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The Fantastic Beasts movies faced a major shakeup last week when it was announced that Warner Bros decided to remove Johnny Depp from the cast and recast the pivotal role of Grindelwald in the middle of filming the third film. The decision was made a few days after Depp’s libel lawsuit reached a verdict against his favor. The court case ruled in favor of The Sun’s use of the term "wife-beater” in reference to Depp, which was found to be “substantially true” by the judge after testimony from ex-wife Amber Heard.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is already swiftly moving forward with negotiations reportedly in place to have Mads Mikkelsen take over the role of Grindelwald. For a large portion of the cast involved, they’ve dealt with a previous actor switcheroo in Where To Find Them, when Colin Farrell shapeshifted into Depp’s Grindelwald back in 2016. But what does the series’ Dumbledore think of the recast? In Jude Law’s words:
In a franchise like this, it's the studio and the company that make the big decisions. And you have to go along with those, because we're just a member of the team.
Jude Law is rolling with the studio’s decision and deferring to its judgement, rather than making any bold claims or defending Johnny Depp. Considering Depp has publicly said that he has “respected and agreed” to Warner Bros’ request in his words following his exit, Law’s response to ET fits right in. It’s undoubtedly an awkward situation to be mixed into, but Law isn’t going to fan any flames on his end.
The Captain Marvel actor said it was particularly “unusual” news to hear because Johnny Depp had begun to film as Grindelwald for only about a day “on his own.” The actors did not work together on Fantastic Beasts 3 yet, but Johnny Depp was on set and getting ready before the court ruling changed his course. The relationship between Jude Law’s Dumbledore and Grindelwald is an especially important one to the franchise, as the movie series moves to a legendary duel between them following a controversially “intense” relationship between the pair.
Aside from Jude Law, J.K. Rowling reportedly did not push back on the recasting of Johnny Depp either following the court ruling. Fantastic Beasts 3 began filming back in September under filming COVID-19 restrictions and safety protocols. Following Depp’s exit, the movie’s release date has been pushed back again from a late 2021 date to summer 2022. The next installment will reunite Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol and Jessica Williams.
The release date for Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently July 15, 2022, the same day the final Harry Potter film hit theaters back in 2011.