Johnny Depp has exited the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Variety reports. The actor will no longer portray villainous wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Warner Bros. series. He shared a statement via Instagram on 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.
The news comes on the heels of Depp’s lost libel case against UK tabloid The Sun. Depp initially took the tabloid to task over a 2018 article alleging he’s a “wife beater.” According to Variety, Depp plans to appeal the ruling.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production and will recast Depp prior to its premiere in 2022. Depp had a brief cameo in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, his role expanded significantly in the 2018 sequel — Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Depp’s casting caused quite the controversy due to ex-wife Amber Heard‘s domestic violence allegations. A massive public outcry followed, but Harry Potter author JK Rowling and Warner Bros. stalwartly defended the actor.
Additionally, Depp shared a statement that went more in depth regarding his departure. He revealed his plan to appeal the ruling and to not allow this moment to define his life/career. “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,” he said.
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