Truly, 2021 is the year that keeps on giving…in the worst way possible. After a failed libel case against his wife Amber Heard, actor Johnny Depp has announced his departure from Warner Bros’ “Fantastic Beasts” film series. Deep played a crucial role in the series as its supposed main antagonist, Gellert Grindelwald. The original leader of the Dark Wizards, long before Voldermort appear on the scene.
Regardless of how you feel about Depp’s personal life, one thing’s for sure. The “Fantastic Beasts” saga will not be the same without Depp’s deliciously sinister charisma as Grindelwald.
Rest assured, that a sequel to “Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald” is still happening. Due to an unfortunate turn of events though, the film is set to be pushed back from its initial release date on 21st November 2021 to some time in 2022.
Warner Bros will also be recasting the role of Gellert Grindelwald to another actor. And as much as we’ll miss Depp, we’ve got some great candidates in mind to play the nefarious Grindelwald.
1. Jamie Campbell Bower
Our first and most obvious choice would be Jamie Campbell Bower. Before Depp became the face of Grindelwald, Bower has been depicting the character as far back as 2010’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1”. He even made an appearance in 2018’s “Crimes of Grindelwald” as a younger version of the character. It’s safe to say that he is the official face of young Grindelwald. Perhaps there’s a way Bower could transition over to playing a much older Grindelwald.
Grindelwald is able to change his form using a Human Transfiguration spell as seen in the first “Fantastic Beasts” film. He had stolen the identity of Colin Farrell’s Percival Graves. It’s completely possible that Bower’s character could have simply used the appearance of Depp’s Grindelwald as a ruse. When in reality, the real face of Grindelwald looked like an older version of Bower’s appearance. Sure it’s a little contrived but it would avoid the need for casting a whole new actor to play the character. Bower’s already playing a version of the Grindelwald, so it would make sense for him to take over from Depp.
2. Michael Sheen
If there’s one thing we’ve come to know and love about Depp’s Grindelwald, it’s his almost flamboyant charm. His portrayal of the character can be likened to if the musician Prince and Hitler had a Wizard baby. The point is, the person playing Grindelwald can’t be some stiff European baddie. He needs to have some charisma and wit about him. He needs to be larger than life. Which is exactly why we believe actor Michael Sheen would be perfect for the role of Grindelwald.
While he is not the most famous Hollywood star, he’s best known for playing unhinged and eccentric characters. Whether its Lucian from the “Underworld” films or the vampiric lord Aro in the “Twilight Saga”. He made a particular impression on us in some of his more obscure roles. In a BBC documentary, he brilliantly played the part of the mad Roman Emperor Nero. He’s also shown to have great comedic timing in Amazon Prime’s “Good Omens” as the angel Aziraphale. He’s never really had a chance to show off his true dramatic chops and we believe “Fantastic Beasts” could be the big break he needs.
3. James McAvoy
Grindelwald’s not just some Mad-Hatter, though. Beneath his outlandish appearance is a quiet authority and hidden rage waiting to be unleashed. He’s a fiery revolutionary who truly does believe he’s on the right side of Wizarding history. Therefore, he deserves a thespian who can portray his ethos and ideology with both stoic clarity and passionate gusto. If Warner Bros is looking for an actor to play a ruthless, and yet self-righteous ideologue, then look no further than James McAvoy.
McAvoy has more than proven himself to be an exceptional dramatic actor. Most people would probably recognise him as Professor Charles Xavier from Fox’s latter “X-Men” films. Those in the cinematic may know him from his phenomenal role as Kevin Wendell Crumb, or the Beast, in M. Night Shymalan’s “Split” and “Glass”. He’s also playing a ruthless heretic looking to destroy God in HBO’s “His Dark Materials” series. Needless to say, McAvoy is more than capable of filling Depp’s shoes as the Dark Wizard with a dream.
4. Mads Mikkelsen
Next to perhaps Voldermort, Grindelwald is considered the most powerful Dark Wizard in the Wizarding World. Unmatched in his genius, brutality and power. It goes without saying, Grindelwald is certainly an intimidating figure. Depp’s version brought a unique ferocity to the character. Making him simultaneously imposing and yet magnetic in personality. It’s a tough tight-rope act to follow but not an impossible one. And we believe “Hannibal” actor Mads Mikkelsen is just the man for the job.
On the show, Mikkelsen’s performance as the serial killer Hannibal was nothing short of masterful. He superbly nails the character’s superficial charm with a dark side hidden beneath the surface. His most prominent cinematic role would be the villain Le Chiffre in “Casino Royale”. There he too plays a sadistic and yet graceful monster capable of unspeakable acts of cruelty. Mikkelsen has had plenty of experience playing dangerous, yet captivating, villains. What’s one more on the resume?
5. Tom Hiddleston
In many ways, Grindelwald is a complex character. He’s not just some irredeemable monster trying to destroy the world. He’s more akin to a misguided, if not misunderstood idealist trying to make the world a better place. There’s a lot of depth to the character and his motivations are far more complicated than being “Magic Hitler”. In fact, Grindelwald showed remorse in the latter half of his life. Refusing to aid Voldermort in his quest for the Elder Wand. Why not cast the actor who played original shape-shifting trickster with a heart-of-gold? We’re talking about Tom Hiddleston.
Throughout his tenure as Loki, he’s done a remarkable job of humanising the Norse Trickster God. He’s given so much nuance and humanity to the character of Loki. Making him both a tragic and sympathetic figure, without ever comprising on his morally duplicitous tendencies. If Hiddleston can work his magic on Loki, we’re fairly certain he can give a rousing performance as Grindelwald.
So what do you think about our picks for Gellert Grindelwald? Do you agree with them? Do you have other suggestions on who should replace Johnny Depp as Grindelwald? Be sure to let us know in the comments down below!