It remains to be seen whether the threat of a boycott from Johnny Depp’s loyal army of followers will have a noticeable impact on Fantastic Beasts 3 at the box office, but even when the actor was still on board as Grindelwald, the third Wizarding World prequel was viewed as the make or break installment in the franchise, one that could go a long way to determining the fate of the series.
Most blockbuster properties would love to end their theatrical run with $654 million in the coffers, but by the standards of the expanded Harry Potter universe, The Crimes of Grindelwald was viewed as a massive disappointment. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a decent enough launchpad for the adventures of Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander, but there was always the niggling feeling that Warner Bros. may have bitten off more than they could chew by announcing five films right out of the gate.
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In terms of both critical and commercial performance, the last chapter is the lowest-grossing and worst-reviewed entry in the entire Wizarding World, and the backlash over dropping Depp and replacing him with Mads Mikkelsen hasn’t helped, either. However, everyone knows the Hannibal star is more than adept at playing a charming and charismatic villain, so he’s about the best replacement the production could have hoped to find.
In a new interview, Mikkelsen teased an epic battle opposite Redmayne that took three weeks to film, which will presumably serve as the big third act finale as the hero and villain of Fantastic Beasts battle for supremacy and the fate of the entire Wizarding World. Further details on what it might entail remain unclear, but it’ll be interesting to find out if the pic manages to resurrect the flagging property and give it a new lease of life when the movie arrives in July 2022, or if the prequels are truly dead in the water.