Fresh off earning numerous plaudits (and a hefty handful of Emmys) for his work on Chernobyl, Craig Mazin is reportedly now set to tackle yet another toxic and hostile environment that no one wants to get too close to, or even look directly at: Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise.
As you’re probably aware, the Pirates movies hit critical mass some time back in 2017, when information about star Johnny Depp’s ugly divorce from Amber Heard—including multiple allegations of abuse and assault on Depp’s part—began spreading at catastrophic rates. (Not that this particular burst of fallout stopped Disney from moving forward with a fifth film in the franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales, later that year.) But whether because of Depp’s alleged real-world behaviors, or just Jack Sparrow fatigue in general, U.S. audiences mostly stayed away from the franchise’s latest entry—although international audiences were a lot more forgiving. Dead Men Tell No Tales might have been the series’ weakest domestic performer, but its global numbers still made it the most successful Pirates movie to date.
As such, Disney has made no secret of its intent to continue the Pirates movies, at least eventually. But the studio has remained incredibly cagey about whether that would also mean bringing back Depp, who’s yet to have any further referendum on whether he can still operate as a leading man in the wake of his much-altered public perception. (His villain turn in The Crimes Of Grindelwald didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but it’s not like he’s the only questionable thing on offer in that anemic tributary of the Harry Potter films.)
All of which brings us back to Mazin, who, per THR, is all set to don his hazard suit to come up with a story for the new Pirates film, which will involve either a) working out how to make Jack Sparrow seem fresh/non-awful six movies in, or, b), coming up with a draw for this series other than “Watch Johnny Depp say weird shit while standing on a boat.” Mazin will be working at this heroic, potentially unsung endeavor with Pirates writer Ted Elliott, who co-wrote the first four films in the series with Terry Rossio, who’s his own whole can of worms, because apparently this particular franchise just brings out the best in folks.