Depp fans have been lobbying hard for their hero to return to the film franchise which made him a global megastar. It should also be remembered, of course, that he made the franchise a global sensation in return. The star has been in court for the ongoing libel trial case involving his ex-wife Amber Heard. The collapse of their marriage and all the ensuing allegations and revelations have done immeasurable damage to Depp’s career and saw him summarily dropped from the Pirates and Fantastic Beasts franchises. But hopes for a return to the Black Pearl have reignited.
Depp’s involvement in the Pirates films was dealt a terrible blow in 2018 when allegations of abuse against Heard surfaced following their 2017 divorce. The actor has since fought to clear his name while loyal fans have stood behind him demanding Disney reinstates him as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Depp has made his feelings of anger and betrayal over his treatment by Disney very clear in the current ongoing court proceedings, saying: “[Disney] didn’t remove my character from the rides. They didn’t stop selling dolls of Captain Jack Sparrow. They didn’t stop selling anything. They just didn’t want there to be something trailing behind me that they’d find.”
It followed his public comments earlier this month: “I didn’t quite understand how, after that long relationship and quite a successful relationship certainly for Disney, that suddenly I was guilty until proven innocent.”
He had previously said of his iconic character “No, I don’t miss [playing Captain Jack Sparrow], because I have it every day, I always carry it with me, I travel with Captain Jack in my suitcase. I belong to Jack Sparrow and he is loyal to me.”
His equally loyal fans have boosted the latest Change-Org petition for his reinstatement to almost 1million signatures.
It comes amid the latest revelations in court from Depp’s talent manager Jack Whigham that Disney movie boss Sean Bailey and producer Jerry Bruckheimer had verbally agreed around 2016 to pay the star a $22.5 million fee for Pirates of the Caribbean 6. It was clarified in court that this was not a written contract.
It is estimated that Depp has made around $300million from his Pirates franchise frees and share of profits.
He also remains close to Bruckheimer, who wields an enormous amount of power in Hollywood.
In a new interview, the producer was asked about the status of the entire Pirates franchise. A new movie has already been announced, starring Margot Robbie and Bruckheimer confirmed: “We’re developing two Pirates scripts. One with her, one without.”
He was then asked directly about whether Depp would return.
Bruckheimer said: “Not at this point. The future is yet to be decided.” It is a small victory, but significant, when many feared that door was closed forever.
However, the star himself might be harder to persuade. In court recently, the cross-examiner, Ben Rottenborn, asked: “The fact is, Mr Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing on this earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates of the Caribbean film, correct?”
Depp sombrely replied: “That is true.”