It’s been well publicized that Johnny Depp has no interest in reprising his role as the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow or continuing with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Due to the treatment of Depp when allegations arose involving Amber Heard, the actor has publicly stated that he has no desire to work with Disney again. Sadly for fans of the swashbuckling series, this is the result of Disney not allowing “innocent until proven guilty” to play out. This is upsetting news to fans of the franchise who adore the iconic character we first met on screen in 2003. With the certainty that Depp’s version of the portrayal of Sparrow will not appear again on the big screen, fans are clamoring for information on what Disney will do next with the franchise. Or will they do anything at all?
The five films have grossed just over 4.5 billion dollars globally. It would make sense that Disney would want to keep milking this cash cow. Just look at how they’ve handled Star Wars. The question remains, how could they continue the franchise’s success without Depp? Or would it even be a success if Johnny had a change of mind? With that in mind, let’s jump into some approaches Disney could take to get Pirates of the Caribbean back on track.
Recast Jack Sparrow
Recasting Jack Sparrow is likely the least favorable scenario fans want to imagine. The buccaneer of dubious morality is a once-in-a-lifetime character. Depp took the role, and the rest was history. There is no one else that could play Sparrow as Johnny Depp did. Replacing him seems an impossibility. It very well might be. But if we’re unbiased, the character lost some of its charm during the last two films. Glimpses of the Mad Hatter are shown as Depp brought Sparrow back in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.” This isn’t to say it isn’t Jack Sparrow, but there was something off regarding how Depp approached the role. Because of this, maybe some names out there could take the role and make it their own, although they’d most likely be met with disgruntled fans. As for Sparrow in his glory days, there aren’t feet in Hollywood big enough to fill those shoes.
Go the Disney+ Route
With the emergence of Disney+, we’ve seen much content that you could refer to as spinoff material. Instead of feature-length films, Disney has turned to create multiple series based on sidekicks or other notable characters from broader intellectual properties. Much of this content has been made to fill the space and provide plenty of viewing options for subscribers. Disney could go one of two ways if they were to go this route. They could recast Captain Jack Sparrow or create a storyline that does not includes him. Fans would probably have issues with either direction, assuming this is Disney’s route to keep Pirates of the Caribbean alive.
Tell the Pirate’s Story from a New Perspective
Johnny Depps’ performance of Jack Sparrow was legendary. He quickly became one of the most recognizable characters of all time. Though he was the franchise’s focal point, other memorable characters also lend themselves to the story. Elizabeth Swan, William Turner, Davy Jones, and even Joshamee Gibbs are among them. What’s stopping Disney from giving us more backstory on these fantastic sidekicks and villains? Or better yet, why not follow Will Turner at the helm of the Flying Dutchman? I’m sure there are many adventures to be had. Especially considering that cut scene in the last film!
Use the Same Formula with a Different Property
Most of us recognize that the Pirates of the Caribbean films are based on the traditional dark ride in Disney Parks. The ride is timeless and holds a special place in the hearts of many, myself included. From its quirky characters and impressive sets, the ride seemed movie ready from the start. It was an easy transition from theme park to screen! Disney has recognized this and attempted to build on the success of other popular rides in their parks. We’ve seen films for the Haunted Mansion and Jungle Cruise. Both have done worse at the box office than Pirates have, with Haunted Mansion being laughable, but Disney is still waiting to call it quits. A new film based on the Haunted Mansion ride will premiere this summer! Why not scratch the idea of a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie and take on a new ride-based franchise? Is it too much to ask to catch lightning in a bottle like Pirates of the Caribbean did? I’d love to see an adapted film based on the Tiki Room or Space Mountain.
Don’t Do Anything
The most obvious and likely solution to the problem of moving forward with the Pirates franchise would be to simply not do anything. Just leave it alone! We were lucky to have Johnny Depp play the role of good ole’ Captain Jack for 15 years! Although his abrupt removal from future projects may not have been justified and could even be called knee-jerk, maybe it’s best to stop trying to make a future for the franchise happen. As we said earlier, the character lost some of its original allure in the last film. Maybe it was time for Jack to hang it up and spend the rest of his days on some sunny beach with a nice bottle of rum. Maybe Captain Sparrow got his horizon after all.