Shiver me timbers! Is Jack Sparrow possibly returning to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, because, according to a former Walt Disney Studios executive, the possibility is certainly not off the table after Johnny Depp's defamation trial win against Amber Heard.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor won his defamation claims against his ex-wife on Wednesday, June 1, after a bombshell six-week trial that saw both parties accuse the other of domestic violence. Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages. (Heard, who countersued for $100 million, won one of her three claims of defamation.)
While Hollywood and Depp's loyal fans wonder what's next for the 58-year-old and whether his career will bounce back — Depp maintained Heard's claims of abuse ruined his reputation in the industry — a former Disney employee speculated the musician and artist could be asked to return to the Pirates franchise soon.
"I absolutely believe post-verdict that Pirates is primed for rebooting with Johnny as Capt. Jack back on board," the entertainment source told People. "There is just too much potential box-office treasure for a beloved character deeply embedded in the Disney culture."
The exec added: "With [producer] Jerry Bruckheimer riding high on the massive success of Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, there is huge appetite for bringing back bankable Hollywood stars in massively popular franchises."
Aside from the 2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, for which Depp earned an Oscar nomination, Depp went on to star in the sequels that came out in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2017. The Edward Scissorhands actor's agent insisted in his testimony that because of Heard's 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post, his client missed out on a possible $22.5 million paycheck for the sixth Pirates.
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Meanwhile, another Hollywood insider suggested it is "not very likely" Depp will "come back as a star," but Disney will probably make a Pirates 6. OK! reported Margot Robbie may be filling Depp's shoes as the lead in a spin-off of the films. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer let it slip last month that they are working on different versions of the hit film series, revealing: "Yes. We’re talking to Margot Robbie. We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without."
Depp addressed his falling out with Disney during his testimony in his $50 million defamation trial, admitting he felt he became "guilty until proven innocent." According to the A-lister, he wouldn't return to the company even if they offered him a $300 million paycheck, but another Hollywood source told People they doubted his declaration.
"I don't believe that based on his money troubles, especially given Pirates is a billion-dollar global franchise," said the source of Depp, who also has the Alice in Wonderland franchise with Disney.