'Pirates Of The Caribbean' Director Leaves Franchise For 'Bioshock'

Gore Verbinski announced he won't return for fourth film.

It might be a pirate's life for [movieperson id="16504"]Johnny Depp[/movieperson], but don't count on "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinksi to be singing that merry tune anytime in the near future. Variety reports that the franchise helmer will be sailing away from the property he's lived with since 2003's

[movie id="231606"]"Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."[/movie]

"I had a fantastic time bringing 'Pirates' to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry [Bruckheimer], Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team," Verbinski told Variety. "I'm looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future."

That future may be far off, as Verbinski's path is looking to deviate from Disney's very soon. The filmmaker will likely get to work on "Bioshock" as his next directorial gig for Universal Pictures, according to Variety. Word of Verbinski's involvement in the adaptation of the best-selling video game franchise dates back nearly a year, though actual movement on the project had been at a relative standstill while the director flirted with the idea of a fourth "Pirates" feature.

The multiplatform video game "Bioshock" focuses on a man who is stranded in an underwater city called Rapture, which is inhabited by a multitude of monstrous, crazed residents. The video game received much critical acclaim upon its release, including a nomination for Game of the Year from IGN. A sequel is set to debut later in 2009.

Meanwhile, expect Captain Jack to continue sailing the pirate-infested Caribbean seas. Depp has been signed on for a [article id="1595602"]fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" adventure[/article], as well as several other Disney properties. Among those films are "Pirates" producer Bruckheimer's "Lone Ranger" and longtime collaborator Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland."

But it looks as though Depp is one of few original "Pirates" veterans still treading Caribbean water. Keira Knightley previously told MTV News that she'd like to do "different things" now, despite her "amazing journey with those three films." There's been no official word on Orlando Bloom's involvement, though it's been widely rumored that he won't return, either. And while Bill Nighy is eager to hop aboard the "Pirates" ship, there's been no official word on his casting -- which is already unlikely, as his character, Davy Jones, took the big plunge in the last outing.

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