A new Pirates of the Caribbean film is long overdue. The beloved film franchise, based on Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name, launched with 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Kiera Knightley. The Oscar-nominated movie was followed by four more films: 2006’s Dead Man’s Chest, 2007’s At World’s End, 2011’s On Stranger Tides, and 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales. In total, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has grossed over $4.5 billion worldwide at the box office and is the 14th highest-grossing film series ever.
A sixth film has been in development since 2017, but plans were stalled due in part to Johnny’s defamation trial against his ex-wife, Amber Heard. A female-led spinoff movie with Margot Robbie as the lead star was in the works at Disney, but the actress revealed that the project is no longer happening in November 2022. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the reboot film and Johnny’s future in the franchise below.
All About the Reboot
The reboot film was first announced in June 2020. Jerry Bruckheimer, who produced all the Pirates movies so far, confirmed in an interview with The Sunday Times in May 2022 that they were still working on the screenplay for the reboot. Jerry never shared the official title or plot details, but he did confirm that they were “talking” to Margot about the plans.
Johnny Depp’s Exit
Johnny’s future in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was threatened when his ex-wife, Amber Heard, accused him of domestic abuse in an op-ed published by the Washington Post in December 2018. At the time, Johnny was set to star in the sixth film with Joachim Ronning directing, and Ted Elliott and Craig Mazin as screenwriters. But Johnny wasn’t offered many jobs, he was forced to resign from the Fantastic Beasts franchise at Warner Bros behest, and eventually, Disney cut ties with him on the film. During the defamation trial, which began April 11, Johnny’s agent Jack Whigham claimed that the actor was set to earn over $22 million for Pirates of the Caribbean 6 until Disney abruptly went “in a different direction” after Amber’s article was published.
Johnny confirmed during his testimony that he’d never return to the film franchise no matter how much he’d get paid. He did, however, share that he initially wanted to do Pirates of the Caribbean 6 to give his character Captain Jack Sparrow a “proper goodbye.” Even though Johnny was let go from the films, Disney still featured Jack Sparrow at their theme parks. Johnny said in court that Disney “didn’t want there to be something trailing behind [Depp] that they’d find.” Johnny won the defamation trial on June 1.
In the Sunday Times interview, Jerry was asked about Johnny’s potential return to the Pirates franchise. “Not at this point. The future is yet to be decided,” he said. Fans reacted poorly to that and threatened to boycott the franchise without Johnny. “And I confirm that no one is going to watch a Pirates Of The Caribbean movie without Johnny Depp,” one fan tweeted. Another said, “No one will ever replace johnny depp as captain jack sparrow, he MADE pirates of the caribbean.”
Margot Robbie Was Supposed To Be The New Lead
Margot’s attachment to the Pirates of the Caribbean reboot film was announced in June 2020 via The Hollywood Reporter. The report said that the Pirates movie wouldn’t be a spinoff of the regular franchise, “but rather a wholly original story with new characters.” Jerry confirmed in The Sunday Times interview that Margot is still attached to the project. “We’re talking to Margot Robbie. We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without,” he said. Margot never publicly addressed her involvement in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise until November 2022, when she revealed that the spinoff is no longer happening.
“We had an idea and we were developing it for a while, ages ago, to have more of a female-led — not totally female-led, but just a different kind of story — which we thought would’ve been really cool,” she told Vanity Fair. “But I guess they don’t want to do it.”
The fact that Margot’s spinoff is dead might mean that Johnny is returning to the franchise. He’s had a ton of public support ever since he won the defamation trial against Amber on June 1.
More About The ‘Pirates’ Reboot
British screenwriter Christina Hodson, who worked on 2020’s Birds of Prey with Margot, was supposed to be working on the rebooted Pirates movie. Jerry was going to be the main producer. The now-canceled movie was supposed to be female-led, so fans were really hoping that Keira Knightley would return as Elizabeth Swann alongside Orlando Bloom, who plays Elizabeth’s husband, Will Turner. However, the pair didn’t star in the fourth film and only briefly appeared in the fifth film. We’ll continue to keep you updated on the future of Pirates of the Caribbean.