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"On Stranger Tides" will attempt to recapture the fun & adventure of Disney's first "Pirates" picture

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"On Stranger Tides" will attempt to recapture the fun & adventure of Disney's first "Pirates" picture

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By now, you have to have seen the trailer for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." (And if not ... Well, here it is then) ...

And ever since this first popped up on the Web last week, I've been getting all sorts of e-mail from "Pirates" fans who now have questions about this Robert Marshall film. Like - for example - why is Captain Barbossa now dressed in a British naval uniform ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... and saying things like "Are we not King's men?"

For the answer to that question ...

WARNING !! There be spoilers ahead. And if you don't want to know about some of the new characters that will be folded into Disney's "Pirates" franchise with "On Stranger Tides" and/or learn about some of the key plot points for this new Jerry Bruckheimer production, I'd suggest that you bail out now.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Still here? Okay. Then proceed at your own peril

... you might want to Google the term "privateer." Which will then explain how Hector could wind up working with someone like Lt. Theodore Groves. Who all of you "Curse of the Black Pearl" fans  will most likely recognize as Commodore James Norrington's second-in-command.

(L to R) Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally and Greg Ellis in "Pirates
of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Anyway ... As to what Captain Jack Sparrow is doing in London, some of that info can be gleaned  by carefully reading the captions which accompanied those official "On Stranger Tides" images that Walt Disney Pictures released last week. Take - for example - this shot ...

Photo by Peter Mountain. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... which shows Captain Jack being  dragged by Royal Guards through the entrance hall of St. James Palace on his way to a forced audience with King George.

So how does Sparrow's meeting with his Royal Majesty go? Well, judging by the caption that accompanied this shot ...

Photo by Peter Mountain. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... Captain Jack was able to escape from the clutches of King George and his Royal Guards by leaping from carriage to carriage while they were still moving.

But unfortunately for Sparrow, he then runs into Angelica, a beautiful but mysterious woman from Jack's past. Who then forces him to board the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard ...

(L to R) Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp and Ian McShane in "Pirates of the
Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." Photo by Peter Mountain. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... who then sets sail to an island where legend has it the Fountain of Youth is hidden.

Photo by Peter Mountain. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Now where this gets interesting is that - according to the screenplay that Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio put together for "On Stranger Tides" - you can't actually drink directly from the Fountain of Youth. You first have to find this magical chalice ...

Photo by Peter Mountain. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... which (as you can see in the photo above) Jack eventually does discover.

But as to the way that the rest of the plot for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" plays out ... Given that I don't want to end up on Santa 's (more importantly, Disney's) naughty list, I'm going to hold off on revealing what else I know about this "Pirates" sequel. Other than to say "On Stranger Tides" will be very reminiscent of "The Curse of the Black Pearl." In that it will attempt to tell a single self-contained action-adventure story with lots of colorful characters that's just plain fun to watch.

UPDATE: After I initially posted this story last night, I began getting e-mails from JHM readers who pooh-poohed the idea that "On Stranger Tides" was supposed to be " ... a single self-contained action-adventure story." They immediately pointed to HitFix's story about how Disney was reportedly already planning on making "Pirates 5" and "Pirates 6." According to that piece, the Studio was supposedly planning on pulling a "Dead Man's Chest" and "At World's End" with these proposed "Pirates" sequels. As in: To save money on overall production costs, these two films would be shot back-to-back.

Johnny Depp and Jerry Bruckheimer on the set of "Pirates of the Carribean: On
Stranger Tides." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

So is "On Stranger Tides" really supposed to be a stand-alone? I'll now defer to what "Pirates" producer Jerry Bruckheimer told Mark Steines when this "Entertainment Tonight" reporter visited the "On Stranger Tides" set while they were shooting a huge action sequence at the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot earlier this summer:

STEINES: Does it stop at 4? Does it go to 5? Do you see a 6?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, if people show up for 4, we’ll certainly try and do a 5. We’re already working on a story, laid out some kind of interesting beats, things we’d like to see in 5. So that’s where our writers are working.

So there you have it, sort of. There'll be a "Pirates 5" (and possibly a "Pirates 6") if "Pirates 4" is actually successful. Which given the way Hollywood works these days isn't exactly shocking news.

Anyhow ... Getting back to "On Stranger Tides" now: If you really can't wait five months to find what happens next to Captain Jack Sparrow and his crewmates, might I suggest that - on April 19, 2011 - that you pick up a copy of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Shanties: A Graphic Novel Anthology " (Disney Press).

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

In much the same way that Andie Tong & Jai Nitz's "TRON: Betrayal" graphic novel bridges the gap between Disney's original "TRON" film and "TRON: Legacy," this upcoming Disney Press release will reveal what's been going on in the "Pirates" world since  "At World's End" ended  and "On Stranger Tides" begins.

Truth be told, though, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Shanties" is a bit more ambitious than that. As Captain Barbossa and his crew sit around a table in Tortuga's infamous Faithful Bride tavern, throwing back mugs of rum, we're actually going to hear a tale that dates back to before "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl." When this crew of cutthroats came across a mysterious castaway who - through his own encounter with the Fountain of Youth might then hold the key to lifting the terrible curse that Barbossa & Co. are under.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

This 128 page book - according to Disney's own publicity material - is supposed to be a " ... kind of Canterbury Tales for the seafaring, swashbuckling set." Which means that this graphic novel will feature six strange, spooky and funny stories set in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" universe. And among the unlikely adventures that you'll read about in this upcoming Disney Press release are Captain Jack Sparrow's epic slapstick battle with the undead Monkey Jack.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Plus we'll finally discover how Ragetti actually lost that eye.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

 And did I mention that "Six Sea Shanties" will introduce the "Pirates of the Caribbean" version of Blackbeard to the world? More importantly, explain why this character is "... the pirate that all pirates fear."

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Another reason that you should definitely seek out a copy of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Six Sea Shanties - A Graphic Novel Anthology" is because Disney Press has put together an all-star team of writers & illustrators to work on this movie tie-in project. We're talking about people like Eric Powell of "The Goon" fame (who'll be creating "Six Sea Shanties" cover) not to mention Bryan Q. Miller and Rob Kidd. Which virtually guarantees that this upcoming graphic novel will be a great read.

But - again - that's in April of next year. April 19, 2011. Just 4 ½ weeks prior to when "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" will finally be released to theaters.  But I suppose that if you really just can't wait, you can always pre-order a copy of this Disney Press release and be among the first to experience "Six Sea Shanties."

Photo by Peter Mountain. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Anywho ... Based on what you've heard so far, does "On Stranger Tides" sound like an intriguing extension / expansion of Disney's "Pirates" franchise? Or does this upcoming Walt Disney Pictures release sound more like the sort of treasure that you wish the Mouse had left buried?

Your thoughts?


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  • Actually, I was a bit surprised to read recently -- and not see included here -- that there are already plans for two more films in the Pirates franchise that will allegedly be made back-to-back. I love Cap'n Jack, but wonder if Disney's simply going to the well one, two or three times too many. I hope for the best but I suppose time will tell. I also wonder how this will all fit into Depp's career plans ... Tonto in the Lone Ranger (another potential franchise) and Cap'n Jack in Pirates are going to prevent him from creating some other new and interesting characters.

  • The trailer does look pretty good.  Here's hoping.

  • The trailer looks good, but then again the trailers for Dead Man's Chest and At World's End looked really good too and those movies were awful!  Please, if someone from Disney is reading this, let the franchise die.  The Curse of the Black Pearl was excellent, but every time you put out another terrible sequel, you are hurting my memories of the original!

  • Absolutely loved the first movie.  Thought the second and third movies lacked the originality of the first.  However, I didn't think they were awful.  I thought they gave us a chance to see some of the secondary characters in a really good way (Gibbs, Norrington, Barbossa).  My only regret was that they make Jack more bumbling than chaotic than the first movie.  

    Anywho, can't wait for On Stranger Tides.  I will see it when it opens and if it's anything like the other three, will see it a couple of more times in theaters before buying the Blu Ray when it comes out.  It's my third favorite movie franchise (Star Wars, Lord of the RIngs).  

    Also, I will look for the graphic novel when it comes out to get ready.  I have no actual experience with graphic novels but if it's about Pirates, I'm in.  

    Can't wait for May 20, 2011!

  • The POTC franchise should have always been a series of self contained action adventures very much like James Bond. The first flick is the BEST outta the entire series and I really hope they fall back on the "stand alone" formula. All we want are pirates, adventure, treasure and new fun characters...pretty much what you've said above. Oh and also new LOVE interests, very much like indiana jones had a new dame in each flick.

    I'm excited for a simpler POTC adventure and I'm hoping they're not going to tie in that girl and what seems to be her brother that are most likely in need of the water from the fountain of youth into other flicks...we don't need another Will & Elizabeth.

  • Why no mention of the 'On Stranger Tides' book, which Predates the original films (though was named as an inspiration for them), and was optioned for this film?  No Jack Sparrow in it (see above notes about coming before), but certainly an enjoyable ride!

  • Chandra --

    I didn't mention the Tim Powers book because -- according to the current credits for "On Stranger Tides" (which, obviously, are subject to change) -- "Pirates 4" is only "suggested by" this World Fantasy Award-nominated novel.

    That said, I have to admit that I'm kind of intrigued by the idea that Disney snagged the rights to Power's book back in April of 2006. Which is before "At World's End" was released to theaters. Which means that the Mouse had been giving semi-serious thought to "Pirates 4," "5" & "6" for quite a while now.

    Tell you what, Chandra. Between now and May, I plan on doing a dozen or more "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" -related stories on JHM. And I promise that I'll circle back around to doing something of size about this Tim Powers book -- maybe even do an interview with the author himself and/or try & talk with Ted & Terry about which characters, ideas and themes they then carried over from the "On Stranger Tides" novel to their screenplay  -- between now and then.

    Would that work for you? If so, let me know.

  • Is this why the trailer has Gibbs saying "now that's the Jack I remember"?

  • Jim,

    The fountain of youth, the zombie sailors, Blackbeard and the Brit navy scenes are all in that book.  Jack Sparrow, of course, is not.  And the protagonist in the book is a poor puppeteer trying to get to America.  But it seems like the movie will borrow the premise and many of the set pieces.

  • @jim and @ chandra   If i had a dollar for everytime Jim promised to do a story or complete a series of stories  I would be one rich guy

  • The only Pirates movie worth watching was the first one, then they just got progressively worse. World's End was almost painful to sit through, the low point being the scene with multiple Jacks in Davey Jones' Locker. I'm giving Stranger Tides a chance, since it will have new characters who aren't stale will be introduced and the whole love triangle/soap opera will be over with. However, if it sucks nearly as bad as WE, I'm not giving Disney any more of my money.

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