Johnny Depp is Grindelwald, Dumbledore Returns and More on the Fantastic Beasts Sequels

Johnny Depp is Grindelwald, Dumbledore returns and more on the Fantastic Beasts sequels

While Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them doesn’t hit theaters until Friday, November 18, director David Yates and producer David Heyman have already talked quite a bit about the upcoming sequel. Just last week, we learned that Johnny Depp had joined the cast of the Fantastic Beasts sequel. Now we know, as many fans had already guessed, that Johnny Depp is Grindelwald.

Heyman told The Leaky Cauldron about Depp filming scenes for the franchise. “We filmed early. I was amazed. It was completely bonkers. I was convinced it [would be leaked] you can keep very few secrets nowadays, especially something like that! When he came to Leavesden and we filmed for two days…and it didn’t come out. That’s mad.”

Yates explained why they chose Depp: “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.”

David Heyman added. “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 that Dumbledore will be back in the sequel. “In the second movie Dumbledore comes back… no it’s not going to be Michael Gambon. No, we need a younger Dumbledore.”

As far as the setting, the Fantastic Beasts sequel will be going back to Europe and will take place in the U.K. and Paris. “We confirm it! We do go back to the U.K. in the second film as well–it’s U.K. and Paris. I’m not sure where Jo is setting the rest of the movies, but they’ll be European-centric. I think it will be difficult to ignore America, but the next one is predominately Europe.”

With the franchise starting off with the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” title, the site asked if the Beasts will be taking a back seat in future movies. Yates said yes, “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.”

Heyman had a more philosophical answer. “In a way the beasts are the creatures in the case. But it’s also the beast in each of us. […] I think beasts will continue to play a part in some score. It’s also so much a part of what Jo writes about. It’s the consequences of repression.”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident…were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.

The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them stars Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Colin Farrell, Jenn Murray, Jon Voight, Carmen EjogoGemma Chan and newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove.

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images)