Johnny Depp is in the news a lot right now. You’ll have watched online as his bitter court battle with ex-partner Amber Heard has been transformed into a proto-trashy reality TV show. You’ll have seen the TikTok videos and YouTube edits turning the trial into a meme spectacle

That’s why it shouldn’t be surprising that a four-year-old petition begging for the return of Depp to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has exploded in recent weeks.

“We want JOHNNY DEPP back as CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW,” the petition’s headline demands, the creator clearly having a headache over whether to use all caps or not.

“Johnny Depp has been out recently as Captain Jack Sparrow. We don’t really know the real reason though,” the description begins. “He has been playing this role since 2003 when we first saw him arriving at the Port Royal in his boat with that epic background music playing.

But can you imagine no Jack Sparrow at all? No epic entry scores, no humorous dialogues and the guy with the most good and bad luck at the same time? Don’t they know that without Johnny Depp or Jack Sparrow they will sink, they will never be able to reach that horizon.”

They know this franchise was based on a theme park ride, right? The petition concludes by asking people to sign it if they “REALLY want Johnny Depp as their Captain of the Black Pearl! They have to bring him back to rule the seas again, UNLESS it is actor’s own choice to withdraw from the role.”

Here’s the thing: Depp doesn’t even want to come back to the franchise. “The fact is, Mr. Depp, if Disney came to you with $300 million 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?” he was asked in court last month. “That is true,” he replied.

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At the time of writing, the petition has incredibly been signed over 808,000 times, drawing closer to its target of 1,000,000.

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