After shepherding the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy for over six years, Gore Verbinski has decided to move on. According to Variety, Verbinski has told both producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Walt Disney that he will not return to helm the franchise's fourth installment that should begin shooting in 2010.
Instead, Verbinski will concentrate on Universal's movie adaptation of "Bioshock," a potential blockbuster expected to be his next directorial effort. He's also developing a remake of the murder mystery "Clue" and a drama based on a Wall Street Journal article about the harsh effects of online fantasy-gaming on the real lives of players. He's also still working with Johnny Depp, directing him in the CG-animated film "Rango." Paramount expects to release the picture in March 2011.
The first "Pirates" solidified Depp as a box office superstar and he's already committed to yet another sequel as well as starring in Disney's big screen version of "The Lone Ranger." However, it's unclear how Verbinski's departure will affect the production schedule or the return of series stars Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley or Geoffrey Rush.