Austin Butler in gray suit (left) Johnny Depp smiling (right)

Austin Butler Could Join The 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' Franchise Amid Johnny Depp's Questionable Return

Home / Entertainment / Austin Butler Could Join The 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' Franchise Amid Johnny Depp's Questionable Return

By Kelly Coffey-Behrens on July 10, 2024 at 11:15 AM EDT

As Johnny Depp's return to "Pirates of the Caribbean" is in limbo, Austin Butler has expressed his interest in joining the popular Disney franchise.

As The Blast reported, Disney fired Johnny Depp from the upcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie due to the domestic abuse allegations in an Op-Ed from his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Depp then sued Heard for defamation, and the case went to trial.

While Depp said he would never return as Jack Sparrow in court, rumors have swirled that he could return to the franchise. While his return is still in question, Austin Butler is reportedly being approached to lead a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

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Austin Butler In Talks To Join 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' Franchise

Austin Butler during the photocall for the presentation of the film Bikeriders

According to a new report from Life & Style Magazine, Austin Butler could become the new Johnny Depp.

“Austin Butler and his team’s interest in the ['Pirates'] franchise has come at exactly the right time, and it doesn’t necessarily mean curtains for Margot [Robbie]’s take or even a return appearance by Johnny,” a source told the outlet. “The appeal of somebody like Austin is that he can completely transform into a character, and the potential is there to create something as unforgettable as Johnny’s work on the first film 21 years ago."

"Plus, he’s proven himself with accents, action, and even weird comedy," the source added.

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Could Johnny Depp Still Join 'Pirates Of The Caribbean?'

Johnny Depp attends the "Jeanne du Barry" photocall

While Johnny Depp's return to "Pirates" has been up in the air, a studio insider now says that bringing him back as Jack Sparrow "would be expensive and risky."

“Disney was looking at two options for bringing back the 'Pirates' movies: handing over the franchise to Margot Robbie and hope the 'Barbie' lightning strikes twice with a one-off female-skewing story, or bringing back Johnny Depp for a sixth go at Jack Sparrow, which would be expensive and risky,” the studio insider told Life & Style.

“Considering Johnny’s age and polarizing reputation, making that version would play like a franchise finale, even though Johnny still has his supporters inside the franchise," they added.

Now, with a possible third option, the studio has to discuss it and see which direction they want to pursue.

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How Likely Is It For Austin Butler To Join 'Pirates?'

Austin Butler at the Los Angeles Premiere Of Focus Features' 'The Bikeriders'

While the source claims that Austin Butler and his team have expressed interest in joining the popular Disney franchise, there is one big problem--there has yet to be a script.

“There’s still no script, and Austin doesn’t sign up for a movie without seeing what the story is going to be," the source claimed. "But unlike Margot and Johnny, you can easily imagine making three movies with Austin because he’s young, fit, and isn’t heavily tied to another franchise at a rival studio the way Margot is."

"They just need to get the script right, and there’s no reason Margot and Johnny can’t be invited to the party and make some surprise appearances or cameos, schedules permitting," they continued.

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The Studio 'Wants A Fresh New Star'

Johnny Depp at "Jeanne du Barry" photocall at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals

According to the insider, Austin Butler's probability of joining "Pirates" is pretty high (as long as they get a script soon), considering Disney "wants a fresh new star who will spend years of his life making a new set of 'POTC' films."

"They’ll pay him handsomely for his services,” the insider added. “The plan is to get something ready to shoot by the end of next year, then release the reboot in 2027. It’s a long way off, but development has begun and Austin is in pole position to be offered the lead if the script is up to snuff."

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Austin Butler Has Always Been A Fan Of The Popular Disney Franchise

Austin Butler at Los Angeles Premiere Of Focus Features ''The Bikeriders''

Last month, Austin Butler sat down with Entertainment Tonight, speaking on his love for "Pirates of the Caribbean."

"That just reminded me of when I was a kid," he said. "In elementary school, we had to make these posters that had like your favorite music, your favorite actors. And at that time – I don't know what grade, it must have been fourth grade, third grade or something – but it was -- Pirates of the Caribbean was on there.”

Fans of the popular franchise will just have to wait and see what direction Disney decides to go in.

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