Following weeks of speculation, it's been announced that Mads Mikkelson will replace Johnny Depp in the upcoming Fantastic Beast 3 film. The Danish actor will take on the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the adaptation of JK Rowling's fantasy story after Depp was "asked to resign" by Warner Bros earlier this month.
Per Deadline, Mikkelson was said to be director David Yates' "favourite" to play Grindelwald. From Hannibal Lector to "sadistic banker" Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Mikkelson is no stranger to playing iconic villains and fans are eager to see him transform into "the darkest wizard of all time."
Fantastic Beasts 3 recently resumed filming in October after production was delayed due to the pandemic, and the Harry Potter prequel is due to be released in the summer of 2022. Mikkelson will star alongside Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander) and Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore) in the franchise. According to Deadline, Depp has only filmed one scene in the upcoming film making it easier for a new actor to step in as Grindelwald.
While Depp had starred as the dark wizard in the first two Fantastic Beast films, the actor stepped away after losing a libel case with The Sun (Nov, 2.) after the paper described him as a "wife-beater" in light of abuse allegations from his ex-wife Amber Heard. According to the BBC, Depp will have to payout almost £630,000 of legal fees to the publisher of the Sun, News Group Newspapers.
The actor has denied the allegations and plans to appeal the ruling.
Depp announced his resignation from the Fantastic Beasts franchise via social media earlier this month (Nov 6.), thanking fans for their "support and loyalty."
The actor shared the news on his Instagram page, writing: "Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days," said the statement.
"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."