Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is the third part of the trilogy initiated by the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and followed by the 2006 film Dead Man's Chest. At World's End is directed by Gore Verbinski, the director of the previous two films. The film's cast includes returnees Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, Bill Nighy, Geoffrey Rush, and Jack Davenport. Chow Yun-Fat makes his first appearance in the franchise as one of the film's antagonists.
Lord Cutler Beckett executes anyone suspected of or associated with piracy. Beckett, who now possesses Davy Jones's heart, orders Jones to destroy all pirate ships. Condemned prisoners sing a song to compel the nine pirate lords comprising the (fourth) Brethren Court to convene at Shipwreck Cove. However, Captain Jack Sparrow, pirate lord of the Caribbean, never appointed his successor, and therefore must attend. Captain Barbossa leads Will, Elizabeth, Tia Dalma and Black Pearl crewmen to rescue Jack. Sao Feng, pirate lord of the South China Sea, possesses a map to the entrance to Davy Jones's Locker, where Jack is imprisoned. Elizabeth and Barbossa bargain with Feng for the map and a ship, but Feng is furious that Will already attempted to steal it. The British Royal Navy, led by Mercer, attack Feng's bathhouse. During the battle, Will bargains with Feng for the Pearl in exchange for Sparrow, whom Feng wants to turn over to Beckett, presumably for immunity from Davy Jones's attacks on pirates. Will wants the Pearl to rescue his father from The Flying Dutchman.
The crew journeys into the Locker and successfully retrieves Sparrow. As the Pearl seeks an escape route, dead souls are seen floating by underwater. Tia Dalma reveals that Davy Jones was appointed by Calypso, Goddess of the Sea and his lover, to ferry the dead to the next world. In return, Jones was allowed to step upon land for one day every ten years to be with his love; but when she failed to meet him, the scorned captain abandoned his duty and transformed into a monster. Elizabeth sees her father, Governor Weatherby Swann's soul pass by in a boat, murdered by Cutler Beckett. Swann reveals that whoever stabs Jones's heart becomes the Dutchman's immortal captain.
After returning to the living world, the Pearl is ambushed by Sao Feng and his men, who reveals his agreement with Will. However, he betrays Will, having made another deal with Beckett to hand over the crew and keep the Pearl. The Endeavour arrives, and takes Sparrow aboard, although he refuses to divulge to Beckett where the Brethren Court will convene: instead, Jack makes a deal to lead Beckett to the Court and lure them out for Beckett to destroy, in exchange for Beckett protecting him from Jones. When Feng is double-crossed by Beckett, he bargains with Barbossa to release the Pearl in exchange for Elizabeth, who he believes is Calypso trapped in human form. Feng attacks the Endeavour, allowing Jack to escape. Aboard his warship, Feng tells Elizabeth that the first Brethren Court trapped Calypso in human form so men could rule the seas. Davy Jones attacks Feng's ship. The mortally wounded Feng appoints Elizabeth as the new captain and the Pirate Lord of the South China Sea. She and the crew are then imprisoned in the Dutchman's brig. Also aboard is Admiral James Norrington, who frees Elizabeth and her crew. They escape to their ship, although Norrington is killed by a crazed Bootstrap Bill Turner.
Will leaves a trail of corpses for Beckett's ship to follow. Jack catches Will and tosses him overboard after giving him his magical compass so Beckett can find Shipwreck Cove. Will is rescued by Beckett's ship, and Davy Jones reveals that he masterminded Calypso's imprisonment by the first Brethren Court. At Shipwreck Island, the pirate lords introduce themselves and present the nine pieces of eight, but some disagree over freeing Calypso. Barbossa calls upon Captain Teague to confirm that only a Pirate King can declare war. Elizabeth, newly ordained Pirate Lord of the South China Sea, is elected Pirate King after Sparrow's vote for her breaks a stalemate. She orders the pirates to go to war. During a parlay with Beckett and Jones, Elizabeth and Barbossa swap Sparrow for Will.
Barbossa tricks the pirate lords into yielding their "pieces of eight", which he needs to free Calypso, who is bound in human form as Tia Dalma. As she is released, Will discloses that it was Davy Jones who betrayed her to the Brethren Court. Her fury unleashes a violent maelstrom. Sparrow escapes the Dutchman's brig and steals the Dead Man's Chest. Meanwhile, Davy Jones kills Mercer and obtains the key to the chest, which Jack then steals from Jones during a duel. The Pearl and the Dutchman face off near the center of the maelstrom. Will proposes to Elizabeth, and Captain Barbossa marries them in the midst of battle. Will boards the Dutchman to retrieve the chest, but is mortally wounded by Davy Jones. Sparrow places his sword in Will's hand and helps him stab Jones's heart, killing him. Jack and Elizabeth escape the Dutchman as the crew carve out Will's heart and place it into the Dead Man's Chest; the ship disappears into the whirlpool. Beckett, never intending to honor his agreement with Jack, moves to attack the Pearl. The Dutchman resurfaces with Will as the captain and the crew now human. The Dutchman and the Pearl destroy the Endeavour and kill Beckett. The surviving armada retreats.
Will is bound to sail the sea as the Dutchman's captain. Will and Elizabeth have one day together where they consummate their marriage. He departs at sunset, but first gives Elizabeth the Dead Man's Chest. Barbossa commandeers the Pearl, stranding Jack and Gibbs in Tortuga. Having anticipated Barbossa's deception, Sparrow removed the map's middle that shows the path to the Fountain of Youth. Ten years later, Elizabeth and her son Will, stand atop a seacliff; the Dutchman appears on the horizon with Will Turner aboard.
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Parts of the third film were shot during location filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, with some principal photography done in April 2005. A tank was used in the Bahamas for scenes involving the ships, during which most of the film takes place. Production of Dead Man's Chest ended March 2006. Shooting was unusual in that whilst shooting the film, the writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio had not finished the script, and instead a temporary one was used. According to the writers, the rushing helped the actors give real surprise to their performances. The first fifty-seven pages of this early version were leaked onto the Internet and were taken down by Disney. Co-writer Ted Elliott stated on Disney's official Pirates of the Caribbean message board that "there's already significant differences" between the early draft and actual shooting.
Filming of the third film resumed August 3 2006 and is scheduled to continue until early 2007 for 70 days off the coast of California. A Disney representative denied that At World's End would be the title of the third film in July 2006, but on August 31 2006 Terry Rossio confirmed that, after all, the third film's title would be At Worlds End. The official teaser poster revealed that the title would have an apostrophe, i.e. At World's End.
A particular contention point of the film has been the presence of Keith Richards, part of Johnny Depp's inspiration for the role of Captain Jack Sparrow, as the character's father. Richards was finally confirmed by Verbinski to be joining the third film on June 23 2006.
- Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow: Despite having been swallowed by the Kraken, Sparrow is to be rescued from Davy Jones' Locker.
- Orlando Bloom as Will Turner: A blacksmith turned pirate, and son of a pirate himself.
- Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann: A governor's daughter, engaged to Turner (though the relationship became questionable at the end of the previous film). Also engages often in piracy herself.
- Geoffrey Rush as Captain Hector Barbossa: Former first mate of the Black Pearl, who led a mutiny against Jack Sparrow eleven years previously. Although killed by Sparrow at the end of the first film, Barbossa returns to lead The Black Pearl crew to World's End to find Sparrow.
- Chow Yun-Fat as Captain Sao Feng: The Pirate Lord of Singapore, captain of the Chinese ship Empress. He reportedly kidnaps Elizabeth Swann off the Pearl.
- Bill Nighy provides motion capture and the voice for Davy Jones: The ghostly ruler of the ocean depths and captain of The Flying Dutchman, to whom Sparrow owed a blood debt. Now in the service of Lord Cutler Beckett.
- Jack Davenport as Admiral James Norrington: He is in an alliance with Lord Beckett and the East India Trading Company after procuring the heart of Davy Jones. He is also Elizabeth's former fiance.
- Stellan Skarsgård as "Bootstrap Bill" Turner: Will's father, cursed to serve an eternity on The Flying Dutchman.
- Tom Hollander as Lord Cutler Beckett: The principal antagonist and Chairman of the East India Trading Company is in possession of Davy Jones' heart, and thus in control of the Seas.
- Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs: Sparrow's first mate.
- Naomie Harris as Tia Dalma: Soothsayer who seems to know more than she will tell. She travels with the former Black Pearl crew to rescue Sparrow.
- Lee Arenberg as Pintel: Ragetti's buddy and another member of Sparrow's crew.
- Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti: A member of Sparrow's crew with a wooden eye.
- Jonathan Pryce as Governor Weatherby Swann: Governor of Port Royal, Jamaica; Elizabeth's father, trapped in Beckett's service.
- Keith Richards as Captain Teague: Jack's father.
- Dominic Scott Kay: Young Will Turner.