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Mads Mikkelsen in Early Talks to Replace Johnny Depp in 'Fantastic Beasts'

Mads Mikkelsen and Johnny Depp
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
The film is currently in production and is due to hit theaters in July 15, 2022.

Less than a week after the announcement of Johnny Depp's departure, Warner Bros. is in early talks with Mads Mikkelsen to replace Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

The movie, directed by David Yates, is currently in production and stars Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne as Albus Dumbledore and Newt Scamander. Depp played the central villain, Gellert Grindelwald, a role that needs to be filled quickly in order to make the movie's new July 2022 release date.

Grindelwald is a dangerous wizard who has a romantic relationship with Dumbledore. The character was also played by Colin Farrell in 2016's Fantastic Beasts film, with the wizard going under another identity. He was later revealed as Grindelwald, with Depp taking on the role at the end of the first film in the series and acting as the main foil for the franchise's second installment in 2018.

Depp's ousting comes after the actor lost a libel suit in the U.K. against News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun. Depp sued the U.K.-based publisher for defamation over an April 17, 2018, article headlined "How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?"

Warner Bros. asked the actor to leave the role, with Depp writing in an Instagram post Nov. 6 that he agreed to resign. (It was later revealed by The Hollywood Reporter that Depp had shot one scene of the third installment before being asked to leave, but will still be paid his full salary.)

Mikkelsen has worked across film and television, with credits that include playing Hannibal Lecter in Bryan Fuller's Hannibal, Marvel's Doctor Strange, and James Bond installment Casino Royale. He can currently be seen in Danish film Another Round released via StudioCanal.

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