Friday, November 13, 2020

Johnny Depp Exits "Fantastic Beasts" Franchise; Warner Bros Set to Recast

Actor Johnny Depp, who is presently in the throes of legal battles, will no longer be apart of the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise.

In 2016, his ex-wife and actress Amber Heard filed for divorce from Depp citing domestic abuse. Since their contentious split began, Depp continuously denies accusations of domestic violence. He recently lost a defamation case against a UK newspaper publisher who described the actor as a "wife beater." 
Depp's exit from the Harry Potter spin-off comes on the heels of a judge ruling against Depp.

While Depp maintains his innocence and plans to appeal - studio’s film chief Toby Emmerich at Warner Bros. requested Depp to resign from the role of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films. The actor confirmed the news on his instagram page.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, after filming one scene for the third Fantastic Beasts film, Depp will still be paid under a "pay-or-play contract, which requires that he be fully compensated whether or not the film is made and even if it is recast."

For those who followed the heated trial that spilled out over summer 2020, evidence brought against both Depp and Heard drew lines in the sand over Depp's innocence versus Heard's guilt and vice versa. Fans for Depp and the Fantastic Beasts series are taking a stand over his departure with passionate pleas social media support and possibly boycotting the series until or if he returns.

A majority of the cast has yet to make announcements regarding the move. Jude Law, who plays a younger Albus Dumbledore and is romantically linked to Gellert Grindelwald, spoke with Entertainment Tonight and remained neutral on the subject saying, "In a franchise like this, it's the studio and the company that make the big decisions...And you have to go along with those, because we're just a member of the team."

With the role of Gellert Grindewald vacated, rumors began for Depp's replacement. MuggleNet cites exclusive news that actor Mads Mikkelsen will take over, however, Warner Bros has not confirmed.

Depp's resignation is not the first bump in the road for the Fantastic Beasts series. The film franchise, which began production on the third out of five films in September 2020, was previously delayed in 2019 before the Coronavirus outbreak due to creative setbacks.

J.K. Rowling is once again writing the screenplay, however, she has gained backlash from fans and the LGTBQIA+ community for her controversial and harmful views on sex, gender, and transgender individuals. Rowling, with producer David Heyman and director David Yates, previously defended Depp's casting in 2016 when his divorce and the allegations of domestic violence were first publicly coming to light. So far, they have not spoken out in favor or against Depp's legal pursuits and casting removal.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is set for theatrical release July 2022 until further notice.

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