Well, it’s official, Mads Mikkelsen will replace Johnny Depp as the villain Gellert Grindelwald in “Fantastic Beasts 3.” It’s certainly an upgrade for the franchise, especially all the drama surrounding Johnny Depp and his various libel lawsuits against media outlets and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Still, it’s debatable if it’s an upgrade for the Danish actor himself (then again, after Marvel and “Star Wars,” maybe he’s turning into a franchise guy).
Warners confirmed the news in a press release yesterday. The movie recently moved its original release date of November 12, 2021, to summer 2022. The cast led by Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Jude Law is already shooting.
Mikkelsen made his name starring in Danish films like Nicolas Winding Refn‘s “Pusher” trilogy, “Open Hearts” (2002), “The Green Butchers” (2003), and the Academy Award-winning “After the Wedding” (2006). In North America, his star has ascended by appearing in films like “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Marvel’s “Doctor Strange,” NBC‘s “Hannibal,” and “Casino Royale.“
Warner Bros. asked Depp to resign from the film in early November, and he complied, following the loss of a legal battle against a British tabloid. Despite this, Depp is still being paid for the whole film thanks to a pay to play deal he struck with the studio upon joining the franchise initially.
The role of Grindelwald, as imagined in “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them” was originally played by Colin Farrell, who was already a good choice of casting, before inexplicably revealing that he was but a disguise by Depp’s actual Grindelwald. Mikkelsen’s history of playing seductive villains makes him a much more obvious choice to play the evil wizard that terrorized Europe long before Voldemort appeared and captured Dumbledore’s heart.
The first two “Fantastic Beast” films were released in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Collectively, the two films earned $1.4 billion at the global box office. Author/creator and ‘Fantastic Beasts’ screenwriter J.K. Rowling hopes to make five films in total. David Yates will continue to direct the franchise and the latest installment of “Fantastic Beasts” features an ensemble cast led by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Callum Turner, William Nadylam, Poppy Corby-Tuech, Jessica Williams, Victoria Yeates, and two-time Oscar nominee Jude Law (“Cold Mountain,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley”). “Fantastic Beasts 3′ is now scheduled for a July 15, 2022 release.