What we know about Pirates of the Caribbean 6

Will Captain Jack ever sail the seven seas again?

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
Will there be a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and will Johnny Depp return? (Disney)

Throughout five swashbuckling adventures, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise proved that you can adapt a theme park attraction to the big screen and it doesn’t have to be all that bad.

Setting sail with 2003's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, director Jerry Bruckheimer and producer Gore Verbinski introduced us to a crew of faces that went on to become fan-favourites.

There was Orlando Bloom’s mysterious orphan Will Turner, Keira Knightley’s posh-lady-turned-pirate Elizabeth Swan and Geoffrey Rush’s undead pirate antihero Captain Barbossa.

Read more: Disney's theme park movies ranked from Haunted Mansion to Pirates of the Caribbean

However, at the centre of the action was Johnny Depp as the swaggering, slurring, rum-swigging Captain Jack Sparrow, a loveable rogue who captured the audience's imagination and became one of the actor’s most popular cinematic creations.

Together, these players took us through four more adventures, starting with two parter Dead Man’s Chest in 2006 and At World’s End a year later, and continuing with 2011’s On Stranger Tides and Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.

While some of the glitter may have faded from the series’ treasure-chest gold by the franchise’s last installment, it remains a firm favourite among fans all over the globe.

It makes sense then that a continuation has been long-rumoured by Disney — but will there ever be a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Let’s take a look…

Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in Curse of the Black Pearl. (Disney)

Talk of a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean movie has been swirling for years, with original plans set to include a second part to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales after its release in 2017.

Ultimately, that follow-up never materialised. But in 2019, it was revealed that original Curse of the Black Pearl writer Ted Elliott was working with The Last of Us writer Craig Mazin on a new script for a sixth movie. The Chernobyl creator had picked up the baton from Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who had been hired to work on a reboot a year earlier.

This news died down slightly in the wake of Depp’s defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard in 2022. However, it looks like Disney could be pushing ahead with a new idea that promises to take the franchise into wild new territory. The project is thought to be a reboot featuring a new cast.

Johnny Depp and Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean
Keira Knightley played Elizabeth Swann in the franchise. (Disney)

Speaking to the LA Times in summer 2023, then-Disney executive Sean Bailey said: “We think we have a really good, exciting story that honours the films that have come before but also has something new to say.”

Soon after, Mazin called the script “fantastic” and “weird”. But the project was placed on hold due to the Hollywood strikes, with Mazin adding: “Everyone’s waiting around.”

In early 2024, long-time series producer Jerry Bruckheimer confirmed a reboot was still in the works. “We’re gonna reboot Pirates, so that is easier to put together because you don’t have to wait for certain actors,” Bruckheimer told ComicBook.com.

In a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said a different writer, Jeff Nathanson, was penning the script: “I think he’s cracked it. He’s got an amazing third act. We just gotta clean up the first and second and then we’ll get there.”

Margot Robbie attends the 96th Annual Academy Awards
A Margot Robbie-fronted Pirates of the Caribbean movie is in the works. (FilmMagic)

Barbie star Margot Robbie is set to lead female-led iteration of Pirates of the Caribbean, with a script penned by Birds of Prey’s Christina Hodson. The long-delayed film, which first reported to be in the works in 2020, is separate to the proposed reboot.

“We hope to get ’em both made,” Bruckheimer told Entertainment Weekly of the two films, “and I think Disney agrees they really want to make the Margot one, too.”

The project was previously thought to be dead in the water. In 2022, Robbie told Vanity Fair that the film would have been “a different kind of story, which we thought would’ve been really cool. But I guess they don’t want to do it.”

Responding to her remarks, Bruckheimer said the film being delayed “might be a blessing” due to Robbie’s busy schedule, adding: “We believe we’ll get it made. It’s a very strong story.”

Johnny Depp at the 2017 premiere of Dead Men Tell No Tales
Johnny Depp at the 2017 premiere of Dead Men Tell No Tales. (WireImage)

When Depp’s defamation trial against Heard dominated headlines throughout 2022, the franchise’s future looked uncertain, to say the least.

Amid the chaos, Depp even expressed a disinterest in returning to the character due to the way Disney had treated him throughout the trial. After publicly dropping him from the franchise before a verdict had been confirmed, the star suggested that not even a $300 million payday could convince him to reboard the Black Pearl and play Captain Jack again.

Since then, various reports have suggested that the Edward Scissorhands actor may have changed his mind. While speaking to The New York Times, Disney Studios Motion Picture President Sean Bailey said “We think we have a really good, exciting story that honours the films that have come before but also has something new to say,” while discussing a potential sixth film.

When asked whether the studio’s plans included Depp, he added that Disney was “noncommittal” on the actor’s involvement, something some outlets interpreted as the door being open for a potential reconciliation.

Further fuel was thrown on the fire when producer Bruckheimer told Entertainment Weekly:“It’s a reboot, but if it was up to me, he would be in it,” Bruckheimer says. “I love him. He’s a good friend. He’s an amazing artist and he’s a unique look. He created Captain Jack.”

As it stands though, we’ll all have to wait and see whether Captain Jack lives to sail another day.

The Pirates of the Caribbean films are streaming on Disney+