Johnny Depp’s Return To Pirates Franchise Just Became Even More Possible

Original Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer says he would love Johnny Depp to return.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

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The future of Pirates of the Caribbean is as tumultuous as the high seas. When Disney abandoned Johnny Depp during the actor’s legal battle with Amber Heard, Depp said his return to the Pirates of the Caribbean was a near impossibility. But in an interview on the Oscars red carpet, Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer offered hope for Depp’s comeback, saying, “We’ll see. I would love it. I would love him in the movie. That’s all I can tell you.”

Jerry Bruckheimer attended the Oscars to represent Top Gun: Maverick, the high-flying sequel that earned six nominations from the Academy, including one for Best Picture. While discussing Maverick, Bruckheimer was asked point blank whether or not Johnny Depp would return in the next Pirates film.

The producer was less direct with his answer. “We’re all working on it. We’ll see how it comes out,” Bruckheimer replied. “But we’re very excited. I think we’ll have a great screenplay. And we’re getting close.” Bruckheimer clearly wants Johnny Depp back for the next film, which may mean that the screenplay he and his team are developing depends on Captain Jack Sparrow.

One of the outcomes of the Johnny Depp trial was the admission that he would not return to the Pirates franchise, even for “$300 million and a million alpacas.” The actor felt betrayed by the franchises that dropped him, and now that he has won in court, Johnny Depp faces a matter of pride. 

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Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp would be a loss for the series. Jack Sparrow has been the focal point of the franchise since the first film set sail in 2003, and Depp is beloved by the franchise’s cast and crew. As much as fans would like to check in with the charming pirate, the waters of the next film remain murky.

Two films have been said to be in development. The first was from Birds of Prey and Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson, and would star Margot Robbie taking over for Johnny Depp as the lead of the Pirates franchise. That film has since been killed by the studio, though with the uncertainty of the future, it could always be resurrected.

The other film comes from The Last of Us writer Craig Mazin and original Pirates writer Ted Elliott. That film is apparently still a go at Disney, and is likely the “great screenplay” Bruckheimer referred to. It is unclear whether or not the return of Johnny Depp is crucial to the latest Pirates storyline, but Bruckheimer’s adamance to get Johnny Depp back indicates that he may be.

Rumors of a Pirates series have also circulated, teasing the possible return of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom as Elizabeth Swan and Will Turner. That series has also been speculated to be a spin-off that features a younger group of pirates, with Maya Hawke on the shortlist to terrorize the seas. A series casting a new generation of young talent would no doubt have the industry’s best new actors circling the roles.

The return of Johnny Depp to Pirates of the Caribbean is not entirely off the table. Few things in the entertainment industry ever truly are. No one quite knows what it would take to get Depp to return to his most beloved role, but Jerry Bruckheimer and the folks at Disney are searching high and low for the coveted answer as they try to change the tide for Pirates of the Caribbean.