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Pirates of the Caribbean Should Ditch Johnny Depp

Pirates of the Caribbean is going to keep on sailing, but it should do so without Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. The once-loveable, alcoholic rogue may have made the series, but now he's a key weakness.

Recent reports that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 is still in development at Disney should come as little surprise. The franchise is still a huge earner for Disney, having grossed over $4.5 billion over five movies. Its last installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, did not fare well with the critics, or at the U.S. box office, but still pulled an impressive $795 million worldwide.

Related: What Could Pirates Of The Caribbean 6 Look Like?

Now, it's reported that Disney are keen to bring Joachim Ronning back to direct a sixth Pirates movie, which would likely focus on the new, younger cast members; Brenton Thwaites as Henry Turner, and Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth. With Geoffrey Rush, Kiera Knightley, and Orlando Bloom seemingly done with the franchise, it's surely time for Pirates of the Caribbean to move forward without its star, Johnny Depp.

Captain Jack Sparrow Made Pirates of the Caribbean...

News of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was greeted with some skepticism; could a movie based off of a popular theme park ride really work? Yes, as it turns out; Pirates did work, very well, thanks in no small part to Depp's starring turn as the permanently inebriated Captain Jack Sparrow.

Given that the Pirate genre was all but dead and Depp wasn't viewed as a blockbuster masthead, director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer were taking something of a gamble when they made Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Depp was attracted to the quirky script, and it turned out that Captain Jack was the perfect vehicle for his talents; he delivered a great comedy performance, a child-like pirate captain who swaggered (and swayed) with the arrogance of someone who somehow, had become the most revered pirate captain on the high seas.

The supporting cast - in particular, Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa, Captain Jack's arch-rival and nemesis - and Verbinski's combination of swashbuckling pirate adventure and ghost story also helped, but core of the hype was undoubtedly Depp.

...But He's Also Ruined It

It's no secret that as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has progressed, each movie has become worse. There's been more convoluted scripts and the inevitable franchise fatigue, but Depp's returns as Captain Jack Sparrow are the core of it: he's become little more than a pastiche, and a poor one at that. It was fun to see him return for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and even for the third movie, At World's End. But by the time Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides was released in 2011, eight years after the original, audiences and critics alike had had enough. Depp's acting had gotten notably less energized while, in comparison, Rush continued to play his villainous Captain Barbossa with suitable aplomb. Yes, partly Depp's decline in performance can be blamed on poor scripts and direction - On Stranger Tides, in particular, didn't hang together well - but there were still strong performances from other cast members.

Related: Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Jack Sparrow’s Captain Origin Explained

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, should have been the movie that revived the franchise. On paper, it all looked good; Rush was back, so was Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan, respectively, and we were introduced to Will's son and Barbossa's daughter; young actors brought in to continue the franchise. There was also the addition of Javier Bardem as the main villain of the piece, the ghostly Captain Salazar. Bringing the franchise back to its ghost story origins seemed like a wise idea, and all things pointed towards this being a return to form... but then there was Depp.

Not only was his performance lackluster and rambling, his antics off-set led to delays in production and major issues in the quality of the movie. Rumors about his treatment of staff on set, as well as his needing to have lines fed to him via an earpiece, are hard to dismiss when a supposed A-list actor delivers such a weak performance. In no way did Depp add to Dead Men Tell No Tales; his lead role only detracted from what could have been a pretty solid movie.

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Pirates of the Caribbean Should Ditch Johnny Depp