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Mads Mikkelsen reportedly in talks to replace Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts franchise

Days after Johnny Depp announced his departure from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, Warner Bros. may be ready to conjure up a replacement.

Mads Mikkelsen is in "early talks" to replace Depp as Grindelwald in the upcoming third Fantastic Beasts movie, Deadline reported on Tuesday.

Depp recently announced that he's leaving the Harry Potter spinoff series, saying Warner Bros. asked him to resign from the role of Grindelwald and that he "respected and agreed to that request." His departure came shortly after he lost a libel case against a British tabloid that called him a "wife beater" in reference to domestic violence allegations leveled against him by his ex-wife Amber Heard, which he has denied.

Depp's presence in the Fantastic Beasts films had been controversial due to Heard's allegations, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio "wanted to allow due process to take its course before making a decision" about whether to keep him in the films. The Reporter adds, though, that Warner Bros. "will be on the hook for Depp's full salary, even though he only had shot one scene" for the third movie.

Warner Bros. has been "racing" to find an actor to replace Depp in the movie, and Mikkelsen is director David Yates' choice for the role, Deadline reports. After a recent delay, the third Fantastic Beasts movie is now set for release in July 2022.