Throughout five swashbuckling adventures, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise proved that you can adapt a theme park attraction to the big screen and it doesn’t have to be all that bad.
Setting sail with 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, director Jerry Bruckheimer and producer Gore Verbinski introduced us to a crew of faces that went on to become fan-favourites.
However, at the centre of the action was Johnny Depp as the swaggering, slurring, rum-swigging Captain Jack Sparrow, a loveable rogue who captured the audience's imagination and became one of the actor’s most popular cinematic creations.
Together, these players took us through four more adventures, starting with two parter Dead Man’s Chest in 2006 and At World’s End a year later, and continuing with 2011’s On Stranger Tides and Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.
While some of the glitter may have faded from the series' treasure-chest gold by the franchise’s last instalment, it remains a firm favourite among fans all over the globe.
It makes sense then that a continuation has been long-rumoured by Disney — but will there ever be a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Let’s take a look…
Is a new Pirates of the Caribbean film in the works?
Talk of a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie has been swirling for years, with original plans set to include a second part to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales after its release in 2017.
Ultimately, that follow-up never materialised but in 2019, it was revealed that original Curse of the Black Pearl writer Ted Elliott was working with The Last of Us writer Craig Mazin on a new script for a sixth movie. The Chernobyl creator had picked up the baton from Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who had been hired to work on a reboot a year earlier.
This news died down slightly in the wake of Depp’s defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, with other spin-off or continuation ideas popping up in the interviewing months. One long-running plan was for Barbie star Margot Robbie to lead a female-led iteration of the movie but that idea was later squashed.
“We had an idea and we were developing it for a while, ages ago, to have more of a female-led – not totally female-led – but just a different kind of story, which we thought would’ve been really cool,” Robbie told Vanity Fair. “But I guess they don’t want to do it,” she said, pointing towards a decision made by Disney.
Despite this setback, it looks like the studio could be circling back to Elliott and Mazin with a new idea that promises to take the movie and its characters into wild new territory.
Speaking to the LA Times, Mazin explained his collaboration with Elliott by saying: “We pitched [a sixth film] and thought there’s no way they’re buying it, it’s too weird. And they did! And then he wrote a fantastic script and the strike happened and everyone’s waiting around.”
At the time of writing, it’s unclear whether this new script would be a complete reboot or a continuation of the already established story, complete with returning familiar faces.
With the WGA/SAG AFTRA strike still ongoing, it’s currently anyone's guess as to when we’ll get to hear more about this exciting new development — but at least we know that a script for Pirates of the Caribbean 6 does exist and it could one day be make it in front of movie cameras.
Will Johnny Depp play Captain Jack Sparrow again?
When Depp’s defamation trial against Heard dominated headlines throughout 2022, the franchise’s future looked uncertain, to say the least.
Amid the chaos, Depp even expressed a disinterest in returning to the character due to the way Disney had treated him throughout the trial. After publicly dropping him from the franchise before a verdict had been confirmed, the star suggested that not even a $300 million payday could convince him to reboard the Black Pearl and play Captain Jack again.
Since then, various reports have suggested that the Edward Scissorhands actor may have changed his mind. While speaking to The New York Times, Disney Studios Motion Picture President Sean Bailey said “We think we have a really good, exciting story that honours the films that have come before but also has something new to say,” while discussing a potential sixth film.
When asked whether the studio’s plans included Depp, he added that Disney was “noncommittal” on the actor’s involvement, something some outlets interpreted as the door being open for a potential reconciliation.
Further fuel was thrown on the fire when long-time series producer Bruckheimer said he would “love to have him [Depp] in the movie” during a red carpet chat at the 2023 Oscars.
As it stands though, we’ll all have to wait and see whether Captain Jack lives to sail another day.
Watch: Pirates of the Caribbean 6 writer shares update