Improbable Beasts three: Mads Mikkelsen Speaks on Changing Johnny Depp

“Well it’s going to be me, so that’s a difference.”


On November 25, 2020, Grindelwald got good. Johnny Depp had played the J.K. Rowling-conceived character (now that’s a sentence with two people) in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second entry in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them big-screen franchise, despite the controversy of his domestic abuse case involving ex-partner Amber Heard. But on that fateful day, he was finally replaced by Mads Mikkelsen of HannibalRogue One, and Doctor Strange fame for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 3, causing everyone in Collider to spontaneously throw a party. And now, Mr. Mikkelsen speaks on this strange transformation.


While speaking to Entertainment Weekly about his upcoming film Another Round, Mikkelsen got into the oddness of stipping into an iconic actor’s shoes for an iconic role. How will his take be different? “Well it’s going to be me, so that’s a difference,” began Mikkelsen cheekily, presumably before sipping an ornate cup of tea and making the interviewer draw a clock. Mikkelsen went on with more seriousness:

“This is the tricky part. We’re still working it out. There has to be a bridge between what Johnny did and what I’m going to do. And at the same time, I also have to make it my own. But also we have to find a few links (to the previous version of the character) and some bridges so it doesn’t completely detach from what he’s already masterfully achieved.”

Johnny Depp in Fantastic Beasts 2

Image via Warner Bros.

While I don’t love that anyone calls anything Depp does lately a “masterful achievement” (an unfortunately diplomatic sentiment Mikkelsen doubles down on when he hopes that both Depp and Heard “will be back in the saddle again really soon,” which makes my whole nervous system shudder), I appreciate he’s looking out for fans of the series’ mythology who have gotten used to Depp’s take on the character, and want something to at least feel in a similar solar system to replace it. I for one am glad Mikkelsen is back in the saddle now, and if he wants to go back and digitally replace himself in all of Depp’s previous works, I am listening.

Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently scheduled to be released in theaters July 14, 2022 — though we’ll see if Warner Bros.’ bombshell statement today makes that all disappear.


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About The Author

Gregory Lawrence
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Gregory Lawrence (aka Greg Smith) is a writer, director, performer, songwriter, and comedian. He’s an associate editor for Collider and has written for Shudder, CBS, Paste Magazine, Guff, Smosh, Obsev Studios, and more. He loves pizza and the Mortal Kombat movie. For more,

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