According to The Hollywood Reporter, Depp reached out to his sister Christi Dembrowski, who is a producer and had a deal with Warner Bros. at the time, to attempt to have Heard removed from the franchise. "I want her replaced on the WB film," Depp reportedly wrote.
THR obtained documents from Depp’s U.K. libel trial, which show Depp admitting that he was referring to Heard’s 2018 Aquaman film, in which she plays Mera.
After Depp was axed from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, rumors circulated that Heard would also step down from Aquaman 2, but the actress cleared the rumors up while speaking to Entertainment Weekly in November. "I'm super excited about the amount of fan love and the amount of fan appreciation that Aquaman has acquired and that it has garnered so much excitement for Aquaman and Mera that it means we'll be coming back," she said. "I'm so excited to film that."
Heard alleged that "paid rumors and paid campaigns on social media" about her role in the film "don't dictate casting decisions because they have no basis in reality." This could be referring to the "Remove Amber Heard from Aquaman 2" petition on Change.org, which currently has over 1.7 million signatures.
"Only the fans actually made Aquaman and Aquaman 2 happen," Heard said. "I'm excited to get started next year."
Meanwhile, several petitions have been started to reinstate Depp in Fantastic Beasts and Pirates of the Caribbean. In November, Depp announced that Warner Bros. asked him to step down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3.
"Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days," Depp wrote, adding he "respected and agreed to" the studio’s request.
"Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal. My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time," he added.
While Depp will not star in the next film due to a clause in his contract, he will be paid his full eight-figure salary, despite the fact that he only shot one scene. One studio head described Depp as "radioactive" and told THR that "you simply can't work with him now."
In November, a source told OK! that "Johnny went from being a Hollywood icon who everybody admired and wanted to be, to a sad and sorry figure of a man clinging to the remnants of his shattered image."
"Between his bombshell abuse case with Amber, his financial crisis and being dropped from his latest film, Johnny’s whole world has been flipped around," the insider added.
Depp sued The Sun for branding him as a "wife-beater," but the court sided with Heard. He was also denied an appeal in the case by the same ruling judge, Judge Nicol, but then applied directly to Britain’s court of appeal.
Depp met Heard in 2011 while filming The Rum Diary. The couple tied the knot in 2015 before they split in 2016.