ByTom Chapman, writer at
tweet: tomtomchap Warden of the North - bearded, tattooed and square eyed 'til the end
Tom Chapman

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me. Time to man the crow's nest, because it looks like there is another Pirates of the Caribbean film on the horizon. While #Disney may not churn out the Pirates franchise as often as the likes of Resident Evil, it is impressive to think we are now approaching a fifth film. Based off Disney's stage show of the same name, the Pirates films follow Johnny Depp's exploits as the corrupt Captain Jack Sparrow.

The first four films included cursed treasure, Davy Jones's Locker, mermaids, and even the famed Blackbeard — but what do we know about the next film's foe? Check out the #trailer below to take a look:

While the first trailer didn't give too much away, it did give us a close-up look at this film's primary villain. All hands on deck, Captain Salazar is here! So let's look at the facts and take a dip in the Seven Seas:

  • Who is playing Jack Sparrow's latest foe?
  • What is the history of Captain Salazar?
  • Where has Salazar come from?
  • Why is he set on the clichéd revenge mission?
  • What part will this mysterious pirate play?

Bardem Me

Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The man behind mystery, and the latest antagonist to join the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, isn't a zombie, or a squid. It is Javier Bardem, shedding his Skyfall prosthetic cheek in favor of some wavy CGI hair. After a two-horse race, Bardem was confirmed as Captain Salazar in 2015. Putting his best foot forward, Bardem has previously played a homicidal maniac in No Country for Old Men, a drug lord in Collateral, and even teamed up with Johnny Depp in Before Night Falls.

However, another Bond villain was in talks to first take up the part of Jack Sparrow's latest foe. The Daily Mail reported that Christopher Waltz (Spectre) was earlier eyeing the role as someone named "Captain Brand":

Jack and his team are in search of The Trident, which (Keith Richard)'s Teague holds valuable information to. The villain this time is Captain Brand, a ghost that wants the Trident so he can get his revenge on Jack. Brand believes Jack turned his brother Eric into a pirate, which led to his death.

Waltz's role never materialized and as far back at October 2014 Bardem was in talks to play the villain. By February 2015 Bardem was confirmed, in a move that perhaps had something to do with being married to Penelope Cruz, the Pirates 4 heroine. Don't expect a husband and wife role though, Cruz has said that she will probably not be returning as Angelica Teach.

While the character of Captain Brand seemingly sank with Waltz, the rest of the rumors are still sailing. We expect to see Jack search for the mythical Poseidon's Trident, although that one is being called out as an early McGuffin for the film.

A Bloody Origin

Image: Walt Disney Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Pictures

If you are turning to the history books to find a trace of Captain Salazar, good luck. The only reference of a Captain Salazar predates the Pirates timeline to the early 1500s. Gonzalo de Salazar was a Spanish aristocrat who was part of a temporary government in New Spain. Gonzalo de Salazar was a despot and was eventually overthrown, but escaped justice.

Going back to the name Captain Brand, though, could bear fruit for a more symbolic meaning. It is presumed that the character name was changed from Brand to Salazar to fit with Bardem's heritage, but Captain Brand was an actual pirate. The book titled Captain Brand of the "Centipede" A Pirate of Eminence in the West Indies exists, telling the tale of the man who lost his life in a shootout when burying treasure (location unknown, obviously). If the original Dead Men Tell No Tales villain was intended to be Brand, perhaps this is the storyline they will follow.

Image: Warner Bros.
Image: Warner Bros.

In the trailer, Bardem asks Brenton Thwaites's Henry to relay a message to ol' Capt. Jack:

"Death will come straight for him."

Salazar himself looks pretty bashed up, while the cryptic message suggests he has some sort of tie to death, possibly playing a messenger of death itself, or possessing the power. As he approaches Henry in the teaser, we see a bluish/black blood pouring from his mouth. Safe to assume he met some sort of watery demise — remember the Penguin in Batman Returns?

It looks "dead" certain that Salazar is brown-bread. Undoubtedly Salazar's past has something to do with Jack, so could our series protagonist be the man who pulled the trigger? Alternatively, the brother of Salazar could once again feature, tying somehow to the Captain Brand mythos of the film.

See also:

'Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales' Promises A Return To Form And Why This Is A Good Thing

Breaking Down Our First Look At 'Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Image: Walt Disney Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Pictures

Revealed at the D23 convention, the film's official synopsis reveals that Salazar and his crew have been having a time out in the Devil's Triangle, which would explain why they seem more than a little pissed:

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea ... including him. Captain Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

Firstly, the Devil's Triangle is otherwise known as the Bermuda Triangle, that legendary graveyard of ships and souls that "still" remains unconfirmed. The very first shot of the trailer reveals a location that looks more than a little triangular. I'm prophesying that someone sent those doomed British sailors out there to wake Salazar. It may sound like a bargain-basement Davy Jones locker, but if Salazar and his crew are so set on eradicating all pirates at sea, something pretty bad must have happened in the Devil's Triangle.

The question is: Who, or what, released Salazar from his Pythagorian prison? With a host of other returnees, could someone we know have set Salazar free? Chances are that Bardem will need a hand to take down Jack, which would explain the leaked video from the set back in 2015. It showed both Bardem and Geoffrey Rush's Captain Barbosa on the deck of a ship with a broken mast. The pair didn't seem hostile toward each other, and with Jack and Barbosa's checkered past, it suggests an alliance between Jack's enemies.

Revenge Is A Dish...

Image: Walt Disney Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Pictures

The other option is that Salazar could be another innocent soul caught in the schemes of Jack Sparrow. Given Bardem's cavalcade of sinister characters, we would guess not. That isn't to say that Salazar's backstory won't be without sorrow. The plot of the third and fourth film gave a sympathetic edge to the squid-like Davy Jones, who really just wanted his heart back!

The focus on Jack's wanted poster led some to believe that Salazar is after the modest £200 bounty on Jack's head — but I call red herring on that one too. As a famed sea pirate, you are sure to have Gringotts vault full of stolen booty and have no need for a minuscule reward. Salazar is simply after Jack himself, recruiting a young Henry to help him on his search.

We know that Orlando Bloom will be back (and probably clothed for once), to reprise his role as Will Turner/Davy Jones 2.0 — explaining why Henry is on board. Also, Keith Richards expressed an interest in reprising his role as Captain Teague, again fitting the synopsis from back in 2014. With this many pirates sailing toward the common goal of Jack Sparrow, the film seems to be assembling some sort of Justice League Atlantis. Flipping the story on its head, could they all be trying to stop Jack getting the Trident of Poseidon and controlling the seas?

The Salazar Show

Image: Disney UK
Image: Disney UK

While the teaser sets Salazar as the main focus, the name of the film in other countries reveals just how much of a major part Bardem will actually play. While the US will have the film marketed with the usual Dead Men Tell No Tales title, there are some variations in other countries.

Countries like France, Spain, and Italy list the title as:

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Revenge of Salazar

The UK and Netherlands will call the film:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge

You don't see Davy Jones having a film named after him, and Bill Nighy served as the Big Bad across two whole films. Disney is setting Bardem up as the franchise's next great adversary, lining up a new generation of Pirates of the Caribbean films. This would also link to Kaya Scodelario and Brenton Thwaite's castings as a younger breed of actor.

Arguably, Rush's Barbosa is still a major part of the series, while Ian MacShane's Captain Blackbird blends into the background of forgettable characters — as does the whole fourth entry. Dead Men Tell No Tales was originally teased to shoot back-to-back with a sixth film, but it appeared that that plan was scrapped. However, could Disney still be queuing up another two parter a'la Dead Man's Chest/At World's End with Bardem at the helm of a story arc?

Image: Walt Disney Pictures
Image: Walt Disney Pictures

We are just hoping that Dead Men Tell No Tales doesn't turn Bardem into just another squid-zombie mess that we have spent the majority of the franchise battling. We have already seen Jack be cursed with eternal life, only to search for it again, so let's see if the film takes a different track this time. Directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg are reportedly "very influenced" by The Curse of the Black Pearl, seeing a return to the lighter side of the franchise. Sorry to break it you boys, but Bardem's grim teaser isn't really setting the tone for that one! Luckily, we don't have long to wait, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is set for release on May 26, 2017.

So, do you think it will be plain sailing for Javier Bardem, or is he just another damp "squid" in the making. Don't forget to comment below!


Are you excited to see Javier Bardem's performance?

(Source: Daily Mail)