LOS ANGELES. The Disney Studios announced they are working on a Pirates of the Caribbean reboot. But it appears that former POTC star Johnny Depp will not be a part of the franchise moving forward. Original screenwriter Stuart Beattie recently hinted at this shakeup.
Johnny Depp has been in the news over the past few years and faced recent allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Depp has also given a series of increasingly bizarre interviews, lending credence to strong suspicions of alcohol and / or controlled substance abuse.
Johnny Depp Pirates departure likely but not officially confirmed
With regard to the Pirates film franchise, Stuart Beatie neither confirms nor denies on the record that Johnny Depp has left the popular Disney film series. Beattie thinks, in fact, that Depp was highly successful in his portrayal of the rakish Captain Jack Sparrow, given that movie movie audiences strongly identify with his portrayal.
“‘I think he’s had a great run. Obviously, he’s made that character his own and it’s become the character he’s most famous for now.
“‘And kids all over the world love him as that character so I think it’s been great for him, it’s been great for us, so I’m just very, very happy about it.'”
Beatie’s remark appeared in an October 25, 2018 article in the online edition of the London Daily Mail. In that article, the paper speculates that the Disney franchise will indeed get a Depp-less reboot, citing a severe drop-off in the popularity of Pirate’s most recent sequel.
“Superstar Johnny Depp has been dropped from the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise as Disney Studios plans a major reboot, DailyMailTV can reveal.
“Depp was the major lead in five Pirates movies over the past 15 years – but it appears Captain Jack Sparrow has made his final voyage on the Black Pearl….
“Depp, 55, who has been dogged by personal dramas over the past four years, saw his last outing as Sparrow in Dead Men Tell No Tales, which became the lowest performing movie of the films.”
New writers on board?
According to the Daily Mail piece, new writers are already involved with Disney’s potential POTC reboot.
“Recent reports claimed Deadpool’s writing team was working on the reboot and Beattie confirmed that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are indeed working on script drafts.
“The pair penned the first two Deadpool blockbusters, Zombieland and 6 Underground, the action film…”
Troubled franchise rescue missions
The apparent replacement of Depp is of a piece with Disney’s current cleanup efforts involving lucrative film franchises. Disney recently cut Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn over controversial tweets. Disney’s Lucasfilm / Star Wars franchise also announced the cancellation of another spinoff film. This one supposedly charted the early career and adventures of bounty hunter Boba Fett. Both the recent Han Solo film and the latest Star Wars series release bombed at the box office, so the Disney Studios likely implemented mass damage control, lest the entire franchise lose its still-considerable luster.
The main issue: Star Wars fans have complained loudly over the corruption of the franchise by current series boss Kathleen Kennedy. Kennedy has clearly taken the Star Wars films on a transparently feminist reformulation. The turnstiles, however, show this direction to be a big time loser. The failure of this PC approach to beloved classic films and franchises was something the feminist remanufacturers of Ghostbusters also learned, following the spectacular box office flop of their recent reboot. That dismal failure replaced Ghostbusters’ original all-male cast with a team of snarky – and unfunny – Feminism 3.0 adherents.
The recent scrubbing efforts over at Disney show the studio is cracking down on potenial box office failures. After all, ruining franchise the reputation of franchise films ruins the financial returns of movie moguls and Disney shareholders alike.
Why might Johnny Depp walk the Pirates plank?
It appears Disney fingered Depp as a major cause of Pirates’ recent decline. So it looks like he’s really out. Movie Web says that Depp’s “lack of interest” and personal problems are the main reasons for a potential reboot. Fans are also concerned about Depp’s health, which appears to be failing, according to both.
Johnny Depp’s career is far from over. But he needs to climb out of his current self-induced hole before he’ll be in demand again. In the meantime, he still remains famous for his singular work as Captain Jack Sparrow. He played the role five times.
Before Depp became Captain Jack Sparrow, he made a career primarily as an independent actor. He notably starred in several Tim Burton directed films. Studio executives generally viewed him as a strange and quirky actor, and not a real movie star. Although in his heyday, he certainly earned as much if not more than any “real” Hollywood icons.
Beattie said that people considered him crazy for casting Depp at the launch of the POTC franchise. His strong performance as Sparrow immediately turned him into a mainstream success.
Depp’s reappearance in Fantastic Beasts franchise
Moving forward, Depp has become a key figure in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Although his appearance in the most recent film has received a thumbs-down from several critics, he is set to appear in the second film of the series, set to be released in November.
Back at Disney, the studio has yet to name a new actor to take over Depp’s likely former-role. The actor may have problems, and his previous Pirates outing may have bombed. But Johnny Depp still is Captain Jack Sparrow for most franchise fans.
— Headline image: Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates” film #5.
Screen capture from YouTube video of guillotine scene. Fair use in film news story.
—Terry Ponick contributed to this story.