Mads Mikkelsen in Negotiations to Replace Johnny Depp in ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

Depp was forced to quit the film after being asked to resign by Warner Bros

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Mads Mikkelsen is in early negotiations to play evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald replacing previous actor Johnny Depp in “Fantastic Beasts 3,” according to an individual with knowledge of the project.

Depp was forced to quit the film after being asked to resign by Warner Bros.

“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.”

“Fantastic Beasts 3” is filming now in the U.K., and production is not expected to be disrupted. What’s more, no scenes need to be reshot, despite Depp leaving the film and his role being recast, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. The film has however been delayed to the summer of 2022 after most recently being slated for release in November 2021.

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.

The news comes after Depp lost his libel case against the tabloid The Sun that labeled him a “wife beater.” Depp said in his statement that he plans to appeal the U.K. court’s decision.

A British court on Nov. 2 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.”

Mads Mikkelsen most recently wrapped production on “Chaos Walking” directed by Doug Liman.

Mads Mikkelsen is repped by UTA.

“Fantastic Beasts 3” will now open in theaters on July 15, 2022.

Deadline first reported the news…

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