“Pirates of the Caribbean” producer Jerry Bruckheimer reminded fans in a recent interview with The Sunday Times that the future of his Disney mega-franchise does not currently include Johnny Depp. The actor appeared as Jack Sparrow in all five “Pirates of the Caribbean,” earning an Oscar nomination for “Curse of the Black Pearl.” The most recent “Pirates” movie, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” was released in 2017. Bruckheimer said two “Pirates” scripts are currently in development, but neither include Depp’s former franchise mainstay.
“Yes. We’re talking to Margot Robbie. We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without,” Bruckheimer said when asked about the future of the “Pirates” franchise. “[Will Depp be back?] Not at this point. The future is yet to be decided.”
Depp is currently embroiled in a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard. Depp is suing Heard after she alluded to their alleged abusive relationship in an op-ed piece written for The Washington Post. On May 2, Depp’s agent Jack Whigham testified that the actor was to receive a $22.5 million payday to star in the sixth “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. Whigham said Disney decided to go “in a different direction” after Heard published an op-ed reviving her domestic abuse allegations.
“After the op-ed it was impossible to get him a studio film,” Whigham said while testifying.
During a cross-examination, Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft said that Depp never had a contract for $22.5 million for a sixth “Pirates movie” and stressed the number was never committed to writing. Bredehoft also pointed to prior testimony suggesting that Disney was not likely to cast Depp in the film as early as the fall of 2018, before Heard’s op-ed was published. Whigham testified that while Disney might have been hesitant at that point, Bruckheimer was advocating on Depp’s behalf at the time.
As for Robbie’s “Pirates” movie, Variety reported in June 2020 that the “I, Tonya” Oscar nominee was partnering with her “Birds of Prey” screenwriter Christina Hodson on a new female-fronted “Pirates” movie. All five films in the franchise have grossed more than $650 million worldwide, with “Dead Man’s Chest” and “On Stranger Tides” both topping the $1 billion mark.