Disney’s Chairman Steps Down = No Johnny Depp In Pirates 4?

Published 6 years ago by , Updated August 14th, 2013 at 3:56 pm,

It was announced recently that Dick Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney studios for 38 years, has stepped down from his position, a move reportedly caused by a rough financial year. Cook released a statement proclaiming his love for every minute of working at Disney, having risen from monorail and steam train operator to chairman.

Even though Cook’s statement suggests he left entirely on his own terms, CEO Bob Iger had recently expressed his disappointment in the studio’s (Cook’s?) box office performance this year, with the likes of Race to Witch Mountain and Bedtime Stories not doing as well as they’d hoped. However, a report from the LA Times yesterday says that Cook and Iger have had some trouble that extends beyond box office results. Igor emphasizes collaboration and seeks, “new ways of doing business,” whereas Cook supposedly is a traditionalist. You can read the full story regarding this sort of thing over at the LA Times.

No matter the reason Cook stepped down (no successor has been appointed by Disney as of yet, FYI), the fact remains he was a well liked and respected man in the business, not least by Pirates of the Caribbean star, Johnny Depp. The actor has said that he’s, “shocked and very sad,” at Cook’s departure, and said, “I didn’t see this coming. There was no reason to see this coming.” Depp called him, “instantly trustworthy,” saying that, “you don’t generally meet people at the studios you trust. He’s a rare beast.”

So Depp thought very highly of Cook and apparently doesn’t agree with him being gone… this leads to the question of Depp’s involvement with Pirates of the Caribbean 4. Depp notes that not only was Cook the reason he worked with Disney in the first place, but Cook was also the only one at the studio who backed his style of portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow (the gold teeth, the “drunken” movement, the stuff in his hair etc.), whilst others were, “less enthusiastic,” to say the least (I bet they changed their tune when the movie, and the character, became a colossal hit). Depp says Cook was, “completely supportive,” of him when other studio execs were, “opposed to my body language.”


pirates of the caribbean jack sparrow Disneys Chairman Steps Down = No Johnny Depp In Pirates 4?


With regards to Pirates 4, Depp says that he has a potential deal in place that, “depends on how good the script is.” However, the star’s passion for the fourth in the franchise has been severally dampened by Cook’s departure – “There’s a fissure, a crack in my enthusiasm at the moment… It was all born in that office.”

So does Depp’s drop in enthusiasm for Pirates 4 mean he won’t sign a deal with Disney? Well, anything’s possible (I think Disney needs Depp a lot more than he needs them), but I seriously doubt that Depp won’t do another. He’s the absolute draw of the franchise, and thus Disney will do EVERYTHING they can to get him on-board. I’m betting if Depp went to them with a record-breaking price tag, the studio would just give him it (I’m not saying he will, but if he did…).

I would just chalk Depp’s drop in passion as an immediate result of Cook’s departure from Disney after almost 40 years, and I think that when the dust settles, he will ultimately sign on for another Pirates of the Caribbean. Without him, the box office potential of another would be in question.

What do you think about Cook stepping down as Disney’s chairman after so long? Do you think (based on Depp’s reaction) that we could see a Pirates 4 without Captain Jack? Or is this just a knee-jerk reaction on Depp’s part, and he’ll ultimately reprise the popular pirate role?

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is supposed to start filming in Spring 2010, and has a general release date of Summer 2011.

Sources: LATimes, Joblo and Variety

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  1. The question to also ask is where Johnny Depp would be without Disney. The first Pirates movie put Johnny back on the map. He wouldn’t be the huge star he is today without Pirates. Let’s face it, before POTC came along, could Johnny have names his price for a movie? Nope. If he pulls a stunt on Disney because of a what appears to be a voluntary move from Cook, he’ll lose alot of respect (IMO). In the end, though, the Pirates franchise is way too big of a cash cow for both Disney and J.D., so you can pretty much guarantee a 4th installment with Depp in it.

  2. He’ll be in with out any question because with out anmore pirates of the caribbean movies, disney will certinely go completely down hill, in the matter of days or maybe weeks!. So they are going to make another pirates movie with depp with out any question he will be in the next one!!!!.

  3. This is actually good news, it means that if Depp does come back to Pirates (and I’ve no problem believing he may not) it’ll likely be because there’s actually a decent script.

    @Andy S

    Plenty of celebrities owe Disney for their start in the biz, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’re obligated to be in everything they ask them to be in. Depp doesn’t have a contract for Pirates 4 at the moment, so if he wanted to walk, if he felt uncomfortable about the film in any way, he’d walk.


    Go downhill in a matter of weeks? Um, no, sorry. This is Disney, they’re the giant of giants in Hollywood they currently own Pixar and Marvel and make most of their money from theme parks. The death of a single Franchise about pirates isn’t going to do a lot to their business except deprive it from a source of income, one they can more than make up for with yet another franchise. Disney aren’t going anywhere.

  4. Disney executives will all have to take pay cuts to afford Johnny to sign on especially after probably causing cook to leave. Im glad, Disney is becoming to much of a monopoly in entertainment, a lot of it not good. Cook probably had alot of stupidity around him just grubbing after even more of the entertainment pie. Greed will cost them now. Johnny can buy each of his kids thier own space shuttles, and Vanessa her own planet.

  5. Hey guess what it s happening with Depp go to youtube type in D23 expo Pirates it is happening I promise

  6. jonny depp for riddler in batman 3!!!! and he should definatly do pirates 4!!

  7. Depp will still do it one way or another…hes gonnna get a lot money and as we all know money can buy you a new friend

  8. From the story it’s easy to see that Johnny likes to have control of his character and will be no surprise that it will be one of his conditions to play the role.

  9. Lets face it. If Johnny doesn’t like the script he wont do it. Its not the money with Johnny. He loves Capt. Jack. His fans love Capt. Jack. Johnny has never done a movie for money. He has always chosen well. He will continue to do so. In my opinion, he is one of the only actors to retain his integrity throughout his career. Some of his best films made the least amount of money. Pirates of the Caribbean may have opened “some” doors, but those who have been following his career have been treated to some stunning performances.

  10. Why personalize the issue? Dick Cook worked with Disney for 38 years. 38 Years! Maybe he’s just ready to retire and enjoy life?

    As for Johnny Depp, it’s a given that he enjoys the role of Captain Jack Sparrow and there’s no possibility that Disney execs would ever consider pulling the plug on Depp or his portrayal of the character.

    So the question at hand, will there be a Pirates 4, all comes down to the script. The weak stories of the second and third installments of the franchise were likely due to the rush in which they were created. Undoubtedly the time taken between the last and this suggested next film will be ample time for the writers to create something at least as entertaining and cohesive as The Curse of the Black Pearl, if not better. I think everybody onboard the project knows we all want more Captain Jack!

    This is just nothing masquerading as something, imho.

  11. @bella

    “Johnny has never done a movie for money”

    Uuhh, sorry to ruin the romance of it, but as much as he has a passion for it, he’s still ultimately in the business for money. It’s how he makes a living. Unless he works the check-out counter at a local Target or something else I don’t know about…

  12. Johnny depp made this film great regardless of Disney – as it says “Cook was also the only one at the studio who backed his style of portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow” – any other actor would just fall in line with disneys ideals.