Pirates of the Caribbean 6 recently sailed past an unfortunate franchise milestone as the six years that have passed since the last movie broke the record for the longest wait between two Pirates movies ever.
Pirates of the Caribbean 6 Release: Will It Ever Come Out
Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow and company were last seen in 2017's Dead Men Tell No Tales, but after the original star was fired from the franchise after abuse allegations from ex-wife Amber Heard in 2018, the future is rather uncertain.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, franchise producer Jerry Bruckheimer was asked why Pirates of the Caribbean 6 has taken so long, to which he confirmed they are getting "very close" and they have a "very good script."
The filmmaker confirmed two new Pirates movies are being developed, a female-led project with Margot Robbie and "one with a younger cast" which is "close," indicating that will likely serve as the franchise's sixth movie.
The project with a "younger cast" is believed to be the supposed reboot of the franchise that Pirates of the Caribbean veteran writer Ted Elliot and The Last of Us scribe Craig Mazin were hired to write in 2019 - via Variety.
As Pirates 6 was last stated to be in the scripting stages late last year, a release date is likely still some time away, especially with the ongoing writers' and actors' strikes still holding things up, with no end in sight to either protest.
Every Pirates of the Caribbean movie so far has released in the summer, with the last three falling in late May and the first two in early July.
As every movie in the franchise has found success in the peak summer season, Disney will likely be looking to drop Pirates 6 around the same time of year.
If the next Pirates blockbuster were to get into production early next year, as seems possible given Bruckheimer's comments about the movie being "very close," then a summer 2025 release date may be achievable.
Will Johnny Depp Return in Pirates of the Caribbean 6?
Disney originally fired Johnny Depp from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise around the time his ex-wife Amber Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post in 2018 which alluded to the actor's alleged abuse.
As part of his defamation trial against Heard, in which he was victorious, Depp was asked by the actress' attorney Ben Rottenborn - via Variety - if "nothing on earth" would convince him to reunite with Disney for more Pirates of the Caribbean, to which he shut down hopes of a comeback in stating "that is true:"
Rottenborn: "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?"
Depp: "That is true, Mr. Rottenborn.”
Also during the trial - via The Independent - the Captain Jack Sparrow actor expressed how he had hoped to give his iconic pirate a "proper goodbye" as he "planned on continuing until it was time to stop:"
“My feeling was that these characters should be able to have their proper goodbye. A franchise can last only so long. And there’s a way to end a franchise like that, and I thought the characters should have a way out, to end the franchise on a very good note. And I planned on continuing until it was time to stop.”
During an interview with The New York Times in June, Disney Studio Motion Picture Production president Sean Bailey revealed the studio is “noncommittal at this point” on Depp's future with the franchise, hinting how the next movie "honors" its predecessors but "has something new to say:"
"We think we have a really good, exciting story that honors the films that have come before but also has something new to say.”
Similarly, producer Jerry Bruckheimer told Entertainment Tonight how he would "love to have him" back for the next movie, giving a non-committal "we'll see:"
“We’ll see. I’d love it. I would love to have him in the movie; that’s all I can tell you.”
Given Johnny Depp's past dedication to concluding the story of Captain Jack Sparrow and the recent shift in public opinion in his favor, perhaps the two sides will one day return to the negotiating table to bring him back for one last sail.
But as the next movie in the franchise is said to be "very close" with a focus on a "younger cast," it seems likely Depp will sit out Pirates 6.
Pirates of the Caribbean 6 Cast: Who Could Return?
As the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie will seemingly be something of a reboot with a "younger cast," the seafaring adventure will likely sport a mostly new cast of fresh talent. But perhaps a few members of the original cast will stick around in a mentor role to the new generation of pirates.
While Johnny Depp seemingly won't be back for Pirates 6, Will Turner actor Orlando Bloom told Parade how he would find it "interesting to see how [his character] surfaces and what he's like," revealing his desire to return.
"... I think Will—I mean Will's so great. I wouldn't mind seeing what Will looked like today in some ways, because he was such this earnest guy, but after rumbling around the bottom of the ocean for as long as he would have done at this point, it'd be interesting to see how he surfaces and what he's like."
Brenton Thwaites, the actor behind Will's son, Henry Turner, also told The Cosmic Circus that he thinks "there's a way to fit him" into Pirates 6:
"Oh, that'll be interesting... that'll be interesting. Yeah, I think he could play! I think there's a way to fit him in there if it's the right time period, right?"
One member of the family who likely won't be back is Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann, who revealed to Entertainment Tonight how her character "sailed away so nicely," suggesting her tale may be over:
"I mean, she sailed away so nicely. She sailed away in brilliant style."
Disney's toughest task will come with finding a young new lead to replace Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow. Given the development of a separate female-led spin-off with Margot Robbie, this will likely continue to be a male star.
As the first five movies were led by superstar Johnny Depp with a massive actress like Margot Robbie being eyed for the spin-off, Disney will likely be seeking a major young male actor to carry the franchise forward in Pirates 6.
Or perhaps Brenton Thwaites' Henry Turner may be the one to carry the story forward if Pirates of the Caribbean is looking for a familiar young face to carry the franchise into a sixth installment without Johnny Depp.
What Will Happen in Pirates of the Caribbean 6?
Dead Men Tell No Tales featured a post-credits scene that set the stage for Pirates of the Caribbean 6 and the return of Bill Nighy's Davy Jones.
Orlando Bloom's Will Turner became captain of Jones' ship, The Flying Dutchman, after his death, and while he was asleep in bed with Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann, he saw an unknown tentacled assailant enter his room.
Turner awoke to show this was only a nightmare, but the reveal of barnacles and water on the bedroom floor seemed to confirm Jones really was back.
At the time of 2017's Pirates 5, this was clearly planned to be the basis for the sixth movie in the franchise. But with six years gone by, the new movie described as a reboot, and several key cast members unlikely to return, this plot thread may well be abandoned in favor of a new tale with this "younger cast."
One element that may still be followed up on comes with the return of Bill Nighty's Davy Jones, as keeping around the franchise's most iconic villain may be the perfect connective tissue for a reboot in the absence of most of the original cast.
Is Margot Robbie's Female Pirates Spin-Off Still Happening?
In Summer 2020, Disney was revealed to be developing a female-led Pirates of the Caribbean spin-off starring Margot Robbie with a script written by The Flash writer Christina Hodson.
Robbie later stated in November 2022 that while they had been "developing it for a while," Disney "doesn't want to do it," thus suggesting the project was dead.
Producer Jerry Bruckheimer retorted this claim, stating that the female-led project "needs a little more work" but remains "alive" with a "very strong story," suggesting the other Pirates movie with a younger cast will likely come first.
Pirates of the Caribbean 6 has yet to set a release date.