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Johnny Depp Forced to Quit ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

”I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false,“ the actor says after losing U.K. libel suit over ”wife beater“ accusations

Johnny Depp said Friday that he had been forced out of his role in J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts 3” — just days after losing a libel case in which a U.K. judge ruled that “wife beater” accusations by Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard were “substantially true.”

The studio intends to recast Depp’s role as the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the untitled third film in the series, which is currently shooting in the U.K.

“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,” the actor wrote on Instagram. “I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false.”

The production is not expected to be delayed significantly and no scenes will need to be reshot, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. However, the film’s release has been delayed from November 2021 to the summer of 2022.

Depp portrayed the evil wizard Grindelwald in the first two “Fantastic Beasts” films and was meant to reprise his role in the third film. The film co-stars Eddie Redmayne and Ezra Miller and is directed by David Yates from a script by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

“Johnny Depp will depart the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’ is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022,” Warner Bros. said in a statement.

In his statement, Depp also defended himself following Monday’s ruling of U.K. Justice Andrew Nicol. “The surreal judgement of the court in the u.. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” he wrote. “I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false.”

A British court on Monday ruled against Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against the Sun tabloid newspaper over an August 2018 story that called the star a “wife beater” in his relationship with now ex-wife Amber Heard. Justice Andrew Nicol said that News Group Newspapers and Sun executive editor Dan Wootton had proved that the tabloid’s story was “substantially true.” His ruling concluded, “I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proved to the civil standard.”

The judge found evidence of 12 episodes of domestic violence and dismissed Depp’s claim that Heard had “constructed a hoax.” He further concluded that Depp’s accusations of abusive by Heard “had a negative effect on her career as an actor and activist.”

Depp has completed work on the MGM drama “Minamata,” which is slated to open in February 2021, and he is also a spokesmodel for Dior’s Sauvage fragrances, but he has no known acting projects lined up after that.

Umberto Gonzalez contributed to this report.