Pirates of the Caribbean

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Name: Pirates of the Caribbean
Abbreviation(s): PotC
Creator: Disney
Date(s): 2003 - present
Medium: live-action films
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: The Curse of the Black Pearl at IMDB
Pirates of the Caribbean at Wikipedia

Subpages for Pirates of the Caribbean:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Captain Jack on the cover of a general pirate fanzine called "No Quarter Given," art by Christine Lampe, issued the same month the first movie was released

The first Pirates of the Caribbean film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, was released in July 2003. It was based on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland and was directed by Gore Verbinski. The movie mixed realistic drama, comedy, cliché pirate movie tropes, and supernatural elements to tell the story of a pirate (Captain Jack Sparrow--Johnny Depp), a blacksmith (Will Turner--Orlando Bloom), the Governor's daughter (Elizabeth Swann--Keira Knightley), a British Navy officer (Commodore James Norrington--Jack Davenport) and the man at the helm of the cursed Black Pearl (Hector Barbossa--Geoffrey Rush).

After commercial success,[1] Disney expanded the franchise to two more movies, Dead Man's Chest, (released 2006) and At World's End (released 2007). The fourth film, On Stranger Tides, was released in May 2011 and featured Jack Sparrow but not Will Turner or Elizabeth Swan.[2] It introduced Angelica (played by Penelope Cruz) as Captain Jack's love interest.

A fifth film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, was released in May 2017 and saw the return of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan and the introduction of their son, Henry Turner. Former Bond villain and Cruz's real-life husband Javier Bardem appears as the film's villain. (Christoph Waltz had previously been rumored, but instead he became Bardem's successor as the next Bond villain.)


The fandom began before the release of the first movie; the LiveJournal community pirategasm was founded 1 April 2003 by leggyslove, and leggyslove posted an NC-17 fic the same day.

A notable early challenge in this fandom was posted by Circe_Tigana on Livejournal on December 19th 2003, calling for 882 Drabbles, one for each piece of Aztec gold in the original movie, by January 1st. The target was reached in only three days.[3]

The fandom has both slash and het pairings (including the canon Will/Elizabeth pairing) which are very popular, as well as polyamorous threesomes (Jack/Elizabeth/Will) and foursomes, which have been quite popular. fabu provided a brief history of the popularity of different parings within the fandom in March 2006:

In the early days of the fandom, most writers focused on the piratical characters. The most popular pairing was Jack/Will, and there were many stories in which Elizabeth died or her relationship with Will didn't work out for some reason, and Will ran off to be a pirate, or in which Will and Elizabeth ran away to sail with Jack. These scenarios are so established in the fandom that many writers no longer spell out how Will (or Will and Elizabeth) came to be on the Pearl; they present it as a fait accompli and move on.

As time went on, there was an increasing interest in the naval characters, especially Norrington, and the Jack/Norrington pairing gradually increased in popularity. Again, while early "Sparrington" stories usually explored how Jack and Norrington overcame their differences, more recent stories often present them in an established relationship. Stories in which Norrington becomes a pirate aren't common, but there are quite a few in which Jack gains a letter of marque (allowing him to attack non-English ships with the crown's support), putting him and Norrington on the same side of the law. In addition to Norrington, there's also quite a bit of interest in Gillette and Groves (the lieutenant who says, "That's got to be the best pirate I've ever seen!").

Het pairings have remained consistently popular. There's not a lot of Will/Elizabeth fic (although it can be found), but Jack/Elizabeth is fairly popular (particularly stories set during the movie, when they were marooned together). Norrington/Elizabeth stories aren't uncommon, and original female characters are sometimes paired with Jack or Norrington. There's also some Jack/Anamaria, and even some Norrington/Anamaria.

Femslash isn't common in this fandom[4]

In the interim between the release of the second and third films, a ship war raged between fans of Will/Elizabeth, or "Willabeth", and fans of Jack/Elizabeth, or "Sparrabeth", with both pairings played up and openly teased in the marketing for Dead Man's Chest. (See Willabeth vs Sparrabeth for more details).

The fandom has also produced considerable amounts of gen works.

POTC is part of the Age of Sail umbrella fandom. The newsletter despatches includes POTC stories, and many crossovers with other Age of Sail fandoms have been written.

See also: List of Pirates of the Caribbean Pairing Names, for more information on popular pairings and pairing-specific communities

Notable Works

illustration of Jack Sparrow leaning to the left and holding an apple, in the background is a ship's mast
Captain Jack Sparrow, art by Bohemian Weasel












Some examples:

Mailing Lists

  • SparrowandNorrington (rooting for you) archive link "A slash group dedicated to Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, specifically the relationship between Jack Sparrow and Commodore [James] Norrington. There is a lot of sexual tension there - and quite a bit of flirting. Discussion of the movie and fan fiction allowed. If you want to feature other characters that's great - but the main focus of the story should be the Jack/Norrington dynamic."
  • Strong Spirited offline "A group for femmeslash between Anamaria and Elizabeth, two characters from The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Discussion, fanwork, and anything else related to the two and a possible relationship between them is welcome and encouraged."
  • JackXWill archive link "A group for slash involving Jack Sparrow and Will Turner from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie trilogy. All slash-related topics, including fanart, fanfiction, and general discussion, are welcome. This list may have some mature conversations, adult language, etc. So please, no members below the age of 17. Please note that ANY and all spoilers for the third POTC movie should be posted with a SPOILER warning in the message subject line, in effect until July 2007. Note: All stories posted to the JackXWill Yahoogroup will automatically be assumed as eligible for archiving unless the author indicates otherwise."
  • Commodore And Castaway archive link "This is a group dedicated to the idea of a slash relationship between the Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl characters (Lt./Cpt./)Commodore Norrington and Will Turner. There's a lot of tension between those two in the movie, and a relationship isn't as crazy as it may seem.or at least that's what we're out to prove."



Meta/Further Reading