While there are approximately ten billion other things happening in the world, this one is certainly interesting. The Fantastic Beasts series went from a sure thing that was going to help keep the lights on at Warner Bros. for years to come to one of the most high-profile missteps of a major franchise not called the DC Universe [do not @ me]. While the first Fantastic Beasts movie did well both critically and commercially, the second one was rejected wholesale by not only the Potter loving fanbase but the general public as well. The third movie of a planned five was delayed, and the pandemic has only set things back further. Then there is the problem of high profile members of the cast are also showing their true colors. Eddie Redmayne refused to condemn J.K. Rowling's extremely problematic TERF tweets and even defended her in the long run while Ezra Miller has been caught allegedly choking female fans. Rowling herself is very much connected to this series as she is writing all of the movies. However, the most high profile example might just be Johnny Depp and his extremely contentious divorce from Amber Heard. Depp recently lost a libel case in the UK and took to Instagram to announce that Warner Bros. asked him to resign from the Fantastic Beasts series, and he has agreed.
"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 said in a post on his Instagram.
Warner Bros., according to Variety, has confirmed the departure and that the role will be recast, and the film is still set to make its 2022 release date.
"Johnny Depp will depart the 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date," the studio said. "'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."
Even before the divorce and abuse allegations, Depp was not exactly someone that the fans really enjoyed, and there have been movements to get him replaced since the moment he was revealed at the end of the first movie. This is a world with magic, and the idea of being able to just say, "he changed his face" or "it was magic" is the easiest get out of jail free card that a franchise has ever been handed. Save for Marvel and recasting and just not addressing it, which is something that Fantastic Beasts could very well do. We'll have to see what Warner Bros. decides to do or at least people who decide to keep supporting this series despite the fact that Rowling is a TERF, and it is nearly impossible to divorce her from the source material. So, in terms of becoming not problematic, this series has a long way to go.