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Johnny Depp Joins Fantastic Beasts Sequel — Is He Gellert Grindelwald?

Well, this is unexpected

Johnny Depp has officially joined J.K. Rowling's wizarding world. Depp will star alongside Eddie Redmayne in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which David Yates will return to direct early next year. According to Deadline, the actor will make his brief debut in this November's first installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise in a cameo role.

It's not yet known what that role will be, but Harry Potter fans (this writer included) have already speculated that Depp could be stepping into the role of Gellert Grindelwald — you know, the dark wizard who befriended Albus Dumbledore, stole the Elder Wand, and waged a global wizarding war against Muggles in the early 1900s.

Last month during a global fan event, Rowling and Yates confirmed that the fallen dark wizard would play a significant role in the films to come. Thanks to a newly released video from Warner Bros., in which actor (and Harry Potter fanatic) Ezra Miller recaps Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s infamous duel in 1945, we also know that Grindelwald's wizarding war will be the backdrop of Fantastic Beasts. With Grindelwald shaping up to be the Big Bad of the franchise, it makes sense that the studio would want an actor with such a defined, uh, personality.

There's also the fact that one eagle-eyed Potterhead spotted the similarities between Depp and a still of Grindelwald from the latest Fantastic Beasts trailer.

It appears that Grindelwald's ideology and nefarious efforts in Europe have found support stateside in Fantastic Beasts, with one highly skilled Auror named Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) leading the charge. Based on the trailers, we know that Graves wants to reveal the wizarding world to the No-Majs and instate a wizard-led global order. Seeing as the Fantastic Beasts sequel will take place in Paris, the move to Europe suggests that Grindelwald will eventually be part of the action. Bring. It. On.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters on November 17, 2016.