Grindelwald: 10 Actors Who Can Replace Johnny Depp In Fantastic Beasts

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The tempestuous relationship between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp had surfaced back in 2016 when Heard had filed a divorce citing abusive behavior on Depp’s part. Amber Heard’s evidence against Johnny Depp brewed a long, legal battle that had many twists and turns to follow. At the same time, both Heard and Depp were hired by Warner Bros. to play the roles of Queen Mera in the DCEU and Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.


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Soon enough, Johnny Depp seemed to turn the tide with his own evidence that showed Amber Heard was also abusive in their relationship. Depp’s troubles with alcohol had stacked the odds against him, however, his former partner Winona Ryder came in support of him. As the internet became divided over #TeamHeard and #TeamDepp, the recent court case has shocked fans of Johnny Depp. As a result, Johnny Depp is reported to have quit the role of Grindelwald upon the request of Warner Bros.

Johnny Depp as Grindelwald

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Johnny Depp’s diabolical performance as Grindelwald was one of the highlights of the Fantastic Beasts franchise. As the franchise was gradually building up the epic battle between Grindelwald and Dumbledore, the news of Depp’s departure from the role has left many fans dismayed. With Depp gone, Warner Bros. will soon start scouting for actors for the role of Grindelwald. Here are our 10 top picks for the role.

10. Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy for Grindelwald

Best known for his role as Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders, Cillian Murphy has become one of the most sought after actors in recent times. His portrayal as the head of the Shelby family has received widespread acclaim. Not a stranger to villainous roles, Cillian Murphy can be a great replacement for Depp as Grindelwald. His piercing eyes and unparalleled acting skills can accurately depict the dangerous character.


9. Dan Stevens

Dan Stevens for Grindelwald

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Dan Stevens might not be a popular star, but he has proved his mettle in Downton Abbey and Beauty and the Beast. His wide acting range received widespread acclaim in the FX show Legion where he played the role of a schizophrenic mutant. He can bring the unpredictability that defines the character of Grindelwald.


8. Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton for Grindelwald

Surely an unpopular opinion, but Tilda Swinton is no stranger to gender-ambiguous roles. From Snowpiercer to Suspiria, Tilda Swinton has shown how effortlessly she can play any role, irrespective of gender. The veteran actress can easily make Grindelwald one of the most memorable villains, if given the chance. Also, the uncanny resemblance cannot be just overlooked.

7. Michael Shannon


Known for his on-screen versatility, Michael Shannon is known for his roles in Broadwalk EmpireThe Shape of Water, and General Zod in Man of Steel. The charismatic actor can bring intensity and wild unpredictability to the diabolical and unhinged character of Grindelwald. His imposing on-screen presence can definitely work wonders if Warner Bros. wishes to build Fantastic Beasts into a mega-franchise.

6. Jon Hamm

Best known for his role as Don Draper in Mad Men, Jon Hamm can be an interesting choice to replace Johnny Depp. Having won multiple awards and nominations for Mad Men, Jon Hamm can bring the mercurial temperament and fiendish element to the role. Also, Hamm’s sexual appeal can sizzle alongside Jude Law’s Dumbledore, since both the characters were former lovers.


5. Hugh Laurie

The House star is arguably one of the best actors of the past two decades. His phenomenal acting skills in House and the portrayal of the dangerous arms dealer Richard Roper in The Night Manager makes him a suitable candidate for this role. His vast acting range paired with his charismatic on-screen persona will make him an unforgettable Dark wizard.

4. James McAvoy


Though James McAvoy is known for playing mild-mannered characters, he showed his potential in Split where he played a staggering 23 different personalities. His portrayal of Lord Asriel Belacqua in His Dark Materials has also been well received. The 41-year old Scotsman can also spice up the tension between Jude Law’s Dumbledore when he is not terrorizing Muggles with his dark magic.

3. Michael C. Hall

The Dexter star is no stranger to playing psychopathic killers on the screen. His sudden shift in temperament from a quiet, calculating personality to a bloodthirsty killer dishing out his personal brand of justice had received critical acclaim. His unnerving smile and frightening eyes are an added bonus for the role of Grindelwald. If chosen, it can revive his acting career since the talented actor has been out of the scene for too long now.


2. Mads Mikkelsen

The Danish actor is best known for playing the role of Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal. His other roles include Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Kaecilius in Doctor Strange, Galen Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and most recently as Cliff Unger in the video game Death Stranding. His intriguing persona and subtle sex appeal do make him a great pick for the role.

1. Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell as Grindelwald


Warner Bros. had hit the jackpot the first time when they had cast Colin Farrell as Grindelwald in the first installment of Fantastic Beasts. Though the actor played the role of the mysterious Auror named Percival Graves, he soon unmasked himself as Grindelwald, with Depp at the role. His brief yet powerful performance was well received by fans who wanted him to continue as Grindelwald. With Depp’s departure, Warner Bros. can get back Farrell. After all, anything can happen when magic is involved.


Written by Akash Senapati

Articles Published: 373

Akash is the Lead Content Strategist for FandomWire. Having started as a writer for FandomWire back in 2020, he now manages a global team of writers who share the same passion for motion arts, from Martin Scorsese to the latest MCU flick. He loves DC Comics, Anime, Pink Floyd, and sleeping in no particular order. His favorite graphic-medium writers are Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont, Christopher Priest, Garth Ennis, and Eiichiro Oda. Prep time > Aliens.