Petitions are popping up everywhere at the moment, with a new one now emerging to have Johnny Depp return for Pirates of the Caribbean 6. Starting with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in 2003, the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park ride-turned swashbuckling adventure series has grossed over $4.5 billion worldwide over five movies. However, despite its own hefty $795 million global haul, 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales marked a new low point for the franchise, both at the US box office and in terms of critical reception. While the latest installment certainly paved the way for further adventures, focused on the descendants of previous leads, Disney also considered rebooting the entire franchise.
Depp's private life has proven as troubled as the sea-faring saga. In addition to the domestic abuse allegations from his ex-wife Amber Heard, and the subsequent countersuits, the number of reports about Depp's erratic behavior on film sets has been growing in recent years. The actor was even slapped with a lawsuit for allegedly assaulting the location manager on City of Lies. As a result, it was announced that, whatever form Pirates of the Caribbean 6 ultimately took, Depp would not be involved.
According to CinemaBlend, a number of petitions calling for Depp's reinstatement have been launched. Such endeavors have become increasingly popular, across multiple fandoms. As well as people demanding the release of Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League, there have also been calls for both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and season 8 of Game of Thrones to be remade. As of now, two such Pirates of the Caribbean petitions have amassed a combined total of nearly 20,000 signatures, with the creators unable to see anybody else leading the franchise.
Depp is set to reprise his role as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts 3. His involvement was deemed controversial from the start, with many calling for a boycott. With Warner Bros. reportedly worried about Depp's impact, both author J.K. Rowling and director David Yates went on to defend Depp's casting. He was also scheduled to be a part of the ill-fated Dark Universe, playing The Invisible Man. With that franchise floundering, Blumhouse has since taken over production on the adaptation, with which Depp will not be involved.
There is no denying that Depp is capable of being a truly brilliant actor. Equally, his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow could easily be seen as the primary reason the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie was as enjoyable as it was. After five installments, however, there is definitely signs of franchise fatigue, with even Depp's abilities unable to prevent the diminishing returns. With the Deadpool writers no longer attached, it remains unclear whether the film will even be going ahead. After all, Disney is far from short on films and franchises to bring to the big screen in its place.
Either way, it's unlikely that a petition will do much regarding whether or not Depp reprises his role. While vocal outcry can sometimes work in getting a canceled show a final send-off or a new lease of life elsewhere, movie studios are less likely to be swayed by anything other than box office returns. In that regard, it would be cheaper to continue without Depp. As such, remaining fans might just have to enjoy Depp's turn in upcoming projects like Waiting for The Barbarians, while simply waiting to see what the future holds - if anything - for Pirates of the Caribbean 6.
- Fantastic Beasts 3 (2021) release date: Nov 12, 2021