Gellert Grindelwald will be sporting a different face in Fantastic Beasts 3. Following Warner Bros. removing Johnny Depp from the Wizarding World franchise after his domestic abuse court case went against him, the studio recast the role, with Doctor Strange star Mads Mikkelsen taking over. Mikkelsen’s a hugely popular actor in his own right, so fans were pretty happy with this recasting, however the reasons behind it happening are still very controversial.
Mikkelsen himself is well aware of this and, while speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the Danish star revealed that he ideally wanted to speak with Depp before accepting the part of Grindelwald, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible. Mikkelsen explained that he’s not sure if it was “fair” that Depp lost the gig in the first place but all he knows is that he loved the character and had to make a quick decision whether he wanted to be involved or not.
“I mean, obviously, they were going to do the film, and obviously he was not involved any more. But I didn’t have a dog in that fight. And I don’t know what happened [in his private life], and I don’t know if it was fair, him losing the job, but I just knew that the show was going on, and I would’ve loved to have talked to him about it if I had the chance, but I just don’t know him in that sense. But they called me and they were obviously in a hurry, and I loved the script and so said yes. And I know it was controversial for many people, but that’s just the way it plays out once in a while.”
Mikkelsen went on to say that he elected not to “copy” what Depp had previously done with the dark wizard in both in 2016’s Where To Find Them and 2018’s The Crimes of Grindelwald, as he has too much respect for the Pirates of the Caribbean icon as a performer. Instead, Mikkelsen revealed he attempted to find a “bridge” between Depp’s portrayal and his own take on it.
“I didn’t want to copy what Johnny had done. I think he’s a masterful actor, so copying him would’ve been creative suicide. I had to figure out something that was definitely my own, and yet also act as a bridge to what he had done. My take is different, and the look is a little different, but we’ll have to wait for the film’s release [next year] to find out.”
It’s still unknown if Grindelwald’a abrupt change in appearance will be referenced or not. It’s possible it will, with the villain perhaps needing to disguise himself again in order to enact his evil schemes undetected, but it’s not the first time a Harry Potter universe character has been recast. Michael Gambon took over as Dumbledore from Richard Harris in The Prisoner of Azkaban, playing the role very differently, and fans just had to accept it.
Fantastic Beasts 3 – full title unknown – completed filming earlier this year, but it’s still a while away from hitting theaters. It’s currently scheduled for release on July 15th, 2022.