News broke last week that Johnny Depp had finally succumbed to the siren call of the Harry Potter films’ treasure trove of interesting hats, signing on for a co-starring role in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them 2. Today, Potter fan-site The Leaky Cauldron confirms—via long-time franchise director David Yates—that Depp will be playing a major villain from J.K. Rowling’s magical universe: Gellert Grindelwald.
For those of you who haven’t read Rowling’s books, Grindelwald is a former friend (and crush-object) of Albus Dumbledore, and also, basically, Wizard-Hitler. (Germanic name, megalomaniacal tendencies, 1945 defeat, etc.) The character has already cropped up in recent promotions for the spinoff franchise, having been name-checked in a trailer for the first Fantastic Beasts. He might even have been shown on screen, depending on whether you think the blonde guy at 3:15 in this video looks sufficiently like Johnny Depp:
Although a minor character in the Harry Potter series proper, Grindlewald did appear in the Deathly Hallows films, with Jamie Campbell Bower playing him in flashbacks and portraits, and Michael Byrne in present day. Yates praised Depp as his choice for the new incarnation of the role, saying, “He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special.”
The director also confirmed a few other details about the sequel—one of four that Rowling is reportedly working on—noting that it will take place largely in Paris, and that Ezra Miller’s character Credence would play a major role.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them hits theaters on Friday, November 18.