Johnny Depp, who had earlier begun production on the third "Fantastic Beasts" movie in London, said he was asked to leave by Warner Bros.

In this October 19, 2016 photo, Mads Mikkelsen poses at The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., to promote his film
In this October 19, 2016 photo, Mads Mikkelsen poses at The Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., to promote his film "Doctor Strange." (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP / AP)

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been chosen to replace Johnny Depp in the upcoming third film in the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise, Warner Bros. said.

Mikkelsen, 55, who is known for his role as serial killer Hannibal Lecter in the US television series "Hannibal," will play the evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the spinoff movie from "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling.

Depp was forced to exit the role earlier this month after losing a libel case in Britain against a tabloid newspaper that branded him a "wife beater." 

The three-week trial in July heard evidence from Depp and his former wife Amber Heard about a tempestuous marriage marked by violence on both sides and of heavy drinking by Depp.

Depp, who had earlier begun production on the third "Fantastic Beasts" movie in London, said he was asked to leave by Warner Bros.

READ MORE: Johnny Depp loses UK libel case on 'wife beater' claims

File Photo: Actor Johnny Depp attends the British premiere of 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' movie in London, Britain, November 13, 2018.
File Photo: Actor Johnny Depp attends the British premiere of 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' movie in London, Britain, November 13, 2018. (Toby Melville / Reuters)

Mikkelsen also played roles in action movies "Doctor Strange" and "Casino Royale" as well as taking roles in Danish dramas such as "The Hunnt" and "A Royal Affair."

The "Fantastic Beasts" movies, based on the magical adventures of Newt Scamander, are set some 60 years before the "Harry Potter" films but feature several of the same key characters when they were younger.

The third as yet untitled movie in the series is set for release in July 2022.

The first two of the five planned "Fantastic Beasts" films earned $1.5 billion at the global box office, according to Box Office Mojo.

Source: Reuters