Petition to Reinstate Johnny Depp in 'Fantastic Beasts' Surpasses 150,000 Signatures

A petition launched by Johnny Depp fans to see the actor reinstated to the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise has surpassed 150,000 signatures.

The actor was dropped from his role as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter prequel after he lost his high profile "wife-beater" libel case against The Sun newspaper.

"Johnny Depp was asked by Warner Bros to resign and leave his role of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts 3 movie," the petition creator wrote on Change.org. "This happened because of the verdict of his case with The Sun tabloid that was completely unfair. We want him back! Warner Bros should listen to the public or we will boycott the movie!!!"

The Change.org petition had more than 152,528 signatures at the time of publishing.

Last week, Depp announced that he would be leaving the role, meaning he would not be returning for the third film in the franchise.

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp attends 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald' UK Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square on November 13, 2018 in London, England. Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

"In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement," Depp began his note, shared to Instagram. "Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your 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," he continued.

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen is reportedly in talks to replace Depp.

Filming is already underway in the U.K. with Eddie Redmayne set to reprise his role as Newt Scamander and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling co-writing the script.

A judge ruled that The Sun was correct in labeling Depp a "wife-beater" in a headline, after deeply personal claims of brutal violence and intimate details of his rocky relationship with Amber Heard publicly aired in court.

In his ruling, the judge, Mr. Justice Nicol, said: "The claimant [Depp] has not succeeded in his action for libel... The defendants [The Sun and News Group Newspapers] have shown that what they published in the meaning which I have held the words to bear was substantially true."

Warner Bros. Studio confirmed Depp's exit from the blockbuster franchise in a statement.

"Johnny Depp will depart the Fantastic Beasts franchise. We thank Johnny for his work on the films to date," the studio said via Variety. "Fantastic Beasts 3 is currently in production, and the role of Gellert Grindelwald will be recast. The film will debut in theaters worldwide in the summer of 2022."