Mads Mikkelsen to replace Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3 | Ents & Arts News

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is to replace Johnny Depp as the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the third Fantastic Beasts film, Warner Bros has announced.

Depp was forced to quit the role after losing his libel trial against The Sun earlier this month.

It comes after a judge refused him permission to appeal against the ruling, which found claims he assaulted ex-wife Amber Heard to be “substantially true”.

Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - 2018. Pic: Warner Bros
Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Pic: Warner Bros

Mikkelsen is known for his role as serial killer Hannibal Lecter in US television series Hannibal.

The 55-year-old has made his name playing villains, such as Le Chiffre in Bond movie Casino Royale and Kaecilius in Marvel film Doctor Strange.

He has also starred in Danish dramas such as The Hunt and A Royal Affair.

Grindelwald was played by Depp in the first and second films in the series and he had been due to reprise the role in the third Harry Potter spin-off.

Depp had only shot one scene in the new movie, according to Variety, meaning re-shoots should be minimal.

Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. Pic: Eon/Danjaq/Sony/Kobal/Shutterstock
Mikkelsen in Casino Royale. Pic: Eon/Danjaq/Sony/Kobal/Shutterstock

It was the 57-year-old’s involvement in the franchise that led to the court case.

He sued News Group Newspapers Ltd over a story which questioned JK Rowling’s judgement in casting him, with the article labelling him a “wife beater”.

The three-week trial in July heard evidence from Depp and Heard about their volatile marriage.

After losing the case, Depp revealed he had been asked to resign by Warner Bros and that he had agreed.

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The third movie in the series – which has been delayed due to COVID-19 and the Depp court case – is set for release in July 2022.

Filming is now under way in the UK, with Eddie Redmayne starring again as Newt Scamander, Jude Law playing a young Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter author JK Rowling co-writing the script.

The movie – which will be set in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil – is directed by David Yates, who oversaw four Harry Potter movies and the first two Fantastic Beasts films.

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