The Wizarding World is about to undergo a significant upheaval, as Johnny Depp has announced he will not return to play the villainous Grindelwald in the third Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film currently in production.

In his statement, which Depp posted to his Instagram account, he writes that he has “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 revelation that Warner Bros. did not want Depp to return comes days after Depp lost a court case in the United Kingdom, after he sued the British newspaper The Sun and claimed they libeled him by referring to him a “wife-beater” in an article about his marriage to actress Amber Heard. In court, a judge found that The Sun had proved “that 12 of 14 of Heard's accusations of abuse met the threshold for truth in civil court” and ruled in the newspaper’s favor.

Depp continues to maintain his innocence, and is still suing Heard for defamation in a U.S. court. In his Instagram statement, he says plans to appeal the decision in the U.K. against him, and insists the allegations against him are “false.”

Whatever the outcome of these cases and appeals, Depp is out of the Fantastic Beasts films. After a brief cameo in the first Fantastic Beasts in 2016, Warner Bros. stood by Depp’s casting and kept him as the key villain in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, despite the fact that Heard’s allegations against the star were already public. Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling even published a statement on her website defending Depp’s casting, saying that despite “stories... in the press that deeply concerned me,” she was “genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character” in the series.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently scheduled to be released on November 12, 2021, although that could still change. No announcement of a new Grindelwald actor has been made. Depp’s full letter is below:


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