It appears that old, haunting warning often croaked out in the spirit of piracy has proven itself true: Dead men tell no tales. Or rather, perhaps more fittingly: Dead reputations earn no call-backs.
Disney seems to be seriously considering the possibility of a future installment of Pirates of the Caribbean where our favorite kohl-eyed captain is conspicuously absent.
While it is uncertain whether the company’s decision can be attributed to Johnny Depp’s many current outstanding lawsuits, the poor reception of the fifth Pirates film compared to previous installments in the franchise, a lack of direction for Captain Jack’s character in future films, or a combination of these factors, one thing is clear: Pirates of the Caribbean 6 will be a long time coming, if it ever comes at all.
And in all honesty, despite being a lifelong fan of the franchise, I rather hope it doesn’t — with one exception.
Having followed news of the franchise’s potential sixth film since the release of the fifth one — Dead Men Tell No Tales — I can say the one consistent pattern that has plagued this project is the curse of uncertainty.
There were initial rumors of a new female pirate dubbed ‘Redd,’ a reimagined version of the iconic redhead from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, taking Jack’s place at the helm of the franchise.
With this idea came the expectation that the entire original cast — Will, Elizabeth, Mr. Gibbs, etc. — would also get the boot, making room for a whole new cast of characters.
Deciding on this new direction for the franchise, Sean Bailey — who serves as Walt Disney Studios’ president of motion picture production — hired Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to pen the script in the hopes that they could breathe some new life into the series.
But the pair failed to come up with a compelling solution to the void of Depp’s absence, and they dropped out of the project shortly after being contracted.
After several weeks of silence, another rumor surfaced that Terry Rossio, one of the screenwriters of the original trilogy, was in talks to take on the daunting task.
This rumor, however, was never confirmed by Bailey or anyone else at Disney, and nothing else has been heard on the progress of the project since.
Needless to say, it seems there is an uncertainty brewing about the future of the Pirates franchise; and, given Disney’s recent mishandlings of other beloved and iconic series such as Star Wars, I fear an uncertain Pirates may be a doomed Pirates.
There is one exception, however, to my doubts of Disney’s success: If they are willing to champion storytelling over profit, as they once did, and can find a screenwriter with a passion for the franchise who is willing to do it justice, they may just find the ‘x’ that marks the spot, and once more uncover a buried cinematic treasure.
What do you think?
Would you be okay with seeing Pirates 6 set sail without the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow? Or can you not stand the thought of a Pirates sequel without its quirky captain?
Are you still on board for the Pirates franchise as a whole, or are you ready to jump ship and seek buried treasure in another series?
Let us know! Cast your vote in the Instagram poll Thursday Oct. 17.