The Fantastic Beasts franchise will be without the talents of Johnny Depp for the next instalment as the actor has departed the film series. The announcement was made official by Depp on his Instagram account, citing that he was asked by Warner Bros. to resign from the role.
Depp appeared as the Dark Wizard, Gellert Grindelwald in the second film before making a brief appearance in the first. The role was initially played by Colin Farrell in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.
The Harry Potter spinoff has had a fair share of controversies in recent months. Depp’s well-documented domestic abuse issues with ex-wife Amber Heard have cast a dark shadow over the career of the actor as well as the film projects he is involved with. Author J.K. Rowling also courted controversy with her comments on the transgender community in the past year.
Depp’s departure could allow Warner Bros. to give the franchise a bit of a reset, if they decide to follow through with their plans for the franchise. Although the first Fantastic Beasts film was relatively successful, the follow-up, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald did not meet the lofty expectations set by Warner Bros., despite garnering close to USD650 million at the box-office.
If Warner Bros. continues with Fantastic Beasts, one wonders who will be cast to replace Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the series.