The Harry Potter series has grown from one of the most profitable businesses in the entertainment world to a big deal for Warner Bros. It all started when the studio decided to go full steam ahead with their prequel series, starting with Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them (which flashed some warning signs). This came with the casting of Johnny Depp as the dark wizard Grindelwald, a move which was criticized by fans after allegations surfaced that Depp physically attacked his ex-wife, Amber Heard. This controversy, combined with some incredibly bad reviews, has undoubtedly resulted in a significant drop in ticket sales, with Grindelwald’s sequel Fantastic Beasts and Crime totaling just over $ 665 million worldwide (via Mojo’s Box Office).
While there are still plans to make a third film in the series, Warner Bros. stepped forward, allowing Depp to step away from the role of Grindelwald. It comes after Depp and his lawyers filed a defamation suit against News Group Newspapers in July 2020 against him on November 2. Days after the court ruling, Depp posted a notice on Instagram to his fans that he would continue to fight and appeal the court ruling he would withdraw from the Fantastic Beasts series, a move that appears to be in line with wishes of the studio. While some fans will certainly be relieved to see Depp leave the show, others feel Depp has been treated unfairly throughout the process. Surprisingly, one person who seems to stay out of this conversation (at least for now) appears to be JK Rowling, the creator and screenwriter of Harry Potter, in JK’s Fantastic Beasts films.
JK Rowling didn’t push Warner Bros. to keep Depp:
JK Rowling has long supported Depp’s efforts to keep him in his films. Rowling made a statement when he was first cast as Grindelwald, in which she clearly expressed her support for the actor. She wrote that she understood why some fans were concerned about Depp’s involvement in the show, but added, “For me not being able to speak openly with fans was difficult, frustrating” and at times hurtful. However, you must respect the agreements that have been put in place to protect the privacy of two people, both of whom have expressed a willingness to face their lives. Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the filmmakers and I not only feel comfortable with our original cast, but we also love having Johnny as the main character in the films. The Hollywood Reporter, a source, says Rowling didn’t fight to keep Depp in the movie, which is important given the influence he likely had at Warner Bros. Harry Potter is still the studio’s main cash cow, so without a doubt, if Rowling wanted to keep Depp, there’s a good chance Warner Bros. at least listen to it.
Fantastic Beasts has been plagued by personnel issues:
It’s also possible that Rowling herself is trying to control her injuries a bit, given the number of pushbacks she’s received over the past year due to comments she tweeted that many found insensitive and transphobic. . Eddie Redmayne, who plays Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts, and other former Harry Potter stars such as Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson also disagreed with what Rowling has said about the transgender community. There is also the case of Ezra Miller, who plays Credence Barebone in the Fantastic Beasts series; he’s another guy the fans would love to see too. Earlier this year, a movie came out in which Miller chokes and slaps a fan to the ground, resulting in a mass of petitions being removed from future Fantastic Beasts films as well as the upcoming Flash movie. As of this writing, Miller is still set to reprise his role in Fantastic Beasts 3, but given that Warner Bros. didn’t hesitate to let go of Depp after having already started filming, anything could happen in the future. The Hollywood Reporter says Fantastic Beasts 3 has been postponed again to its July 15, 2022 release date. It’s unclear who will replace Depp as Grindelwald (if they decide to transform), so stay tuned. updates as this behind-the-scenes turmoil continues to unfold.