The newest trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales gives us a quick glimpse of Captain Jack Sparrow in his younger years. The scene accompanies series newcomer Javier Bardem narrating a long-ago showdown between himself and Jack, so we could well only see Young Jack in a single flashback in the new movie. While it looks like the younger version of Jack Sparrow was created by using Johnny Depp, makeup, and CGI (sort of like what we saw done to Robert Downey Jr. as college-aged Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War), it has got us thinking: Is there a future in young Jack Sparrow films?
It's not totally outside of the realm of possibility. After all, Captain Jack has been one of the only consistent players in the Pirates franchise, and he clearly led a fascinating life full of adventure long before we first met him in The Curse of the Black Pearl. It would be a way to keep the franchise living on for years, and there is already a YA book series on the market by Rob Kidd that centers around a young Jack Sparrow. With that plus the success we're seeing with prequel films like Rogue One and the hype behind Han Solo's standalone film centering on his years prior to A New Hope, there could be some real franchise potential.
Of course, a young Jack Sparrow film (or films) would likely mean having to re-cast Johnny Depp, the man who has been our Jack Sparrow since 2003. The big question: Could a Jack Sparrow movie work without Johnny Depp? It is possible. After all, Depp has been an actor steeped in huge controversies lately regarding domestic abuse allegations waged against him by ex-wife Amber Heard; while the jury is still out on how that controversy will affect his professional standing, recasting another actor as Young Jack would allow fans who don't feel comfortable supporting a Johnny Depp movie to continue watching Pirates films free of this concern.
Depp started playing Jack Sparrow when he was about 40, and one of the biggest recurring themes from the original Pirates film was how far Sparrow had traveled into the stuff of pirate legends. There are clearly several great stories to tell about young Sparrow, and though the pirate is an iconic, loved character, the stakes of recasting a younger version might not be as high as the stakes for casting legendary characters like a young Han Solo or Lando Calrissian from the Star Wars franchise.
But is it really something that the franchise needs? Right now, we're in a glut of movie reboots, sequels, prequels, and remakes. If Disney really wanted to tell more Jack Sparrow stories, the thing that would really make them work would be time. With such a fun and unique franchise, the temptation has got to be to strike while the iron is hot, and pump as many films as you can into the waiting arms of fans. But if we're talking about re-casting a well-loved character, the best way to make that move successful would be to allow fans a bit of space.
Give fans a chance to miss the stories and the characters, stop making films while fans still love the franchise, and give writers a chance to write a truly great story for young Jack Sparrow. If we're learning anything with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it's that fans are loyal if you treat their characters and franchises with the care and love we feel they deserve. For Pirates to just pump out a young Jack Sparrow movie to hit on our nostalgia and Jack Sparrow love would be a disservice to the character, the franchise, and the fans. However, waiting a while could prove to truly be the perfect storm in which to have Jack Sparrow set sail into movies again.
What would you think about a young Jack Sparrow movie? Would you like to see one soon, or do you think they should wait? Who would you like to see play young Jack? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Feature Image: Disney