Prior to his role in the Disney franchise Pirates of the Caribbean as the famously comedic and juvenile Captain Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp was known for smaller scale films. Before he led the crew on the Black Pearl, Depp was a quirky actor who showed immense potential and versatility in his reoccurring appearances as the lead in Tim Burton films such as Edward Scissorhands and Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street — both of which received nods from the academy.
Today Depp is known as a multi-time academy award-nominated actor most famous for his role in Pirates of the Caribbean. He was nominated for multiple major awards for the franchise’s first movie The Curse of the Black Pearl including a Golden Globe for best actor. Many agree that five films later, Captain Jack Sparrow will be Depp’s legacy.
Because of the acclaim and praise from both fans and even the academy, the news that Disney will be rebooting Pirates of the Caribbean without Depp came as a disheartening surprise. Depp’s lead character was undoubtedly the centerpiece and glue of the past films, despite the final installment’s disappointing box-office numbers. Even with a plot that fell short in comparison to that of films previous films where Depp overcame a sea monster, arose from the dead and even led a crew to the famous Fountain of Youth, Captain Jack Sparrow still stood out as one of the most successful elements.
As the witty, mischievous Captain that fans around the globe have come to love exits the franchise, many feel leery of the reboot. While it isn’t clear exactly what direction the new line of films will go in, it is certain “the worst pirate” ever heard of will be dearly missed. Here’s a look at some of Depp’s best moments and lines from Pirates of the Caribbean.
MEETING CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW
After learning how Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Kiera Knightley) met, alongside Turner’s secret pirate roots, audience members were introduced to the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow in Gore Verbinski’s 2003 directed film The Curse of the Black Pearl.
Jack had been stranded on an island by Hector Barbosa (Geoffrey Rush), who would become his nemesis throughout the film and those to follow, as he and Jack play take-away with the cursed ship The Black Pearl. Jack arrives to Port Royal in the most hilarious manner possible, standing atop what can be assumed to be a poorly make-shifted boat, stepping off onto the dock just as the last inches of the boat’s peak sink. This was a brilliant introduction to the memorably comedic pirate and the famous line, “This is the day you will always remember as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!”
THE TRIBE OF CANNIBALS
In the follow-up 2006 film Dead Man’s Chest, Jack finds himself marooned on a strange island, yet again. Only this time, he has dragged his whole crew to an island of cannibals who believe Jack is a god, or rather a vessel carrying the spirit of their deity. To attune even more to the often-chaotic antics of Captain Jack, the people of the village are cannibals who believe the only way to free their god from Jack is to cook it out of him on an open fire. This leads to one of the best openers of the entire franchise as Jack tries to escape death, making for a hilarious scene where the captain appears as a running cabob — catapulting around the island while his crew is suspended and left hanging over an abyss.
Like the first film, Dead Man’s Chest comes with a fair share of lasting quotes from Jack Sparrow including “I got a jar of dirt,” as the pirate taunts Davy Jones. And of course, “Why is the rum always gone?”
CORRECTION, IT’S CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW
One of Depp’s most memorable characteristics as Jack Sparrow is the pirate’s reoccurring assertion of his proper title “Captain Jack Sparrow.” In the fourth film On Stranger Tides, which was the first in the franchise to not be directed by Gore Verbinski (replaced by Rob Marshall), Jack fails to rescue his loyal crew member and friend Gibbs (Kevin McNally) and is brought before King George II. Despite his famed criminal activity and dishonest ways, the king wants Captain Jack to lead an expedition to the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish find it. The king already gets off to a bad start with Jack when he begins his proposal by saying, “So, Jack Sparrow,” and Jack responds with his iconic prideful line, “There should be a ‘captain’ in there somewhere.”
Despite the film’s dominate box-office presence, standing as the 28th highest grossing film of all time worldwide, On Stranger Tides received mixed reviews. Critics’ were mostly concerned with what was referred to as “a lack of originality” and a notable difference in directorial approach for a Pirates of the Caribbean film. Still, positive nods continued to go to Depp’s wonderfully weird and cunning portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow.
The franchise’s final installment Dead Man Tell No Tales, the second-lowest grossing installment of the series also got a director change with Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg as leading newcomers. The pair said that with development issues and a decline in reputation of the series, they turned back to the directorial approach of The Curse of the Black Pearl. However, with the shift in focus to Will’s son (Brenton Thwaites) and a young misfit accused of witchcraft (Kaya Scodelario), the successful element that seemed to have kept the franchise afloat, Depp’s character Captain Jack, was watered down.
Rather than the film centering around Jack’s theft and ironically humorous betrayal that has always given critics a continued craving for Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the Captain has been made to be more of a secondary character to the younger generation. Although it seems as though the intentions in Dead Men Tell No Tales were to set the stage for the reboot without Jack, even his brief instances of sort of crashing the party with his failed robbery attempt and inappropriate comments, helped make the film better — begging the question can the series really survive without the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow?