequel, The Crimes of Grindelwald, Depp's character took center stage, orchestrating a series of events to allow for the domination of the wizarding world over the muggle world in this extenced Harry Potter universe.
Then Depp became embroiled in a domestic abuse case with his ex-partner Amber Heard, and suddenly the press surrounding the actor turned intensely negative. Thus, Warner Bros. made the decision to ask Depp to step down from the role of Grindelwald. In his post, Dan Fogler admitted he wished Warner had handled the whole affair in a better manner and commiserated with what Depp must be going through at the moment.
"I'm by no means an expert in this case obviously but I felt a need to say something since fans were needing some explanation. I felt silence was even worse. I'm human. Do I wish WB had handled this better and informed the cast and gave us proper talking points when asked...? Yup. It's a big reason why we're here chatting. And When I say 'Johnny is a magnificent comet with a messy debris field' it's my observation of exactly what I've witnessed over the years. I'd say the same about Jack Nicholson or any of the awesome bad boys of entertainment that we love so much, it's why we love them. It's Rock& roll. I can't speak for WB & why they finally decided to let him go. I can only assume all the darkness & chaos swirling around this case finally became a possible liability in their minds & perhaps they felt the stress had taken a toll physically and mentally on JD. Shit it's hard for me to concentrate on my own work while trying to deal with this issue with you all, I can only imagine how tough it is for Johnny right now."
Directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, Fantastic Beasts 3 features Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Mads Mikkelsen, and Jude Law. The film arrives in theaters on July 15, 2022.