Home Entertainment Johnny Depp asked to resign from Fantastic Beasts franchise

Johnny Depp asked to resign from Fantastic Beasts franchise

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Johnny Depp will not be playing the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the upcoming third entry of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. The actor took to Instagram over the weekend past to announce the surprising news. In his social media post, Depp revealed that “I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and I have respected and agreed to that request”. The role will be recast while the still-untiled third Fantastic Beasts film has now been delayed from November 2021 to mid-2022.

Depp’s exit from the Harry Potter prequel/spinoff franchise comes just days after him losing a libel case against British tabloid The Sun (via Variety) over a 2018 article in which they referred to Depp as a “wife-beater”. This was in relation to his messy divorce with Amber Heard which became public in 2016. As their matrimonial fiasco kicked into high gear, Heard made some shocking accusations about Depp’s behaviour, prompting The Sun to write their article.

While things looked dire for Depp’s career at the time (this was right in the peak of the #MeToo movement, as well), WB, director David Yates, and Harry Potter creator/Fantastic Beasts screenwriter JK Rowling all defended the actor, citing inside knowledge about affairs. Over time, as the divorce case dragged on with more mudslinging becoming public, it appeared that while Depp hadn’t been the model husband due to his substance abuse issues, he had mostly been the aggrieved party. Damning evidence came to light revealing that Heard had fabricated some of her more serious accusations and had also been the abusive one in the relationship.

With that in mind, Depp losing the libel case was already unexpected, with the judge ruling that The Sun’s description was justified as the actor’s behaviour had left Heard “in fear of her life”. Whether you agree with that description is moot now as WB has already pulled the trigger, clearly wanting to distance itself from what they feel will be a problematic personality. Which makes absolutely no sense.

If there had ever been a time for the studio to dump Depp, it would have been a few years ago when this mess began and Depp “looked” very guilty. Instead, they chose to stay with him until he was reportedly shown to be innocent and then kicked him to the curb. And yet, WB is still standing by Heard, who is currently still cast as Mera in the inevitable Aquaman sequel and just got called back a few weeks ago to do additional reshoots on Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

On top of all of this, WB has also not spoken out against JK Rowling. At the start of the Fantastic Beasts films, the author had already begun to wear thin the patience of fans with post-release tweaks and reveals of Harry Potter characters that were labeled as queer-baiting. However, things truly turned nasty when Rowling made a series of transphobic statements on social media that drew ire from around the world. This resulted in several key members of the Harry Potter film cast publicly admonishing Rowling’s statements and distancing themselves from her. When a recent Harry Potter video game was unveiled, development studio Warner Bros. Games even made sure to stipulate that Rowling was not involved in any way. She was rapidly being canceled by the internet, and yet WB didn’t say a thing and will now be going ahead with the Rowling-penned third Fantastic Beasts film.

It’s at this point that we have to ask, “Why?”. 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a solid and entertaining enough start to this prequel series, with that film’s final moments revealing that Colin Farrell’s mysterious Percival Graves had actually been Depp’s evil Gellert Grindelwald in magical disguise the entire time. On the other hand, 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which saw Depp take centre stage as the primary baddie, received iffy reviews and ended up being the lowest-earning entry in the entire Wizarding World film franchise. Combined with the stink around Rowling (not to mention more controversy with cast member Ezra Miller), why is WB not just pulling the plug on this whole thing? Folks barely cared about The Crimes of Grindelwald and by the time the third film drops it would be a gap of nearly four years, killing the tiny bit of momentum the franchise had.

Not to mention having to go through the hassle now of recasting the role of Grindelwald. The easy fix would just be to go back to Farrell (who was, admittedly, superb), using some kind of magical mumbo jumbo to explain his regression back to his disguised form. But again… Why? All this effort is not worth this franchise. Especially not if WB is just going to dance around the big problem of Rowling’s involvement, killing off more goodwill than they’ve just done by getting rid of Depp.

Last Updated: November 10, 2020

21 Comments

  1. Gavin Mannion

    November 9, 2020 at 08:32

    I’ve not stayed up to date with the Libel lawsuit so won’t say who is guilty.

    But generally if it’s in The S*n it’s complete garbage and that sad excuse for a newspaper needs to be dragged out and shot in the street for the benefit of mankind. If you thought Trump was bad you haven’t seen anything yet…

    Reply

    • MechMachine

      November 9, 2020 at 09:29

      Yeah, the whole thing is tabloid fodder.

      Reply

    • Kenn Gibson

      November 9, 2020 at 10:22

      What? the I was convinced that The S*n was Pulitzer prize worthy news content, and a pillar of journalistic integrity! ?

      Reply

  2. For the Emperor!

    November 9, 2020 at 08:36

    Hollywood is full of hypocrisy..

    Reply

    • cloudzn

      November 9, 2020 at 10:07

      Not just Hollywood, it’s a common thing but it hardly makes the news

      Reply

  3. DapperWoef

    November 9, 2020 at 09:15

    Maybe all this drama could have been avoided if they let him play Mera like he wanted to.

    Reply

  4. cloudzn

    November 9, 2020 at 09:19

    Welcome to 2020, where actual evidence is meaningless.

    Reply

  5. SagatatiaRZA

    November 9, 2020 at 09:19

    This sadly isn’t a rare case… At all. When men come out with stories of being abused, the penny often drops just like this. Clearly Depp isn’t even close to a role model, but he was repeated lyabused by his wife and lost the case (and a gig in the process). If I’m being selfish, this is good for the franchise because I hated him in that role, but ethically this is just messed up.

    Reply

  6. MechMachine

    November 9, 2020 at 09:24

    If anyone cares. This is from lawyer who followed the case, who I followed, and broke it all down into chunks that were easily digestible.

    Reply

  7. MechMachine

    November 9, 2020 at 10:50

    Screw it, This is bugging me. This, in my opinion, is problematic. Your article talks about canceling people as if it’s par for the course, yet it makes not mention of the fact that millions have enjoyed the work that person has created. I`m not sure when modern society reached a point where it decided that we can just tell another human being they are not ok just because they had a bad take, or they might not agree with the trending consensus, but the thing that makes us human is diversity of thought.

    This Johnny Depp situation is a joke. he’s been around for a long time, he’s had the mother of his children come out and speak on his behalf and a host of other female celebrities who have been around a lot longer say he is a gentlemen. I just think this situation is wrong. It feels wrong. This judgement feels like an injustice to me. And I wrote Depp off completely at the start, when the accusation first started.

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      November 9, 2020 at 14:05

      I couldn’t have said it better… Please take this upvote. https://media1.giphy.com/media/eunrMjB8lBUKeL1fqD/giphy.gif

      Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      November 9, 2020 at 14:11

      I think a lot of us initially sided with Amber Heard, because cases of spousal abuse against men are so rare, and as sad as it sounds, for the most part it’s not taken seriously.

      However, the more you read about it, the more the evidence started to mount (with the recordings that were released), it really became apparent that Heard wasn’t the victim, and that the reality was a lot more complicated. You could probably argue that their whole relationship was toxic, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that she was physically, emotionally and psychologically abusive to him.

      Reply

      • MechMachine

        November 9, 2020 at 14:21

        The way I see it, it seemed like a toxic relationship. What I find very disturbing is the lack of accountability on Heard’s part. But having said all that, I suppose it’s hard for me to see her side as I am adamant she is at fault.

        Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      November 10, 2020 at 08:57

      Just to clarify, I wasn’t calling for the “canceling” of anybody. The point I was trying to make is that this is what has been happening on the internet in regards to JK Rowling and WB didn’t say a thing, but they are willing to basically fire Depp coz of a single lost court case against a dodgy tabloid. The responses just don’t add up at all.

      And yes, I was also in the same boat as you were initially, looking at Depp as the villain in this piece as so many did. But while I won’t paint him as an angel thanks to his lifestyle choices, in the case of matrimonial abuse he certainly looks innocent.

      Reply

      • MechMachine

        November 10, 2020 at 09:29

        I wasn’t saying you did, I was pointing out that society is so at ease with cancel culture.

        Reply

  8. BradeLunner

    November 9, 2020 at 10:51

    Man this is soooo like 2020.

    Reply

  9. Insomnia is fun

    November 9, 2020 at 11:53

    This is some bullshit.

    Reply

  10. Insomnia is fun

    November 9, 2020 at 11:59

    So Amber can continue her career like nothings happened. ??????????

    Reply

    • Chris Summers

      November 9, 2020 at 13:25

      “Career”

      Reply

      • Insomnia is fun

        November 9, 2020 at 13:51

        ??

        Reply

  11. Graham Mountifield

    November 10, 2020 at 00:05

    A typically liberal MSM view being sold as dogma.
    How very 1984.

    Reply

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