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Headscratchers / Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

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  • How old is Carina supposed to be? The conversation between Jack and Barbossa implies that the former knew her mother during her relationship with the latter. But for that to work, she would have had to be born before Barbossa originally stole the Black Pearl from Jack, ten years before the events of the first movie, which would make her at least as old as Will and Elizabeth. And yet the movie shows her to be closer in age to Will and Elizabeth's son.
    • Henry's age implies that the film takes place about 20 years after At World's End. After Beckett's death, Jack and Barbossa took the Pearl to Tortuga. While one could wonder why a woman of science would be there, they could have met her before Barbossa took the Pearl the second time.
      • Carina never said her mother was a woman of science. She only thought that her father was a man of science, which turned out to be not the case.
      • Well, according to the book The Brightest Star in the North: The Adventures of Carina Smyth we know Carina is 19 years old. Also, the movie is set during 1751, so she was born about 1732. Henry is 21, so At World's End is set during 1729 or thereabouts. Since Jack knew Margaret Smyth, and in the novelisation of Dead Men Tell No Tales he mentions Barbossa was “revoltingly entwined” with her “20 years ago” that means Barbossa stole the Pearl no earlier than 1731.
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    • Barbossa's relationship with Margaret could have been an on-and-off thing, with him being involved with her both when Jack was growing up among pirates and later on, after the events of the original trilogy. Sailors' romantic connections, then and now, have tended to be intermittent ones.

  • Why is Salazar's ship called the Silent Mary, shouldn't it have a Spanish name?
    • Perhaps it does have a Spanish name, and we only get the translation. One translation would be "Marie Silenciar" which also means 'Mary Silenced'. As in, to make the Virgin Mary silent.
      • Silent Mary would be ‘María Silenciosa’.
    • Possibly the ship was captured by Salazar from English-speaking pirates, or even from the British Navy during one of their intermittent conflicts with Spain. Salazar opted not to change its name, because that's the sort of thing which pirates do to ships they capture.

  • If Will Turner's curse is broken and he is made mortal, is his heart still in the Dead Man's Chest?
    • Yes and no. Based on Salazar and his crew, Will probably regrew his heart when the curse was lifted. So, his heart could still be in the chest with no attachment to him.

  • Why were the British so determined to execute Carina for being a witch, despite knowing fully well what astronomy is with Carina visiting an astronomer's shop yet even the owner declares her a witch and pull a pistol on her for readjusting his telescope? Especially with the British holding a real witch captive in their cells and using her abilities for their own benefit? Even taking in it being an era before women's rights, it doesn't explain why as it would be far more likely they'd ridicule her instead.
    • I don't see how women's rights have anything to do with her being in trouble, but I'll give it a go. The guy with the telescope seemed to be a bit off to me, needing everything to be just so. Once things got out of his control, he freaked out. As for the British military, it might have something to do with the fact that in the POTC world, magic is very much real, and they're just overreacting to her book and whatever she might have been asking around about. Her tendency to insult people probably didn't do her any favors, either.

  • Wouldn't Smyth be an incredibly common name? I'm pretty sure that Smith is one of the most common English names, so how would Jack know that Carina's the result of Barbossa and Margaret Smyth? Unless he was using other clues from his time around Barbossa and the diary and the last name was just the final piece of the puzzle.
    • He probably overheard her and Barbossa talking about her father and then saw how distraught Barbossa looked afterwards and used those as clues as well. Also Barbossa has a tattoo that matches the star pattern on the front of the journal (which is how Carina figures it out at the end), so if he's ever seen that tattoo that's another big hint connecting them as well.

  • In The Stinger, How does Davy Jones come back to life? He was already dead when Will stabbed his heart before he fell into the maelstrom. Furthermore, if breaking Poseidon's Trident remove every curse in the ocean, how is he still in his monster form?
    • A Sequel Hook is not supposed to answer the questions it brings up. That's the job of the sequel itself.
    • A possible explanation to that: With Will being an inheritor of the curse being bound to the Dutchman and ferrying souls, and not being the actual “patient zero” like Davy Jones is, he is the exception to breaking free. Also, take in the fact that Calypso is the goddess of the sea, the embodiment of it, and is the source of Davy Jones’s curse. Breaking Poseidon’s Trident would disable lesser deities or even human-based curses (like the Devil’s Triangle, as we still don’t necessarily know where or who it originated from, other than it is connected to Jack’s compass and was bound to Salazar and his crew, but the cursed Aztec gold wouldn’t count, as it wasn’t a sea-based or sea-deity-based curse at all), but not the curses or obligated jobs crafted by other powerful sea deities (such as Calypso, although since the trident was Poseidon's, it might theoretically negate HIS curses and the like). And Jones himself was the result of such a powerful curse made by Calypso. Given that his body fell into the sea in the aftermath of his death, it isn’t too farfetched a theory that he was revived after Will, (who is, again) a secondhand inheritor of Calypso’s curse and not the origins of it, has been broken from a curse that wasn’t his to begin with and now Davy Jones is now rebound to his duties as being the ferryman of souls. Also, to hit on point on “why is Jones still a monster”, he allowed himself to become as such, that form was his own doing. It wasn’t necessarily a direct influence by Calypso, but a side effect that he afflicted on himself by neglecting his duties. (And this can possible, possibly, all be taken into account, if we are to believe The Stinger, is in fact, an actual teaser of Davy Jones coming back.)
      • Or, alternatively, it could be because it's not the original Davy Jones, but Barbossa taking both Jones' and Turner's place as the ferryman of lost souls, which would explain why the claw is on a different hand. It's a different person entirely.
      • Except the music that plays when the barnacles are revealed is the same as the tune from Jones's music box. It's him.
    • Watching the scene again, I am not convinced that is actually Jones at all. The claw we get to see is clearly right-handed. Jones still had his right hand, albeit with a tentacle instead of an index finger. His lobster claw is on his left side, so this is clearly an impostor. That, or it's a Continuity Snarl.
      • Or perhaps he'd transformed even further into one of the "fish people" while Calypso was holding him captive, post-World's End, because he still wasn't ferrying souls once he'd been supplanted as the Dutchman's captain. Indeed, the fact that he returns right then strongly suggests that he'd been "double-cursed" between movies - once by his own negligence that transformed him, and then a second time by his pissed-off goddess/lover to imprison him - and breaking the Trident only disrupted the second curse.
    • Jones's curse wasn't a product of the Earthly sea, it was a product of the Underworld's. Will's curse could be lifted by the Trident's destruction because he'd become the Dutchman's captain while in the material world, hence within Poseidon's jurisdiction; if anything, the Underworld seas where Jones first started neglecting his duties would be Hades' domain, not Poseidon's.
    • The Compass Did It. It does release Jack's worst fear (Salazar) and I think Jack held Jones in the same regard (Probably even worse because he knew Jones was a nigh-unkillable squidman whereas the last he saw of Salazar, he was a mortal man who at least could be killed, trapped in the triangle and couldn't escape.) Assuming it's been empowered by Calypso, it shouldn't be that hard for it to unleash Jones again.
    • Even stuck in her mortal form, Tia Dalma's magic was clearly powerful enough to resurrect Barbossa. Who's to say Calypso didn't resurrect Davy Jones after Will killed him? She almost certainly would've been powerful enough. Perhaps that resurrection unbound him from the Dutchman, but either left him in his monster form, or Calypso left him like that intentionally as punishment for trapping her, and could keep him in that form through her own power after the trident was destroyed.

  • One thing that is still seems kind of ambiguous is whether Barbossa is really dead or not. Unlike Salazar and his crew, didn't he seem a lot closer to the surface of the water, and more likely to be alive? Did they even search for a body, at least? Maybe he really is gone, but is it Word of God from the creators that Barbossa is well and truly dead?

  • Why doesn't Barbossa ever use his magical sword that can control ships? That seems like it would have been an incredible advantage for him to have -possibly one that could have neutralized Salazar before he ever became a threat. Okay, maybe it wouldn't have worked on the Silent Mary since it's a ghost ship and all, but Barbossa didn't even try it. And even if it didn't, it still would have been useful against the Essex, or when Salazar's crew boarded the Revenge or the Pearl, or at the end of the movie when the Pearl needs to perform some incredibly dangerous and precise movement to save Jack and the others. They even use the magical sword to free the Black Pearl, and it's implied to be the reason Barbossa basically rules the sea at the start of the film, so it's not like the writers just forgot he had it.

  • Why is it that the authorities who are so eager to kill Carina because they think she's a witch have no problem working with Shansa, who looks and acts much more like a witch than Carina? All their evidence against Carina is that she has astrology and horology based writings that look like occult symbols. However, they work with Shansa, who not only understands Carina's writing but is bald (VERY unusual for a woman her age in that time and place unless she had a serious problem), wears sinister clothing has strange letters and symbols TATTOOED ON HER SKIN, without batting an eye. Someone as vindictive and suspicious as those authorities should've been wary of Shansa (aside from the fact that at this point in real-life 1700's witchcraft was decriminialized in and of itself and considered a subset of con artistry).
    • Fridge Brilliance: Shansa herself may not want to risk letting any other witches come to the colony and make her own services no longer indispensable to the authorities. She probably fed her employers' suspicions of any woman who made use of books with star-signs in them to ensure they'd arrest and eliminate potential competitors. If the paranoia she's stoked gets some passing astronomy-buff lynched for no reason, it's no loss to Shansa.
    • Alternatively: Barbossa said he pulled some strings in order for Shansa to get life imprisonment instead of execution. Since they can't execute her, the British probably figured that they might as well use her to their advantage.

  • The ruby in the diary was from a formation on the island, so Galileo must have made it to the island, chipped it off and come back. So if he made it that far, why didn't he just take the trident himself? Also, the sea parts as soon as our heroes put the ruby back, so what was it like before Galileo chipped it off?
    • IIRC, Galileo never actually made it to the island himself. Maybe someone else found it and Galileo was just the guy who transcribed the story.

  • The Dutchman and its crew "cleaned up" in the end of "World's End". Why are they reverted in this one? Was Will also slacking on the soul-ferrying job?
    • The most likely answer is "Because they needed an impetus for Henry and didn't care how little sense it made", but for the sake of argument, there are a few possible explanations. One is that with Calypso free to make the seas as treacherous and dangerous as she likes, there are simply more deaths at sea than Will can handle... he just can't find them all and ferry them all before they wind up drifting off on their own, so he gets punished for it despite making his best effort, despite how unfair it is... Calypso doesn't seem to care much for "fair", after all. The other is that, being of a treacherous and flighty nature, she simply decided to inflict the curse on him for some other reason or possibly imagined slight... after all, "It's [her] nature."
    • Or maybe Will couldn't resist sailing the Dutchman off the coast where he'd left Elizabeth once in a while, scanning the shore with his spyglass in hope of spotting her and reassuring himself she was okay. One day, he caught a glimpse of her out walking with a small child, and that made him forsake his duties entirely, leaving the dead un-gathered while he desperately sought another look at his family: behavior that Calypso wouldn't permit to go unpunished.

  • Why did Jack have to trade his compass for rum when he had taken the single gold piece remaining in the safe from the bank robbery. The bartender explicitly asked for silver.
    • Assuming he wasn't too blitzed to remember that small good thing in a very bad day, he did open with the question of "How about a trade?" indicating that not every bartender is willing to. It's quite possible he meant to save the gold for someone who wouldn't barter. He just chose the absolute worst item to trade.
  • Why send peg-legged Barbossa on the anchor at the climax of the movie instead of somebody much more nimble?
    • His daughter was in danger.
    • A Captain always gets the final say in a fight
  • Will's heart was locked in a chest in the third movie, and the curse was the only thing keeping him alive. Once all the curses are broke, Will should die. Additionally Davy Jones shouldn't be able to return for The Stinger in his fish form for the same reason, especially because he had been dead for the past 21 years.
    • Salazar's undead crew grew back body parts after the curse was lifted. We can assume the same thing happened to Will.

  • Salazar once almost wiped out all the pirates in the sea? Really? The way he described his past before he engages the young Jack Sparrow in that fateful battle at the Devil's Trinagle implies that he and the crew of Silent Mary have taken out all but one pirate ship in the sea, which is a stretch even by POTC standards. Not to mention that by the time of the first trilogy, piracy is still very much a thing across the world's oceans. Even if we believe that the pirates managed to pull themselves Back from the Brink after Salazar's first defeat, it's still a stretch to believe that they would've grown back to the massive number they have in At World's End in only a few decades at most, especially not when there's still major naval powers like the Spanish Navy and the British Navy to contend with.
    • Either Salazar's ego causes him to over-estimate the scale of the damage he did to the pirates when he was alive or his memory's been corrupted after he was left in an undead state so that he's exaggerating the extent of his influence.
      • To be clear, he did do a lot of damage to the pirates of the time, it just wasn't as great as he claims.

  • Why did the Silent Mary destroy the Essex? Salazar is a pirate-hunter, so he should have no beef with the Royal Navy. If anything, he should even be on their side. Perhaps he wanted to defeat Barbossa himself and didn’t want Scarfield to “claim his prize,” but then that reduces his character from a zealous pirate-hunter into a mere ship-hunter, no better than a common pirate.
    • The series is set towards the end of the reign of George II of England, although the King shown in the previous movie acted more like George IV, and this was a time that England was still at occasional war with Spain. English ships would act like pirates towards Spanish merchant ships, and many armed English merchantmen would sail under "Letters of Marque" which were instructions saying they could raid Spanish ships exactly like pirates did, only with the crown's official sanction. In short, Salazar is attacking the Essex because the English Navy is a pirate navy.

  • What happened with Bootstrap Turner? He promised Will to stay with him aboard the Flying Dutchman at the end of the third film, but he is nowhere to be seen here. What's more, Will doesn't even mention his father while talking to Henry, not even saying something like "You're trying to free me just like I tried to do with your grandfather"? Did Bootstrap get bored of sailing with Will or what?

  • If the Trident of Poseidon could break all curses of the Seven Seas, why didn't Barbossa and his cursed crew search for it once they got the curse of the Treasure of Cortés prior to the first film? They only became aware that they needed to keep Bootstrap with them to break the curse which made them immortal so they went after Will, but why didn't they consider going for the Trident if tracking down Will was hard?
    • Even in this film, Barbossa himself considers the trident unfindable. If the idea came up during the years they were cursed, he likely would have dismissed it and considered it easier to return every piece of the Aztec treasure and pay back the blood.