Johnny Depp is leaving the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, screenwriter Stuart Beattie said in a new interview Friday, as Disney is planning to reboot it.
"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."
Depp has starred in five Pirates movies as Jack Sparrow, and earned an Oscar nomination for his role in the first film, 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. He reprised the role in Dead Man's Chest (2006), At World's End (2007), On Stranger Tides (2011) and Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).
Although the franchise has grossed $4 billion worldwide, its future was put in jeopardy after Dead Men Tell No Tales was a disappointment at the domestic box office. It only grossed $172.5 million on a $230 million budget. However, it still grossed $622.3 million internationally thanks to Depp's star power.
"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 of Depp. "Before Jack Sparrow came along, [Depp] was considered this kind of quirky, independent actor that made these really cool little Tim Burton films, but he was by no means a movie star and a lot of people thought we were crazy for casting him at the time."
The Pirates franchise turned Depp into an international star, but he has become a controversial figure since his divorce from Amber Heard, who accused him of abuse. J.K. Rowling had to defend casting Depp in her Fantastic Beasts films, and some called for her to recast him for the second movie.
Beattie's comments followed Deadline's Tuesday report that Disney is considering hiring Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to write a Pirates reboot.
"Hopefully they'll bring a lot of the great comedic subversiveness," Beattie told the Daily Mail. "I was laughing out of my seat in the opening credits of Deadpool so I am a big fan of those guys and I hope they do something really special."
Beattie said he was not asked to come back, and said he would not be upset if Disney did not approach him.
Depp's next film is Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which hits theaters on Nov. 16.
Photo credit: Disney