Johnny Depp showed up as the Moon Person at the 2022 MTV Music Video Awards.

Johnny Depp Made A Surprise VMAs Appearance, But You Probs Missed It

No, your eyes are just fine.

Consolidated News Pictures/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The 2022 MTV Video Music Awards had a very strange party-crasher. Shortly after the Aug. 28 show started, a mysterious figure floated above the stage. It was a quick moment, but yes, that was Johnny Depp appearing at the 2022 VMAs as the show’s mascot, the Moon Person. And the actor wasted no time celebrating his surprise TV return with an Instagram joke.

There were already rumors running rampant that Depp may make a surprise appearance at the VMAs the whole week leading up to the show. TMZ first reported the story on Aug. 20, a week ahead of the awards ceremony, claiming that Depp was in talks with MTV to dress up as the Moon Person at some point during the telecast. Sure enough, those rumors proved to be true — after Jack Harlow and Lizzo’s opening performances, the camera cut to a floating astronaut with Depp’s face seemingly virtually projected onto the helmet.

Depp only said one thing before disappearing: “You know what? I needed the work.” The comment was a reference to Depp’s recent career decline, which became a major talking point in his highly publicized recent defamation trail against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

After the moment, both MTV and Depp himself posted a jokey version in which Depp tells the audience he’s “available for birthdays, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, weddings, wakes... any old thing you need,” doubling down on the joke that he’s in a tough career spot.

As the show went on, it became clear Depp’s Moon Person bit wasn’t just a one-time thing. After a commercial break, Depp reappeared to remark it was time to “get back to the music.”

Due to all the rumors leading up to the VMAs, Depp’s Moon Person bit wasn’t exactly the biggest surprise for viewers, but it was still pretty shocking given how polarizing he’s become in pop culture. Throughout 2022, Depp and Heard’s trial grew to become one of the most controversial social media fascinations, with observers of the case feeling either very strongly in favor of Depp or of Heard. It looks like MTV chose a side, or perhaps the network was just looking to exploit the scandal. Either way, the whole ordeal resulted in Depp delivering strange one-liners as a hologram astronaut... which I guess fits in with the sometime fever-dream vibes of the VMAs.