On June 7, 2022, the Australian pop culture blog poptopic.com.au published a new story with the headline, "Johnny Depp USD $301 million Disney deal revealed?!" The rumor, which was shared on Reddit, TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter, held that Depp, fresh off of his mostly victorious libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, had been offered an enormous amount of money by The Walt Disney Studios to once again star as his "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie character, Jack Sparrow. However, we have yet to find any evidence that a deal for any amount of money is in the works between Depp and Disney.
The article began, "Disney has allegedly offered Johnny Depp a USD $301 million contract deal for him to return as Jack Sparrow in another 'Pirates' film and a Disney Plus series!" The blog only cited "a trusted source close to Disney." However, the story's website address showed that it was filed as a rumor: "/rumour/johnny-depp-usd301-million-disney-deal-revealed/."
In April 2022, Depp was asked in court about returning to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise for future projects. Heard lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn asked, "And the fact is, Mr. Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million dollars and a million alpacas, nothing on this earth would get you to go back and work with Disney on a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' film, correct?" Depp answered, "That is true, Mr. Rottenborn."
The attorney's reference to alpacas appeared to refer to something that had been happening outside of the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, where the Depp-Heard trial was taking place. In April, a woman named Andrea Diaz showed up to support Depp's side in the case by bringing along two of her alpacas. Diaz manages My Pet Alpaca, a company that offers opportunities to spend time with alpacas, goats, and other animals. She was interviewed by Law & Crime:
In May, a prerecorded deposition was played for the courtroom in which Heard attorney Elaine Bredehoft asked Tina Newman with Walt Disney Studios, "Is Disney aware that Mr. Depp has testified under oath that he would not take another 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise role for $300 million and a million alpacas?" Newman answered, "No."
Bredehoft then asked, "Would Disney entertain paying Mr. Depp more than $300 million and provide him with more than a million alpacas to be able to obtain his services for any future 'Pirates of the Caribbean' role?" Newman answered again, "No."
According to Yahoo News, Depp was previously "set to be paid $22.5 million for 'Pirates of the Caribbean 6.'" However, that movie was never made. Yahoo News reported that the project never began filming after Heard made "allegations" against Depp in her 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post. The op-ed was key to Depp's case in the libel lawsuit.
We attempted to reach out to poptopic.com.au with questions about their story. However, an email address listed by the website automatically sent back a message that indicated the inbox was no longer working. Two Twitter handles for writers that were shown on the website's editorial page were also unavailable.
In sum, there's no evidence that Disney has offered or is considering offering Depp a deal worth $301 million to return to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. This story will be updated if more information comes to light.