Johnny Depp is no longer in the cast of Pirates of the Caribbean after 14 years of being in the franchise, because the producers want some ‘new energy’.
Disney said in a statement that the news was in fact true and that they wanted some ‘new energy’ in the franchise. Fans started speculating that this would happen when in October writer Stuart Beattie revealed that the series was being completely reinvented.
Beattie said, “I think Johnny’s had a great run. Obviously, he’s made that character his own and it’s become the character he’s most famous for now. And kids all over the world love him as that character so I think it’s been great for him, it’s been great for us, so I’m just very, very happy about it.”
He added, “I think Jack Sparrow will be his legacy. It’s the only character he’s played five times, it’s the character he dresses up in to visit children in hospitals, it’s what he’ll be remembered for.”
“Before Jack Sparrow came along, [Depp] was considered this kind of quirky, independent actor that made these really cool little Tim Burton films but he was by no means a movie star and a lot of people thought we were crazy for casting him at the time,” he said.
“Because he wasn’t a proven commodity; you know, a big movie star. And we were making a big movie and we were putting this quirky, independent actor in the middle of it and people thought we were crazy. The fact that it worked is a miracle.”
“They were certainly nervous watching the rushes everyday but when it all came together, something just clicked and it was magic and connected with audiences. I’m proud to be a part of it,” Beattie concluded.
Depp’s last film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales, had mixed reviews and was the lowest performing movie of the group.
Fans of the movies and of Jack Sparrow did not respond well to the news.
The search for new energy also extends to the script. The Disney producers have met with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to write a script for the new movie.
Sean Bailey, who works as the production chief at Disney, told The Hollywood Reporter, “I love the movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with.”
Depp has also recently become a controversial figure after legal battles with his ex-wife Amber Heard, who accused him of domestic violence after a bitter divorce battle. He also had a legal battle with his former management, which he managed to get settled in July. A legal battle with a location manager who accused Depp of violence on set of the film City of Lies is still ongoing.
Depp has not yet publicly spoken out about the issue.