UPDATED 11/11, 11 a.m. ET: Mads Mikkelsen is reportedly high on the list of possible replacements for Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 3.

Deadline’s sources hear he is director David Yates’ pick and is now in talks for the role of Gellert Grindelwald. The Danish actor’s credits include Hannibal, Doctor Strange, and Rogue One: A Story Wars Story.

See original story below.

Even though Johnny Depp was asked to step down from his role in the forthcoming Fantastic Beasts film, Warner Bros. Pictures had to pay his full salary.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Depp had a “pay-or-play contract” for his part in the Harry Potter spinoff series. High-profile actors like him often have these deals, which means regardless of what happens with the movie or their role, they still get paid. The outlet reports that Depp’s salary was in the eight-figure range.

On top of that, Depp only shot one scene for the J.K. Rowling co-written film before resigning. The studio will now recast his role—and quickly, since THR describes Fantastic Beasts 3 as “a three-hander, with Depp, Jude Law and Eddie Redmayne sharing equal screen time.” If that’s the case, Warner Bros. will have to find a replacement in the new few weeks since production is ongoing.

Fans have created a petition to bring Depp back to the series. “Johnny Depp was asked by Warner Bros to resign and leave his role of Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts 3 movie,” the petition’s description reads. “This happened because of the verdict of his case with The Sun tabloid that was completely unfair. We want him back! Warner Bros should listen to the public or we will boycott the movie!!!” As of this reporting, the Change.org petition has over 137,000 signatures.

Depp revealed his departure from the part of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise last week, even though production had started and he had appeared in the two previous films. His news came after he lost a libel lawsuit against the British tabloid the Sun, which characterized Depp as being abusive toward ex-wife Amber Heard in a 2018 article. Per THR, it appears the ruling played a part in Depp’s resignation.

“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request,” Depp said in a statement on Instagram. “The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth, and I confirm that I plan to appeal. My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”

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