The Academy Award-nominee was rumored as a front runner to play the lead in Doctor Strange before his Black Mass co-star Benedict Cumberbatch would land the role, but those meetings with Johnny Depp may predate even Kevin Feige’s involvement with the project, according to him. Coincidentally, Depp would play the villainous Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2016, the same year that Strange joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, allowing him to still do the magic thing, at least.
However, with reports that Disney is looking to go in a new direction with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise without Capt. Jack Sparrow, it appears that Johnny Depp could have some slots in his schedule open now to become the latest Marvel hero (or otherwise). Who should he play? I have six ideas.
If there is one thing that we can take from Johnny Depp’s performance as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, it is that he is at his best when portraying a villain (hell, even his more “heroic” characters are not famous for a concrete moral code). It may not come as too much of a surprise that Victor Von Doom (better known as Doctor Doom) is only the first of a handful of antagonistic Marvel characters I have included in this list for Depp’s consideration, but the Fantastic Four’s arch enemy could be the one villain the actor is best suited to play as, like Grindelwald, the Latverian genius is a master of sorcery whose relationship with his greatest adversaries was more favorable at one time. Not to mention, Depp’s knack for hiding in plain sight would be made easy by donning Doom’s signature mask.
Before you continue reading this passage, if you have not yet seen the film Secret Window, I recommend skipping over to the next passage as I am about to completely spoil the ending…
So, do you remember at the end of Secret Window, the 2004 thriller based on a Stephen King novella, when it is discovered that the psychopath who has been stalking writer Mort Rainey, played by Johnny Depp, is actually his own split personality taking over? To me, that sort of multi-layered character development is just what Depp could use to inform a depiction of James Madrox, who has occasionally fought alongside the X-Men as Multiple Man, named for his ability to split himself into an infinite amount of duplicates, each one harboring its own personality, some of which are more friendly than others.
Do you also remember that movie Transcendence, in which Johnny Depp plays a scientist who, on the brink of death from a technophobic extremist’s bullet, is saved by having his consciousness uploaded into the AI program he developed? The story of Michael Korvac is similar, as the once human computer technician from an alternate timeline in the Marvel universe became associated with an alien race that [turned him into a quasi-cybernetic organism](https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/MichaelKorvac(Earth-691) after fusing his upper body with a computer, giving him the ability to convert any superpower known to man into a digital file and upload it into his built-in database. In addition to Depp’s experience in playing a half-man, half-machine, Korvac would be a great opportunity for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next big bad, putting the Avengers against a greatest hits compilation of their most fearsome enemies.
As I mentioned earlier, Johnny Depp was once at the center of rumors suggesting he was considered for the title role of Doctor Strange, which were put to bed before Benedict Cumberbatch was named the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Sorcerer Supreme. While I believe things have worked out quite well with the British actor, I am also curious how Depp would have tackled the role, which is why I would cast him as another being of supreme sorcery, but one who uses his magical abilities for evil instead, such as Mephisto, who is essentially Marvel Universe's own iteration of Satan. In addition to the wide demand for this extremely powerful, extra-dimensional demon to enter the MCU, Depp is no stranger to, and might be excited for, the intense makeup required to turn into the red menace.
Since Spider-Man's MCU induction, the villains he has faced have been thankfully unique to the preceding live action adaptations, from the grounded reinvention of the Vulture to the playful teasing that came with Spider-Man: Far From Home’s depiction of Mysterio, but I cannot be the only one would love to see Tom Holland go head-to-head with the webslinger’s arch enemy, the Green Goblin, right? Norman Osborn, founder of Oscorp and father to Harry (Peter Parker’s childhood friend) suffered a chemical accident that drove him to madness and convinced him to terrorize Manhattan on his company’s own prototype glider while dressed as a mythological creature. While it may seem odd to see Johnny Depp playing a wealthy industrialist, he has played a fair share of fantastic creatures and, more so, psychologically disturbed individuals, so all it would take is the right costuming for him to absolutely nail the performance.
Last year's news that Capt. Jack Sparrow may not return to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise may not have gone over well for Depp, even with his commitment to Fantastic Beasts, given how deep his attachment to the character that earned him his first Oscar nomination has run since 2003. While his status as Captain Jack Sparrow may be uncertain, Corsair is another swashbuckler he could bring to the big screen. Of course, rarely has the MCU taken its adventures to the Seven Seas, but often have they involved traveling into the stars, so why not a character who combines both, like Corsair. The [former human pilot](https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/ChristopherSummers(Earth-616), whose real name is Christopher Summers, is actually the father of Scott Summers (better known as Cyclops), so we have potential for a fun X-Men/Guardians of the Galaxy crossover, or the introduction of the his crew of space pirates, the Starjammers.