[UPDATE: We've added additional official images released from the film]
Decked out in eyeliner and tangled dreadlocks, with a swagger that indicates he's permanently intoxicated, it's little wonder Disney officials were at first taken aback by Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow persona. Thankfully, the studio heads did not fire the actor for his radical interpretation of the character and will soon release Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth film to feature the quick-witted pirate.
The first official images have been released for Disney's fourth Pirates of the Caribbean, along with some additional plot details that explain how the peculiar characters in the flick all end up getting involved in one another's business.
Those that dared to sit through all 169 minutes of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (and considering the film's box office gross , a lot of people did) will recall that the pic concluded with a shot of Sparrow setting out to sea in a dinghy, armed with nothing but his trusty compass, a bottle of rum, and a stolen fragment of a map that would lead him to the Fountain of Youth. When the official POTC 4 synopsis was released, few were shocked to learn that Sparrow's quest to find the mythical fountain was the basis for the fourth film's plot.
Depp's Sparrow finds his quest for immortality in On Stranger Tides obstructed by corporate interests (insert Disney joke here) when he is captured by the guards of King George II (Richard Griffiths), who wants to recruit Sparrow to find the Fountain of Youth for himself - with the assistance of Jack's old pal/mutinous first mate, Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).
Check out an image from that scene below:
[caption id="attachment_91498" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="Sparrow, captured and brought to St. James Palace in London."]
Sparrow declines to acquiesce the king's request (he says no ;-)) and quickly escapes via a comical chase sequence involving carriages and a noblewoman (Dame Judi Dench) that the seafarer woos before splitting, her jewels and expensive trinkets in hand.
Here's a pic from Sparrow's Charlie Chaplin-inspired escape in the film:
The journey to the Foutain of Youth becomes all the more tricky for Sparrow when he later gets involved with an old flame, Angelica (Penelope Cruz), and her father, the merciless Blackbeard (Ian McShane) - though Captain Jack is not sure which of these two he should be more scared of.
Get an early look at Sparrow opposite the father-daughter duo in the pic below:
Expect the Jack-Angelica dynamic to be quite similar to the captain's previous encounters with former flings (Sparrow will undoubtedly have to endure more than a few harsh slaps this time). As Depp told USA Today, concerning his and Cruz's onscreen relationship, "We have our bouts in the film, but there's also this residue of what might have been. It's a kind of love-hate thing."
Check out the couple as they wade through waist-deep swamps on their way to the Fountain of Youth in the image below:
Depp professed that he likes the standalone storyline of On Stranger Tides since "you don't have to connect the dots for these subplots and sub-characters [like in the last two movies]. It felt like a a fresh, clean slate." After the convoluted mess that was At World's End (which even the screenwriters seemingly don't fully understand), that's a relief.
The POTC 4 trailer will arrive next Monday, December 13th, so we'll have a better idea of how director Rob Marshall's take on the swashbuckling blockbuster series differs from Gore Verbinski's POTC trilogy.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides arrives in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D theaters on May 20th, 2011.