Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki


Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki
Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki
This article is about the real-world ship. You may be looking for the natural phenomenon.

The Sunset is an propeller-driven craft, a combination of a tall ship set built over the hull of another boat. Prior to appearing in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, the Sunset once serviced oil derricks in the Gulf of Mexico.

For the making of the second and third Pirates films, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, the Sunset was redesigned and built by production designer Rick Heinrichs and his production team, in which it portrayed the Black Pearl. In 2010, because the Black Pearl didn't fit into the story of On Stranger Tides, the Sunset was once again redesigned, this time by production designer John Myhre, to portray the Queen Anne's Revenge.


Pirates of the Caribbean franchise[]

The Black Pearl[]

Sunset 1

The Sunset in its real form.

"We took the Black Pearl and gave it a little bit more of a swoop. The Black Pearl in the first film was established, to some degree, by the set of circumstances that they had. They built the ship directly onto a barge and were limited by the dimensions of that barge. We've had a little more freedom in this. I think that Gore discovered what he liked and what he didn't like in the first film, and he wanted a much more flexible Black Pearl that could move faster than one or two knots."
Rick Heinrichs[src]

During the making of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the original Black Pearl was basically a set built from the hull up on top of a barge, which was towed into position for filming. For the back-to-back productions of Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, because the barge would take forever to line up, the producers felt it was in their best interest to build the Black Pearl as a seaworthy vessel.[2]

Sunset 2

How the Black Pearl was built on the Sunset.

Eight months prior to the start of principal photography, production designer Rick Heinrichs was given the task of creating the new Black Pearl. To speed its construction, Heinrichs built the new Black Pearl around the old Sunset; which was docked in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. By the time work was finished, something familiar, yet brand-new, had been created. The result was that from the waterline up you had the pirate ship, with the Sunset still in there somewhere, with engines, fuel and water tanks, a galley and bunks.[2][4]


The Sunset as the Black Pearl.

At Capucine Point on Dominica, the very first scenes shot on the re-designed and re-built Black Pearl—which had sailed almost 2,000 nautical miles from the Steiner Shipyard in Bayou La Batre, Alabama—were filmed.

The Queen Anne's Revenge[]

Sunset 2

The Sunset under reconstruction.

"Since the Black Pearl doesn't figure physically into the story of On Stranger Tides, Disney wanted us to use the ship as the base for the Queen Anne's Revenge."
John Myhre[src]

Because the Black Pearl didn't figure physically into the story of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, it was decided that the Sunset was to be used as the base for the Queen Anne's Revenge, the infamous ship belonging to the film's villain Blackbeard. So with production designer John Myhre and his team, the Sunset went under construction, in which the entire top of the boat was sliced off in the creating process of redesigning the ship.[5][6] Having looked at old pirate films and noticed it wasn't always easy to distinguish one ship from another in battles, Myhre wanted to make the Queen Anne's Revenge stand out and look like the most powerful ship on the seas. Pitching the idea that Blackbeard kept a ship that was the most elegant and grandest, Myhre and his team took the base of a two-story ship and turned it into a three-and-a-half-story ship.[3]


The Sunset as Queen Anne's Revenge.

While creating the ship's design, producer Jerry Bruckheimer said that since the most famous pirate flag was the skull and crossbones, they should work on some skulls and skeletons into the design of the ship. With that in mind, John Myhre remembered Kostnice, the famous "Church of Bones" in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic; it was a church that was literally decorated with bones. In the case of Blackbeard's ship, Myhre thought instead of doing all these intricately carved molding details, what if they used the bones of Blackbeard's victims in the design of the Queen Anne's Revenge. So with the idea that Blackbeard actually burned his victims, moldings were made of leg and arm bones, and teeth; and walls made out of skulls.[3][7]

Later usage[]

Throughout 2011 to 2012, the Sunset remained docked in Hawaii, where On Stranger Tides was filmed. It wasn't until November 2012 that the Sunset was loaded onto the back of a container ship in Hawaii ready to be taken to Long Beach Harbor in California, where she will await its next call-up.[8] Some ornamentation had been removed and a small, enclosed pilot house was placed on her upper deck. On January 2013, the Sunset was reported to be anchored in Puerto del Rey Marina in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.[9][10] Directing duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg were "Scouting the Black Pearl" on July 10.[11] The Sunset remained anchored at Sea Ventures Dive Center, Puerto del Rey Marina until at least December of 2013.

Bow in NO

The bow of the Black Pearl/Queen Anne's Revenge in New Orleans.

The Sunset was moved to Lafitte, Louisiana in March of 2014. It could have been that she was returning to Bayou La Batre, where the Black Pearl was originally built, to be readied for the fifth film. That plan was most likely abandoned when Disney decided to shift production from Puerto Rico to Australia in order to take advantage of millions in tax breaks and other incentives.

In December of 2014, the Sunset was pulled from the water and transported to Hardrock Marine Services, Rt 303/Jean Lafitte Blvd., Lafitte. By May of 2015 the superstructure of the Queen Anne's Revenge was destructively removed from the hull of the Sunset, removing all traces of her movie history. As of April 26th, 2019, the remnants of the Revenge can still be seen on Googlemaps, with the forecastle resting several yards away from the main deck. The disposition of the steel hull is unknown.

As of October 17, 2016, the bow that had been used to portray the Black Pearl, and was later modified for the Queen Anne's Revenge, has been found in Rosethorn Park, in the town of LafitteLouisiana.[12] As of November 2020, the bow was still there.[13]

Design and appearance[]

The Sunset was made completely of metal, but she is claded like the old, 18th century vessel. The ship is completely seaworthy. After filming each Pirates film, whether it was portraying the Black Pearl or the Queen Anne's Revenge, the upper masts and sails of the Sunset would have been added later by the visual effects team with computer generated imagery in post-production stage of each film.[3]


  • It could be said that the real name of this ship is the "Black Pearl", because (as of 2010) the Queen Anne's Revenge was built over the Black Pearl. But then, the Black Pearl was built over the Sunset, which was the original ship, providing the hull and mechanical guts for each.[14]


The Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Sunset (ship).


External links[]

Notes and references[]

Real-world ships in Pirates of the Caribbean
Real-world ships
HMS BountyLady WashingtonProvidenceRainbow GypsySt. PeterSunsetHMS SurpriseUnicorn