It was generally expected that Gore Verbinski, the director of the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, would return to lead Johnny Depp and Captain Jack Sparrow and crew for the fourth installment. Turns out Verbinski has decided another sea voyage would cut into his plans to direct the awesomely awesome video game adaptation of Bioshock.

After spending the better part of the last six years directing the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy, which grossed $2.6 billion worldwide, Verbinski has informed Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he will not helm a fourth installment that’s expected to set sail in 2010 with Johnny Depp back as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Sequel is in development but not yet greenlit. It’s unknown how Verbinski’s ankling will affect the pic’s schedule.

Verbinski will instead focus on other projects that include “Bioshock,” a Universal Pictures adaptation of the bestselling vidgame that has a John Logan script and is likely to be Verbinski’s next film as a director.

“I had a fantastic time bringing ‘Pirates’ to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry, Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team,” Verbinski said. “I’m looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future.”

I’m really hoping that Bioshock is on top of Verbinski’s list, but as /Film points out he’s got about a half dozen other projects on his plate. So which will be next? Who knows, but I can’t blame him for wanting to break away from the “Pirates” series after so many years. Don’t worry though, Depp is already locked in for more fun on the high seas.

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