Hollywood actor Johnny Depp got his start as Glenn Lantz in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). Soon after, his career began to take off and he got a starring role in the 21 Jump Street TV series as Officer Tom Hanson.
The show aired on the FOX network between 1987 and 1990, before Depp became a household name as Tim Burton’s favorite leading man in projects like Edward Scissorhands (1990), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd (2007), and Alice In Wonderland (2010) — and, of course, ahead of Depp’s casting in his most iconic role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Many movie fans are already aware of the fact that Depp reprised his role as Officer Hanson for a brief cameo appearance in the film reboot of 21 Jump Street (2012), starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.
According to a report about Depp’s return to the franchise, though, the Corpse Bride actor had one very specific condition:
In a bonus featurette titled “Johnny Depp on Set” on the Blu-Ray release of “21 Jump Street,” we learn how Depp came to be involved in the movie. It turns out that when the crew approached him about an appearance in the film, he told them that he would only return if DeLuise also returned so that the duo of Hanson and Penhall could be reunited. Thankfully, the filmmakers had been planning to get DeLuise on board and when they confirmed that he was back, Depp agreed to do the part.
Reportedly, Depp’s other request was that the appearance give him and DeLuise’s characters a “definitive end,” which they got. In their cameo scene, Hanson and DeLuise’s Officer Doug Penhall are revealed to be undercover Drug Enforcement Administration operatives doing an investigation.
After an interaction with Hill and Tatum’s characters, both officers from the original series are fatally shot, but they don’t die before reaffirming how much they care for one another. Although Depp won’t be back for any additional 21 Jump Street projects, his character’s end gave closure to fans and was an extremely unexpected Easter egg in the 2012 film.
More on Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard
If you haven’t been following the ongoing Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard case, in November 2020, Hollywood actor Depp lost his libel lawsuit against U.K. News Group Newspaper publication, The Sun, for their report that he had allegedly engaged in domestic violence — including a reported “hostage” situation during a Pirates of the Caribbean shoot in Australia — against the Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom actress on multiple occasions.
British Judge Andrew Nicol presided over the original proceedings, and Depp later lost his right to appeal the original ruling in the United Kingdom. The Jack Sparrow actor, for his part, has denied the domestic violence allegations, with even his ex-partners, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, speaking out in his defense at various points in time.