Mads Mikkelsen is officially replacing Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelward in the third Fantastic Beasts film.

Warner Bros., the studio behind the Harry Potter film franchise, confirmed the news in a statement to IndieWire. It also confirmed that the the latest instalment in the series is currently in production in London.

Mikkelsen, most known for his roles in Hannibal, Rogue One, and Casino Royale, was first linked to the dark wizard earlier this month. According to reports from the time, the actor was director David Yates‘ top pick, which is hardly a surprise considering just how good Mikkelsen is at playing wickedly brilliant villains.

I don’t know if playing “the bitch” in Rihanna‘s Bitch Better Have My Money music video counts, but let’s just say it does.

Depp exited the film franchise on November 7, revealing in an Instagram post that Warner Bros. had asked him to resign after he lost a court case against The Sun, the British tabloid that called him a “wife-beater”.

“I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request,” Depp shared on Instagram.

Depp revealed his intention to appeal the decision, but Variety reports it’s already been shut down.

Judge Andrew Nicol dismissed Depp’s application to appeal, saying he didn’t think it had a “reasonable prospect of success” and there was no “other compelling reason” to grant the appeal.

Judge Nicol also ordered Depp to pay The Sun £520,000 (AUD$945,032) by December 7, and a further £108,235 (AUD$196,676) by January 22. The money will go towards the newspaper’s legal bills.

Fantastic Beasts 3 was originally set to open in cinemas next November, but COVID-19 put a stop to that. It’s now slated for release come July 15, 2022.

In it, Eddie Redmayne and Jude Law reprise their roles as Newt Scamander and Dumbledore, respectively.

It costars Katherine Waterston as Porpentina Goldstein, Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein, Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, and Jessica Williams as Eulalie Hicks.

Image: Getty Images / Samuel de Roman