While the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise enjoyed a great deal of popularity at one point, the series has fallen off the radar a bit in recent times. Now there are rumblings that Disney is planning on rebooting the franchise with a new cast of characters, which will not include Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Kevin McNally, who portrayed Captain Jack's loyal first mate, Joshamee Gibbs, described those rumors of Depp's exclusion as "criminal" for throwing away the years of work that Depp has put into making the franchise a success.
"Yes is the simple answer to [whether Depp should be in the new film]. My feelings about this are very complex because in a sense there was a slight feeling that the franchise itself had played out a little bit, so a reboot is a reasonable idea. I don't think a reboot, if you concentrate on younger characters, should still exclude Jack Sparrow."
The stance Kevin McNally takes is understandable, especially considering that if Captain Sparrow does not return to the franchise, that very likely means that Gibbs will also not be needed. The duo have appeared in every installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and have come to represent the spirit of the franchise to longtime fans.
But as confident as McNally is in stating that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 should still include Sparrow and his cohorts, Disney seems to strongly disagree. A recent report by THR stated that the Mouse Empire shot down the idea of a cameo by Depp in the next Pirates movie.
"[Producer Jerry] 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."
If reports are to be believed, the Pirates of the Caribbean reboot will feature a new cast of characters, with a female pirate in the lead instead of Sparrow. Margot Robbie is said to be a frontrunner for the role, although the actress herself has not confirmed anything, commenting on a podcast regarding news of her casting, "Maybe. It's early days. I shan't say no more...for now," adding that "time will tell."
Many longtime fans feel Disney is betraying Depp's role in making the Pirates franchise a hit by casting him aside after the reboot. While Captain Jack Sparrow started out as a supporting character in the first movie in the series, his popularity quickly exploded, and subsequent films saw Sparrow take on a much more prominent role as the de facto face of the franchise.
The truth is, movies about pirates have traditionally not done well in Hollywood, and the Pirates of the Caribbean series was the one, very lucrative exception. It will be interesting to see if Disney will be able to make the series work without the iconic presence of that wily and irreverent pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow.