Ahoy, fellow Pirate fans! If you remember, a few months ago, one of our fantastic Johnny Depp-obsessed writers explained to the world the much-awaited Pirates of the Caribbean 6 was actually happening!
Since then, there’s been little update or word regarding the next installment to Disney’s ultimate swashbuckling franchise or the main man himself, Captain Jack Sparrow. However, we want to revisit the initial quotes made regarding Pirates of the Caribbean 6 and dive further into what the next movie could look like! So, swab the decks and weigh anchor (we don’t know what any of that pirate talk means); we’re talking Johnny Depp and Pirates 6 today!
An Immortal Franchise
2003 was an abnormal year. I graduated high school (man, I’m old), the United States invaded Iraq for a second time, and sadly, the space shuttle Columbia exploded. However, something positive that 2003 gave was the ultimate seafaring adventure Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Telling the story of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his chance encounter with Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), which leads to a supernatural twist full of A+ performances, huge sets, and pirate lore, Pirates of the Caribbean swept through movie theatres in 2003 like a rogue wave.
Although the film featured extremely talented personas played by Geoffrey Rush (Hector Barbossa), Kevin McNally (Joshamee Gibbs), and Jonathan Pryce (Governor Weatherby Swann), the highlight of the film was none other than Johnny Depp and his eccentric, sultry, and hilarious portrayal of Jack Sparrow.
The impact of Depp’s character was so profound that Sparrow is now a prominent fixture in pirate culture. You won’t find a beach town without a Jack Sparrow impersonator staggering around with a bottle of rum. Sparrow, who Depp went to extreme measures to develop, has become bigger than Pirates of the Caribbean. Simply put, he’s iconic.
Pirates Roam the Seven Seas for Years to Come
The smashing success of Jack Sparrow saw the character introduced to ride systems at the legendary Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. However, the success of Johnny Depp’s most famous performance didn’t stop there. Pirates of the Caribbean would receive four sequels, the first two, Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and At World’s End (2007), acting as a trilogy with two stragglers in On Stranger Tides (2011) and Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) following after.
The immediate two sequels would see the return of Jack Sparrow alongside other popular characters like Jack Davenport’s James Norrington, as well as Ragetti (MacKenzie Crook) and Pintel (Lee Arenberg). However, new additions including the amazing Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), Captain Sao Feng (Chow Yun-fat), and Captain Teague (Keith Richards), would be brought in to round out the lore and cast of what many consider to be some of Disney’s best work ever.
In addition, the last two films expanded the storyline of Jack Sparrow by including famed names such as Ian McShane (Edward Teach/Blackbeard), Penelope Cruz (Angelica), and Javier Bardem (Captain Salazar). Although the last film would see the death of Captain Barbossa, his lineage is carried on through his daughter Carina (Kaya Scodelario). As Will Turner’s own son, Henry (Brenton Thwaites) has played an integral part in recent Pirates stories.
What Made Pirates of the Caribbean So Successful
The obvious answer to what made Pirates of the Caribbean so successful is Johnny Depp. However, although he was a magical ingredient, arguably the most important one, he wasn’t the only thing that sets Pirates of the Caribbean aside when it comes to adventure films.
For starters, one name that often goes unheard when discussing how amazing Pirates turned out to be is Jerry Bruckheimer. The famed Hollywood producer behind films such as Remember the Titans (2000), National Treasure (2004), and Con Air (1998) was a serious reason why Pirates turned out to be as impressionable on audiences as they did. Jerry Bruckheimer, no stranger to larger-than-life projects and close friend to Johnny Depp, had no issue with pulling out all of the stops when it came to Pirates of the Caribbean, and it worked!
A movie is only as good as its soundtrack. I’d say that’s a fair assessment. Musical magic has never been a shortcoming for Pirates of the Caribbean. The first film in the franchise wastes no time drawing excitement from its audiences once “He’s a Pirate” begins. The musical choices of composer Klaus Badelt lend themselves so well to the now iconic films that the music can be heard all over, even by bands at football games.
Will Pirates of the Caribbean 6 Happen
This is a hard question to answer, but all signs point to yes. However, it should be noted that asking if Pirates of the Caribbean 6 will happen and if Johnny Depp will return as Jack Sparrow are two entirely different things. The entire franchise has padded Disney’s pockets by a sum of over $4 billion. It wouldn’t make sense to sit on that kind of earning potential and not try, with or without Johnny Depp.
As well, Jerry Bruckheimer himself has acknowledged that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 is a “go,” telling Entertainment Tonight, “We’re all working on [the next Pirates film]. We’ll see how it comes out. We’re very excited.”
Bruckheimer also went into further detail regarding Depp’s potential involvement in a sixth film, “I think we’re gonna have a great screenplay when, and we’re getting close…I would love to have him in the movie – that’s all that I can tell you.”
Of course, you’re most likely familiar with Depp’s removal from future Disney projects after allegations of abuse were made by Amber Heard to the Washington Post. Johnny Depp, who many believe is a must-have for a Pirates of the Caribbean 6 project, was found primarily innocent of those allegations after a lengthy defamation case with Heard. However, the strain of being fired from both Disney and Warner Bros. may have been enough to keep the actor away from either studio in the future.
As well, Johnny Depp’s involvement in film has been extremely limited of late. Although he is currently working in Budapest alongside Al Pacino, directing Modi, the actor only has one film credit to his name following the defamation case with Amber Heard, Louis XV in Jeanne du Barry (2023).
When Will Pirates of the Caribbean 6 Come Out
This one is even more difficult. Although a script seems to be in the works, some, including co-writers Craig Mazin and Ted Elliot, have speculated that it’s rather “weird.” The jump from script to production isn’t an easy one, especially if Disney executives and Jerry Bruckheimer are to consider moving a project along without Johnny Depp, which is possible.
Considerations in who Disney chooses to produce new Pirate content must also be considered. As the original film was loosely based on the popular ride of the same name found at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom, Disney could revamp the entire series. This means Pirates of the Caribbean 6 could take shape as more of a series for Disney+. As rumors continue regarding the inclusion of Margot Robbie (Barbie, 2023) in future Pirates projects, this would be a great way to include her.
As well, Disney could use Margot Robbie in the form of a spinoff. Many are familiar with the famous “Redhead,” who was part of the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Although her original concepts have been adapted, a series or movie featuring her as the main character has been an idea tossed around by the creative minds at Disney.
Even without a big leading name like Johnny Depp or Margot Robbie, there is still an avenue to production for Disney, at least in my opinion. Pirates of the Caribbean is full of exciting characters with little to no backstory. Although some of these gaps were filled in during sequels, there is still room for expansion in a Pirates of the Caribbean 6 project.
A backstory revolving around Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris) or an expansion into the lives of Carina and Will would be enough to get viewers to theatres. As well, we know per the post-credit scenes in Dead Men Tell No Tales, Will Turner and Elizabeth were reunited after the curse was broken over the Flying Dutchman, as Will’s story is intertwined with Tia Dalma, with Will being Turner’s son, a storyline done as a series involving these main characters could absolutely work. At least, I’d watch it, even without Johnny Depp.
How Close Are We
Bruckheimer’s comments regarding “being close” were obviously in reference to a script for a sixth project. They shed little light on what will actually happen, and a script doesn’t promise a finished product. However, as the window is closing on Depp’s availability to return as Jack Sparrow, if Disney were to offer a suitable apology and perhaps the right amount of money (despite what Depp said in court), maybe we could have one last adventure with the “immortal” Captain Jack Sparrow.
The truth is that we’re no closer to Pirates of the Caribbean 6 than we were the day Johnny Depp famously agreed that he wouldn’t return to Disney for “$300 million and a million alpacas.” That’s certainly a tough pill to swallow. In my humblest of opinions, the future for our favorite seafaring adventure franchise looks most promising despite how close Bruckheimer and company are without Depp. Although this approach certainly wouldn’t be as profitable as past films, a Disney+ project similar to the expansion Star Wars and Marvel have done would prove worthy in the eyes of fans of the films, not just those infatuated with Johnny Depp.
The sad truth is that although Depp has since noted that he’s agreeable to returning to Disney under certain circumstances, Disney Executive Sean Bailey recently shared that the company was “noncommittal.” Per Inside the Magic, this could be devastating to any dreams or hope that Jack Sparrow would return as we know him. As Captain Jack is easily the most influential part of Pirates, recasting is likely to fail, meaning a secondary story may be the only approach Disney has moving forward.
Should Disney move ahead with a new type of project for Pirates of the Caribbean 6? Could it work without Johnny Depp?
Views contained within this article are solely the author’s and not reflective of The Walt Disney Company.