Warner Bros. has announced a new release date for Fantastic Beasts 3. It was revealed last week that the studio had parted ways with Johnny Depp, which has led to recasting Gellert Grindelwald. As of this writing, the studio does not have an actor lined up, but there has been some excitement from fans surrounding a possible return of Colin Farrell. The sequel was originally supposed to come out in November 2021.
Fantastic Beasts 3 will now open up on July 15th, 2022, as long as everything goes smoothly. Movie theaters are still largely closed and productions are getting shut down left and right because of the public health crisis. It would not be surprising to see the sequel's production get delayed further. For now, we'll just have to wait and see who they get to replace Johnny Depp, who is still getting paid for the movie, even though he reportedly only shot one scene back in September.
It is believed that Warner Bros. did not fire Johnny Depp from Fantastic Beasts 3. Instead, insiders say he was asked to resign in order to keep his contract in place. The actor has a "so-called pay-or-play contract, which requires that he be fully compensated whether or not the film is made and even if it is recast." It's unclear what kind of action Warner Bros. would have had to take if Depp refused to step down from the role. A large amount of Harry Potter fans have wanted Depp to exit the role of Gellert Grindelwald for a few years now.
Johnny Depp's exit from Fantastic Beasts 3 comes right after he lost a defamation lawsuit against The Sun tabloid. When Amber Heard's allegations against Depp became public knowledge, the paper ran a headline in which they referred to the actor as a "wife beater." Depp has denied all the allegations of physical violence from his ex-wife and has claimed that Heard was the one who physically abused him. Now that he lost the case, Warner Bros. had to make a decision and it had to be fast. As for Depp, he is already planning to contest the judge's ruling and he has another defamation suit filed against Heard in Virginia.
Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has been very vocal about her support for Johnny Depp over the years. In 2017, when the allegations were all over the news, the author said, "Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies." The studio decided to go against that original train of thought last week, which is setting the sequel back even further. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to announce the new release date for Fantastic Beasts 3.