The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has had a hell of a run, and it's not over yet. Disney's massive series is getting ready for the release of its fifth film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but while many expect the Pirates franchise to keep going until the end of time, some say that Pirates 5 is the last Pirates movie. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle. Pirates 5 could be the final Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but it could also kick-start a brand new trilogy. The fate of the franchise is about as certain as Jack Sparrow is in any given moment, which is to say, not much.
When news first began surfacing about Disney's plans for a Pirates 5, reports suggested that the studio was ready to sign on for not one, but two Pirates films — Pirates 5 and Pirates 6. However, after the disappointing box office numbers of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Pirates 5 was delayed from a planned 2015 release, and the studio expressed concern about continuing the franchise given the costs of making such a movie. "Everyone's more cautions," said producer Jerry Bruckheimer in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the time.
Four years later, Bruckheimer seems enthusiastic about the future of the franchise, telling Variety at the Pirates 5 premiere, "If they [the fans] show up for this one and Johnny [Depp] wants to do another one and Disney wants to write a check, we'll be here." Who knows whether or not Dead Men Tell No Tales will be the last Pirates movie. While we await Disney's final decision, here are some pros and cons that might point to the future of Pirates of the Caribbean.
PRO: Turner Family
Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) reprised their iconic Pirates roles in the new film for the first time since the third film, At World's End (2007). Not only are the franchise's original heroes back, but Dead Men Tell No Tales also features their son, Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), continuing the family's pirate legacy. Bloom has already made it clear that he'd be up to continuing the story. "We'll see. There is room for more," Bloom said during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, via Digital Spy. Might bringing back Will and Elizabeth propel the franchise into a new trilogy?
CON: Franchise Fatigue
Pirates of the Caribbean box office numbers have been slipping since Dead Man's Chest (2006). In fact, the total domestic box office gross of On Stranger Tides (the most recent Pirates film), was the lowest of all the films by over $50 million according to Box Office Mojo. Granted, the film still managed to make over $241 million domestically, but the number was still relatively low. Should Dead Men Tell No Tales also suffer from low box office numbers, it could very well be the final nail in the Pirates' coffin.
PRO: Post-Credits Scene
Small spoiler alert: there is a Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales post-credits scene, and it does set up a potential Pirates 6. I won't give it all away here, but just know that the end-credits scene features Will and Elizabeth and sets up a potential villain for future films. Should Disney choose to move forward with a sixth film, they've got a story already lined up.
CON: Johnny Depp
There's no denying that even if audiences are still clamoring for Pirates of the Caribbean, they are not doing the same for Depp. Depp, who has played the bumbling Captain Jack Sparrow in every single one of the five film, has had a number of box office misses recently, like Mortdecai, Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, and Dark Shadows. Combined with the issues in his personal life, his box office prowess might be dwindling.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales could be the end of everything, but it could also be a new beginning. One thing's for sure: it's going to be a wild ride no matter how it goes.