Johnny Depp Not Set to Return for Fantastic Beasts 3

Ever since the Harry Potter series of films ended, Warner Bros. Pictures has been attempting to keep the Wizarding World going on the big screen with a new franchise in the same universe, but Fantastic Beasts might be in trouble. Writer J.K. Rowling and director David Yates are gearing up to begin production next year, but the film might be without Johnny Depp this time around, who was set up to be a major antagonist in the first two installments.

Warner Bros. announced Fantastic Beasts 3 is set to release in theaters on November 12, 2021, but a new report from the Blast indicates that Depp has not yet signed on to this installment.

The actor first appeared as the villain Gellert Grindelwald at the end of the first film, setting up his appearance in the sequel and future films to come. The Blast reports that most of the cast members have had their options for the third film exercised already, and that Depp's camp is hopeful his option will be picked up soon.

Depp has been mired in legal issues ever since he and his ex-wife Amber Heard separated in 2016, with documented allegations of physical and emotional abuse in court filings. Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2018 that documented her abuse without naming Depp, but the actor still filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard for $50 million.

Depp has also had well-documented legal and financial troubles and is involved in lawsuits against his former business partners.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald received some backlash for Depp's casting in the wake of the controversy between he and his ex-wife. Heard also starred in Aquaman, and both films were released by Warner Bros. In fact, both stars were on the same stage, just moments apart from each other, during last year's San Diego Comic-Con panel at Hall H.

Rowling herself responded to the criticism and supported Depp.

"I've loved writing the first two screenplays and I can't wait for fans to see 'The Crimes of Grindelwald'. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn't governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing," she wrote.

We'll see if the Wizarding World decides to move forward with Depp as filming is set to begin early next year.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is scheduled to premiere in theaters on November 12, 2021.

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