It's been six full years since the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie and a decade since the end of the franchise's first trilogy. Since we know that at least part of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will deal with characters we haven't seen for a very long time, it's probably worth giving a rundown of all the important people, places, and things in the franchise, as a reminder of just where the hell we left all these people.
While we don't know what exactly has happened to all these characters in the intervening years, it's worth remembering where we left them, because it will likely have a lot to do with what will happen to them, once we see them again. So that you don't have to watch the terrible sequels prior to the new one that might actually be good, here's a look at everything you forgot about the mythology of the story.
Captain Jack Sparrow isn't always the main character of a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but he is always an important one. At the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Jack (Johnny Depp) had lost the Black Pearl to Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) for the second time, but he successfully kept the navigational charts that led him to the Fountain of Youth. While he never got to drink from the Fountain during On Stranger Tides, he did successfully escape Blackbeard alongside his stalwart first mate Gibbs, and with his compass and the Black Pearl in his possession, sort of...
The Black Pearl
The Black Pearl is one of the most famous ships afloat on the Spanish Main. Its speed is unmatched and Jack Sparrow sold his soul in order to be its Captain. Unfortunately, Sparrow had a tendency to lose his ship to Captain Barbossa. His former first mate took the Pearl away at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, but then Barbossa lost the ship in turn to Blackbeard, who magically shrunk the vessel and added it to his collection of ships in bottles. Blackbeard died at the end of the film, so there was no known way to bring the Pearl back. Jack Sparrow got his ship back, now he just needs to find a way to get it back to size. There does appear to be some likelihood of success, however. Keep reading.
Barbossa has had the wildest ride of any character within the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. When we met him, he was the captain of the Black Pearl and its crew of cursed men. While Barbossa was killed when the curse was broken, he was brought back to life via the magic of Calypso the sea god, in order to help bring back Jack Sparrow. After stealing the Black Pearl back from Jack, he lost it, and his leg, to Blackbeard, at which point he became an official privateer for the British government. When last we saw Barbossa, he was heading back to a life of piracy. He's in control of Blackbeard's old ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge as well as the magic that makes it work. Who knows where he will go from here.
Will Turner started his life as a professional blacksmith with a hatred of pirates, before becoming a pirate himself. One thing that he was much more consistent about was his love for one Elizabeth Swann. While the discovery that Will's father was still alive led to some divided loyalties on Will's part, the pair were eventually married, on board a ship, in the middle of a sword fight. The honeymoon was short-lived, as Will was stabbed shortly thereafter by Davy Jones. In order to save his life, Jack Sparrow had Will stab the heart of Davy Jones, which kept Will alive but made him the new captain of the Flying Dutchman, responsible for ferrying the souls of those that die at sea to the other side, meaning he could only spend one day every 10 years on shore.
Born the daughter of the governor of Port Royal, Elizabeth Swann's life took a serious turn after she was kidnapped by Barbossa and the crew of the Black Pearl. Of course, Elizabeth Swann was rarely the damsel in distress. She was taught to use a sword by Will Turner, made the captain of a ship, became one of the nine pirate lords when previous lord Sao Feng died, and thanks to Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth was made Pirate King of the Brethren Court, where she made the decision to fight the East India Trading Co. She married Will Turner only minutes before he was killed by Davy Jones and then transformed into the new captain of the Flying Dutchman. She then spent Will's only day on land for 10 years with him, an encounter that produced a son.
We'll be learning a lot about Henry Turner, the son of Elizabeth and William in the new film, as the young man, being played by Brenton Thwaites, is one of the three primary characters of the film. However, it will actually be the second time that we've seen the character. In a post-credits scene at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, we see Henry all of nine years old, and his mother walking toward the beach together, as Will Turner returns for his one day every 10 years that he can spend on land. Depending on Henry's age in the new movie, he's maybe seen his father for one additional day in his entire life. No wonder he goes in search of a way to free him from the curse.
Jack the Undead Monkey
While Jack Sparrow is the most famous Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean, he shares a name with Barbossa's pet monkey. In a post-credits scene in the original Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, we see that Jack once again steals a piece of gold from the Cortez chest, making him undead once again. He's still suffering from the affliction in Dead Man's Chest so as far as we know, he continues to be undead to this day. In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides we see that Jack never escaped the Black Pearl when it was shrunk down by Blackbeard, putting a miniature version of the monkey on the ship. However, in the trailers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales we seem to see Jack free of the boat and back to regular size. Unless this is a different monkey, maybe the Pearl too will return to regular size.
Gibbs has never been the most important member of the Pirates of the Caribbean story, but nevertheless, he has always been there, right beside Jack Sparrow, come hell or high water. Gibbs crossed over from England on the same boat that brought Elizabeth Swann to Port Royale, after that, however, he fell in with Jack Sparrow. He acted as the first mate of the Black Pearl until it was stolen (again) by Barbossa at the end of At World's End, where Gibbs was left sleeping on the dock. After that Sparrow and Gibbs separated but Sparrow returned to England to save his friend from hanging. He and Jack are together at the end of On Stranger Tides, with the Black Pearl, and all of Blackbeard's other captured ships inside bottles.