Johnny Depp will not be returning to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Disney chief Sean Bailey confirmed the news in a recent interview about the studio's upcoming movie plans. It had been strongly hinted that Depp would not be back as the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow when it was rumored that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were working on a reboot. Bailey also confirmed that Wernick and Reese are writing the screenplay for a new Pirates of the Caribbean.
Sean Bailey is Disney's film production chief and he is overseeing all of the studio's live action projects. Bailey seems very confident in a Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp and believes that Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick are the right people for the job. He had this to say about the studio's reasoning behind rebooting the franchise.
"We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the (Pirates) movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that's what I've tasked them with."
Pirates of the Caribbean screenwriter Stuart Beattie recently said that it was likely that Johnny Depp wouldn't be returning to play Captain Jack Sparrow, noting that the actor, "had a great run." With Disney moving forward with their live-action movies, it seems like now would be a good time to reboot the Pirates franchise. Dead Men Tell No Tales was released in 2017 and it was the lowest grossing movie out of all of the previous installments, though it still managed to gross over $600 million globally.
As for who could replace Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean reboot, it has been heavily rumored that Disney is going to bring in the female pirate Redd. She took over the controversial wench auction scene during the ride and has been featured at both Disneyland and Disney World walking around the area, leaving many to believe that the studio is preparing her for her big screen debut. Redd is a hit with visitors of the Disney theme parks, but Pirates of the Caribbean fans on social media are a little skeptical about a female lead in the reboot.
Johnny Depp is currently starring in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which has been in the top ten at the box office since it was released over a month ago. To date, the sequel has brought in nearly $600 million globally. Depp's appearance in the movie was seen as controversial by many after he had been accused of domestic violence by ex-wife Amber Heard. The actor has been in the press a lot over the past year and not all of the news has been positive, so it looks like Disney thought that now would be a good time to part ways. You can read the original interview with Sean Bailey over at The Hollywood Reporter.