5 Ways Pirates Of The Caribbean Could Continue Without Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
(Image credit: (Disney))

Another Pirates of the Caribbean movie being released down the line is inevitable, right? The franchise was a pop culture phenomenon that buffed up the classic ride’s scallywags and made Disney a whopping $4.5 billion at the box office. Johnny Depp’s iconic Jack Sparrow has been a staple of the movies for over 15 years, but as Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer who is currently developing the sixth film, stated, they are “not sure” what to do with the actor’s role for the time being.

Jack Sparrow has undoubtedly been the face of the movie series for five films, but I’m here to come out and say this: Pirates of the Caribbean is more than capable of moving forward without the actor. The next Pirates film may very well follow Jack Sparrow once again – but let’s say it doesn’t. There are quite a few intriguing directions the franchise could go that is already found in the framework of the property. 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales was the most negatively received Pirates film, so it might be time for a new focus. Here are some ideas:

Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma/Calypso and Bill Nighty as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean

(Image credit: (Disney))

Going Back To The Story Of Calypso And Davy Jones

The Pirates movies spent a lot of time establishing its characters backstories in between Jack Sparrow’s hijinks, but not enough for all of it to sink in for audiences. One storyline I'm still curious about years later is the story between Naomie Harris’ Calypso and Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones. As explained in the movies, Calypso is the daughter of the Titan Atlas, and she fell in love with a young Davy Jones, who was a sailor at the time (and without tentacles on his face). He plotted with the Pirate Conclave to seize rule of the seas from the sea goddess for themselves, thus turning her into a mortal human form.

If you find yourself forgetting the entire plotline, it’s because many of the details of Calypso and Davy Jones’ story were saved for [2007’s At World’s End video game](https://pirates.fandom.com/wiki/PiratesoftheCaribbean:AtWorld%27sEnd(videogame). The story was certainly a part of the Pirates movie franchise, but the entire origin story could be interesting to explore on its own. Viewing the perspective of a sea goddess alongside the life of pirates in an epic about (seemingly) star-crossed lovers feels inherently Disney and fresh for this particular franchise.

Stellan Skarsgard as Bootstrap Bill on Flying Dutchman in Pirates of the Caribbean

(Image credit: (Disney))

A Whole New Take On The Flying Dutchman Legend

Another way Pirates of the Caribbean could continue without Jack Sparrow is by taking a fresh eye to the Flying Dutchman legend. The famed story was depicted specifically with the octopus-like Davy Jones commanding his sea creature shipmates, but it could easily be adapted under another vision. The ghost ship has long been known as a legendary vessel that is doomed to haunt the high seas for eternity. Any ship that comes into contact with it is subject to a dark fate.

The franchise could follow the ragtag crew of the Flying Dutchman perhaps as they go on a voyage to break the spell of their ship. A movie about the Flying Dutchman could blend the fun elements of being a pirate with the hard lessons of reaching for greed and immortality. Haunting the high seas with the Flying Dutchman crew could be an exhilarating experience full of fun horror elements and high-stakes action, with room for comedy as well.

Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Ian McShane in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

(Image credit: (Disney))

Angelica And Blackbeard Of Stranger Tides Return

One of the more recent additions to the Pirates franchise was the introduction of the infamous Blackbeard (played by Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) in 2011’s On Stranger Tides. The fourth installment of the franchise isn’t necessarily the best entry, but that’s not the fault of the concepts being introduced. Stranger Tides was the first Pirates movie not to be directed by Gore Verbinski, and the franchise has been going through some growing pains since the filmmaker’s exit.

Blackbeard is one of the most well-known pirates in maritime history, and the idea of him having a cunning pirate daughter who was also his apprentice was a cool concept that didn’t get its fair shot. The fourth film had Blackbeard in a quest for the Fountain of Youth in order to escape death – which he was willing to sacrifice his daughter’s soul to get ahold of. Another adventure (perhaps back in time) with Blackbeard and his badass daughter could be inciting for fans.

Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean

(Image credit: (Disney))

A Pirates' Married Life For Elizabeth and Will Turner

Just behind Jack Sparrow, the most beloved names of the Pirates franchise are Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann. The actors may have hung their pirate hats back after 2007’s At World’s End, but the couple did briefly return for the end-credits scene in Dead Men Tell No Tales. The scene had the newly introduced son of the couple, Brenton Thwaites’ Henry Turner, reuniting with his parents, but a confrontation with Davy Jones left things open-ended.

Could Pirates perhaps turn to focus back on the Turner family for the next installment? The DNA of the films has relied heavily on the Turner name, as Will has sought out his own father (Bootstrap Bill) in the original trilogy, and his son Henry was a lead character in the latest film. Keira Knightley wasn’t interested in resuming the role back in 2018 due to all the time the movies take to shoot, but in theory, it would be awesome to see the Turner family sail the high seas together.

Redd character from Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Parks

(Image credit: (Disney Parks))

A Reboot Starring Redd From The Updated Disney Ride

One particular rumor that has surrounded the development of the sixth Pirates film is the addition of Redd into the franchise. Reports beginning back in 2018 noted that a recent amendment to the classic ride may be the central character of Pirates going forward, but there have been behind-the-scenes changes since the initial report. This month, more rumors have indicated Jumanji’s Karen Gillan could be up to play Redd.

A redhead pirate that goes by Redd was added to the classic ride in 2018, standing in the section that reads “bride auction.” She is also now a character in Disney Parks that visitors can meet near the ride. If the franchise wanted to adapt a new protagonist directly from the ride, this would be a great setup and there’s certainly curiosity there about Redd’s backstory.

What do you think? How would you like to see Disney return to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? Vote in our poll below!

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Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.