Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen is set to replace Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3, it has been reported.
According to Deadline, Mikkelsen is in talks to join the cast of the third instalment of the JK Rowling-scripted fantasy series, which had been derailed by the failure of Depp’s libel action against the Sun. Depp said he had been “asked to resign” by Warner Bros, the producing studio, and had left the project.
Mikkelsen is reportedly director David Yates’s first choice for the role of Grindelwald, the “dark wizard” who was the chief antagonist of the second film in the series Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Colin Farrell, who played Grindelwald in the first Fantastic Beasts film, was unable to be seriously considered due to commitments on the new Batman film, in which he is playing the Penguin.
Depp is reported to have completed only one scene, making his replacement relatively straightforward. The film’s shooting schedule was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, delayed from its original start date in March 2020 to October. The projected release date of the film has also been put back from November 2020 to July 2022.