Johnny Depp leaves Fantastic Beasts franchise as he breaks silence on libel defeat

Actor confirmed that he had been asked to ‘resign’ from Harry Potter spin-off by Warner Bros

Adam White
Friday 06 November 2020 18:41 GMT
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - trailer
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Johnny Depp will no longer appear in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and has announced his intention to appeal the verdict of his libel trial against The Sun.

The actor confirmed on Instagram that he had been asked to resign from the Harry Potter spin-off series by film studio Warner Bros, and will “respect and agree to that request”.

Depp portrayed the villainous Gellert Grindelwald in the JK Rowling-scripted films, with the third film in the series currently in production.

Depp wrote the new statement on his Instagram, which he said was inspired by “recent events”.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty”, he wrote. “I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.

“Secondly, 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.”

Depp also confirmed that he plans to appeal the verdict in his libel trial, which saw the actor suing The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers and the paper’s executive editor Dan Wootton. Wootton had referred to Depp as a “wife beater” in a column, following allegations of domestic violence made against the actor by his ex-wife Amber Heard.

“The surreal judgment of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” Depp wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Depp as Grindelwald in 2018’s ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’

Depp denied ever being violent to Heard, but a verdict at London’s Royal Court of Justice declared that what Wootton had written was “substantially true”. Depp’s claim was therefore dismissed.

Depp’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, called the ruling “perverse” and “bewildering”.

Rowling previously defended Depp’s involvement in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, despite allegations of domestic violence made against him.

“Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting, but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies,” Rowling said in 2017.

It is currently unclear who will replace Depp in the role.

The third as yet untitled Fantastic Beasts film will be released in 2022, Warner Bros has confirmed.

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