First Mate Joshamee Gibbs himself – actor Kevin McNally- says that Depp should feature in any sixth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. In an interview with fellow star Greg Ellis (Theodore Groves) on his The Respondent podcast, McNally was clear that Depp created a modern legend in his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow and it would be “Criminal” if her were to miss out or be pushed aside:

“My feelings about this are very complex because in a sense there was a slight feeling that the franchise itself had played out a little bit, so a reboot is a reasonable idea.

I don’t think a reboot, if you concentrate on younger characters, should still exclude Jack Sparrow.”

Depp played the role in five previous Pirates movies from 2003 until 2017. The reboot is to be driven by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin amd it has been rumored to focus on a different crop of characters.

Depp’s situation has been in-flux across the board given the recent fallout from his failed libel case against The Sun newspaper. The paper had claimed he was violent towards Amber Heard. His lawyers are preparing to appeal this case.

Following this Depp was asked to walk away fro the role of dark wizard Gelert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise. He will be replaced in that role by Hannibal and Casino Royale star Mads Mikkelsen. It is unclear what would happen should his appeal be successful.

Even before the ruling, Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer said he was unsure whether there would be a role for Depp in the new movie.

Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Jumanji, Guardians Of The Galaxy) has been talked about as a potential future lead for the franchise. Margot Robbie is said to be separately fronting a different, a female-centric story set within the same world.

The franchise has always made money, albeit with a declining return. The first was critically lauded but all the sequels have been regarded as overlong, over blown and over reliant on Depp’s character. The budgets are frequently among the highest in Hollywood.

The last instalment featured a cameo return of some previous franchise favorites and a cliff hanger in a post credits scene.