Johnny Depp was recently fired from Fantastic Beasts 3 as the series’ main antagonist Gellert Grindelwald. It was announced that Warner Bros. would be continuing the franchise but would be recasting the role in the next installment. This led to rampant speculation about what actor could be taking over as the villain of the film. Now, it looks like we have an answer.
Deadline is reporting that Mads Mikkelsen is in talks to replace Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. The acclaimed actor is best known for his portrayal of cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the excellent show Hannibal, but he has also appeared in other major motion pictures such as Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The report says that he is director David Yates’ top choice to play the role and that there are negotiations currently underway.
The firing of Johnny Depp threw the entire future of Fantastic Beasts 3 into question. The tentpole event film had already begun shooting when one of the court cases involving Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard reached a verdict. It was this verdict that ended up putting the nail in Depp’s career coffin. Warner Bros. decided to remove him from the production, even though Depp had already shot at least one scene for the movie. With the shoot still ongoing, the studio had to decide how they were going to deal with the exit of their central villain.
Now, it looks like they will be totally recasting the role with Mads Mikkelsen. There was speculation that Johnny Depp might shoot a single scene in which he disguised his appearance and that would allow the movie to have an in-universe reason for Grindelwald looking completely different. However, from what we are learning about the situation, it looks like Warner Bros. is just going to flat-out recast the role and not acknowledge the change in the actual film.
The removal of Johnny Depp from Fantastic Beasts 3 is definitely going to cast a shadow over the entire endeavor. The series has not been warmly received by critics and audiences, and this third installment feels very much like a movie that very few people actually want. Granted, Mads Mikkelsen is a fantastic actor and might be able to breathe some life into the role of Gellert Grindelwald. However, this feels like the studio is putting a Band-Aid on a gaping head wound. The discussion around Fantastic Beasts 3 is being dominated by negativity and it doesn’t look like that tone to the conversation is going to change any time soon.
We will have to wait and see if Mads Mikkelsen will end up as the official replacement for Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3. It is almost certain that he will be, so we are going to have to get used to the idea of seeing Hannibal Lecter waving a wand around and shouting out silly spells. And if you haven’t watched Hannibal yet, there has never been a better time to check out that incredible show.