Johnny Depp's time as the bad guy in the third Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is apparently over. He lost a libel case he brought against a U.K. tabloid that called him a "wife-beater" and Warner Bros. let him go, but it's looking like he'll still get plenty of money.
Depp, who played pre-Voldemort Harry Potter villain Gellert Grindelwald in the first two spinoff flicks from J.K. Rowling's insanely successful magical world, may go home with his eight-figure paycheck even though he only performed one scene in the third movie.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Warners wanted to allow due process to take its course before making a decision on the embattled star’s future in the franchise. Once Judge Andrew Nicol ruled that he accepted Heard's testimony, which was detailed and painted a picture of Depp as an abuser, Emmerich’s decision was a fait accompli, with the studio opting to recast the role less than midway through the franchise.
Still, Warner Bros. will be on the hook for Depp’s full salary, even though he only had shot one scene since production began on Sept. 20 in London.
Depp had what's known as a pay-or-play contract, according to THR. That means he gets his fee even if kicked out of the production or if the role is recast with another actor.
This was a big turnaround. Depp was previously supported by J.K. Rowling and the movie's producers and directors but between his loss in London and the fact he must appear in a Virginia court as part of his multimillion-dollar lawsuit against ex Amber Heard for defamation.
Following his exit from Fantastic Beasts 3, Depp posted what appeared to be a scanned typewritten letter to fans on his Instagram account.
The message said in part: "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."
You can read the whole letter above, but Depp concluded with "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."
While the court battles between Depp and Amber Heard have not reflected well on either star, it does appear that in the age of #MeToo, the Pirates of the Caribbean star could be in for something of a struggle finding new roles for a while.
With eight-figure paydays (the actual number was not specified), Johnny Depp still has plenty of time to sit around and figure out his next move.