"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."
Instead, he's throwing all his attention to another underwater project -- his eagerly awaited adaptation of Bioshock, which is expected to be his next directing vehicle after he finishes on the Johnny Depp voiced Rango.
The fourth Pirates was being eyed for a 2010 start date, and it's not known if Verbinski's departure will affect that although it doesn't seem like Disney is racing to get into production any time soon despite all those Russell Brand rumors.
A lot of people are fried on the Pirates franchise and while I should be one of them (Jack Sparrow is still alive and well in this house), I'll always be a sucker for high seas adventure. Maybe a change-up behind the scenes will breathe some new life into the series, and avoid another muddy plot like At World's End.