Johnny Depp says he was asked to resign from 'Fantastic Beasts'

The actor played Gellert Grindelwald in the first two films of the "Harry Potter" spinoff movies.
Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, 2018.
Johnny Depp in 2018's "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald."Jaap Buitendijk / Warner Bros. via Everett Collection
/ Source: TODAY

Johnny Depp won't be appearing in the next "Fantastic Beasts" film.

The actor announced that he is stepping down from his role as the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the popular “Harry Potter” spinoff series in an Instagram post on Friday morning.

"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," the 57-year-old wrote in a short, typed statement.

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Earlier this week, Depp lost his legal battle against the British tabloid The Sun, who called the actor a "wife beater" in a 2018 article that claimed he had been violent toward his ex-wife, actor Amber Heard. After the exes both appeared in court during a three-week trial over the summer, a judge ruled that The Sun's claims of abuse were "substantially true."

Still, Depp denies the allegations and plans to appeal, something he reiterated in his Instagram statement.

"The surreal judgment of the court in the U.K. 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.

Depp made his first appearance as Grindelwald in 2016's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and went on to reprise his role in the film's sequel, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald" in 2018.

In a statement obtained by TODAY, Warner Bros. confirmed Depp's departure and offered an update on the next "Fantastic Beasts" film.

"Johnny Depp will depart the 'Fantastic Beasts' franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. 'Fantastic Beasts 3' is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022," the studio said.

As he prepares to appeal the court's ruling, Depp took a moment to express his gratitude for the support he has received over the past few years.

"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 wrote.