Fantastic Beasts 3 Loses Colin Farrell to The Batman
In a statement, Johnny Depp announced he is respecting Warner Bros.’ request for him to resign from his role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. Now, the studio must find a replacement for Depp and while Colin Farrell may be the clear choice for the role, the actor is reportedly unavailable due to his commitment to The Batman.
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Farrell portrayed Percival Graves, the Director of Magical Security for the Magical Congress of the United States of America. However, it was later revealed that Depp’s Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard who aspires to lead a new Wizarding Order, had assumed Graves’ identity using human transfiguration. While Grindelwald was arrested for his crimes, it was unclear if the real Graves had been held captive or killed.
Of course, Farrell’s role as the disguised form of Grindelwald would seemingly make him the most likely candidate to succeed Depp in the role. However, Variety has learned that the demands of playing the Penguin in The Batman, another Warner Bros. production, means Farrell “is most likely not available” to return to the Fantastic Beasts film series for its third installment. While both The Batman and Fantastic Beasts 3 are in the midst of filming in London, Farrell has previously stated that he will be working on the DC superhero film until February 2021. The production schedule of The Batman coincides with that of Fantastic Beasts 3 partly due to the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a two-week filming postponement after lead star Robert Pattinson tested positive for the virus.
Warner Bros. requested Depp’s resignation after the actor lost his libel case against The Sun. The British tabloid newspaper had published a story labeling Depp as a “wife-beater” based on allegations of domestic violence committed by Depp against then-wife Amber Heard. A UK judge found that while the report harmed Depp’s reputation, the defendants had proven the story they printed was “substantially true.” Depp stated that he plans to appeal the decision in his statement announcing his resignation from Fantastic Beasts 3.
Depp reportedly shot just one scene for Fantastic Beasts 3 before his exit, meaning Warner Bros. won’t likely have to invest in significant reshoots with his eventual replacement. However, Warner Bros. has now pushed back the release date of the Harry Potter prequel back from November 2021 to the summer of 2022.
Farrell’s role as the Penguin requires extensive prosthetics and makeup in order for him to resemble the villain from the comics, perhaps explaining why his work on The Batman is too demanding for him to shoot two films at once. After all, Farrell’s transformation into the Penguin is so convincing that even co-star Jeffrey Wright, who portrays James Gordon, didn’t recognize him while working together.
Fantastic Beasts 3 is scheduled to be released in theaters on July 15, 2022, and The Batman is slated for a theatrical release on March 4, 2022.