Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production President Sean Bailey provided an update on the possibility of Johnny Depp returning as Jack Sparrow for the company’s new Pirates of the Caribbean film.
Speaking with The New York Times, Bailey detailed that he believes the company has “a really good, exciting story that honors the films that have come before but also has something new to say.”
However, he noted the company is “noncommittal at this point” when it comes to having Johnny Depp reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer previously indicated he was working on two different Pirates of the Caribbean scripts. One of those scripts would star Margot Robbie.
Bruckheimer explained to The Times (UK) in May 2022, “Yes. We’re talking to Margot Robbie. We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without.”
Robbie’s Pirates of the Caribbean film was initially announced back in June 2020 with The Hollywood Reporter describing it as a ‘female-fronted Pirates of the Caribbean for Disney.”
The outlet also detailed the movie would be “a wholly original story with new characters under the Pirates moniker.”
Robbie confirmed the film in a November 2020 interview with Collider where she said the film features “a lot of girl power.”
However, she added, “It’s too early to talk about it but I appreciate that you’re psyched on the combo. I love Christina obviously. I’m not a producer on Pirates, so I’ll sit back and kind of wait for the process the way you’re allowed to do as an actor, which is nice.”
She added, “I don’t have to stress about it just yet. We’re really, really excited at the prospect of kind of adding a very key female element to that world.”
Robbie would later tell Vanity Fair in November 2022 the movie had been blown out of the water, “We had an idea and we were developing it for a while, ages ago, to have more of a female-led—not totally female-led, but just a different kind of story—which we thought would’ve been really cool, but I guess they don’t want to do it.”
Despite Robbie seemingly making it clear the film was dead, Bruckheimer refuted it, telling Collider in December 2022, “I think that that script will come forward at a certain point.”
“We developed two different stories for Pirates and the other one’s going forward first,” he added. “So that’s what we’re working on, to try to get that one made.”
Bruckheimer provided more details to The Hollywood Reporter when he was asked about the various iterations of sixth film’s script. He said, “Oh God, they’re all hard. I think we’re getting very close on that one, too. We have a very good script. We developed two of them — the one with Margot Robbie and one with a younger cast. The Margot Robbie one needs a little more work. The younger cast one is close. Hopefully we’ll get both of them.”
He then declared the Margot Robbie movie was still on the table, “It’s alive for me. It’s alive for Disney. I’m sure she was disappointed it didn’t go first — or maybe not because she’s very busy, so it might be a blessing to push this a bit. We believe we’ll get it made. It’s a very strong story.”
Bruckheimer has also had various answers to questions about Johnny Depp returning. When asked by The Times UK, he said, “Not at this point. The future is yet to be decided.”
However, he put the onus on Disney when asked by The Hollywood Reporter, “You’d have to ask them. I can’t answer that question. I really don’t know. I would love to have him in the movie. He’s a friend, a terrific actor and it’s unfortunate that personal lives creep into everything we do.”
He did note that they do not plan on killing Jack Sparrow again, “You can’t. We tried to kill him. It didn’t work.”
In a more recent interview with Deadline, Bruckheimer bluntly said, “Yeah,” when asked if he would bring Depp back.
He elaborated, “I think Johnny is another friend and amazing artist, and again [referring to their discussion earlier in the show regarding Will Smith’s now-infamous slapping of Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards], you go through things in life that you wish you hadn’t. But he’s still a talented artist.”
It’s unclear if Depp has any interest in returning at this point. During his public defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, he was asked by Heard’s lawyer, “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?”
Depp responded, “That is true, Mr. Rottenborn.”
What do you make of Bailey’s comments on Depp possibly returning as Captain Jack Sparrow?