Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Has a New Writer

Disney replaces Terry Rossio with the man who wrote the script for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani

Does it surprise anyone else that Pirates of the Caribbean never repopularized the whole pirate movie genre? The original 2003 motion picture took the world by storm, ruling the box office and even earning Johnny Depp a surprise Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and spawned not one but three successful sequels in its wake. But aside from Jack Sparrow cosplay, the rest of the studios never really followed up with potential pirate blockbusters of their own. Maybe they figured nobody else would be able to capture the magic of Disney's film, a strange alchemy certainly owing a lot to Johnny Depp's unusual charisma as the franchise's lead character. No, it's actually Disney's own fault that they've run Pirates of the Caribbean into the ground, since no one else can be accused of oversaturating the genre. The fourth film, 2011's On Stranger Tides, made money but was met with critical malaise and audience amnesia, leading Disney to replace the series' screenwriter, Terry Rossio, for the upcoming fifth film in the series.

Who did they get to fill Rossio's shoes? None other than Jeff Nathanson, a screenwriter with one highly respected screenplay to his credit – the thrilling con artist flick Catch Me If You Can – and a string of duds like Speed 2: Cruise Control, the Argo-esque fake movie comedy The Last Shot, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, universally considered to be the worst film in the whole Indiana Jones franchise. To his credit, Nathanson also wrote Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3, successful blockbusters, but not ones known for particularly clever writing.

Variety reported the screenwriter changeover, noting that while Johnny Depp is confirmed for the fifth film in the series, none of his co-stars – who over the last decade included Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush and Penelope Cruz – are officially on board for the follow-up. Details on the plot are nowhere to be found, but we suspect Jack Sparrow will find himself traveling forward in time and crossing over with the TRON movies. We suspect a lot of stupid things here at CraveOnline, so maybe you shouldn't take that theory too seriously.

Can Jeff Nathanson bring his Catch Me If You Can charm to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, or do we have another Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on our hands? The only rules that matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline's Film Channel and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.