Disney’s animated film “Peter Pan” that was released in 1953 portrayed Native Americans in a negative light, and people thought that the 1995 “Pocahontas” might help bring levity to Disney’s portrayal of Native Americans, however both films are still well loved by many.
More controversy came from the 1955 film “Lady and the Tramp.” The Siamese cats showcased an insensitive outlook on those of East Asian descent. The animated film “Dumbo” was released in 1941, and of course, there is a controversial scene for the children’s movie. “Dumbo” gets tipsy drinking water that accidentally has champagne in it, and for a children’s movie to portray drunkenness isn’t exactly what the public would like these days.
While Disney has meant well in these films, the movies didn’t age well into today’s world. One controversy that has plagued the film industry and not just Disney is many movies portray young women in need of being saved and that a young man must save them.
This situation was corrected in “Frozen,” and well appreciated by many. The true love was between sisters, not a man saving the girl and getting married. It was definitely a twist that Disney provided for today’s young viewers. While Disney can’t make up for insensitive portrayal of characters in its films from the last century, it can make movies to inspire and empower the viewers of today.
Money Over Morals?
“Pirates of the Caribbean” has captured audiences worldwide with each film grossing over $650 million. Disney has released a total of five “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies thus far and there is speculation on a sixth. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” series ranked as one of the most successful movie series according to Looper.com. It is right up there with “X-Men,” “Star Wars,” “Harry Potter,” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU respectively. While it’s hard to imagine an “X-men” without Hugh Jackman, or the MCU without Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, the same goes with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series without the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow played by Johnny Depp.
Johnny Depp has had his fair share of unwanted press, but the past couple of years have divided fans. Depp was accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife Amber Heard, and Depp wanted to clear his name and prove his innocence. Depp sued his ex-wife for defamation and sought $50 million in damages. His claims included losing his role as Captain Jack Sparrow, as the Disney franchise was going to move on without Depp as the iconic character. Depp won his defamation suit, which was widely publicized, and Depp had fans lining up outside the courthouse before each trial cheering him on.
Depp has made claims that he would not return to Captain Jack Sparrow even if he was offered $301 million dollars according to CBR.com Cassidy Stephenson. This either crushed fans as the films are beloved by many or was a relief to others who deemed Depp guilty despite winning his case.
Jerry Bruckheimer, who worked alongside Depp in all five of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, made a claim to APEntertainment on Dec 13, 2022, that “We’re still working on it.”
Will He, or Won’t He?
Depp who was pretty clear that he would not return as famed Jack Sparrow, has not commented on this claim by Bruckheimer, as of yet. And it would be an interesting move by Disney, to bring him back at whatever cost, as he may have won his defamation suit, and shed light on the fact that men too can be the victims of domestic violence. Being charged has hurt his image, and there are people out there who believe that Depp is guilty even though he won his case.
Will Disney write Depp’s character back into the Pirates series? And if they do, is there even a chance that Depp will accept the offer to come back and reprise his role? If both of those things happen, will the movie be as successful as the previous films? So many things are up in the air. Depp fans definitely want him to come back, but at what costs financially and morally should Disney take on that risk with his history negative and positive?