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Former Disney Exec Believes Johnny Depp Returns to The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Franchise

As the world may know by now a jury found in favor of Johnny Depp in his defamation case vs Amber Heard. While I personally do not wish to get into the details of that case here, you can find it elsewhere, the big question remains is what does this mean for Depp and Disney’s relationship, specifically the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

While many industry insiders have differing views whether his career will bounce back after the trial, a former Disney executive thinks Johnny Depp could be asked to return to the Pirates franchise soon. “I absolutely believe post-verdict that Pirates is primed for rebooting with Johnny as Capt. Jack back on board,” the former exec tells PEOPLE. “There is just too much potential box-office treasure for a beloved character deeply embedded in the Disney culture.”

The exec who wished to be nameless told the entertainment site, “With [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer riding high on the massive success of Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, there is huge appetite for bringing back bankable Hollywood stars in massively popular franchises.”

As of now, Disney is moving forward with two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, one from Chornobyl creator, Craig Mazin, who was brought on to write the script alongside Ted Elliot, who wrote the previous Pirates films. The other a Margot Robbie-led film from Bumblebee writer, Christina Hodson. Robbie according to sources has yet to finalize her deal to star but is expected to seal that deal very soon.

Another Hollywood insider who has worked on previous Pirates films told PEOPLE that he does not think the Disney Legend comes back to star, but could have a much minor role, with Jack Sparrow possibly passing on the torch to Robbie’s character. “I would think they make Robbie his daughter and likely have a cameo with him as a test.” The insider also went on to say that audiences likely wont see the next Pirates movie until 2025, due to production timelines.

As of now, things are completely up in the air. Disney has yet to officially update or comment on this situation, an insider said in the past that Johnny Depp has a “Frayed” relationship with the studio. Also during the trial, Depp did state he would not come back to the franchise if asked, but the way he was asked the question was pretty silly, so Depp could’ve been playing into it all. Disney likely won’t give an update on this situation and/or franchise until September during their D23 Expo at the earliest. Again, nothing is certain until Disney says so.

Like I said, I will not get into the specifics of the Depp/Heard case here and whether it is right or wrong for Depp to return. Like I’ve stated all along my person feelings are it was Depp’s time to get away from this franchise. Sparrow was a character that was used properly in the first movie, a supporting character that played off the main characters well, but was the driving force to an overall story, and ultimately earned Depp an Academy Award nomination. Sadly, Disney made the pivot to make Sparrow the main character and while I think it worked for Pirates 2 and 3, Sparrow become a slapstick character that tired really quickly, and I think it showed with the quality of Pirates 4 and 5, which I personally enjoyed.

The franchise originated with the Pirates of the Caribbean theme ride attraction, which opened at Disneyland in 1967, the last Disney theme park attraction overseen by Walt Disney. The attraction can be found at four Disney theme parks. Since then, it has become a moneymaker, the five films have grossed over $4.5 billion at the worldwide box office. The franchise has also become a revenue booster in video games, merchandise, and more.

While both film projects remain in development, a fun piece of information I shared on The DisInsider Show during our “Rumor of the Week” segment, is that Disney has put a Pirates of the Caribbean Disney+ on the drawing board and are in very early development stages. At this time, I don’t have any further information on this project as it is still in the early stages.