After Johnny Depp's Fantastic Beasts 3 exit, the recasting is now underway, but original Grindelwald actor Colin Farrell may not be available.
Recasting for the role of Gellert Grindelwald for the untitled Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently underway, but original character actor Colin Farrell is unable to replace Johnny Depp. Warner Bros. launched a new Harry Potter prequel spinoff series starring Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in 2016 via Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Aside from the magizoologist, who's essentially a new character, the period franchise also brings back the younger version of familiar characters such as Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) and Grindelwald, establishing a link to the original film series.
Farrell largely played Grindelwald in the first Fantastic Beasts film, it was only until the end of the movie that Depp was revealed to actually be portraying the role. Backlash immediately followed given the string of controversies swarming the actor, with calls to recast. Still, Warner Bros. stood its ground with Depp taking over the role in 2018's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Amidst the criticism, the actor even confirmed to be returning for Fantastic Beasts 3, but that's no longer the case, Depp announcing his departure after Warner Bros. supposedly asked him to leave the project.
Given this, the hunt for Depp's replacement is underway. The easiest and quickest way out of this predicament is to simply bring back Farrell since he's already played that role as disguised Grindelwald. Unfortunately, that may not be possible as a new report from Variety claims that the actor will not be able to join Fantastic Beasts 3 due to his previous commitment playing Penguin in Matt Reeves' The Batman.
This checks out with the films' timetables as there's a clear overlap in their productions. Both The Batman and Fantastic Beasts 3 were supposed to hit theaters in 2021 (October and November, respectively), but they were pushed back to March and July 2022. The Batman has started shooting earlier this year but went through a couple of starts and stops due to the coronavirus pandemic raging all over the world. Filming is now back in full swing and is expected to continue until February 2021. Meanwhile, Fantastic Beasts 3's principal photography has begun back in October and is scheduled to last for five months.
Perhaps there would've been a way to bring back Farrell as Grindelwald if The Batman didn't essentially have the same production schedule with Fantastic Beasts 3, considering that both are Warner Bros. projects. But since the actor is playing a prominent role in the DC Films movie, it would be difficult to pull him out of it and expect him to play another key role in another high profile project seamlessly. What's curious here, however, is that since filming for Fantastic Beasts 3 is already in full swing, it's possible that Warner Bros. already has an idea who their replacement actor will be.