Is Disney Making a Huge Mistake If Johnny Depp Isn’t in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 6’?

In 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was released. Not only did the film kickstart a wave of nostalgia for classic pirate films, but it introduced a whole new era of Disney blockbusters and revitalized Johnny Depp’s film career. In the years since Disney has released four additional spinoff films, but nothing has quite been able to top the success of the original. With reports swirling that there will be a brand-new Pirates film, this time without Johnny Depp in the lead role, fans are anxious, concerned, and curious about what the future of the franchise might hold. 

Johnny Depp in a hat and glasses in front of a blurred blue background
Johnny Depp | Paul Treadway/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The original ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ was a huge success

When Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was released in 2003, Johnny Depp was best known as the quirky star of independent productions. However, the smashing success of the blockbuster film showed that Depp could more than hold his own in big-budget productions. His character, the legendary pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, became an instant fan-favorite, and to date, remains Depp’s most popular characterization. 

The film also starred Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, along with a slew of talented supporting stars. The special effects were groundbreaking and the storyline earned rave reviews from critics and fans. All in all, the film was much more successful than anyone expected, especially for a movie that was loosely based on a Disney theme park ride. Disney’s executives couldn’t possibly let their new cash machine rest, and in short order, a succession of sequels followed. 

The ‘Pirates’ sequels have not been well-received

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In 2006 and 2007, two sequels were released, both featuring the original cast. While these two films were moneymakers at the box office and fans seemed to enjoy them, they did not reach the iconic status of the original film. In 2011, another sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, was released, with a new director at the helm and a new story direction. Reviews were mixed, but once again, fans showed up in drives to see Captain Jack Sparrow on the big screen.

The most recent installment in the Pirates franchise came in 2017 with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Without Bloom and Knightley in supporting roles, the film floundered, although Johnny Depp remained in good form. Critics slammed the film, with writing and acting earning especially bad marks. After this latest film, many fans wondered whether there would be a sixth film in the franchise. 

Will Johnny Depp be in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 6’?

Johnny Depp has been through the legal wringer the past several years, after a bitter court fight with his ex-wife, Amber Heard. In the wake of domestic violence accusations, Disney reportedly dropped Depp from any future projects. However, recent reports have stated that Disney is now actively working with Depp in order to possibly bring him back on board as Captain Jack Sparrow, according to MSN.

Still, there’s another change in the works for the two-decades-old Pirates franchise. There is a brand-new Pirates of the Caribbean film in the works, starring Margot Robbie. According to sources, this film would not be following the Jack Sparrow storylines that have already been developed, and would instead be a completely original storyline based on the theme park ride. In addition, several of the original members of the production team are attached to the project, which is definitely a good sign for Pirates aficionados. While fans might have been concerned that this new film spells the end of future Johnny Depp-helmed movies, it might actually be a good sign for the tired franchise. After all, after nearly twenty years, the series is more than due up for some fresh blood, and Margot Robbie might be the perfect candidate. Plus, there would still be room for Captain Jack Sparrow to appear in another film or two in the future.