‘The Professor’ Ending, Explained: What Happens To Johnny Depp’s Character In The Professor?

The Professor

Johnny Depp has had one of the most impressive careers in Hollywood, the actor began to work in TV and cinema during his teenage years and from there he never stopped. Depp managed to work with some of the most influential and important filmmakers of their time. From Wes Craven, to Jim Jarmush, and of course, his now legendary collaborative run with Tim Burton, the actor has cemented himself as one of the most recognizable faces in the history of cinema and in the entire world.

However, in the last few years, Depp has found himself in a bit of trouble. A series of personal issues have affected his output of films, and the one time highly sought out actor is now in a sort of limbo when it comes to his career as an actor. That doesn’t mean it has stopped working at all, but there has been a while since a new Johnny Depp film, and we miss it.

The Professor is one of his latest films, and unlike many of his other works, is a very simple and small movie that tells the story of a man looking at the end of his life with new eyes. It is a very entertaining movie, but we have to say that it is one of Deep’s lesser projects. The film still warrants a watch, so be careful, the next paragraphs are filled with spoilers.

What Happens To Johnny Depp’s Character In The Professor?

At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Richard Brown, played by Johnny Depp. Richard is a tenured college professor in English Literature, and he is respected by his colleagues quite a bit. At the start of the movie we see Richard at a doctor’s office and there he receives the news that he has lung cancer. The cancer is at an advanced stage and that means that Richard will die in just about six months. The doctor presents the option of chemotherapy that could extend his life for some month, but could be really painful.

Richard comes out of the doctor’s office as a new man. Knowing that he has so little time to live, he starts to reassess his life, and he starts seeing his accomplishments as empty. That night, he arrives at home and prepares to break the news to his wife Veronica and his daughter Olivia. However, as the dinner progresses, the conversation takes an unexpected turn.

The Professor

Olivia has news of her own, and she reveals that she is a lesbian. She also reveals that she has a girlfriend. Veronica dismisses Olivia’s coming out of the closet and assures her that she is only living through a phase. Olivia gets angry at this, and they start to fight until Olivia cannot take her mother’s attitude anymore and stores out of the dinner room. After that, Veronica starts fighting with an unresponsive Richard.

Veronica tells her that she is unhappy, and that Richard has been a very bad husband through their marriage. She also reveals that she has been cheating on him with the University’s dean. The affair has been going on for some time. In the face of such an eventful dinner, Richard holds his news for himself and just makes a funny comment when Veronica asks him what he is thinking of.


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At University, Richard changes his whole method of teaching and from day one of his new class, he presents himself as someone jaded by life. He asks the students who are only there to get an easy A or are not interested in his class to leave. The remaining students, captivated by this new unorthodox way of teaching, start to become very close to Richard during his last days.

Richard starts living his life to his fullest, doing everything he stopped himself from doing before his condition was revealed. He starts consuming several recreational drugs, even experiment with gay sex, and starts developing a relationship with one of his student, the dean’s nice.

Richard goes to meet his best friend Peter Matthew and reveals the news to him, Peter who is the chief of the English department gives Richard moral support and also an immediate sabbatical. Richard keeps indulging himself in excess until his condition and the punishment his body is taking make him pass out, and he needs to be taken to the hospital. Richard goes to his one last class and tells his students to seize life and live to their fullest no matter what.

Does Johnny Depp’s Character In The Professor Die?

Richard does manage to make amends with his family. He accepts Olivia coming out as gay and assures her that even if her girlfriend cheated on her, she will make a woman very lucky one day. He also makes amends with Veronica as they spend one last night together and they remember the good old times.

The Professor

At a faculty dinner, Richard’s emotions just explode, and he tells everyone that he is dying. He has a final goodbye with his wife and his best friend Peter, before taking his card and driving through the night along with his dog. Richard makes it through a crossroads, but he takes an alternative road, as he is willing to go out by doing things his own way.

The movie doesn’t present us with a clear view of Richard dying. However, the film doesn’t really offer a cure or a false diagnosis for his disease, so we can assume that Richard died not long after we see him for the last time in the movie.

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