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Every Possible Pirates of the Caribbean Follow-Up (Could Any Succeed?)

Whether it’s Pirates of the Caribbean 6 without (or without) Johnny Depp or a spinoff starring Margot Robbie, the franchise’s future is unclear.

There are a lot of possibilities for the future of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but few of them seem promising. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s comments on the Pirates of the Caribbean series made it clear that the blockbuster veteran is not sure where to take the franchise next. Without Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow at the helm, it is unclear whether audiences are interested in more adventures set in the swashbuckling franchise’s fictional universe.

However, the critical failure of the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, as well as the relative financial underperformance of Pirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales, mean that the franchise’s future has been in question for some time now. That sequel’s disastrous reviews, alongside a lukewarm reception from fans online, seemingly prove that viewers were sick of the series even before Depp was let go from his central role in the movies. Now, even if Jack Sparrow returns to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, they may have nowhere to take him.

The question of whether the once-massive blockbuster franchise can continue to exist and succeed in 2022 is a tricky one, particularly when Bruckheimer’s comments made it clear that there is no clear plan for the series. However, this also means that anything is possible for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, with the producer refusing to rule out a Johnny Depp return, a Margot Robbie-starring spinoff, both, or neither. With so many potential options, it is worth looking into how the Pirates of the Caribbean series can proceed, which option the franchise is most likely to take, and which — if any — could salvage the series.

Pirates Of The Caribbean 6 With Johnny Depp

A version of Pirates of the Caribbean 6 starring Depp’s Jack Sparrow is unlikely to happen in the near future, according to Bruckheimer. This is no shock after Depp effectively retired Jack Sparrow when he admitted in court that no amount of money could have convinced him to sign on for a sixth movie. However, Bruckheimer pointedly refused to completely rule out the sixth movie in the series starring Depp, and there is no denying that this option would be more likely to succeed than most other potential reboots, spinoffs, and other additions to the series. Jack Sparrow is the most popular character in the franchise’s fandom, although even his return would not be enough to guarantee the series a huge box office success. After the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie’s box office decline, the brutal reviews that later sequels received, and the franchise’s long absence from cinema screens, even the financial best case scenario of bringing back Depp’s lead character would be a risky proposition for the series.

Pirates Of The Caribbean 6 Without Johnny Depp

While Depp’s Pirates of the Caribbean 6 fee alone proves the sequel would have failed due to its continued reliance on his central role, the prospect of a direct sequel to the series that doesn’t feature Jack Sparrow is an unpopular one online. A sequel sans Johnny Depp is unlikely to succeed, since none of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise’s non-Jack Sparrow characters have Jack’s enduring popularity, and their return would only make his absence harder to ignore. Meanwhile, the absence of other supporting stars from the earlier movies in the series would mean that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 had no connection to the original franchise. This puts producers in an impossible double-bind wherein bringing back Pirates of the Caribbean characters like Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and other franchise fan-favorites will make the sequel’s lack of Jack Sparrow more obvious, whereas leaving them out of the new movie would result in a Pirates of the Caribbean 6 that was an in-name-only franchise installment with little meaningful connection to the rest of the movies.

Margot Robbie’s Pirates Of The Caribbean Spinoff

A Margot Robbie-starring Pirates of the Caribbean spinoff was originally proposed in December 2020, two years after Depp was quietly dropped from the series. Since then, there has not been a lot of news on the project, with Bruckheimer admitting that the franchise’s creators were working on one project involving Robbie and one without her. This spinoff would be more likely to succeed than a version of Pirates of the Caribbean 6 without Depp, since Robbie’s spinoff boasts an A-list star and has the benefit of being a new related property rather than a direct follow-up. Still, Robbie’s Pirates of the Caribbean spinoff would face a major uphill struggle nonetheless. Birds of Prey’s underperformance gives a pretty clear indication of how a Robbie-led spinoff of a popular franchise would fare at the box office, meaning the movie’s financial performance could be underwhelming. Not only that, but Robbie has also already played plenty of unhinged, charismatic, morally dubious antiheroes before, meaning her role as a Jack Sparrow replacement could be overly familiar for audiences.

Pirates Of The Caribbean Spinoff Without Robbie

Finally, Bruckheimer also that the franchise’s creators were considering a Pirates of the Caribbean project without Robbie, meaning there might be a spinoff in the works that doesn’t involve the A-lister. This option is not likely to succeed. While a Pirates of the Caribbean project focusing on the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy’s under-used villains could flesh out the mythology of the franchise and make use of some of the squandered characters from its earlier outings, this would be better off relegated to the small screen and couldn’t sustain an entire blockbuster. A Pirates of the Caribbean spinoff without Robbie is the least risky option for the studio since they don’t have to pay for Robbie, Depp, or the original trilogy’s stars.

However, it is also the project with the least direct connections to the original franchise, meaning the Pirates of the Caribbean brand connection would be the only thing stopping this spinoff from being just another action-adventure movie—which may well not be enough. Jungle Cruise’s attempts to replace Pirates of the Caribbean as a franchise failed since the movie lacked a unique personality necessary to sustain a blockbuster franchise. The question of what makes a Pirates of the Caribbean movie could become a problem if a series spinoff didn’t feature any of the original cast nor any new big names to entice viewers, leaving this the least appealing of the options available to the franchise.

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