Johnny Depp fans were shocked and elated earlier this month when it was claimed that the actor had signed a $301million deal to reprise his leading Pirates of the Caribbean role. Rumours that the actor would be returning as Captain Jack Sparrow came after he won his defamation case against ex-wife, Amber Heard – during which he had said “nothing on this earth” would entice him to return to the blockbuster movie franchise.
ICYMI (how??), Heard and Depp were embroiled in a highly publicised trial in recent weeks after he sued her over a 2018 Washington Post article, in which Depp said she implied he was physically abusive. The case ignited debate after debate on social media, with fans of both actors loudly vocalising their cases. At the end of the trial, the jury ruled in Depp’s favour, deciding that his reputation and career had been damaged as a result of her article.
“Disney are very interested in patching up their relationship with Johnny Depp,” a source alleged to PopTopic on 7 June. “They reached out to the actor prior to his defamation trial against Amber Heard and asked whether he would be interested in returning for another Pirates film or two.”
The source also claimed that the studio had already sent Depp a draft of the proposed film. But just days on, a spokesperson for Depp has denied the rumours, telling Metro that the claims are untrue – which should come as no surprise, given that the 59-year-old actor told the court during his case against Heard that “nothing on this earth [not even] $300million and a million alpacas” could persuade him back to Pirates of the Caribbean.
Depp appeared in five movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as Captain Jack Sparrow, reportedly making $300million (£230m) between 2003 and 2017. But following Heard’s Washington Post article, in 2018 Disney production chief Sean Bailey announced that Depp was no longer a part of the franchise’s future.
“We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason [writers] Paul (Wernick) and Rhett (Reese) are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I think he’s had a great run,” one of the franchise’s writers later went on to tell DailyMailTV (per NME). “Obviously, he’s made that character his own and it’s become the character he’s most famous for now. 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.”