Johnny Depp announced today that he is exiting the Fantastic Beasts franchise by request of Warner Bros. Pictures. The actor played Gellert Grindelwald in the first two movies of the Harry Potter prequels.
“In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement,” Depp said on his Instagram account. Earlier this week, Depp lost his libel case against UK tabloid The Sun, which labeled him a “wife beater” (referring to his ex-wife Amber Heard).
“Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty,” Depp continued. “I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.”
“Secondly, I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.”
He added: “Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.
“My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time. Thank you for reading.”
Warner Bros. will now be looking to recast the role of Grindelwald for the third Fantastic Beasts movie, which is scheduled to open in theaters in the summer of 2022.
Many of the characters you know and love from the first two Fantastic Beasts films will be back for the next adventure in a cast led by Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander and Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, along with Ezra Miller (Credence/Aurelius Dumbledore), Alison Sudol (Queenie Goldstein), Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) and Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein).
Comedian and actor Jessica Williams, who was featured briefly in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, will have a bigger role in the third movie. Her character, Professor Eulalie ‘Lally’ Hicks, is a teacher at Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the American equivalent of Hogwarts.
The film will once again be directed by David Yates and will reunite producers David Heyman, J.K. Rowling, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram and Tim Lewis, along with executive producers Neil Blair, Danny Cohen, Josh Berger and Courtenay Valenti. The screenplay will be written by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves.
As with the first two films, the third will take us to new continents, exploring wizarding cultures across the globe. The first Fantastic Beasts film introduced us to American wizarding life in 1927 New York, the second took us to Paris, and Fantastic Beasts 3 will be visiting Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Released in 2016, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them grossed $814 million worldwide, while the 2018 sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald brought in $654.9 million globally.