Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been chosen to replace Johnny Depp in the upcoming third film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Warner Bros said on Wednesday.
Mikkelsen, 55, who is known for his role as serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the U.S. television series Hannibal, will play the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the spinoff movie from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
The movie, due for release on July 15, 2022, is currently in production at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, near London. It also features Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler and Ezra Miller among many others.
Depp debuted as Grindelwald at the end of the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie but played a much larger part in the second instalment, which charts the wizard’s rise. He was forced to exit the role earlier this month after losing a libel case in Britain against The Sun newspaper that branded him a “wife-beater.”
The three-week trial in July heard evidence from Depp and his former wife Amber Heard about a tempestuous marriage marked by violence on both sides and of heavy drinking by Depp. On November 6, the actor wrote in a statement posted on Instagram that he had been asked by Warner Bros. to resign from the role.