Talk about your massive upgrades. After the third film in the Fantastic Beasts series lost its antagonist when star Johnny Depp was asked to resign from the role of Gellert Grindelwald following his latest legal entanglements, the Harry Potter spinoff series was desperately in need of a shot in the arm. Now it’s got one, following reports that Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen will be stepping into the role as the powerful dark wizard.
Suffice to say, that is some damn fine casting, although it will of course require some kind of throwaway line of dialog about why Grindelwald looks different and suddenly has a Danish accent. This being the Wizarding World, however, “magic” is standing right there to play the role of deus ex machina. Of one thing there is no doubt: Mikkelsen has plenty of experience playing classic villains, from Hannibal to memorable Bond villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale. We can only imagine he’ll do some great work here.
Colin Farrell, who played the role of Grindelwald in disguise during the first Fantastic Beasts movie, also would have been an option for Fantastic Beasts 3, and perhaps easier to explain away. The actor was unavailable, however, due to his commitments on Matt Reeves’ The Batman, in which he’s playing Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin.
Depp, meanwhile, reportedly had shot only one scene in Fantastic Beasts 3, despite the fact that the movie had been filming since October, so there’s not a lot of overlap to reshoot. Despite multiple delays related to COVID-19, the movie is continuing to film as we speak, with a tentative release date that is still a long way off, in July of 2022. Hopefully, when the troubled film finally crosses the finish line, it will have Mads Mikkelsen in tow.