As one of the most successful action producers in recent history, Jerry Bruckheimer has produced such massive spectacles as the National Treasure and Beverly Hills Cop franchises, as well as the majority of Michael Bay’s films like Pearl Harbor and The Rock. But arguably his most popular and profitable franchise has been Pirates of the Caribbean, which since 2003 has centered around Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Yet with Disney working on rebooting the Pirates franchise, and trying to move past Depp’s involvement, Bruckheimer is apparently trying to get his old friend to return.
We Got This Covered is reporting that Jerry Bruckheimer is in talks with Johnny Depp to still return in some capacity to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, most likely as just a cameo. Bruckheimer’s involvement in the franchise could leave Disney into letting the producer have his way.
We Got This Covered doesn’t state who the source on this information is, so it does seem fairly questionable that a major studio like Disney would choose to work with Johnny Depp again at this point, especially with all his legal troubles, and other studios avoiding him like the plague.
But after years of rumors about Johnny Depp’s odd behavior and allegations of his abusive relationship with ex-wife Amber Heard, Disney has stuck with one of their most reliable franchise starters. Johnny Depp has worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise since 2003, and most recently in 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Since then, Disney has successfully tried to use him to star in their Alice in Wonderland series of films, while also failing with Depp in 2013’s The Lone Ranger, which was also produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.
Yet with or without Johnny Depp’s involvement, Disney has big future plans for Pirates of the Caribbean. Director Joachim Rønning, who directed Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, is still signed on for a sixth installment in the franchise. Kaya Scodelario, who made her Pirates debut in Rønning’s previous film, has stated that she is contractually obligated to return, if she is asked. Last year, it was also announced that the latest Pirates film would be co-written by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin.
Disney also has a Pirates of the Caribbean female-led spinoff in the works, starring Margot Robbie and written by Birds of Prey scribe Christina Hodson. It had been theorized that this spinoff would be a way to shift the franchise away from Johnny Depp’s involvement in the series.
But even earlier this year, Jerry Bruckheimer wasn’t sure what Johnny Depp’s role would be in the future of Pirates of the Caribbean. In an interview with Bruckheimer in May with Collider, Bruckheimer said the latest script for Pirates 6 made it unclear what Depp’s involvement would be. If Bruckheimer was questioning Depp’s history with the franchise before a London court said there was evidence he was in fact a “wife beater,” it seems unlikely that Bruckheimer would drastically change his mind due to recent events.
Even if Johnny Depp does make an appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean 6, it does look as though Disney is at least trying to shift the franchise away from Captain Jack Sparrow, without making too much fuss about his lack of involvement. Even if Jerry Bruckheimer does want Depp to return in some capacity, this is a franchise that could use some fresh blood and some new direction.