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Pirates 4 Sails Stranger Tides
Novel direction for next instalment

14 September 2009  |  Written by Owen Williams  |  Source: Variety

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Johnny Depp sailed into the all-things-Disney D23 convention at the tail end of last week, in full Jack Sparrow regalia, to help announce that the fourth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is officially slated for release in summer 2011. It also now has a subtitle: On Stranger Tides.

And with those words, all of a sudden, as if by magic, Pirates 4 is a far more enticing prospect that we might previously have thought, because On Stranger Tides is an excellent, Locus Award-winning novel by Tim Powers, so we're guessing that its plot is being twisted to fit the Pirates franchise.

First published in 1988, the novel's protagonist is the puppeteer turned accountant John Chandagnac, later aka Jack Shandy, who while on a trip to confront his nefarious uncle about some dodgy family business, is waylaid by pirates and ultimately ends up captaining the crew.

What ensues is a search for the legendary Fountain of Youth incorporating voodoo, zombies, a dastardly one-armed Oxbridge professor, and a number of real historical characters, such as Bahamian governor Woodes Rogers, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, and best of all, the supernaturally beleaguered arch-pirate Edward "Blackbeard" Thatch.

You may recall, if you were still awake, that as the credits rolled on At World's End, we had just left Cap'n Jack Sparrow en-route for the Fountain of Youth. Powers' novel will obviously require some re-fitting to replace Shandy with Sparrow (if that's the plan), but the rest of the book is incredibly well-placed to slot fairly effortlessly into the POTC mythos (it even has an insipid heroine that you kind of wish would bugger off). 

Anyone who ever pointed and clicked at The Curse of Monkey Island may also be stoked to learn that Ron Gilbert cites On Stranger Tides as a key influence on the Lucasarts game series. A fan on the Lucasarts messageboards says that he met Powers earlier in the year at a convention, and that the author told him he'd signed the book over to Disney on the proviso that he got to be an extra in the movie (that and a fat wad of cash, we'd assume). Dude, you didn't think to mention this earlier?!

Sadly, the book is not currently available in the UK, so if you want to do your homework you'll have to shell out for a second-hand copy or get a rather pricey small-press edition from the States. Or you could try Powers' earlier The Anubis Gates, which won the Philip K Dick award and is easily available in Gollancz' Fantasy Masterworks series. Somehow though, we doubt On Stranger Tides will stay out of print for long.

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Your Comments

I Was That Dude!
I am the 'dude' you refer to in this story and, yes, I did think to mention it earlier but out of respect for the mighty Tim Powers I decided to keep this little nugget of fanboy goodness a secret until some official announcement was made. That said, seek out Tim's tales of fantasy now! I guarantee much enjoyment is to be had within the covers of his spellbinding books! More

Posted by indytim at 00:16 on 22 September 2009 | Report This Post

will it be the same???
will it be the same?? having another pirates film, thats what everyone is debating, by the looks of it it deffinately wont be the same as the other pirates of the caribbean films as obviously keira knightley and orlando bloom will not be starring in, maybe its for the best, maybe this film was ment to just focas on Captain Jack Sparrow and his adventures, but for all those bloom and knightley fans will they watch the forth film or wont they bother, in my opinion i am a johnny depp fan so to hear More

Posted by bethanej at 19:58 on 19 September 2009 | Report This Post

I read somewhere that Keira Knightley doesn't plan to be in any more Pirate Movies. More

Posted by Bond11 at 20:00 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

So 2011 will be 2007 all over again with Pirates and Spider-Man going head to head with each franchise relasing their fourth film. I bet Empire will have some fun with this. More

Posted by Wozzy~the~Wozzer at 17:57 on 15 September 2009 | Report This Post

I'm.....not excited
I'm a little baffled, when more info starts flowing then maybe I'll change my tune More

Posted by Sphinx at 20:51 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

GERARD BUTLER FOR BLACKBEARD!! Come on Disney see sense!! More

Posted by Hood_Man at 18:45 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Can't wait if depp doesn;t get pushed out the way for an awkwardly boring love story. The only love story in pirates i give a shit about is jack and his mother fucking rum More

Posted by Director at 18:35 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Pirates of The Carribean:On Stranger Tides
I'm not to sure about this right now. The 1st movie was really good Dead Mans Chest was alright but At Worlds End was just plain boring plus Keira Knightlys charachter was dull boring annoying and pretty much useless but if they get rid of her and stay below the 3 hour time limit this could be good. More

Posted by S1lent B0b at 18:21 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

like the idea of fitting it in with a book that has similar storyline...but will wait for more info and of course trailer... More

Posted by Noelg25 at 14:54 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Scumm Bar Local
Hopefully they won't fluff it up. Also I highly doubt their will be a Monkey Island film as it will be seen incorrectly as a "rip-off" of POTC. So why not integrate a few nods to this classic game series. A young Guybrush Threepwood inspired by Captain Jack, er no, have I gone too far.... More

Posted by His Dudeness at 14:53 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Monkey Island
I feel a bit torn about this news. I am a fan of the Monkey Island games and also the book On Stranger Tides, but I feel I would rather see a film made of either of those than an adapted POTC version. More

Posted by sladey123 at 14:05 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Lets face it...
Pirates 1 was a great movie, but 2 & 3 were just shambled rehashes of the same concept which dragged aspects of the original movie out to create vague unentertaining premises. I didnt enjoy 2 & 3 at all. They were definitely a case of "getting the gang back together" and trying badly to recreate the original formula. If this movie manages to avoid hiring Bloom, Knightly and all the dead wood from the two previous sequels, and concentrates on a completely new adventure with More

Posted by IrishC at 11:29 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

I really enjoyed the first one. In a summer (2003) of disappointments, it was a genuine surprise and lots of fun. Like another film that summer (T3) I pretend that the sequels don't exist. They are both bloated, boring and over the top. Whilst a fourth film doesn't exactly thrill me, I will hope that they try to recapture some some of what made Pirates 1 such a joy upon it's release. More

Posted by Gazdance at 11:22 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Pirates 4 Sails Stranger Tides
I bet my left testicle that it will be in 3D.... More

Posted by waltham1979 at 10:40 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

Seriously, I couldn’t be less interested in this if it was a documentary about Shia LaBeouf’s first day at school. Ignoring the fact that the previous Of The Caribbean were all cackapoopants, there’s a massive clue as to why nger Tides tined for nothing more than a 2-star review in Empire and a sound ignoring from me: it’s the fourth movie in the franchise. You’d think those dimwits in Hollywood would have worked it out by now. It doesn’t matter how successful, critically or financially, More

Posted by David Somerset at 08:46 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

I would be ok with a heroine, if they feel they have to put one in, she just needs to be played by someone who can act, isn't too thin, and isn;t annoying. More

Posted by crazymoviesdude at 07:52 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

RE: You had me at Monkey Island....
Woohoo!  Can't wait.  I felt the first three became weighed down with too much... well, story oddly enough.  This sounds really entertaining. More

Posted by Drone at 07:36 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

You had me at Monkey Island....
Ok. I'll admit this sounds promising but please no more "insipid heroines". One was enough! Not gonna get to excited till we see the trailer though after the utter turd of the third film. More

Posted by nclowe at 07:22 on 14 September 2009 | Report This Post

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