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Benzinga

Is Disney Bringing Back Johnny Depp To 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' Franchise? What You Need To Know

Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) has not released a film in its popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise in five years, and the series’ producer Jerry Bruckheimer hinted a new entry may be on the horizon. Will Johnny Depp return as Captain Jack Sparrow?

What Happened: The “Pirates” franchise spanned six films between 2003 and 2017 and grossed more than $4.5 billion worldwide.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Times to promote his latest work, “Top Gun: Maverick” starring Tom Cruise, Bruckheimer was asked to address speculation that the “Pirates” films would be coming back in a sequel with a female lead rather than Depp as the central focus.

“Yes. We’re talking to Margot Robbie,” he said. “We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without.”

When asked if Depp would be back, Bruckheimer said, “Not at this point. The future is yet to be decided.”

See Also: 'Doctor Strange' Tops Box Office With $61M; 'Firestarter' Is A Non-Starter With Audiences

Why It Happened: Depp has been all but blacklisted by the Hollywood studios after a series of expensive flop films coupled with the scandal involving abuse charges made by his ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp’s loss in a U.K. libel lawsuit against The Sun, a newspaper that accused him of being a “wife beater,” made him unemployable in the eyes of many producers — including Bruckheimer, who dropped a proposed television series that would have cast Depp as illusionist Harry Houdini. Depp was also removed from the Warner Bros. (NASDAQ:WBD) “Fantastic Beasts” franchise following the lawsuit verdict, which Depp plans to appeal.

Depp’s most recent film performance was in the independently-financed production “Minamata.” MGM picked up the film after its February 2020 debut at the Berlin Film Festival and released it in multiple markets around the world, but stalled its U.S. release to the point that Depp, who co-produced the film, and director Andrew Levitas openly accused MGM of refusing to make “Minamata” available to U.S. audiences because of the controversy involving Heard. Samuel Goldwyn Films picked up “Minamata” for U.S. release and gave it a limited December release for award consideration. It did not receive any Oscar nominations and was put into a wider distribution in 2022.

Depp and Heard are now in the media spotlight via a $50 million defamation suit he filed against her in March 2019.

Photo of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow courtesy of Disney