After weeks of casting rumors, Warner Bros. finally confirmed that Mads Mikkelsen will replace Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the third Fantastic Beasts film.
It was previously reported that Mikkelsen was among the actors being considered by Fantastic Beasts 3 director David Yates. However, the 55-year-old Danish actor denied that he would be standing in for Depp as the dark wizard in the next installment of the Harry Potter spinoff series.
"Oh, that is on the rumor basis as we speak,” Mikkelsen told IGN. “So I know as much as you do from the newspapers. So I'm waiting for that phone call."
Mikkelsen rose to prominence for portraying the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter in television series Hannibal. He also played as James Bond 007 villain Le Chiffre in 2006’s Casino Royale and Galen Erso in 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The casting news came on the heels of Depp’s departure from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. The 57-year-old actor previously announced that he would no longer appear in the Harry Potter spinoff series after Warner Bros. asked him to resign from his role.
This developed after Depp lost his libel case against The Sun over a 2018 article which labeled him as a “wife beater.” The issue stemmed from allegations made by his ex-wife Amber Heard.
“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,” Depp said in a statement. “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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Depp first appeared at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2016 and reprised his role as the dark wizard in 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. The actor reportedly just shot one scene since production of the third film began in London last September.
The cast of the latest installment of Fantastic Beasts includes Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner, William Nadylam, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Jessica Williams, Victoria Yeates, and two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law.
The third Fantastic Beasts movie is currently in production at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden outside of London and will premiere on July 15, 2022.
(Images from IMDB, Hannibal’s Facebook page)