Mads Mikkelsen in Talks to Join Fantastic Beasts 3, Replacing Johnny Depp

Mads Mikkelsen, the fan-favorite star of Hannibal and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is currently being eyed by Warner Bros. Pictures to replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 3 movie. Mikkelsen will be the third actor to portray the character in just as many movies, taking over from Depp and Colin Farrell (who was in disguise in the first film in the series). According to a new report from Deadline, WB boss Toby Emmerich and his team are in talks with Mads Mikkelsen to take over the role as filming gears up to begin on Fantastic Beasts 3, with director David Yates keen to add Mikkelsen to the cast.

Depp officially parted the project after losing a libel lawsuit against a British tabloid in regards to his ongoing dispute with ex-wife Amber Heard.

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"In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement," Depp's statement reads. "Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days."

"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," he added, saying that "the surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth, and I confirm that I plan to appeal. 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."

The movie has since been delayed to a summer slot in 2022 after originally being scheduled for November 12, 2021. The studio announced the delay in a simple statement confirming the departure of Depp.

"Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise," the studio's statement read. "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."