Mads Mikkelsen Officially Takes Over Johnny Depp's 'Fantastic Beasts' Role

Johnny Depp stepped down from the film earlier this month, after losing a libel lawsuit involving his ex-wife Amber Heard

Mads Mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen. Photo: Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has officially replaced Johnny Depp as the wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3.

Depp stepped down from the film earlier this month, after losing a libel lawsuit involving his ex-wife Amber Heard. E! News confirmed Wednesday that Mikkelsen had taken over the Fantastic Beasts role.

Mikkelsen, 54, will be the third actor to portray the wizard in the film franchise, following Colin Farrell in the first film (who played a disguised version of the villain) and Depp, 57, who played the role in a portion of the first film as well as in the second.

The Fantastic Beasts films are a spinoff of the Harry Potter series and follow Magizoologist Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne), a young Albus Dumbledore (played by Jude Law), and Grindelwald more than 60 years before the events of the original book/film series.

On Nov. 6, Depp took to Instagram to post a letter announcing that he had agreed to step down from the villainous role days after losing his U.K. libel case against The Sun newspaper.

"In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement," Depp wrote. "Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me 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."

He continued, "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 had sued The Sun over a story that described him as a "wife-beater" during his marriage to Amber Heard, allegations of which surfaced in 2016.

Despite those claims, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling vehemently defended Depp and his casting in the franchise in 2017.

RELATED: Johnny Depp Agrees to Resign from Fantastic Beasts Role After Losing 'Wife Beater' Libel Case

And though the actor has left the film franchise, Depp will reportedly still receive his full eight-figure salary, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

THR reported that Depp, who had only shot one scene in the film since the start of its production, had a "pay-or-play contract" with no "morality clause," and is therefore able to receive his full salary regardless of the film being recast.

The third installment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is slated to debut in theaters in July 2022, with the franchise ultimately intended to comprise five films.

Mikkelsen has previously starred in a host of box office hits, including Casino Royale, Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The actor also portrayed Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the television drama series Hannibal.

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