I'm just one loud movie geek, but I call this some pretty rock-solid casting. According to THR's Heat Vision blog, the studio is looking at the great British actor Ian McShane to play the villainous Blackbeard in the next Pirates of the Carribean flick. Johnny Depp will, of course, be returning as Jack Sparrow -- but there'll be no Will Turner or Elizabeth Swann to coo over. Taking over the director's reins from Gore Verbinski is Rob Marshall, whom you all know from Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, and last year's Nine. Screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio are back as well.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has already laid claim to the release date of May 11 of next year.

Film fans will no doubt remember Mr. McShane from flicks like Death Race, The Golden Compass, and Sexy Beast -- whereas HBO subscribers will always remember the actor as the lyrically profane and wonderfully despicable Al Swearengen from Deadwood. (Animation buffs must also love this guy: He's given his pipes to Coraline, Shrek 3, and Kung Fu Panda.) And if you're looking for a great, colorful, larger-than-life villain, this is one of the actors to talk to. This bodes well for Pirates 4, if you ask me.

And heck, he's already been in a movie called The Pirate.