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

Many things in this world go together exceptionally well. Peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are all combinations that keep us coming back for more. However, nothing resonates quite as well as when Johnny Depp and Tim Burton team up, and if the rumors are true, the Edward Scissorhands duo could be working on something special together right under our noses. 

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, A Tale as Old as Time

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We all know Johnny Depp as the loveable misfit Captain Jack Sparrow from Disney’s hugely popular Pirates of the Caribbean series. However, before he graced the world with the fabulous sea-faring heartthrob, Depp did much of his work alongside seasoned director Tim Burton. Although Depp was already a household name once Jack Sparrow came along, many of his Academy-Award-winning performances could be attributed to Burton’s dark and whimsical roles that Depp seemed made for.

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Six years after facing off against Wes Craven’s clawed slasher, Freddie Kruger, in Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Depp would officially work with Tim Burton for the first time alongside Winona Ryder on the set of Edward Scissorhands (1990). Burton’s unique style is shown brightly in the film, highlighting a role that would seemingly kickstart a lasting relationship between the director and Johnny Depp. Depp would go on to work in many titles apart from Burton, such as What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) and Blow (2001), but his career would be spent intersecting alongside Burton in gothic masterpiece after gothic masterpiece.

Tim Burton Created Roles Suitable for Johnny Depp

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Credit: Disney

Although Johnny Depp would enjoy a hugely successful career outside of Tim Burton, especially after taking on the role of Jack Sparrow, his path would consistently bring him back to the Big Fish (2003) director alongside other constants like Helena Bohnam Carter and Christopher Lee. Roles like Willy Wonka in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow (1999), and the Mad Hatter in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (2010) would immortalize the two, creating vivid stories, quirky in nature, combined with A+ acting.

Burton, too, would experience success without Depp at the helm. Of note, Tim Burton worked with Michael Keaton and Catherine O’Hara on films like Beetlejuice (1988) and Batman (1989). The demented and nightmarish style of Burton would earn him critical acclaim. However, some of his most successful works would only be heightened by the presence of Johnny Depp in the lead roles.

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Credit: Disney/ Canva

Depp, despite being a familiar face on screen, didn’t limit his employment to live-action roles. The Fantastic Beast (2016) actor would also work exclusively with Burton on animated films like Corpse Bride (2005). However, Johnny Depp’s best work alongside director Tim Burton would come on screen as characters like Barnabas from Dark Shadows (2012) or as the lead in Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007). As their work is highly reflective of their personalities, the two have become synonymous with each other. 

Depp Steps Away From Film As Life Gets Tough

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Johnny Depp’s recent issues have been highly discussed in the media. Following a nasty defamation case versus ex-wife Amber Heard. Following severe accusations of physical and sexual abuse by the once-Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp took Amber Heard to court in hopes of clearing his name. Ultimately Depp was successful in proving that most of what Amber Heard had claimed was false; considerations that Depp wasn’t an innocent man remain after the Netflix docu-series Depp V Heard showed a damning text exchange that seemingly validates one claim of physical abuse made by Heard.

Despite what would happen in court, the damage was done, as Depp found his contract cancelled by both Disney and Warner Bros, where he enjoyed roles as Jack Sparrow and Gellert Grindelwald in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Since, speculation has run rampant regarding Johnny Depp’s potential return to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise despite the famed actor acknowledging in court that he had no interest in coming back.

In the time since his court case with ex-wife Heard was finalized, Johnny Depp has done little in the public eye. Spending his time with daughter Lily-Rose Depp and performing on tour with the Hollywood Vampires super-group, despite rumors and assumptions, Depp has given little indication regarding plans to return to film. That hasn’t stopped fans (and us as well) from obsessing over if we’ll ever get to see Johnny Depp bring Jack Sparrow back to the screen. As many who surround the 21 Jump Street (1987) star have suggested, Depp may be willing to return if the script is suitable. Until that happens, we’ll have to wait. 

Tim Burton Defends His Old Friend

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Although in his own weird “Burtonesque” way, Burton seemingly adorned Johnny Depp with the title of “Suburban White Trash,” in a way only the two can understand, the statement made to Deadline in 2022 was nothing short of a compliment. Burton, much like Depp, considers the similarities between himself and the popular Hollywood name as attributes that facilitated their friendship and working relationship so well. 

In response to Johnny Depp’s public perception at the start of his defamation trial with Amber Heard, Tim Burton felt strongly that his counterpart was a victim of villainization due to the #metoo movement that Heard was attempting to pander to. Burton went on to explain that he felt the accusations against Depp were nothing short of a witch hunt, offering up a clear “Burtonesque” comparison.

“Here’s the thing,” explains Burton. “When I was a child, I always had an image of the angry villagers in Frankenstein… I always used to think about society that way, as the angry village. You see it more and more. It’s a very, very strange human dynamic, a human trait that I don’t quite like or understand.” – The Independent.

Burton Possibly Hints at an Upcoming Project

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Credit: Disney

Echoing sentiments voiced by others close to Johnny Depp, Tim Burton also expressed that he believed the future of film was still bright for Johnny Depp. As the internet is on fire with rumors regarding a return from Depp to Hollywood, statements concerning Burton’s availability to work with Depp on the right project only served to fan the flames. His allusion to working with Depp again has brought rumors of a live-action return to The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) or even Burton’s directorial return in the upcoming Beetlejuice 2

As Burton clearly states that he would be happy to sit behind the camera alongside his long-time friend, assuming the right project presented itself, many have speculated that this is undoubtedly evidence that the two could be in cahoots on a brand new project. Taking into account the upcoming sequel project to Burton’s original Beetlejuice film, rumors surrounding possible involvement by Depp to confirmed cast member Jenna Ortega, and the return of one-time romantic interest Winona Ryder, it would make sense that Johnny Depp would fit right in.


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!


  1. Would LOVE to see him in beetlejuice 2 . He would be perfect 🥰

  2. Johnny Depp is amazing and SHOULD PLAY a part of Mr. Burtons films. They certainly ARE the perfect couple for imagination and creativity of their vision. I’d definitely PAY to see Johnny Depp in ANY New movie 😀. We miss you JD

  3. I am the main character portrayed in “A Nightmare Before Christmas”. Make it again. And, somehow connect Peter Pan, as they are the same Being.

  4. The whole world and I, are waiting with bated breath for Johnny Depp to make another awesome film! He has certainly never disappointed us ever. He is a master of his craft, and I hope to see him soon on the silver screen again! Come back to us Johnny!