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Johnny Depp forced to exit 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise, vows to appeal "surreal" UK libel judgement

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© 2018 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.(LOS ANGELES) — The ramifications of Johnny Depp’s ugly libel case against the U.K. tabloid The Sun, which labeled him a “wife beater” during his rocky marriage to Amber Heard, has cost him a major job.

“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request,” Depp posted to Instagram Friday. 

Depp’s libel claims were dismissed by a London judge last week. During the trial, both celebrities leveled accusations of abuse against each other, with Depp denying Heard’s claims.

In the Instagram message, Depp thanked fans who have “gifted me with their support and loyalty.” He said, “I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern particularly over the last few days.” 

He also vowed that “the surreal judgment of the court and the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. My resolve remained strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false.”

Depp closed the message by adding, “My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time.”

Warner Bros. released its own statement in response, thanking Depp for his work in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, and highlighting that “the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast.”

Currently in production, the third movie in the franchise is set for a summer, 2022 release, the studio says.

By Stephen Iervolino
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