Spoilers abound. Seriously people, turn back now. Dead men tell no tales ...
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" does a lot to honor the tradition of the films that came before it, while forging a unique path all its own. Maybe most shocking of all (more shocking than the surprise Keira Knightley cameo or those ghost sharks) is how much of the previous mythology it undoes by the time the credits roll. Not only is Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) freed from piloting the Flying Dutchman (and doing whatever else Davy Jones does, something with souls) but it seems that all of the curses that have governed the sea have gone kaput, too. That means the Mayan curse from the first film and all of the supernatural weirdness that followed have evaporated like so much salty sea air.
But by the time the credits roll, that major upheaval has already reversed itself. If you didn't see it yourself, let me start by explaining the sequence:
Will Turner is in bed with his bride, Elizabeth Swann. He is sleeping and wakes up, looking around the room and finally settling on an iconic shape: the shadowy, squirming tentacles of Davy Jones. He does a double take and when he looks again, the shape is gone. He thinks it's a dream. But the camera moves over to where the shadow was and there is dripping water ... and barnacles. Is Davy Jones back? And how? We literally saw his heart stabbed in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," the weirdest (and best) film in the original trilogy.
What does it all mean?!
I asked "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" filmmakers Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg about the post-credits sting and they were harder to pin down than one of Davy Jones's tentacles. "That was just a dream!" Sandberg said with a laugh before explaining how the scene came to be. "There was a lot of conclusions in this film and that rounds it up in a nice way, hopefully. But we also wanted to keep it alive. So [the tag] was just a little treat to do that. We're certainly crossing our fingers for another movie because we love the characters and love that universe, and Henry and Carina have just started. So it's not up to us. It's really up to the audience. We'll see how many people show up and what the demand is."
While they safely navigated my inquiry, I had to press on, and asked them one more question about the conclusion of the film, when Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) says that he's going to go beyond the horizon. What did he mean by that? Where is he going?
"Probably just beyond the horizon," Rønning said.
And with that I waved my white flag in defeat.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" is out now.