Mads Mikkelsen is in early talks to replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3, and I have to say… I called it.
When the news of Depp’s exit broke on Friday, this is the note I sent to my colleagues on Slack, word for word: “So I’ve never seen these movies but maybe someone should write a 10 actors who should replace Depp article? I vote Mads or Olyphant.”
Sure enough, Deadline reports that Mikkelsen is director David Yates‘ top choice and is in early discussions with Warner Bros. to take over the role. The studio is trying to wrap up the deal quickly, as production is already under way. In fact, Depp filmed a scene as Grindelwald before he was asked to step down from the sequel due to his legal troubles in the UK.
Mikkelsen represents a major upgrade over Depp in my book. He may be a sweetheart of a guy, by all accounts, but he just looks like an evil villain, and there’s something about his hair and the sharp angles of his face that reminded me of Depp. He’s also an affordable star who is especially recognizable to this audience, having appeared in four-quadrant blockbusters such as Casino Royale, Doctor Strange and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
For what it’s worth, I thought Timothy Olyphant would do a good job as well, and he’s riding high off Fargo, The Mandalorian, and his turn in last year’s Quentin Tarantino movie, but alas, Mikkelsen got the call first, and I expect him to strike a deal with Warners. Perhaps the studio’s DC label (or its rival Marvel) will keep Olyphant in mind for something else down the line.
To be clear, I hadn’t heard anything about Depp’s replacement before Deadline’s scoop, those were just my personal picks, and I know I wasn’t alone regarding Mikkelsen. I was going to throw Mads’ name out there on this week’s episode of The Sneider Cut, but naturally, Deadline beat me to the punch.
Fantastic Beasts 3 had been slated for release on Nov. 12, 2021, but it recently shifted to summer 2022. Eddie Redmayne is coming back as Newt Scamander, and he’ll be joined by Jude Law as Dumbledore. To find out exactly when the third film will hit theaters, click here.