Newt Scamander is back! The third movie in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise has been delayed repeatedly, but the fantasy film, set in the Wizarding World decades before Harry Potter was born, will finally hit theaters in 2022.
The Warner Bros. movie — which is officially titled Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore — will feature some big changes from the previous two chapters, including the recasting of Gellert Grindelwald. Johnny Depp exited the J.K. Rowling-penned franchise in November 2020 after losing a libel suit against Amber Heard. At the time, a judge ruled that he abused Heard throughout their two-year marriage, which ended in 2017. Despite denying the claims, Depp was asked to step down from the role.
“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,” the Sleepy Hollow actor wrote in a statement via Instagram, confirming his exit.
Mads Mikkelsen was announced as Depp’s replacement in November 2020. The Hannibal actor later noted that he wouldn’t copy the original performance, but he wanted the portrayals of Grindelwald to feel similar.
“This is the tricky part. We’re still working it out,” he told Entertainment Weekly in December 2020. “There has to be a bridge between what Johnny did and what I’m going to do. And at the same time, I also have to make it my own. But also we have to find a few links [to the previous version of the character] and some bridges so it doesn’t completely detach from what he’s already masterfully achieved.”
In June 2021, Mikkelsen admitted that he wasn’t sure whether the recasting was “fair” to the Pirates of the Caribbean star, regardless of how much he wanted to be involved in the movie.
“[Warner Bros.] called me and they were obviously in a hurry, and I loved the script so said yes,” the Doctor Strange actor told The Sunday Times at the time. “And I know it was controversial for many people but that’s just the way it plays out once in awhile.”
Though Mikkelsen is a new cast member, expect Fantastic Beasts 3 to include plenty of familiar faces. Actors Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol will be back as the kindhearted quartet fighting for good. The franchise follows them as the evil Grindelwald rises to power, attempting to end magical secrecy and let wizards dominate muggles.
Redmayne, who plays Newt, hasn’t let much slip about the latest installment. However, he revealed that production delays due to COVID-19 pushed some water scenes from summer to winter — much to his dismay.
“I can’t tell you anything other than the fact that I think I’ve got some night shoots in Watford, in Leavesden, [England], that we were meant to shoot in the summer in water,” Redmayne told Variety in January 2021. “But now obviously because of lockdown, and the film shutdown, they’re being shot in early December. And suddenly you find yourself swimming outdoors in British winter.”
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