In halting, stentorian, and almost Shakespearean tones, Johnny Depp – as his character from the Fantastic Beasts sequel, Grindelwald – took to Hall H during the ongoing San Diego Comic-Con to proclaim his villainous virtues and motivations, according to The Wrap.
In a stirring speech that was nefarious in nature, borrowing from the glorious populist bravado of past dictators, Depp’s Grindelwald described his relationship to “muggles” – or average, everyday people rather than the magically inclined – and reiterated that he did not want to destroy them, just that they were not quite “worth” as much as magicians, the upper caste. One peculiarity of note erupted during the impromptu performance; Depp’s cadence and tonal delivery was strikingly different from the one he adopts in the revealed trailer, causing a degree of speculation as to whether his on-screen character will also deviate from the norm or whether Depp’s one-off appearance was meant purely as fan service and as a publicity stunt.
The surprise public appearance makes for the first sighting of the embattled actor since a fairly embarrassing Rolling Stone article cast him as often intoxicated, meandering in his thoughts, and reclusive in his personality. Following a messy divorce from ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, in which she alleged that Depp physically abused her according to Rolling Stone, Depp has also recently been sued by Gregg “Rocky” Brooks, the former location manager for Depp’s upcoming City of Lies film. Brooks claims that Depp verbally assaulted him and punched him twice in the ribs before erratically offering Brooks $100,000 to hit him back.
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From all reports, the assorted sundry comic book fans, sci-fi aficionados, and fantasy lovers were ecstatic to see Depp show up at SDCC as the evil Grindelwald, perfectly posed with white hair spiked upwards and wearing a sharp black peacock in a trim cut coinciding with a matching black dress shirt – collar popped drastically – and leather corset or cummerbund. Although many fans reportedly booed the image of Grindelwald shown during the trailer, as Depp made his physical presence known in person, the crowd in attendance veered sharply, showing their support with vocal applause.
JK Rowling has previously spoken to the matter of Johnny Depp’s continued employment on the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald project, offering her full support to the veteran star of the silver screen and stating that she and her partners in production on the film were more than happy to have him on set.
“Based on our understanding of the circumstances, the film-makers and I are not only comfortable sticking with our original casting but genuinely happy to have Johnny playing a major character in the movies.”
For his part, Depp played the part to a T, taking in the adulation of his legion of fans and playing his assigned character to a chorus of jeers turned to cheers according to ET Canada. While his ex-wife Amber Heard was present at the con as well, and in fact was scheduled to take part in a panel in Hall H for Warner Bros. project Aquaman, in which she is cast, there were no reports that the two crossed paths.