Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard is in full swing, and it’s been a predictable s*itshow. Heard admitted she struck Depp, as he’d long ago claimed. Meanwhile, some more of Depp’s inflammatory texts were made public. The troubled actor even addressed the claim that Heard left feces in his bed. Buried in all this was news that was big if not shocking: You’ll (probably) never see Depp play Jack Sparrow again.
During a cross-examination, Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn (as reported by Variety, in a bit teased out by IGN), Depp discussed rumors that Disney was done with him. He said that “doesn’t surprise me,” adding, “Two years had gone by of constant worldwide talk about me being this wife beater. So, I’m sure that Disney was trying to cut ties to be safe. The #MeToo movement was in full swing at that point.”
Rottenborn later asked if he’d ever return to his biggest role. “The fact is, Mr. Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas,” Rottenborn asked, “nothing on this earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates of the Caribbean film? Correct?”
“That is true, Mr. Rottenborn,” he replied.
Depp also pointed out that, while Disney is done with Depp, they’re not done with profiting off him. “They didn’t remove my character from the rides,” Depp said. “They didn’t stop selling dolls of Captain Jack Sparrow. They didn’t stop selling anything. They just didn’t want there to be something trailing behind me that they’d find.”
When the first Pirates of the Caribbean came out in 2003, it turned Depp from a well-known and -respected actor to a mega-star — all the more shocking given reports that Disney was unhappy with all the eccentric mugging that made audiences fall in love. He returned to Jack Sparrow four more times, though the last one, 2017’s underperforming and widely panned Dead Men Tell No Tales, was hardly an ideal farewell.
Still, in Hollywood, never say never again.