Actor Johnny Depp will no longer be portraying the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald for the 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise, the actor said on Friday (local time).
According to Variety, Depp's exit from the spinoff of 'Harry Potter' series comes days after he lost his libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that published an article in 2018 alleging he was a "wife beater."
The 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' actor took to Instagram and shared a statement in the regard, announcing that he has been asked to "resign" by Warner Bros from the 'Fantastic Beats' franchise.
"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," his statement on Instagram read.
He also went on to thank his fans for their "support and loyalty" during the testing times.
"I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days," he said.
The 57-year-old actor then went on to express how his "resolve" remains unshaken even after the "surreal judgement," and said that his "life and career" will not be defined by the present moment.
"The surreal judgement of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. 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," he wrote.
Warner Bros Studios also confirmed Depp's departure and announced that they will cast a new actor for his role before the third instalment opens in theatres.
"Johnny Depp will depart the 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date," Variety quoted a Warner Bros. spokesperson as saying.
"'Fantastic Beasts 3' is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast," the spokesperson added.
In addition to the exit of Depp, the studio has also pushed back the release of the upcoming instalment which was scheduled for November 2021. It will now release in summer 2022.