The main lesson: dead men tell no tales but Disney surely does. And Disney needs to bring back the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise with a new story one thats actually being told right now in the Disneyland ride.
On a recent visit to Disneyland, I rode the Pirates of the Caribbean ride for the first time. The ride is a thrilling one, to say the least, and its no surprise it launched a film series that raked in billions of dollars.
The ride has something of a story. We see dead pirates laid out on beaches, covered with coins. We see pirates fighting and then invading a village. The back-and-forth battle between the royals and the pirates exists in plentiful numbers in the ride. And weve seen that plenty of times throughout the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
But theres a hidden story going on inside the ride that we should take note of. It might be the storyline for Pirates of the Caribbean 6 a long-rumored film that has yet to be released.
During the ride, theres a brief moment where the pirates hunt for Captain Jack Sparrow. He hides in a barrel right next to them, fooling the pirates as Jack Sparrow normally does. The hunt for Jack Sparrow is something weve heard about the Pirates films often include Jack on the run from someone who wants to capture or kill him.
But maybe the secret to finding a storyline to Pirates 6 would be to focus on someone who is on the hunt for Jack Sparrow. Not to defeat him, not to capture him, not to send him to the depths of the ocean. Maybe Pirates 6 can be about people searching for Jack Sparrow because he holds the truth to something important.
Early rumors for Pirates 6 suggest it will include a female lead. Karen Gillan and Emma Watson are rumored to star. There are some rumors that the franchise wants to move on from Jack Sparrow and focus more on a new star, rebooting the franchise to build a new audience. Theres also another rumor of a Disney Plus version of Pirates with a younger Jack Sparrow.
These rumors suggest that theres some hemming and hawing about the future of the franchise. Does Disney bring back Jack Sparrow? And if so, in what form? Do they bring back Johnny Depp who has been making headlines for assault charges with his ex-wife Amber Heard and risk people not finding his character entertaining? Do they start with a younger Sparrow on the streaming platform? Do they totally reboot the franchise?
Look, Disney has invested a lot in Jack Sparrow. He became the face of the franchise. He became the lead character of the entire film saga. You think of POTC and you think of Sparrow. Theres no question. Hes a big part of the ride. Hes a huge part of merchandise. There will never be a day when he is not associated with the franchise.
The Hunt for Jack Sparrow idea can work on two fronts.
It would allow the franchise to keep Sparrow in the story without actually having him in the story. Think of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He doesnt appear until the final few minutes. But hes a central character because the entire story is centered on characters trying to find him so he can save the Resistance and stop the First Order.
Allowing a character like Watson or Gillan to search for Jack Sparrow would certainly be that opening. It would allow Disney to keep Jack Sparrow in the story without actually having him in it, solving the issue about the film becoming too formulaic.
And then theres the ultimate twist: The film is a prequel.
Lets say Watson finds Sparrow toward the end of the film. But its a younger sparrow, one from way before Depps age, who is just getting started. Disney could recast the character, avoiding any of the potential controversy with Depp (and allowing Depp to step away from the franchise, too).
Somehow, Watsons character would give something to Sparrow that would influence his life. She would put him on the right course. Then, Disney could launch a Disney Plus show centered around young Sparrow. And the film franchise could continue with Watson at the helm, leading a new band of pirates.
Watson (or Gillan) could lead a new set of films that happen before Sparrow becomes a big name. But knowing these characters helped inspire young Sparrow adds value and importance while allowing Disney to move on from a Sparrow-filled franchise.
Its just a theory. But the thought popped into my head while riding the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The ride is too fun and popular to not keep the franchise going. But its important for Disney to find a plausible next step to keep the film centered in the POTC universe while also providing something fresh and new.
Well see where it goes. But if Disney is looking for the opportune moment, this is it.
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