Johnny Depp Fans Demand Disney Bring Him Back for Next 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Movie After Amber Heard Audio Leak

Some fans of Johnny Depp are calling for his return to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with a petition. Given that Disney has plans to reboot action/adventure franchise without Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, those fans have taken to Change.org to petition the studio to reinstate the actor, claiming that "one of the reasons" he was ousted from the franchise were due to "his personal issues as well," likely referring to the long-standing allegations that Depp abused Heard.

The petition, which currently boasts nearly 66,000 signatures, comes in the wake of a recording of Depp's ex, Amber Heard, admitting she hit Depp during an argument. The audio from a 2015 therapy session, which was released last week by The Daily Mail, has Heard apparently apologizing to Depp for hitting him the night before.

Fans who saw Depp's Jack Sparrow as the heart and soul of the Pirates franchise have also weighed in on Twitter.

"Why haven't Warner Brothers and DC fired Amber Heard as Mera the same way Disney fired Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow," asked one user. "Disney better not produce Pirates of the Carribean without Johnny Depp," tweeted another. A third added, "If Johnny Depp ain’t Jack Sparrow it ain’t Pirates of the Caribbean."

The Aquaman actress filed for divorce back in May 2016, having accused Depp of physically assaulting while they were married. The divorce was finalized in 2017, and in December the following year, she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post that explained how she "felt the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out."

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In response to the op-ed, Depp filed a defamation lawsuit, claiming that he was implicated in the op-ed, which had a direct impact on both his career and reputation. The actor also claimed he was the victim of an "elaborate hoax" Heard created to help her career.

It was initially announced that Depp was wouldn't be involved with the seafaring series back in October of 2018 by screenwriter Stuart Beattie. Depp's first outing as Jack Sparrow was in 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which earned him an Oscar nod. He reprised the role four times since then, including Dead Man's Chest (2006), At World's End (2007), On Stranger Tides (2011) and Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).