Tonight, Harry Potter fans learned that Johnny Depp has officially joined the cast of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The acclaimed actor will play an unknown role in the sequel which is rumored to be a leading one alongside Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander. Already, speculation over who the actor is playing has gone wild as fans are digging into the Wizarding World’s canon to seek out a possible role. But, when you put the pieces together, there is one role which sticks out above the rest.
Could Johnny Depp be playing Gellert Grindelwald? Well, here’s what we know so far.
Given Depp’s resume and fame, it seems wholly unlikely that the actor would sign onto the franchise for a meager role. Depp is internationally recognized for his work in franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean, so moviegoers know the actor can carry a complex, starring role. And, if Grindelwald is featured in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, then the dark wizard will certainly be a forced to be reckoned with.
So far, there’s no official confirmation that Grindelwald will appear in the franchise, but Warner Bros. has been dropping hints about the wizard’s debut. Most recently, Ezra Miller appeared in a video from the studio where he teased Grindelwald's inclusion in the film. His ‘maybe, maybe not’ attitude on the wizard’s appearance has made fans more convinced than ever that Grindelwald is the big baddie of Fantastic Beasts.
Fans have also been teased about Grindelwald's presence through character posters of Colin Ferrel's Pervical Graves. The actor plays a security officer at the U.S. Magical Congress, or MACUS for short. Most of the posters include knick-knacks which nod to the characters and their individual interests - and a very peculiar item can be seen behind Percival Graves. Fans can see a necklace bearing the Deathly Hallows symbol swinging behind the wizarding official. Of course, fans are wondering what connections the Director of Magical Security might have with the legendary items.
After all, one of the trailers for Fantastic Beasts showed Seraphina Picquery wonder aloud whether Grindelwald would turn his eye to America. If you’re not familiar with the character, Grindlewald is a notoriously dark wizard who used the Deathly Hallows symbol as his personal logo. In Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, fans learned the man was rapidly gaining power during in the 1920s which coincides with the setting for Fantastic Beasts.
Could Pervical Graves be a supporter of Grindelwald and his terrifying beliefs? It seems unlikely that the character is a fanatic theorist about the Deathly Hallows a la Xenophilius Lovegood. So, really, that leaves fans to believe Grindlewald is somehow connected to Graves somehow.
We also know that Graves is aware of Dumbledore and seems to be antagonistic towards the aging wizard. The character is seen telling Newt Scamander in a trailer that he can’t see what makes Albus Dumbledore so fond of him. When you consider the fraught relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald, it would make sense of Graves to disdain the former if he supporters the latter.
At this point, all clues lead fans to believe that Grindelwald will become a major part of the Fantastic Beasts trilogy. And, as we’ve just learned, Depp will be too.
The actor is set to star in the second film, and many are speculating that Depp will also appear in the third. When it comes to the first film, Deadline has said the actor will briefly cameo in the film, so his presence could set Grindlewald up as the series’ villain.
To talk logistics, Depp also fits the character description. Fantastic Beasts takes place in 1926 which would make the wizard 43 years old. Depp is just over 50, but the youthful actor should have no problem playing the dark wizard. Grindelwald has also been described as winsome and eccentric man who wanted to overturn the magical world’s Statue of Secrecy, a law which kept wizards from displaying their powers in front of Muggles.
Fans already know that a major storyline in Fantastic Beasts revolves around the Statues of Secrecy law. So, if Grindelwald is wanting to take it down, then there may be no better place than to do it on the big screen.And, if we’re right, then Depp will be the man behind the mischievous acts. Fans have seen the actor take on varied - and even crazed - roles like in Sweeny Todd.
Who knows? We might get to see a younger Dumbledore down the road or even a spin-off feature about Grindelwald's feud with the Hogwarts Headmaster.