Actor Johnny Depp has announced he will no longer appear in the Fantastic Beasts Harry Potter spin-off franchise.
In a letter on Instagram, Depp said he would no longer portray villain Gellert Grindelwald, having been “asked to resign” by filmmakers Warner Bros.
Depp’s departure comes after he lost a libel case with The Sun newspaper, who called the actor a “wife beater”. In the letter, Depp confirmed he plans to appeal the judgement, which he calls “surreal”.
In a statement to Variety, Warner Bros confirmed Depp’s departure, saying Grindelwald would be recast for the next Fantastic Beasts film.
“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,” they said. “The film will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022.”
Depp has appeared in two Fantastic Beast films to date, starting with a cameo at the close of 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Although originally scheduled for a 12th November 2021 release date, production on the third Fantastic Beasts film was forced to stop due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
However, filming for the project resumed in September 2020. “It’s interesting because we’ve started shooting now,” star Eddie Redmayne previously told CinemaBlend.
“We’re two weeks in, and again, it’s a whole new process. It’s a whole new normal. Testing frequently, masks. And I wondered, actually, whether the masks would affect creativity, in some ways. Maybe that was a bit ignorant, but I just thought, as humans, do we need interaction to spark from each other.
“What is really reassuring is that it is a different process, but it still feels like it’s fizzing and that everyone is working at the top of their game.”