Disney is reportedly in the early stages of working on Pirates of the Caribbean 6. This comes after the release of last year's latest entry in the franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. While the movie was not as commercially successful as its predecessor, 2011's On Stranger Tides, it was still a big hit worldwide and Disney isn't one to shut something down when there is money to be made. However, this does raise questions about Johnny Depp and his potential involvement, in light of recent events.

Before digging into that, here's what is being reported. Writers Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, and Jeff Nathanson, who were all credited on Dead Men Tell No Tales, are said to be working on the script for a potential sixth movie in the Disney franchise. It's also expected that Joachim Ronning, who co-directed the last movie and is currently shooting Maleficent 2, will return to the director's chair when the time comes. Production designer Nigel Phelps is also expected to be back. Beyond that, details are pretty scarce and it sounds like this is in the early stages of coming together.

Johnny Depp has anchored all five movies in the franchise as Captain Jack Sparrow ever since 2003's Curse of the Black Pearl became something of an unexpected hit at the box office. The movie ultimately earned Depp an Oscar nomination for his work. However, he's had his share of troubles in the years since. Namely, allegations of abuse from his now ex-wife Amber Heard, as well as more recent news of the star trying to start a fist fight with a crew member on one of his latest movies.

Related: Pirates of the Caribbean 5 to Be a Stand Alone Adventure Says Jerry Bruckheimer

James Gunn was fired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 by Disney over a series of old, offensive tweets that recently resurfaced online. The decision has proved to be unpopular, but the studio, at least for now, appears to be sticking to their guns on the matter. With that in mind, if they fire a man like Gunn, who by all accounts has behaved perfectly well in recent years, and keep a man like Johnny Depp as the face of a multi-billion dollar franchise, it could come off as very hypocritical. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer was asked last year about the possibility of moving on from Depp and Captain Jack, should another Pirates happen and he didn't seem keen on the idea.

"I just don't see it. The secret to any successful franchise is picking talented people, and Johnny is absolutely key to the success of Pirates. He's such a unique character, such an endearing character, and such an irreverent character all in one."

There are plenty of other characters Pirates of the Caribbean 6 could follow and ways to get around Johnny Depp. But to date, the movies have made $4.5 billion worldwide and one has to imagine a large chunk of those people are turning up to see Captain Jack Sparrow do his thing. For now, Joachim Ronning is tied up until Maleficent 2 arrives in theaters in May 2020, meaning Pirates of the Caribbean 6 is probably at least two years away from filming. That provides a lot of time to sort this out. This news comes to us courtesy of Geeks Worldwide.