Johnny Depp’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Villain Confirmed

By November 9, 2016
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The following contains potential spoilers for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them as well as its sequels. If you’d rather not read them, check out our reasons for why Hollywood isn’t as original as people say they want it to be. 

depp-inset110916Oscar-nominated actor Johnny Depp will indeed make a cameo in the next film from the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And now director David Yates is openly sharing what role Depp will continue in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Of course, it’s exactly who you and many fans expected: pre-Voldemort bad guy Gellert Grindelwald. Yates shared the news during media roundtables to promote Fantastic Beasts, according to The Leaky Cauldron, which opens in the United States next week.

“The whole principle of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald, we thought, ‘Who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent.”

Depp, of course, was a must-have for Yates. An actor who has brought to like many iconic and eccentric characters, Depp was practically destined to play the not-so-familiar villain in the Fantastic Beasts films.

“Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless. He’s imaginative. He’s ambitious.

“We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or no famous. We just know he’s interesting.”

The first Fantastic Beasts film brings British Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne to the United States as textbook author Newt Scamander. But fulfilling his promise that future films will move to other locations around the world, Yates admitted the next film – due to come out in 2018 – will take audiences not only back to the United Kingdom, but also to Paris.

That means some more European familiar faces might pop up, including an expanded role for Albus Dumbledore. However, that character won’t be reprised by Michael Gambon. Instead, it will fall to a new actor.

One recommendation from media was Jared Harris, who most recently starred as King George VI in Netflix’s The Crown. Harris, of course, is the son of the late Richard Harris, who originated the role of Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets before dying at the age of 72 in 2002.

Yates and his team still has some more time to think about it. In the meantime, however, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them comes to theaters Nov. 18.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.