As if things were not bad enough for Johnny Depp when he was asked to step away from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, rumors have also been circulating for more than a year that the actor is in danger of losing his place in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as well. Part of the rumors claimed that Margot Robbie was being considered for leading a new chapter in the franchise as a female pirate to replace Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 6.
During an interview for the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Margot Robbie finally addressed the rumors, saying, "Maybe. It's early days. I shan't say no more...for now," adding that "time will tell." Which makes it sound like Robbie has certainly had talks to join the franchise, but the negotiations have not reached a stage where the actress could comment on them freely.
The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was kickstarted in 2003 by super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer, with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The film told a story of haunted pirate treasure, and the love story between dashing peasant Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom, and spunky noblewoman Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightley. In order to rescue Elizabeth and retrieve the haunted treasure, Will is forced to take the help of legendary pirate and notorious drunk Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Depp.
From the moment Depp swaggered into the movie in full pirate gear as Captain Sparrow, it became clear that the audience was watching one of the most iconic characters Hollywood would ever create. From being a supporting role, Depp's Sparrow was elevated to the star of the franchise, appearing in movie after movie, unfortunately, with diminishing box office returns.
Things got so bad that a section of the series' fandom started complaining that the Pirates franchise had been reduced to being about Jack Sparrow's wacky antics, rather than the old-fashioned high-seas adventure premise that the series had started out with.
The domestic abuse case filed against Depp by his ex-partner Amber Heard did not help his standing with the studio. So much so that, back in May, Bruckheimer almost came out and said that the sixth Pirates movie might not have a place for Depp as Sparrow.
"We're working on a draft right now and hopefully we'll get it shortly and give it to Disney and hopefully they'll like it. We don't know. We've been working on it for a little bit... The one we're developing right now, we're not sure quite what Johnny's role is going to be. So, we're going to have to see."
Of course, nostalgia is a strong thing, and for a number of Pirates of the Caribbean fans, watching a film in the series without Jack Sparrow would be unthinkable. Only time will tell whether the franchise will be charting the high seas in its next adventure without the swaggering presence of Captain Jack Sparrow, but perhaps with Robbie's new pirate character at the wheel. This news originated at the Happy Sad Confused podcast.