In the broadest of terms, petitions launched by fans who disagree with a creative or casting decision don’t mean sh*t in the long run, but it’ll nonetheless be interesting to discover if 2022 is really the year that Johnny Depp fans mobilize in their numbers to try and put a dent in the box office takings of arguably Warner Bros.’ two biggest releases.
Fans have threatened to boycott both Fantastic Beasts 3 and Aquaman 2, the previous installments of which combined to rake in over $1.7 billion globally. Should there be a noticeable drop in those numbers, then you know who’ll take responsibility, but so far Disney have ignored the pleas to have the actor reinstated to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
As Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp has defined the entire series for the better part of two decades, and there are no guarantees that an expensive pirate movie without an iconic and hugely marketable character to rely on is going to do big business. After all, just look at 1995’s Cutthroat Island, which cost roughly $171 million if you adjust the $98 million budget for inflation and bombed so hard that it put the studio behind it (Carolco Pictures) out of business.
However, the petition to bring back Captain Jack has now sailed past 600,000 signatures and is currently targeting the mythical one million barrier. There are still two Pirates of the Caribbean movies in development, both a sixth entry in the main timeline and a female-driven spinoff being spearheaded by Birds of Prey duo Margot Robbie and Christina Hodson, but as things stand, neither of them are going to see Depp back on the seven seas. Stranger things have certainly happened in Hollywood, though, so fans will no doubt continue to keep their fingers crossed.