Mads Mikkelsen replaces Johnny Depp as dark wizard Grindelwald in 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise
You can't keep a dark wizard down for long.
Two weeks after Johnny Depp resigned his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the "Fantastic Beasts" movies, Warner Bros. announced that Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen ("Casino Royale," "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story") has been cast as the primary antagonist in the upcoming third installment of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" prequel series.
The latest "Fantastic Beasts" movie, which is set for a July 15, 2022, release and stars Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law, is currently in production at Warner Bros.' Leavesden studio outside of London.
After a U.K. judge ruled on Nov. 2 that a 2018 article in British tabloid The Sun that branded Depp a "wife beater" was not libelous – following a contentious legal showdown this past summer – Depp posted on his Instagram account that "in light of recent events," Warner Bros. asked him to step down from the Grindelwald role.
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"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 wrote. "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."
The “Fantastic Beasts” spinoff series has grossed nearly $1.5 billion between 2016′s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and 2018′s “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”
Contributing: Maria Puente