‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’: A Franchise Built On Tone

by Frank Martin

With its former star so much in the news lately, the future of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is largely up in the air. Other stars have been featured in its five released films, but there hasn’t been a Pirates of the Caribbean installment without the actor in question. It’s unclear if they are going to bring other old characters back or start fresh with brand new ones. But from a storytelling standpoint, Pirates of the Caribbean is largely in a unique position: it is largely built on tone rather than any other of the storytelling building blocks.

Of course, Captain Jack Sparrow is a large part of the franchise. Also, the story surrounding his history and that of the Caribbean setting in general all play large parts in the franchise. But when it comes to pirates, there are many different ways a story can be depicted through its tone. It could take a brutally realistic approach, such as the Starz series Black Sails. Or a pirate story can be completely unrealistic and be geared towards children, as so many stories are. Pirates of the Caribbean seems to thread the needle between these two approaches with a tone that is both family-friendly and puts action adventure before all else.

Because this tone is so unique and tailored specifically for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, it is possible for every installment to feature brand new characters and a brand new story as long as the tone remains the same. And from a long-term business standpoint, that’s the best way to run a franchise as it ensures independence from any one person. So even if Captain Jack or any of the other characters do not return, the Pirates of the Caribbean can still exist and thrive as long as the right people are behind the scenes and the tone stays consistent.

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