Johnny Depp is reportedly not officially singed onto Fantastic Beasts 3, the Harry Potter spin-off franchise where Depp plays villain Gellert Grindelwald.
The report from The Blast indicates a “source close to Johnny Depp” told them that “he has not yet been approached by Warner Bros. to exercise the option in his contract for the third “Fantastic Beasts” flick.”
This report comes shortly after Warner Bros. announced that third Fantastic Beasts film would hit theaters on November 12, 2021.
Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich commented on the release date, “We all believe this release date will give the filmmakers time and space to allow their artistry to truly flourish and deliver the best possible film to our fans.”
The Fantastic Beasts series is expected to be a five-picture project and Depp reportedly has a contract for the five-films. However, The Blast notes, “his option for each picture, like the rest of the stars in the cast, is handled separately by the movie studio.”
Warner Bros. and Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts creator J.K. Rowling faced intense criticism from a number of people on Twitter as well as Rachel Leishman at The Mary Sue for casting Depp as Grindelwald in the franchise. Leishman and these Twitter users targeted the movie studio and Rowling based on allegations of domestic abuse from Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp is currently in the middle of a lawsuit against Amber Heard claiming that she defamed him in an op-ed that she wrote for The Washington Post. In the op-ed the Aquaman actress claims she is the victim of domestic abuse. The lawsuit has already gotten heated with Heard taping a deposition video accusing Depp in detail of domestic abuse. However, Depp and his legal team claim that Heard was actually the one domestically abusing him. Depp’s team even indicates she chopped off his finger.
Depp’s legal team also views Heard’s deposition video as “hoax.” Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman stated, “Having been caught by 19 sworn eyewitness statements, 87 surveillance videotapes, audio tape and photographs faking her claims, Ms. Heard has decided to concoct new fake claims of abuse.”
Not only have publications like The Mary Sue criticized the decision to cast and keep Depp on board, but rumors began swirling earlier this month that Warner Bros. executives were “freaking out” over Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife.
Page Six’s sources reported, “Executives at Warner Bros. are wondering how to deal with the backlash of the Depp matter on the Harry Potter franchise.” They add, “High-level female execs at the studio are extremely worried about working with Depp and the message it sends to the public, especially after the recent sordid departure of CEO Kevin Tsujihara.”
However, The Blast notes that their sources tell them that Rowling is standing behind Depp along with “many of the heavy hitters.”
Rowling publicly supported Depp by releasing a statement in December 2017, “Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
Given that Rowling and other “heavy hitters” are supporting Depp, The Blast notes they expect him “to polish up his wand and get ready for work.”
What do you make of this new report? Do you think Warner Bros. and Rowling will keep Johnny Depp or do you think they might recast Gellert Grindelwald?