The rumors are true: not only will Johnny Depp have a role in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as being cast in the sequel, the mystery character he’s playing is none other than Gellert Grindelwald, Albus Dumbledore’s friend/crush-turned-sworn-enemy back when both wizards were young and full of ambition.

Speaking with The Leaky Cauldron, director David Yates confirmed that Depp, whose involvement in Fantastic Beasts was leaked last week, would be playing the role of the legendary wizard.

The whole principal of casting the movie was go with the best actor. Go for the most inspired, interesting, right fit for that character. And as we approached Grindelwald we thought, ‘Who’s going to take this in an interesting direction?’ In this business, it’s a weird old business. You’re brilliant one week, people are saying odd things the next, you go up and down. But no one takes away your pure talent. Johnny Depp is a real artist. He’s created several characters who have really resonated in our popular culture. He’s a really brilliant, brilliant actor. We were excited about seeing what he would do with this guy, the character. He’s fearless; he’s imaginative; he’s ambitious. We thought he would do something fun and special. So we went for him, purely on that selfish basis. We don’t care if he’s famous or not famous. We just know he’s interesting.

So, this means one of two things. Well, it could mean a whole bunch of things, but two of them are definitely possible: either Grindelwald is already an established dark wizard and All Around Scary Guy at the start of Fantastic Beasts and will continue to be so for the rest of the series, or the sequel will go back in time even further to when he and Dumbledore were friends, and show us the beginning of that story that the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book told bits of in flashbacks. (The sequel is casting for a “young Dumbledore,” so the latter could be the case.) The two wizards embarked on a quest to find the Deathly Hallows and become masters of death itself, but as Grindelwald grew more power-hungry, Dumbledore began to realize it was a bad idea, and their friendship quickly turned to bitter enmity. It’s a fascinating tale of friendship, love, greed, and betrayal, and could make for some very juicy fodder for the rest of the prequel franchise.

Yates also said that the sequel will be taking place partly in Paris, which we knew, as well as partly in the U.K.

We do go back to the U.K. in the second film as well–it’s U.K. and Paris. I’m not sure where Jo is setting the rest of the movies, but they’ll be European-centric. I think it will be difficult to ignore America, but the next one is predominately Europe.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens in theaters November 18.

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