Shortly after the news broke that the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie would in fact be the first of five in a series instead of three, a major addition to the series’ cast has been announced. Johnny Depp, coming off a rough year both professionally and personally, has been cast in an unknown role for the second film in the pentalogy and presumably movies beyond that as well.
Surprisingly, Depp will make a cameo appearance in the first movie which is coming out in only a matter of weeks. Based on that timeline, the cameo must have been filmed long before the casting only to be kept under the tightest of wraps since it was added. Since it is such a closely guarded secret, that also probably means Depp’s character is already a big deal in the Harry Potter universe and therefore known by fans.
If that is the case, then speculation that Depp is a famous wizard that was Albus Dumbledore’s friend (and maybe more) in their youth might prove to be exactly the case. Gellert Grindelwald, portrayed by Jamie Campbell Bower and Michael Byrne in the original Harry Potter movies, is a wizard known by all fans of the wizarding world that JK Rowling created. A master of the Dark Arts even more powerful than He Who Must Not Be Named, Gellert was sociopathic, tortured innocent people, and would do mostly anything to free the magical world from the code of silence that they live under in the Potter universe. So basically, he’s a charming but evil wizard who had to inadvertently cause the death of Dumbledore’s sister for the future Hogwarts headmaster to break away from his friendship.
If this is indeed the role that Depp is set to play, the age matchup would just about right. The first movie takes place in New York City a century before present day, when Grindelwald would be just about the age range that makes sense for Depp to portray. He was born in the 1880’s and didn’t go to prison until the mid-1940’s so there are a few decades there to play with where Depp’s casting makes sense. Not to mention, this role is right in Depp’s sweet spot as far as period clothing, crazy accessories, and the opportunity to add in all sorts of affectations to the part. Fans of this fantasy world are already unhappy with the casting, threatening to riot if this guess is correct.
With that kind of fan reaction, this high-profile casting might blow up in Warner Bros.’ face before the series even get off the ground. Many are also already bringing up the fact that Harry Potter author and screenwriter JK Rowling is alleged to have suffered domestic abuse in her marriage during the 90’s, which would make Depp’s addition to her fantasy world all the more strange a decision. Fans will be able to make a proper first assessment in a few weeks, and don’t underestimate unhappy fans actually taking to the streets over this on opening day.
The second film in the series is set for a November, 2018 release. The first one is out November 16th.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)