Disney are intent to move forward on two Pirates of the Caribbean movies without Johnny Depp’s involvement, following the string of negative publicity that’s been following the actor everywhere he goes over the last several years. The 57 year-old’s fans have still got his back, and they’ve made that abundantly clear by directing their vitriol towards Amber Heard, Fantastic Beasts 3 and even the Animaniacs revival, but the Mouse House appear unwilling to budge from their stance.
The latest incendiary stories have cast the three-time Academy Award nominee in an even more unfavorable light, with various insiders and analysts predicting that lean times are ahead for a star who was once the highest-paid name in Hollywood. Still, while Pirates of the Caribbean may have raked in over $4.5 billion at the box office, there’s no guarantee that audiences will be interested in two new installments that don’t feature Jack Sparrow.
Continuing a blockbuster series without the lead character is a risky strategy, too, and one that doesn’t have much precedent. The Bourne Legacy swapped out Matt Damon for Jeremy Renner and underperformed, but there aren’t exactly a lot of multi-billion dollar brands that jettisoned their main draw and selling point before carrying on. If anything, the only ones to have succeeded went down the recasting route like James Bond, Superman, Batman and Spider-Man.
Of course, Jerry Bruckheimer was one of Depp’s few remaining backers, but the latest reports claim that Disney were quick to shoot down the producer’s idea of having Captain Jack cameo in one of the two upcoming high seas adventures to pass the torch, which would indicate that the hierarchy are now opting for a clean break, and the iconic swashbuckler might not even be mentioned in either of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movies at all.