Fantastic Beasts 3 Release Date Pushed Back As Johnny Depp Is Forced Out

The Harry Potter spin-off series loses its villain.

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Johnny Depp, who played the role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, has announced that he is being forced to step down from the role. Depp appeared at the end of 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find and starred in 2018's follow-up The Crimes of Grindelwald. Now, the movie is being pushed back. The role of Grindelwald will be recast, with someone already being eyed to take over.

Warner Bros. has released a statement (via Deadline) on Depp's exit from Fantastic Beasts 3, and even though the movie is in production, it will be now pushed back to 2022. "We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022."

Depp took to Instagram to announce he'd be leaving the franchise saying, "In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement. Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days. Secondly, I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. for my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beats and I have respected and agreed to that request. Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time. Thank you for reading."

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The past few months have been trying for the actor, as he's gone to court in the UK, in a libel trial against The Sun over a story which alleged Depp was a "wife beater" from 2018. On November 2, Depp lost the case, but he plans on appealing.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is expected to hit theaters on November 12, 2021. The film will see the returns of Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander and Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore. Depp was going to return as Grindelwald, but that is no longer the case. It's unclear at this time how Depp's exit will affect production and the story of the upcoming movie.

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