Perhaps sensing that J.K. Rowling is enough of a liability for the Harry Potter extended universe, Warner Bros. has officially cut ties with Johnny Depp, who played dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
“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,” the actor wrote from inside his Instagram bunker on Friday.
Warner Bros. confirmed the news in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter. Per the studio, Grindelwald will be recast for the franchise’s third installment, which is slated to arrive in the summer of 2022.”
The news comes just days after Depp lost his libel case against The Sun after a judge determined the tabloid was truthful in declaring him a “wife beater.” Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard, have been mired in increasingly nasty legal battles since Heard first accused the actor of physical abuse in 2016. Depp’s casting drew ample controversy upon its announcement in 2017.
Depp maintained his innocence on Instagram, declaring that he plans to appeal the decision. “My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false,” he wrote. “My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”
Despite making $655 million on its $200 million budget, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald is the Wizarding World franchise’s lowest-grossing film to date. We weren’t big fans.