See First Look At Mads Mikkelsen Replacing Johnny Depp In Fantastic Beasts

We've got the first image of Mads Mikkelsen replacing Johnny Depp as Grindelwald

By Michileen Martin | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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Last November, fans of the popular Harry Potter franchise learned Hannibal actor Mads Mikkelsen had been tapped to replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald — the main antagonist of the Fantastic Beasts series. Now, with the next installment of the series due to hit theaters next year, the first image of Mikkelsen as the powerful wizard has surfaced. Regardless of how you feel about the replacement, we now have visual evidence that Mikkelsen is officially Grindelwald.

The brief shot of Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald comes from a trailer announcement for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Most of the announcement is a mash-up of clips from previous Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. It isn’t until the last 30 seconds or so that we get some shots from next year’s movie. You can watch the announcement below.

We get to see quite a bit of Jude Law as the young Dumbledore, but our view of Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald is very brief. We see the villain smiling and being pulled into a thick crowd of celebrating children. If the moment is far too brief to catch properly, below is a screenshot captured and posted on the Twitter account of DiscussingFilm.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see much more of Mads Mikkelsen’s Grindelwald soon. The video announces that the first full trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is due to drop on Monday. Perhaps we’ll get some more clues as to why the brief moment we got in this tease unfolds the way it does.

Speaking to Total Film (via Digital Spy) in April, Mads Mikkelsen made it clear to fans that when they see him in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, he won’t be impersonating Johnny Depp. “[T]o try to bring [Depp’s] intensity and his way of doing it into my work is a no-go,” Mikkelsen told the magazine. “I have to find my own, because his is unique, and I just have to let that be, and find a different path.” This won’t be the first time Mikkelsen has taken a role already rendered famous by another actor. The Danish actor took over the title role of the thriller series Hannibal, after Anthony Hopkins played the fictional serial killer in three films.

Mads Mikkelsen’s time to play Grindelwald is, in part, one of the many results of the ongoing conflict between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. While Depp originated the role of Grindelwald in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, last November he was fired. Days after he lost his court battle against the British tabloid The Sun — who Depp sued for libel when the paper referred to him as a “wife beater” — Depp announced he’d been asked to step away from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. By the end of the month, Mikkelsen had replaced him.

Even without Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Mads Mikkelsen may have signed on for a film series destined for controversy. When the name and the release date of the new film were released in September, the news was met with a Twitter firestorm. Along with fans angry over Harry Potter creator JK Rowling’s alleged transphobia and those not happy with Depp’s ousting from the movie, a new controversy began stirring. When it was revealed the The Secrets of Dumbledore would deal with, among other things, the wizards’ involvement in World War II, fans began to worry that someone like Rowling would be unable to touch on subjects like the Holocaust without causing as much pain to the Jewish community as many feel she has to the trans community. We’ll have to see what happens in April.