Johnny Depp will no longer be seen playing wizard Gellert Grindelwald as he’s resigned from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Depp’s exit comes only days after he lost the Amber Heard libel trial.
In his statement, Johnny Depp mentioned that he quit at the request of production company Warner Bros. “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 on Instagram.
Warner Bros. also confirmed the news, adding that his role will be recast. “Johnny Depp will depart the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date,” their spokesperson said.
Further, they have pushed back the release of the film from Nov 2021 to the summer of 2022.
Johnny Depp has been forced to resign even though he had already started shooting for the upcoming film, Fantastic Beasts 3. The 57-year-old appeared as the central villain in the first two films of the Harry Potter spin-off franchise.
From the very start, Depp’s casting had been contentious due to the domestic violence allegations levied against him by ex-wife Amber Heard. Warner Bros. and J.K Rowling initially defended him, but that seems to have changed with his recent court loss.
“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,” Rowling had said at the time.
It was this statement of hers that became a part of The Sun‘s controversial article which Depp later challenged.
Johnny Depp loses libel case against The Sun
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor had filed a case against the UK tabloid The Sun for referring to him as a “wife-beater” in a 2018 article. The headline of the article read, “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’
After an intense 16-day trial, Depp lost the case on Nov 2. The UK court ruled in favour of Amber Heard and The Sun, saying Depp was guilty of beating his ex-wife when his “monster side” took over.
People have different opinions about what course Johnny Depp’s life will take after this trial. Some say it will mark the end of his career in the movies. Others feel his huge fan base would prevent Hollywood from completely writing him off.