Why Orlando Bloom Walked Away From Pirates Of The Caribbean

Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow may have been the face of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, but Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) were definitely the heart of it. Star-crossed lovers will always hit the spot, and it doesn't get much better than Elizabeth and Will. Their love story helped anchor the first three films of the "Pirates" series with some much-needed resonance. Plus, their individual arcs weren't too shabby either. So when their story seemed to wrap up in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," it naturally sent a few fans — this writer included — into a bit of a panic.

By the time the credits roll in "At World's End," Will is bound to the Flying Dutchman — a ship that eventually turns its crew into amalgamated fish people — for life. And Elizabeth, formerly Pirate King, retires to a quiet life on the beach (I assume just waiting for Will to come back in 10 year's time). It's a perfect (albeit bittersweet) ending to their story, one that left plenty to the imagination and didn't necessarily require either character to return ... but that meant very little to me back in 2007. To me, it was Will and Elizabeth that made the series worth watching. I couldn't fathom a "Pirates" movie — a good "Pirates" movie, at least — without them. 

Unfortunately, that's exactly the future that "Pirates" lovers had to look forward to, at least when news of a fourth installment surfaced in 2010.

Letting a good thing go

The fourth "Pirates" film, "On Stranger Tides," was a departure from the initial trilogy in every sense of the word. Though Captain Jack was present and accounted for — and would even be joined by Geoffrey Rush's Captain Barbosa — everything else felt drastically different. Sure, there were mermaids (and Penelope Cruz!), but each stilted attempt to introduce a new romance just served as a painful reminder that Will and Elizabeth were nowhere to be found.

Though their absence might have felt like a betrayal to more die-hard "Pirates" fans, it actually wasn't because of any bad blood. Bloom, at least, opted out of the fourth film of his own volition. "I think Will is sort of swimming around with the fish at the bottom of the ocean," the actor told MTV News in 2010. "I had a great time making those movies," he continued. "I just really wanted to do different things, but I think it's going to be great. Whatever Johnny does, I think it's fantastic."

It's possible that Bloom's rapport with Depp kept the door open for his return in "Dead Men Tell No Tales." Of course, he wasn't given all that much to do, and the continuation of Will Turner's story felt a bit forced in the grand scheme, so maybe Bloom was right all along about where Will belonged. "At World's End" really should have been just that for the franchise: the end. It's not easy to walk away from a project when things are going so well, but if the two latest "Pirates" films are any indication, there really wasn't anywhere else to go.