With the obvious exception of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, only three other characters have starred in every Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Geoffrey Rush’s Hector Barbossa only appeared for a split second at the very end of Dead Man’s Chest, though, and Jack the Money was technically played by three different primates named Tara, Levi and Boo Boo, leaving Kevin McNally’s Joshamee Gibbs as the franchise’s longest-tenured supporting player.
Gibbs and Jack clearly have a long history together, and while they were fierce allies throughout the first five installments, the former was frequently kept in the dark about what the latter was up to, and the dynamic between them always generated plenty of entertainment. However, now that Disney have made it pretty clear that they have no intention of bringing Depp back for either of the two new projects in development, there’s a high chance that McNally’s services won’t be required.
In a recent interview, the actor was asked about his potential involvement in future installments and said that while he would be more than happy to return for either the sixth adventure in the main timeline or Margot Robbie’s female-centric spinoff, he shared the same sentiment as millions of fans around the world by admitting that Pirates of the Caribbean simply wouldn’t be the same without the presence of the longtime leading man, marquee character and main drawing card.
“My dream is that some sort of link will be needed between what has been before and whatever bizarre incarnation of it there is to come. But I sincerely think that my fate is so tied in with Johnny’s that I will go with him, if indeed he does go. My feelings about this are very complex because in a sense there was a slight feeling that the franchise itself had played out a little bit, so a reboot is a reasonable idea. I don’t think a reboot, if you concentrate on younger characters, should still exclude Jack Sparrow. I came up with an idea that there should be some young person searching for Jack Sparrow with Mr Gibbs helping find him. And then we find Jack Sparrow at the end. It wouldn’t involve too much work from Jack Sparrow. But who knows.
Having some experience now I don’t know why they made the decisions that they made. To be there when somebody creates a modern legend is absolutely extraordinary. For anyone to want to throw that away seems to me, criminal. A lot of people will not go and see a Pirates film that Johnny’s not in. I’d have a hard time doing that. It would just seem a bit weird. And why do that anyway? Why not just create a new franchise?”
The latest reports claimed that the Mouse House had once again shot down producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s pleas for Depp to return for at least a passing of the torch cameo, but with petitions demanding his reinstatement racking up hundreds of thousands of signatures and fans threatening a boycott if Jack Sparrow isn’t involved, Disney’s stubbornness could end up costing them at the box office.