It was only just last month that Disney reportedly began telling their cast and crew to beat to quarters, and prepare for Pirates 5 and 6.

Now they’re actually weighing anchor (I could do this all day) according to Deadline Hollywood Daily. Terry Rossio has been signed to pen a fifth installment of the ongoing Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. (No Ted Elliott. Sign of a split?)

Disney is also trying to bring back Rob Marshall to direct, which definitely indicates they’re happy with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.  It must be watchable. Right?  Right? Well, let’s hope so.  Then again, we know a film doesn’t necessarily have to be incredible or even that profitable for the studio to (possibly) sign off on a sequel. (See: Tron: Legacy sequel rumors.)

Johnny Depp is not yet signed, but at this point we all know that he’s happy to sail with Disney for as long as they want him to.   I’m imagining him actually resembling Keith Richards by the time he sails into the sunset with Sparrow.  Naturally, Richards will still be alive,  and probably swinging from the topsail as we roll to credits.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — I liked the first two.  And I’m always up for a solid swashbuckling adventure.  But this many films for any franchise not called Harry Potter (and that one gets a pass purely because it had an excess of source material ) just feels excessive and stale.   The best thing for it is if they could expand its universe, a’la Star Wars, and inject some new characters and find new formats (Television, perhaps? Comics? Video games?) to tell their stories in.  That could be interesting and self-renewing as a concept.  Constantly circling around the same character is just empty.   You’re never really going to learn anything about him (that’s half his appeal) and there’s only a limited amount of situations he can be in. There may always be a horizon, Jack, but it’s going to be awfully silly seeing you constantly chasing some new bauble in it.