Johnny Depp has been axed from his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, after losing his court battle.

The actor played Gellert Grindewald in the on-screen adaptation of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off.

However, sharing a statement on Instagram, he revealed he was asked to resign by Warner Brothers.

‘In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement,’ he began.

‘Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty.

‘I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days.

‘Secondly, 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.

‘Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the UK will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal.

‘My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false.’

‘My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time,’ he concluded. ‘Thank you for reading.’

Warner Bros have released their own statement, explaining that Depp’s role will be recast.

‘Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise,’ bosses said. 

‘We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date. Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. 

‘The film will debut in theatres worldwide in the summer of 2022.’

Earlier this week, Depp lost a legal battle against the Sun’s publishers in relation to a column Dan Wootton penned with the headline: ‘Gone Potty – How can JK Rowling be “genuinely happy” casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?’  

Wootton referred to author Rowling’s defence of his casting in the franchise. 

Depp denied all allegations of domestic violence but, after a lengthy trial, Mr Justice Nicol found that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents did occur.

‘The claimant has not succeeded in his action for libel,’ he said. 

‘Although he has proved the necessary elements of his cause of action in libel, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true.

‘I have reached these conclusions having examined in detail the 14 incidents on which the defendants rely as well as the overarching considerations which the claimant submitted I should take into account. 

‘I have found that the great majority of alleged assaults of Ms Heard by Mr Depp have been proved to the civil standard.’

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