The past week or so has been pretty rough for ol’ Johnny Depp: First he lost his libel suit against British tabloid The Sun, with a judge deciding that the paper’s reference to Depp being a “wife beater” was “substantially true,” and after that he had to resign from his role as the villainous Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3 after Warner Bros. asked him to do so—the timing suggests the two events are related, but nobody has officially said that. Now, though, there’s at least some good news in all of this for Depp: According to The Hollywood Reporter, he’s going to get his full “eight-figure salary” from Fantastic Beasts 3 despite only filming a single scene for the film.
THR explains that that’s the sort of sweet deal you get when you’re a superstar, with Depp’s contract apparently establishing that he gets his full pay even if the movie doesn’t end up getting made. There was also no “morality clause” in it, which may explain why he was asked to resign instead of being fired from Fantastic Beasts 3. Perhaps Warner Bros. knew it couldn’t fire him, even if his presence would’ve been toxic to the film, so it asked him nicely to resign and decided to just eat the cost of his salary. THR also notes that the third Fantastic Beasts is “described as a three-hander,” meaning Depp’s Grindelwald, Jude Law’s Dumbledore, and Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander would’ve essentially had an equal amount of screentime, but Depp was reportedly getting paid the highest of the three.
In other Fantastic Beasts 3 news, Variety says that the third installment already has a new release date: July 15, 2022. There’s no word on who might replace Depp, but his resignation apparently won’t “significantly alter the film’s production timeline”—which is surprising, given that whole “three-hander” thing. Maybe Depp’s character is typically apart from the other two guys, and Warner Bros. will theoretically be able to film a lot of stuff before they even need a new Grindelwald? Or maybe the new Grindelwald is already waiting on deck and just hasn’t been announced yet? After all, Warner Bros. probably wouldn’t pull the trigger on this “ask Depp to resign” thing without having some idea of what Plan B will be.