While we still have a few weeks to go before the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Warner Bros. is wasting no time in getting the sequel ready. Indeed, we learned last month that author/screenwriter J.K. Rowling is planning a five-film franchise in all, with director David Yates—who helmed the final four Harry Potter movies in addition to Fantastic Beasts—also returning to helm Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2. And now, a major casting announcement has been made: the sequel will be adding Johnny Depp in a co-starring role.
Per Deadline, Depp is set to star in the Fantastic Beasts sequel, but details are mum regarding his role. However, the report notes that he may have a brief cameo in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and with an actor of his caliber joining the Wizarding World, one imagines it’s a significant character.
So who will Depp play? Well, last month Rowling and Yates dropped hints that Gellert Grindewald will be playing a major role in Fantastic Beasts movies to come. You may recall from the books and films that Grindewald was a teenage friend of Albus Dumbledore’s (also the love of his life, according to Rowling), but after the accidental death of Dumbledore’s sister, Grindewald took off with the Elder Wand in tow. According to Potter lore, Grindewald went on a sort of reign of terror during the 1920s—when Fantastic Beasts takes place—and odds are on him as the “big bad” of this new Fantastic Beasts franchise.
So, Depp could be playing Grindewald, who was played by Jamie Campbell Bower in a couple flashbacks in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. Or, and this is where it gets really interesting, maybe Depp is playing Dumbledore? We know Dumbledore’s very old during the time of Potter, and we know he plays some sort of periphery role in Fantastic Beasts, so is it possible that Depp is bringing the character back to life after Richard Harris and Michael Gambon’s iconic portrayals in the Potter franchise?
Time will tell. Depp is currently gearing up to start filming Murder on the Orient Express and will move from that film directly into Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2. The only other cast member we have confirmed for the sequel is Eddie Redmayne, but I imagine that’ll change once Fantastic Beasts opens. Filming is poised to get underway early next year while Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters on November 18th.
What do you think, folks? Who will Depp be playing? Sound off in the comments below. Fantastic Beasts 2 opens in theaters on November 16, 2018.