Johnny Depp confirmed as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Contributed by
Nov 9, 2016, 11:49 AM EST

The biggest mystery of the Wizarding World has been revealed. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them helmer David Yates has revealed the identity of the mystery character played by Johnny Depp in the movie (where he will have a cameo) and its sequels.

Yates actually spilled the official beans during an interview with the good folks at The Leaky Cauldron, where he confirmed that yep; Depp is indeed playing the infamous dark wizard: Gellert Grindelwald (who was previously played by Jamie Campbell Bower and Michael Byrne in the Harry Potter movies). The director then went on to explain why he chose the actor for the role:

“The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent.

Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.”

The news comes hot on the heels of the confirmation that the powers-that-be are looking to cast a young Albus Dumbledore — who has a long history with Grindelwald as the two were once friends before Grindelwald turned to the Dark Side — on Fantastic Beasts 2. Harry Potter producer David Heyman had a few more things to say on the subject of the Johnny Depp casting:

“Grindelwald is an iconic character, so it was important to have someone who had that weight. There’s a reason why he has that weight. It’s because, you know, he’s a fine actor who makes unexpected choices.”

Yates also confirmed during the interview that the second film will be more Eurocentric, with the bulk of the storyline taking place in the U.K. and Paris. He also revealed that the fantastic beasts will take a bit of a backseat to Grindelwald:

“Currently the beasts feature slightly less in the second film, and Grindelwald takes more of a foreground. Currently. But we love the beasts so much. There’s an amazing beast in the second movie – a Chinese beast, actually – that is featured. We’re exploring how we can get a couple more beasts into the second film, with Jo [J.K. Rowling, who is writing the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts films].”

Also, great news Ezra Miller fans! David Yates revealed that Miller's character, Credence Barebone, will also be in the second film, and that he'll become quite pivotal and crucial to the story. So, yay!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will open on Nov. 8, while the sequel is already slated for a 2018 release. What do you think of Johnny Depp playing the villainous Gellert Grindelwald?

(via The Leaky Cauldron)