Johnny Depp announced on social media he is stepping down from his role as Grindelwald in Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter” spinoff franchise “Fantastic Beasts” after losing his libel case against The Sun earlier this week. Depp stars as the villainous Grindelwald in the franchise and was expected to have a prominent role in future installments. According to Depp, the studio asked him to resign from the role amid the scandal around the actor’s libel case.
Warner Bros. said in a statement: “Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.”
“In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement,” Depp wrote on Instagram. “Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.”
Depp continued, “I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.”
“Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” Depp concluded. “My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
Depp made his “Harry Potter” franchise debut as Grindelwald in 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” The actor was expected to reprise the role in the upcoming third installment, production on which got delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Asking Depp to resign from the role is big deal on Warner Bros.’ behalf, considering Depp was playing the main antagonist of the entire “Fantastic Beasts” franchise. Warner Bros. has not announced any additional re-casting plants at this time.