Is Johnny Depp somehow Johnny Depp-proof? With the early receipts for the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise now promising another blockbuster in the bag, it would appear that the actor’s somehow invulnerable to his own noxious public profile. Though the revelation that Depp had physically abused longtime partner Amber Heard came to light last year, it apparently hasn’t diminished his earning potential, and frustrating as that may be, it means we’re in for a whole lot more Depp. And if producer Jerry Bruckheimer has anything to say about, more Jack Sparrow in specific.

The future of the Pirates franchise is a topic of concern for the presiding studios, and Bruckheimer wants to make one thing clear: there is no Pirates of the Caribbean without Jack Sparrow, and no Jack Sparrow without Johnny Depp.

The producer reaffirmed his commitment to the boozy wastrel in a recent statement to DigitalSpy, as noted by the folks at Screen Rant:

I just don’t see it [working on Pirates without Depp]. The secret to any successful franchise is picking talented people, and Johnny is absolutely key to the success of Pirates. He’s such a unique character, such an endearing character, and such an irreverent character all in one.

He’s not wrong — a Pirates without Captain Jack would be like a Nightmare on Elm Street without Freddy or a Nancy Meyers movie without tastefully appointed kitchens. The character is the franchise, that’s why they were able to get Dead Men Tell No Tales off the ground even after losing leads Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom for On Stranger Tides. But like Frankenstein tinkering with his unnatural creature, the Pirates of the Caribbean producers have failed to consider if they should, and think only of if they can.

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