Aside from a handful of behind the scenes images and a teaser trailer that was simply Jack Sparrow talking to the camera for a few minutes, most of the information fans have received regarding Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has been in the form of rumors or hearsay.

The official trailer debuts online December 13th (and you can win tickets to an exclusive premiere event in the “Pirates Fans First!” Contest), but you don’t have to wait until then to see the first bits of footage from the fourth entry in Disney’s blockbuster franchise.

Entertainment Tonight paid a visit to the set of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and in this six-minute video we get our first glimpse of Captain Jack (Johnny Depp), Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Angelica (Penelope Cruz), and Blackbeard (Ian McShane) in action.

In addition to the fly on the wall look at certain scenes being filmed, there’s also a brief look at some of the stunt work in the movie and an interview with producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Check out the clip below:

Okay, so there’s probably like 30 seconds of actual set footage and five and a half minutes of ET bragging about how exclusive all of this is – but I have to admit, I’m pretty optimistic about what I’m seeing here.

For starters, I love the incorporation of an urban setting as it’s a small indicator that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is indeed breaking some new ground and will have a different feel than its predecessors. There’s not really anything revealed about the plot that we didn’t already know, but it’s still intriguing to get a sense of the film’s tone and atmosphere.

I wasn’t sure which direction they were going to go in with Ian McShane’s Blackbeard character given how over-the-top Davy Jones was in the previous two films, but it appears that he’s a bit more grounded in reality. I realize that the supernatural aspects are sort of the hook for this franchise, but I’m really hoping that the characters’ attitudes towards things like zombies and mermaids is more like the first Pirates movie where they were actually shocked such creatures existed.

I had a hard time buying that everyone so readily accepting of things like a half-man/half-octopus and his giant sea beast. If  that was so commonplace in the universe of these films, why was everyone so frightened of the undead pirates in part one? Seems like small potatoes compared to a giant cuttlefish that eats boats. But I digress.

A lot of people (myself included) had their patience tested by the previous sequels, but I’m really hopeful Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides makes good on all of its promises. Now that we know Disney wants to shoot Pirates 5 & 6 back-to-back, it’ll be interesting to see how many elements from this film carry over or if they’ll continue to emphasize stand-alone adventures.

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

Source: Entertainment Tonight