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Disney Blocked Johnny Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean Return

A report suggests Disney even refused to entertain the idea of Johnny Depp appearing in a cameo in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

A report suggests Disney even refused to entertain the idea of Johnny Depp appearing in a cameo in the next Pirates of the Caribbean. The troubled actor became a world-renowned superstar thanks to his role as the over-the-top Jack Sparrow in the original Pirates of the Caribbean, earning him an Academy Award nomination and leading to a starring role in all four sequels. Depp went on to become one of the highest earning stars of the 2000s and 2010s, appearing in a number of other Disney movies including Alice in Wonderland.

Sadly, the actor has been through a number of personal battles in recent years, and a public lawsuit against a British tabloid which called him a “wife-beater” ended in an embarrassing loss for Depp. As a result, the actor was removed from his most recent franchise gig playing the dark wizard Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts series, though he was still paid $16 million for his week of work on the movie. His removal from the Wizarding movies follows reports that he wouldn’t be returning for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise for an upcoming sixth installment. Instead, Disney is pursuing a reboot starring Margot Robbie.

Now, a report released by THR reveals Disney blocked Depp’s return. Citing producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s desire to include Depp in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie, even if just in a cameo role to hand over the reins of the franchise to Robbie, the report says “Disney balked,” refusing to entertain the idea due to the reputation risk it would pose for the family-friendly media giant. The revelation indicates Depp’s time as Jack Sparrow is well and truly over, confirming Robbie’s movie is an attempt to take the franchise in a new direction. You can read the relevant paragraph from the extensive report below:

Disney had already backed away from a Pirates future with Depp well before the U.K. trial, even if it never formally severed ties. Bruckheimer, who has been one of Depp's biggest champions and once suggested the finger injury happened because "he got it caught in a car door," was hoping to at least bring the Captain Jack Sparrow character back briefly in the next outing — said to be a female-centric incarnation fronted by Margot Robbie. Disney balked.

The news is a stunning rebuke from a company who, in 2015, named Depp one of their legends for his roles in various Disney films. It’s unsurprising, though. Depp’s Sun lawsuit brought to light a number of salacious details about his relationship with Heard, including confirming the actor had “physically and verbally abused” her. Disney is not the kind of company who would be able to hire someone with that history, and so even a cameo appearance wouldn’t be acceptable.

What’s interesting is Disney clearly knew the allegations would be proven true, given they informally cut ties with Depp before the verdict was handed down. It’s unclear what comes next for Depp after all of this. Disney is forging ahead with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise without him, using a controversy-free actor in the lead, so they’ll be just fine. Whether Depp can ever repair his reputation, or deserves to, is another matter entirely, but it’s unlikely he’ll be cast as the lead in a major franchise again.