Walt Disney Studios announced Wednesday that relatively unknown French actress Astrid Berges-Frisbey will make her American movie debut in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." Berges-Frisbey will play Syrena, a "beautiful and alluring young mermaid" according to the studio.  It's unclear whether its really a significant role, but with production set to begin only two months from now what going on with franchise stars Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom?  Johnny Depp is certainly back in the fold, but besides the news of Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane joining the voyage there has been almost zero word on the return of that specific trio. 

Knightley told MTV News almost two years ago she was finished with the "Pirates" series and her recent attachment to Noah Baumbach's comedy "The Emperor's Children" which would shoot at the same time as "Pirates" seems to confirm she's out.  Although after Geoffrey Rush's surprise appearance at the end of the second installment, don't discount the possibility of a cameo.

Rush, on the other hand, thought he was returning for "Tides" in September, but that was before McShane was cast as the film's villain Blackbeard.  Captain Barbosa went from a villainous personality to a semi-heroic one in the last chapter, "At World's End." Is there room for him on Captain Jack Sparrow's journey to the Fountain of Youth?  The lack of official word from Disney with two months to go before shooting is disturbingly telling.

As for Orlando Bloom, has any actor made a bigger mistake by taking a year (or was that two?) off to party all over the world?  To be honest without Knightley's Elizabeth Swann in the fold is there any need for Bloom's Will Turner?  The 33-year-old actor is set to star in Rodrigo Garcia's "Albert Nobbs" with Amanda Seyfriend and Glenn Close, but it's unclear when the picture will actually shoot. In theory, Bloom could have time for "Tides," if director Rob Marshall and producer Jerry Bruckheimer want the swashbuckler to return.  Or, will he be lucky enough to land a cameo?  (At this point, we're hoping for his sake that he hasn't spent all his "Pirates" bounty from the first three films.)

With "Tides" set to begin shooting in Hawaii in June, all these questions, and more, should be answered fairly shortly.