Mads Mikkelsen is set to officially take over for Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. It has been rumored for a few weeks that Mikkelsen was the actor that Warner Bros. had in mind to replace Depp. Warner Bros. asked Depp to resign after he lost his libel lawsuit against a U.K. tabloid that referred to him as a "wife beater" in a headline. The actor released a statement on social media and resigned from the role, though a lot of his supporters are hoping he'll return. That doesn't appear to be the case.
When asked about playing Gellert Grindelwald last week, Mads Mikkelsen denied that any talks had occurred between himself and Warner Bros. "Oh, that is on the rumor basis as we speak... So I know as much as you do from the newspapers. So I'm waiting for that phone call." It appears that the actor was indeed playing coy when asked about joining the Fantastic Beasts franchise, which should make a lot of Harry Potter fans very happy. A group of fans has wanted Johnny Depp out of the equation for about three years now.
As of this writing, no other information about the casting of Mads Mikkelsen has been announced by Warner Bros. or the actor's representatives. However, it was in the studio's best interests to get a deal secured as soon as possible since Fantastic Beasts 3 is already filming. Johnny Depp allegedly only shot one scene for the highly anticipated sequel, and that was back in September. Harry Potter fans, for the most part, were excited with the possibility of Mikkelsen taking on the Gellert Grindelwald role, posting their excitement on social media.
Jude Law stood by the studio's decision to sever ties with Johnny Depp. He recently said, "in a situation like this, you defer to the studio. That's all you can do. Because you have to turn up and play your part... Johnny had actually only done a day's filming, I think, on his own... In a franchise like this, it's the studio and the company that make the big decisions. And you have to go along with those because we're just a member of the team." Luckily, it seems that the studio was able to bounce back in record time.
Mads Mikkelsen will appear as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3, which is still scheduled to open in theaters on July 15th, 2022. However, it is a bit too early to tell if the movie will be able to keep that release date when all is said and done. 2020 saw nearly all big blockbuster movies get pushed back to 2021, which means that some 2021 movies will likely get pushed back to 2022, leading to a reshuffling of release dates. The Wrap was the first to announce that Mads Mikkelsen is officially replacing Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3.