Pirates Producer on Johnny Depp's Potential Involvement in Sequel: 'The Future Is Yet to Be Decided'

·4 min read

Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer behind the Pirates of the Caribbean films, is commenting on star Johnny Depp's future with the franchise.

Speaking with the U.K.'s The Sunday Times, Bruckheimer promoted his new film Top Gun: Maverick and was asked about the status of another Pirates movie. The fifth film, subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales, debuted in theaters back in 2017. It was previously reported that the series would be rebooted with Margot Robbie in a lead role.

Bruckheimer, 78, confirmed the female-led film is still in development, as is another version without 31-year-old Robbie: "Yes. We're talking to Margot Robbie. We are developing two Pirates scripts — one with her, one without."

When asked if Depp would return, Bruckheimer told the newspaper, "Not at this point. The future is yet to be decided."

Depp, 58, is currently in a legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard in Fairfax, Virginia, as he sues her for $50 million for defamation over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post about surviving domestic abuse. Though she didn't mention Depp by name in the article, Depp claims it tarnished his career opportunities and lost him a $22.5 million payday for doing a sixth Pirates movie, among other potential blockbuster roles.

For more on the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

The star earned an Oscar nomination for playing Capt. Jack Sparrow in the original 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The sequels came out in 2006, 2007, 2011 and 2017.

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Johnny Depp "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" Film - 2017
Johnny Depp "Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" Film - 2017

Peter Mountain/Walt Disney/Kobal/Shutterstock Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

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Heard, 36, and Depp met while making the 2011 movie The Rum Diary, and they married in 2015. They broke up in May 2016, when Heard sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the former couple settled their divorce out of court in August 2016.

When he concluded his testimony, Depp — who has said multiple times under oath that he has never struck Heard or any woman — said, after Heard's allegations against him, he lost "nothing short of everything."

Heard has testified about multiple incidents of alleged domestic violence, as well as several cases when she says he sexually assaulted her during their relationship.

Director Jerry Bruckheimer and actor Johnny Depp attend the film premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Disneyland on June 28, 2003 in Anaheim, California.
Director Jerry Bruckheimer and actor Johnny Depp attend the film premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Disneyland on June 28, 2003 in Anaheim, California.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp in 2003

Depp has testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in this trial, which is being televised live via various outlets. Ahead of the trial, Heard said in a statement that "hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny. I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world."

He also recalled in his testimony that he had wanted to give his Pirates character a "proper goodbye" and that he planned to keep making Pirates movies "until it was time to stop."

Johnny Depp leaves for a recess at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images); Amber Heard (L) testifies as US actor Johnny Depp looks on during a defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Johnny Depp leaves for a recess at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images); Amber Heard (L) testifies as US actor Johnny Depp looks on during a defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by Jim LO SCALZO / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jim LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP/Getty (2)

While discussing his falling out with Disney executives, however, Depp said he felt he'd become "guilty until proven innocent." The star said on the stand that he would not work with Disney again, even if they offered him $300 million.

In recent years, Depp has done parts in several independent films, including Minamata. Heard will next reprise her role in next year's Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Depp resigned from his role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, a Warner Bros. property, back in November 2020 after losing his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." The court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true" and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.

Mads Mikkelsen was recast in his role for the recently released Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. About taking over the part from Depp, Mikkelsen told The Hollywood Reporter in April, "I wasn't like, 'Oh please let me talk to him.' It would have been great to touch bases, 'clean the room' in a sense. Maybe I'll see him in the future."

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