Please grab the nearest smelling salts and/or the closest glass of water for a comically large spit-take, because I am here to report that another upcoming blockbuster has shifted its release date. A THR report reveals that the third Fantastic Beasts film has moved from November 12, 2021 to July 15, 2022. The schedule swap comes in the wake of Johnny Depp stepping down from the role of Gellert Grindelwald at the request of Warner Bros., which is known to most common muggles as “getting fired.”
Fantastic Beasts 3 had already been on hold due to the COVID pandemic when a U.K. judge dismissed Depp’s defamation claims against The Sun—which had referred to the actor as a “wife-beater” in print—opening up the door for an even more substantial PR nightmare for the studio. Depp is also still on the docket for a defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard in Virginia, which would have furthered interfered with the Fantastic Beasts 3 filming schedule. The report notes that Warner Bros. is still on the hook for Depp’s entire salary, thus fulfilling the dream of getting paid eight figures to not appear in a Fantastic Beasts movie.
Depp himself announced the news of his departure on Instagram, where he posted this statement:
Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted us 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.
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.
The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that 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.