Johnny Depp may have taken top billing in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his instantly iconic performance, but the eccentric pirate wasn’t the focal point of the story. Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner was the audience surrogate as Gore Verbinski introduced viewers into his richly drawn world of supernatural swashbuckling, with the romance between Will and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann acting as the backbone of the narrative.
In fact, Will and Elizabeth’s relationship was the main story thread across the original trilogy, allowing Captain Jack to dip in and out of the proceedings and cause charismatic chaos everywhere he went. Fourth installment On Stranger Tides put him front and center, though, which coincided with a noticeable drop in quality that had many people believing the character worked much better in small doses.
Whether you agree with that sentiment or not, there’s no denying that the entire five-film series was marketed almost entirely on the back of Jack Sparrow, which turned Johnny Depp into one of the highest-paid stars in the industry and yielded over $4.5 billion at the box office. However, Disney have since dropped the actor from the franchise entirely, and are now plowing ahead on a sixth entry and a spinoff without him.
Obviously, fans were pretty furious at the decision, and following a huge wave of support gathering behind the 57 year-old since he was forced to resign as Fantastic Beasts‘ Grindelwald, the petition to have him reinstated to Pirates of the Caribbean is now closing in on 250,000 signatures. If fans are willing to boycott Fantastic Beasts 3 and Aquaman 2 to show solidarity with Depp, then don’t be surprised if they actively avoid the next two Pirates of the Caribbean movies as well. Unless, of course, the Mouse House decides to rehire him.