Johnny Depp as Grindelwald
Warner Bros.

Johnny Depp Is Leaving The ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Franchise, He Confirmed

A big change is coming to the Harry Potter universe. Johnny Depp is leaving the Fantastic Beasts franchise, he confirmed in an Instagram post on Nov. 6. He will no longer play the role of Gellert Grindelwald after he was asked to leave by Warner Bros., the production company behind the movie series.

The news comes days after Depp lost his libel case against News Group Newspapers, publisher of Britain's The Sun, over a 2018 article alleging he was a “wife beater.” Depp wrote on Instagram:

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. 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 and agreed to that request.

He went on to address the lawsuit and the allegations against him regarding his his ex-wife Amber Heard, saying:

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.

Warner Bros. confirmed Depp's statement and revealed the role of Grindelwald will be recast. The company's statement reads:

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 theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.

Depp first played Grindelwald in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and then took on a larger role in the sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald. No further re-casting news as been announced yet, but it's clear the next installment of Fantastic Beasts will look different.