Lawrence Kim
February 15, 2019

Deadpool writing duo Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick have abandoned ship on Walt Disney Pictures' planned Pirates of the Caribbean franchise relaunch, according toDeadline.

Disney insiders say Reese & Wernick are no longer working on a sixth installment in the swashbuckler series that has grossed $4.5 billion in worldwide box office and $2.5 billion more in global merchandise since it first set sail in 2003.

Depp famously proved unruly on the already costly Dead Men Tell No Tales and his off-screen troubles resulted in his being divorced from the franchise, which Deadline postulates could move forward as a television series - likely on Disney+, its premiere streaming service due out later this year.

Without its wobbling and weaving star - who was the last remaining draw to the later films after much of the main cast trickled away - and the buzzy duo that made box office gold out of an utterly unusual cult comic hit, Disney production head Sean Bailey may see his quest to reignite the Pirates franchise fall apart, or at the very least, face reconsideration.

Bailey's new direction began with the October hiring of Reese & Wernick, who are viewed as tone-savvy specialists in subversive action comedy after the success of the Deadpool series (which has posted the two largest opening weekends by R-rated films in Hollywood history) and Sony's Zombieland (which celebrates its 10th anniversary with a sequel this October). That was a noble ambition, and I applaud Bailey for angling to make Pirates weird again, but it looks like it's not to be. Insiders report that debates about the future of the Pirates series are underway at Disney, with many trying to find other options with hopes the money will keep floating in while others are arguing for the series to come to an end. Although there's been some talk about possibly taking Pirates of the Caribbean to TV, the production costs are prohibitive for such an endeavor, not just when it comes to shooting on water, but also probably for the VFX budget this series demands.

Personally, I think it's time to let Pirates lay low for a while. Let it sit on the shelf for ten years and then bring it back with a new cast, new ideas, and a new audience ready to go back on the high seas.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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