Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp testified under oath that he was not interested in returning to the franchise, but that has not stopped unfounded rumors from sprouting. Last week, The Sun published another report claiming Depp was returning to Pirates, even going as far as citing a source who said Depp was going to film a test shoot early next year. Depp said under oath during his Virginia defamation trial that he would not work with Disney again, no matter what they offered.
An insider told The Sun that Depp was set to start "secretly" filming as Jack Sparrow in February at a secret location in the U.K. "Everything is in the early stages and there is still no director attached to the project, which is being called A Day At The Sea," the source claimed in the Nov. 23 report. The source claimed that a call sheet was already sent to "those in the know" and that Bruce Hendricks, an executive producer on the first three Pirates movies, was involved. The report makes no mention of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who has overseen the franchise and said in May there were no plans to bring Depp back.
Hours after The Sun's report was published, a Depp insider told the New York Post that the story is not true. Depp's team also debunked a similar rumor in June. "This is made up," a rep for the actor told NBC News at the time.
Depp has not played Jack Sparrow since 2017 when Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opened. The franchise helped make Depp an international superstar, with 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl even earning him an Oscar nomination. Since Dead Men Tell No Tales was met with a negative critical response, Disney put a pause on all future Pirates movies. Even one Pirates project that would have starred Margot Robbie was rejected.
Depp's legal dramas with ex-wife Amber Heard also made it difficult for Disney to continue working with him. In 2020, he lost his defamation lawsuit against the U.K. publishers of The Sun, which had referred to him as a "wife beater." Depp also lost his appeal. However, a Virginia jury mostly agreed with Depp in his claims that Heard defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages because the jury agreed with Heard's counter-suit claim that Depp's former lawyer defamed Heard in a statement to The Daily Mail.
During the Virginia trial earlier this year, Heard's legal team asked Depp if he would ever work with Disney again. "If Disney came to you with $300 million dollars and a million alpacas, nothing on this Earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates Of The Caribbean film?" Heard's lawyers asked. "That is true," Depp said.
Since the trial, Depp has pursued his interests outside of acting. He has toured with guitarist Jeff Beck and appeared in Rihanna's Savage X Fenty show. Depp also briefly dated lawyer Joelle Rich, who represented him in the Virginia trial.