The fifth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean saga has just been released.

I have only few memories of the story of the first three episodes, and I didn't see the fourth one.

If I remember correctly:

  1. The first three episodes form a trilogy, with its own story and most of all plotlines concerning Jack Sparrow, Will and Elizabeth have an end.
  2. The fourth episode is a new story for Jack Sparrow and some returning characters.

Is it necessary to have seen the fourth episode before watching the new one? Are the stories independent (with maybe a few references), or are they part of a new trilogy?

  • 1
    I think they are saying this is the last movie and it has its own plot line independent from the 4th aside from recurring characters
    – revenant
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


The first three films form the trilogy of Jack, Elizabeth, and Will, which culminates in Will being turned into the captain of the Flying Dutchman. Also, at the end of the third film, Barbossa steals the Black Pearl (again), while Jack is left with a map to the Fountain of Youth.

Neither Will nor Elizabeth are present in the 4th film; it picks up approximately where the third one left, with Jack looking for a ship to sail to the Fountain and finding his old crush, Angelica, and her dad - Captain Blackbeard.

The whole affair is irrelevant to the main story, except for the fact that we also see Captain Barbossa, who has lost the Black Pearl in a battle with Blackbeard; Barbossa is now a privateer in King's Navy - he sails in the name of the King to the Fountain, but secretly his real goal is to avenge the Pearl and his lost leg.

Long story short, at the end of the fourth film Jack is left with the Pearl which now looks like this:

Jack holds a glass bottle up in front of the sea in which the Pearl resides working and moving on tides created from the miniature sea in the bottle

Jack is last seen with Gibbs describing (very vaguely) a plan to get the Pearl out of the bottle, and Barbossa is left with Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge.

According to the 5th film's Wikia page, none of the characters introduced in the 4th film make an appearance; however, both Will and Elizabeth return, and since (spoiler from the 5th film!)

Henry's family name is Turner, we can expect some family drama.

TL;DR, or things that are most important:

  • The epilogue of Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End (the 3rd film), where Will is the Captain of the Flying Dutchman, and has a son with Elizabeth.

  • The ending of Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides (the 4th film), Barbossa becomes the captain of Queen Anne's Revenge:

    and where Black Pearl is in a bottle.

  • 1
    so you havent seen the film and didnt answer the question - Is it necessary to have seen the fourth episode before watching the new one?
    – Jon
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 8:56
  • @Jon This answer details 2 main points from the 4th film that it thinks you need to know before watching the 5th.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 9:07
  • @TheLethalCarrot Yeah but since he has not actually seen the 5th he is simply guessing and doesnt actually know if they are important or not. The 5th could do a similar thing and be almost completely unrelated to the 4th or other 3 films.
    – GamerGypps
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 9:40
  • 1
    @GamerGypps I've seen the 5th, both points are quite relevant; especially the latter to the start of the film. The fifth also ties nicely back into the other films. Maybe you should watch the films before downvoting and commenting also?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 9:44
  • 1
    I've seen the film now, and stand by my answer. Thanks for reminding me to update this, @Jon Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:30

I found this on reddit:

There's one side character of PotC4 that comes back in PotC5, but apart from that, you don't need to have watched on stranger tides to be able to follow Dead men tell no tales

  • Looking at the other answer you might be a tad confused with a couple of plot points if you've not seen the 4th. Also what character is this? Without saying who this isn't wholly helpful.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 9:08
  • I havent seen 4, so dont care who this character is. But from the answer I can understand that there will be a new character that I wont know but everyone else will - and if I am OK with that then watch 5 without 4. If the reddit answer is a true reflection. 3 is like the second part to 2, so the stories dont work as well in differetn order. But it sounds like 5 bfore 4 is fine although there will be people and ships in different places. You wont know how they got there, but not sure that will be confusing. Ive heard its not a "smart" movie anyway that breaks canon - is that confusing?
    – Jon
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 9:29

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