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Fantastic Beasts 3: Mads Mikkelsen in Talks to Replace Johnny Depp

Days after Warner Brothers reportedly forced Johnny Depp to resign from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3, the studio has already narrowed in on his replacement. New reports suggest Toby Emmerich and his team are in talks with Mads Mikkelsen to fill the role of Grindelwald. The report from Deadline is careful to say Mikkelsen hasn’t signed on board as of yet, though he is atop David Yates’ list for the role; it also confirms talks between the parties have happened and there appears to be at least some interest in finalizing a deal.

Depp officially parted the project after losing a libel lawsuit against a British tabloid in regards to his ongoing dispute with ex-wife Amber Heard.

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“In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement,” Depp’s statement reads. “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.”

“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,” he added, saying that “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. 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.”

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The movie has since been delayed to a summer slot in 2022 after originally being scheduled for November 12, 2021. The studio announced the delay in a simple statement confirming the departure of Depp.

“Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise,” the studio’s statement read. “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.”