Johnny Depp has officially exited Fantastic Beasts 3, the upcoming third entry in Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts series. The series, that began in 2016, acts as a prequel to the Harry Potter franchise.
Depp played Gellert Grindelwald, the main antagonist of the series, who brought chaos to the Wizarding World before the rise of Voldemort. However, after appearing in the first two instalments, Depp has take to Instagram to tell his fans that he has exited the role of Grindelwald after Warner Bros. asked to him step down.
This is a huge blow to the franchise. No matter what side you take on this Amber Heard/Johnny Depp debacle, it’s clear both parties are not 100% innocent. Yet, there’s been no announcement of Heard exiting the Aquaman sequel or Zack Snyder’s Justice League reshoots. Warner Bros. is clearly picking a side.
What makes this departure all the more strange is that Depp is not the only one who has been embroiled in controversy since Fantastic Beasts 3 entered development. Ezra Miller was caught on video allegedly choking a woman and slamming her to the ground as part of a joke that went too far. And let’s not forget franchise creator J.K. Rowling and her tweets that have angered a portion of her fanbase. If we’re cutting dead weight WB, why stop at Depp?
Here’s Warner Bros. Pictures’ statement (via Variety):
“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.”
I understand Warner Bros. is a studio that wants to make money, but I don’t think this was the best decision. The Fantastic Beasts films have been extremely hit or miss, overall. The first film could have been a nice standalone film before they shoehorned the Grindelwald reveal into the ending. The sequel was a bloated mess that seemed to set up the next three films than tell its own standalone story. Ditching Depp will just further divide the fan base.
There’s a good chance I’m finished with the prequel series though. The second film ended with the stupidest retcon to the Wizarding World franchise with the reveal Miller’s character was some long lost brother to Albus Dumbledore. So yeah, Depp leaving is just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
As of right now, Fantastic Beasts 3 is scheduled to hit theaters Summer 2022.
Do you think Johnny Depp should have been forced to resign? Is it weird Warner Bros. chose to part with Depp instead of Rowling? We’re living in strange times, screenagers.