LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp has signed on to co-star in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and he has a cameo in the first film, Mashable has confirmed.

Depp’s role is officially being kept under wraps for now, but one popular fan theory is that he’ll be be playing the main bad guy, Gellert Grindelwald.

Last month, Warner Bros. and Rowling announced plans to make five films in the Newt Scamander series, which kicks off on November 18 with Fantastic Beasts. There had previously been three films scheduled for the franchise, which is of the utmost importance to the studio that made eight Harry Potter movies out of seven books.

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne plays magizoologist Newt Scamander, who has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures when Fantastic Beasts opens in 1926. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident … were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts.

David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter movies, returned to direct Fantastic Beasts, which also stars Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, Carmen Ejogo and Colin Farrell.

Fantastic Beasts is notable in that Rowling wrote the script herself in addition to producing the film. The author said she has already written the sequel, which will take Newt to a different city.

It remains unclear whether Rowling will continue to write the other three sequels, or whether those duties will be farmed out to someone else such as producer Steve Kloves, who counts several Harry Potter films among his screenwriting credits.

Rowling’s script was inspired by the Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” written by her character Newt Scamander.

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