Disney’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Franchise Hits Troubling Production Milestone

in Disney, Entertainment

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean has hit a major milestone, one that may be troubling to fans of the series.

Pirates of the Caribbean 6
Credit: Gaby Garza

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Over the last few decades, The Walt Disney Company has created countless iconic films, both animated and live-action. This summer, Disney will release highly-requested sequels to some of the company’s most popular franchises, Inside Out and Deadpool

These sequels mark a big turning point for The Walt Disney Company, Marvel Studios, and Pixar and will undoubtedly gross millions at the box office. However, few franchises are as iconic and synonymous with Disney as Pirates of the Caribbean, which has lain dormant for nearly ten years.

Disney’s beloved Pirates series had very humble beginnings, taking inspiration from the classic dark ride of the same name in Disneyland. This legendary attraction is still considered one of the world’s best theme park rides, blending immersive storytelling, catchy music, realistic environments, and dozens of animatronics into one unforgettable experience.

Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean was ripe for its own feature-length film, with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl fundamentally changing the way Disney approached moviemaking upon its release in 2003.

However, this series came to an unofficial end in 2017, and its future is still rather uncertain.

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Davy Jones (Bill Nighy) speaking in Pirates of the Caribbean
Credit: Disney

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This week, seven years ago, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales released in theaters, marking an unexpected end to one of the world’s biggest franchises. The movie grossed $795 million on a budget of $230 million, once again proving that there is a massive audience for these films.

Fans got to see Johnny Depp portray the lovable Captain Jack Sparrow for one more epic adventure, but many had hoped he would return.

Fast forward seven years later, and Disney’s Pirates franchise is more shipwrecked than ever. In 2022, Disney and Johnny Depp effectively cut all ties to one another following the incredibly publicized trial between Depp and his former partner Amber Heard. Heard claimed Depp abused her, with a variety of disappointing and disturbing details regarding both individuals’ behavior emerging during court hearings.

If Disney’s Pirates franchise wasn’t dead in the water before, it certainly was now, at least in its current form. There was always a way Depp could return to portray Captain Jack Sparrow, but with Depp and Disney’s relationship being tarnished, the series seemed gone forever.

However, rumors began swirling about a reboot of this series with an entirely new cast. This proved to be quite controversial, with many fans unable to imagine Disney’s Pirates films without Captain Jack and Johnny Depp.

Other rumors suggested that actress Margot Robbie, who has previously starred in films like The Suicide Squad (2016) and Barbie (2023), would take over and lead a new female-owned approach to the franchise.

Photo of Johnny Depp next to photo of Margot Robbie.
Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

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Development on Margot Robbie’s Pirates film fell through at one point in production, but longtime Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed this film is still in the works. Bruckheimer also confirmed that a total reboot of the series is currently being worked on, indicating that Johnny Depp’s time in the franchise is wrapped up for good.

Aside from these snippets of information, not much is known about Disney’s plans for its Pirates of the Caribbean series. However, given its lucrative and iconic nature, it’s safe to say it will stay alive long enough to tell a few more tales.

Do you enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean?

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