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After Johnny Depp won his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, many are wondering what the future will look like for the actor. Some of his fans want him to return to the Fantastic Beasts franchise as Gellert Grindelwald. Mads Mikkelsen, who replaced Johnny Depp as Grindelwald, responds to this speculation, saying it’s possible that he could return. 

Mads Mikkelsen replaced Johnny Depp in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise

Mads Mikkelsen, who replaced Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts, attends a photocall for the 75th annual Cannes film festival
Mads Mikkelsen | Dominique Charriau/WireImage

Depp’s career experienced a setback after Heard published a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that accused him of domestic violence. After the Pirates of the Caribbean star lost a libel lawsuit against the sun, he also lost his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise as Grindelwald. Johnny Depp played the villain in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and in The Crimes of Grindelwald.

After Depp lost the role, Mads Mikkelsen stepped into the role for The Secrets of Dumbledore. While the movie was not a huge hit with critics and audiences, many enjoyed Mikkelsen’s performance, with some saying it was better than Depp’s. 

Mikkelsen responds to Depp possibly coming back to the role

In June 2022, the jury ruled in favor of Depp, leading to him winning his defamation lawsuit against Heard. Since then, Depp is already starting to make a comeback. He recently signed a multi-year campaign deal with Dior and he is now set to direct his first movie in 25 years, which he is co-producing with Al Pacino. 

With Depp’s comeback on the rise, Mikkelsen addressed his potential return to Fantastic Beasts. In an interview with Deadline, Mikkelsen responded to this possibility, saying that it might happen. He also talked about his experience with replacing Depp, saying he made sure to not copy the actor and put his own spin on Grindelwald. 

“It was very intimidating,” Mikkelsen said. “Obviously, well, now the course has changed—he won the suit, the court [case]—so let’s see if he comes back. He might. I’m a big fan of Johnny. I think he’s an amazing actor, I think he did a fantastic job. Having said that, I could not copy it. There’s there was no way I could just copy it, because it’s so much him. It would be creative suicide. So, we had to come up with something else, something that was mine, and build a bridge between him and me. So, yes, it was intimidating. His fans were very, very sweet, but they were also very stubborn. I didn’t interact too much with them, but I could understand why they had their hearts broken.”

Could Johnny Depp return to ‘Fantastic Beasts’?


‘Fantastic Beasts 3’: Mads Mikkelsen Says Copying Johnny Depp Would be ‘Creative Suicide’

While support for the actor is rising, Johnny Depp will most likely not return to the Fantastic Beasts franchise for two reasons. First, Warner Bros. does not want to create any more confusion with Grindelwald which has already shifted around a lot. Mikkelsen is a great actor and can handle portraying the character moving forward. 

The second reason is that there may not be any more Fantasic Beasts movies. The Harry Potter spinoff films have not been massive successes at the box office and Warner Bros. might pull the plug on the whole thing. Plus, there are other controversies surrounding author J.K. Rowling and actor Ezra Miller, who also stars in these movies. Depp could get more prominent roles in the future, but don’t expect him to return to the Wizarding World anytime soon.

The Fantastic Beasts movies are available to stream on HBO Max.