Mads Mikkelsen could replace Johnny Depp in the third movie of the Fantastic Beasts series, with director David Yates reportedly favoring the decision as production looks to continue on the Harry Potter spinoff.
Mikkelsen is in talks to take over the role of Grindelwald next to film leads Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, and Jude Law. Fantastic Beasts 3 is set for a Summer 2022 release after being delayed from its original premiere date of November 2021.
The Hannibal star is said to be on top of the list of actors currently considered for the role, as first reported by Deadline. This would be his first project alongside Yates if he were to be cast.
Depp withdrew from his role as Grindelwald after Warner Bros. requested he step down. Depp is coming out of an entrenched legal battle that resulted in a UK judge dismissing his claims of defamation against the publisher of The Sun.
The publication referred to the actor as a “wife beater” in published works, leading to a libel suit that Depp ultimately lost.
While he wasn’t directly fired from Fantastic Beasts 3, he was asked to resign and soon complied, paving way for the studio to start looking for a speedy replacement.
If Mikkelsen were to be hired, production on the film would have almost a clean slate to work with seeing as Depp reportedly shot a single scene. Of course, this means Depp will have his negotiated salary for Fantastic Beasts 3 paid in full.
Although he had a five-picture deal, Depp will now stand aside for the next actor to step in and complete Grindelwald’s story in Fantastic Beasts 4 & 5.
Due to the urgency of shooting schedules in these times and for the sake of continuity, it’s presumed that the replacement actor will be signed for the remaining films as well.
Mikkelsen has just completed his role in 2021’s Chaos Walking, and is tapped for another role in The Billion Dollar Spy that is currently in pre-production.
The Fantastic Beasts franchise is less than halfway complete, and will need to fill one of the lead roles as soon as possible to resume production.