Captain Jack Sparrow is arguably one of the most popular movie franchise characters in recent times. From his first appearance in the film based on a theme park ride, the swashbuckling hero has captured the hearts of fans everywhere.
Now, with actor Johnny Depp’s career on the line following allegations of historic domestic abuse against ex-wife Amber Heard, Depp is seemingly out of his beloved Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. But, that hasn’t stopped Disney Parks from using Jack Sparrow all over its vacation destinations.
In brief, Johhny Depp and Amber Heard are currently in court where the jury and Judge Penney Azcarate will deem whether Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Heard for her OpEd published in The Washington Post in 2018 warrants the $50 million charge. Heard countersued her Hollywood star ex-husband with the two contesting their respective allegations of domestic abuse in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The loss of the libel trial in 2020 saw Depp removed from Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts movie franchise as the evil dark wizard, Gellert Grindelwald, ultimately replaced with Hannibal actor, Mads Mikkelsen. When Justice Andrew Nicol refused Depp’s appeal against his ruling in favor of British Tabloid The Sun and executive editor, Dan Wootton, it was clear that The Walt Disney Company would be moving forward with its Pirates of the Caribbean franchise without its anchor actor. News has it that Margot Robbie will be donning the pirate boots in a future film, according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer.
But, despite the entertainment industry exile in the wake of court rulings and abuse allegations, Disney doesn’t seem to be worried about using Depp’s famous pirate captain at their worldwide theme park locations. This is, likely, in part due to the wave of support the actor has received from his fanbase. With #JusticeForJohnnyDepp often trending online and public opinion largely on his side, Disney Parks may feel that the inclusion of the controversial actor won’t garner that much of a backlash.
Depp first appeared as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), before going on to appear in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017). He starred alongside Orlando Bloom (Will Turner), Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann), Geoffrey Rush (Captain Barbossa), and later, Bill Nighy (Davy Jones) in the Pirates franchise.
Here are four ways, Disney Parks, including Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disneyland Paris, and others like Shanghai Disney Resort, are keeping Captain Jack Sparrow alive.
Meet and Greets, and Sightings
The jaunty Captain Jack Sparrow is a popular Disney character for Guests to meet while on their Disney Park vacation. Disney Guests can usually catch the pirate hanging around Adventureland near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride location at most Parks.
This recent video from Disneyland Paris shows Jack Sparrow meeting Guests from a balcony outside the Pirates of the Caribbean merchandise location, Le Coffre du Capitaine (Captain’s Chest) at Paris’ Disneyland Park. While over in the United States’ Disneyland Resort, a heartwarming interaction between Jack and an autistic Guest was captured and shared on social media.
At Shanghai Disney Resort, Disney Guests can grab a photo with the Pirates of the Caribbean icon at the Selfie Spot with Jack Sparrow at the Sparrow’s Nest experience location.
A more notable inclusion of Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow can be noticed in the newly returned World of Color fireworks spectacular at Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, Southern California. When World of Color returned in April 2022, the jury was still out on whether Disney Parks would still include the Pirates of the Caribbean and Depp’s Sparrow section, but much to the delight of Guests, the character appeared within the show as before.
This is interesting considering the break in show operations meant that Disney could have removed Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, as they have seemingly cut all ties with the actor on the entertainment side of things. It stands to reason that The Walt Disney Company is leaving the door slightly open for Depp’s character to return to the franchise.
As with many fan-favorite Disney characters, Disney Parks has an extensive merchandise library. From popcorn buckets to shirts, ornaments to pins, Disney Parks merchandise is sought after and in some cases, incredibly valuable. As for Captain Jack Sparrow, despite the firing of Johnny Depp from his role in the billion-dollar franchise, the pirate can be seen on some new Disney pins found at Disneyland Resort.
Pirates of the Caribbean Ride
Possibly the most popular addition to a theme park ride is the Captain Jack Sparrow animatronic seen at Parks like Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Park and Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort. The animatronic is a picture of Depp’s pirate hero and was added to the beloved attraction after his appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.
So, in spite of the lawsuits and domestic abuse allegations, his removal from the movies and exile from Hollywood, Johnny Depp’s most famous and commercial character is still all over Disney Parks and Resorts.
What’s your favorite Jack Sparrow moment at Disney Parks? Let us know in the comments down below!