The never-ending saga of Fantastic Beasts 3 continues. Today, we learned the shocking news that Warner Bros. has asked Johnny Depp to step down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald, which he has agreed to do. This means that the studio needs to find themselves a new leading villain to pit against Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander and Jude Law’s Albus Dumbledore. And it seems they’ll be requiring some extra time to secure Depp’s replacement.
Yes, Fantastic Beasts 3 has been delayed yet again. In a statement released to Variety in the wake of the actor sharing the news of his dismissal on Instagram, WB confirmed that Depp has departed the franchise and that the prequel threequel is now scheduled to hit theaters in summer 2022. Variety affirmed that no specific date has been decided upon as yet, but it was previously due to land on November 12th, 2021.
Here’s WB’s full statement:
“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.”
Once upon a time, the original plan was for FB3 to arrive this very month, but the cast’s many commitments and the studio’s ambitions to beef up the script pushed it back into 2021. Filming had already been held up over the pandemic, but now it seems that things will be put on hold even longer in order to accommodate the search for a new Grindelwald.
It’s definitely starting to seem like this movie is cursed, as it keeps getting hit by more and more setbacks and controversies as time goes on. WB already feared the weakening box office returns of the first two even before the J.K. Rowling and Johnny Depp scandals took their tolls, so the pressure is really on this next film to give the Wizarding World franchise a boost. But will audiences even care that much when Fantastic Beasts 3 finally debuts four years after the last instalment?