LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Johnny Depp has swashbuckled as a pirate, played a mad hatmaker and will next step into "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling's wizarding world of magic in the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" sequel, film trade publications said Tuesday.
Depp, 53, one of Hollywood's top actors and box office draws, will co-star in the 2018 sequel to "Fantastic Beasts," due out in theaters on Nov. 18, Deadline.com, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety said, citing unnamed sources.
The reports also said Depp will make a cameo in the first film, but did not reveal what part he will play.
Time Warner Inc-owned Warner Bros studios did not formally announce Depp's casting, and a representative for the studio did not immediately return requests for comment.
Little is known about the plot of "Fantastic Beasts," which stars Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne with a screenplay by Rowling, featuring new characters, story and set in New York in 1926, long preceding the "Harry Potter" books and films, which were set in England in the 1990s.
Rowling revealed earlier this month that "Fantastic Beasts" will be the first of five new movies set in her wizarding world.
The new franchise will trace the rise of a powerful wizard named Gellert Grindelwald and his eventual 1945 duel with Albus Dumbledore, the popular wizard headmaster from the Potter stories.
Rowling's seven-book "Harry Potter" series sold more than 450 million copies worldwide, and the film franchise, which ended in 2011 with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," took in more than $7 billion at the global box office.
Depp leads Disney's hit franchise "Pirates of the Caribbean," in which he plays Captain Jack Sparrow, and "Alice in Wonderland," in which he plays the Mad Hatter. He is known for often playing eccentric, unpredictable and off-kilter characters.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)