It’s not easy to keep a series alive for five films, especially when it’s based on something as slight as an amusement park ride. Yet here we are with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, thanks in no small part to the swashbuckling weirdness that is Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow.
Remember when we all giggled at the Keith Richards/Pepe Le Pew inspired performance? He was the defining character in what would become a financial juggernaut, but the teaser for Dead Men Tell No Tales leaves him out entirely.
This could be because of Depp’s rash of bad box office returns and even worse personal headlines or it could just be an emphasis on the new. We all know what the returning players (which includes Depp, Orlando Bloom, and Geoffrey Rush) will do with their roles. Letting series newcomer and seasoned baddie Javier Bardem take center stage is a solid marketing strategy. That flowing hair and imposing physique makes for a striking image, and when Bardem opens his mouth to reveal a bit of silliness, audiences can imagine how fun his eventual showdown with Depp will be.
The emphasis on Bardem’s Captain Salazar may also be a nod to the series’ strength at the international box office. While the last entry, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, took a hit in the U.S., its international take cleared $800 million. Having a Spanish lead could very well be a calculated move to solidify that market, especially when you consider that the title is changed from Dead Men Tell No Tales to Salazar’s Revenge or The Revenge of Salazar in several countries.
Inevitably, there’s many changes that come with a series sailing into its fifth entry. Much of the crew is new to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but what will likely be the most noticeable loss is that of composer Hans Zimmer. He’s had a hand in all of the big adventure scores in this series, and while frequent Zimmer collaborator Geoff Zanelli has taken over, those are some legendary shoes to fill.
With a six year gap between entries and rampant changes to the production team, Pirates of the Caribbean could either be headed for a much needed revitalization or an unceremonious belly flop. Whatever the dead men bring us, at least there’ll be Depp.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg. It stars Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, and Brenton Thwaites. It will be released in the U.S. and the U.K. on May 26th, 2017. For international release dates, click here.
Are you excited for more Pirates of the Caribbean or do you wish the series would sink for good? Let us know in the comments!
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