It seems that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 may be officially moving forward — at the least that's the latest rumor circling Disney's popular swashbuckling adventure series, even as other rumors swirl about whether or not franchise star Johnny Depp will be returning.
Geeks World Wide dropped a report stating that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 is gearing up for pre-production, with Joachim Rønning expected to reprise his directing duties after the previous installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. It's also reported that the script is being worked out by Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio and Jeff Nathanson, and that Nigel Phelps will be returning for production design.
At the moment, Joachim Rønning is working on Disney's Maleficent 2, so actual production on Pirates of the Caribbean 6 reportedly isn't set to begin until 2020, with 2021 or 2022 being the proposed release date window.
The rest of Geeks World Wide's report digs into the looming question of whether Depp's Jack Sparrow will be brought back for the next installment. Pirates of the Caribbean 5 pulled in only $794M worldwide after Pirates 4 cracked the $1 billion mark.
This has led to speculation on whether Depp's presence has become toxic to the franchise following controversial domestic abuse accusations from his ex-wife Amber Heard. There has been a growing chorus of those who don't want Depp involved in big fan-driven franchises like Pirates or Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts — campaigns which have gone so far as to attack the creators (J.K. Rowling) and studios (Warner Bros. Disney) who continue to employ Depp.
Disney has become a particular focal point in the news lately, as the studio cut ties with Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn over some old controversial tweets that resurfaced as part of a politically-motivated attack. That decision has split both fans and celebrities down the middle, with just as many supporting Gunn as condemning him. With things in Hollywood now so tense, and big franchises potentially hinging on public opinion of its stars and crew, the question regarding Depp is going to be an interesting one to see play out.
We'll keep you updated on the status of Pirates of the Caribbean 6 as more information comes to light.