Will Johnny Depp return to Pirates franchise after winning defamation trial? Here’s what we know

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Will Johnny Depp return to Pirates franchise after winning defamation trial? Here’s what we know
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In late 2019, it was announced that Disney would be moving forward in developing a script for a Pirates of the Caribbean reboot.

At the time, it hadn’t formally been announced whether Johnny Depp would be attached to the new project.

Shortly after, in 2020, Depp became embroiled in a defamation case against The Sun over a 2018 article that called him a “wife beater,” which he ultimately lost.

More recently, he participated in a defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard over a Washington Post op-ed she wrote, allegedly implying he abused her. She counter-sued for $100m, accusing Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

The actor had testified in the Virginia trial that these defamatory statements had hurt his career and that he had been dropped from Pirates 6 days after the op-ed was published.

On Wednesday (1 June), a verdict was delivered for the six-week trial, with a jury ordering Heard to pay Depp 10m (£8m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4m) in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2m (£1.6m) in compensatory damages, but no punitive damages.

With his recent legal victory, questions remain about whether or not Disney will reconsider his exclusion from the forthcoming reboot.

Here’s everything we know so far about Johnny Depp’s future in Pirates 6.

DEPP-HEARD-CARRERAS (AP)
DEPP-HEARD-CARRERAS (AP)

Will Depp return to the Pirates franchise after winning the defamation trial?

While the recent legal battle was ongoing, producer Jerry Bruckheimer told The Times on 15 May that at the moment Disney had no plans of bringing Depp back as Captain Jack Sparrow. He did however add that “the future is yet to be decided”.

Disney executive Tina Newman – in a pre-recorded deposition presented to the court on 19 May – stated that she didn’t “know one way or another” if Depp was still being considered for a role in Pirates 6.

However, in 2021, reports emerged that Disney had already put a stop to the actor’s planned cameo in the next instalment.

Per the report, Bruckheimer had planned to bring Jack Sparrow back in some capacity for the sequel, but that Disney “balked” at the idea.

At this time, Disney has not publicly announced if its stance has changed after the legal verdict.

The Independent has reached out to Bruckheimer’s representatives for comment.

If Depp’s brought back on, what will happen to Margot Robbie’s role in the female-fronted Pirates of the Caribbean?

Whether or not Depp joins the reboot, Margot Robbie’s role in the female-fronted movie will not be affected.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new Disney movie will be a new collaboration between Robbie and writer Christina Hodson, who worked together on DC’s Birds of Prey.

It will be separate from the franchise reboot of the original films.

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