‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Reboot in Jeopardy as ‘Deadpool’ Writers Exit

Deadpool scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese have exited Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean reboot, leaving the project in limbo, Deadline reports.

According to insiders, the studio is split on charting the course ahead: some say the search is on for new writers while others say the project may be shelved entirely, ending the franchise with 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Disney film production chief Sean Bailey has pushed for the Pirates relaunch to better compete with its in-house competition: the Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, and Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios branches.

Bailey previously said Wernick and Reese were going to “make Pirates punk rock again” and give the near 20-year-old brand, inspired by the famed Disneyland ride of the same name, a “kick in the pants.”

The confirmed ousting of star Johnny Depp, who has long anchored the franchise as wily pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, was to introduce a “new energy and vitality,” Bailey said in December.

Rumors pointed to Sparrow being replaced by an all-new female lead, Redd, inspired by a buccaneer of the same name introduced into the updated Disneyland attraction last May.

Depp famously proved unruly on the already costly Dead Men Tell No Tales and his off-screen troubles resulted in his being divorced from the franchise, which Deadline postulates could move forward as a television series — likely on Disney+, its premiere streaming service due out later this year.

But such a series may carry too many “budgetary and logistical” challenges, potentially relegating Pirates to Davy Jones’ locker.

Stuart Beattie, story scribe for 2003’s franchise-launching Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl with four-movie screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, expected Wernick and Reese to bring to Pirates the same “great comedic subversiveness” they brought Deadpool and Zombieland.

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“I was laughing out of my seat in the opening credits of Deadpool so I am a big fan of those guys and I hope they do something really special,” he told Daily Mail in November.

Wernick and Reese are now at work on Deadpool 3. Their next project, Zombieland: Double Tap, releases in October.