Johnny Depp asked for “vindication” from a U.K. court during his libel trial (Depp v. News Group Newspapers) over an article from The Sun that labeled him as a “wife beater,” and let’s just say that he received the opposite of vindication. The court ruled that Amber Heard’s account of physical abuse by her then-husband was “substantially true.” The trial and verdict referenced the word “monster” on multiple occasions in regard to Depp (regarding 14 alleged incidents of physical assault), and the saga has backfired in a resoundingly damning way for the former Tim Burton muse.
The verdict followed three weeks of mud-slinging from both sides in a trial full of wild revelations — including “porky pies,” poo in the bed, an ice cream debacle, and alleged animal abuse — and given the court’s verdict, Warner Bros. asked Depp to exit the Fantastic Beasts franchise, in which he portrayed Grendelwald. Depp revealed the news in a typed note that he posted on Instagram:
“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.”
Depp also indicated in his post that he’d seek an appeal of the U.K. court decision, and there’s no word yet on if he still plans to proceed with the U.S. defamation case he filed against Heard. Given that the U.S. standard for defamation would be even tougher for him to achieve than the U.K. one — and based on how Heard never even named Depp in the op-ed that led to his U.S. lawsuit — he might be wise to back away from the U.S. suit, which could only further damage his reputation.
One thing is certain, though. Warner Bros. confirmed that they’ll be recasting the role of Grindelwald. Via Hollywood Reporter:
“Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022.”
At this time, J.K. Rowling has not issued a public statement about Depp’s exit from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, but it’s worth noting that in 2018, Depp expressed gratitude for the author after she publicly supported him. At the time, Depp confirmed that he would return as Grindelwald for the third film, and now that he’s gone from the Warner Bros. franchise altogether, one might expect that Rowling would want to make a statement. No response specifically from Rowling has materialized as of yet, though.