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Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum (as well as a bank vault full of cash). Disney has officially begun the process of triggering a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and has hired a noted screenwriter to help the sequel set sail.
Jeff Nathanson, whose credits include Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal (as well as Speed 2: Cruise Control, the last two Rush Hour movies and Tower Heist), has been handed the duties for Pirates of the Caribbean 5, with producer Jerry Bruckheimer steering the ship. Variety reports that Johnny Depp is “set to return” as Capt. Jack Sparrow, though they could not confirm if other key characters from the Pirates series would be along for the ride. Geoffrey Rush continued to play Barbossa in the 2011 installment, On Stranger Tides, but original stars Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom have gone on record of saying that their story concluded in the third movie, so I’d be surprised to hear if either were going back on that word.
I’m not surprised to hear that Depp wants back in, or that Disney’s interested in keeping this series afloat. Though reviews were harsh, On Stranger Tides banked more than $1 billion worldwide, proving that many still want to see Depp’s drunken pirate routine on screen. The movie has been a marketing beast for Disney, so it’s wise of the studio to keep it on Hollywood’s radar for as long as is physically possible. I’m not sure that the series would survive without Depp, so as long as he’s willing and able it seems like Pirates will set sail.
Now the question remains: Will Tides director Rob Marshall board for another sequel? Would Bruckheimer and Depp lure original director Gore Verbinski back onto the Black Pearl? Or will the hiring of a new director mean a whole new direction for the series? Let’s see where this one’s heading.