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It looks like the rumored Pirates of the Caribbean reboot, if it happens, will be moving forward without the franchise's biggest star. One of the biggest questions about the potential reboot was whether or not it would include Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. Now, one source is claiming that Depp is done with the films. Stuart Beattie, who was one of the writers of the original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, has seemingly confirmed Depp's exit, saying...
Stuart Beattie made the comments to DailyMailTV and reportedly nodded when asked about the possibility of Depp's departure, followed by the comments above.
It's unclear just how "in the know" Stuart Beattie is at the moment. While he's been credited on every subsequent Pirates of the Caribbean movie as having helped to create the characters, he was only directly involved in writing the first movie. It's possible that he is aware that any potential reboot won't be using any characters he created, which would include Captain Jack Sparrow. He could also simply be making an assumption that the word "reboot" means that Jack Sparrow is done. At this point, the word reboot means so many things in Hollywood that this is far from certain.
Of course, that would also mean that the potential reboot, which Disney has reportedly met with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick about writing, would be a complete start from scratch, with no existing characters making the leap to the new movies. It didn't sound like there was much chance of getting Keira Knightley back again anyway.
The news of a potential reboot was somewhat surprising. While the Pirates of the Caribbean movies have been consistent money makers for Disney, regardless of whether or not they were critically received, the current rumor was that Disney was considering another sequel.
The implication, whether accurate or not, is that Disney may be looking to make a Depp-less Pirates movie because the actor has been something of a lightning rod for controversy in recent months. The actor has been involved in multiple personal lawsuits over his finances and his relationship with Amber Heard has been tabloid fodder that has included accusations of abuse. Warner Bros. was criticized for bringing Johnny Depp on board the Fantastic Beasts franchise and there's a good chance that if the family-friendly Disney brought him back for yet another film, they would get a similar backlash.
Stuart Beattie takes a positive view of the franchise moving on without the characters he helped build.
It's no shock Disney thinks the franchise is worth rebooting, it's made them $4.5 billion at the box office.
Of course, if the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is in line for a complete reboot, one then has to wonder what direction it could take. The film could still be set in the existing film universe, a Caribbean where Jack Sparrow exists, just simply will not appear. We could also see a prequel that takes place before the events of the existing franchise. There has been lore and backstory set up that could be used, allowing the new films to connect to the existing ones without having to use any of the characters. However, it could just as easily start with something entirely fresh.
The original film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl found a story in the original theme park ride, which has an opening sequence full of skeletons, including one that is still standing at the wheel of a ship and another that appears to be drinking. These images inspired the skeleton pirates which Jack Sparrow faced off against. Other elements of the ride were inserted as easter eggs, such as the famous dog holding the key to a prison cell..
I would certainly hope that Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese would go back to the ride to look for inspiration for their new film. Of course, thanks to the popularity of the film franchise, much of the ride has been taken over by Captain Jack Sparrow and the iconic Hans Zimmer theme music, so that might be more difficult.
Still, as I have previously written, there is one place in the ride with a lot of potential, an element of the attraction that's fairly new, and thus has never been part of the previous films.
One of the most well-known vignettes of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is the auction sequence, where one pirate is auctioning off the women of a recently plundered town to other pirates. Recently, the decision was made to update that moment, and the shapely redhead animatronic that was getting cat calls from the pirates before is now a pirate herself, aptly named Redd.
This seems like the perfect character to set a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie around. It doesn't require recycling already used ride material for the film and is a character as far away from Captain Jack Sparrow as you can get. Disney has also invested a lot in Redd. In addition to being in the ride itself, she's also a walk around character you can get a photo with at Disneyland.
Of course, all of this may be premature as it's not confirmed that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have agreed to write a Pirates of the Caribbean movie at all. Disney may certainly go looking for other writers if they turn it down, but regardless, we're still waiting on confirmation that this reboot is actually going to happen.