Despite being savaged by critics, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has in just a few weeks already grossed an incredible $639 million worldwide and could yet hit the $1 billion mark by the end of it's run, earning more money than any film in the franchise previously. Simply put, despite the series creatively sinking and any good ideas being washed up to shore long ago, we are going to be stuck with Pirates of the Caribbean and importantly Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow for the rest of this decade, most likely. Indeed, as early as five months before the release of Pirates of the Caribbean 4, word went around Disney that the plan was to quickly put into production a Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and 6, two epic adventures shot back-to-back and what would be a return thematically to the grander scope of the original trilogy. Terry Rossio, one half of the duo who have been writing zany things for Jack Sparrow to do for ten years now was hired to write the scripts in January and right now is probably sweating over his computer desk, confused at how he can possibly do anything original and interesting with this series in it's current state. With Johnny Depp on board seemingly for life and most likely Penelope Cruz reachable for a return and the two new youngsters Sam Clafin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey seemingly having taken over the Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley parts, attention will soon turn to who might direct. Pirates 4 helmer Rob Marshall, despite his workman-like and uninspired direction on the last movie, is believed to have already been offered the chance to return to helm at the same time Rossio was hired to write the script in January. However, once On Stranger Tides was released it was clear Marshall wasn't a great fit for the series and his attention right now seems to be on The Thin Man remake for Johnny Depp, so Disney are already preparing the possibility of him turning down the gig. According to Cinema Blend's 'most reliable sources' a contingency plan of directors has been made, topped by Johnny Depp's best friend Tim Burton. They also claim he was first offered directing duties on the last film before declining the opportunity and we don't doubt it having made $1 billion with Alice in Wonderland for the company and at the end of the day as it's all about keeping Johnny Depp happy. Disney will bend over backwards to make sure he is pleased. Whether Burton would seriously look at the offer this time around will probably come down to the quality of the Rossio script and how much control Disney give him with the series. Clearly if this was 1999 when Burton was creatively on fire, the idea of him directing a movie like this would be appealing. In 2011, Burton is little more than a commercial brand. Also on the list are; Shawn Levy - Formerly seen as a Hollywood hack (he would turn out two comedies every 18 months including Just Married and Cheaper by the Dozen before gaining attention for the Night at the Museum series. Spielberg took him to the bigger leagues hiring him to make Reel Steel with Hugh Jackman that's released later this year. He is now a genuine blockbuster name in Hollywood's ideas and we wouldn't be surprised by his hiring. Sam Raimi - Now that he is prepping Oz: The Great and Powerful for Disney, he has in his own way sold out in a Tim Burton fashion. But we do know that creative genius is still in there somewhere having recently made the delicious Drag Me To Hell. But again, he wouldn't get to make the movie his way. Chris Weitz - A director who seems to get worse the bigger the budget he is afforded. He made enjoyable efforts About a Boy and the first American Pie before killing New Line with that tremendous flop A Golden Compass and then the irredeemable New Moon. Obviously isn't afraid of a paycheck. Alfonso Cuaron - Do Disney really have much chance to attract him? Top drawer director who made what I'm told is by far the best Harry Potter movie but of course unless he gets full creative control (which he wouldn't) then he'll not take the job. Seriously, don't get your hopes up that someone like Cuaron would be interested in walking the plank for Disney. It'll be Rob Marshall or a Rob Marshall-esque hack gunning for a paycheck, or someone like Raimi selling out for Disney. Why would they care about even trying with this series when something like Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides can make just as much money as the others?