The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is at a crossroads. With Johnny Depp being fired from his role of Gellert Grindelwald in the newest Fantastic Beasts installment, it’s starting to look like we won’t be seeing Jack Sparrow in any other future Pirates movies. And if a new rumor is to be believed, it sounds like Disney has figured out how to replace the iconic character in the series’ next film.
Insider Daniel Richtman (via We Got This Covered) is reporting that the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie will introduce Jack Sparrow’s long lost son. Apparently, this is how they will get around removing Johnny Depp from the series while also keeping a Sparrow character in the franchise. Exactly how prominent his role would be is unclear at this time.
At this point, it almost seems like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise would be better off either ending its run and sitting on the shelf for a while, or making an entry that takes the series off in a brand new direction that doesn’t reference Jack Sparrow at all. That was the plan we had heard when Margot Robbie attached herself to a new entry in the long-running movie franchise. Would Jack Sparrow Jr. be showing up in this potential spinoff?
Unfortunately, this particular idea seems incredibly tired at this point. In fact, if the studio wants audiences to forget about Johnny Depp, sticking a tiny Jack Sparrow in the next Pirates of the Caribbean does not seem like the best approach. Fans will take it as a clear substitution and something of a dismissive one. It would also be a bummer for whatever actor was chosen to play the role of Jack Sparrow Jr. They will be immediately compared to Johnny Depp’s memorable performance and that will be a nigh-impossible task to live up to.
It is definitely going to be hard for the Pirates of the Caribbean series to find a new direction that doesn’t involve Jack Sparrow in some capacity. Depp’s performance as the drunken pirate was a huge reason for the franchise’s massive success. However, it is pretty clear that Depp’s pull was not enough for audiences to show up en masse for the last two entries. Are audiences still enthused by the series with or without Depp’s inclusion? Or has the entire franchise simply run its course?
Regardless, it still sounds like the idea of plunking Jack Sparrow’s kid into the middle of another Pirates of the Caribbean movie seems like the laziest possible fix to this supposed issue. It will only draw more attention to the fact that Johnny Depp is not involved with the movie, and it will put an undue and unfair amount of criticism on whoever would end up playing the part. Either the movie needs to figure out a way to integrate Jack Sparrow into the story – even if it’s as fleeting as a cameo – or they need to dump him entirely and take the story and characters down a totally new path. Guess we will have to wait and see what Disney decides to do.