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Johnny Depp has been removed from the 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise

Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts.
Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Several years ago, Johnny Depp and then-wife Amber Heard had a nasty divorce after the actress alleged that Depp had hit and otherwise abused her throughout their relationship. After she won a settlement in said divorce ($7mil, to be exact) Heard donated the money to the American Civil Liberties Union - a charity that battles violence against women - and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Not something someone making things up for the money would do, and yet, Depp still spent all this time trying to refute the charges. 

During that process, fans cried out against his involvement in The Fantastic Beasts franchise. For those unfamiliar with his role, Grindelwald is a wizard capable of changing his appearance. It would have been easy enough to shift the character back to its original actor, Colin Farrell, but producers declined. At the time, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling was still in the good graces of her fans. Rowling shocked many when she, a victim of abuse herself, defended Depp and his place in the film. 

The irony here is that had Depp simply let this all drop and gotten the help he clearly needs, he'd still be a part of the franchise. However, after the actor lost his libel suit against Britain's Sun newspaper, Warner Bros. was presumably forced to finally acknowledge the charges and asked Depp to resign from his role. He obliged, but not before posting a letter about continuing to fight to prove his innocence on his social media. 

As of now the teams with Fantastic Beasts haven't announced who will be taking the role. Presumably, it will return to Colin Farrell should the actor decide to return. We'll be watching for confirmations in the coming weeks. 

Amelia Emberwing

Amelia Emberwing is the Entertainment Editor and lead critic here at What to Watch. She survives on a steady IV of caffeine, rants, pixie dust and fangirling, and will probably sass you. You can find her on Rotten Tomatoes as an individually approved critic. She's also a member of the Television Critics Association and GALECA.