(WGHP) — “Pirates of the Caribbean” could return, but it’s unclear whether or not the ship has sailed for Johnny Depp.
Depp, as Captain Jack Sparrow, helped to launch the movie franchise in 2003 with “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” leading to four sequels: “Dead Man’s Chest” (2006), “At World’s End” (2007), “On Stranger Tides” (2011) and “Dead Men Tell No Tales” (2017).
In 2016, Depp divorced actress Amber Heard. Since their divorce, allegations of abuse have surfaced leading to multiple court battles and the actor losing at least one other role.
Most recently, on April 11, 2022, the two were thrust back into the spotlight in a defamation trial. The trial centers on Depp’s accusation that Heard defamed him in a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post. The op-ed does not name Depp but does allude to their public conflict: “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
“Pirates of the Caribbean” producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed to The Times that we have not yet seen the last of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, but it’s still unclear if we’ve seen the last of the originating Jack Sparrow actor.
“We’re talking to Margot Robbie,” Bruckheimer told The Times. “We are developing two ‘Pirates’ scripts — one with her, one without.”
While the question of Margot Robbie as leading lady is murky, we do know that producers are not looking to Johnny Depp to helm the sequel. He did not rule out a reprisal later down the line.
“Not at this point,” Bruckheimer said of a possible return of Depp. “The future is yet to be decided.”
This wouldn’t be the first time an ongoing franchise has decided to part ways with Depp.
Depp debuted as the evil wizard Grindelwald in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” in 2016 and reprised the role in “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” (2018). In November 2020, Depp announced on Instagram that he was “asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request.”
The decision came after he lost a libel lawsuit against the tabloid newspaper The Sun, which referred to him as a “wife beater.” Depp addressed the ruling in his statement, writing, “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.”
The role of Grindelwald was recast with Mads Mikkelsen taking on the mantle for “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” (2022). J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” series and the connected Wizarding World stories, said in 2016 that the “Fantastic Beasts” series would be a five-film franchise, but Depp is not expected to return to the role.