Johnny Depp Exits 'Fantastic Beasts' Franchise, Role to Be Recast
Johnny Depp is leaving the Fantastic Beasts franchise.
Fantastic Beasts 3 has pushed back its release date.
The next entry in the Harry Potter prequel franchise has moved its release date to July 15, 2022, EW has learned.
The move follows the exit of star Johnny Depp, who was forced out of the franchise as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald following the loss of his high-profile libel case against a U.K. newspaper that alleged he was abusive towards his former wife, actress Amber Heard. Depp says he plans to appeal the decision.
Fantastic Beasts 3 was originally scheduled for release in November 2021. That the film was moving to 2022 was included in the announcement of Depp's exit — news that was put out Friday amid considerable presidential election drama. This new announcement further clarifies when the film will be released.
Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.
The film is currently shooting in the U.K., and studio Warner Bros. is searching for Depp's replacement. Many have speculated as to who should take over Grindelwald's wand (including us), with suggestions ranging from Ewan McGregor to Matt Smith to Benedict Cumberbatch to the franchise's original Grindelwald, Colin Farrell (who is currently filming WB's The Batman as the Penguin and therefore likely unavailable).
The third film is once again directed by longtime Harry Potter franchise veteran David Yates and is based on a screenplay by author J.K. Rowling along with Steve Kloves. Stars Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller and others are set to return. Filming was supposed to begin in March, and then was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but production recently commenced.
Story details about the third film are scarce, but we know that it takes place largely in Rio de Janeiro and leads up to the Wizarding World being involved with World War II.