The sequel’s set to shoot in summer 2019 with a release date set for November 20, 2020. As we don’t know what’s going to happen in The Crimes of Grindelwald, it’s difficult to make any predictions about what’ll happen in 2020, but we do know that the titular villain will be back (and presumably committing many more crimes).
Johnny Depp confirmed as much in an interview with Collider recently, where he explained that he’s “[looking] forward to the next installment, which I think we start the middle of next year.” Additionally, he also touched on how his casting came about in the first place, saying:
“It was amazing. It came out of nowhere. Someone said J.K. Rowling would like to talk to me. I spoke to a few producers and the director and to J.K. and had long conversations basically about the Grindelwald character. J.K. said something I did not expect to hear because obviously her detail to her characters and those wizarding worlds is astonishing. The fact that she said, “I can’t wait to see what you do with the character.”
Just to hand it off to me with that degree of trust, I was really touched, blown away by that. So I jumped into locating the character and I had my ideas. I came in and it all seemed to work out. Grindelwald is an interesting character. His intentions in his mind are for the greater good, but there have been other people in world politics and such who felt the same way. [chuckles] He’s very dedicated to his beliefs. He’s not a fun character; he’s not funny.”
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That Depp seems to have a strong personal relationship with J.K. Rowling might explain why she defended him so vociferously when his casting was first announced. His star faded a little bit after he was accused of being physically and verbally abusive to his ex-wife Amber Heard, and given that Harry Potter is nominally a progressive franchise, fans were up in arms about Depp playing such a key role in the film. He survived the controversy though, going on to appear in character at the San Diego Comic-Con to announce a trailer.
Depp also seems to have enjoyed playing the role quite a bit, too, saying:
I loved it yeah. I loved it because that’s really an arena where you can fly around and try different things and approach a character with a lot more…um…to take someone who is teetering on being a fascist, yeah he’s a fascist, he’s one of those, but to play him as a sensitive, concerned yet manipulative and powerful wizard. The possibilities in that world are wide open, so you can really try anything.”
The jury’s still out on whether Depp can find the emotional depths in his sensitive, concerned fascist, but all will be revealed on November 16th, when Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald apparates into cinemas.