Feb 9th, 2017, 11:43 PM

Captain Jack Is Back

By Madison Pritchyk
Image credit: IMDB
The fifth installment of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean series may prove that dead men really do tell tales.

On May 26, the Pirates phenomenon may be coming back full force. Originally making landfall back in 2003 with The Curse of the Black Pearl, the world was swept away by the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow. Two movies followed back to back, thus marking what fans thought was “the end of an era.” Then, On Stranger Tides invited audiences back in 2011—though wasn’t received nearly as well as the others were—and when whispers of a possible fifth film came and went, it seemed like even the most loyal fans threw in the towel. But when there’s a Will (Turner) there’s a way, and it seems the world may be taking up the pirate life once again with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

In a movie titled after the famous line on the Pirates-themed ride in the Walt Disney amusement parks, Dead Men Tell No Tales hashes a fresh narrative while minding the formulas of what’s worked best in the past. With Jeff Nathanson as head screenwriter and original Pirates screenwriter Terry Rossio collaborating, the story becomes something we’ve never seen before. Rounding out the team, the film is directed by Norwegian duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.


A photo posted by Kaya Scodelario-Davis (@kayascods) on


A down on his luck Captain Jack (Johnny Depp) is being hunted down by perhaps the most chilling villain yet, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), after escaping the Devil’s Triangle. Ghost pirates roam the seas, and the only way to ensure survival is to procure the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a weapon powerful enough to give its owner complete rule of the seas. Series newcomer Brenton Thwaites is introduced as the son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, Henry, along with Kaya Scodelario as Carina Smyth, a young woman accused of witchcraft for her studies in astronomy. The first rough draft of the script had Scodelario's character as the long lost daughter of Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), until numerous rewrites took place, rendering her a new, independent character.

Also returning is Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, who will make his first screen appearance in ten years. Turner finished the third movie as captain of the Flying Dutchman, in charge of ferrying dead souls onto the next world (or else ending up looking just like tentacle-faced Davy Jones) and only being allowed one day ashore every ten years. After the first glimpse of his character in the Super Bowl Extended Look, Turner looks to be roughened by a decade at sea, which fans took to hungrily by conceiving many “conspiracy theories” surrounding his character development on sites like Tumblr and Reddit.

According to Forbes, the 80 second Super Bowl teaser was the most viewed commercial of the night, second only to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and achieved some of the highest numbers on social media. After the commercial, the Pirates film was seen trending on Twitter, which might come as a surprise considering how long it’s been since the last film.


The wonderful @kayascods and @brentonthwaites in #australia last year shooting #potc5 #fbf 😎

A photo posted by Joachim Rønning (@joachimronning) on


What is exciting to see is the rise in the fandom’s energy again, as there were a few hurdles throughout the production process that almost prohibited the movie from happening. Initially, there were legal issues concerning the monkey used in the film as the pet of Barbossa (Rush). Filming took place in Australia, which has strict regulations regarding animals brought into the country. Disney fought the restrictions tooth and nail, leading to the Australian government's revision of the law.

In arguably the greatest challenge, the film exceeded its $250 million budget by $70 million. After Depp had injured his hand in what was said to be a go-karting accident, shooting had to be put on hold for weeks. Everything that can go wrong, seemed to go wrong, with fans even joking that the movie was cursed. But this wasn’t the first time the Pirates franchise had sailed those waters. The sequel had its fair share of budget problems and for a moment, Disney almost canceled it. That’s the movie business.

Bad publicity wasn’t going to keep this adventure from setting sail, and many fans seemed to pay no mind—crowds of people surrounded the set every day, hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars in costume. Additionally, fans have kept up with the times and the Pirates news by organizing online: many videos were shared featuring Depp staying on set until the wee morning hours spending time with everyone who waited. Fans have also shared never ending pages of trailer reaction videos, as well as digging up old fanfiction archives and renewing a fan community on Instagram. 


Here we go ☠ #scoring Favorite part of the moviemaking process #dreamtheme #potc5 @jerrybruckheimer

A video posted by Joachim Rønning (@joachimronning) on


Co-director Joachim Rønning used Instagram to its fullest potential during shooting, frequently updating fans on the film's progress. There’s no question he is enthusiastic about this project, as his Instagram bio states simply, “Director of pirates,” with a link to the newest teaser trailer. He’s shared videos in the recording studio with new composer Geoff Zanelli (who previously worked under Hans Zimmer, who scored the first four Pirates films), behind the scenes candid shots, and shots from the editing studio. 

The movies and characters continue to resonate with audiences, which is why Disney probably isn't too worried about this one not doing well. What is it about the magic of Pirates that hooks people? Maybe it's about the freedom of it all, the series's main theme—we all just want to live as spiritedly and daringly as Captain Jack.