Mads Mikkelsen confirmed to replace Johnny Depp as dark wizard Grindelwald

Warner Bros Pictures has confirmed James Bond star Mads Mikkelsen will take over the role of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald from Johnny Depp in the third Fantastic Beasts film.

Depp stepped down from the role after losing his high-profile libel case against the Sun newspaper over an article which labelled him a “wife beater”.

Danish actor Mikkelsen, 54, rose to prominence as shady banker Le Chiffre opposite Daniel Craig in 2006 Bond film Casino Royale.

He also played Dr Hannibal Lecter in the television series Hannibal.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Photocall – London
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Photocall – London

In 2012 Mikkelsen won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival, for his role in Danish drama The Hunt as a teacher in a small village accused of abuse.

Speaking about the role in 2017, he told the PA news agency: “The film was absolutely beautiful; it was a film with a gigantic dilemma in it and I think he (director Thomas Vinterberg) brought that to life in a very beautiful way, so that I got acclaim for it and the film did; it was the icing on the cake of something you were already proud of.”

Another project on the horizon for the Danish star is Chaos Walking, Doug Liman’s big-screen adaptation of author Patrick Ness’s dystopian young adult novel series.

The film, slated for a 2021 release, will see Mikkelsen star alongside Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley of Star Wars fame.

In 2016, Mikkelsen appeared in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first instalment in the Star Wars anthology series, which starred Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed.

He also starred in 2011’s The Three Musketeers, directed by Paul W S Anderson. He played Captain Rochefort in a cast which included Matthew Macfadyen, Luke Evans, Milla Jovovich and James Corden.

His TV credits include, according to his official website, a long-running role as a policeman in the Danish series Unit One.

TV series Hannibal came to an end after three seasons in 2015.


"Rochefort, who I played in The Three Musketeers is very elegant. He’d love to be at any film festival, so long as he’s starring in something with Roger Federer and Lionel Messi. He’s a master with the sword, as they are with the racket and the football."

— Mads Mikkelsen Official (@theofficialmads) August 27, 2020

In the Harry Potter universe, Grindelwald is an immensely powerful evil wizard, who is regarded as second only to Voldemort.

Depp, 57, said he was asked to step down from the franchise by Warner Bros following his legal defeat.

He was refused permission to appeal against the judgment last week, but has been given until December 7 to apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

Production on Fantastic Beasts 3 has been taking place in the UK, with Eddie Redmayne starring as Newt Scamander and Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore.

The film is scheduled to be released on July 15 2022.