The real reason Johnny Depp is dropping out of Fantastic Beasts

Following a legal dispute, Johnny Depp is no longer part of the Harry Potter universe. On Nov. 2, 2020, The New York Times reported he lost his libel battle against The Sun. In 2018, the actor sued the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, for libel. Depp filed the suit after The Sun ran an article that initially carried the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?” (per CNBC). The story alleged Depp was violent toward Amber Heard while they were still married. According to The New York Times, the judge who dismissed the libel case wrote, “I accept that Mr. Depp put her in fear of her life.” The judge also called the paper’s claim “substantially true.” Depp has denied the abuse allegations.

Variety reported In August 2020 that it was rumored Depp’s role in J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts film franchise could be in jeopardy if the verdict did not land in his favor. After the decision in the libel case was reached, and after starring in the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and its sequel The Crimes Of Grindelwald, Depp confirmed that he would no longer appear in the third film. Keep reading to find out how the situation was handled.

Johnny Depp was asked to step down from Fantastic Beasts role

On Nov. 6, 2020, Warner Bros., the studio that produces the Fantastic Beasts films, announced where things stood with the actor who played Grindelwald. “Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise,” the studio’s statement began, per Variety. “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 shared in an Instagram post that he has stepped down from his role in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise after being asked to give up that role. 

Depp wrote that he was “asked to resign by Warner Bros.” and has “respected and agreed to that request.” He also went on to address the judge’s decision. “Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” he continued. “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 has also filed a lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation in the United States over an opinion article that she wrote for The Washington Post. According to Deadline, that trial is set to begin in May 2021.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. You can also find more information, resources, and support at www.thehotline.org.

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