Disney is developing a reboot of Pirates of the Caribbean that won’t include Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, per a THR interview with the company’s film production chief Sean Bailey.
Deadpool writing duo Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese are working on the possible reboot, which is expected to signal the end of Depp’s involvement in the franchise. “I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul [Wernick] and Rhett [Reese] are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants,” Bailey told THR, when asked about Reese and Wernick’s involvement on the project, as well as the viability of a Pirates franchise sans Depp.
The news makes sense given the diminished fortunes of the Pirates franchise in recent years. The latest installment, 2017’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, was the lowest-grossing film in the once-mighty franchise’s domestic run.
Following accusations of physical and emotional abuse against Depp by ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp’s other major franchise, Fantastic Beasts, has also been mired in controversy over his continued participation. Both Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling and director David Yates have defended keeping the actor on as the titular Gellert Grindelwald in this year’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but many fans have remained critical of the choice.
Read Paste’s Kenneth Lowe’s piece on the “zombie” Pirates of the Caribbean franchise here.