Pirates of the Caribbean’s Original Trilogy Ended Right

While it has some major plot holes, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was at least a self-contained story with a tragic but fitting ending for the franchise. It might have been fun to see Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann involved in some of Jack Sparrow’s episodic adventures after the events of the third movie, but the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy’s ending left her a single mother awaiting the return of her love — hardly in a place to drop everything and search for the Fountain of Youth on a whim.

How Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Handled Knightley’s Exit

There was no easy way of writing Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner out of the fourth installment, but Pirates of the CaribbeanOn Stranger Tides fumbled this task. Both characters were replaced by similar yet forgettable substitutes while Jack Sparrow was beefed up to main character status, and the quirky pirate became an over-familiar action hero as a result. The franchise attempted to make up for this misstep by bringing back Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom in the next movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Why Knightley (Barely) Appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean 5

Keira Knightley showed up in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales to wrap up the story of Elizabeth and Will’s son, Henry. However, Henry’s actor, Brendon Thwaites, noted that Knightley’s cameo was added after he shot his scenes with Orlando Bloom, meaning there was a cut of the movie without her. This shows in the final edit of the movie, which barely mentions the pair until its closing moments. Elizabeth and Will’s highly publicized cameo doesn’t even feature any dialogue from Knightley. On top of that, Henry’s age doesn’t match up with their appearances at all. The cameo was just a lazy, underwritten way of bringing back the duo that smacked of desperation. Ultimately, the dreadful reviews and underwhelming box office returns suggest it failed to even drum up the intended audience’s interest.

Why Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Didn’t Need Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley doesn’t speak a word in her brief appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and her reunion with Bloom is clearly only intended to draw in fans of the earlier movies. It was a cheap tactic given the fact that the majority of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie is a standalone story involving Jack and Barbossa versus a ghost pirate and has little connection to the original trilogy.

New characters like Henry Turner and Kaya Scodelario’s heroine, Carina, get little time to distinguish themselves in Dead Men Tell no Tales since the movie is so busy trying to woo fans of the original trilogy, resulting in a sequel that might have been better off jettisoning Elizabeth and Well’s appearance entirely. After all, Knightley’s prior decision to leave the franchise after the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie ultimately proved to have been a wise decision at the time.