12:49 pm EDT, November 2, 2016

Johnny Depp is joining ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and the internet is pissed

Not long after the news broke that Johnny Depp would be joining the Fantastic Beasts franchise the internet started freaking out – and not in a good way.

Thousands of Fantastic Beasts fans may be sending Howlers to Warner Bros. over the next few days. After news broke that alleged domestic abuser Johnny Depp would be joining the Fantastic Beasts sequel fans took to social media to express their anger and disgust. Depp will play Grindelwald, the dark wizard responsible for the first wizarding war in the Harry Potter cannon. Grindelwald also happens to be the lover of young Albus Dumbledore.

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Fueled by Depp’s alleged domestic abuse charges towards Amber Heard, fans didn’t take kindly to the A-list actor’s involvement with the beloved and sacred Potter prequel.

We asked Twitter to react to the news in a poll and things are not looking good for Johnny Depp at the moment. At the time of this writing, half of poll participants say they’re not happy with the decision:

And this is the second time this year that the Potter fandom was shocked by casting news.

Fans react to the news of Johnny Depp’s casting

A quick search of the trending topic “Johnny Depp” on Twitter reveals many negative reactions to the actor’s involvement with Fantastic Beasts.

Meanwhile, Warner Brothers appears to be staying silent:

As many people said on Twitter and elsewhere, Hollywood has a tendency to excuse or quickly forget about abuse allegations. In the case of Depp and Heard, their divorce — which was triggered by the domestic abuse allegations in May — was settled in August. Here we are three months later, and Depp has a new franchise on his hands.

The concerns over Depp’s casting are appearing beyond Twitter where there’s more room for analysis. The Leaky Cauldron’s Melissa Anelli writes on Medium that the “leak” of the casting may be a test balloon to see how the fandom would react. As Rosi’s tweet above proposes, if we only see the back of Depp’s head in Fantastic Beasts 1, then they still have a chance to recast him for Fantastic Beasts 2 and beyond (unless contracts prevent such a thing).

Of course, some people are very excited by the news. There’s a big Johnny Depp fandom out there, and that’s exactly why Warner Brothers hired him. Surely the hope is that Depp can increase the film’s box office tallies from Fantastic Beasts 2 onward, where he’ll likely have a very prominent role as Grindelwald.

Depp might — MIGHT — be able to draw in new audiences who aren’t necessarily Harry Potter fans. The fact is that this was purely a box office decision. Between this and the five film announcement, you can’t help but take a remark like this seriously:

What is your reaction to the news of Johnny Depp playing Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts sequel? Though we are only a few weeks away from the premiere, the sequel — where Depp will have a larger presence — is slated to hit theaters in November 2018.

Additional reporting by Andrew Sims.

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