Sean Bailey, the president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, recently spoke with the New York Times to talk about Disney’s live-action projects and one of those projects was Pirates of the Caribbean.
Bailey says restarting the Pirates franchise is a priority at Disney. “We think we have a really good, exciting story that honors the films that have come before but also has something new to say”
For those unaware, Disney is actually developing multiple Pirates projects and we highlight each project and share everything we know so far. So let’s set sail and get into the nitty-gritty.
Pirates Project #1
Back in 2018, it was reported that Deadpool and Zombieland 2: Double Tap writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, were brought on to write Pirates 6, but would drop out months later and were replaced by Chernobyl and The Last of Us creator Craig Mazin and Pirates alum Ted Elliot. While there have been no story details or massive updates on this project, it is still the main Pirates project Disney is actively working on. That said, in 2019, we exclusively reported that Guardians of the Galaxy star Karen Gillan was someone Disney was looking at to star. This project will exist in the previous Pirates of the Caribbean movies continuity, so a return from stars Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightley, Brenton Thwaites, and Kaya Scodelario is definitely on the table.
Pirates Project #2
In 2020, a report surfaced that Harley Quinn herself Margot Robbie would star in a female-led reboot from Bumblebee writer Christina Hodson. This project is not intended to be a spinoff, but a new story, with new characters set in the Pirates universe. Despite rumors last year that this project was axed, franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer dispelled that, saying “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, so that’s what we’re working on, to try to get that one made.” The story Bruckheimer is referring to would be the first project we talked about. We had heard when this project was in active development Disney was looking at some pretty big-name actors to star alongside Robbie, names we heard included Jason Momoa, Richard Madden, and Sebastian Stan.
Pirates Project #3
A fun piece of information we 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.
The Elephant in the Room
It’s what everyone wants to know, is Johnny Depp returning to the franchise as Captain Jack Sparrow? A role that garned him an Oscar nomination for his work in Curse of the Black Pearl. Despite rumors last year that the actor had actually closed a deal to appear in a sixth movie and that he was also planning to help co-write the film, after his very public defamation trial against Amber Heard last year, the actor made it very clear that he would never forgive Disney for the way they publicly distanced themselves from him. Some insiders believe he will return. Bruckheimer told Deadline earlier this year that he would still reach out to Depp because Johnny was both his friend and “an amazing artist.” Acknowledging that enough time has passed between him, Disney, and Depp, he explained his reasoning by saying, “You go through things in life that you wish you hadn’t done right.” Bailey was asked about Depp once again and said “Noncommittal at this point,” which is an inkling that a return is very possible.
Now, here is what we at The DisInsider know, we have talked with some people in the industry and we have heard the goal is to bring Depp back in a passing of the torch role, whether that would be in a starring, supporting, or cameo role is currently unknown.
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.