The court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, in the wake of disagreements with their divorce and accusations of domestic violence, has had serious consequences for the former’s career. However much he has been honored by various European film festivals in recent moths, Depp’s battered public image has already cost him his part in the next installment of Fantastic Beasts (where he will be replaced by Mads Mikkelsen), while Disney opts to give a twist to the Pirates of the Caribbean that he has starred in since its inception. No matter how much Jack Sparrow is its most iconic character, Disney has powered a spin-off with Margot Robbie and the writing of Christina Hodson, without Depp, of course, being involved.
Not much is known about this new installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it’s clear that the decision hasn’t been of everyone’s liking. Beyond the fiery internet cries that strongly favor Depp in his conflict with Heard, the actor’s absence in Pirates of the Caribbean isn’t just displeasing to fans, as John McNally has recently made clear. The actor has been playing Gibbs, Sparrow’s sidekick, since The Curse of the Black Pearl, and has just shared with The Express his concern about a Pirates of the Caribbean movie without Johnny Depp. Not talking openly about Heard or cancel culture, but making his discomfort clear.
“I’ve never seen a hint of any dark side to Johnny. I see a great humanitarian and a beautiful human being. I don’t see any impediment for him coming back and playing Jack Sparrow,” he says. McNally shows his loyalty to Depp, and doubts that Pirates of the Caribbean has a future with Sparrow’s absence. “I think there was a general feeling that without Jack there is no Pirates franchise. And there’s probably a lot of truth in that. But now there have been questions about that, certainly why not have other Pirate films and certainly then why not have Jack back or Jack playing a different part.” McNally, however, believes that there are better options than eliminating the character, like decreasing his prominence.
“I mean I was musing about this the other day and you can easily think of stories in which maybe somebody is looking for Jack and come to Mr Gibbs and say, ‘How would I find Jack?’ You can certainly keep those names alive, even in a film that doesn’t necessarily contain the [original] characters too much.”
For now, and possibly due to the low progress of the project, McNally hasn’t been called to return as Gibbs in the new Pirates of the Caribbean, and it remains to be seen how his loyalty to Depp affects the matter. As for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, featuring a new Gellert Grindelwald, is set for release on April 15, 2022.