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Johnny Depp will no longer play Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, it has been confirmed.
Disney’s production chief, Sean Bailey, verified the rumours during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
When asked how the series will cope without Depp, Bailey did not deny his omission, instead referencing the need for ‘new energy’.
He said: “We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants. And that’s what I’ve tasked them with.”
The Paul and Rhett he mentions are Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who wrote superhero film, Deadpool.
Depp starred in five films Pirates of the Caribbean across 14 years. The films grossed more than $4.5 billion (£3.56 billion), making the series the 12th biggest franchise in history.
The actor came under the spotlight in 2016 after his ex-wife, Amber Heard, claimed he domestically abused her. Depp denied the allegations and the case was settled in the same year.
Rumours Depp had been dropped from Pirates of the Caribbean first circulated after Stuart Beattie, a scriptwriter for the films, referenced his ‘great run’ during a red carpet interview in October.
Speaking to the Daily Mail TV, he 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.
“And kids all over the world love him as that character so I think it’s been great for him, it’s been great for us, so I’m just very, very happy about it.
“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.
“Before Jack Sparrow came along, Depp was considered this kind of quirky, independent actor that made these really cool little Tim Burton films, but he was by no means a movie star and a lot of people thought we were crazy for casting him at the time.
“Because he wasn’t a proven commodity; you know, a big movie star. And we were making a big movie and we were putting this quirky, independent actor in the middle of it and people thought we were crazy. The fact that it worked is a miracle.
“They were certainly nervous watching the rushes everyday but when it all came together, something just clicked and it was magic and connected with audiences. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Whether the series will work without his iconic portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow remains to be seen.