A look back at everything Depp has said about his Pirates firing during his defamation trial against his ex-wife, including "feeling betrayed" by Disney.
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Pirates of the Caribbean 6 might be more cursed than the Black Pearl.

The Disney film franchise's sixth installment has been stalled for years due to various internal shakeups, including leading man Johnny Depp's legal and personal troubles pertaining to ex-wife Amber Heard's allegations of domestic abuse.

What's known about a follow-up to 2017's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? In 2019, it was reported that veteran Pirates writer Ted Elliott and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin were developing a new entry in the franchise, with Jerry Bruckheimer expected to return as producer. What's unknown? A title, the storyline, and cast details. Depp testified that Disney cut ties with him in 2018 following Heard's allegations of abuse, which he has denied. It's unclear if he will be replaced. Additionally, no details have been shared about the return of cast members like Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Kaya Scodelario, and Geoffrey Rush.

In June 2020, Birds of Prey writer Christina Hodson was tapped to helm a new female-fronted Pirates of the Caribbean movie for Disney, with Margot Robbie attached to star. The film would not be a spin-off to Depp's franchise, but an original story with new characters. Not much else has been shared since then, but in Depp's defamation trial against Heard — which kicked off in Fairfax County, Va., on April 11 — the actor shared some insights about the franchise and a potential sixth installment.

Johnny Depp in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'
Johnny Depp in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'
| Credit: Disney

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed chronicling her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. Though Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the piece, his lawyers maintained the references to him and her public abuse allegations were clear, claiming that the op-ed damaged his career and reputation.

Here's everything Depp has said about Pirates while on the stand. 

Walking the plank

Depp testified that Disney dropped him from Pirates 6 days after Heard's op-ed was published in Dec. 2018. Now the film is still in "dangle mode," he said. Later, under cross-examination, Heard's lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, cited an October 2018 article from the Daily Mail that reported Depp was out as Jack Sparrow. Depp responded to the timeline inconsistency by citing Heard's previous allegations. "I wasn't aware of that, but it doesn't surprise me," he said. "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."

Captain Jack lives on

While Depp said Disney has cut with him, he noted that the company still features his character, Jack Sparrow, at theme parks and in toy stores around the world. "They didn't remove my character from the rides," he said 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."

But he's never coming back

Depp revisited past testimony stating that he would not return to Pirates 6 if it were offered to him. "The fact is, Mr. Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million and a million alpacas, nothing on this earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a Pirates of the Caribbean film? Correct?" Rottenborn asked. Depp responded, "That is true, Mr. Rottenborn." Depp added that he made those comments after "there was a deep and distinct sense of feeling betrayed by the people that I've worked hard for. People that I delivered a character to that they initially despised, but I stuck to my guns with the character and it seemed to work."

Johnny Depp in court in his defamation trial against Amber Heard
Johnny Depp in court in his defamation trial against Amber Heard
| Credit: JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Depp still hasn't seen Black Pearl

Depp revealed that he hasn't seen the first Pirates film, 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, but said of the script, "I thought that it had all the hallmarks of a Disney film — that is to say, a kind of a predictable three-act structure. The character of Captain Jack was more like a swashbuckler type that would swing in shirtless and be the hero. I had quite different ideas about the character, so I incorporated my notes into the character and brought that character to life. Much to the chagrin of Disney, initially."

He continued, "I didn't see it. But I believe that the film did pretty well, apparently, and they wanted to keep going, making more, and I was fine to do that. It's not like you become that person, but if you know that character to the degree that I did, because he was not what the writers wrote, so they really weren't able to write for him… Once you know the character better than the writers, that's when you have to be true to the character and add your words."

Writing Pirates 6

During direct examination, Depp said he had been "approached to take part in writing in Pirates 6" prior to Heard's op-ed. Jack Sparrow, Depp testified, "was a character that I had built from the ground up and was something that I put a lot of myself [into]." He also said, "Having added much of myself, much of my own rewriting, the dialogue, the scenes, the jokes, I didn't quite understand how after that long relationship and quite a successful relationship with Disney that… suddenly I was guilty until proven innocent." 

A pirate's legacy

On his abrupt exit from the sixth film and franchise, Depp lamented, "My feeling was that these characters should be able to have their proper goodbye. A franchise could only last for so long, and there's a way to end a franchise like that. And I thought that the characters deserved to have their way out of… to end the franchise on a very good note. And I planned on continuing until it was time to stop."

Depp previously testified that his career was "done" from "the second the allegations were made against me," adding, "Once that happened, I lost then. No matter the outcome of this trial, I'll carry that for the rest of my days."

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