With Disney releasing their latest attempt at adapting a ride into a movie with their second Haunted Mansion movie, there is no question that in the niche genre of movies based on theme park rides, The Pirates of the Caribbean still easily takes the top slot. When the first movie was released in 2003 it was a certified success both critically and commercially, with an incredible box office return, and even getting five Oscar nominations.
The movie eventually bloomed into a massive franchise with five movies total, and more on the way if Disney has their way. But like any massive media franchise these days, the movies aren't enough. If you are impatiently waiting for another Pirates of the Caribbean movie to finally get made, you can help pass the time by looking into the multiple series of books and series that have been published to flesh out the world of The Pirates of the Caribbean.
Pirate of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow
After the initial success of the movies, this was a series of young adult novels that explored Jack Sparrow's teen years before he became the pirate we know from the movies. In total thirteen books were written between 2006 and 2009.
The series tells a continuous story throughout the books and while Jack isn't a pirate yet, he still manages to become captain of a ship pretty quickly in the series. Jack's father, Captain Teague, who is briefly played by Keith Richards in the third film, has a larger role in some of the later parts of this series, and we do get to see the first meeting of Jack Sparrow and Bill Turner, the man who would eventually be Will Turner's father.
The series also has some tropes that would be familiar to fans of the movies, including artifacts that are sought after due to the legends of their magical powers. Later on, some of Jack Sparrow's backstory would be added to the movies in the fifth film, Dead Men Tell no Tales, but some fans feel like they like the version of events that was depicted in the books better.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Legends of the Brethren Court
After the completion of the first series of Jack Sparrow books, a second series was written that featured an older Jack Sparrow, but still set about thirteen years before the events of the first movie. By this point Jack Sparrow has become a pirate and is the youngest Pirate Lord ever to join the Brethren Court, the governing body of Pirate Lords that was first introduced in the third film.
While Jack Sparrow was the main character of the series, these books featured many of the other characters from the movies as well. Barbossa, the main antagonist from the first movie, is Jack's first mate in this series, and Bootstrap Bill (Will's father) is a character as well. While these books are credited to Rob Kidd, the same author as the earlier series, in fact in both cases, the name was a pseudonym.
While several different authors worked on the first series, this time around, only one of the authors, Tui T. Sutherland returned to write all of the books in this second series. In total five books were released between 2008 and 2010.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom
The final Pirates of the Caribbean prequel novel was a standalone that was published in 2011, the year after the final book in The Legends of the Brethren Court was published. In this novel, Jack Sparrow is twenty-five, which puts the book between the two series chronologically.
This book begins with Jack as a law-abiding citizen and employee of the East India Trading Company, but one that already has the characteristics of the pirate that we know he one day will be. While the other Pirates of the Caribbean novels are clearly intended to be parts of their respective ongoing series, this novel is meant to be a standalone story and tells a complete story.
Of course it's also the longest Pirates of the Caribbean book by far. While the longest book in either series came in at 256 pages, The Price of Freedom is 672 pages long. The book was written by Ann C. Crispin who was most famous for her tie-in novels, particularly the one that took place in the Stark Trek and Star Wars universes.
In fact, her best known work was likely her Han Solo Trilogy, a trilogy of books that detailed the events of Han Solo's life before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In fact it was her Han Solo books that caused Disney to reach out to her about writing a Pirates of the Caribbean prequel that would focus on Jack Sparrow in a similar manner.
Crispin would at one point compare the two projects talking about writing the scene where Han Solo saw the Millennium Falcon for the first time and comparing it to a scene in this book where Jack Sparrow first saw the Wicked Wench, the ship that would later be known as The Black Pearl.