Mads Mikkelsen
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Credit: Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

WIRE Buzz: Mads Mikkelsen breaks Fantastic Beasts silence; Wheel of Time answers; Amazon's LoTR casting

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Dec 3, 2020, 11:39 AM EST

Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Doctor Strange) has finally opened up about being cast as Gellert Grindelwald after Johnny Depp stepped down due to allegations of domestic abuse against his former wife, Amber Heard.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mikkelsen shared how the process of replacing Depp was going. “We're still working it out,” he said. “There has to be a bridge between what Johnny did and what I'm going to do. And at the same time, I also have to make it my own. But also we have to find a few links [to the previous version of the character] and some bridges so it doesn't completely detach from what he's already masterfully achieved."

Credit: Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images & Warner Bros.

Mikkelsen also shared his reaction to landing the role. "It's also a shocker that it came after what happened, which is just super sad. I wish both of them the best. These are sad circumstances. I hope both of them will be back in the saddle again really soon."

Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production and is scheduled to premiere on July 14, 2022.

Wheel of Time, the upcoming series on Amazon that is based on the 14-book saga by Robert Jordan, won’t take things book-by-book.

“We're approaching this as an adaptation of the entire series, not just each book individually,” showrunner Rafe Jenkins said on Twitter in response to a fan’s question about the show. “So hopefully Season One will feel more like the entire book series of Wheel of Time than it does like Eye of the World.”

Jenkins went on to answer other fan questions, including details about how they created the weapons for the fantasy show. “You can not even imagine the number of hours that goes into each person's weapon,” he shared. “I was in at least 20 meetings about the dagger that Egwene has, and that's not even a major weapon in the books. There's a whole team of people (and we have a few BIG book fans on the props team)…looking at every item held by an actor on the show. I'd be shocked if less than 10,000 woman/man hours were spent on the design and creation of the Heron Mark sword.”

You can catch more of his answers on his Twitter thread here.

Wheel of Time will air on Amazon Prime Video; no news yet on when that will be.  

(First reported via iO9.)

Speaking of upcoming fantasy content from Amazon, the company just announced its second wave of Middle-Earth casting for the massive Lord of the Rings series.

Among the newcomers are Peter Mullan (known for playing James Delos in HBO's Westworld) and Benjamin Walker (known for playing our 16th president in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Cynthia Addai-Robinson (Power), Maxim Baldry (Years and Years), Ian Blackburn (Behold the Ghost), Kip Chapman (APOLLO 13: Mission Control), Anthony Crum (Hush), Maxine Cunliffe (The Wilds), Trystan Gravelle (The Terror), Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch), Thusitha Jayasundera (Young Dracula), Fabian McCallum (You, Me & The Apocalypse), Simon Merrells (SYFY's Dominion), Geoff Morrell (Farscape), Lloyd Owen (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), Augustus Prew (Kick-Ass 2), Peter Tait (The Brokenwood Mysteries), Alex Tarrant (Night Riders), Leon Wadham (Sunny Skies), and Sara Zwangobani (Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King) have also been cast.

The crew is a truly international ensemble. Blackburn, Chapman, Crum, Cunliffe, Tait, Tarrant, and Wadham hail from New Zealand, with the rest of the actors coming from Australia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States. At this time, we have no specifics on the different roles, but we can assume many will be new characters, given the fact that the project takes place before The Fellowship of the Ring.

Mullan & Walker Credit: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images & Bruce Glikas/WireImage

"The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse, and filled with heart," showrunners/executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay said in a statement. "These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multi-year search to find brilliant and unique artists to bring that world to life anew. The international cast of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series is more than just an ensemble. It is a family. We are thrilled to welcome each of them to Middle-earth.”

The show is currently filming in New Zealand. Production was forced to shut down for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, New Zealand is one of the few countries on the planet that has effectively contained the pathogen's spread, allowing several projects (including James Cameron's Avatar sequels and Netflix's live-action Cowboy Bebop) to resume their physical shoots.

J.A. Bayona (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) is directing the first two episodes and serving as an executive producer. EPs also include: Belén Atienza, Lindsey Weber, Bruce Richmond, Callum Greene, Gennifer Hutchison, Jason Cahill, Justin Doble, and Sharon Tal Yguado.