Warner Bros. is wasting absolutely no time in replacing Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3. Mere days ago the actor revealed that he was stepping away from the sequel set within the Harry Potter universe it has been revealed that Mads Mikkelsen is in talks to replace Depp as Gellert Grindelwald. Should the deal get done, this would mark a massive role for Mikkelsen within a huge franchise that may well extend for an additional two movies, assuming everything goes according to plan.
According to multiple reports, Mads Mikkelsen is at the top of the list to take over for Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. The sequel is already filming, which is most likely why the studio is rushing to find a replacement. David Yates is directing the sequel after helming the last four Harry Potter movies, as well as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Eddie Redmayne is set to return as Newt Scamander, with Jude Law reprising his role as Albus Dumbledore. Depp had a brief cameo in the first Fantastic Beasts, which was followed by a significant role in the 2018 sequel.
This all comes after Johnny Depp lost his legal battle with British newspaper The Sun, which is owned by News Group Newspapers. Depp sued for libel after an article was published in 2018 labeling him as a "wife beater," in reference to his ex-wife Amber Heard. Once Depp lost the suit, Warner Bros. requested that he "resign" from the role. Depp announced his departure on social media. Depp had shot only one scene prior to departing the project. Though it has been reported he will still earn around $10 million for his limited participation. Mads Mikkelson should be able to step in with a relatively clean slate. Production is currently taking place in the U.K.
Mads Mikkelsen is no stranger to playing bad guys in major franchises. The actor played the villain Le Chiffre in the 2006 James Bond movie Casino Royale, as well as Kaecilius in 2016's Doctor Strange. Mikkelsen also played the role of Galen Erson in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. One of the actor's best-known roles was as Hannibal Lecter in the TV series Hannibal. Some of his other credits include The Hunt, Valhalla Rising and Clash of the Titans. Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol and Ezra Miller are also part of the ensemble for the latest entry in J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World.
J.K. Rowling, who created the Harry Potter franchise, co-wrote the screenplay with Steve Cloves. Rowling has been heavily involved in the spin-off series and has plans for a five-movie arc. To date, the Harry Potter movies, including the Fantastic Beasts entries, have earned more than $9 billion at the global box office, making it one of the most successful franchises in history. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently set to hit theaters on July 15, 2022. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further updates are made available. This news comes to us via Deadline.