Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is due to set sail this month - and there was almost a female villain on board.
Originally, Javier Bardem's Armando Salazar was instead a swashbuckling villainess in an earlier version of the movie's screenplay, but this idea was cut due to concerns from lead actor Johnny Depp.
The switch-up was brought to light by writer Terry Rossio - who has worked on every Pirates instalment to date - in a tell-all blog post spotted by MoviePilot.
Depp's logic for axing the female big bad was that one of his earlier movies, Dark Shadows - a vampire comedy that nobody saw - also featured a villainess, and he feared this would render Pirates 5 "redundant".
My version of Dead Men Tell No Tales was set aside because it featured a female villain, and Johnny Depp was worried that would be redundant to Dark Shadows, which also featured a female villain.
Of course there is also the possibility that all those screenplays simply sucked. But usually when I go back to read a screenplay that wasn’t produced, it holds up, often better than the film that was eventually produced. Sometimes it just takes a single decision by a single person, often just a whim, to destroy years of story creation and world-building.
It's difficult to see where Captain Jack is coming from on this one - surely nobody cares about Dark Shadows and few even remember it happening - not to mention the fact that a female villain is the kind of fresh thinking which could prevent Pirates 5 from going the way of its forgettable predecessor, On Stranger Tides.