Walt Disney Pictures may now have studios like Lucasfilm and Marvel under its roof, but the Mouse House hasn't stopped churning out live-action projects of its own. Most of those films currently in the pipeline are live-action takes on stories that Disney previously adapted in cartoon form (The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, etc.). though it also has a pair of Johnny Depp-led franchise installments on the way: Alice Through the Looking Glass in 2016 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in 2017.
Dead Men Tell No Tales has been described as something of a soft reboot for the Pirates franchise, as it seeks to tie off any loose plot threads from Pirates films past while still keeping the franchise viable for the future. As such, some of the young cast members in the movie - such as Brenton Thwaites (The Giver) and Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner) - could end up appearing in future Pirates adventures, if all goes according to plan.
Scodelario, when she spoke to Digital Spy to promote the upcoming Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, likewise described Dead Men Tell No Tales as being a film that does its fair share of world-building and tying into previous Pirates movies - but also one that has a standalone design more on par with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
"It [does have] a lot more of the first movie, that's what they wanted to bring it back to. [The producers] want to take it back to the beginning again. They wanted it to have this epic journey, and for it to make sense, and for it to tie things up, and also lead to new storylines."
Truth be told, Scodelario's description of Dead Men Tell No Tales could also (fairly) be applied to the fourth Pirates installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. That film also picked up certain plot threads left dangling by the original Pirates movie trilogy, while at the same introducing characters who could appear in future chapters and embracing a more standalone format. On Stranger Tides was not well-received critically, which means it's up to Dead Men Tell No Tales to again try and reinvigorate this franchise creatively - as it's not hurting for commercial motivation (even On Stranger Tides ended up grossing over one billion dollars worldwide during its run in theaters).
Dead Men Tell No Tales has the benefit of both screenwriter Jeff Nathanson (Rush Hour, Tower Heist) and the directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki, Marco Polo) being new to the Pirates world, so they might offer a fresher take on the swashbuckling franchise. For an example, Scodelario's character in the film, Carina, bears a resemblance to Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann in The Curse of the Black Pearl (both being women who seek to buck society's expectations about their futures), but at the same time the former could yet stand on her own, going by Scodelario's description:
"[Carina] is an astronomer, and she is an academic. She's fighting for the right to study at university, because women couldn't at that time. So she's on her own journey - looking for the Trident of Poseidon - and she has a diary with clues, and she encounters Jack Sparrow along the way, and he messes everything up. As he does. And it's fun!"
Story-wise, Dead Men Tell No Tales will revolve around Carina and Jack's (Depp) efforts to locate the Trident of Poseidon, in order to prevent a crew of vengeful ghost pirates - led by one Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) - from killing every pirate on the high seas. The movie will also bring back Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, with Thwaites having indicated that Will still holds the title of 'Davy Jones', a.k.a. captain of the Flying Dutchman, when filmgoers see him again.
As such, the potential is there for the fifth Pirates movie to both tie up past subplots and pave the way for the future (like Scodelario said) - whether it will succeed at that task, is another matter.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales opens in U.S. theaters on July 7th, 2017.
Source: Digital Spy