Back when the outcome of Johnny Depp’s libel trial against a British tabloid labeling him as a wife beater was still undecided, there were rumors making the rounds that Warner Bros. had designed the shooting schedule for Fantastic Beasts 3 in a way that could see the studio reduce his screen time as Grindelwald if the verdict didn’t go in the actor’s favor.
However, after the former Pirates of the Caribbean star lost the case in another damaging blow to his career and reputation, WB moved quickly to remove him from the franchise completely. The 57 year-old released a statement yesterday confirming that he had stepped down from the role of Grindelwald, but his wording made it clear that he was jumping before he was pushed by the higher ups.
The news hasn’t gone down well with his fans who firmly believe that Depp is being wrongfully persecuted in his never ending battle against ex-wife Amber Heard, and it’s already been confirmed that Grindelwald will be recast as shooting continues on the Wizarding World prequel, which has been delayed yet again and won’t arrive in theaters until the summer of 2022 now.
While we’ll likely never know what truly went on behind the scenes, insider Daniel Richtman is claiming that both parties originally agreed to have Depp given a less substantial part in Fantastic Beasts 3 following a series of talks after the outcome of his court case, but it seems the studio changed their mind and asked for his resignation instead.
“After he lost they talked about [only] reducing his role for the sequel but now the decision was made to recast Depp,” says Richtman.
Based on the early reactions online, this saga is going to rumble on for a while yet as the eleventh entry in the Wizarding World continues to come under fire, and it’ll be fascinating to see how audiences respond to the threequel when it eventually hits theaters and if it can reignite interest in the spinoff franchise.