Well, it’s official. The sixth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise has been confirmed by the producer of the Pirates films, Jerry Bruckheimer.
Since actor Johnny Depp was first given the boot by Disney, there has been wild speculation about whether Disney would continue on with another film following the fifth installment. The general consensus among fans of the franchise is that they’d welcome a sixth film, but not if Captain Jack and Johnny Depp are absent.
And while there’s no announcement related to a Depp-Sparrow return as of yet, Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer has confirmed that they are moving forward with a sixth film, according to the website, Giant Freaking Robot. Bruckheimer also confirmed that one of the franchise’s original writers, Ted Elliott, will return to write the sixth film as well. To date, Elliot has worked on four of the five Pirates films as a writer.
Bruckheimer shared his excitement about bringing back Ted Elliott during a recent interview.
“I’m very excited; it’s going to be terrific,” Bruckheimer said. “We’re just putting this together right now. We’re still working on the screenplay, but it’s very unique and has one of the original writers who wrote the first one, Ted Elliott. He’s got a great command of the language, and he writes great characters and tells terrific stories.”
But of course, the elephant in the room–or online–as it were, is the continually looming question about actor Johnny Depp’s return and a reprisal of his famous swashbuckling role. And so far, we only see question marks.
Fans of the actor, as well as of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, have wondered whether the defamed actor would be back to create the sixth film in the uber-popular franchise. Rumors have swirled for months about Disney offering a contract to actress Margot Robbie to star in the sixth film and embody a new character, thus steering clear of Captain Jack’s persona altogether.
In late May 2022, just before the verdict was delivered by the jury in the Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation trial, there was even speculation about talks between Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Disney with regard to the Pirates franchise.
So, will Johnny Depp return to reprise his famous Sparrow role?
Perhaps no topic has been the subject of more rumors, speculation, and opinion pieces than that of actor Johnny Depp’s victorious return to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and that of Depp’s reprisal of Captain Jack Sparrow. As far as is publicly known at this time, there’s no contract between Depp and Disney for him to return. However, based on Bruckheimer’s own words, it doesn’t seem 100% out of the scope of possibility.
According to a July 20, 2022 post on ScreenRant, Bruckheimer “previously confirmed Depp isn’t involved in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 at this point but that ‘the future is yet to be decided.'”
In an era of reboots, take-twos, and franchise reprisals–not to mention the fact that Depp’s contributions led to the Pirates franchise becoming a multi-billion entity–it’s easy to see why Bruckheimer would continue with another Pirates of the Caribbean film. But both fans and critics agree that a Pirates film minus Depp could easily prove disastrous.
Jerry Bruckheimer also produced this summer’s most successful film, Top Gun: Maverick–another title that easily fits into the “reboot” category. The film has grossed $684,219,728 to date, and that number keeps growing. And regardless of Disney’s stance, Bruckheimer has to know that rebooting the Pirates franchise without Johnny Depp would be akin to rebooting the Top Gun franchise minus Tom Cruise.
He also has to know that for fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, no Depp cameo will do; they want Captain Jack Sparrow, and they want him now.
But two things remain uncertain: first, whether Disney will ultimately offer Depp a reprisal contract, and second, whether Depp would accept such a contract, especially after Disney stood against, rather than with, Depp during his recent trial.