Will Rob Marshall skipper the next Pirates movie?

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Will Rob Marshall step in for Gore Verbinski directing the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie? That's the report on Variety, which adds that Johnny Depp will return as Captain Jack Sparrow and that production is on track for a 2010 production start:

There hasn't been a director at the helm of the pirate ship since April, when Gore Verbinski stepped out to focus on a movie version of the vidgame Bioshock for Universal. ... Though that film's lost some momentum, Verbinski has moved on to other directing and producing projects. ...

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney have been meeting with a number of directors in recent weeks, because the studio wants to pull the Pirates film together and have Depp star in it before he does The Lone Ranger for the producer and the studio. While Marshall's involvement wasn't immediately confirmed, sources said things look good enough that the studio has begun casting new characters that will appear in the picture.

Marshall made his feature directing debut with the Oscar-winning musical Chicago and most recently completed the musical Nine.