So Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is going to feature the pirate Blackbeard, mermaids, Keith Richards – and British King George II? The film certainly has the “Stranger” part down pat.

Geoffrey Rush will reprise his role as Captain Barbossa in the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean and has revealed that his character will work “as a privateer in [George II]’s court [and will] mentor [the king]” as well.

Rob Marshall (Chicago) is taking over the directorial reins for Pirates of the Caribbean 4, which picks up where POTC: At World’s End left off and follows Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) on his quest to find the Fountain of Youth. Joining Depp and Rush in the sequel are franchise newcomers Penelope Cruz – who will play one of Sparrow’s old girlfriends, essentially – and Ian McShane as Blackbeard. Keith Richards will be back as Captain Teague, keeper of the pirate code and father to Sparrow, though we don’t know yet whether he’ll just make a cameo appearance in POTC 4 or if his character will be a bigger player in the plot this time around (the former seems more likely).

George II – who reigned as king of Britain from 1727 until his death in 1760 – will be brought to life by British actor Richard Griffiths. The former stage actor, who began his career by playing comic relief characters and clowns in Shakespeare productions, is nowadays best known for his recurring role as the repellant Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter movies. Given Griffith’s age, that means that POTC 4 will be set roughly around the middle of the 18th century or so. Just F.Y.I. ;-)

Griffiths, left, as Uncle Vernon, along with the rest of the Dursley clan from 'Harry Potter'.

The cast of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean flick has been filled out with some excellent character actors and the film looks to (thankfully) include far fewer subplots than the last two movies. On Stranger Tides will still have plenty of over-the-top action and explosive set pieces, but perhaps not quite as many as were featured in the second and third POTC flicks.

Are moviegoers still excited for a new adventure with Captain Jack Sparrow? Anticipation is not nearly as high for the fourth POTC pic as it was for POTC: Dead Man’s Chest or At World’s End, but there are still plenty of fans that will turn out for another Pirates flick – kings, mermaids, and all.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides arrives in arrives in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters in the U.S. on May 20th, 2011.

Source: Empire