Is he or isn’t he? Two new films in Disney’s mega-lucrative Pirates of the Caribbean franchise are on the horizon, and Johnny Depp — who has played Captain Jack Sparrow throughout the series — has been rumored to reprise his role. Although a former Disney executive previously believed he could return, Johnny’s rep revealed the truth behind a new report that claimed the actor was returning with a $301 million deal. Here are the new details on the upcoming flicks in the series.

Johnny Depp Has Been Dropped From the New Films … for Now

Even though he helped make the franchise the massive success that it is, Johnny will not be back according to producer Jerry Bruckheimer. “We’re talking to Margot Robbie. We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without,” he told The Sunday Times on May 15, 2022. On the subject of Johnny returning, Jerry replied, “Not at this point. The future is yet to be decided.” Johnny had starred in all six of the Pirates films, with the most recent one being 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Margot’s Pirates Film Is Already in Development

Her female-driven Pirates movie was announced in 2020. The Oscar-nominated actress will serve as executive producer, as well as star in the film. Christina Hodson, who wrote the screenplay for Margot’s Birds of Prey movie, is working on the script for her new Pirates project.

Johnny Had Been Scheduled to Return to the Franchise

The actor battled ex-wife Amber Heard in court in a $50 million defamation lawsuit stemming from her accusations of domestic abuse, of which Johnny has vehemently denied. Amber penned a 2018 op-ed for the Washington Post after their 2016 divorce where she wrote, “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.” Without naming Johnny, she continued, “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

On June 1, the jury awarded Johnny $15 million in damages, whereas Amber was awarded $2 million after the jury found that Johnny’s attorney made one defamatory statement against her.

Johnny’s agent, Jack Whigham, testified in the defamation trial that the actor was on track to star in and receive $22.5 million for the next Pirates installment. But he claimed that Disney allegedly decided to go “in a different direction” after Amber’s op-ed was published.

Johnny Wanted to Continue in the Iconic Role He Originated

During the trial, the actor told the court, “My feeling was that these characters should be able to have their proper goodbye, as it were.” He explained, “A franchise can only last for so long, and there’s a way to end a franchise like that, and I thought that the characters deserved to have their way out, to end the franchise on a very good note. I planned on continuing until it was time to stop.”

A Former Disney Executive Predicted Johnny Depp’s Return

One day after Johnny was awarded $15 million from Amber following the trial, an unidentified former Disney executive told People on June 2 that they predicted Johnny would return to the franchise.

“I absolutely believe post-verdict that Pirates is primed for rebooting with Johnny as Capt. Jack back on board,” the former executive said. “There is just too much potential box-office treasure for a beloved character deeply embedded in the Disney culture.

The insider 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.”

A Report Claimed Disney Offered Johnny a Deal to Return

On June 7, PopTopic published a report that an “industry insider” claimed that Disney was constructing a $301 million deal as a “formal apology and a request” for the Alice in Wonderland star to return as Jack Sparrow.

“Disney [is] very interested in patching up their relationship with Johnny Depp,” the outlet reported. “They reached out to the actor prior to his defamation trial against Amber Heard and asked whether he would be interested in returning for another Pirates film or two.”

The source also alleged that “corporate sent him a gift basket with a very heartfelt letter” and “the studio [had] already penned up a draft for a film about Jack Sparrow — so they are very hopeful that Johnny will forgive them and return as his iconic character.”

Johnny’s Rep Denied the Report

After news of the allegations broke, a rep for Johnny shut down the rumors of the actor’s return.

“This is made up,” the rep told NBC News on June 27.

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