Johnny Depp joining Fantastic Beasts cast – possibly as Grindelwald

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Fantastic Beasts with Newt, Tina, Queenie and Jacob

Johnny Depp will have a co-starring role in the second installment of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, reported Deadline Hollywood and USA Today.

While his role hasn’t been announced, speculation is rampant he’ll be playing Gellert Grindelwald, who is second only to Voldemort as the most feared Dark Wizard of all time.

Where’s the proof? Depp will make a cameo in the first Fantastic Beasts, which USA Today confirmed with a Warner Brothers spokesman.

And several people believe they’ve spotted the back of Depp’s head in this IMAX featurette on the first movie, appearing as author J.K. Rowling explains the series will look at “the first time a wizard rose and threatened the world order.” (Look for the head in question at 3:22.):

(Hypable says they’ve confirmed Depp will play Grindelwald with a “source involved with the film,” although the source isn’t named.)

Many fans expressed disappointment at the prospect of Depp as Grindelwald, primarily because of recent allegations he abused his wife, Amber Heard, which came to light after Heard filed for divorce, reported CNET and The Mercury News.

Potter fandom expert Melissa Anelli took a measured look at how the news came about and why it might be coming out now, pointing out that while the allegations against Depp haven’t been proven, Rowling has also been supportive of domestic violence victims.

“This just doesn’t seem in line with the value set that has always been at the core of this series, and it must be a difficult and costly situation to be in,” Anelli wrote on Medium.

We’ll just have to see if the speculation is true when we see Depp’s appearance in the first Fantastic Beasts, which premieres Nov. 18.

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Amanda Keim-Morrison
Amanda Keim-Morrison brings updates about J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world to Nerdvana. She's a former East Valley Tribune reporter and State Press editor; she now lives in Minnesota, where she's been a writer, web producer and editor and currently works on the tech side of several news sites. Amanda is a Ravenclaw at Hogwarts, a Horned Serpent at Ilvermorny and has a white stallion for a Patronus.