7:02 pm EST, November 10, 2020

Mads Mikkelsen in talks to step in as Grindelwald for ‘Fantastic Beasts 3’

Fantastic Beasts 3 may have just found its new Grindelwald in Mads Mikkelsen.

According to Variety, actor Mads Mikkelsen is currently in early talks to join the cast of Fantastic Beasts 3 as the wizarding world franchise’s new Gellert Grindelwald.

If he boards the project, the Hannibal vet would be taking over the role as the villainous wizard from actor Johnny Depp, who recently departed from the franchise.

Depp, who portrayed the dark wizard in the first two installments of Warner Brothers’ Fantastic Beasts franchise, announced on Friday that he had been asked by the studio to resign from the role.

The news came hot on the heels of word that Depp had lost his UK Libel trial, which had to do with abuse allegations brought forth by his ex-wife and fellow actress, Amber Heard.

Related: Johnny Depp leaving ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film series, third installment delayed to 2022

Meanwhile, production on Fantastic Beasts 3 is already well underway out in the UK. Though Depp had yet to begin filming the bulk of his scenes prior to stepping down, it makes sense that Warner Bros., is looking to waste no time when it comes to finding the perfect actor to step in and assume the role of the franchise’s villain.

Word of Mads Mikkelsen nearing in on a deal that would find him replacing Depp in the film also comes hot on the heels of Warner Bros., announcing a brand new release date for the threequel.

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Originally, the plan was for Fantastic Beasts 3 to hit the big screen in November 2021. Instead, the studio has opted to push the release date for the next installment of the series back to July 15, 2022.

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