Disney is quietly scoping out rebooting the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which is turns the ripe old age of 15 this year, according to Deadline. The House of Mouse is talking with Zombieland and Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick about writing the reboot. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer will stay on as well. It’s not surprising that Disney is looking to revamp yet another one of their successful movies. They’re pretty much remaking everything in their classic canon—Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, Mulan, Dumbo, Lilo & Stitch and Lion King—with the mentality of if it ain’t broke, make it in another format.
But they might also be trying to remove the controversial Johnny Depp from the popular franchise. The only way to do that gracefully is a reboot, but could the franchise survive without Depp’s swaggery rapscallion? Johnny Depp was nominated for an Oscar for his work in the first film. His quick wit, love of rum, heavy eyeliner and Keith Richards-inspired mannerisms. It’s one of Depp’s most iconic characters, for better or worse.“This is the day you will always remember as the day that you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!” has got to be one of the most quoted lines of the early 2000s.
Pirates spawned five movies and each one, except for the fifth film, grossed over $300 million. In total, the films grossed more than $4.5 billion as an entire franchise, so of course Disney wants to keep this going. The last film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, only grossed $170 million worldwide. It seems unlikely that a reboot with Depp starring would do well. Moviegoers seem like they need a break from Captain Jack. It’s hard to imagine how Disney would replace him. He is that franchise, so they would need to take the franchise in a new direction and find an actor or actress who could fill Depp’s very big boots. Either way, that sounds like a tall order.