The tide is turning, and it’s time to accept that Johnny Depp most likely isn’t coming back to Disney as Jack Sparrow.
That’s a tough pill to swallow, even if you wash it down with a bit of rum (we won’t tell). However, considering the well-publicized issues faced by famed actor Johnny Depp, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which he could return to Disney to take on the legendary role, even if he wanted to. That ship has sailed, and Johnny Depp is out as Captain Jack Sparrow. That doesn’t mean the death of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it does mean that, as fans, we must be ready to accept a new story without Depp.
Jack Sparrow Takes the World By Storm
2003 was a great year! I graduated high school, the Human Genome Project was completed, and the entire world was introduced to Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was released in theaters summer of 2003, and little did we know our world was about to change. I still remember the first time seeing Depp sailing into Port Royal on that sinking ship. One of the most significant movie characters to ever exist sailed into our lives and paved the way for a franchise that would eventually go on to earn a whopping $4.5 billion globally.
I wonder if it was just Depp’s appearance as the greatest pirate we’ve ever seen or the fabulous overture famously penned by Klaus Badelt; either way, Jack Sparrow quickly became a mainstay in American pop culture. Johnny Depp, Disney, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer had struck gold, and the world was in love with Captain Jack Sparrow. So much so that despite sets from the original Pirates of the Caribbean films lying in abandoned ruin, fans still grasp for every piece of information they can in hopes that Depp will return to the big screen and bring the character back to life.
Why Depp Will Never Return as Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp’s problems didn’t start with that infamous interview his ex-wife Amber Heard gave that led to a public defamation case and trial that would see the famed actor agree that he would never work with Disney. Although due to accusations made by Amber Heard, Depp was unwarrantedly fired by Disney as Jack Sparrow and Warner Bros as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series, early signs of troubles for the actors began during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
Reports of excessive drinking and problems on the set of the last Pirate’s film filled the media, exacerbated after claims of abuse were made against Depp by Amber Heard. Honestly, you can tell that Depp’s grasp of the famous character had fallen off a bit when viewing the movie. This isn’t to suggest that media-driven rumors surrounding Johnny Depp’s drinking were true, but something was different. The character he made famous had changed and honestly came off more like his Mad Hatter character from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016).
Since his trial, Depp has been a frequent story in the news. Primarily because his name promotes clicks but also because the actor’s lifestyle may be catching up with him. Not to speculate too much on his drinking habits, but suggestions regarding Depp’s recent injury and cancellations of shows with the supergroup the Hollywood Vampires have created consideration that the actor’s latest ill-timed misfortunes may be a product of alcohol use. Despite reports suggesting that Depp would consider returning to the role of Jack Sparrow, Depp’s recent health scares combined with his unrecognizable appearance would all point to him not returning as the infamous sea captain.
The Future of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Without Depp
Realistically speaking, there isn’t a future for the Pirates of the Caribbean films without Depp, at least not with Captain Jack Sparrow. Even if Disney could find a suitable replacement for Johnny Depp to remold Jack Sparrow into their own, fans would not be able to handle it. There’s just something about that character that fans remain extremely loyal too. Don’t believe it; check out where this is posted on Facebook and read the comment section. You’ll find it cluttered with insightful comments like, “There’s no Pirate’s without Johnny Depp.”
However, there is a disconnect between Johnny Depp fans and people who genuinely enjoy the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Although Jack Sparrow sets them over the top, a future can exist for the franchise without him. Several options, such as spin-offs, prequels, or taking the movies in a new direction with a brand-new lead, could be considered. Despite the numerous possibilities at Disney’s disposal for revamping the film franchise, many insist that they’d have to recast Jack Sparrow. Although fans would eat whoever attempted to fill those boots alive, it seems to be the most popular option among fans.
Who Could Be the Next Jack Sparrow
There are few viable options out there when considering a replacement for Depp. Saying farewell to Jack Sparrow, as we know him, would be extremely tough. And as Depp recently referenced his betrayal by Disney when asked to return as the character, replacing him would be more difficult, but not impossible. Considering what made Jack Sparrow such a successful character, some actors are good enough to fill the role. Even if someone has a weak history in film portraying characters with a ton of variance, the mannerisms made famous by Sparrow, as well as his quirky accent, could be taught and mastered by many.
The biggest question of recasting Jack Sparrow is the look. Assume Disney decided to tackle a take on Pirates of the Caribbean by approaching the series with a younger Jack Sparrow. Not only does this make sense, as we already saw a youthful version of the character in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tale No Tells, but it would also allow for some leniency in ensuring that your new Jack Sparrow actor is the spitting image of Johnny Depp. In other words, it would be less critical. However, you would want more than just some regular guy right off the street made to look like Depp through CGI. Instead, you’d need an actor who is a Depp look-a-like with a similar foundation aesthetic to work with.
Our Pick for the New ‘Pirate’s’ Frontman
Just for fun, in this scenario, we’ve taken the guesswork out of Disney’s hand and found someone who rivals the Edward Scissorhands (1990) and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) days of Johnny Depp. Now, before we reveal the name, stay with us because you’re likely not familiar with who we’re talking about, but one look at the new face of Jack Sparrow will give you an idea of how Disney could make a prequel series work. With that in mind, we present American actor Darin Lee Brooks for your consideration.
Although Brooks is not a big name in Hollywood, he has a solid resume. The Hawaii native started as division one quarterback Alex Moran in the raunchy comedy Blue Mountain State (2010). Since his time pounding beers and snapping footballs, Brooks has portrayed Max Brady on the NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives (current) and CBS’s The Bold and the Beautiful (current). Darin Brooks has also voiced Guy in Dreamwork’s The Croods: Family Tree series (current). We know what you’re thinking, those aren’t reputable enough titles to fill the shoes of Johnny Depp. Although we agree, we’d argue that remember the humble beginnings of Depp on 21 Jump Street (1987) and a little horror film called Nightmare of Elm Street (1984).
Okay, you may not be overly impressed with Darin Brook’s resume, but you can’t deny that he has THE look. Maybe our eyes are wonky, but Brooks resembles Johnny Depp in the ’80s, without the hair. But if you can, close your eyes and imagine that face with Jack Sparrow’s make-up, and it’s a pretty close resemblance to what we saw in the last Pirates film when we met the young captain. Darin Brooks is a spitting image of Jack Sparrow. Interestingly enough, Brooks is 39 years old, and you’d never guess how old Johnny Depp was when he took on the role of Jack Sparrow. If you said 39, maybe you ought to go out and buy a lottery ticket or place a wager on that big game that’s coming up (we’re just kidding, don’t gamble because we told you to!) Despite the lack of general knowledge about Darin Brooks and his career, we simply could not get over the fact that he looks so much like Depp. Now, as for his acting, in Blue Mountain State, Brooks’ character feels very similar to something Ryan Reynolds would put on the screen, but as we said, being Jack Sparrow can be taught!