Mads Mikkelsen to replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald in 'Fantastic Beasts 3'

Depp resigned from his role as the 'Harry Potter' villain following his libel case loss in the UK

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 27:  Actor Mads Mikkelsen attends the Closing Ceremony and the "Therese Desqueyroux" Premiere during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 27, 2012 in Cannes, France.  (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
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After weeks of speculation, it is official: Mads Mikkelsen will replace Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts film series.

Set to play Gellert Grindelwald, one of the most dangerous dark wizards in the Harry Potter universe, Mikkelsen is taking on Depp's role in the third film of the franchise. The film is already in production in the UK.

Mikkelsen, who has a history of playing complex villains, was tipped for the role, along with Colin Farrell, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ewan McGregor. Farrell was a fan favourite, having already played Grindelwald in disguise in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The Danish actor has previously played Dr Hannibal Lecter in the Hannibal television series, Kaecilius in Marvel's Doctor Strange, Le Chiffre in James Bond film Casino Royale, and Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 

It was announced that Depp would be stepping down from the role in early November, after losing a libel case against British tabloid The Sun, which labelled him a "wife beater". The newspaper ran an article in 2018 that stated he had been violent towards his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, 34.

Following the news, it was revealed that Fantastic Beasts 3, which was scheduled for a November 2021 release, would instead be pushed back to July 2022.

The film is currently in production in the UK, but according to reports, Depp had only shot one scene as Grindelwald before being asked by Warner Bros to remove himself from the franchise. This means that Mikkelsen will not have too much footage to reproduce.