Johnny Depp Leaves ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Franchise at Studio’s Request

The “Fantastic Beasts” movies will have to find a new Gellert Grindelwald.

“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,” Mr. Depp wrote on Instagram on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the studio behind the popular spinoff films, based on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, confirmed on Friday that Mr. Depp would leave the franchise. Mr. Depp played the role of the dark wizard who was the main antagonist of the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, the events of which occurred before the Harry Potter films. She said his role would be recast before the third film, which is now scheduled to be released in the summer of 2022.

Mr. Depp’s exit comes days after he lost a libel case against the publisher of The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper that published a 2018 article calling him a “wife beater,” and the paper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton. The story had also claimed that there was “overwhelming evidence” that Mr. Depp had assaulted the actress Amber Heard on multiple occasions while they were married.

“I accept that Mr. Depp put her in fear of her life,” a British judge wrote in a statement dismissing the case on Monday. He said that the paper had shown that the claims it published were “substantially true.”

Women’s rights groups in Britain praised the ruling. Lisa King, a spokeswoman for Refuge, a British charity for survivors of domestic violence, said in a statement on Monday that the decision sent the message that “every single survivor of domestic abuse should be listened to and should be heard.”

Mr. Depp’s legal team had argued during the hearings that Ms. Heard was the abuser.

In his Instagram post, Mr. Depp wrote that he planned to appeal the ruling and thanked fans for their support, adding that he had “been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.”

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

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