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Actors You Forgot Showed Up In The Pirates Of The Caribbean Franchise

Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series is comprised of five movies released between 2003 and 2017. That's not too shabby, considering its only source material is a 10-minute boat ride found in multiple Disney theme parks. The series has enjoyed varying degrees of commercial success and pop culture influence. The original entry, 2003's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," earned Johnny Depp an Oscar nomination for best actor. The second film, 2006's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" became the third film in history to make over $1 billion. 

But by the time the series debuted its fifth entry, 2017's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," financial gains and audience reception were waning. It's quite likely, then, that you haven't revisited the franchise's early entries in a while, and you may or may not have seen its more recent outings. You almost certainly remember Depp's association with the series, and likely recall Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley as well. But there are a number of other actors you've probably forgotten show up in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise — if you even knew about them in the first place, that is. We're here to help you get reacquainted.

Zoe Saldaña

The cast of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" contains only two female main characters: Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightley, and Anamaria, played by Zoe Saldaña. Yes, that's right. Before she stepped aboard the Enterprise in "Star Trek," lived as a Na'vi in "Avatar," or joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Gamora in "Guardians of the Galaxy," Saldaña was part of Captain Jack Sparrow's crew.

Jack enlists Anamaria on the island of Tortuga. She's reluctant, especially since Jack seems to have stolen her boat in the past, but eventually comes aboard when he promises to give her a new one. At the end of the movie, Anamaria is still part of Jack's crew. But by the beginning of the next film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," she is neither present nor mentioned. This holds true through the rest of the series.

Anamaria's absence in further installments might have been Saldaña's decision. In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Saldaña described being put off by the elitist attitude on set, though she took care to mention that the cast was perfectly pleasant. This mistreatment almost made Saldaña quit acting, but instead, she simply didn't return for the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels. Apparently, nobody thought Anamaria was worth recasting.

Jonathan Pryce

You might know Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow on "Game of Thrones," Pope Francis in "The Two Popes," or Prince Philip on "The Crown." From 2003 to 2007, however, Pryce appeared in the original three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films as Governor Weatherby Swann, Elizabeth's father.

Throughout the first film, Governor Swann is fiercely loyal to England. This makes sense, seeing as he's the leader of the country's province in Port Royal. He doesn't have much tolerance for rule-breaking, and is outright disgusted by pirates. As his daughter becomes a criminal entangled with the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner, Governor Swann's morals are compromised. Eventually, he prioritizes Elizabeth's safety over loyalty to the crown.

Governor Swann is easily intimidated by more authoritative figures than himself, such as Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander), a zealous pirate hunter. Beckett ultimately murders Governor Swann off-screen. Pryce's final appearance in the series comes in the third film, 2007's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which shows his character's dazed soul drifting off to Davy Jones' locker.

Keith Richards

As reported by NME, Johnny Depp used iconic Rolling Stones co-founder Keith Richards as an inspiration for Captain Jack Sparrow.  In "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," Richards takes that inspiration to a whole new level when he appears as Jack's father, Captain Teague. Much like Jack, Teague has an eclectic wardrobe peppered with trinkets from past adventures. He's the keeper of "The Code," a set of guidelines pirates (more or less) follow, and is called upon at a meeting of the Pirate Lords when a discrepancy in The Code has to be fact-checked. At this same meeting, Teague also reveals that Jack's mother has been turned into a shrunken head.

Richards returns in the fourth film, 2011's "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," when he saves Jack's life by shooting a British soldier. He proceeds to caution his son about voyaging to the Fountain of Youth, and tells him about the items needed to perform the ritual that grants access to the Fountain. Jack asks his dad if he's ever been there. Teague lets his aged and weather-beaten face answer that question for him.

Chow Yun-fat

Chow Yun-fat's first and only appearance in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series comes in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." He plays Sao Feng, the Pirate Lord of Singapore. Yun-fat, who is known for his roles in action films like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," brings his high-octane expertise and formidable presence to the fore in this film. Unfortunately, Yun-fat doesn't get much of an opportunity to truly shine: While his character is essential to the story, he isn't involved in any major action sequences. 

Nevertheless, Sao Feng first enters the narrative when Jack Sparrow's crew goes in search of a map that can take them to the ends of the Earth, where they intend to save Jack from Davy Jones' locker. They retrieve the map from Sao Feng in Singapore. Later, Feng finds himself in the crosshairs of negotiations that bring Elizabeth Swann aboard his ship as a member of his crew. Feng believes Elizabeth is the goddess Calypso, bound in human form. As his ship is ransacked by English officers, he suffers a fatal blow. In his final act, he makes Elizabeth captain, which allows her to take his place as a Pirate Lord and a member of the Brethren Court.

Penélope Cruz

"Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" acts like something of a soft reboot. With the grand tale of Davy Jones having come to a close and principal cast members Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley having departed the franchise, the fourth installment introduces new characters. One of them is Angelica, played by Penélope Cruz. With an Academy Award under her belt, Cruz proved to be a perfect sparring partner, both literally and figuratively, for Johnny Depp. The film also reunited Cruz with director Rob Marshall, who helmed 2009's "Nine," which earned Cruz an Oscar nomination. 

Angelica has a romantic history with Jack and hopes that her father, the notorious pirate Blackbeard, can find spiritual redemption through the Fountain of Youth. While Angelica is nothing but selfless toward her unsympathetic father, he ultimately doesn't return the favor. When given the chance, he trades her life for his own — but that's exactly what Jack anticipates he'll do. Thanks to Jack's trickery, Blackbeard is the one who perishes, while Angelica is saved. Though Jack eventually abandons Angelica on an island, she has in her possession a voodoo doll resembling him. However, Angelica does not return in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." 

Judi Dench

The year is 2011. It's been four years since Captain Jack Sparrow graced movie theater screens. The fourth movie in the series, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," is a little different, but fans are willing to give it a try. Within the film's first 20 minutes, Jack bumbles and bustles his way through London on one of his typically madcap flights from the authorities. He seeks refuge inside an enclosed, horse-drawn carriage, where a distinguished woman in sophisticated clothing sits. Is that ... surely it can't be... Dame Judi Dench? Yes, she'd already won an Oscar and been nominated for an additional five, among her many glittering accolades. But Dench still wasn't above making a cameo in the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" film.

Dench's brief role sees her character taken by surprise by Jack's sudden appearance in her carriage. Jack looks at her seductively, nibbles on her ear, and leaves the carriage just as quickly as he entered. Smitten and perplexed, Dench's character inquires, "Is that it?" The camera then cuts to Jack, who stands atop the carriage with Dench's earring in his mouth. He never misses a chance to swindle, even from Dame Judi Dench.

Richard Griffiths

Within the first few moments of "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," Captain Jack finds himself in the presence of King George II. To be more specific, his highness is introduced as "George Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Great Britain and Ireland." The royal figure is portrayed by the late Richard Griffiths, perhaps best known to modern audiences as Uncle Vernon Dursley in the "Harry Potter" series.

The king has heard a Spanish crew is en route to the Fountain of Youth. Enraged at the thought of the Spanish monarchy attaining eternal life, the king wants to send a crew of his own to the Fountain, if not to achieve immortality than to merely beat Spain to the punch. He asks Jack if he knows the way to the Fountain and would be willing to help chart a venture there in the name of Britain. While Jack does eventually set sail for the Fountain, he doesn't do it under the king's auspices — Jack's former adversary, Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), takes the king's offer instead. The role of King George would be one of Griffiths' final screen performances: As reported by The Washington Post, he passed away less than two years later in 2013.

Sam Claflin

Before he made his "Hunger Games" debut as Finnick Odair in 2013's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" or played Oswald Mosley in later seasons of "Peaky Blinders," actor Sam Claflin appeared as Philip Swift in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." With Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann absent, filmmakers had to fill their romantic niche. The answer arrived in the form a new young couple: Philip and Syrena (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey). He's a missionary looking to save the souls of everyone he encounters. She's a mermaid forced to travel with pirates, because they need her tears to access the Fountain of Youth.

Philip does his best to protect Syrena from the barbaric imprisonment the pirates inflict upon her. She's grateful, but mostly passive, unable to communicate fluently with him. As the voyage to the Fountain continues, their connection becomes something more — but we never learn what comes of it. Toward the end of the film, Syrena pulls Philip into the water with her and swims away. Whether she has malicious or romantic intentions is left up to the viewer to decide.

While this film was Claflin's feature film debut, it would also be his only appearance in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. Philip does not return in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales," and the audience never receives an update on his whereabouts.

Ian McShane

You might know him from "Deadwood," "Hot Rod," or "John Wick," but you probably don't know that Ian McShane is also part of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. McShane plays the legendary Blackbeard in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." Though the real Blackbeard was indeed a notorious pirate, according to World History Encyclopedia, he was only active for 15 months. He did perform treacherous acts of piracy, and had an impressive flair for the dramatic. But his outsize reputation is largely thanks to author Charles Johnson, who hyperbolized Blackbeard in fiction in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Within the universe of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, Blackbeard has a mystical connection to his ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge. As he lifts his sword, which is somehow imbued with magical properties, the ship comes to life and aids him in torturing or murdering whoever he chooses with its ropes and sails.

Blackbeard dies due to his own selfishness in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," though McShane portrayed him once more when the character was added to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. As the ride's slow-moving boats pass through a curtain of water droplets suspended in midair, a projection of McShane as Blackbeard appears, warning riders of the fate they face if they continue on. This feature was later discontinued.

Robbie Kay

In "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," Captain Jack discovers he can't go to the Fountain of Youth without a crew. Among the scallywags who join him is an unnamed teenage boy who contemporary genre fans might recognize. He's portrayed by Robbie Kay, who went on to play a villainous version of Peter Pan on ABC's "Once Upon A Time" and Tommy Clark on NBC's "Heroes Reborn."

For the most part, Kay's pirate youngster stays in the background. But he's also more than an extra. This nameless cabin boy is consistently present throughout the movie, having been enlisted by Jack during the film's opening in London and persisting through to the end. But again, he doesn't have a main role and doesn't even receive a proper name. He occasionally speaks, though, and contributes to the tapestry of pirates who make Jack's crew what it is. This small role has thus far been Kay's only appearance in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise.

Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem knows how to play a villain. After playing a psychopath in the Coen brothers' "No Country For Old Men" and facing off against James Bond in "Skyfall," Bardem confidently entered the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise as a brand new bad guy in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."

Bardem plays Captain Armando Salazar, a pirate hunter seeking revenge on Jack Sparrow. Years ago, young Jack trapped Salazar and his crew in a mysterious area known as the Devil's Triangle. This cursed region transformed Salazar and his crew into undead specters, a fate they're none too pleased with. When a loophole in their curse sets them free, Salazar leads a vengeful charge to kill Jack Sparrow, once and for all.

In a fascinating twist of fate, it seems making "Pirates of the Caribbean" runs in the family. Bardem is married to Penélope Cruz, who plays Angelica in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." Thus, husband and wife have both starred in a "Pirates of the Caribbean" film, albeit not the same one.

Kaya Scodelario

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" contains a major surprise: Captain Barbossa has a daughter he never knew about. Carina Smyth is likewise just as unaware of her long-lost father's whereabouts. She searches for him, and the entirety of her murky origins, by studying astronomy, a field in which she constantly faces sexist hurdles. Carina is played by Kaya Scodelario, who made her "Pirates of the Caribbean" debut between stints as Teresa in the "Maze Runner" film series.

Carina and Barbossa become intertwined in Jack Sparrow's quest to help Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites), son of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, find the Trident of Poseidon. This Trident can set Will free from his servitude as a shepherd of dead souls. Though Barbossa and Carina eventually learn the truth about one another, they hardly have a chance to explore their relationship, as Barbossa sacrifices himself to save the rest of the crew. Intriguingly, Carina and Henry become romantically involved, leading to an unlikely family tree that connects Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa.

Brenton Thwaites

Today, you might know Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson, aka Robin, aka Nightwing, the leader of the titular team on "Titans." But before he landed a gig playing a superhero, Thwaites was a pirate ... or at least the son of a pirate. Thwaites plays Henry Turner, the son of Will and Elizabeth, in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."

At the end of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," Will Turner replaces Davy Jones as a ferryman of dead souls who's only able to step foot on land once every 10 years. A post-credits scene reveals that prior to his departure, he and Elizabeth conceived a child. "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" centers around that child, Henry, and his quest to free Will from this servitude and reunite his family.

Having heard tales of the great Captain Jack Sparrow, Henry recruits Jack to help him find the Trident of Poseidon and save Will, which they succeed in doing. Thwaites' portrayal possesses the same ambition Orlando Bloom brought to the role of his father in 2003, which Bloom reprises briefly in the fifth movie.

Paul McCartney

Yes, we're talking about that Paul McCartney. In the tradition of the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards playing Jack Sparrow's father, the Beatles' Paul McCartney has a cameo in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" as Jack's uncle, who is also named Jack. As Depp's Jack is being escorted to his execution (which he later escapes, of course), he passes McCartney's Jack's jail cell and is surprised and delighted to see his uncle there. What follows is a bit of a scatterbrained conversation for old Uncle Jack, who sings a sea shanty, tries to give his nephew advice, and tells a joke ("A skeleton goes into a bar, orders a beer and a mop ... ") inside of a minute. 

If we can assume this is who our Jack is named after, he bears quite the resemblance indeed. Furthermore, this might imply Jack Sparrow's entire family is comprised of famous rock musicians. It's a whole lot of fun to imagine who else might round out the cast if a family reunion scenario ever finds its way to the screen.