With Pirates of The Caribbean 6 proceeding in development, it’s worth examining Johnny Depp’s complex history and his potential future with the franchise.

The original Pirates of The Caribbean was a major success for Disney, bringing in $654 million on a $140 million budget.

The film is considered a swashbuckling classic for many reasons, from its tight screenplay, to the romance between Kiera Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann and Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner, to the rollicking Hans Zimmer score.

However, the true lynch-pin of the film is widely considered to be Johnny Depp’s turn as the pirate Captain Jack Sparrow.

While the part was well fleshed-out in the screenplay from Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, it was Depp who made the character a pop-culture touchstone.

The character has become synonymous with the franchise, appearing in every Pirates of The Caribbean movie and even gracing the original Disneyland ride.

However, Depp’s public firing from the upcoming Pirates of The Caribbean 6 following the allegations related to Amber Heard and his subsequent legal vindication, complicate questions of his status with the Pirates franchise.

Johnny Depp Was Fired From Pirates Of The Caribbean 6

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales looking surprised Provided by ScreenRant

Johnny Depp’s relationship with the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise became considerably strained when the star was fired from Pirates of The Caribbean 6 following the abuse allegations leveled against him by his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.

During the highly-publicized trial, in which Depp sued Heard for approximately $40 million in lost earnings as a result of the situation, it was revealed that Disney wanted to pay Depp $22.5 million for Pirates of The Caribbean 6. Because of the controversy, the offer was rescinded.

Related video: Johnny Depp Made $650 Million During His Heyday In Hollywood, But His Biggest Payout Was Not A ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ Movie (Dailymotion)

Pirates of The Caribbean wasn’t the only franchise role Johnny Depp lost out on due to the controversy.

The actor was also dropped from Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts series, in which he played series antagonist Grindelwald.

The role was recast with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.

However, while Depp’s attachment as Grindelwald wasn’t a major draw for Fantastic Beasts, Jack Sparrow is the closest thing the Pirates franchise has to a series protagonist; without him, the sixth film has been stalling in development hell for years.

What Johnny Depp Has Said About Returning For Pirates Of The Caribbean 6

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Provided by ScreenRant

At the time of the contentious court case, Johnny Depp’s response to a potential Pirates return was a decisive “no”.

Feeling betrayed by the studio’s swift firing, Depp affirmed attorney Ben Rottenborn’s assertion that “nothing on this earth,” not even $300 million, would get the star to return to the Pirates franchise.

However, Depp’s attitude seems to have since softened. In July 2023, a source close to Depp told People that “if it’s the right project, he’ll do it;” a clear first step in reopening the door to negotiations with Disney about further Pirates of The Caribbean installments.

POTC’s Producer Wants Johnny Depp Back

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales Provided by ScreenRant

Blockbuster producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who has been involved with the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise since the original 2003 film, has made sympathetic comments about a Johnny Depp Pirates return.

Bruckheimer’s endorsement is significant, but the producer’s power is limited. While a 2022 THR interview saw Bruckheimer state that he “would love to have [Depp] in the movie”, he underscored that Disney has the final say, commenting “you’d have to ask them.”

Recently, Bruckheimer said that Depp is “just so good at what he does and people recover from things like this.

Once again, the answer denotes a personal enthusiasm, but no real commitment.

A former Disney executive told People that, following Bruckheimer’s success with the return of Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, Disney may be willing to bank on a similar box office event with the return of Johnny Depp in Pirates of The Caribbean 6.

They added: “There is just too much potential box-office treasure for a beloved character deeply embedded in the Disney culture.

It’s true that Jack Sparrow is still tightly bound to Disney. Indeed, Jack Sparrow is the only one of the film characters to be installed at the “Pirates of The Caribbean” ride at Disney’s parks.

What Disney’s Canceled POTC Movies Mean for Johnny Depp’s Future

Margot Robbie and Jack Sparrow collaged Provided by ScreenRant

Disney’s stalled plans for Pirates of The Caribbean 6 may be a good sign for Depp. Following the cancelation of a project by Deadpool co-writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, Disney and Bruckheimer have two potential films on the table for a Pirates of The Caribbean follow-up.

While one has been described as a spinoff and the other seems to be a reboot, Bruckheimer refers to both as Pirates of the Caribbean 6.

The reboot seems the most likely; Bruckheimer states that the script, which is being written by The Last of Us co-creator Craig Mazin and Pirates 1-3 writer Ted Elliot, is close to being finished.

However, Bruckheimer has admitted that the process of developing a satisfying script for either project has been hard.

The Margot Robbie film’s development has been particularly tumultuous, leading to Robbie herself claiming that the project is dead.

Bruckheimer insists that the film simply “needs a little more work.” Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that either film would have a place for Johnny Depp.

The actor’s presence would be distracting in the Robbie spin-off, and Bruckheimer’s other Pirates script would feature a “younger cast.

However, the fact that the scripts are proving troublesome means that scrapping the projects and embarking on a new, Depp-led Pirates film is still very much an option.

Fan Backlash To Pirates Of The Caribbean Without Johnny Depp Explained

Zombie Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean Provided by ScreenRant

A fan movement to see Johnny Depp return to Pirates of The Caribbean has been steadily gaining steam.

Following the update on Mazin and Elliot’s potential Pirates of The Caribbean 6, a new wave of Pirates fan backlash materialized.

At the time of writing, users are still posting messages of support for the actor and character, with the implication being that they will boycott any new Pirates film which does not see Depp return.

This newest wave of support from Depp is far from the first. However, it is the one with the most credibility.

As far back as 2018, when Depp’s firing was first announced by Disney amid the Amber Heard allegations, there was a groundswell of fan support for the actor (via The Sun).

Nevertheless, with serious allegations hanging over Depp’s head, tweets from fans held little sway.

However, the decisive victory for Depp in the 2022 court case, which legally vindicates the actor of the accusations against him, finally makes Depp’s re-hiring for Pirates of The Caribbean 6 a real prospect, one which can be bolstered by vocal support.

Source: People, THR, The Sun

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