Disney's planned Pirates of the Caribbean reboot has waded into troubled waters. Deadpool writing duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick had been tapped by the studio to breathe some new life into the multi-billion dollar behemoth franchise after its fifth entry was released in 2017. It's not terribly clear at the present time how far the project got under their watch. Either way, their time with it has come and gone and that may have put the project in danger moving forward.

According to a new report, insiders at Disney have revealed that Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who wrote both Deadpool movies for Fox and have since become one of the hottest writing duos in the business, are no longer working on Pirates of the Caribbean. The idea was to reinvent the franchise and center it on a new character, or cast of characters. Most importantly, this would not have involved Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, who has anchored the series since the very beginning and helped turn it into the cash cow that it became. This was motivated by Depp's ongoing troubles, including his alleged assault against his ex-wife Amber Heard, as well as continuing drama in his personal and professional life.

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Sean Bailey, Disney's film production chief, had been heading up the project and recently spoke positively about Reese and Wernick, expressing excitement for what they could do with this franchise. The two were initially hired in October 2018. It isn't clear why exactly they parted with the project. The report doesn't indicate any friction, but it could likely be chalked up to creative differences, which often result in the parting of ways in situations like this. In any event, it's put the future of the franchise in doubt, as Disney may decide to focus on other projects instead of trying to revive this reliable box office bet.

Those in control at Disney are said to be divided on where to go with Pirates of the Caribbean now. Do they bring on a new writer? Do they just leave it where it lies for a while? Apparently, there have even been some discussions about reviving the franchise for TV, but that would present a ton of unique challenges, most of them probably relating to the budget. So it doesn't sound like those discussions have gone terribly far.

Starting with 2003's The Curse of the Black Pearl, the five movies in the franchise have grossed a combined $4.52 billion worldwide. While many of the later entries failed to connect with critics, they've all done big business at the box office. Things waned a bit with 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales, but $794 million is nothing to scoff at, even by Disney's very high standards. Whatever the case may be for this franchise in the future, for now at least, it's stalled in uncertain waters. Whether it stays dead in those waters only to be unceremoniously buried at sea remains to be seen. This news was first reported by Deadline.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb
Ryan Scott