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Johnny Depp Rumored to Leave Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

In the wake of reports earlier this week that Disney intends to reboot its blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise comes word that the studio may do so without star Johnny Depp.

The actor, who debuted in 2003 as the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and reprised the role in its four sequels -- the most recent being 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales. The question of Depp's continued involvement hung over news of a planned reboot, but now one of the franchise's original writers suggests the actor is indeed abandoning ship.

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Speaking with the Daily Mail, Stuart Beattle said, '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. [...] 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."

That's far from definitive, of course, as Beattle doesn't say outright that Depp will exit the franchise. Furthermore, although the Disney series continues to use the characters Beattle co-created, he hasn't been directly involved with the films since the 2003 original.

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That said, it would certainly make sense for the studio to start fresh with this reboot, from Deadpool and Deadpool 2 writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, particularly following the critical and commercial reception for 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales. While Depp's Jack Sparrow has achieved iconic status, the actor himself has become problematic following struggles with alcohol and drugs, legal difficulties, and accusations of physical and verbal abuse by ex-wife Amber Heard.

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