Spoilers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has possibly the franchise's most intriguing post-credits scene yet, teasing the unexpected return of a major character for Pirates 6. But in doing so it's also rather confusing, throwing a lot at the audience in one go, so let's take a deeper look.
There's a strong tradition of stingers in the Pirates movie, with the series making them a mainstay long before Marvel (they were doing it back when Chris Evans was still in talks for Fantastic Four): The Curse of the Black Pearl showed monkey Jack becoming a cursed immortal; Dead Man's Chest revealed the fate of the dog on the island of savages; At World's End jumped forward ten years to show Will Turner taking his once-a-decade trip home from serving on The Flying Dutchman; and On Stranger Tides ended with Angelica getting her voodoo doll of Jack back. They were all a bit of fun or an emotional tease, but now Disney is actually taking a page out of their Marvel playbook and explicitly setting up the future.
As Dead Men Tell No Tales wraps up, it feels in many ways like a definitive end. Jack Sparrow, Henry Turner and Carina Smyth (now known to be a Barbossa) manage to destroy Poseidon's trident, lifting the curse on Will that bound him to the Dutchman, and return home where a de-barnacled Orlando Bloom finally reunites with Keira Knightly's Elizabeth Swann. As Jack Sparrow resumes his position as Captain of the Black Pearl (again), the two generations of the Turner family walk home against the sunset.
It's a nice, tight, happy ending that manages to resolve many of the dangling threads from the original trilogy (including At World's End's post-credits scene). Had Pirates of the Caribbean wanted to finish here, it would have been a legitimate narrative stop. They even had Barbossa, the best of the series "good" guys, sacrifice himself to save his daughter, rounding off the arc of the most developed character and giving a sense of finality to it.
However, as the post-credits scene shows, things aren't quite as cheery as they seem.
What Happens In Dead Men Tell No Tales' Post-Credits Scene?
The Dead Men Tell No Tales post-credits scene picks up with Will and Elizabeth, asleep in their bed. Unexpectedly, someone walks into the room. We hear their thudding footsteps, make out their tentacled shadow and as they lift a clawed hand in attack, there's no doubt about it - that's Davy Jones. Will then wakes up and there's no one there, suggesting it was all just a rather unfortunate dream. However, as he nods off again the camera pans down to reveal a pool of water and barnacles.
There's a degree of ambiguity to the scene, likely because at present whether a Pirates 6 is made depends on Dead Men's box office and the story is thus not fleshed out. But, assuming everything goes to plan, we can take one big thing away: Davy Jones is back... somehow. And somehow is the dominant word. After all, while it's very exciting, the character's supposed to be deader than the souls in his eponymous locker. What horrors has Jack's latest adventure accidentally unleashed?
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) release date: May 26, 2017