Mads Mikkelsen Set to Replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3

The “Hannibal” star’s casting comes weeks after Depp was asked to resign in light of his ongoing, lurid and ugly public legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard.

Perhaps hoping to separate the franchise from the increasingly disturbing legal battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Warner Bros. has moved ahead and announced their replacement for Depp in the upcoming third “Fantastic Beasts” movie.

Depp last appeared as Gelbert Grindelwald in the 2016 sequel film “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”

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Now, having filmed only a few scenes as the character before losing a libel suit in the UK over a publication labeling him a “wife beater,” the actor has resigned his role. He will keep his full salary, per The Hollywood Reporter.

On Wednesday, Warner Bros. announced Mads Mikkelsen, who is no stranger to playing darkly compelling villains after three seasons as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is stepping into the role, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Just last week, Mikkelsen was telling IGN that he was still “waiting for that phone call” to confirm rumors that had begun swirling around his name for the key role in the “Harry Potter” prequel series.

It looks like the studio wanted to give him — and fans eager for some sort of closure — a happy holiday with the news (yes, we know the actor is Danish and probably doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving).

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With production already underway on the Covid-delayed film, Mikkelsen will likely have to hit the ground running on this one. Originally slated for release in a year’s time, the film has already been delayed to July 2022.

Depp announced that he had agreed to step down after losing his libel suit, which he intends to appeal, but the studio had reportedly been getting squirmish about his involvement in a family-friendly franchise as more and more details and allegations emerged in his ongoing legal struggles with ex-wife Amber Heard.

Depp and the “Aquaman” star have lobbed detailed allegations of domestic violence at one another, while denying large portions of the other’s claims. Depp, however, did admit to heavy drug use.

Heard remains a part of the “Aquaman” sequel’s cast as of this writing, which has many of Depp’s fans and supporters upset and calling for her dismissal. “Aquaman 2” is also being produced by Warner Bros.

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