Fantastic Beasts 3 Officially Taps Mads Mikkelsen to Replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald

Following rumors emerging earlier this month that Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen would be taking over the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming third Fantastic Beasts film from Johnny Depp, Warner Bros. has confirmed that the deal has become official. Depp himself announced his departure, taking to Instagram weeks ago to announce that he was stepping away from the role at the request of the studio, after months of controversy regarding domestic abuse allegations against Depp from ex-wife Amber Heard. The actor reportedly only filmed one scene for the currently in-production third film, which is set to hit theaters on July 15, 2022.

Depp debuted as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them back in 2016, the same year that allegations against Depp first emerged. Amid the controversy, some fans began campaigning for Depp to be replaced in the franchise, though the filmmakers and franchise creator J.K. Rowling voiced their support of Depp.

The recent casting shake-ups have ignited a number of reactions among fans, from elated to disappointed. While some fans supported the studio asking for Depp to leave the series, others expressed their disappointment at the move due to Heard's claims being disputed. Even those fans who were glad to see Depp gone were frustrated to see Mikkelsen taking over the role, as it likely prevents him from moving forward on a potential Hannibal revival, while others were thrilled to see the actor's take on the villain.

Reports claim that Rowling didn't protest the decision by Warner Bros. to replace Depp, while co-star in the series, Jude Law, understands the massive scope of the upcoming film and how he has to allow the creators to make the decisions they deem necessary.

"It's an enormous film, and there are many, many layers to it. It's probably one of the biggest productions I've ever worked on," Law shared with Entertainment Tonight. "And in a situation like this, you defer to the studio. That's all you can do. Because you have to turn up and play your part."

He added, "In a franchise like this, it's the studio and the company that make the big decisions. And you have to go along with those, because we're just a member of the team."

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The new Fantastic Beasts is set to hit theaters on July 15, 2022.

What do you think of the casting situation? Will Mikkelsen make a good Grindelwald? Let us know in the comments below!