How does Captain Jack Sparrow's age change through the movie franchise? Since sailing into theaters with in 2003, has been the undisputed face of the Disney film series. Other characters have come and gone, but Captain Jack remains the common thread through each adventure, with much of the mythology centered around the swashbuckling exploits of Depp's most iconic portrayal.
Despite suffering diminishing returns, the movies have been incredibly lucrative for Disney, and a sixth installment is reportedly being developed. Johnny Depp won't be returning, as confirmed by various sources at Disney and Depp himself. However, even before Depp's departurethere was some debate as to whether should return to the seas, or sit out the upcoming voyage.
Some wondered if needed a fresher protagonist for the franchise's core audience, many of whom weren't born even when the 4th installment, released in 2011. Depp was nearing 40 when debuting as Captain Jack, and is now in his late 50s. But how old is the Jack Sparrow character in each movie?
: Through Disney's novel and comic releases, Jack Sparrow's birth can be pinned down to the year 1690. Thanks to concept art from later films and the growth of Henry Turner, it can be deduced that the first movie is set in 1728, which means Jack would be 38/39 in . This more or less correlates with the real life age of Johnny Depp while filming.
: Based on the exchange between Captain Jack and Davy Jones about how long Sparrow was captain of the Black Pearl, roughly a year must have passed between and . This would make Depp's pirate around 40, again not far from the actor himself when filming took place in 2005.
: ends with Jack being dragged into Davy Jones' Locker by the Kraken and the remaining heroes resolving to save him with the help of a returning . picks up the action at the beginning of the mission and not much time has passed in between. Consequently, Captain Jack is the same age in the third movie as he was in the second, and this makes sense since both films were shot back-to-back.
: The fourth film represented somewhat of a franchise reboot, boasting a mostly fresh cast and brand new story arc. is also unhelpfully vague about how much time has passed since . In several interviews, the film's production designer stated that the year 1750 was being used as the basis for the story and setting, which creates a 20-year time jump from the previous movie. Jack Sparrow would, therefore, be approximately 60 years old - quite a bit older than Depp, who had barely aged a day in reality. Perhaps he didn't need the Fountain of Youth after all.
: Young Lewis McGowan is credited as playing a 12 year-old Henry Turner in the opening sequence of , and the bulk of the movie is set 9 years later, which means Brenton Thwaites is portraying Henry at age 21. Therefore, 21 years (and nine months) must've passed since . If Jack was around 40 years old then, he's 60/61 in , which must take place only a year or so after . Although the math checks out, the fifth movie's co-director, Joachim Rønning (via ),claims a decade has passed since , conflicting with either Henry's age or the 1750 production design of the fourth movie.
It is perfectly clear that the movies were not meant to adhere to a strict timeline, and the more installments Disney makes, the more contradictory the franchise's chronology becomes. What can be said with reasonable confidence is that Captain Jack is virtually the same age as when the franchise begins and at least 60 years old by the end of the most recent movie.
Jack Sparrow returning for is highly unlikely, but it would likely be fan service instead of necessary storytelling anyway. Johnny Depp has no desire to work with Disney again after they reportedly dropped him from the project in 2018, as was made clear by various parties during the defamation trial against Amber Heard. Disney has since signed on Margot Robbie to lead and the movie will be a Jack Sparrow-less soft reboot. While a movie without Johnny Depp might seem odd to some, it makes sense for the franchise canon. The diminishing returns on each successful installment might partly be down to audiences struggling to follow the convoluted timeline, especially between movies 3 and 4. As much as he's a fan favorite, a glaring cause of the .
Depp's age isn't a barrier to a Jack Sparrow return. Even if is set during Jack's youth, reverse-aging CGI is so advanced that Depp could seamlessly fill Sparrow's shoes at any point in the character's timeline until the actor himself retires. The problem is that Disney has big ambitions for the franchise, and the cinema landscape of the 2020s is different than the early '00s when first smashed box-office charts. Post-MCU audiences expect more of a tangible continuity from their cinematic universes and franchises, and an ageless pirate swashbuckling through vague nondescript decades won't cut it. Disney knows that needs a huge continuity shake-up to achieve its full potential, and that means timeline-muddying Jack Sparrow might, for the first time in franchise history, be better left off-screen.