WB Unhappy With J.K. Rowling For Defending Johnny Depp In Fantastic Beasts 2


Back in 2016, hiring Johnny Depp to play big bad Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise must have seemed like a no-brainer for Warner Bros. How were they to know, though, that the star would soon be hit by allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard? Fast forward to 2019 and Depp’s reputation has taken a serious beating as more details on his highly volatile marriage have come to light.

Sources are saying that the studio is now freaking out that having Depp on board the franchise might damage the valuable Harry Potter brand name, as social media is full of fans calling for the actor to be recast in subsequent movies. Part of the problem is that creator J.K. Rowling publicly came out in defence of Depp in 2017. And according to an insider who spoke to The Post, Rowling’s words are now coming back to haunt them.

“Many at Warner Bros. wish that Rowling hadn’t come out so strongly behind Depp, because having made her opinion so public boxes them into a corner.”

You can see how this would be an issue from WB’s point of view. If this report’s correct and they want Depp gone, they must be reluctant to go ahead and replace him, as Rowling’s support of the star will make it difficult for them to save face. Her statement was her own but, as the public face of the Potter brand, she’s essentially speaking for the studio, too.

In December 2017, Rowling wrote on her website that she was initially “deeply concerned” about the allegations but, “based on [her] understanding of the circumstances,” she and director David Yates were “not only comfortable” with retaining Depp but “genuinely happy” that he was playing Grindelwald. Depp himself later claimed that he’d shared evidence with J.K. Rowling that proved Heard’s accusations were false.

Fantastic Beasts 3 was due to hit cinemas in November 2020, but it’s now lost the release slot to Dune. It sounds like Warner Bros. wants to clear up all the bad air surrounding the franchise before they move forward, and as soon as we learn more about how they plan to do that, we’ll be sure to let you know.