Late last month, "On Stranger Tides" author Tim Powers confirmed that Disney does indeed plan to use elements of his book for the forthcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." He didn't have much more to say about it at the time, but it was the confirmation fans had been speculating about since Disney dropped the bombshell at their D23 Expo that a fourth "Pirates" movie was incoming.
Now, Powers is apparently free -- or at least more free -- to discuss Disney's ownership of the rights to his book, published in 1988. "About a week ago my agent wrote and said, 'You're now able to say that in fact Disney did option the book,'" Powers told the Los Angeles Times in an interview. "That happened a while ago, it'll be three years in April." Three years means that Disney picked up the rights just as "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" was sailing into theaters.
Clearly, there's been a plan for some time to pursue the Fountain of Youth plotline that was hinted at at the end of "At World's End." Questions regarding why its taken so long would be best answered by Disney, though my guess is it was a combination of talent availability and the changing economic climate. Even if the band could have been gotten back together sooner, it's reasonable to believe that the studio decided to wait for happier times before sinking into another $100+ million budgeted blockbuster.
Powers, for his part, couldn't be happier. "I'm thrilled. I think it's great," he said. And why not? Even with the specter of a Johnny Depp replacement looming for possible fifth and sixth outings, Jack Sparrow is confirmed for "Tides." There's also the fact that Powers' book is sure to experience a sales surge now that fans know the next "Pirates" movie will spring from it. Yeah... I'll bet he's thrilled.
There remains the question of how the novel will be adapted into the "Pirates" universe, since it was written long before Jack Sparrow and his pals had even been conceived. Powers has some thoughts there. "My main character doesn't overlap with Jack Sparrow at all [in personality or circumstance]; they're totally different characters. I suppose they might overlap the Geoffrey Rush character Barbossa and Blackbeard. The only thing I feel certain they will hold on to is the Fountain of Youth since they telegraphed that at the end of the last movie."
I agree with Powers' certainty, though I expect Disney intends to use more than just the Fountain from the book. After all, this is a well-established myth we're talking about. Why would the studio have paid for rights to the book if they didn't have specific ideas for incorporating the "Pirates" universe into it.
We'll find out eventually of course, but the wait is going to be a long one. "Summer 2011" is what Disney's announced. For now we'll just have to wait and wonder. And check out the rest of Powers' interview with the LA Times to see what more info can be gleaned.
Have you read Powers' book? What elements other than the Fountain of Youth do you think Disney might repurpose for "Pirates of the Caribbean"?