For six weeks, the world watched as Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard went head-to-head in a heated defamation trial. At the center of the case was a 2018 OpEd that Heard wrote for The Washington Post, where she claimed she suffered from domestic abuse during the years that she was married to Depp. During the trial, both Depp and Heard accused each other of abuse and, in the end, the jury believed Johnny Depp more than they did Amber Heard, awarding him more than $10 million in damages. Heard was awarded $2 million out of a requested $100 million.
During the trial, Depp claimed that he was actively working with Disney on the sixth film in his popular Pirates of the Caribbean franchise before the OpEd came out. Once the OpEd was published, Depp said that Disney dropped him, talks of the new film stopped, and he lost about $22 million that he had been promised to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow. Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer has said that Disney does have two different versions of a Pirates script in the works, one with Margot Robbie and one without.
Recently, an Australian pop culture blog claimed that — after the trial — Disney approached Depp and offered him $301 million to return to the role. Depp had stated during the trial that he wouldn’t return to the Pirates franchise, even if Disney offered him $300 million. The blog — called PopTopic — claimed the following in a June 7 article:
According to a trusted source close to Disney, the Mouse House company is putting together a deal too good to turn down!
“Disney are very interested in patching up their relationship with Johnny Depp. They reached out to the actor prior to his defamation trial against Amber Heard and asked whether he would be interested in returning for another Pirates film or two.
“I know corporate sent him a gift basket with a very heartfelt letter, but I’m unsure how it was received. But what I can tell you is that the studio has already penned up a draft for a film about Jack Sparrow — so they are very hopeful that Johnny will forgive them and return as his iconic character,” the insider alleged.
So, is the Disney insider correct? According to a Snopes fact-checker, no. Snopes also reached out to the Australian blog, and reported that the following happened:
We attempted to reach out to poptopic.com.au with questions about their story. However, an email address listed by the website automatically sent back a message that indicated the inbox was no longer working. Two Twitter handles for writers that were shown on the website’s editorial page were also unavailable.
No one from Disney has said confirmed or even hinted that Depp will come back to Pirates of the Caribbean. That was also not the only film franchise that Depp was dropped from after the OpEd. Warner Bros. also dropped Depp from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise and replaced him with Mads Mikkelsen.