Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Ending Explained

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has a pointed post-credits scene. We explain what this ending means.

This article contains major Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales spoilers.

During the marketing for Pirates of the Caribbean 5, bombastic trailers eagerly promised that this movie would be where “the final adventure begins.” Begins being the operative word, clearly. You didn’t really think that the series was going to simply conclude on the fifth movie, did you?

Indeed, the Pirates franchise continues what it began doing long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a sparkle in Kevin Feige’s eye: it closed on a post-credit stinger. However, and more in line with modern Marvel movies, the signoff was a set-up for the next Jack Sparrow adventure instead of merely being a gag. And in many ways, it is one that fans might’ve been craving since 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. All the things folks didn’t like about the later sequels—the “eternal” curse placed on Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner, the loss of the Black Pearl for Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), even the resurrection of Geoffrey Rush’s Capt. Barbossa—were all reversed here.

Now with Bloom and Keira Knightley seemingly set to reprise their roles for a larger sequel following Dead Men Tell No Tales, the post-credits sequence was lined up to tease exactly that.

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So for those who might’ve struggled to understand what it means, here’s a little context:

The sequence begins with a newly mortal Will Turner finally having a decent night’s sleep by the side of his wife Elizabeth. The scene also continues the trend of strangely not giving Elizabeth a single line in the movie—or having anyone remark on how her hair changed from golden locks to being a deep raven hue in an era predating modern hair dyes. Fortunately for both Liz and Will though, their son Henry (Brenton Thwaites) was able to aid in the destruction of Poseidon’s Trident, ending all curses in the sea. This meant the release of Will from being damned to permanently captain The Dutchman and guide the dead to the afterlife… but it had negative repercussions too.

As Will and Elizabeth slumber, a menacing shadow with a clawed hand enters their bedroom just before dawn, and seemingly comes to threaten Will. But when the lad wakes, the silhouette is gone. Vanished like a bad dream. Still, a seashell is left from his absence, one that hints at sequels to come.

If you haven’t placed it together, the seashell is one of the body parts apparently dropping off of Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), the villain of the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean movies. His body was comprised of all manner of sea life in those films after spending centuries as The Dutchman’s captain. He also is often shadowed by a haunting organ theme written by Hans Zimmer, which we heard just a few notes of as the final, final Dead Men Tell No Tales scene came to a close.

What’s this mean for a sequel? Well, presumably, Davy Jones is now free from his curse like Will Turner was when Poseidon’s Trident was destroyed. But if this really means all curses are removed, perhaps it could also mean that when Pirates of the Caribbean 6 inevitably rolls around, that we’d get to see Bill Nighy’s face the whole movie instead of the backside of an octopus with eyes. Granted, even if the curse is lifted, it remains a bit fuzzy on why he’s breathing since Will Turner killed him in Pirates of the Caribbean: At the World’s End by piercing his heart with a sword.

Then again, if he is quickened to life once more, that is plenty incentive to have a vendetta against the former blacksmith and current captain of Jones’ beloved ship—hence showing up in the Swann boudoir in those pre-dawn hours.

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It also means the next movie is setting up a very familiar conflict—one we had for two movies—Davy Jones versus Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann. We imagine a whole sequel with the original triumvirate reunited will practically sell itself. Getting Davy Jones back may just be a bonus for the most diehard of fans too.

Also who knows, maybe next time they could give Elizabeth Swann some actual lines—like revealing why she never mentioned Jack Sparrow’s name to her son when she obviously had more chemistry with him than her over-earnest husband, am I right?