So, what did you think of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides? Do you think it was good enough to keep the series going despite the loss of Gore Verbinski in the director’s chair and Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom in starring roles? Oh wait… you didn’t even see it yet? It hasn’t come out? Well, that’s not stopping Disney from getting the wheels in motion for a fifth one. They’ve got visions of that 3D money dancing in their heads. However, all of the pieces are yet to be in place to make a fifth film official.

What has already happened is producers have a first draft of the script in their hands. Terry Rossio has once again handled the chores of coming up with more mystical pirate adventures, but for the first time he’s done the work without collaborator Ted Elliott. Now that there’s a story in place, the next step will be for the moneymen to try and get the star and a director in place. Overtures have already been made toward On Stranger Tides director Rob Marshall to keep this train a rolling, but nothing is official on that front.

As far as Captain Jack Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp? He tells The Hollywood Reporter that signing on for a fifth Pirates film would be about, “script and filmmaker.” Seeing as the script to Pirates 3 was pretty terrible and Depp hasn’t had a problem signing on to work with a new director for Pirates 4, this film geek is going to take that comment with a grain of salt. I’d say that barring a financial disaster for On Stranger Tides, we will be seeing Captain Jack Sparrow back on our screens for at least a fifth time. And if Marshall agrees, I’d say Depp would be a certainty.

Don’t expect a second trilogy to be churned out as quickly as the first though. Depp has a lot more clout this time around and he’s putting his big boy pants on when it comes to the subject of back-to-back filming. Despite his openness to the project he told THR, “It’s not something where I would say, ‘Let’s shoot it next month to get it out by Christmas 2012. We should hold off for a bit. They should be special, just like they are special to me.” It may sound a bit off the beaten path, but I think there’s a way to keep the Pirates franchise going even without Marshall or Depp back on board. There’s some name brand recognition here just in the title, so all you would need is the right man to direct and the right man to take up the role of Captain Jack. I think there’s one guy who would be able to do both, and probably save Disney a lot of money in the process. Who’s that man? You guessed it: Brett Ratner

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