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Johnny Depp quits Fantastic Beasts franchise after losing libel case

Johnny Depp quits Fantastic Beasts franchise after losing libel case
© Reuters
Johnny Depp announces that he has exited the Fantastic Beasts film franchise after being "asked to resign" by the studio.

Johnny Depp has revealed that he has been "asked to resign" from his role as wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

The 57-year-old suffered a potentially career-ending loss in the UK courts earlier this week after he unsuccessfully attempted to sue The Sun newspaper for libel over an article alleging that he had beaten his ex-wife Amber Heard.

The ruling effectively gave credence to the newspaper's claims and led to intense pressure over Depp's role in the Harry Potter prequel series, which is currently filming the third of its intended five movies.

In a statement, Warner Bros confirmed Depp's exit and said that the character will be recast.

"Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date," it said.

"Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast."

Commenting on the development, a personal statement from Depp said: "In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement.

"Firstly I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.

"Secondly, 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 that and agreed to that request.

"Finally I wish to say this, The surreal judgement of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.

"My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time."

Warner Bros also confirmed a new delay to Fantastic Beasts 3, which is now set for release in Summer 2022.


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