Following the declining success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and waning popularity of star Johnny Depp, rumors began hinting at the idea of Disney rebooting entire series with a new face and new direction. Until today, these were nothing more than unconfirmed reports.
However, those rumors became reality this week thanks to Disney’s film production chief, Sean Bailey. Overseeing all of Disney’s live action projects going forward, Bailey is indeed involved with the future of the Pirates franchise. During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the executive confirmed that Deadpool scribes Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick were indeed working on a new Pirates of the Caribbean film, and spoke confidently in the movie’s ability to succeed without Depp in the lead role.
“We want to bring in a new energy and vitality,” Bailey said. “I love the [Pirates] 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.”
While Bailey didn’t offer any details about the new direction for the Pirates movies, the early reports and rumors suggest that it could center around a female lead character. Signs have pointed to Redd, the newly-added pirate in the Disney Parks rides, as Jack Sparrow’s successor.
Back in October, previous series screenwriter Stuart Beattie was asked about the current state of Depp and the Pirates films, and he reiterated the notion that the actor likely wouldn’t be returning.
“I think he’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,” Beattie told the Daily Mail. “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.”
Even if Depp does leave, Beattie said that Jack Sparrow would forever be part of his legacy, as he really helped the franchise take off with Curse of the Black Pearl.
“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,” Beattie said.