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Johnny Depp Is Right To Retire Jack Sparrow

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Johnny Depp finally said he won’t play Jack Sparrow again. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise must retire the role, no matter the consequences.

Johnny Depp has finally conceded that he won’t be returning as Jack Sparrow, and it is only right for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to now retire the character in response. Pirates of the Caribbean was never strictly intended to be Jack Sparrow’s franchise. The scene-stealing character from 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl earned actor Johnny Depp an Oscar nomination but, notably, the award was for Best Supporting Actor. While Depp was given top billing in the film’s credits, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley were all considered important parts of an exciting ensemble cast, at the time.

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Each subsequent sequel made Johnny Depp’s Sparrow the star of the series, resulting in none of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels recapturing the original movie’s success. By the fifth film in the series, 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales, critics and audiences alike had begun to tire of the franchise’s over-reliance on Depp’s charms. It still came as a surprise, however, when Johnny Depp was seemingly outed from the role before a sixth film went into pre-production—something the actor has only now made official.

Related: Why Pirates of the Caribbean Could Never Fix Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow


It’s been a long time coming, but Johnny Depp stated during his April 2022 court proceedings that he had no intention of returning to play Jack Sparrow again, regardless of what Disney offered to entice him back to the role. Depp is right to decide that the character needs to be retired for good and, whether or not the Margot Robbie-starring Pirates of the Caribbean 6 goes ahead, the series should finally let go of Jack Sparrow. The reality that this may spell the end of the franchise altogether is one that the studio must contend with as it is a natural result of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies relying so heavily on Depp’s performances.


Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean Comments Explained


Johnny Depp Amber Heard Trial (Screenshot safe to use)

During his lengthy court battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp was asked whether he considered reprising his role as Jack Sparrow in a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Heard’s lawyer asked “Mr. Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing on this Earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates of the Caribbean film? Correct?” to which Depp assented. While Robbie’s Pirates of the Caribbean 6 was announced back in late 2020, the question of whether Depp would return to play Jack Sparrow was never publicly addressed. As such, although in context the question was related to Heard’s accusations regarding Depp and their impact on his career, Depp’s comment came as a blow to viewers of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise who still hoped Depp could be convinced to play the part again.


Is This The End of Jack Sparrow?


Jack Sparrow with Compass in Pirates of the Caribbean

Although Disney appeared to quietly, unofficially drop Depp years ago after the (comparative) financial underperformance of Dead Men Tell No Tales and the beginning of his long-running legal fight with Heard, it was still unclear whether Depp himself ever wanted to return to the role. These comments, however, were public confirmation that Depp is done with Jack, which significantly reshapes the franchise’s future—particularly when a 700,000-strong petition called for Depp’s Jack Sparrow to return in Pirates of the Caribbean 6. While public pressure could have potentially led Disney to rehire the actor, Depp’s disinterest in playing Sparrow again appears to put the kibosh on this idea for good. With no Jack Sparrow, the potential shape of the Pirates of the Caribbean series is irrevocably changed since the character was at the center of the last four films in the franchise.


Why Johnny Depp Is Right To Retire Jack Sparrow


Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean

As proven by Dead Men Tell No Tales’ Razzie nomination, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise grew to rely on Depp’s star power far too much. This tendency eventually sank the series and resulted in the diminishing critical returns faced by later sequels, making Depp’s decision an understandable one. While Pirates of the Caribbean 6 could have sidelined Sparrow to make room for new leads and hand the franchise’s future over to them, Depp’s comments made it clear that this is no longer an option and the actor has no interest in playing the part regardless of how small or sizable a role it is.

Related: Pirates of the Caribbean: Brian Cox Is Right About Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow

This is likely a wise decision by Depp as, while Sparrow could have been a support to a new lead character in a sixth movie in an ideal world, in reality, this is similar to what the fourth and fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movies already attempted. Those sequels introduced new characters like Kaya Scodelario’s Carina and Sam Claflin’s Philip, only to then shortchange them when it came to screen time and give them no chance to make an impression on audiences since the series was still preoccupied with focusing on Jack. There is little reason to believe that the studio would have changed this, particularly when even the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy wasted great villains like Tia Dalma and Davy Jones to spotlight Sparrow.


Can Pirates of the Caribbean Survive Without Jack Sparrow?


There is a good chance that Depp’s definitive disinterest in his most famous role will spell the end of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The lack of news about Margot Robbie’s reboot doesn’t bode well for the series, while the fact that Depp himself is seemingly exhausted with the franchise means viewers are unlikely to have any interest in a revival after such a long absence. There are still some engaging and interesting characters in the franchise’s canon (particular villains) that Pirates of the Caribbean spinoffs could have used to tell engaging, original stories with clear ties to the movie timeline.

However, the fact that the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels coasted on Depp’s charm without establishing much in the way of an immersive fictional universe, combined with the slow pace of the franchise’s decline, means interest in a Depp-free spinoff may well be minimal. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise could likely have made it past Depp’s decision to depart if the series had reacted quickly and decisively, but it has now been five years since the last movie and there is no sign of a new project. As a result, Johnny Depp leaving the Pirates of the Caribbean movies will likely result in the public’s interest in the franchise joining him.


More: The Original Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy Wasted The Kraken

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