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Johnny Depp Forced Out of 'Fantastic Beasts' Franchise

The studio asked Depp to resign from the role.

Johnny Depp as Grindelwald [Warner Bros.]

Johnny Depp will no longer play the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, the actor announced Friday.

“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 wrote Friday in a post on is relatively new official Instagram account.

View the full Instagram post below.

Depp's exit from the franchise comes just says after he lost a libel case against The Sun tabloid over a 2018 article alleging he was a "wife beater." Depp stated that he plans to appeal the ruling.

Depp appeared as Grindelwald in the new franchise's first film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2016. The picture grossed nearly $1 billion at the global box office, mimicking the success of the preceding Harry Potter franchise. He reprised the role in 2018's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. While it still performed well at the box office hauling in $654 million, it was the lowest-grossing film in the Harry Potter universe.

The newest endeavor from best-selling author J.K. Rowling, the Fantastic Beasts series serves as a prequel to the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise. Both sets of films take place in the same universe.

The studio confirmed Depp's departure from the franchise and announce that his role will be re-cast in the upcoming third film. Originally slated for November 2021, the third Fantastic Beasts film is now scheduled for release Summer 2022. Warner Bros. has given no indication as to who will replace Depp as Grindelwald in the forthcoming film.

“Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said. “Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.”

“I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty," Depp said to his fans in the statement. "I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days."

He concluded, "Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” he said. “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.”

- Matt Bishop


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