'The Sun' case fallout: Depp forced to quit 'Fantastic-Beasts' franchise
Veteran actor Johnny Depp will no longer be seen as the ominous Gellert Grindelwald, the antagonist of the first two films of the Harry Potter spin-off series. The three-time Academy Award nominee shared this development on Instagram with a signed letter, stating that Warner Bros. has asked him to resign from the role of Grindelwald and "I have respected and agreed to that request."
The actor's post read, "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 surreal judgment of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth. I confirm that I plan to appeal," he added.
Later, Warner Bros. confirmed the Pirates of the Caribbean actor's announcement. "Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. 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," a Warner Bros. spokesperson said.
In September, Depp had submitted documents at the Fairfax County, Virginia court, asking it to delay the hearings of the defamation case he had lodged against Heard so that he could make time for shooting the third instalment of Fantastic Beasts. The Aquaman star had also agreed to this appeal. However, given this saddening yet expected development, all of that look unnecessary now.
Notably, the decision by the noted studio comes after Depp lost his libel case against tabloid The Sun in UK recently in relation to a column branding him a "wife-beater." His ex-wife and main witness Amber Heard and the tabloid presented several pieces of evidence; Justice Nicol ruled 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence had occurred and were "substantially true."