Johnny Depp agrees to ‘step down’ from the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise

Brie Larson at arrivals for The 92nd Aca...

Monday, November 2nd was when Johnny Depp lost his libel lawsuit against The Sun. The Sun – and columnist Dan Wootton – had referred to Depp as a “wife beater” in a story about JK Rowling, the Fantastic Beasts franchise and, of course, Depp’s divorce from Amber Heard. Post-divorce, Depp went on a suing spree and there’s at least one outstanding lawsuit still happening. But Depp lost the libel suit – the judge found evidence that Depp was, in fact, a wife beater. It was vindication for Amber and for a lot of women who rightly felt like Depp physically and emotionally abused Amber pre-divorce, and then post-divorce, he continued to abuse her financially and beyond. Lost in the immediate reactions to the verdict was the fact that the original article was actually about whether JK Rowling should ask Depp to step away from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Days later, there was some discussion about that, but only as a side-issue. Now it’s a bigger deal though:

Johnny Depp has announced that he’s agreed to step down from the villainous role of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise days after losing his libel case in the U.K. The actor says the film’s studio, Warner Bros., asked him to resign from the part and that he agreed to do so.

“In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement,” Depp wrote on Instagram Friday. “Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days. 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.”

“Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal,” Depp concluded. “My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”

Depp first played Grindelwald in the 2016 Harry Potter spinoff film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He reprised his role in the 2018 sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and was set to play the villain in the third follow-up, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3. In 2017, writer J.K. Rowling vehemently defended Depp and his casting in the franchise. According to Variety, Warner Bros. confirmed it will recast Depp’s role before the third installment debuts in theaters in 2022. The franchise is intended to comprise five films.

[From People]

I hate that he got to be the one announcing it, but at least he was drowning in self-pity as he announced that he was f–king fired. Fired from a franchise which he should have been fired from years ago, let’s be real. Rowling was obsessed with caping for his abuser ass for some reason, and I have to think that this was not HER call. This was the studio’s call and it was likely presented to both Rowling and Depp as the only option for both of them. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall for that tantrum from both of them.

'Fantastic Beasts' The Crimes of The Grindlewald UK Premiere

Johnny Depp at The Royal Courts of Justice, London, UK - 28 July 2020

Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid, Warner Bros.

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39 Responses to “Johnny Depp agrees to ‘step down’ from the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise”

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  1. Mignionette says:

    He had it coming. Slowly his sponsors will find reasons to drop him and he’ll be yesterdays news.

    Johnny pinned all his hopes of redemption on defaming Amber and lost. He could have just buggered off and done a quiet redemption story fighting for some disenfranchised group somewhere but instead chose revenge.

    • Kelly says:

      It frightens me that most of the reactions I’ve seen to this are that Amber was actually the abuser in the relationship. Just goes to show how many people are willing to defend a mediocre white man.

      He was a terrible Grindelwald anyway. I greatly preferred Colin Farrell in the role.

      • Kristen says:

        This is in no way an excuse of what they’re doing, but honestly it’s easier for people to believe that someone is a liar rather than that someone they like is capable of being an abuser. And it’s because the later requires reevaluation of a personal belief and the former requires nothing.

      • Ange says:

        Oh you too have seen reddit? My god that place… 😑

      • Bobbie says:

        Mediocre? If Depp is your idea of a mediocre white man, what is your idea of an exceptional one? Granted, he has gone off the deep end in the last 5 years, but at his height … insanely handsome, impossibly successful, talented, rich, famous, quirkily charming … what more do you want?

    • Juju says:

      I agree. First they were saying she’s a golddigger and the sole abuser and he’s innocent. She donated all the money she got in the divorce and a court in the UK ruled that he is in fact a wife beater. And public opinion didn’t change at all. That’s exactly the reason domestic abuse victims usually don’t talk about it nor do they press charges.

  2. Case says:

    I don’t want to hear from Rowling but I’d also love to know how she feels about this. As a woman who was abused herself, it confuses me that she ever supported him, but she clearly has a lot of garbage ideas.

    I find it hilarious that he lost this job. A big reason he’s filing these lawsuits isn’t out of some morality crusade to clear his name – he mostly needs money, and thought this was a way to get more. Now he’s losing his job and probably the upcoming US lawsuit too, and it’s all his fault for stirring the pot. Had he let it be, he’d still probably have the job and the whole world wouldn’t know his messy personal business.

  3. Sof says:

    I never understood why Rowling was so firm on having Depp as Grindelwald, he doesn’t match the description of the character and let’s be real, the franchise would have been popular and made money regardless of it’s actors.

    • Case says:

      He was once a very good actor but since playing in Pirates he plays the same character in almost every performance. I can’t understand why she insisted on him with all his other issues, especially when Colin Farrell was so good in the first one. I only watched that one, but from what I’ve heard, JD’s performance was not great in the sequel, so I doubt he’ll be missed.

      • Sof says:

        I agree that Depp was a good actor, it’s Rowling’s position what doesn’t make sense. Unless his contract with Warner was about him making a certain number of films and not necessary playing Sparrow.
        The casting of the Harry Potter saga was a mess, but for these series they could have hired someone who looked like an older version of Jamie Campbell Bower to have some sort of congruence, right?

    • Ana Maria says:

      …IMO, Colin Farrell would have been perfect as Grindelwald

  4. Mia4s says:

    I’m kind of surprised to tell you the truth. The cynical part of me feels like this could have been a convenient way for WB to get rid of a very expensive actor from a series that is not doing all that well and likely needs budget cuts. But I’m trying to be optimistic this week so I’ll go with they did the right thing. (Although it burns my soul to see The Sun have any kind of “win”. Ugh, I guess even pure garbage can get it right once in a blue moon).

    Although those Fantastic Beasts movies are so lame and awful I’m not sure if this is a punishment for him or a reprieve! 😬

    • sunnyn says:

      ITA. At this point, keeping an actor who has become known for his toxic off camera behaviour in a major franchise when the biggest face of the franchise revealed herself a bigot would be unwise.

      Glad Depp is out. He is a troubled, and disturbed person. Also his acting has declined as his behaviour has.

    • Jo73c says:

      I know what you mean about The Sun. I was just thinking this must be the first time Dan Wootton has been on the right side of a case.

  5. Leigh says:

    I LOVE that he lost the lawsuit. I have always believed that he abused Amber, and by extension this validates the fact that a lot of abusive men don’t stop abusing their former partners after they’ve left the relationship. He thought he could punish her for exposing him, and he ended up getting himself fired and publicly confirmed as a wife beater. Justice has been coming through lately I hope the tides are starting to turn.

  6. Digital Unicorn says:

    He should never have been given the role in the first place – in the UK Colin Farrell was quickly trending as his replacement and am here for that.

    As for Rowling she’s made her bed and this shows that her power over the studios is not a great as she thinks – the studio would have made this decision regardless of what she wanted. From what I recall she fought for Depp to be cast in the first place.

    • Deering24 says:

      With the profits declining with each FB installment, it was a matter of when, not if, the studio would crack down and take names. Even if that means throwing the original creator under a bus. Rowling should have a long talk with Julie Taymor as to what happens when you way-overplay your creative hand.

  7. Rae says:

    I am also in the club of I don’t like the sun winning anything, but also glad it slapped JD in the face.

    I wonder if he’ll go ahead with the appeal? Nothing to lose now, I guess.

  8. wheneight says:

    I think this move by Warner Bros is mainly because they realize that the Harry Potter franchise is serious jeopardy following JK Rowling’s transphobic comments. They have already seriously tarnished the brand among the millennial/Gen Z fanbase and I think as time marches on they will age even worse. It will be a shame when their billion dollar theme park in Universal sits empty.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      Has the franchise itself really been affected though? JK Rowling obviously ruined her own image, but I feel like Harry Potter is such a cultural juggernaut that it transcends its creator.

  9. StellainNH says:

    There are so many who blindly support that POS, blaming Heard for her troubles. The misogyny is unbelievable.

  10. Rose says:

    I really appreciate that Kaiser has created a space to discuss this, because Depp’s paid commentators and rabid fans flag and remove from other sites any comments that are not obsessively loyal to him. He seems fixated on Amber Heard, though the divorce is long over. The judge not only ruled that Depp did abuse Amber multiple times, but also stated that she is not a gold-digger, having donated her entire divorce settlement to charity, and also ruled that she did not defecate in their bed, rather one of the dogs did. Depp was not even on the premises when it happened. And yet he vows to appeal this ruling and continues to bring suit against Amber in the US.

    When they first got together, he looked like an aging man wanting to cling to his youth by being with a younger woman. Yet in every photo, he only appeared older, in contrast to Amber’s beautiful fresh face… his aging was emphasized vs when he appeared with Vanessa Paradis, who was closer to his age. Decades earlier, when he was with Winona Ryder and Kate Moss, he was known for threesomes with their female friends. But he was in his prime then, and it seems highly doubtful that Amber’s female friends would welcome his attentions now. He singled out Cara Delevingne in one aspect of his lawsuit, claiming she had an affair with Amber. No, cannot imagine Cara responding positively to his attentions, she no doubt found him very creepy.

    He was probably furious when he realized that his game was over, he was not desirable to Amber’s friends, and his aging was only more obvious when compared to her. And began battering her. He appears to be a black-out drunk as well, wth no clear recollection of what he has done when inebriated. He may have ‘wet brain’, a form of brain damage that heavy alcoholics develop that is marked by memory loss.

    These appear to be his last years and they are very sad. He does not appear to be getting good advice with these lawsuits, though they are great moneymakers for the attorneys. It’s a shame that she has to endure online abuse and him attempting to derail her film career.

  11. Jess says:

    Love that he lost that lawsuit and glad he’s finally been asked to “step away,” although I wish he had just been fired. His privileged white male self is still getting protected. JK’s defense of him was my first inkling that she was not all that I had thought she was. Glad the studio didn’t listen to her.

  12. Juxtapoze says:

    Toxic misogyny, your days are numbered. We’re all sick of your s**t and the damage it does to so many people.

  13. Lauren says:

    I didn’t watch the second movie because of him, but even without him still I will not be paying for anything that goes into JK’s pockets. She can go eat sht.

    • Liz version 700 says:

      Yep agreed. Too little to late for me, but I am glad to see it.

    • Sarah says:

      Same here, I quite enjoyed the first one but was shocked an disappointed when he turned up at at end (I had not paid any attention to the promotional stuff).

  14. Becks1 says:

    Good, I didn’t watch the second one because of him (I know he was in the first, but only briefly at the end, right?) He should have been fired long ago. I do like that he had to admit he was fired, WB probably insisted he make that clear.

  15. Kate says:

    He’s repulsive and so is JK with her anti trans comments, I hope they both fade away

  16. Lily P says:

    I think both of them had destructive behaviours but there is no denying from the evidence that he was/is an abusive POS. It’s so saddening however, to see so many people (women in particular) come out with the justice for johnny rubbish. This is a man who has no respect or regard for women. He was violent to an intimate partner. How people can still think that’s okay or defensible is beyond me.

    Also that Paul Bettany guy gloating with Depp about abusing a woman. Will men please start holding each other accountable.

    Very glad Amber and the paper one the trial. One more chip away at the statue of toxic masculinity.

    • Case says:

      This. I think it was clearly a very toxic relationship and they were a destructive match, but that doesn’t change the fact that he IS a “wife beater.” Completely separate and regardless of what Amber did or didn’t do. The Sun defended that stance well and Depp did not show anything to the contrary. Trying to take down Amber through the trial was a ridiculous approach – Amber’s behaviors weren’t being judged here and had no bearing on the outcome. So for those seeking “justice” for Johnny – he brought it on himself by bringing up this case to begin with, LOL! He only has himself to blame for the consequences of airing his dirty laundry during a trial that he lost.

  17. Ariel says:

    I saw a tweet (so, serves me right) from a guy about- well she hit him too, why is he in trouble. And instead of my head exploding, i closed the app.
    Consequences for abusers THRILL me.
    And the fact that he 100% brought it on himself- not just by being an alcoholic abuser with no sense of reality, but by bringing this lawsuit, when he could have ignored it- i mean, that article was in the Sun, not the Washington Post, gives me great joy.

  18. Original Penguin says:

    What I don’t understand is if JK is justifying her stance on trans rights due to her history as a DV victim, then how she can justify supporting Johnny Depp. All of which confirms all is not right in her head

  19. coolspray says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHA what a Loser. (yes, with a capital L)

  20. Sarah says:

    First Biden, then this. I finally enjoyed reading the news again last weekend. Good riddance.

  21. FilmTurtle says:

    A few years ago, when I first read about JKR defending Depp (although I didn’t explore it any further), she seemed largely offended by what she saw as “trial in the court of public opinion.” As we learned this year, public opinion apparently still bothers her more than anything else.

  22. Ange says:

    Cool. Can JK step down now too?

  23. Bread and Circuses says:

    Toxic masculinity is a hell of a drug.

    This is just another man pitching a half-murderous tantrum over the universe failing to rearrange itself to suit him.

  24. Juju says:

    I love how this backfired on him. Years ago he could’ve made a statement that the claims are untrue and most people would’ve believed him. Everyone would’ve forgotten about it by now and his career would be fine.