Pirates of the Caribbean Should Cut Jack Sparrow...
The Johnny Depp problem has become the elephant in the room that nobody at Disney, or indeed any other major studio, seems willing to deal with. Even if his films continue to make money - and it’s doubtful the inevitable financial success of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be something he can chalk up as a personal victory - the PR issue is too big to ignore. Depp has also become increasingly costly to work with, as was evident in the many problems of lateness encountered during the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie. He is also currently being sued for allegedly punching a crew member on the film City of Lights (which was shelved indefinitely by the production company). The Pirates of the Caribbean films are already incredibly expensive to make, from Depp’s eye-watering salary to the growing scale of the films themselves - and it’s not paying off anymore. From a purely business point-of-view, it’s time for Depp to leave.
But from the creative side of the conversation, the franchise could also hugely benefit from the retirement of Captain Jack Sparrow. The character has grown stale - as has Depp’s performance - and continuing to focus the entire franchise on him has limited the storytelling opportunities. After all, the films are called the Pirates of the Caribbean, not The Jack Sparrow Story. The ocean is pretty big and there are plenty of other crews to follow in their adventures. Indeed, the theme park attraction itself offers the perfect alternative.
...And Replace Him With Redd
In 2017, The Walt Disney Company made the divisive choice to remove one of the most iconic and controversial elements of the Pirates of the Caribbean from the decades-old attraction. The auction scene - which had the illustrious honor of making the Pirates ride the only Disney attraction with a sex slave auction in it - was taken out in an attempt to modernize the experience for visitors. While that decision has seen mixed responses from fans, the introduction of the redheaded woman from the ride into the parks as a walkabout character has been far more popular.
Eagle-eyed fans of the first Pirates movie may recognize the character, there named Scarlett, from a brief appearance that was merely intended to be a fun Easter egg for lovers of the ride. But now, Redd as she is known, is popular with park visitors and has proven to be a fun character who would be well-suited to her own film. The action doesn’t necessarily have to be centered on her - the first Pirates movie wasn’t focused on Jack Sparrow either - but Disney would be naïve at best to think a vibrant action-adventure movie with a female protagonist wouldn’t do wonders for business, especially in our current blockbuster climate.