Credit: Disney Studios

Will the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise survive without Johnny Depp?

Since its conception, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has been immensely successful and a lot of that has to do with the performances of its lead actor Johnny Depp. Recently however there have been speculations on whether the star would still be part of the franchise come the sixth movie installment or reboot.

Reasons for the claim of the actors removal from the franchise vary from his legal battle with his ex-wife, the directors feeling that the franchise needs to move on and claims that from the get go Disney and Mr Depp didn’t always get along.

Those familiar to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will be aware that Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow has been the all encompassing character of the films, his witty banter, drunken foolishness and charm taking the world by storm, all without a single drop of rum.Β 

The question is, can Pirates of the Caribbean survive without Johnny Depp?

Here’s why it can

1. It has to
At some point the directors must have realised that while the Jack Sparrow character depicted by Depp was the most enthralling character of the franchise and had stolen the hearts of many of the fans all over the world, a time would come were they would have to bid him adieu and find inspiration in other aspects of the films and it’s lore. The problem would then lie on whether it would be as good as the former films, and what would the identity of the films become and how will fans react to it.

2. The supporting or new cast can be just as good
While Johnny Depp was the star of the show I think it fair to say that the rest of the cast deserve standing ovations as well. Without the performances of Orlando Bloom (Will Turner) and Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann) the films would have lacked a more serious and deeper context and the performances of Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa contrasts Jack Sparrow as the ruthless, power grabbing pirate who steals the show. These examples show that the franchise isn’t the one man in the middle with a sword in his hand and rum in the other, it had a brilliant cast whom altogether did wonderful things on every film, that hopefully can be replicated without Rush and a number of the cast.

3. The Pirates of the Caribbean lore still has lots to give
From cursed treasure, to fountains of youth and undead ships the franchise has given lots of tales and fantasies derived from numerous mythologies and legends. What’s to stop it from giving more now. It literally has the whole world as it’s oyster and everyone loves a good story, whether before, after or totally parallel to the Jack Sparrow timeline the franchise can still cook up story-lines that would make for a good watch.

Now reasons why it may not make it without Johnny Depp

1. What would have happened without Johnny in the first place?
During an interview with GQ, Johnny Depp said that earlier on the directors did not agree with his depiction of Jack Sparrow, his words were “Disney hated me” and he was always this close to being fired. However, Johnny Depp’s depiction of Jack Sparrow became a blistering success, he won an Oscar along with other numerous awards and the rest is history.

The problem is that if the Disney bosses had gotten their way Jack Sparrow would have been quite different from who we know now so would the films as a whole, and with the reboot in their hands how will the new films pan out? Will the comic air still be the same? What will change and will it be for the better?

Truth is, we’re not sure.

2. Johnny won’t be there, and neither will a lot of the cast
[Spoiler Alert]
From what we understand about the prospective Pirates of the Caribbean reboot is that it will have a new lead, Margot Robbie (performed as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad and Birds of Prey) and will exist in a different timeline from the former films, this therefore means we may not see the likes of Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Mr Gibbs and Captain Barbossa who in one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the franchise, gave his life to save his daughter.

Earlier I talked about how good the cast was and if this brilliant one seems to be stripped for parts, what will the next one look like, and without Johnny Depp at the helm to steer the franchise in these new waters, will the ship crash to Davy Jones’ locker or fight to run away?

3. What to do without Jack
The fact of the matter is Johnny Depp’s depiction of Jack Sparrow had quite a lot of say in the success of the last five films, reeling in a great bounty’s worth of awards and nominations. The ingeniously comic character, the scorn of women and his enemies, the drunk that performed foolish brilliance, and the man that cheated death at every corner and when he lost still cheated it again. Jack Sparrow to a great extent set the tone of what has now became a behemoth of a franchise, he carries each and every story-line and does so brilliantly. To remove him to a great extent would be to remove the identity of the franchise.

It therefore begs questions like, if removed can his influence be replicated by someone else in the next films?

Johnny Depp made the Sparrow character his own and the films seemed to follow his lead, so with him out of the picture what happens, do they start from scratch? Do they try to do it without him? Will it work?

The final verdict is if the franchise is moving away from Johnny and Jack Sparrow it will be a tough ordeal considering the large shadow he’s left. A lot of things have to go right, from the casting, to the story-line and all else that makes a film.

Will the franchise survive without Johnny Depp, the answer is yes.

Will the franchise prosper without Johnny Depp, let’s wait and see.


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