Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has become a ghostly shadow of its former self. But its most recent entry’s disappointing box office haul evidently wasn’t enough to convince The Walt Disney Company to let this one walk the plank for good.
Disney has hired two writers to find a fresh take for its Pirates of the Caribbean reboot: Ted Elliot, who co-wrote most of the existing Pirates films, and Craig Mazin, who wrote the Hangover sequels but recently became an Emmy winner for his outstanding HBO series Chernobyl.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Elliot and Mazin have been hired “to develop a new story” for a reboot of the franchise which introduced Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow back in 2003 with The Curse of the Black Pearl. Elliot co-wrote every film in the franchise except the most recent movie, 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales, so he has plenty of experience in this swashbuckling realm. He also co-wrote movies like The Mask of Zorro, Aladdin, Small Soldiers, and Shrek with Terry Rossio, his former writing partner. Rossio got himself in some hot water a year ago when he used the N-word on Twitter, which likely explains why he’s not involved with this iteration.
Mazin, who co-hosts the popular ScriptNotes podcast with fellow writer John August, has largely written movie which I either actively despised (The Hangover sequels) or had no interest in (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)…until he created this year’s ultra-compelling HBO hit Chernobyl and totally changed my perception of what he could do as a writer.
Last year, Disney hired Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick to develop a Pirates of the Caribbean reboot, one that didn’t include Depp’s Jack Sparrow at all. (Which, in addition to being a good idea because Jack Sparrow doesn’t creatively deserve to be at the center of these movies, would also save the studio tens of millions of dollars by not hiring Depp.) But those writers ended up leaving earlier this year, leaving Disney with a conundrum: reboot the franchise, or let it slowly sink away under the sea. Clearly, the studio isn’t willing to bury this franchise at sea yet, so they’ve cast a new net and snagged Elliot and Mazin to see what they can come up with.
I love a swashbuckling cinematic adventure as much as the next person, so even though this is yet another case of Disney running its IP into the ground, maybe Elliot and Mazin can save the day by adding wheels to this old pirate ship and reshaping the franchise into a whole new type of vehicle – one closer in tone to the first, and still best, movie that started it all.
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