Considering that J.K. Rowling has outed herself as a full-throated transphobe this past year, Warner Bros. would be wise to just give up the Fantastic Beasts franchise, which hasn’t been going that well anyway, and quietly rake in more Harry Potter money from other revenue streams while giving Rowling as little attention as possible. But it looks like Fantastic Beasts will continue. Thankfully, it is rectifying another one of the mistakes they made.
Johnny Depp has announced that he is leaving the Fantastic Beasts franchise after Warner Bros. “asked him to resign” (aka, they fired him but gave him the choice of leaving peacefully) following a negative ruling against the actor in his domestic abuse case with ex-wife Amber Heard. What’s baffling is that Warner Bros. even bothered to hire Depp in the first place since he was already in the midst of these allegations when filming commenced, and it’s not like he was even as much of a box office draw by that point. But for two movies, Warner Bros. hemmed and hawed and tried to stand by Depp, and only now are they deciding to cut their losses.
Since Warner Bros. seems intent on continuing the Fantastic Beasts franchise despite waning interest from fans and the toxicity Rowling’s name now carries, we’re left to wonder who the studio will recast in the role. Why they didn’t simply stick with Colin Farrell is kind of baffling since he’s a great actor and doesn’t carry the baggage of someone like Depp, but now casting likely begins anew.
Filming on Fantastic Beasts 3 will probably begin sometime next year, but again it would be better to let these prequel series die rather than diminish the strength of the Harry Potter brand with weak movies that no one seems to particularly care about. I had hoped that The Crimes of Grindelwald would change the franchise’s fortunes, but I also hoped that Rowling wouldn’t be bigoted towards trans people. We don’t always get what we want.
Here’s Depp’s statement from his Instagram: