[Update: Got some new quotes and more info on this subject]

If you’ve been keeping up with the news about the upcoming fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, you’ll probably be aware of the fact that it’s been given the subtitle of “On Stranger Tides.” As we reported a little under a month ago, the title is exactly the same as a pirate book by Tim Powers from 22 years ago, which is about the Fountain of Youth (Pirates 4‘s reported plot hook) and which also contains a pirate character called Jack.

It seemed like TOO much of a wild coincidence for Disney not to have had based their Pirates 4 story on Powers’ book and we now learn, from the author himself, that the film IS based on his book after all. What a HUGE surprise… (Sarcasm alert!)

After Depp appeared in character as Captain Jack Sparrow at the Disney’s D23 Expo, and the On Stranger Tides subtitle was revealed (along with a title card featuring it), Powers’ e-mail inbox suddenly got flooded by messages from surprised friends and fans, along with legal advice in case he needed to know how to sue…

But Powers has finally revealed to the LATimes that he has been in cahoots with Disney for quite a while now, and notes how he wasn’t able to talk about it until now. Here’s what he had to say:

“I was still — as far as I understood — not free to talk about it… Then about a week ago my agent wrote and said, ‘You’re now able to say that in fact Disney did option the book.’ That happened a while ago, it’ll be three years in April.”

Powers also went on to reveal his thoughts on how Disney will “adapt” his book i.e. just how much they will use. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly, depending on how you look at it) he doesn’t think they’ll borrow extensively, not least because the main characters (despite sharing one name) don’t “overlap.”

“I’ve watched all the movies several times, of course, and I think the clear thing they would use is the trip to the Fountain of Youth… My main character doesn’t overlap with Jack Sparrow at all [in personality or circumstance]; they’re totally different characters. I suppose they might overlap the Geoffrey Rush character Barbossa and Blackbeard. The only thing I feel certain they will hold on to is the Fountain of Youth since they telegraphed that at the end of the last movie.”

“I don’t know if it’s proper to say [the movie is] based on [my book] but there are enough common elements to think that the book had to be optioned to us to reasonably proceed along that story line.”

For the rest of what Powers had to say – including on the whole “Depp’s loss of enthusiasm after Dick Cook’s departure as Chairman of Disney” thing – you can head over to LATimes’ Hero Complex.

As I said, I don’t think it comes to a surprise to anyone that the similarities – notably the use of the name – between Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and the Powers book aren’t a coincidence. It’s always nice to get confirmation on this sort of thing, though it’s interesting that Disney has turned to a pre-established source to find a story for their fourth installment in a franchise that will make money no matter WHAT the story…

What do you think about Pirates of the Caribbean 4 being based off of Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides book? Do you think it’s a good idea that Disney is basing their story on a pre-established one? Have you read Powers’ book, and if so how much of it do you think will be adapted for Pirates 4?

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is supposed to start filming next Spring, and has a general release date of Summer 2011.

Sources: LATimes (Hero Complex) (thanks to Joblo)

Update Source: Empire