Warner Bros Pictures has confirmed Casino Royale star Mads Mikkelsen will take over the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from Johnny Depp in the third Fantastic Beasts film.
Depp stepped down from the role after losing his high-profile libel case against the Sun newspaper over an article which labelled him a “wife beater”.
Danish actor Mikkelsen, 54, rose to prominence as shady banker Le Chiffre opposite Daniel Craig in his debut 2006 Bond film.
He also played Dr Hannibal Lecter in the television series Hannibal, and starred opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange.
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Known for playing villains, Mikkelsen has also shown great range playing more sympathetic characters in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt and the forthcoming Another Round.
In the Harry Potter universe, Grindelwald is an immensely powerful evil wizard, who is regarded as second only to Voldemort.
Depp, 57, said he was asked to step down from the franchise by Warner Bros following his legal defeat. He was refused permission to appeal against the judgement last week, but has been given until 7 December to apply directly to the Court of Appeal.
Warner Bros has given Fantastic Beasts 3 a release date of July 2022. Production is under way in the UK, having been disrupted first by the pandemic and then by the uncertainty caused by Depp’s trial.
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Eddie Redmayne plays Newt Scamander in the film while Jude Law stars as Albus Dumbledore.
Mads Mikkelsen’s next film Another Round, directed by Thomas Vinterberg, was recently named Best Film at the London Film Festival. Its release was delayed by the latest England lockdown.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is scheduled to be released on July 15, 2022.