We’ve just seen the first trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and it sets up the basic concept: Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) ends up working with a woman from his past (Penelope Cruz) to find the fountain of youth, with famed pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane) an an unusual accomplice/rival. Meanwhile Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is working with the crown in some measure. Oh, and there are mermaids and zombies.

Now director Rob Marshall, who is new to the series, has given up a few more details.

ComingSoon talked to Mr. Marshall at a Pirates fan event, and he explained,

The whole opening and the first third of the film takes place in London. So we start on dry land and there is an impostor that Jack is looking for. He then escapes from the palace, gets captured by King George and there is a huge carriage chase…[W]e set sail and that is sort of the second act. It’s a new ship, Blackbeard’s ship, the ‘Queen Anne’s Revenge.’ Then Barbossa has a new ship called the ‘Providence.’ The third act is this incredible jungle adventure through caves where they are looking for the Fountain of Youth.”

And he explains that, as seen in the trailer, Barbossa “has joined a different side… which is really shady.”

Quite a lot of the first act of the original Pirates took place on land as well, so it’s not like the London opening will present a wild departure for the series, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the film’s crew created a period/fantasy version of the city. (Some of it is seen in the trailer, and the carriage chase is nodded to in that edit, too.) And, more than anything else, I’m looking forward to seeing Ian McShane growling his way through the script.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens on May 20, 2011.

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