Johnny Depp has resigned from the Fantastic Beasts films the request of Warner Bros, the studio which produces the Harry Potter spin-off series.
The actor announced the news on his official Instagram page in the wake of his failed libel case against The Sun newspaper which labelled him a ‘wife beater’.
The 57-year-old Edward Scissorhands star played dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and was expected to return for the third film, which is in production now.
Warner Bros. will recast the role of Grindelwald, it has announced.
“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. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected that and agreed to that request.
“Finally I wish to say this.
“The surreal judgement of the court in the UK 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.
“Sincerely Johnny Depp.”
Warner Bros said that the role of Grindelwald in the films would be recast following news that Johnny Depp will stand down from the role.
In a statement, the film studio said: “Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. 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 theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022.”
Depp’s casting in the Fantastic Beasts films caused some consternation amongst fans when it first revealed in 2016 in the wake of his divorce from Amber Heard, and JK Rowling issued a statement in his defence in 2017.
“Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies,” the author wrote on her blog.
“I’ve loved writing the first two screenplays and I can’t wait for 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.”
Depp sued The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article which referred to “overwhelming evidence” that the actor attacked ex-wife Amber Heard during their relationship.
In a ruling on Monday, Mr Justice Nicol dismissed the Pirates Of The Caribbean star’s claim, saying NGN had proved what was in the article to be “substantially true”.
In an April 2018 column in The Sun, Mr Wootton asked how Harry Potter author JK Rowling could be “genuinely happy” that Mr Depp had been cast in the latest film in the Fantastic Beasts spin-off franchise amid the allegations by Ms Heard.
Mr Depp denied having been violent to Ms Heard, and claimed the article included quotes from alleged victims of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein in order to “finish his career” by linking the allegations against him to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
Watch: Johnny Depp in the trailer for Fantastic Beasts