Warner Bros has confirmed that Johnny Depp is joining the cast of the sequel to the Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them.
He has a brief cameo in this year’s film; however, his role alongside Eddie Redmayne in the next film will be prominent. The studio has not revealed the role Depp will play.
The new J.K. Rowling Potterverse franchise is set in the wizarding world 70 years before Harry Potter and friends enroll at Hogwarts School of Wizardry. Redmayne plays Newt Scamander, a “magizoologist.” He is the author of Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them, a book required for first year students. (It is not clear why the students need it since they do take Care of Magical Creatures until their third year, though it’s a good reference for Dark creatures studied in Defense of the Dark Arts classes) It is set in 1926 when Scamander arrives in New York to visit the Magical Congress of the United States of America for research and rescue of magical creatures. Chaos strikes when some of them accidently become loose.
Originally reported to be a trilogy, Rowling announced at a fan event in Hollywood on October 13, 2016 that she has finished the plot for five films. David Yates has signed on to direct the first two movies with David Heyman producing and has a release date of November 16, 2018.
The web site Hypable quotes “a source involved with the film” who confirmed that Depp is playing the dark wizard Gellert Grindlewald, although that has yet to be confirmed by other outlets or the studio. It will be interesting to see how Depp will complement the wizarding world with his background in other fantasy cinematic roles in Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean and most recently, Alice Through the Looking Glass. Besides his fifth round as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, it has been announce he will be joining the Kenneth Branagh directed Murder on the Orient Express.
Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them opens on November 18, 2016.