Johnny Depp’s position at the centre of Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts franchise continues to look a little precarious. As a surprise addition to the end of 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Depp had an expanded role in last year’s sequel —Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
It boils down to Depp’s ongoing court case with Amber Heard. Although the 55-year-old denies the allegations made against him, Heard maintains her ex-partner was physically abusive to her on a number of occasions.
Sources told Page Six that Warner Bros. execs are “freaking out” that the Pirates of the Caribbean star is such a big part of the wizarding world. Although the next movie has been delayed, Depp is still sure to start in the third Fantastic Beasts movie, which is set to be the next chapter in a rumoured five-movie arc.
The site reports that a number of “high-level female execs at the studio are extremely worried about working with Depp and the message it sends to the public, especially after the recent sordid departure of CEO Kevin Tsujihara.” Tsujihara recently stepped down during a sex scandal that accused him of abusing his position of power to help women land roles at the studio.
“This is yet another blow to the morale of female employees at the studio,” continued the source. “If Warner Bros. continues to stick by Depp, it would reveal a lot about the values the company holds.”
It also related to Rowling’s support of Depp. In 2017, the Harry Potter creator firmly defended Depp and the decision for Warner Bros. to keep him in her movies. One source told the site, “Many at Warner Bros. wish that Rowling hadn’t come out so strongly behind Depp, because having made her opinion so public boxes them into a corner.”
While it might’ve been easier to recast after the first movie, Crimes of Grindelwald cemented Depp at the core of the Harry Potter prequel series.
Claiming his innocence, Depp has launched a $50 million lawsuit against his ex-wife. In a court transcript, Depp says Heard’s claims as nothing more than an “elaborate hoax”. He goes on to flip the tables and accuse the Aquaman actor of being the abusive one. Depp alleges that she was abusive to him on multiple occasions.
Although Crimes of Grindelwald made $653 million worldwide and became the 10th highest-grossing movie of 2018, it was the lowest in the history of the Potterverse. Where Rowling, director David Yates, and Warner Bros. goes next remains to be seen.
Either way, there are sure to be those who still have an issue with Depp’s ever-expanding part as Gellert Grindelwald.
[Featured Image: Warner Bros.]