Fantastic Beasts 3's Dan Fogler Talks Complicated Decision To Remove Johnny Depp From Grindelwald Role

Harry Potter and the larger Wizarding World have been a worldwide sensation for decades, with no signs of slowing. This is largely because J.K. Rowling and company have kept the property going through projects like the Fantastic Beasts movies. But that property hasn't been without drama, most notably over the departure of Grindelwald actor Johnny Depp. And now his co-star Dan Fogler has responded to the studio's difficult decision to part ways with Depp.

Johnny Depp was revealed to be playing Grindelwald during the final moments of the first Fantastic Beasts movie, before getting a meaty role in the first sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald. But Warner Bros. recently decided to recast the role, following Depp's loss at court over his libel case against The Sun. Dan Fogler stars as Jacob Kowalski in the spinoff property, and recently broke his silence on the firing of Johnny Depp, saying:

What’s best for Johnny and what’s best for the film may not be equal. The right decision may not be what’s fair. It’s not simple. I love Johnny and want him to be the best he can be. I selfishly want him at his best if I ever get to work with him again. It’s not my decision. If it was I’d bend over backwards to shoot around him and HOPE production doesn’t come to a screeching halt amidst lock down rules which are already precarious, and pray that we get a decent performance amidst all the stress. That’s a huge gamble some are not willing to take with so much on the line, guilty or innocent- and add on no guarantees and the film needs to be a hit... there’s too many moving parts. Any decision will garner losses... damned if you’s messy.

Well, there you have it. It looks like the decision for Johnny Depp to leave the Fantastic Beasts franchise altogether was complicated, one that was no doubt affected by the pandemic and the threequel's delay in filming. Warner Bros. is gearing up to resume filming for Fantastic Beasts 3, while also making the bold choice to recast Grindelwald for future appearances... while also paying Johnny Depp in full.

Dan Fogler's statement about Johnny Depp leaving Fantastic Beasts 3 come from the comments section of a fan page for the actor. The 44 year-old actor sometimes uses social media to directly communicate with the fans about his work on projects like the Wizarding World and The Walking Dead. And with Warner Bros. cutting ties with Depp for the time being, the public has looked to the cast/crew for any sort of comments about the subject.

Later in the same comments section, Dan Fogler further explained his thoughts on Johnny Depp being asked to leave the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Depp has been making headlines for months over the wild legal battle he's currently having with ex-wife Amber Heard. Both actors have hurled accusations of abuse against each other, which obviously makes the controversy all the more sensitive. Fogler went on to speak of the situation, saying:

I’m by no means an expert in this case obviously but I felt a need to say something since fans were needing some explanation. I felt silence was even worse. I’m human. Do I wish WB had handled this better and informed the cast and gave us proper talking points when asked...? Yup. It’s a big reason why we’re here chatting. And When I say ‘Johnny is a magnificent comet with a messy debris field’ it’s my observation of exactly what I’ve witnessed over the years. I’d say the same about Jack Nicholson or any of the awesome bad boys of entertainment that we love so much, it’s why we love them. It’s Rock& roll. I can’t speak for WB & why they finally decided to let him go. I can only assume all the darkness & chaos swirling around this case finally became a possible liability in their minds & perhaps they felt the stress had taken a toll physically and mentally on JD. Shit it’s hard for me to concentrate on my own work while trying to deal with this issue with you all, I can only imagine how tough it is for Johnny right now.

While not touching on the specifics of the abuse allegations made against both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Dan Fogler simply spoke to how he sees the unprecedented Fantastic Beasts situation from within the Wizarding World. And with plenty more litigation to go for the former couple, Fogler seems to believe the studio cut ties in order to separate the franchise from the actor's interpersonal issues.

These comments by Dan Fogler are particularly notable as there hasn't been many comments from the Fantastic Beasts cast/crew about the shakeup regarding Johnny Depp's role as Grindelwald. And with work continuing on the upcoming third installment in the franchise, it's no doubt a cloud looming above the set. We'll just have to see how production continues.

As for Grindelwald, the role will still have a major presence in Fantastic Beasts 3 despite Johnny Depp's removal from the role. Actor Mads Mikkelsen is expected to take on the role of the magical villain, seeing the world through Grindelwald's mutli-colored eyes. It's a solid choice, but the change of actors is sure to be noticeable when the movie finally hits theaters.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently expected to hit theaters on July 15th, 2022. In the meantime, check out our 2021 release list to plan your trips to the movies next year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.