Days after Johnny Depp lost his libel case against The Sun over a 2018 article that alleged he physically abused former wife Amber Heard, the actor has revealed that he will no longer be involved in Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts film franchise. Depp took to Instagram Friday to announce the news, revealing that the studio has requested that he resign from the role of evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald.
The character, who occupies a significant place in Wizarding World history, was first introduced on screen in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them before receiving an expanded role in 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
“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. has since confirmed Depp’s departure and announced that his role will be recast before the third feature, which is currently under production. The film was originally set for a November 2021 release, but has now been delayed into the summer of 2020.
Colin Farrell played a version of the character for the majority of the 2016 original before it was revealed that he was Grindelwald in disguise. Dating back to the 2017, there have been calls for Farrell to retake the role permanently. Claims of domestic abuse against Depp have surrounded the film for several years. In 2017, director David Yates defended the actor as did author and creator J.K. Rowling.
The Fantastic Beasts franchise is set decades before the Harry Potter series and follows the adventures of mild-mannered Magizoologist Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne. It was originally developed as a five-film franchise by Rowling and WB. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them earned nearly $815 million at the worldwide box office, but its sequel fell sharply with $655 million in ticket sales.