There’s a surprising and controversial new actor being added to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: Johnny Depp, who will reportedly play Grindelwald. Fans of the Harry Potter series of books, who will likely turn out in droves to see Fantastic Beasts and its proposed four sequels, have expressed their thoughts on the Johnny Depp casting on social media, and the reactions were mostly negative.
— Slate (@Slate) November 2, 2016
The announcement of the new cast member of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Johnny Depp, occurred last night. USA Today reported that “Depp makes a brief appearance in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them(in theaters Nov. 18) and will appear in the second film in the Beasts franchise.” However, saying that he will “appear” in Fantastic Beasts 2 is a bit of an understatement, as it has been leaked that Depp will be playing Grindelwald, a dark wizard who sought to subjugate Muggles and who was defeated by Dumbledore.
— E! News (@enews) November 2, 2016
As reported by Hypable, a “source involved in the film” confirmed that Depp is playing Grindelwald and even makes a surprise appearance in the newest Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trailer, though only the back of his head is shown.
If the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films follow the plotline previously established by J. K. Rowling, we will likely see Grindelwald and Dumbledore as friends (and maybe more – Grindelwald is supposedly the only wizard that Dumbledore fell in love with) before Grindelwald’s maniacal quest for power drives them apart. While Depp has been announced, the actor who will be playing Dumbledore is not yet known at this time. Since Johnny Depp will appear in the first Fantastic Beasts film, it is possible that audiences will get to see a surprise Dumbledore as well.
Unfortunately, news of the Johnny Depp Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them casting is marred by the news earlier this year that Depp physically and emotionally abused his former wife Amber Heard. According to court documents published in People, Heard was physically abused by Depp on “two separate instances,” including one night when Depp gave her a black eye. The two have since split, and Heard donated their settlement amount to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union.
These abuse allegations have caused many Harry Potter fans to be understandably wary of Depp, and they expressed discomfort at the actor joining Fantastic Beasts. Many fans expressed concern that casting Depp in such a high-profile film as Fantastic Beasts despite his history of abuse would be normalizing such behavior.
johnny depp pic.twitter.com/wcXAcT3Qof
— victória (@foofightin) November 2, 2016
can johnny depp just stop being in movies
— SungWon Cho (ProZD) (@prozdkp) November 2, 2016
Other fans pointed out the double standard involved in Hollywood: female celebrities often suffer irreparable ruin to their careers when they engage in scandalous behavior, yet Depp was cast in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, one of the most prominent and anticipated film series of the next few years.
winona ryder's career was ruined for yrs just for shoplifting but johnny depp can be abusive & immediately get cast in a big film franchise
— wokus pocus (@opaIlynch) November 2, 2016
Unfortunately, the Johnny Depp Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them casting is just one in a series of examples of abusive men continuing their careers even after the abuse allegations go public.
Johnny Depp and Chris brown are smashing their careers like they never abused women – and we're all staying quiet like that's fine. It isn't
— Sammy ???????? (@Little_Fickle) November 2, 2016
Thanks @jk_rowling for casting Johnny Depp + giving him the fame needed to help us forget the domestic abuse trial. I'm sure he's grateful.
— Really Very Rachael (@ReallyVeryRach) November 2, 2016
Still, other fans cited potential other casting solutions for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Johnny Depp role, arguing that the films needed an actor who was British and less controversial. Jamie Campbell Bower, who played Grindelwald in the original Harry Potter films, was floated as an ideal replacement for Fantastic Beasts.
GUESS WHO IS BRITISH AND MAGICAL AND SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN FANTASTIC BEASTS INSTEAD OF JOHNNY DEPP?
YOU TOOK THE WRONG PIRATE. pic.twitter.com/tHwfd7OGLi
— 愚かな (@LegolasWayne) November 2, 2016
I want jamie campbell bower back as grindelwald instead of johnny depp bye
— charlie ⚯͛ (@scorpiusmlafoy) November 2, 2016
Some Harry Potter fans, however, met the Depp casting news with excitement.
Some Fantastic Beasts fans took a more measured approach, expressing their disappointment and shock over the Depp/Grindelwald casting but still remaining cautiously optimistic about the film.
Are you disappointed over the Johnny Depp Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them casting like other fans, or do you think he will make an excellent Grindelwald?
[Featured Image by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Santa Barbara International Film Festival]