‘Bond’ star Mads Mikkelsen to replace Johnny Depp in ‘Fantastic Beasts’

Reports say the James Bond villain will replace Depp in the film franchise after Depp’s failed libel case against The Sun tabloid newspaper.

Editor’s note: The related video above was published December 2017.

“James Bond” series star Mads Mikkelsen will replace Johnny Depp in J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.

Warner Bros. announced the news in a press statement released Thursday.

Depp exited the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise following his failed libel case against The Sun tabloid newspaper for a 2018 article that labeled him a “wife beater.”  The actor departed the role of the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald after the studio requested his resignation.  

The third “Fantastic Beasts” film is currently in production.

Mikkelsen, 55, was a star in his home country, Denmark, when he came to Hollywood’s attention in Bond movie “Casino Royale,” playing Le Chiffre.

He has since starred in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Dr Strange” and TV series “Hannibal.”

“Fantastic Beasts,” a prequel franchise spun off from the “Harry Potter” films, has grossed nearly $1.5 billion between “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in 2016 and “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” in 2018.

In a ruling made public Wednesday, a judge refused Depp permission to appeal against a British court’s ruling that he assaulted ex-wife Amber Heard.  

Depp can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal.

RELATED: Johnny Depp will exit the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise after losing libel case

RELATED: Johnny Depp loses UK libel case over ‘wife-beater’ claims

Earlier this month a High Court judge rejected Depp’s claim that The Sun committed libel when it called him a “wife-beater.” Judge Andrew Nicol said the article was “substantially true.” 

Depp is seeking to overturn the judgment. But Nicol denied permission, saying “I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success.” 

The judge also ordered Depp to make an initial payment of almost 630,000 pounds ($840,000) to News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun.