Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard just came off a long year in court in London, where the Pirates of the Caribbean actor made his libel case regarding words claiming that he had assaulted Heard. The verdict decided on in early November was a major loss for Depp, not only because it led to a victor for The Sun, but also because it led the actor to lose his role of Grindelwald in the Harry Potter spinoff series, Fantastic Beasts. And the exes are nowhere close to being finished with their own legal battle.

Amber Heard’s defamation case against Johnny Depp is seeking to move forward later this year in Virginia state court. This case will focus on a countersuit filed by Aquaman’s Mera actress regarding her claims that her ex-husband deployed social media bots against her, in direct violation of Virginia's Computer Crimes Act, in order to ruin her career. Heard's team believes that Depp interfered with endorsements and acting gigs meant to come her way after she made public claims about their marriage.

The case will be challenged by Johnny Depp and his team, namely his attorney Adam Waldman, who called Heard’s case a “hoax,” per the court documents (via THR). Back in 2019, Depp alleged that Heard’s team releasing pictures of her swollen face a “hoax” and used the phrasing again last year when discussing her claims of assault. Depp’s team claims that Heard lying about being a victim of domestic violence and part of the #MeToo movements are also grounds for Heard’s defamation case. The Virginia state court has already rejected his bid for immunity over these “hoax” statements.

The most recent libel case had Johnny Depp challenging The Sun’s claims about alleged domestic violence in their relationship and it was not ruled in his favor. Due to the court’s decision, Depp has already been replaced in his role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts. Hannibal and Doctor Strange actor Mads Mikkelsen has been cast as the saga's villain across from Jude Law’s younger Dumbledore continues with its third installment.

Johnny Depp had just begun filming Fantastic Beasts 3 when the ruling was made, having reportedly only filmed one scene before being removed from the project. The actor reportedly did leave the Warner Bros. project with the full salary he’d been granted for the film. That paycheck may be eaten up in legal fees if Amber Heard wins this upcoming case, where she’s asked for $100 million in damages. For his part in the suit, Depp has sued for $50 million.

Amber Heard recently finished reshoots on Zack Snyder’s Justice League which is expected to hit HBO Max in the first half of this year. The third Fantastic Beasts movie is still filming and scheduled to be released on July 15, 2022.

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