Harry Potter fans were shocked to learn last week that Johnny Depp was leaving the upcoming Fantastic Beasts sequel, leaving many fans to wonder who would take on his Gellert Grindelwald role. Many audiences had hoped that Colin Farrell, who played the villain in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, could return to the franchise to take over the role, but Variety reports that this path most likely won't be possible, due largely to Farrell's current involvement in filming The Batman. The sequel isn't slated to hit theaters until 2022, so while there's still time to cast the role, fans shouldn't get their hopes up about Farrell's return.
The outlet detailed the situation, "The most obvious candidate, Colin Farrell — who played a disguised Grindelwald in the first Fantastic Beasts film — is most likely not available, Variety has learned, given the demands of playing the Penguin in The Batman, also currently in production in London."
In the first Wizarding World prequel, Farrell played Percival Graves, the Director of Magical Security who aimed to apprehend Newt Scamander under the suspicion that he was conspiring with the villainous Gellert Grindelwald. At the film's conclusion, it was revealed that Grindelwald was posing as Graves the whole time, marking Depp's debut as the character. Grindelwald went on to become the focus of the sequel.
In the days since Depp stepped away from the project, Farrell has yet to offer a statement on the situation, though he detailed back in 2017 that he accepted the role originally with the knowledge that it would only be for one film.
"It was always written that [that first film] was it," he explained to MTV.
He even went so far as to imply his character died shortly after the events of that first film.
"Maybe he's buried in a shallow grave," Farrell pointed out, "and he's going to die of starvation 17 hours after the film ends."
Depp's connection to the series has long caused controversy among fans, as his debut as Grindelwald occurred around the same time that the first allegations from Depp's then-wife Amber Heard regarding domestic abuse were made public. While the pair have been involved in a number of legal battles regarding these claims, the most recent ruling came from the UK court in which Depp lost a libel suit against publication The Sun who referred to him as a "wife beater" back in 2018.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is slated to hit theaters on July 15, 2022.
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