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For over 15 years, the Pirates of the Caribbean has brought Disney a treasure’s trove of success, but as Disney film chief Sean Bailey said, the franchise needs a “kick in the pants." While the studio was in talks with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to have them steer the ship of the next Pirates film, the writing team are now taking one cue from the Disneyland ride – telling no tale.
That’s right, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are no longer attached to write the planned Pirates reboot, per Deadline. Back in October, the pair were reportedly in talks to pen the project. Sean Bailey previously expressed his excitement to have them aboard detailing they would make “pirates punk rock again” and bring “energy” back to the property. Disney will now either be looking elsewhere or abandoning the project all together.
Following the release of the fifth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, in 2017, the studio announced it would be developing a sixth installment. However, after the swashbuckling adventure flick brought the lowest numbers of the franchise, it was rumored the next film would be a “reboot" instead, and without the return of Johnny Depp’s iconic Jack Sparrow. One rumor pointed to one of the ride’s pirates, a female buccaneer named Redd, who was recently revamped in the Disneyland attraction, could lead the retelling.
The Pirates of the Caribbean movies have made a combined $4.5 billion at the box office, though earnings have slowly started to sink in recent years. Dead Men Tell No Tales undoubtedly made a lot of cash worldwide (over $794 million), though only $172 million were domestic earnings. In comparison to Dead Man’s Chest’s over $1.06 billion worldwide and $425 domestic gross, the series has certainly fallen behind.
Calling on Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick was an inspired idea. The writing team have not only penned the Deadpool films, but also Zombieland, which has a sequel on the way this October. Reese and Wernick are also attached to a Clue remake under Fox and Disney that will star Ryan Reynolds.
Without Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow, the next Pirates of the Caribbean would certainly have a different feel to it. The actor is enamored in his role as Grindelwald for Harry Potter spinoff franchise Fantastic Beasts for three more films. The actor has also recently received backlash for abuse accusations from his former wife, Amber Heard.
Pirates franchise leads Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom have not showed any interest in returning to the franchise. Recent Pirates films have been dancing around their absence and shoeing in new characters each time, such as Penélope Cruz’s Angelica in Strangers Tides and the addition of Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner in Dead Men Tell No Tales.
So if Disney is planning on continuing the Pirates movies, a reboot is not only a good call, but maybe the only call. With Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick jumping ship, it could be some time before the franchise returns.