There is no Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp, and there never will be.
“I just don’t see it,” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer, writing off any plans for future instalments without Captain Jack (as well as the ridiculous idea of anyone other than Depp ever playing him).
“The secret to any successful franchise is picking talented people, and Johnny is absolutely key to the success of Pirates. He’s such a unique character, such an endearing character, and such an irreverent character all in one.”
Back in the eyeliner for the fifth time in Salazar’s Revenge – and already rumoured to be planning a possible sixth chapter – the film has the vibe of a possible franchise reboot, introducing two new youngsters in Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario.
But Depp’s rock star take on 18th century piracy hasn’t changed much in 15 years. And that’s sort of the whole point.
“He hasn’t changed at all!” laughs Bruckheimer. “That’s what’s so great about him. He’s still the same guy he was in the first one. He’s still out to get what’s good for him. “Johnny himself hasn’t changed either. We’ve worked together on six movies now and he’s just an amazing individual.”
And don’t expect a Depp-less origin spin-off either (a la Han Solo), as Salazar’s Revenge already gives us a young Jack flashback via some surprisingly convincing CGI.
“It’s always about the character, it’s never about the visual effects,” counters Bruckheimer, talking about the importance of keeping continuity with Depp’s performance.
“Pirates has become a family now. We’ve got talented people in every position – people who have worked on them since the beginning. I think that’s one of the reasons the franchise keeps on working.”
Brushing off details about more sequels (“there’s always another story to tell…”), the other thing we can be sure definitely won’t happen is Pirates setting sail on the small screen.
“You have a kitchen in your house, right? But you still go out to eat,” says Bruckheimer, answering a question about Netflix with a really weird metaphor.”If something drags you out of the house it’s usually good food. We have to make really, really good movies to make people stay away from their televisions. And that’s exactly what we do.”
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)