The announcement last week that Johnny Depp was dropping out of the third Fantastic Beasts film meant the franchise needed a new actor to assume the role of the evil Grindelwald, the key villain in the Harry Potter spinoff series. Production had already begun on Fantastic Beasts 3 by the time Depp resigned, supposedly at the request of production studio Warner Bros. after he lost a libel case in England regarding articles involving his relationship with wife Amber Heard. That means time is of the essence when it comes to finding a replacement.

According to Deadline, the man most likely to assume the role is Mads Mikkelsen of Hannibal and Doctor Strange fame. Though it’s not a done deal yet, the trade claims he is in “early talks” for the part:

Depp reportedly was asked to leave after shooting one day on the film — he’s being paid for the whole film but had a five picture deal — and Warner Bros has been racing ever since to lock in a new actor. There has been speculation on a number of thesps, but I hear that Yates is a big fan of Mikkelsen and that the Danish actor is the guy they are trying to lock in.

With a resume full of handsome, terrifying bad guys like Le Chiffre from Casino Royale, Mikkelsen seems like an ideal choice for the role. Fantastic Beasts 3 is scheduled to open in theaters on July 15, 2022.

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