Captain Jack Sparrow is officially retiring. 55-year-old actor Johnny Depp has played Sparrow in five Pirates of the Caribbean films, initially receiving high marks for his portrayal of the quirky pirate, though his shtick has worn thin as the series has coasted on fumes in recent years. 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales tallied the weakest domestic box office total in the history of the franchise, ending with a $173 million haul.
In an interview with DailyMail TV, screenwriter Stuart Beattie, who penned the original Pirates of the Caribbean film, revealed that Depp is out of the franchise following a decision to completely reboot the series. “I think he’s had a great run,” Beattie said of Depp’s Pirates role. “Obviously, he’s made that character his own and it’s become the character he’s most famous for now. And kids all over the world love him as that character so I think it’s been great for him, it’s been great for us, so I’m just very, very happy about it.”
Speaking of the Sparrow character, Beattie commented on the impact of the character in cinema and pop culture, along with the way the role changed Depp’s career trajectory. “I think Jack Sparrow will be his legacy. It’s the only character he’s played five times, it’s the character he dresses up in to visit children in hospitals, it’s what he’ll be remembered for. Before Jack Sparrow came along, [Depp] was considered this kind of quirky, independent actor that made these really cool little Tim Burton films but he was by no means a movie star and a lot of people thought we were crazy for casting him at the time.”
Prior to 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Depp was coming off of The Hughes Brothers’ Jack the Ripper film From Hell, which opened with $11 million and garnered a mixed reception from audiences and critics. “[Depp] wasn’t a proven commodity; you know, a big movie star. And we were making a big movie and we were putting this quirky, independent actor in the middle of it and people thought we were crazy. The fact that it worked is a miracle,” Beattie said. “They were certainly nervous watching the rushes everyday but when it all came together, something just clicked and it was magic and connected with audiences. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Depp has been hounded by personal drama over the past four years, accused by his management team of outrageous, exorbitant spending (including blowing more than $30k a month on wine, and $880 million on houses and private jets) as a war of lawsuits has waged between the actor and his business associates. His personal drama peaked in 2016 as he split with wife Amber Heard amidst accusations of domestic abuse and extreme alcoholism. The two eventually settled their case out of court for an undisclosed sum. Depp’s professionalism has also been questioned while on movie sets, and his involvement in the Fantastic Beasts series has come under fire due to the nature of the spousal abuse accusations.
Yesterday, news broke that Disney is reportedly meeting with Deadpool‘s writing duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to pen the script for the Pirates of the Caribbean reboot. The sixth Pirates film will be helmed by director Joachim Rønning, while plot details and a possible release date remain unknown.