The actor has been signed up to play Grindelwald in a series of new films.
Johnny Depp has been signed up to play Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as its upcoming sequels.
Director David Yates broke the news earlier this week, ending months of speculation about who would play Albus Dumbledore’s former lover.
Last week, it was rumoured that Depp had won the part after he was spotted in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene in the upcoming film starring Eddie Redmayne.
Yates has now confirmed that Depp – who recently said that all of his characters are gay – will briefly feature in the first film, before taking on a wider role in the sequels.
“The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character,” Yates told The Leaky Cauldron.
“And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘Who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’
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“In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down.
“But no one takes away your pure talent. Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor,” Yates added.
“We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious.
“We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis.”
However, some fans did not share the director’s enthusiasm, with many drawing attention to the domestic violence allegations made against the Depp by his former wife Amber Heard earlier this year.
Rowling has already hinted that the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald will be central to the new films – of which there will be five.
It remains unclear who will be reprising the role of Dumbledore, or in which of the films he will appear.