The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of disappointments for Johnny Depp. The actor was recently proven to be a domestic abuser in court and been fired from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 3. In addition to that, there are no plans for Depp to return to his iconic Captain Jack Sparrow character in future installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Even though it looks like we’ve seen the last of Sparrow, a new rumor hints at how Disney will handle the character going forward.
We Got This Covered is reporting a rumor from gossip writer Daniel Richtman about how Disney will avoid their Pirates of the Caribbean star. Richtman says, “Pirates franchise will write off Depp by saying Sparrow died off-screen, but as long as you don’t see a body he could maybe come back in the future.”
While this sounds like an anti-climactic way to get rid of the star of Pirates of the Caribbean, leaving the details offscreen does leave the potential that Johnny Depp could return if his image improves. Yet it seems more likely that Disney would probably just try and ignore the existence of Jack Sparrow altogether, rather than reminding audiences that he’s not there in the first place. That would be kind of like if Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns mentioned that Julie Andrews decided not to return. What point does it serve, other than reminding audiences what they’re not getting?
This actually wouldn’t be the first time in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that Captain Jack Sparrow would die, since 2006’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest ended with Sparrow getting eaten by a Kraken, followed by 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End starting with the whole Pirates gang rescuing Sparrow from Davy Jones’ Locker.
It’s also fairly common for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to consistently bring back characters that were thought to be gone. Dead Man’s Chest concluded with the return of Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa, and after skipping out on 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley returned as Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann, respectively, for 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
But it does seem as though Disney is trying to shift the attention of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise away from Captain Jack Sparrow. The sixth film has been in development for years now and was originally supposed to film back-to-back with Dead Men Tell No Tales. Earlier this year, producer Jerry Bruckheimer even said he wasn’t sure how Johnny Depp would be involved with the Pirates series going forward, even before the courts found evidence he was a domestic abuser.
While it seems as though the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will continue, with Dead Men Tell No Tales star Kaya Scodelario saying she’s contractually signed on for another film, there’s also a spinoff series in the works. This new tale in the Pirates of the Caribbean world will be written by Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson, and will star Margot Robbie, who is rumored to play Redd from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Even before Johnny Depp’s recent problems, it looks as though Disney was trying to distance themselves from him, especially in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Whether Disney kills Captain Jack Sparrow offscreen or not, it seems unlike we’ll see Depp return to the open seas in the near future.