Johnny Depp fans are threatening to boycott Fantastic Beasts 3 and have launched a petition for the actor to be brought back onto the film, following news he has been axed.
The actor, 52, announced that he was asked by Warner Bros to step down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, after losing his libel trial against The Sun’s publishers News Group Newspapers (NGN).
Depp had taken NGN to court over an article referring to him as a ‘wife-beater’ that was published by The Sun in 2018.
The high-profile trial had examined claims of domestic violence made by the star’s ex-wife Amber Heard, 34, against him, with Mr Justice Nichol ruling 12 of the 14 alleged incidents did occur.
Depp’s lawyers now plan to appeal the verdict and following news Depp has stepped down from Fantastic Beasts, fans are threatening to boycott the upcoming movie.
They have launched a petition via Change.org campaigning for Warner Bros to bring back Depp as Grindelwald and it already has 130,000 signatures from fans.
‘We want him back! Warner Bros should listen to the public or we will boycott the movie,’ the petition description reads.
Other fans, however, have called for Warner Bros to bring in Colin Farrell as Depp’s replacement as Grindelwald. Farrell starred in the first Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them movie, released in 2016, as Percival Graves who was later revealed to be Grindelwald in disguise.
Calls for Farrell to return came after Depp’s statement revealing his exit from the franchise. It read in part: ‘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.
‘My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time. Thank you for reading.’
Warner Bros., meanwhile, released a statement of their own regarding Depp, which read: ‘Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date.
‘Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022.’
During Depp’s libel trial the court heard 14 incidences of alleged domestic abuse, including what Heard described as a ‘three day ordeal’ in Australia in 2015, where Depp claims she threw a glass bottle at him, severing his fingertip.
Judge Nichol later ruled that he didn’t accept Heard was responsible for Depp’s injury.
Heard, meanwhile, claimed Depp had threatened to ‘slice up her face’ with a bottle during the alcohol-fuelled row.
Testimonies were heard from both parties, with Depp denying Heard’s allegations of abuse.
During the ruling, Judge Nichols told the court: ‘The claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel. Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.
‘I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account. I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard.’
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