A few days ago, I wrote about how Fantastic Beasts 3 won’t work without Johnny Depp. But now, I just heard this morning that Mads Mikkelsen is in talks for replacing him. As disappointed as I was when I heard Johnny Depp was fired from the movie, this news excited me immensely. I love Johnny Depp as an actor. He’s amazing and I loved him as the new big bad of Harry Potter, Gellert Grindelwald. I was really hoping that role would revitalize his career, but as of now, that’s sadly not the case. He was the best part of the last Fantastic Beasts movie, but unfortunately, it was still the lowest rated and lowest grossing movie of the Harry Potter franchise. That’s why I was hoping he would return to at least make the third movie more watchable.
Well, he’s no longer attached to the role, and without him, I adamantly believed that Fantastic Beasts 3 would fail without him. However, it turns out Warner Bros. had a little contingency plan, and its name is Danish actor, Mads Mikkelsen. I’m just going to come right out and say that Mads Mikkelsen is a severely underrated actor. I remember the first time I saw him, he was actually a supporting character. Granted, he was a vital supporting character, but he actually didn’t speak much.
It was way back in 2005 when I watched the Director’s Cut of Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur. His character’s name was Tristan, and he was one of King Arthur’s knights of the round table. In fact, he was probably the coolest one. He had his own falcon and didn’t talk much, but when he did, he made everyone listen. On top of that, he was just so incredibly skilled with a sword. He cut through the bad guys with one or two movements and barely broke a sweat. He was basically a samurai.
For my first viewing of Mads Mikkelsen, he sure did grab me. Ever since then, I’ve been very interested in checking out whatever he acts in. I’ve been very happy to see that he’s made a good career for himself. From Rogue One, to Doctor Strange, Mads Mikkelsen has failed to not impress me so far. Since he’s a foreign actor, he’s also made a name for himself overseas. The best example is the 2012 Danish film known as The Hunt. If you don’t watch foreign films, you need to check out The Hunt. That’s the proof Mads Mikkelsen can carry a film as the lead and it really showed his acting chops.
So, I say Mads Mikkelsen is a great actor, but why do I think he’s a good choice to take over as Grindelwald? Well, for one, he’d be playing a villain. He can very well play a good guy, but what I like about him is that he can play bad guys just as well. A very good example of this is when he took on James Bond himself in Casino Royale. If I remember correctly, he actually didn’t kill anybody, but he managed to give us a chilling villain. He wasn’t physically imposing and not even the main antagonist, but he was able to outwit and outsmart James Bond. I mean, come on, he tied him to a chair and smacked him in his twig and berries with a tied up end of a heavy rope.
The villain Le Chiffre was just a cunning and treacherous villain, and Mads Mikkelsen’s stellar performance made him one of the most memorable Bond villains. I’d say what did it the most was his distinct voice. Seriously, that Danish voice just makes him stand out in the coolest way. When he talks, he gets everyone’s attention and we cannot help but listen. His voice is really just the icing on the cake, because when he does get our attention, we get to see his amazing acting abilities.
Heck, just check out the 2009 Danish film, Valhalla Rising. Mads Mikkelsen actually doesn’t say a single word in it, but he didn’t have to. Without saying anything, he just carried the movie with facial expressions and body language. That doesn’t sound like good acting, but believe me, watch it and you’ll see how great he is without even speaking. It’s proof that acting isn’t always what the actors say. They can be silent and just say more by doing. Mads Mikkelsen really sold me on that.
How would I picture Mads Mikkelsen actually playing Grindelwald? I honestly imagine his performance would be quite similar to when he played Kaecilius in Doctor Strange. Okay, now he was good as Kaecilius, but the character was actually rather forgettable. For one, he’s not from the comics, so he has no backstory to go off of. The only backstory we got for him was briefly explained by Mordo. It wasn’t much and he wasn’t even the main antagonist. He was ultimately the lackey for Dormmamu, a villain that we sadly didn’t get to see that much until the end. Kaecilius’ story ended with him being reduced to ashes. Sure, he did kill the Ancient One, but with no backstory and no understandable motivations beyond wanting to serve Dormmamu, Kaecilius was ultimately a one-dimensional villain.
The one thing that made Kaecilius interesting was Mads Mikkelsen’s acting. Once again, his distinct voice made him stand out and his grim tone on top of it made him a serious villain. Physically, he was a villain to be reckoned with and was more than a match for the fledgeling Doctor Strange. Did this make him a great villain? Unfortunately no, but whatever wasn’t developed enough in Doctor Strange, it can be fully developed in Fantastic Beasts 3.
Mads Mikkelsen was very underused in Doctor Strange because Kaecilius wasn’t the main antagonist. There was a lot of magical lore to explain throughout the movie, so we really didn’t get to see what he could really do with the character. That won’t be the case with Grindelwald because his character has already been very well established. We know where he came from, what his goals are, and he’s also the man in charge. Because of these reasons, Mads Mikkelsen will have a bigger chance to actually do more as Grindelwald compared to Kaecilius. As the main antagonist, he can have a lot more screen time and use his awesome voice to frighten us and conjure some deadly spells. Heck, he might even be a more scarier Grindelwald than Johnny Depp.
Does anyone else want Mads Mikkelsen to take over for Grindelwald as much as I do? I remember the last time I wrote about this, I mentioned the rumor that Robert Downey Jr. might take over. That would’ve have interested me greatly, but after hearing about Mads Mikkelsen, my interest for Fantastic Beasts 3 has risen astronomically. I say Warner Bros. should go for it.