Johnny Depp has played Jack Sparrow in five Pirates of the Caribbean films.
Johnny Depp has played Jack Sparrow in five Pirates of the Caribbean films.

The real reason why Disney fired Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean, can bring him back

Allegations of domestic violence and ongoing legal troubles reportedly cost Johnny Depp his Oscar-nominated, starring role in the multibillion-dollar grossing Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Hindustan Times | By HT Entertainment Desk
UPDATED ON MAY 14, 2020 12:28 PM IST

Just a few years ago, Johnny Depp was one of the highest-paid actors in the world, but allegations of domestic violence made him box office poison. Petitions calling for his removal from the Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts franchises emerged. Depp, in a lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, claimed that her allegations had hurt his career.

According to a Washington Post report, Disney is said to have dropped Depp from the Pirates franchise just four days after Heard’s incendiary 2018 op-ed in the same publication, in which she claimed, without naming Depp, that she was the victim of domestic violence. Depp’s lawyers claimed that the actor’s removal from the multibillion-dollar grossing franchise was because of her allegations.

“The complaint also blamed Heard for Disney announcing that it had dropped Depp from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise four days after the op-ed was published,” the report said.

Also read: When Tobey Maguire was fired as Spider-Man after faking injury to get more money, nearly replaced by Jake Gyllenhaal

In 2018, Disney production chief Sean Bailey confirmed that Depp was no longer a part of the franchise’s future plans. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”

Previously, the original Pirates film’s screenwriter Stuart Beattie had confirmed that the studio was looking to reboot the series. “I think he’s had a great run,” he told DailyMailTV. “Obviously he’s made that character his own and it’s become the thing that he’s most famous for now. It’s been great for him and it’s been great for us. There’s that saying, ‘Don’t frown because it’s over, smile because it happened.’ The fact that they’re rebooting something that you did means that you did something that was worth rebooting. It’s an honour.”

Another reason for his removal could be the fact that Disney couldn’t afford him anymore. According to Forbes, Depp’s salary, including a healthy profit percentage, reaches close to $100 million per Pirates film - that’s almost Rs 700 crore - but the last entry posted unremarkable box office numbers. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the series’ fifth film, registered a box office haul of almost $800 million, well below the over $1 billion totals of the franchise’s second and fourth films, and the $963 million haul of the third one. Disney is looking to save $90 million by recasting Depp, the report said.

Also read: The real reason why Andrew Garfield was fired as Spider-Man, replaced by Tom Holland

Depp’s last few films - Mortdecai, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Transcendence, The Lone Ranger - have been box office disappointments. His upcoming film, City of Angels, was shelved at the last minute due to disputes.

However, according to a new report, recent developments in Depp’s ongoing legal tussle with Heard suggest that Disney might be having second thoughts about the actor. A WeGotThisCovered report claimed that “following a series of revelations in the court case between the two former spouses, we’re now hearing that the 56 year-old could be set to reprise his Academy Award-nominated signature role in the upcoming sixth movie.” The report said that Disney is looking to hire a female lead for the upcoming film, with Depp appearing in a supporting role.

Depp has played Jack Sparrow in five Pirates films, which have collectively made over $4.5 billion worldwide. The first film earned Depp an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

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