12:31 pm EST, November 11, 2016

J.K. Rowling is ‘delighted’ by Johnny Depp’s ‘Fantastic Beasts’ casting

Johnny Depp stars as Grindelwald in the Harry Potter prequel series Fantastic Beasts. J.K. Rowling has finally spoken out about the surprising casting.

The Wizarding World was shocked by the announcement that Johnny Depp would play a significant role in the Fantastic Beasts movie series, even appearing briefly in the forthcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

It is safe to say that casting Johnny Depp in the pivotal role of Grindelwald has forever altered the nature of the movie series which, while certainly employing high-caliber actors before, have never ventured into Hollywood A-lister territory — nor cast an American in such a significant European role.

Depp is a fine actor, although his franchise and fantasy work unfortunately has a tendency to descend into pastiche territory, as witnessed by movies like Alice in Wonderland, The Lone Ranger and the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Understandably, there have therefore been mixed reactions from the Harry Potter fandom as to just how he will bring the important role of Grindelwald to life.

Related: J.K. Rowling reveals Fantastic Beasts will span 19 years, confirming THAT story is being told

The other elephant in the room, of course, is Johnny Depp’s recent and very public divorce case, in which his now ex-wife Amber Heard accused the actor of domestic abuse. He did not go to court and was not convicted, but the allegations and claims that came out in the context of this incident were disturbing, and have left a lot of people unsettled and in some cases very upset to see Depp join such a beloved franchise.

The accusations against Depp were alleged, and we are not suggesting otherwise. But we need to be very clear about the fact that this is a troubling factor, especially for female fans, that many feel should not be ignored or dismissed when casting for this particular magical universe.

All that said, J.K. Rowling considers herself “delighted” with the casting, enthusing to The Mirror that the Willy Wonka actor “has done incredible things with this character.”

This follows director David Yates and producer David Heyman’s earlier positive comments on Depp, whom they confess they added to the franchise for “selfish” reasons, and that he would do “fun and special” things with the role of Grindelwald.

Young Dumbledore is currently being cast, and Rowling has told E! Online that she’s got a particular actor in mind already. We humbly offer some suggestions for who not to go for.

Fantastic Beasts‘ hits cinemas on November 18

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