Pirates of the Caribbean actor Kevin McNally, who plays Gibbs in the franchise, recently declared that he sees no impediment for Johnny Depp to return to the franchise as Captain Jack Sparrow.
It was revealed back in 2018 following an op-ed by Amber Heard in The Washington Post, where she claimed to be a victim of domestic abuse, that The Walt Disney Studios’ President of Production Sean Bailey revealed Depp would no longer be part of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
When asked if Pirates could survive without Johnny Depp, Bailey told The Hollywood Reporter, “We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with.”
However, the plan to reenergize the franchise with Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese never happened as the two Deadpool writers were off the project by February 2019 just a couple of months following Bailey’s comments.
Nevertheless, reports have persisted that Disney wants to continue with the Pirates franchise without Depp. In June 2020, The Hollywood Reporter noted that Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and long-time Pirates scribe Ted Elliot were developing a story.
On top of that it was announced that Margot Robbie was working with Christina Hodson for a “female-fronted” Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
While reports indicate Disney seems keen to move on with the franchise without Depp, McNally believes Depp should return.
Speaking with The Express to promote his upcoming film Decrypted McNally says, “I’ve never seen a hint of any dark side to Johnny. I see a great humanitarian and a beautiful human being.”
He adds, “I don’t see any impediment for him coming back and playing Jack Sparrow.”
While McNally sees no reason for why Depp shouldn’t return, he also notes that it is possible to do Pirates films without Depp.
He explained, “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 then pitched his own idea for a film, “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?'”
“And so have a whole bunch of people on a trek to find the legendary Jack Sparrow. You can certainly keep those names alive, even in a film that doesn’t necessarily contain the [original] characters too much,” he elaborated.
This isn’t the first time McNally expressed his support for Depp returning as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Back in January, the actor appeared on The Respondent podcast where he was asked, “Do you think Jack Sparrow should be in Pirates of the Caribbean 6? And should the role always be played by Johnny Depp?”
He responded, “Yes is the simple answer to that. I don’t know that anybody is suggesting that Jack Sparrow would be played by somebody else. I think they are suggesting that there would be another leading character.”
He continued, “My feelings about this are very complex because in a sense there was a slight feeling that the franchise itself had played out a little bit, so a reboot is a reasonable idea. I don’t think a reboot, if you concentrate on younger characters, should still exclude Jack Sparrow.”
He also expressed his idea about a search for Jack Sparrow, “I came up with an idea that it should be some young person searching for Jack Sparrow with Mr. Gibbs helping find him. And then we find Jack Sparrow at the end. It wouldn’t involve too much work from Jack Sparrow.”
McNally then stated, “Having some experience now, I don’t know why they make the decisions that they make. The executives. They are too corporate, too many people have a voice. The best films are like the first film as when a couple of great writers given a gig and then everyone’s left to get on with it.”
“So, I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer to that is. But it seems that they don’t have an appetite to work with Johnny because all the shenanigans that gone on.”
Specifically addressing those shenanigans, McNally said, “Who knows what goes on behind closed doors, but I have never in 22 years of working with Johnny Deep seen anything that would indicate to me that he is anything other than a beautiful human being.”
“I also think about cancel culture. Johnny Depp has not been convicted of anything. He sadly lost a libel case against somebody who used a rather nasty and unproved phrase. The idea of distancing yourself from that seems cowardly to me and I don’t like it at all,” he asserted.
What do you make of McNally’s recent comments regarding Johnny Depp and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise?