Johnny Depp will no longer be the leading man in The Walt Disney Company’s billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and Dwayne Johnson’s version may already be spoiled.
Related: Disney Cannot Let Jack Sparrow Go as ‘Pirates’ Icon Quietly Returns to the Screen
Actor Johnny Depp was fired from his beloved role as Captain Jack Sparrow years ago. Following allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-wife Amber Heard, the popular actor was exiled from Hollywood, losing his roles as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean and dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts franchise, the Harry Potter spinoff from JK Rowling.
Last year saw the culmination of years of trials in Fairfax County, Virginia. After Depp’s loss at the London High Court, where Justice Andrew Nicol found the domestic abuse claims “substantially true” in Depp’s libel case against British tabloid The Sun and executive editor Dan Wootton, the defamation lawsuit brought against his former wife ended largely in the actor’s favor.
The jury found that Heard had defamed Depp in her Op-Ed for The Washington Post in 2018. The case lasted six weeks, and the highly-publicized trial saw new claims come to light regarding both Depp’s role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and Heard’s position as Mera in Warner Bros. Aquaman (2018) and its upcoming sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023). The jury found that Depp had also defamed his former wife, but the damages awarded in the defamation case were significantly less.
What remains, despite claims of a $301 million deal to return, is that Johnny Depp is still out of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, as is Margot Robbie. The Academy Award-nominated actress was long tapped to lead a female-led Pirates spinoff, but that is seemingly dead in the water.
So with that, multiple rumors point to a new lead for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, with Hollywood megastar Dwayne Johnson leading the charge.
Johnson has been a household name since his career beginnings as The Rock in WWE. Then, after appearances in The Mummy Returns (2001) and The Scorpion King (2002) in the early naughts, Johnson’s big blockbuster break came in the form of Fast Five (2011), the fifth installment in The Fast and the Furious franchise. Johnson’s appearance as Luke Hobbs ignited his acting career, and the wrestler-turned-actor went on to star in some big Hollywood movies like San Andreas (2015), Moana (2016), The Fate of the Furious (2017), Baywatch (2017), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), Jungle Cruise (2021) with Emily Blunt, and Red Notice (2021).
Last year, Johnson appeared as Black Adam in the DC Extended Universe’s Black Adam (2022). Tapped to be the saving gcrace of the troubled Warner Bros. franchise, Black Adam failed to land with audiences at the box office (even with that Henry Cavill reveal), leaving the character’s future up in the air moving forward.
Dwayne Johnson’s Pirates of the Caribbean
Recently, the Luke Hobbs actor has been rumored to be taking over from Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. While there is not much to go off here, judging by Johnson’s contractual requests, this Pirates spinoff may already be spoiled.
Like how movie star Tom Cruise has a clause that rejects his likeness being used in any other form (Marvel found that out the hard way), Johnson reportedly has a clause that means he will always look favorable in any fight scenes. Fandom Wire says that “one common aspect of [Johnson’s] movie contracts is his inability to lose fights, and he should always stand tall at the end”. The Wall Street Journal reports on Johnson’s request; the clause reads (via Fandom Wire):
“According to producers and crew members on the films, Mr. Statham, 51 years old, negotiated an agreement with the studio that limits how badly he can be beaten up on the screen. Mr. Johnson, 47, enlists producers, editors, and fight coordinators to help make sure he always gives as good as he gets.”
Related: DC Stars Reportedly Cut From ‘Aquaman 2’ Amid Poor Quality Disaster
Therefore, even if a Pirates of the Caribbean reboot commences with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson leading producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s franchise, then it means that any encounters he has with antagonists will always be left with Johnson looking, in part, like the victor. Could this spoil the stakes of a potential new film? Maybe. Will fans be bothered by this fact? Likely not.
Johnson has proved he has the Hollywood star power, especially in the action-adventure arena (superhero movies not so much), so if he were to step into the pirate boots that Johnny Depp was forced to retire, then fans will likely meet him at the movie theater no questions asked.
Do you think Dwayne Johnson will become the new Pirates of the Caribbean lead? Let us know in the comments down below!