'Aquaman 2' filmmakers won't cut Amber Heard from film despite urging of Johnny Depp fans, says producer


Warner Bros. producer Peter Safran says "pure fan pressure" isn't a reason to change casting.

According to a Warner Bros. producer working on the Aquaman sequel, efforts by Johnny Depp's fanbase to remove Amber Heard from the movie don't hold water.

Peter Safran, who's worked on many Warner Bros. movies, including superhero ones like The Suicide Squad and Shazam!, appeared on Deadline's Hero Nation podcast this week. He made it clear that the studio wouldn't react to "pure fan pressure" in that way.

"I don't think that we're ever going to react to, honestly, pure fan pressure. You gotta do what you feel is best for the movie. We felt that if it's James Wan and Jason Momoa, it should be Amber Heard. That's really what it was," Safran said.

Wan directed Momoa as Peter Curry, a.k.a. Aquaman, in the live-action 2018 film. Both will return alongside Heard's hydrokinetic Mera in Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom, which is currently in production.

"Listen, one is not unaware of what is going on in the Twitter-verse, but that doesn't mean you have to react to it or take it as gospel or accede to their wishes," Safran continued. "You have to do what you feel is right for the film, and that's really where we landed on it."

Amid volatile divorce proceedings in 2016, Heard accused her now-ex-husband Depp of abuse and was granted a temporary restraining order. At the time, Los Angeles police investigated the claims and found "no evidence of any crime." Depp maintains his innocence, while Heard maintains he physically assaulted her.

Depp lost his highly publicized libel suit against British newspaper The Sun, which had printed he was abusive towards Heard. A judge found the assertion to be "substantially true." In the aftermath, Depp released a statement saying he would step down from his role in the Fantastic Beasts movies, which sparked calls from his fans for Warner Bros., which is behind both the Harry Potter franchise and DC superhero films, to remove Heard from Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom.

Heard told EW in a 2020 interview, "Paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media don't dictate [casting decisions] because they have no basis in reality... Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen. I'm excited to get started next year."

Mads Mikkelsen has since been tapped to replace Depp as the dark wizard Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts sequels.