Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen will replace Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in the third instalment of Fantastic Beasts, after Depp was asked to step down.
The Danish actor has stepped in to fill the role at the eleventh hour, as the movie is already in production at Warner Bros’ Leavesden studio in the UK.
It comes after the studio asked Depp to stand down from the role, following his unsuccessful libel trial against The Sun.
Taking to Instagram at the beginning of the month, Depp announced that he ‘respected and agreed’ to the request, while adding that he planned to continue to fight to prove his innocence.
‘My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time,’ he wrote, following a judge ruling that the newspaper’s headline branding him a ‘wife beater’ was ‘substantially true.’
In the past few weeks, rumours began circulating that Mikkelsen had been chosen as the replacement, however the Casino Royale actor told reporters at the time that he knew as much as the newspapers did, adding that he was ‘waiting for that phone call.’
Now, the role has officially been offered and accepted by the 55-year-old, according to reports in IndieWire.
Fantastic Beasts 3 still appears to be on track to meet its summer 2022 release date and Depp had only filmed one scene from the movie prior to the court ruling, as producers reportedly wanted to see how the case panned out.
However, the MailOnline reports that Depp’s ‘pay or play’ contract allowed him to keep the $10 million he was paid for the role.
After the Pirates of the Caribbean star announced he was stepping down from the role, Warner Bros. released a statement confirming that the role would be re-cast, and thanking Depp for his work in the films up until this point.
‘Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date,’ it read.
‘Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022.
The character of Grindelwald first appeared as a cameo in the 2016 movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, before he returned in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is set to land in theatres in summer 2022.