While the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has received criticism that Johnny Depps Jack Sparrow character got worse as the movies wore on thats not quite true and its a big part of why Depps Sparrow returning wouldnt be enough to save Pirates of the Caribbean 6. Later entries in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise proved to garner less and less acclaim with the latest entry Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales receiving a sub par 30 persent on ratings aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Therefore broadly speaking there is a critical consensus that claims the series started strong but the Pirates of the Caribbean movies deteriorated in quality as the franchise continued.Alongside this claim there is a connected argument that can be seen in many reviews of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that claim Johnny Depps central character Jack Sparrow grew progressively less funny charismatic and likable as the franchise continued. While screen veteran Brian Coxs claim that Depps Sparrow was always overrated is subject to debate the statement that Jack got worse with each new Pirates of the Caribbean movie is one that even staunch defenders of the film series seem to have a hard time denying.
Although many pieces of online commentary suggest that Jack Sparrow seems to become increasingly grating throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean series these reviews overlook real issues with the franchise. In reality Jack Sparrows character is remarkably consistent throughout the five Pirates of the Caribbean movies with the franchises increasingly jarring story structure that changed and eventually doomed the series to critical failure. As a result The Pirates of the Caribbean movies cant fix their biggest problem even if Johnny Depp returns to the role of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean 6 because Jack was always a symptom of the franchises woes not the source.
How The Pirates Of The Caribbean Movies Got Worse
Between the original trilogy and the Jack centric sequels the focus and tone of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies changed. Later Pirates of the Caribbean movies became lightweight adventure romps in contrast with the surprisingly dark scary and occasionally tragic original trilogy. In terms of plot the fourth and fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movies focused almost entirely on Depps Sparrow at the expense of his new co stars creating narratives that felt increasingly paper thin. In contrast the original trilogy has almost too many characters with Elizabeth and Wills love story Jacks crew the undead Barbossa the Pirate Lords Commander Norrington Davy Jones the Kraken and the East India Trading Company all vying for screen time. This sprawling list of characters arrives without even mentioning Calypso/Tia Dalma the villain wasted by the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy due to the films respective increasingly over stuffed plots. While the first three Pirates of the Caribbean movies therefore still had issues their stories didnt center entirely on Depps character a mistake that the later sequels would double down on.
Jack Sparrows Character Never Changed
There is no denying that contemporary appetite for Depps Sparrow decreased as the Pirates of the Caribbean series continued. However this problem has never hinged on any changes in the character of Jack Sparrow himself nor even on how Depp portrayed him. Depps Sparrow doesnt massively change between the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the later sequels. In fact he gets more screen time and therefore loses his novelty a pattern that started as far back as 2006s first Pirates of the Caribbean sequel Dead Mans Chest but despite this the lovably amoral opportunistic Jack Sparrow remains a consistent character throughout the entire Pirates of the Caribbean series. Ironically this character consistency isnt good news for the franchise.
Why Pirates Of The Caribbean 6 Cant Fix Jack Sparrow
One recurring inquiry in the online discourse surrounding a potential Pirates of the Caribbean 6 is the question of whether the creators of Pirates of the Caribbean can fix Sparrow as a character. This discussion is primarily born from an evident disparity between how he was seen in his 2003 screen debut versus his current incarnation. As if to underline this 2003s first Pirates of the Caribbean movie saw Depp nominated for an Oscar for his role as Sparrow while 2017s fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie saw the actor nominated for a Razzie award. However despite how drastically audience reactions to replacing Depps Jack Sparrow have shifted over the years Jack cant be fixed because hes not broken.
Pirates of the Caribbean 6 replacing Depps Jack Sparrow has not been put off because the creators want to rehire his original actor or fix the protagonist but because Sparrow is an irreplaceable element of the series. The Pirates of the Caribbean movies grew to rely on Jack Sparrow as their sole source of compelling character drama and this over reliance resulted in steadily more screen time for Depps character. This exhausted Sparrows appeal not because it changed the character in any meaningful way but because the Pirates of the Caribbean antihero stayed the same. The Jack Sparrow who stole the show in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movies was always intended to be a scene stealing supporting star not the franchises lead.
What This Means For The Pirates Of The Caribbean Series
Given the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has only grown to rely on Depps Jack Sparrow more and more over the years the character has become more indispensable while growing less and less well liked. Depps character is the crux of the later Pirates of the Caribbean sequels and his presence alone forms their primary appeal for many fans which paradoxically results in audiences liking him less than ever before. In this way his appeal has been exhausted by over exposure and a character that is designed to exist in small doses has been blamed for failing to grow and change when this same evolution would sap him of his flighty feckless devil may care appeal.
Now the Pirates of the Caribbean series is put in an unenviable position even disregarding Depps well publicized ongoing personal troubles. The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise needs Sparrow to function in the same way that Scream 2022 didnt need Sidney Prescott onscreen at all times or Fast & Furious was able to retool the franchise after the untimely death of Paul Walker. Jacks unchanging persona is the primary selling point for movies meaning he is in essence resented for not changing while also being unable to enjoy any character development that makes the inherently light hearted Jack a more complicated or mature figure. In this way the Pirates of the Caribbean movies cant make Pirates of the Caribbean 6 work unless the creators either find a way to stop centering the series on Depps Jack Sparrow or find a way to change the character that audiences want to see.