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Is Disney Replacing Johnny Depp With Dwayne Johnson?

frank wolff stares at jack sparrow

The Jungle Cruise¬†may have been released on Disney+ back in 2021, and it may have starred two very popular A-list actors, but audiences apparently were not fooled by Disney’s attempt to dazzle them with the new ragtag adventure!

Writer Cathal Gunning recently published an article on Screenrant, accusing Disney of clumsily trying to replace Captain Jack Sparrow with Skipper Frank Wolff.

Captain Jack Sparrow is the beloved pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and he was portrayed by American actor Johnny Depp. Due to the scandals that resulted in the very high-profile Depp vs Heard trial, Depp stopped playing Captain Jack Sparrow in the Disney franchise.


Orlando Bloom as Will Turner and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl’ Credit: Disney

Rumors have been swirling for months about Johnny Depp’s possible return to the role, however, due to fans’ refusal to support the next¬†Pirates of the Caribbean¬†movie without Captain Jack Sparrow.

Since these are just rumors for now, and since Depp was still in the throes of the aforementioned scandals before¬†The Jungle Cruise¬†was made, it stands to reason that Disney would try (as writer Cathal Gunning put it) “to replace Jack Sparrow‚Äôs franchise.‚ÄĚ

Pirates of the Caribbean¬†had managed to become a huge success despite being smack-dab in the middle of the “infamously unreliable swashbuckling adventure sub-genre”, even though the last few¬†Pirates¬†movies have not done particularly well compared to their predecessors.

jungle-cruise-live-action emily blunt and dwayne johnson

Dwayne Johnson as Skipper Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton. Credit: Disney

According to the¬†Screenrant¬†article, “Disney attempted to find a workaround for this issue” by making The Jungle Cruise in order to avoid “explicitly addressing Depp‚Äôs¬†Pirates of the Caribbean exit”.

Although fans of Disney adventure movies might have subconsciously been comparing The Jungle Cruise to Pirates of the Caribbean films, Gunning pointed out that there were some other factors stacking up against the movie inspired by the Disney Park Jungle Cruise ride.

Jack Whitehall, Jungle Cruise Set

The Jungle Cruise starred Emily Blunt (Dr. Lily Houghton), Dwayne Johnson (Skipper Frank Wolf), and Jack Whitehall (MacGregor Houghton). Credit: Instinct Magazine

Essentially, “the Pirates of the Caribbean¬†series has brand recognition where¬†Jungle Cruise¬†did not, and¬†Jungle Cruise‚Äôs bleak box office can mostly be chalked up to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Bad reviews also reportedly “impacted Jungle Cruise¬†much more than they would hurt a potential¬†Pirates of the Caribbean 6, as creating further movies for the former is far harder now due to critical reception”.


Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow. Credit: Disney

Did you watch¬†The Jungle Cruise¬†on Disney+ when it premiered in 2021? Did you enjoy the film, and did you notice that Disney may have been trying to shift audience’s focus away from the pirate world of Captain Jack Sparrow in a not-so-subtle way (even if the attempt was not successful)?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

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