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Johnny Depp Officially Loses Iconic Film Role to Much Younger Actor

jack sparrow running toward camera in snow

Johnny Depp has officially been replaced by an actor more than 30 years younger than him in one of the most iconic roles of his Hollywood career.

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Rechter waarschuwt lachende fans Johnny Depp tijdens rechtszaak | RTL Boulevard

It’s not that he’s opposed to adventure, but the last few years have been uncharacteristically daunting, trying, and uncertain for one of Hollywood’s most well-known, experienced, and beloved actors. Johnny Depp began his acting career in the early 1980s with a minor role in a horror film, but it was a role that led to more roles that led to more roles, and more than three decades later, Depp was the go-to actor for many directors in Hollywood.

That all came to a crashing halt, though, when Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard penned an opinion piece for The Washington Post in which she painted herself the victim of domestic violence and domestic abuse. Almost immediately, Depp’s multi-decade career began to crumble. It would be nearly four years before Depp’s name would be cleared in a U. S. court of law. But the damage was clearly already done–some of it irreparable.

Disney cut ties with Depp in 2018 after Heard’s op-ed was published, and though Heard was found to be the abuser by a jury of her peers during the Depp v. Heard defamation trial in 2022, Disney has yet to apologize to Depp or offer him the reprisal of his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates 6. Now Warner Bros. is following suit, or so it seems on the surface.

Disney thought Jack Sparrow was gay and drunk - - Gamereactor

Credit: Disney

In 2005, Warner Bros. and veteran director Tim Burton released Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a fantastical musical film based on the 1964 British novel by Roald Dahl. The film stars Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket, and David Kelly, Helena Bonham Carter, Deep Roy, and Christopher Lee. The film follows the story of a young boy named Charlie as he and four other children win a contest and are awarded a magical tour of a local chocolate factory alongside the owner of the factory, candymaker Willy Wonka. Largely because of Depp’s embodiment of Willy Wonka, the film was a huge success, garnering close to $500 million at the box office.

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Credit: Warner Bros.

Following a popular trend in filmmaking over the last decade, Warner Bros. is now set to release a new adaptation of the 2005 film, which was a take-two of the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder, which only made about $4 million at the box office.

Wonka is the story before the story of its film predecessors, serving to tell the backstory of Willy Wonka and his candy factory. Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the new film features a chocolate shop, Willy Wonka, the influence of members of Roald Dahl’s estate, and amazing visual effects. What it’s missing, however, is Johnny Depp in a pair of chunky white round sunglasses.

timothee chalamet willy wonka

Credit: Warner Bros.

The role of Willy Wonka is instead being played by 27-year-old actor Timothee Chalamet. Chalamet is young, but his Hollywood resume is long. Over the course of his career thus far, the actor has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Call Me by Your Name. He was also nominated for a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Critics’ Choice Movie Award–each one for Best Actor.

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johnny depp timothee chalamet

But despite what it might look like, Warner Bros. didn’t skip over Depp because of the studio’s refusal to cast him. Rather, because the film focuses on Willy Wonka’s younger years, it makes sense that a different (and younger) actor was cast in the role. We’ll leave it to fans to decide which actor better embraces the role–Depp or Chalamet.

Chalamet headlines an all-star cast in Wonka, which includes Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key, Sally Hawkins, Matt Lucas, Rowan Atkinson, Natasha Rothwell, Rufus Jones, and Simon Farnaby. Fans can give it a go at satisfying their Wonka sweet teeth when the new film debuts at the theater on December 15.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!