While Johnny Depp has been doing a fairly decent job as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts, his casting was not entirely popular with fans. While some of this may have been due to the allegations of his former wife Amber Heard, others just saw the casting as an uninspired choice.
This could be a case of overexposure to Johnny Depp. He has been an incredibly popular actor in recent times as he was the main draw of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, as well as the fact that he has starred in almost every movie Tim Burton has made for the last decade or so.
If for whatever reason, Johnny Depp does not return as Grindelwald, we've found 10 other actors who could replace him as the infamous dark wizard.
10 Benedict Cumberbatch
Cumberbatch would be perfect for the role. While he has played heroic characters of late, such as Dr. Strange and Sherlock Holmes, he also has experience in playing intimidating villains that would certainly help him in his performance as Grindelwald. He famously lent his voice to both Smaug and the Necromancer in the Hobbit trilogy and gave an incredible, iconic portrayal of those two characters.
Cumberbatch is fantastic at delivering hypnotizing and mesmerizing performances, both as a hero and as a villain. There is no doubt that he would also be fantastic as Grindelwald.
9 Armie Hammer
Armie Hammer has typically played likable characters across his career. He is incredibly handsome, always seems to smile and just seems like an all-round nice guy. While this may be seen as a detriment to his ability to portray a villain, this vast experience in playing good guys could actually be useful in portraying Grindelwald. For example, if anyone saw Depp's Grindelwald asking people to join his cause in real life, we'd all know he was a villain; he has a creepy fake eye and a weird haircut.
However, if Grindelwald looked like Armie Hammer, it would be far more believable that he would gather so many followers.
8 Daniel Bruhl
Daniel Bruhl is a German actor whose most recognizable role so far has been Helmut Zemo in the Avengers series. Arguably, Zemo is the best Avengers villain so far. Bruhl portrayed a character who was cunning and cerebral in his plans to bring down the Avengers. It is because of this Zemo portrayal that he would be suitable for the role of Grindelwald.
In the role of Zemo, Bruhl manages to perfectly bring out the cunning nature of the character. This would perfectly transfer over to Grindelwald. Additionally, Daniel Bruhl's German roots would also help transfer over for the character.
7 Tobias Menzies
While Tobias Menzies may not be the most famous actor on this list, he would be one of the best choices. He has experience in playing villainous roles, most notably as Black Jack Randall in Outlander. Any Outlander fan would testify to the ability of Menzies to make a character seem terrifying, something that would certainly work in his favor for the role of Grindelwald.
Further, the lack of star power for Menzies could also work in his favor. While Johnny Dep is still great as Grindelwald, there are times when you do just see Johnny Depp in a blond wig rather than Grindelwald. This is largely due to Depp's star power, but this would not happen with Menzies.
6 Paul Bettany
If you've seen The Da Vinci Code, you will understand why Bettany is on this list. While most will know him as the MCU's Vision and former voice of Jarvis, Bettany also famously played the role of Silas, the antagonist of The Da Vinci Code. While the character of Grindelwald and Silas are entirely different, both roles require a certain level of intensity, as well as an ability to look scary.
Clearly, Bettany has the ability to capture an intimidating presence as shown by his role as Silas, further, Bettany would also suit the look of Grindelwald with his blond hair.
5 Mads Mikkelsen
Mads Mikkelsen is a Danish actor who is best known for his roles in Casino Royale, Dr. Strange, and Rogue One. Perhaps his most iconic role, however, was in Casino Royale where Mikkelsen played the villainous Le Chiffre.
While Le Chiffre is an entirely different kind of villain to Grindelwald, both require a similar level of cool and charisma (plus both have a damaged eye). Furthermore, as an outright villain, Mikkelsen has shown he can excel at this in his role as Kaecilius from Dr. Strange. His past roles show that Mikkelsen would excel in the role of Grindelwald, he simply needs a blond wig.
4 Cillian Murphy
Cillian Murphy is a fine actor and could easily channel the charismatic intensity that Grindelwald depends upon in order to further his political goals. One particular element that Murphy would have in his favor would be his deep, blue eyes. The Irish actor's eyes have garnered so much attention that they even have their own Tumblr account named F*ck Yeah, Cillian Murphy's Eyes.
Directors have also noticed the hypnotic element of his eyes, with Christopher Nolan, director of the Dark Knight Trilogy, even remarking "He has the most extraordinary eyes, and I kept trying to invent excuses for him to take his glasses off in close-ups."
Murphy's intense stare, plus his incredible capability as an actor, would make him ideal for the role of Grindelwald.
3 Michael Fassbender
Michael Fassbender would be perfect for the role of Grindelwald. Fassbender is a fantastic actor who would certainly add the nuance to the character. In addition to this, he is also an Irish-German actor and as Grindelwald is intended to be Scandanavian, this would work in his favor.
There is no denying that Fassbender has the acting ability to play this role, but he also has experience in playing a cunning and intimidating character with his performance as the X-Men villain, Magneto. Much like the superpowered Magneto, Grindelwald is a charming and charismatic leader who must convince people to join his radical political cause.
2 Colin Farrell
Colin Farrell, in the few moments we saw of him truly playing Grindelwald at the end of Fantastic Beasts, was incredible. His speech about the Statute of Secrecy was perfectly delivered to the extent that we actually agreed with his ends. Additionally, his intense fight with the American aurors made Voldemort look like a pushover. If it wasn't for Newt's sneaky bird attack, Grindelwald probably would have escaped again that day.
It is because of this that many fans were disappointed when it was revealed that Grindelwald was using polyjuice potion in order to conceal his identity, allowing Depp to take over the role. That being said if Farrell returned it could pose quite a problem for JK to explain why Grindelwald looks like Percival Graves again.
1 Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
This one is a popular choice among Potterheads. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is a Danish actor who is most well known for playing Jaime Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones. Coster-Waldau is a talented actor who is more than capable of portraying flawed characters with understandable motives, as he did with Jaime Lannister.
This is important for such a complicated character as Grindelwald. While Grindelwald's means are certainly evil, his ends aren't necessarily bad. Even Dumbledore was sympathetic to his ideals until Grindelwald decided to go 'full dark wizard'.
Coster-Waldau not only has that Scandinavian background, but he also has the ability to bring the charm and nuance to a character such as Grindelwald.