I think it’s safe to say that Disney remakes should definitely be reconsidered at this point. Coming off of a more than disappointing first couple of weeks at the box office, Disney’s newest attempt at breathing new life into a project it’s already done, Haunted Mansion, has sunk with the likes of The Little Mermaid. But who’s to say Disney wouldn’t give it a third try? That’s the charm, right? But to really make it work, they’d need a draw, something really exciting. I know, Johnny Depp!
Hold your horses there, pal. Wait to click away; it actually makes more sense than you’d think! There are a few similarities between Disney’s Haunted Mansion and Depp that could warrant a crossover. We’ll get to that, but let’s focus on Disney’s newest remake and its utter failure to impress movie-goers. Despite direction by one of Hollywood’s up-and-comers, Justin Simien, and the star power that Haunted Mansion has with names like Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson, and Rosario Dawson, the new film has left fans deflated. Even including appearances by Depp’s former finance Wynona Ryder and Jared Leto as Hatbox Ghost (a fan favorite character from the ride), Haunted Mansion failed, primarily due to the release of other big projects like Barbie and Oppenheimer.
Justin Simien Suggests a Wild Notion for Future Disney Projects
However, Justin Simien’s career with Disney may still be alive. The young director has an idea that could revitalize Disney’s box-office performance and redeem him. In a recent interview with GamesRadar, Simien voiced his willingness to work again with Disney on a new project based on a fan-favorite ride and incorporating one of the most beloved characters to ever grace the screen. Nope, the third time isn’t a charm for Haunted Mansion; instead, Justin Simien wants to work closely with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. However, the director took his comments a step further and suggested crossover events between the world of Disney properties like Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Haunted Mansion.
“I certainly think it’s there, it’s certainly something I’ve noticed as a fan of these movies, and also of the parks, is that a lot of these worlds can fit side by side, like the crocodiles in Haunted Mansion and Peter Pan and Pirates [of the Caribbean] are kind of similar. You’ve got the mermaids on the Peter Pan [ride too]. There’s a lot of cross-pollination that is certainly possible should the movie gods decide so.“
Potential for a Crossover Featuring Johnny Depp
Admittedly the idea of Captain Jack Sparrow facing off against Leto’s Hatbox Ghost is exciting; it’s also a bit muddy. However, we can understand what he means when we consider some of the other ride-based projects that Disney has released, like Jungle Cruise (2021) featuring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The theming, music, and sets definitely felt like a Pirates of the Caribbean film. However, there’s one big problem with Justin Simien’s big ideas. Currently, he has no Jack Sparrow. In fact, due to a string of personal issues related to Johnny Depp’s drinking and recent public defamation trial with Amber Heard, it’s absolutely uncertain that Jack Sparrow will ever return, even recast. Simply put, even as his friends show concern for his partying lifestyle, Depp most likely will not be available for the role any time soon, if ever.
Simien would seem more likely to suggest utilizing a name like Johnny Depp in a different approach, maybe something similar to Haunted Mansion. Did someone say “a live-action remake of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas with Johnny Depp and Wynona Ryder?” Despite the lack of realism in the idea of bringing Jack Sparrow to the Haunted Mansion, as Disney often incorporates theming elements within their rides and attractions to mesh their Parks together, the idea of incorporating more minor details such as crocodiles from one film into the next isn’t unreasonable. However, on a larger scale, it isn’t like we haven’t seen Jack Sparrow fight ghosts before!
This exact reason is why the two ride-based stories have so much in common. As they’re both dark rides that originated at Disneyland, created by many of the same people, they share a similar feel and aesthetic. The films do as well. They both include the occult, ghosts, and legends while dealing with similar concepts like death. Although the idea is far-fetched, Simien noted that ultimately any future projects that would include a crossover of characters like Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow aren’t his decision to make, laughingly exclaiming, “all of that’s above my paygrade, I’m taking one movie at a time right now.“