Following his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, Johnny Depp has been lining up new projects, seemingly indicating that his career is picking up again after his legal troubles. One role that his fans would more than likely love to see him reprise is Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. There’s been much speculation regarding whether Depp could return to the billion-dollar Disney franchise, and further alleged details on his relationship with the studio were mentioned during his recent trial. This includes the amount of money he was reportedly going to be paid for a sixth installment before Heard’s allegations came into play.
It would seem that Johnny Depp was set to take in a massive payday for Pirates of the Caribbean 6. During the defamation trial, his talent manager, Jack Whigham, said that the actor had verbally agreed to a $22.5 million deal to appear in the movie, per Insider. Such a figure does sound feasible, considering the success of the franchise and Depp’s status in it. It’s much more realistic than the rumor that he was being paid $301 million to return for a single film, a notion that Depp’s rep quickly shut down.
Next to nothing is known about the specifics of the movie, aside from the fact that it would’ve likely been the final outing for the character of Jack Sparrow. The actor behind the famous pirate claimed during the trial that he had his own ideas for ending the Pirates franchise. At this point, it would seem that any concepts he had in mind won’t see the light of day, because the star also confirmed that he has no interest in returning to the film series. That doesn’t mean the franchise itself is dead, though.
In June 2020, it was reported that a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie is in the works, with Margot Robbie attached as the lead. Robbie responded to the Pirates rumors months later, only saying that it was still “early days” on the project. Earlier this year, veteran producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed that Disney has two PotC screenplays in its possession, one that stars Robbie and one that doesn’t. When Bruckheimer was asked if Johnny Depp could return for the latter, he said “not at this point” and that the future had yet to be determined.
People had plenty of thoughts on Margot Robbie’s Pirates movie, and many were vocal about their desire to have Johnny Depp back in the main role. A petition to get Depp into the sixth movie has circulated online for quite a while now and even saw new life, thanks to the trial. Still, there’s the debate revolving around whether he should be allowed to return to the series after everything that’s transpired.
His former Pirates co-star, Greg Ellis, defended him amidst the lawsuits, saying that the Jack Sparrow actor had been “mischaracterized.” Kevin McNally also spoke out on whether the star should be allowed to return. McNally doesn’t “see any impediment for him coming back” and said that he’d “never seen a hint of any dark side” to his colleague. In addition, an ex-Disney exec believes the star could return at some point down the line.
As one of Walt Disney Studios’ most profitable franchises, it’s likely that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will return in one form or another. But even amid Johnny Depp’s legal troubles and assertion that he’s done with the series, some are sure to continue speculating on whether he’ll return – and get paid handsomely for it.
All five Pirates of the Caribbean movies are available to stream with a Disney+ subscription.
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Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.