With things a little up in the air, the rumour mill went into overdrive.
One such story which turned out not to be true (praise the lord!) was the one that suggested Russell Brand would be playing Jack Sparrow's pesky younger brother Jonathan.
You can see why the tabloids would have fun suggesting the scruffily-barneted dandy as a sibling to Sparrow, but it never came to pass.
Stories about Tim Burton and Sacha Baron Cohen boarding the franchise were similarly debunked.
Early in 2009, director Gore Verbinski stood down, opting to focus on the now-defunct
movie, and animation
(which will feature Depp's vocal talents).
He left with the statement: "I had a fantastic time bringing
to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry, Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team... I'm looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future."
There's obviously no hidden subtext here, as Verbinski has recently been confirmed as the director of Bruckheimer and Disney's next big project:
The Lone Ranger
, starring one Johnny Depp as Tonto.
Looks like he'll be reuniting with the old team sooner than expected.
Verbinski's predecessor was announced a few months later.
Rob Marshall, who comes from a stage musical background, is best known for directing
Memoirs of a Geisha
, and the Oscar-winning
Marshall seemed like an unlikely choice, but he has experience wrangling big starry casts, he's no stranger to spectacle, and he'll no doubt feel at home amidst the flamboyant characters and costumes.
Being picked by Bruckheimer and Depp must have been a confidence boost.
The incumbent director told Coming Soon "I was so surprised they called me... Jerry called me, but Johnny was interested in working with me. It's a wonderful thing when something like that happens..."
The franchise has a captain again...