Johnny Depp Fantastic Beasts-min
[Photo via Warner Bros.]

After weeks of rumors and speculation, Warner Bros. has finally confirmed who is replacing Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Naturally, both fans of the films and Depp are very divided over the casting decision.

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Earlier this month, Depp revealed that he was asked to step down from his role in Fantastic Beasts by Warner Bros. The news arrived shortly after Depp lost a libel case against the U.K.-based tabloid The Sun over a 2018 article alleging he was a “wife beater.” In his statement, Depp confirmed that he plans to appeal the ruling.

“In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement,” he said in the statement. “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. Secondly, 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.”

Shortly following the news, rumors began to swirl that Mads Mikkelsen was in talks to replace Depp as Grindelwald. The reports sparked a slew of mixed-bag reactions from Fantastic Beasts fans. Although many people believe Mikkelsen will bring a lot to the role, others think Depp should’ve never been asked to step down in the first place.

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However, last week, Mikkelsen responded to the reports that he has been cast in Fantastic Beasts 3. Speaking to IGN, Mikkelsen denied he had been asked to step in as Grindelwald for the upcoming film. He claimed that he knew just as much as the newspapers about the casting rumors.

“Oh, that is on the rumor basis as we speak,” he said. “So I know as much as you do from the newspapers, I’m waiting for that phone call.”

Now, it looks like Mikkelsen may have been a little more clued in than he led on. This week, Warner Bros. confirmed that the actor has been cast as the new Grindelwald in a press release.

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According to Deadline, Depp had only filmed one scene in Fantastic Beasts 3, making it easy for Mikkelsen to transition into the new role. Filming for the upcoming movie is currently underway following coronavirus delays. The franchise’s star Eddie Redmayne confirmed that production had begun back in September.

The plot for Fantastic Beasts 3 is anticipated to focus on the complex relationship between Grindelwald and Jude Law’s Dumbledore. However, it’s unknown how, or if, the casting changes will impact the film’s overall plot. For now, Fantastic Beasts 3 is slated to be released on July 15, 2022 after its November 12, 2021 premiere date was delayed.

This latest casting news arrives just days after fans of Depp called out Warner Bros. over a recent Animaniacs episode. The revival of the cartoon series recently premiered on Hulu. However, its first episode sparked backlash for allegedly addressing Depp’s abuse lawsuit.

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Naturally, fans are still quite divided over Depp getting replaced in the franchise. While some look forward to seeing what Mikkelsen brings to Grindelwald, others don’t plan to see the new film any time soon.

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What are your reactions to Mads Mikkelsen replacing Johnny Depp? Do you plan to see Fantastic Beasts 3? Let us know in the comments below.