Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides made over a billion dollars worldwide, so it’s always been a foregone conclusion that we’ll eventually “get” to see Johnny Depp back as Captain Jack (Sparrow) in Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (despite the actor’s current non-commital status).

A year has passed since the announcement that Terry Rossio (minus his Pirates 1-4 and Shrek writing partner Ted Eliott) is revising the first draft. Today’s update points to dissatisfaction from someone in a position of power – be it a Disney head honcho, Depp or both – and thus, another writer is either revamping Rossio’s script or (possibly) passing it over altogether to begin from scratch.

On Stranger Tides ignores some of the Sparrow character’s backstory introduced in the sequels (retroactively), setting up future standalone adventures with Depp. An end-credits teaser opens the door for OST costar Penélope Cruz to reprise Jack’s (twice) jilted lover Angelica. Meanwhile, Geoffrey Rush told us exclusively that he anticipates Barbossa and Sparrow’s Tom and Jerry-style antics continuing as long as new Pirates movies are being made. However, it’s best to not believe any of the rumors about either Orlando Bloom and/or Keira Knightley returning (… yet).

Variety is asserting that the Mouse House has “tapped” Jeff Nathanson for Pirates 5, but leaves it open to interpretation as to what, exactly, the scribe is getting up to (ie. rewriting or starting afresh). On Stranger Tides helmer Rob Marshall (no pun intended) no longer seems a likely candidate to oversee Pirates 5, as he’s pressing forward with Into the Woods. Maybe Disney is changing direction, with the intent of enticing another filmmaker?

The studio’s director wish list (at one point) included Tim Burton, Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Chris Weitz (Twilight: New Moon), among others. The plan is standalone installments hereon out, so it might be a smart maneuver to play musical (director) chairs and keep audiences returning for more on the promise of a unique approach to the Pirates-verse each time around (a formula that’s proven lucrative for Mission: Impossible). Depp, of course, will be the box office appeal and glue keeping all the films together.

Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush in ‘On Stranger Tides’

As for Nathanson: his writing collaborations include Speed 2: Cruise Control, Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal and Tower Heist, while he worked solo on Rush Hour 2 & 3 and received story credit for his (non-final) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull script draft. Disney may be all the more favorable to someone like Nathanson (ie. capable of producing good material that doesn’t rock the boat), while awaiting to find out if Depp’s Lone Ranger – which Rossio co-penned – is a costly gamble that pays off.

More on Pirates of the Caribbean 5 as the story develops.

Source: Variety