Avast ye landlubbers! It’s been six long years since Pirates of the Caribbean last dropped anchor at Cineworld. Since the 2011 instalment, On Stranger Tides, the series appeared to be lost at sea. Following four films that buccaneered at the box office, it looked as though it could have been ‘abandon ship’, signalling a visit to Davy Jones' Locker for Jack Sparrow and his motley crew.
However, it seems the Jolly Roger is still waving on the horizon, as the pirates are returning to blow the competition out of the water in this summer's Salazar’s Revenge (or Dead Men Tell No Tales to our American cousins). For those all at sea with regards to the Pirates saga, don’t worry. We have a treasure trove of details to help you out. So, raise the anchor and batten down the hatches as we tell you what you need to know about the next instalment…
A few rookies will be jumping aboard for Salazar’s Revenge. Javier Bardem is stepping into the undead shoes of Captain Salazar, a character so nefarious that he deserves his own movie title. Joining him are blockbuster newcomers Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaites.
The Maze Runner star Kaya will play the female lead, Carina Smyth: a wannabe astronomer who looks set to fight side by side with Sparrow’s Crew. Thwaites' character Henry has been kept under-wraps, but the rumour is that he might be Will Turner's (Orlando Bloom) son, last seen as a child at the finale of At Worlds End.
There are plenty more new additions in the fifth movie, including a few surprises. Paul McCartney is rumoured to follow the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and have a cameo and from the trailer, it also looks like we might even see the undead jaws of some ghost sharks...
The return of some salty seadogs
Familiar faces will be returning as well. Depp's rogueish Jack Sparrow will be joined by his rum-loving right-hand man Mr Gibbs (Kevin McNally) and mutinous Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), reigniting their friendly (for now) rivalry. No surprise, as this trio of characters have starred in every film.
Where things get interesting is the news of the imminent return of Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner. If you've forgotten as a result of too much grog, Will met his deadly fate at the hands of Davy Jones in At Worlds End, his immortal soul trapped captaining the ghostly ship ‘the Flying Dutchman’. The end of that movie saw him reunited with his great love Elizabeth Swann under one condition: he could only see her and their young son once every ten years.
Does this mean a ghostly reunion? The ‘will-she-won’t-she’ regarding the return of Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann was met with denial but strong rumours of a cameo have been consistently swirling.
One villainous pirate
Spanish actor Javier Bardem is beginning to get a reputation as Hollywood's go-to bad guy and in Salazar's Revenge, he is starring as the eponymous villain. It’s a trend which doesn’t seem so ridiculous when you realise just how good he is at it, playing multi-layered baddies in films such as Skyfall and No Country for Old Men.
From the trailer, he looks like one dangerously creepy and undead pirate, hunting for revenge. So far, we know that he escaped something called the Black Triangle which seems responsible for his mortal demise and he's pretty angry. Now he and his phantom crew are driven to kill every pirate on the sea and he seems to hold a specific grudge against Jack Sparrow. Either way, Bardem is a fantastic actor and will bring a dominating and menacing screen presence to the series.
Navigating the story
Previous Pirates films have always been big fans of the MacGuffin, the now famous movie idea of an item everyone is fighting for, but is only really there to kick-start the story. Last time around we had the Fountain of Youth and before that the Dead Man’s Chest; this time we have the legendary Trident of Poseidon.
Details about the plot are limited but according to the official synopsis, only this Trident has the power to save Jack Sparrow from the terrifying Captain Salazar. It sounds like Jack won’t be able to do that alone and that’s where our two newbies come in, as he will join forces with Carina Smyth and Henry in order to hunt down the fabled artefact.
It will be a race against the clock as Bardem’s menacingly gruesome pirate Salazar is also after the mystical trident, hoping that it will help avenge events in the Black Triangle. Whatever the outcome, things look set up nicely for an epic battle.
Keeping the franchise afloat
Writing duties for Salazar's Revenge have been trusted to Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can) with both Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) steering the ship as director. It’s been described as returning to its successful roots with the first film clearly being the inspiration.
In an interview with Digital Spy, newest member of the Pirates team, Kaya Scodelario said the producers "want to take it back to the beginning again. They wanted it to have this epic journey, and for it to make sense, and for it to tie things up, and also lead to new storylines".
There are plenty more questions surrounding Salazar’s Revenge but the mystery won’t be unveiled until the film sets sail on 26th May 2017.
Tom Nightingale is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.