What had long been rumored has finally been confirmed - fan-favorite actor Johnny Depp has been dropped from the role of Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbeanfranchise.
In all probability, the franchise is heading for a reboot and the character of Jack Sparrow might be dropped completely, as Disney's executive confirmed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Production chief confirms the rumors
Sean Bailey, the studio's production chief confirmed the rumors during the interview.
When speaking about the reboot, which will be written by Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, he was asked whether the series would survive without Depp.
Bailey replied about wanting to bring in new energy, and said the screenwriters came on board to give the franchise a 'kick in the pants'.
An energetic new reboot is Bailey's hope
Bailey said, "We want to bring in a new energy and vitality. I love the [Pirates] movies, but part of the reason Paul and Rhett are so interesting is that we want to give it a kick in the pants... what I've tasked them with".
New pirate, new direction for the franchise?
While it will be strange to not see Depp's face as Sparrow on the posters for the upcoming film, the franchise has its eyes set on a new character.
Although rumored now, the new protagonist could be Redd, a female pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
Notably, the first film also took inspiration from this ride, by introducing skeleton pirates.
Is Disney's move a calculated risk?
Dropping Depp seems like a calculated risk since Disney plans to milk an old franchise with fresh elements.
However, dropping Depp might have been the smart move considering the backlash Fantastic Beastsfranchise received for casting Depp as Grindelwald, following charges of domestic abuse against ex-wife Amber Heard.
Notably, Disney's move keeps them safe from controversy and lets them experiment with their popular franchise.