“It felt like a beginning in a way, with so many new characters, especially a female pirate,” Marshall said. “That was really a huge element for me, because I thought, OK, now we have other colors for Jack Sparrow to play against. A villain like Blackbeard. That felt very new.’’
The filmmakers did not have a hard time enlisting new recruits.
McShane, who has had a late career surge playing nasty villains such as the ruthless opportunist that he portrays on his Western TV series Deadwood, was eager to embody a figure as big and bad as Blackbeard.
Depp and Bruckheimer have hinted that they love Jack Sparrow so much, the Pirates franchise could go on indefinitely, like James Bond, if they keep coming up with stories that interest them.
Critics may wonder how long fans will stay interested, but the buzz for On Stranger Tides seems to assure the sequel will put up huge numbers on opening weekend.
“Sometimes the more skeptical, cynical side of the audience or the press sort of go, ‘Come on. Four films. Enough’s enough.’ And I go, ‘the Bond franchise is 23 films old, and they still sell,’’’ Rush said.
“With Captain Jack, I feel like there’s much more to be had,” Depp said. “There’s much more fun to be had. As long as the stories, the scripts are good, with filmmakers like Rob Marshall, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
There is only one sure thing that could sink the franchise.
If Depp jumped ship and did not come back, Bruckheimer said he would not try to retool it to continue the voyage without him.
“It’s over. It’s done,” Bruckheimer said. “He created the franchise, that character. Made it come alive. He is Pirates of the Caribbean.”