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Prequel to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, Entitled ‘The Spirit of the Sea’ Featuring Johnny Depp Revealed

Prequel to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean', Entitled 'The Spirit of the Sea' Featuring Johnny Depp Revealed
Credit: Disney/ Parlour

When discussing iconic character roles, especially within Disney films, one that immediately comes to mind is Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. It’s been an excruciating six years, dotted with misfortune and slander against the one-time Disney great, since we’ve set sail alongside our beloved Captain Jack Sparrow, and the world is growing impatient waiting for a sixth and potentially final film to the accomplished Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

johnny depp pirates of the caribbean jack sparrow

Credit: Disney/ Canva

Pirates of the Caribbean has not only been an exciting, unique adventure adored by fans for decades but it’s also been a cash cow for Disney. In total, to date, the films have equated to over $4.5 billion in revenue for the entertainment giant. Despite their current relationship with the Edward Scissorhands actor, they owe it all to Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Jack Sparrow stunned audiences when the first film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, sailed into theaters in 2003. Nothing like it had been done, and Depp’s onscreen performance not only changed film expectations for Disney, but it changed the culture of pirates as well. Despite murmurs from Disney regarding Depp’s extreme approach to the character, citing his physical preparation and questioning his method for Sparrow, Depp’s character would go down in history as “the greatest pirate we’ve ever seen.”

Related: Disney Executives Trust Johnny Depp to Bring Jack Sparrow to Life

Pirates would go on to see four additional sequels, all including the return of Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) would all prove massive successes for Disney, however the tides would soon turn just a few years later, as Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer prepared to work on a sixth film.

An All-Star Cast Couldn’t Save ‘Pirate’s’ Future Without Johnny Depp

Set during the Golden Age of Piracy, Pirates of the Caribbean tells the tale of Captain Jack Sparrow, the cocky but loveable captain of The Black Pearl. Although the films do a magnificent job of detailing many actual real-world depictions of what pirates were like and how they lived, Sparrow’s adventures include a supernatural theme built around much of the lore and stories told by actual seafaring buccaneers during their time.

johnny depp captain jack sparrow payback disney pirates of the caribbean

Credit: Disney

The result was a fantastic creation of excitement, adventure, and story-telling directed by Gore Verbinski (with the fourth film being directed by Rob Marshall and the final film directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg). Pirate’s success was guaranteed from its inception. Having Johnny Depp and perfect story elements based on Walt Disney’s extremely popular ride at Disneyland and Disney World, complete with a memorable score from composer Klaus Badelt, ensured an emotional experience for guests, who kept coming back to fill theatre seats again and again.

Related: Iconic Actor Replacing Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates 6’, Report Says

However, the talent pool didn’t stop with Johnny Depp. Keira Knightley, Geoffery Rush, Orlando Bloom, Ian McShane, Penelope Cruz, Kevin McNally, Bill Nighy, Javier Bardem, Paul McCartney, and even rockstar Keith Richards would all lend their talents to the Pirates universe at some point, making it a collection of immeasurable talent. Even lesser-known roles, such as the one Zoe Saldana played in the first film, were unique, detailed, and highly memorable to fans, creating a real-life adventure that we all eagerly awaited to be a part of.

‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ Changed Johnny Depp’s Career

Although Johnny Depp had been around Hollywood long before accepting the role of Captain Jack Sparrow, the Jeanne Du Barry star would see a shift after highlighting his fantastic talent on Disney’s big-box office hit.

Pirates of the Caribbean 6

Credit: Disney

Depp’s first film came in 1984’s Wes Craven slasher The Nightmare on Elm Street. Since then, Mr. Depp has enjoyed a lucrative career filled with a variety of film credits, such as Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), The Rum Diary (2011), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

Johnny Depp’s career would see him work with several Hollywood greats like Tim Burton on Corpse Bride (2005), Sleepy Hollow (1999), and Dark Shadows (2012). From J. M. Barrie, the man who created Peter Pan, to the infamous gangster Whitey Bulger, Depp has blessed audiences with exceptional performances for more than four decades.

Related: Disney to Spend MILLIONS For Johnny Depp’s Return to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Franchise

Depp would go on to work with Disney on a few projects outside of Pirates of the Caribbean as well. Into the Woods (2014) and Alice in Wonderland (2010) would help facilitate a relationship with Disney that would later come crashing down due to Depp’s now ex-wife, Amber Heard.

Disney Fires Johnny Depp

It’s likely you’ve read this story 100 times by now. However, we’d be amiss if we didn’t discuss Depp’s infamous defamation trial with his once-wife Amber Heard. Following a detailed expose in 2018 in The Washington Post by the Aquaman actress, Depp’s career took a sharp turn for the worst, as Disney and Warner Bros, in an attempt to be proactive, fired the actor from major roles in both Pirates of the Caribbean and the Fantastic Beasts franchises.

johnny depp amber heard netflix series court case

Credit: Canva

Depp, who’d worked with both studios for years, suddenly found himself unemployed at the mere suggestion of inappropriate behavior within his marriage. Neither studio decided to wait for a verdict once Depp filed a countersuit for defamation against Amber Heard. Instead, he was fired on the spot. 

Depp V. Heard, which has now become its own Netflix documentary, would be heard at Fairfax, Virginia. For six weeks, the public watched on as both Mr. Depp and Mrs. Heard talked through arguments both for and against one another. Some gruesome details were admitted by both parties, including a drug abuse issue by Johnny Depp. However, Depp remained consistent with his defense against claims of abuse by Amber Heard. The public also did there part in support of Johnny Depp, flooding popular social media platforms with trending hashtags like #JusticeforJohnny and #FireAmberHeard.

Related: Tim Burton Defends Johnny Depp as Rumors About Depp’s Return to Film Heat Up

The public watched in awe as Depp’s legal counsel masterfully noted issues with Heard’s claimed settlement donations. However, some evidence that suggests Depp was physically abusive with his ex-wife would be omitted from being heard but later revealed by Netflix. Through the ongoing fiasco, Depp would gain a sizeable amount of support from fans and onlookers who seemed to have felt that Heard was less than genuine. Some of these would be fellow celebrities like Tim Burton and Jason Momoa. Rumors swirled around Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, and her psychological warfare against Heard, rumored to have sprayed Depp’s cologne throughout the women’s restrooms.

Johnny Depp Amber Heard

Credit: ABC

Ultimately, Depp would win the defamation case that had taken the world by storm, with Amber Heard ordered to pay $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. However, the damage to Depp’s career had been done. Disney had already fired Depp, who famously put the idea of returning to Pirates of the Caribbean to bed during the case.

Life After Court

Following his trial, Depp would seemingly take a sabbatical from acting, focusing on his musical career with the mega-group The Hollywood Vampires. Since the public case ended, Depp has spent much of his days performing worldwide with the group, attending the Cannes Film Festival, and mourning the loss of his friend Jeff Beck.

The Academy Award-winner has also spent time relaxing on his private island in the Bahamas with family, such as his daughter Lily-Rose Depp. Of course, fans are more than happy to give Depp the space he needs to recuperate from what some speculate to be tour issues related to drugs and alcohol; they still want to know when or if Depp will return as Jack Sparrow.

Related: ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Co-star Has a Strong Opinion About Johnny Depp’s Return as Jack Sparrow

Since court, Depp has slowly exited his reclusive vacation and has been making his way back into the limelight. Heading up the marketing campaign for Dior Sauvage and starring as Louis XV in the recent Jeanne Du Barry, Depp’s return to film seems to be picking up. The Blow actor has also returned behind the camera as he’s currently working Modi, the biopic of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani. Starring Al Pacino, the film will be led by Italian star Riccardo Scamarcio.

‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Sequels or Spin-offs

There’s been much talk of a return to a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film, the majority of which surrounds Johnny Depp. As many close to the actor, even producer Jerry Bruckheimer and long-time friend Tim Burton, have suggested that Depp may have had a change of heart towards Disney, the possibility of a return is still on the table.

Johnny Depp Jack Sparrow Disney

Outside the realm of possibility for a sixth film, there have also been plenty of talks about a reboot for the franchise, meaning that the films would see a spinoff. At one point, actress Margot Robbie, now most famously known for her role in Barbie, was suggested as the female pirate lead of a spinoff series. However, according to Inside the Magic, Margot Robbie claimed that the idea was “dead in the water.” Bruckheimer would later clarify those statements when he noted that the idea of a spin-off was on the back burner as producers, writers, and Disney executives returned their focus to Pirates of the Caribbean 6.

Among the rumors of Margot Robbie taking the lead as Captain Redd, there has been much speculation about the return of Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Although no official word has been given, there are plenty of hints, assuming the suitable script, that Depp could potentially return. However, as the current script for the sixth film was deemed pretty “weird,” no word from Depp on his revival with Disney just yet.

johnny depp jack sparrow, margot robbie barbie

Credit: Disney, Warner Brothers, Canva

However, we do know that, in a way, a sequel was planned for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Sadly, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it never came to fruition, but the leaked poster and event descriptions are leaving Jack Sparrow fans chomping at the bit, dreaming of what could have been.

‘Spirit of the Sea’

New information related to planned concepts for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Spirit of the Sea, which was to act as a prequel to the fifth film, has come to light, and the experience seemed like a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the lore of Pirates even more. Thanks to a partnership between Disney and Secret Cinema, eventgoers in London were able to experience Pirates in a brand new way. 

Secret Cinema, which offers immersive film experiences that include audience interaction and plenty of magic, has had much success with other movie franchises such as James Bond, Stranger Things, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Sadly, their Pirates of the Caribbean film was scheduled to release in London, but as the world shut down due to COVID-19, the premiere was canceled.

pirates of the caribbean spirit of the sea

Credit: Credit: Immersive Rumours/Parlour

However, thanks to The Hollywood Reporter, we now have a good idea of what Secret Cinema and Disney had planned. Concept art featuring Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow and Naomie Harris’ Tia Dalma shows that directors Tom Maller and Miguel Hernando Torres Umba were ready to bring new seafaring tales of Captain Jack back to audiences in an interactive and immersive way. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Spirit of the Sea would allow viewers to join one of six different factions on a journey to Tortuga, but sadly, the project never came to be.

Although the experience never came to fruition due to the pandemic, it certainly would have been a fantastic way to experience a brand-new Pirates of the Caribbean story featuring Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. As the world waits for any word of Depp’s return to The Pearl, this would have been a much-appreciated step towards a highly anticipated sequel.

Related: Johnny Depp Back as Jack Sparrow at Disney?

For now, we’re still all left in the dark as to when or if Depp will make a return to Disney, but I think we can all agree we’d love to see Jack Sparrow and Tia Dalma return for the next installment. As Pirates of the Caribbean has a vast amount of story-telling left to be done, given the overall love and success of the franchise, it’s difficult to imagine that Disney would just let it fizzle out. 

What do you think? What’s the next story for Pirates of the Caribbean?

About Michael Arnold

Michael is a father, husband, and an Army Veteran. Michael spends his weekends at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando checking out new merchandise and food. Michael is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an education background in Public Health. You can find Michael riding Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again or binge watching new Marvel and Star Wars content. Han shot first. Thor is the strongest Avenger. Roll Tide and Wash Your Hands!

20 comments

  1. I always thought the (very unlikely) next film would star Jack Sparrow and Barbossa as pirates against Columbus in 1492.

  2. Ss

    • YES,YOUDO
      NEED TO APOLOGIZE AND BRING JOHNNY DEPP BACK TO PIRATES. YOU KMOW HE MADE YOU A LOT OF MONEY AND WE ALL KNOW IT WOULDN’T BE THE SAME WITHOUT HIM. IT’S TUFF ENOUGH MAKING SEQUELS WORK. HE’S THE ONLY ONE THAT COULD!! HOPE YOU WISE UP SO WE CAN ENJOY GOING TO GOOD MOVIES AGAIN.

  3. As long as you keep Johnny Depp from playing the part kept in Jack sparrows everybody loves so much and he got an award for at the at the Academy Award no one’s going to care about your film Johnny Depp is what made your film so good his acting ability and a character he played I would not go see a Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp in it I don’t care if you have an All-Star cast I enjoyed the movie and love the movie with Johnny Depp playing his character if you cut him out of it I am not going to see any of your movies I love Pirates of the Caribbean the character he plays Captain Jack sparrows the pirate he is so funny and comical and enjoying he makes the movie without him you have no movie you couldn’t pay me to go see it without him in it I don’t care who you get to play in your movie as long as Johnny is not in it playing his part the movie isn’t going to be no good it’s going to be a flop you’re going to lose a lot of money and it’s going to be your own fault because you don’t listen to what the people want the people are the ones that pay to see the show you should be given the people what they want to see not what you want them to see I will not see any of your pirate movies without Johnny Depp I’m not the only one that feels that way there’s a lot of people out there that feel the same way you just want to ignore the people all the ones that Johnny Depp did were blockbusters you made a lot of money with him playing his character doesn’t it mean anything character Captain Jack sparrows the pirate the people nominated him you obviously had blindfolds on when he got the award that’s what the people want wake up Disney

    • Jonny Depp is captain Jack Sparrow without Jonny there is no pirates of the Caribbean all four films did great at the box office because he carried those film’s bring back Jonny Depp or hang up the franchise.!!

  4. I will not see any of your movies ever again if you do not reinstate Johnny Depp whom built Captain Jack Sparrow.

    Your inability Disney to apologize to MR DEPP is disgusting. Disney deserting MR DEPP before proven innocent or guilty from an AMERICAN FILM COMPANY is by far the largest backstabbing act Disney could have done to MR DEPP. Especially, since he has been a major blockbuster for Disney. Apologize, to MR DEPP move forward with your tail between your legs and give us back Captain Jack Sparrow with Johnny!

    • Disney, U made a hugh mistake dumping Johnny Depp on his ass. Johnny Depp like any other American is innocent until proven guilty. But U Disney though U were Judge, Jury, & Executioner. Before Johnny Depp had a chance to prove his innocence in a Commonwealth of Virginia Court of law, U Disney thought U were a Dictator of a Communist environment. I have heard no formal apology to Johnny Depp, whos only mistake in this was having bad taste in a gold digging, fame seeking, mean woman making her his wife. (Johnny I hope U improve this).
      Now Disney U don’t have that handsome big box office name that has made U tons of money. And U loose a little from me. If Johnny Depp is not in POTC portraying Cap’n Jack Sparrow then I will not be at the theater to watch, I will not buy the DVD, & I will not buy the streaming version to put in my prime library. Not much from U’r pocket.
      But Disney I’ll make U a bet that there is hundreds of thousands out there that feel the same as I do.
      Disney U need to back up a step get right with Johnny Depp make that public apology for sticking U’r foot in U’r mouth & swallowing it all the way to U’r knee cap. Remember Disney Studios are still in America. Suck it up, U screwed up.
      NO JOHNNY NO POTC FOR ME!

  5. Love you Johnny. Will rewatch them all! Finally, Disney, you jerks!

  6. Captain Jack Sparrow works better as a side character, he always has. The first trilogy wasn’t about him, it was about Will Turner and Elizabeth. Jack was a side character, it worked. In the sequels after that, he’s the main star, and it’s just not the same. He should help the main characters and story, but not be the story or main character. I hope that makes sense.

    • Remember Fantastic Beast? How well did the 3rd movie do without Johnny Depp? I haven’t watched or bought it and I won’t. That’s how people feel about POTC 6 if Johnny Depp isn’t in ut. Disney treated him unfairly. They judged him before knowing ant facts. They judged him on the word of a liar. He thought of Disney as a family and they betrayed him. Disney owes him a HUGE public apology! I think Johnny Depp is the only one who can save Disney at this point. Kinda ironic, don’t you think? If Disney wants to continue to fail then keep going, it will happen. They NEEDJohnny Depp!

  7. Without Depp, Movie Will Be A Flop.

  8. If johnny depp does not play jack sparrow I will not watch the 6th movie. No one can replace Johnny depp

  9. Jonny Depp is captain Jack Sparrow without Jonny there is no pirates of the Caribbean all four films did great at the box office because he carried those film’s bring back Jonny Depp or hang up the franchise.!!

  10. Remember Fantastic Beast? How well did the 3rd movie do without Johnny Depp? I haven’t watched or bought it and I won’t. That’s how people feel about POTC 6 if Johnny Depp isn’t in it. Disney treated him unfairly. They judged him before knowing the facts. They judged him on the word of a liar. He thought of Disney as a family and they betrayed him. Disney owes him a HUGE public apology! I think Johnny Depp is the only one who can save Disney at this point. Kinda ironic, don’t you think? If Disney wants to continue to fail then keep going, it will happen. They NEED Johnny Depp!

  11. I have read all post I agree No Johnny Depp not a penny from Me. SHAME ON YOU FOR FIRING HIM JUDGING HIM BEFORE HE COULD BE FOUND INNOCENT WHICH HE WAS ! APOLOGIZE TO HIM FOR YOU BEING WRONG. OR YOU EVER MAKE THE MOVIE WITHOUT HIM YOU WILL LOSE MILLIONS.

  12. Liliana Sara McIntosh

    There was only one Inspector Clouseau, and we all concur that being Peter Sellers. There is only one Jack Sparrow. Of course, Jack and Johny Deep are the very same one.
    Disney has been on a path of unrecognizable transformation, but regrettably, to the worse.
    It seems that nobody is acquainted with the original Disney’s spirit anymore.
    The happiest place on earth is being used as mischievous ideology’s flag. Even their cartoons’ style is almost unfathomable. The sweet lines of their drawings, the outstanding music and even the message have been changed under false pretenses.

  13. Please bring Johnny Depp back to do the prequels and sequels as Captain Jack Sparrow! As much as I like Disney, they need to apologize to Johnny Depp and make things right with him. They passed a quick judgement without proof he was guilty. Shame on Disney!

  14. Johnny should have complete control of script for POTC 6 IF HE DID DECIDE TO RETURN TO FRANCHISE

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