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Most people agree that with each passing installment, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has dipped in quality. Elements of the first film that worked were stripped away, and what was left by the end was a convoluted mess that, while visually stunning, lacked the heart of its first outing. Now it seems that the franchise intends to get back to its roots.
According to Digital Spy, while promoting her new film, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Pirates of the Caribbean newcomer Kaya Scodelario spoke out about the direction the fifth swashbuckling adventure will take. She said:
It [does have] a lot more of the first movie, that's what they wanted to bring it back to… [The producers] want to take it back to the beginning again. They wanted it to have this epic journey, and for it to make sense, and for it to tie things up, and also lead to new storylines.
This seems to indicate that the franchise will seek to simplify the action and story of it next outing. While no one would ever go so far as to call Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl a grounded film – it features living skeleton pirates after all – when compared to what followed it, its concept and story were relatively simple. Over time, numerous elements from nautical lore – such as the Green Flash, Davey Jones, and the Kraken – were jammed into the sequels and made everything considerably more complicated. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales focuses on Javier Bardem’s Captain Salazar as he persues Jack Sparrow – who is searching for King Poseidon’s trident. Beyond that Macguffin, the plot seems fairly straightforward and uncomplicated.
Part of that likely involves altering who gets the most screen time in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean film. In the franchise’s first outing, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow was noticeably more of a secondary character than he was in later outings. He was the rake of the crew, the immoral foil to Orlando Bloom’s righteous Will Turner – think Han Solo to Turner’s Luke Skywalker. As his popularity grew, so did his prominence within the franchise. Scodelario’s statement indicates that the franchise is opening up new storylines, which could mean that Sparrow will take a backseat to series newcomers, providing necessary humor and context for the proceedings, while not serving as the film’s protagonist. He could even hand off the franchise to a younger generation of actors – such as Scodelario's Carina Smyth – which has become fairly commonplace among numerous Hollywood franchises looking to extend their lifespans.
While we cannot say for sure what Scodelario means when she indicates that the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will be similar to the original, we can only hope that means the franchise will improve from its somewhat lackluster sequels. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sails into theaters on July 7, 2017.