The Pirates Of The Caribbean Franchise Nearly Starred Two James Bond Villains, Not Just One

Javier Bardem visits Brenton Thwaites in a jail cell in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Back when the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was gearing up for its supposedly final entry, the casting of Skyfall villain Javier Bardem was a fortunate stroke of casting genius. Playing the role of Captain Armando Salzar, Bardem’s role in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales couldn’t have fit him better. Which makes the fact that fellow James Bond villain Christoph Waltz was also up for that role all the more interesting in hindsight.

As progress was being made towards directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s entry in the Johnny Depp iteration of Disney’s blockbuster saga, Waltz was being considered for the baddie in the 2017 film’s cast. But as Express brings up in their telling of the tale, it wasn’t too long before Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales secured Javier Bardem. The reason being Christoph Waltz had turned down the role.

Looking back at the history of this Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, it looks like the casting change up led to a bit of a rewrite to fit Bardem’s casting coup. Originally, it was reported that Christoph Waltz was being considered for the villain who, at the time, was to be named Captain Brand. So it wasn’t like Disney was considering the Austrian-German actor for a role that was always planned to star a Spanish actor.

So why did Christoph Waltz pass up on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales? Well, it seems like the James Bond franchise was the cause of that matter, at least that’s what the timing involved in the film’s casting would suggest. Waltz’s potential casting was mentioned towards the end of 2013, while Javier Bardem’s candidacy circulated around the October 2014 timeframe. Within a month of that news, Christoph Waltz was announced as joining the cast of Spectre, with December of that year marking the start of filming.

Running down the entire plot of this Pirates of the Carribean merry-go-round, it feels like Disney wanted a Bond villain for their project, and didn’t even know it. Until, of course, they actually replaced a future 007 antagonist with the most recent to tangle with Daniel Craig’s iconic hero. It’s a tale of two different paths that yield wildly different results; which is exactly where the fate of the entire franchise seems to be sitting this very moment.

In a post Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales world, two paths are developing from one similar world. Though instead of dueling James Bond adversaries, it’s a case of two comic book performers, as both Karen Gillan and Margot Robbie are both tipped as being the way forward for the next age of Pirates movies. Time will tell which scenario wins out, and one day we'll be able to look back on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and laugh about how it weighed two potential candidates from a very familiar background.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.