The Harry Potter franchise has been dominating popular culture for decades, with entire generations brought up on the Wizarding World. J.K. Rowling continues to expand that universe with theme parks, stage plays, as well as the Fantastic Beasts film franchise. The latter is directed by David Yates who is planning a five-film arc. Fantastic Beasts 3 has recently begun filming across the pond, although it made headlines after Johnny Depp was fired from his role as the villainous Grindelwald. And there's now also a report as to how author J.K. Rowling responded to this shake-up.

Warner Bros. asked Johnny Depp to step down from the Fantastic Beasts franchise following his loss in the libel case against The Sun. While he was suing the publication for referring to him as a "wife beater" the judge across the pond ruled against Depp. While J.K. Rowling had previously been Depp's defender regarding his involvement in the property, that's seemingly changed following his departure.

This news comes to us from THR, which reported Johnny Depp's departure from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. According to an unnamed insider from within Warner Bros.' magical property, J.K. Rowling surprisingly didn't push back against the 57 year-old actor's firing. Given her previous unabashed support of Depp, this is a surprising turn of events.

Johnny Depp was revealed to be Grindelwald in the final moments of the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie. It was a bold plot choice, in which Colin Farrell's character was revealed to be the villain in disguise the whole time. Given Depp's ongoing legal battle with Amber Heard and the allegations of abuse made against him, there were plenty of moviegoers who took umbrage with his involvement in the Harry Potter spinoff.

But while backlash occurred as a result of Johnny Depp's role as Grindelwald, author J.K. Rowling came to his defense. While a variety of celebrities have been involved in Depp's ongoing legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, Rowling's comments were focused on his role in the burgeoning Fantastic Beasts franchise. As she was previously quoted,

Based on our understanding to the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny Depp playing a major character in the movies. I've loved writing the first two screenplays and I can't wait for the fans to see The Crimes of Grindelwald. I accept that there will be those who are not satisfied with our choice of actor in the title role. However, conscience isn't governable by committee. Within the fictional world and outside it, we all have to do what we believe to be the right thing.

But with years gone by and Johnny Depp recently facing a loss in the U.K. courts, Warner Bros. ultimately decided to part way with the frequent Tim Burton collaborator. J.K. Rowling reportedly didn't make a stand when it came to this casting shakeup, despite her writing the script for Fantastic Beasts 3. We'll jut have to wait and see who replaces Depp as the insidious wizard.

Johnny Depp's departure from Fantastic Beasts is the latest controversy to surround the upcoming threequel. For her part J.K. Rowling has been making headlines for a myriad of comments which were perceived as transphobic. Lead actor Eddie Redmayne himself condemned these comments, despite their continued working relationship. Additionally, a viral video went around the internet this year showing Ezra Miller seemingly choking a fan. Clearly there's a ton of drama surrounding Fantastic Beasts 3, although the fandom is still eager to dive back into the Wizarding World as soon as possible.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently expected to hit theaters on July 15th, 2022. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next movie experience.

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