The last few years have been tough on Johnny Depp’s career following a series of highly publicized legal battles opposite his ex-wife Amber Heard, and the actor’s star has been dulled significantly as a result. The role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise rocketed him to the top of the Hollywood A-list and made him the highest-paid name in the industry, but he’s been booted from the series as Disney moves forward on a sixth installment and a spinoff without his involvement.
After losing his latest court case, many were predicting that the major studios would no longer be interested in retaining his services, which has turned out to be right on the money. There’d been widespread speculation that the 57 year-old could see his screen time drastically reduced in Fantastic Beasts 3 as Warner Bros. sought to avoid any further backlash, and Depp has now released a statement confirming that he’s left the Wizarding World altogether, which you can see below.
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The wording is interesting, as the actor makes it clear that the studio asked him to step down, which he agreed to do. The fans have clearly sided with the frequent Tim Burton collaborator throughout his various courtroom sagas, but it appears that wasn’t enough to convince Warner Bros. that it was worth keeping him on for the film.
Of course, creator and screenwriter J.K. Rowling has been receiving much more negative publicity than Depp has over the last few months, but she’s still heavily involved with Fantastic Beasts 3, and the actor’s supporters surely aren’t going to react well to him being pushed out as Grindelwald, which isn’t good news for a franchise that’s already struggling to remain relevant as it is.