A major studio is casting out Johnny Depp. In an Instagram post, Depp revealed that Warner Bros. has asked him to leave the role of Grindelwald from the Fantastic Beasts movie series and that he has acquiesced. The request came after a judge in the United Kingdom ruled against Depp in a defamation case against News Group Newspapers Ltd., owner of British tabloid The Sun, which called him a “wife-beater” in an article about his violent marriage to Amber Heard. Heard will be keeping her job portraying Mera in Aquaman 2, despite similar accusations against her and an ongoing legal case being held in Virginia. As you can imagine, fans are not pleased, and you can check the comments in Depp’s Instagram post for a glimpse of their ire. (Screen Goddess Elizabeth Hurley showed her support with a like as well, and as Vanessa Kensington goes, so goes my… loyalty.)
This is a real shame. I haven’t seen the Fantastic Beasts movies, as Harry Potter isn’t really my thing, but I hate to see Johnny Depp lose a job over something that, at the very least, he hasn’t been convicted of in court. How Warner Bros. will go about removing Depp from the upcoming films is not known yet. There were rumors that both his and Heard’s parts in their respective movies have been whittled down to prepare for bad publicity from their legal disputes; maybe this is true, and Grindelwald is being written out of the next Fantastic Beasts movie. I don’t’ see how that could happen, though; he’s the main villain of the series, right? Wouldn’t that be like writing Thanos out of Avengers: Endgame? I think it’s more likely that they recast him, and his limited role in the next movie would aid in that too; it’ll be easier to replace an actor with a handful of scenes than one who’s in the bulk of the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if his appearances don’t feature a whole lot of special effects, either. (“Wait till you wizards get a load of my Sitting Down and Eating Breakfast Spell!”) This won’t be easy, though; people love Johnny Depp, and I imagine he’s a big draw for these pictures – although maybe not as big as “Harry Potter Presents” or however they link it to the main series. Whether Warner Bros. is an outlier, or this is the first domino to fall, remains to be seen. Will Disney use this as an excuse to jettison Captain Jack Sparrow and move forward with their Lady Pirates of the Caribbean reboot? I hope not; I may be the last one on Earth, but I still really like those movies, and Captain Jack is the main reason. This is true for all the series’ fans; Jack Sparrow is Pirates of the Caribbean, and Johnny Depp is Jack Sparrow. But Disney does a lot of dumb things these days, so I guess we should brace ourselves.
What do you think about Johnny Depp being asked to step back from playing Grindelwald? Will he lose more roles? Can a team-up with Mel Gibson be far behind? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to Geeks + Gamers for more movie news!