Johnny Depp is out from the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts series, where he played Gellert Grindelwald. Depp revealed the news in an Instagram post on November 6, days after he lost a libel case against British tabloid The Sun. In a typewritten note posted to Instagram, he claimed Warner Bros. asked him to resign from the series, which is currently shooting its third movie and has plans for two more. He also claimed he would appeal his case, over the paper’s claims that he was a “wife beater” in coverage of his alleged abuse toward ex-wife Amber Heard. “The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” he wrote. “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.” Heard’s American lawyers previously responded in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. “Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the U.S.,” Elaine Charlson Bredehoft told ET. “We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the U.S. Court and defending Ms. Heard’s Right to Free Speech.”
Depp’s role in the series has been controversial since preparations for the 2018 sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald. In November 2017, a year before the film premiered, director David Yates defended Depp’s inclusion and called the abuse allegations against him “a dead issue.”
Update, 4:30 p.m.: The third Fantastic Beasts movie has been pushed from November 12, 2021, to summer 2022, Warner Bros. told Variety in a statement. The company also confirmed Depp’s former role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. Where’s a time-turner when you need one?
Update, November 9: The Hollywood Reporter has more details on Depp’s ouster, with sources telling the magazine that Johnny Depp had just shot one scene after filming began on September 20. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. waited until the judgment came down to cut ties with Depp — who will still be paid his full salary for the project because of his pay-or-play contract. The third Fantastic Beasts movie, sans Depp, is now officially set for July 15, 2022.