We recently found out the supposed plot for the fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which, according to Hollywood Elsewhere, would feature Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Co. searching for the infamous Fountain of Youth. It’s not been officially announced but it seems plausible, and at this point we have no reason to think that it’s false.

So with that “semi-confirmed” plot (whatever that means) in mind, you could be forgiven for assuming Pirates 4 would be titled something akin to, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Search For the Fountain of Youth” or simply “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Fountain of Youth.” But no, at the D23 Disney Fan Expo, a logo/banner for the fourth Pirates movie was unveiled and it revealed the name and the release date: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has a (general) release date of Summer 2011.

On Stranger Tides, huh? I wonder just what that could mean. Since no plot details were revealed at the Disney Expo, that just leaves us all to speculate as to what the subtitle could be referring to. Could it mean Captain Jack Sparrow and Co. traveling to unknown, uncharted seas to find the Fountain of Youth? Do we take “Stranger” as in the characters don’t know what the “Tides” are? Or could it be something that will only make sense once you see the movie, as was the case with this summer’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince?

Erik Davis from Cinematical came across a pirate book by the same name as the newly assigned Pirates 4 subtitle. As Erik asks on Twitter“Did Disney swipe the title from this book for Pirates 4?” or, “are they adapting it?” The Tim Powers written book is available on Amazon, here is the synopsis from it:

“Puppeteer John Chandagnac, bound for Jamaica to recover stolen money from his uncle, becomes Jack Shandy after pirates attack his ship and force him to join their crew. Shandy’s struggle to accept his new life grounds the story for readers, even as Blackbeard and vodun magicians whisk everyone away to dreamlike lands where the Fountain of Youth itself awaits. The chaotic sea battles sing, though at times key events happen so quickly that they get lost in the shuffle as Jack tries to comprehend where he’s going and what’s at stake.”

"On Stranger Tides" by Tim Powers

Hold on a minute: the Fountain of Youth (with a main character called Jack)? Isn’t that what Pirates of the Caribbean 4 is supposed to be about? I find it hard to believe that Disney isn’t aware of the existence of Powers’ book, and aren’t using as at least an inspiration, if not a full on basis for adaptation, like Cinematical says. That’s an interesting idea to ponder – four movies into a franchise looking elsewhere for material to base your story off of. If true, it could work tremendously in the film/franchise’s favor or it could seriously backfire. I’ll leave it to you to give your thoughts on which way it would go.

What do you think of the title of the fourth Pirates movie? Do you think the On Stranger Tides book is an inspiration/source for adaptation for Disney?

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has Chicago director, Rob Marshall, rumored to be directing, with Johnny Depp being the only cast member we know of so far who is definitely returning (Keira Knightley has previously said no to returning). Production is supposed to start next Spring and is (as mentioned) set to be released in the summer of 2011.

Sources: Cinematical and /Film