Walt Disney Pictures certainly understands the value of striking while the iron is hot; the fourth installment in its swashbuckling ride-turned-blockbuster series, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, is a surefire smash (when it hits theaters in two weeks) so work on Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is already well underway.
Screenwriter Terry Rossio (working without his usual Pirates co-writer, Ted Elliot) has handed in his first draft of the script for a fifth Pirates of the Caribbean flick - however, the key ingredient to the Pirates formula (Johnny Depp) isn't ready to push ahead with the next chapter just yet.
The early response to On Stranger Tides' standalone narrative structure has been positive enough to convince producer Jerry Bruckheimer that all future Pirates pics should follow suit. That means no more story arcs being covered over the course of multiple films (a la the second and third Pirates movies) and presumably no more grueling back-to-back shooting schedules.
Judging by Depp's comments to THR about Pirates of the Caribbean 5, that'll suit him fine. While the actor has yet to read Rossio's script for the project, that's seemingly not due to a lack of interest in making a fifth Pirates venture. As he put it:
"It boils down to story, script and filmmaker... It's not something where I would say, 'Let's shoot it next month to get it out by Christmas 2012. We should hold off for a bit. They should be special, just like they are special to me."
While On Stranger Tides will definitely make a splash (excuse the pun) at the box office later this month, it seems fair to say that overall excitement for this new Pirates movie isn't as high as that for some of its predecessors. Although the promise of a less overblown entry that still delivers everything moviegoers love about this series - namely, Depp's incorrigible Captain Jack Sparrow, bizarre supernatural creatures, and entertaining set pieces - is enticing, there's still the matter of this being the fourth time we've seen all that.
However, Pirates of the Caribbean 5 isn't going to happen without Depp, regardless of how well On Stranger Tides plays out. So not only is his advice about not rushing another installment good to hear, but Disney should be inclined to actually listen (and acquiesce to his request, of course ;-)).
Depp clearly loves the Sparrow character - and though I'd be lying if I didn't say his act has felt a bit tired as of late, it's all too apparent that enough people still adore Depp's Pirates shtick enough to ensure that he'll do it again in the future. So take all that as you will.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides arrives in theaters this month on May 20th.