Being a pirate isn’t always fun and games. There are endless days at sea, constant worry over rations, inadequate access to personal hygiene, and scurvy to worry about. However, dirty politics is another well-documented issue festering among pirates that often isn’t discussed when fanning over pirate culture. Pirates were notorious for back-door political malfeasance. Secretly planning the removal of captains and crews could be a bloody business, and although pirates as we know them are a thing of the past, that didn’t stop actors like Johnny Depp from having to deal with the oldest of pirate traditions while filming Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Johnny Depp is a mainstay in the headlines these days. Whether it’s his overly saturated divorce with now ex-wife Amber Heard, his recent stent touring with supergroup the Hollywood Vampires, or anything else the astonishingly famous actor does, you’ve likely read about it. However, one interesting story involving the Pirates of the Caribbean frontman and one of his 2003 co-stars presumably ended put an end to one Pirate’s character you’ve likely forgotten about.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl debuts in theaters in 2003 to massive fan support and excitement. The film, based loosely on the popular Disneyland and Walt Disney World, was produced by Jeremy Bruckheimer and featured one of Hollywood’s hottest names. The world changed as the handsome and slightly villainous Captain Jack Sparrow sprang to life, immediately becoming a Disney icon. Alongside other talented names like Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Jeffrey Rush, “Pirate-Fever” eventually set in. Captain Jack Sparrow quickly became one of the most recognizable characters ever, leading a franchise grossing over $ 4 billion globally.
Although Depp is the centerpiece of Pirates of the Caribbean, Among the rest of the star-studded cast was a name that could only be found deep into the credits. Although she’s not longer at the bottom of the totem pole, you may have forgotten that Zoe Saldana had a brief on-screen role in the first-ever Pirates film. Cast as Anamaria, Saldana plays alongside Depp as Jack Sparrow attempts to put together a crew of his own. Although not said outright, it is heavily implied that Saldana’s character has had plenty of “intermingling” with the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, and their past has left her weary of working with him again. The short speaking part was a highlight in the film as it provided a new and exciting character in Anamaria and delivered a promiscuous back story to the seemingly family-friendly pirate captain.
Johnny Depp and Pirate’s 6
As Johnny Depp continues to deal with personal issue after personal issue, the most recent being found passed out in a hotel room overseas, the reality of a continuation of the Pirates of the Caribbean films led by Jack Sparrow becomes less likely. In fact, it’s safe to say that Depp is officially out as Jack Sparrow in any upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean films. This has led many to consider a replacement for the big-time actor, and some who remember Saldana from the first film have suggested that her character could be a starting place for a fresh story to carry on the franchise. The consideration makes sense as Depp, now 60, has noticeably lost a step or two as Jack Sparrow in the last two films. Replacing the good captain with a character who’s already appeared in the movies could work considering Saldana (unlike then) now has plenty of experience bringing solid female leads to the screen.
Zoe Saldana and Pirate’s 6
This seems like a good idea at first, as Saldana has grown into a big name herself with titles credited to her, such as James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). As Saldana has experience with high-grossing films like Avengers: Infinity War (2018), taking the helm of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (or at least returning) shouldn’t seem like an issue. However, even though she’s brought one of our favorite Marvel characters to life in the fight against Thanos, Saldana doesn’t seem interested in returning to anything related to Pirates of the Caribbean. Following an interview with Buzzfeed UK, Saldana expressed that her experience alongside notables like Johnny Depp on the set of Disney’s Pirates wasn’t positive.
“What a great movie, it really was fun and entertaining and very well shot, very well performed. It was all around such a diverse cast as well, all ages, all walks of life. But a hard production, it was just so big. It was too big of a machine for me, and it was too out of control. So when I see what transpired on screen, I’m very proud of [it]. Though how difficult it was to get there, I don’t ever want to go back. I was only asked to be part of one and then, you know, and then that was it. Maybe they chose to go in a different direction. If [having her character return] was certainly the goal in the beginning, it didn’t transpire by the end of the production and I’m happy it didn’t. There was just a lot of politics that you would have had to navigate, and I just felt really lost and very small in that big machine. But I’m happy for all the actors that benefited from this, because they certainly did and they went off to have amazing careers. And I followed their careers and felt really inspired, but for me, it was definitely an experience not worth repeating.”
A Case for Saldana to Replace Johnny Depp
At first glance, it looks as if a courtship from Disney to bring Saldana back to the Pirates of the Caribbean family would be in vain. It’s a rather sad commentary as bringing a past character to the forfront of the series could breath fresh life and rejuvenate the hugely successful franchise. However, Saldana is adamant that her experience alongside actors and producers like Johnny Depp in the first film has left her sure she is interested in returning. As she’s not hurting for work and continues to pop in for significant screentime in exceptionally popular Marvel projects and Avatar films, she can afford to be picky about her roles. Currently, Saldana is associated with the top three-grossing films OF ALL TIME!
Although not typically a name that comes to mind when we consider “star power,” Saldana has proven time and time again to be a positive correlation with massively successful film projects. Although Pirates of the Caribbean fans wish to see Johnny Depp back as Jack Sparrow, even if he and Disney came to an agreement, the character had become stale in the last two films. For Pirates to continue, it needs new blood, and Zoe Saldana’s track record proves it would be a successful venture with her at the helm.
Currently, Saldana is hard at work bringing Avatar 3 to life. Despite rumors have swirled regarding Johnny Depp’s involvment with Disney, he isn’t coming back to Pirates of the Caribbean any time soon. As Saldana was very clear about her potential involvment in any further pirates projects, her involvment in the future seems unlikely as well. As she notes politics and hinted at confusion regarding her supposed involvment in film sequels, she too seems a bit scorned by Disney. Although Gamora (Saldana) saved the world by sacrificing herself for the soul stone, it isn’t likely that she’s return as Anamaria to do the same to save Pirates of the Caribbean.