Pirates of the Caribbean actor Kevin McNally says Johnny Depp should return for the sixth instalment in the seafaring saga.
In a conversation with Pirates star Greg Ellis on his podcast The Respondent, McNally — who played First Mate Joshamee Gibbs — said it would be “criminal” for the character of Captain Jack Sparrow to miss out.
McNally said that Depp created a “modern legend” with his portrayal of the perma-sozzled swashbuckler in the five previous Pirates movies from 2003 until 2017.
He said it would be wrong for the planned reboot of the franchise, shepherded by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, to ignore Sparrow entirely, even if it focuses on a different crop of characters.
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The 64-year-old star added: “My feelings about this are very complex because in a sense there was a slight feeling that the franchise itself had played out a little bit, so a reboot is a reasonable idea.
“I don’t think a reboot, if you concentrate on younger characters, should still exclude Jack Sparrow."
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The situation around Depp’s involvement in a future Pirates film is complex given the recent fallout from his failed libel case against The Sun newspaper over an allegation he was a “wife beater”.
In the wake of the court’s decision to rule in favour of the paper, Depp was asked to relinquish the role of dark wizard Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise.
He will be replaced in that role by Hannibal star Mads Mikkelsen.
Even before the ruling, Pirates producer Jerry Bruckheimer said he was unsure whether there would be a role for Depp in the new movie.
Karen Gillan has been talked about as a potential future lead for the franchise, while Margot Robbie is separately fronting a female-centric story set within the same world.
The future of Pirates of the Caribbean remains uncertain given the decline of the movie’s box office fortunes.
Fifth movie Salazar’s Revenge — released elsewhere in the world as Dead Men Tell No Tales — earned $795m (£588m) worldwide amid negative critical reviews.
While this is a huge figure, it marked a 24% decline from the mammoth $1.05bn (£776m) haul that greeted On Stranger Tides six years previously.
Given the franchise’s budgets are frequently among the highest in movie history, the financial stakes are very high indeed.
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