The Pirates of the Caribbean movies have been a tent-pole live-action franchise for Disney, and despite a roster of changing cast members the Pirates of the Caribbean chronological order is easy to track. From 2003’s Curse Of The Black Pearl, the Pirates of the Caribbean timeline has expanded to cover five movies, with a sixth on the way — although exactly how the new Pirates movie will fit into the Pirates of the Caribbean chronological order remains unclear. The first 5 Pirates movies, from Curse Of The Black Pearl through to Dead Men Tell No Tales, tell a continuous story though.
The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie’s witty script, Gore Verbinski’s assured direction, and a memorable score from Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt made it a juggernaut success. To date, four sequels have been released to the original movie, with Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow remaining a constant throughout and helping the franchise gross nearly $5 billion collectively. A new Pirates of the Caribbean movie is in development, but it’s unclear where it’ll fit in the timeline (and could even reboot it). In the meantime, here’s the watching order of the first five Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl (2003)
The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie is Curse of the Black Pearl, both in terms of release and chronological order. While Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow might be the uniting factor between each installment, the first three PIrates of the Caribbean movies centered around the love story between Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth and Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner — and Curse of the Black Pearl kickstarted their epic high-seas romance as well as showing how Will and Elizabeth met as children. Following Curse of the Black Pearl’s success, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were shot back to back, and while no actual timeline was given, the movies take place starting around 1728 or 1729.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
The second Pirates of the Caribbean movie is Dead Man’s Chest, and the sequel upped the franchise’s level of jaw-dropping spectacle. While Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest follows The Black Pearl’s events, it fleshes out a significant amount of pre-movie PotC lore. Namely, it introduced Will Tuner’s father Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgård), and revealed his fate — as an eternal servant on the Flying Dutchman under the command of the inimitable Bill Nighy as Davy Jones.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
The third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, At World’s End, tied up the initial trilogy and once again enriched the surprisingly deep mythos. Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End reveals Davy Jones’s story, which took place somewhere between 1600 and 1660 when he fell in love with Calypso and received the Flying Dutchman. This is also around the time that he betrayed Calypso and ended up carving out his own heart and locking it in the Dead Man’s Chest. While the story finishes on a note which meant it could have been the end of the Pirates of the Caribbean timeline, two more movies followed.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Neither Knightley nor Bloom returned for the fourth entry, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie — which instead had a romantic subplot between mermaid Syrena and missionary Philip. The story focused on the hunt for the Fountain of Youth, and the movie was another runaway success financially. The year that this movie took place was around 1750, which was right after the story with Will and Elizabeth ended. There is also some lore here as well, as Juan Ponce de Leon set sail for the Fountain of Youth 100 years before the first movie in the series, and that played strongly into this storyline.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth PotC movie, and also the last in the Pirates of the Caribbean chronological order. Dead Men Tell No Tales is the most recent installment to date, and continued the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise’s use of nautical legends and the supernatural. A literal ghost from Jack’s past — played by Javier Bardem — returns to seek revenge. This took place only one year after the previous movie, meaning its place in the timeline was 1751. As for Jack Sparrow’s history with the pirate hunter Armando Salazar, the year that Jack tricked him into the Devil’s Triangle was 1708, which led to their rise as vengeful ghosts. This was ironically also the same year Will Turner was born.
Everything We Know About Pirates Of The Caribbean 6
Disney hasn’t been coy about goals to expand the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. There are theories that Pirates of the Caribbean 6 could be anything from a reboot to a spin-off. Bruckheimer’s comments that multiple projects are in the works give weight to speculation that the 6th movie could be the start of an MCU-like Pirateverse. Whether it’ll be the Margot Robbie/Christina Hodson project or the script written by Craig Mazin is, like pretty much everything else about Pirates of the Caribbean 6, still unknown at this point.
Disney confirmed there would be a new Pirates of the Caribbean installment way back in 2018, but no details were given. Before this, Kaya Scoledario spoke to Screen Rant in 2017 about returning as Carina Smyth. There’s been no update on her returning for Pirates of the Caribbean 6 since, but more about the next film in the franchise has been revealed since her interview and Disney’s announcement. It’s a little confusing, but producer Jerry Bruckheimer indicated (via The Sunday Times) that two Pirates of the Caribbean projects are in the works in tandem.
One is scripted by Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin and Pirates writing veteran Ted Elliot. The other project was announced in 2020, although it wasn’t clarified until 2022 that this would be an additional film to the Mazin/Elliot project. It is scripted by Birds of Prey screenwriter Christina Hodson and will star Margot Robbie in an unknown role. Both projects are still in preproduction, and neither has a release date.
Why Johnny Depp Won’t Be Returning As Jack Sparrow for Pirates 6
One known quantity, however, is that Jack Sparrow won’t return in Pirates of the Caribbean 6. When Disney announced a new installment for the franchise, Depp was initially attached to the project, but that was back in 2018. While the reasons behind the decision are contested by Disney and his own legal team, Johnny Depp is no longer involved with Pirates of the Caribbean 6 or any possible spin-offs.
Jerry Bruckheimer did leave the door ajar for a Jack Sparrow return, but in later interviews, he too confirmed Johnny Depp isn’t involved, and there are no plans to change this (via The Sunday Times). Depp’s been vocal about his feelings on the decision to drop him from Pirates of the Caribbean, and it seems he’s in no hurry to work with Disney again, even if an olive branch were extended. Wherever Pirates of the Caribbean 6 sits in the chronological timeline, it will be the starting point of the franchise’s next chapter, one without Captain Jack Sparrow.