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Bill Nighy as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'

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Davy Jones is a fictional character and antagonist in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. Davy Jones is the captain of the Flying Dutchman (based on the feared ghost ship of the same name featured in nautical lore), roaming the seas in search of souls to serve upon his vessel for a century. In the story, his original purpose was to carry souls of those who died at sea from this world to the next on his vessel. He was charged with this duty by his one true love, a sea goddess named Calypso. For every ten years at sea he could spend one day ashore to be with her. Ten years after first being charged with the duty, Jones prepared to be reunited with his true love on land, but became enraged and saddened when she did not show. Unable to deal with Calypso's betrayal, he ripped out his heart and placed it in a chest, burying it on land. This chest became known as the Dead Man's Chest, the primary object being sought after in the second film. Jones then abandoned his duties, and instead ruled the seas as a tyrant with a damned crew bound by oath to serve aboard the Dutchman for one hundred years each. He endured a curse after ripping out his heart by not wanting to live anymore, but not wanting to die either allowing him and his crew to cheat death at the price of being bound to the duties of the Flying Dutchman and slowly transforming into sea monsters.

The computer-generated imagery used to complete Jones was highly praised, with Entertainment Weekly naming him as the second most convincing computer generated film character in film history, only behind King Kong from the 2005 film adaptation.[1] The work on Davy Jones by Industrial Light and Magic earned them the 2006 Academy Award for Visual Effects for Dead Man's Chest.

Conception and creation

Film production

From real to reality: Davy Jones is brought to life.

Before officially casting Bill Nighy, producers also met with Jim Broadbent, Iain Glen and Richard E. Grant for the role.[2]

Like the entire crew of the Flying Dutchman (except "Bootstrap Bill"), Davy Jones's physical appearance is completely 3-D computer-generated.[3] Nighy's performance was recorded using motion capture during actual filming on the set, with Nighy wearing several markers in both a grey suit and his face, rather than in a studio during post-production.[4][5][6] Nighy also wore make-up around his eyes, since the original plan was to use his real eyes, if necessary to get the proper lighting, in the digital character; he also wore make-up on his lips and around his mouth, to assist in the motion capture of his character's thick Scottish accent.[3] Briefly during the third film, Jones appears as a human for a single scene, played by Nighy in costume. Several reviewers have in fact mistakenly identified Nighy as wearing prosthetic makeup due to the computer-generated character's photorealism.[7][8]

Design and appearance

Davy Jones' physique was designed by the films' producers to be a mixture of various aquatic flora and fauna features. Jones' most striking feature is his cephalopod-like head, with octopus-like tentacles giving the illusion of a thick beard. Throughout the films, Jones uses the tentacles of his "beard" like fingers to manipulate objects, such as the Dead Man's Chest key (he shows this during a game of Liar's Dice), his hat (when his ship submerges), and the keys of his vast pipe organ; while dueling Captain Jack Sparrow in the climactic maelstrom battle sequence of the third film, he waves, wags, wiggles all of his "beard-tentacles" at once while screaming in frightening fashion in an effort to scare Sparrow. A prominent sac bulges from under the back of his barnacle-encrusted tricorne. Jones' face lacks a nose, and instead has one short, hollow tentacle called a siphon (on the left side of his face) that acts as part of his respiratory system, capable of inhaling and exhaling, which is seen in the second film as he smokes his pipe. It is revealed in the bonus features of the Special Edition DVD that the face's color was partly inspired by a coffee-stained styrofoam cup which was then scanned into ILM's computers to be used as the skin. The character of Davy Jones has also a crustacean-style claw for his left arm, a long tentacle in place of the index finger on his right hand, and the right leg of a crab (resembling a pegleg). He also speaks with a clearly distinguishable, albeit thick, Scottish accent that's slightly altered to account for his lack of a nose, and presumably, a nasal cavity and/or sinuses. Originally, director Gore Verbinski wanted Jones to be Dutch, as he is the captain of the "Dutch-man". Nighy however responded, "I don't do Dutch. So I decided on Scottish."[3] Nighy later revealed that Scottish sitcom Still Game influenced his choice of accent, stating: "I had to find an accent no one else had. Although Alex Norton is Scottish, mine was slightly different. We wanted something that was distinctive and authoritative...I have seen Still Game and I am a fan. The sort of extremity of the accent was inspired in that area."[9]

In At World's End, Jones briefly appears as his original, human self during his final personal encounter with Tia Dalma. It was revealed in this same scene that Jones' mutation was a curse he brought on himself by breaking his oath to ferry lost souls to World's End.[10]

Fictional character biography


Davy Jones was born in Scotland; nothing is known about his youth. He fell in love with Calypso, the "heathen god[dess]" of the sea who gave him the charge of ferrying souls who died at sea to the "other side," Fiddler's Green.[11] Calypso gave Davy Jones the Flying Dutchman to accomplish this task. Her reason for this is unknown. She swore that after ten years she would meet him and they would spend one day together before he returned to his duties. He kept to his charge for ten years, knowing he would see his love again. Calypso however, after those ten years, failed to show up because of her capricious nature, which had drawn Jones to her in the first place.[10] Enraged and heartbroken, Jones turned the Pirate Brethren against her, saying that if she were removed from the world, they would be able to claim the seas for themselves. They assembled in the First Brethren Court and Jones taught them how to imprison her into her human bonds (Tia Dalma); the Court agreed with him to imprison her forever.[12]

Jones then proceeded to rip out his heart and place it in the "Dead Man's Chest". Containing a powerful lock, the Chest was sealed and placed within a larger wooden chest along with Jones' numerous love letters to Calypso and all other items having to do with her, except his matching musical locket. This was then buried on Isla Cruces, a plague island. Jones then departed, keeping his unique double-stemmed key to the Chest with him at all times. Since then, Jones has abandoned his post and sailed the seas, making deals and doing as he pleased. Though immortal, his disregard for his duty brought punishment, mutating him into a parody of humanity, and with him, his ship, and whomsoever served on it. His crew is lured into service by the notion that they can forestall their "final judgment" for 100 years by serving aboard the Dutchman, however, they don't know that they will slowly mutate into creatures like Jones until they are essentially barnacles on the ship's hull, ultimately useless. The lore of the "feared Flying Dutchman" begins as Jones' eerie ship sailed about destroying ships to recruit for crew. With his supernatural power, he becomes ruler of the oceans' realm and comes to command the Kraken, a feared mythological sea monster.

In the book series about Jack Sparrow's earlier adventures, Davy Jones shows interest in the Sword of Cortes, also sought by Jack. He is a minor character, but finally appears in the cliff-hanger ending to book 7 as Jack and his crew encounter the Flying Dutchman.

After Cutler Beckett sank Jack Sparrow's Wicked Wench, Davy Jones approaches Sparrow with a deal: Jones will raise the Wench back from Davy Jones' Locker, allowing Sparrow to be captain for 13 years if Sparrow agrees to serve on the Dutchman for 100 years. Sparrow agrees and the ship is raised, renamed by Sparrow as the Black Pearl.

Dead Man's Chest

Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Main article: Liar's dice

The character of Captain Davy Jones is introduced in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006); the time now being 13 years later, he seeks to claim Sparrow's soul. It becomes clear that Jack Sparrow and Cutler Beckett are after the Dead Man's Chest and its key; one to buy time against Jones and the other to secure Jones' power over the seas (respectively). After several events (none including Jones), Sparrow and the Black Pearl arrive at what seems to be the Flying Dutchman, but is really a merchant ship destroyed by the Kraken. The real Dutchman rises from the sea and captures the men on board, including Will Turner, who was tricked there by Sparrow. Jones makes his first appearance as he approaches the fearful crew and asks, "Do you fear death?", his catchphrase. After one frightened sailor answers that he will serve, Jones responds mockingly, his crew then proceeding to laugh. He realises that Will is on the ship because of Jack and, after spotting Sparrow on the overlooking Pearl, he teleports to the ship. Jones confronts Sparrow about their expired deal, and refuses to accept Jack's excuse that he was only captain for two years until Barbossa's mutiny, stating that he was "a poor captain, but a captain nonetheless", and also reminds him of his constant self-introduction as "Captain Jack Sparrow". Jack strikes up a deal with Jones; Jack will be spared enslavement on the Dutchman if he brings Jones one hundred souls to replace his own within the next three days. Jones accepts, removes the black spot from Jack's hand, and retains Will, keeping him as a "good faith payment."

Jones and some of the Flying Dutchman crew after Will challenges him to Liar's Dice.

While on the Dutchman, Will challenges Jones at a game of liar's dice, the purpose of which was to find out where Jones hides the key to the Chest. The stakes for which they gambled were Will's soul for an eternity of service, against the key to the Dead Man's Chest. Although Will was saved by his losing father, Bootstrap Bill, Jones did give Will a glimpse of where he kept the key to the Chest. The next morning, Jones realizes the key is gone and summons the Kraken to destroy the ship carrying Turner, forcing Bootstrap Bill Turner to watch the scene; the Dutchman then sails to Isla Cruces to stop Sparrow from getting the Chest.

Arriving, Jones sent his crew to retrieve the Chest; they return to him with it. The Dutchman then goes after the Black Pearl, and shoots at the Pearl but is outrun anyway and pretends to give up. Jones summons the Kraken instead and it attacks the ship, finally pulling it down onto Davy Jones' Locker along with Jack Sparrow as Jones surveys. He afterwards opens the Chest only to find his heart missing, it having been taken by James Norrington. Shocked and believing that Jack Sparrow took the heart with him to Davy Jones' Locker, he screams "Damn you, Jack Sparrow!"

At World's End

Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Bill Nighy returns as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, now being under the control of Cutler Beckett for the use of the East India Trading Co. Beckett threatens to have his men shoot Jones' heart should he disobey, knowing that if the heart is destroyed, Jones will die. The Flying Dutchman is ordered to roam the seas in search of pirate ships to destroy, which it does without mercy, much to Beckett's annoyance who needs prisoners to interrogate. Mercer, a henchman of Beckett's, names Jones "a loose cannon". To ensure Jones would obey, Beckett also ordered him to kill the Kraken in case he attempted to use it against him and the East India Trading Co.[13] Lord Beckett afterwards orders Jones to seek and attack the Pirate Lord, Sao Feng; Jones subsequently kills Sao and captures Elizabeth Swann, who had been named captain by Sao Feng upon his death.[14] When Admiral James Norrington dies on board the Dutchman freeing prisoners, Jones claims Norrington's sword (originally crafted by Will Turner) after he attempted to kill Jones. Jones then attempts mutiny and has his men kill the Company's marines on the Flying Dutchman. However, Mercer organizes a defense on the Chest which includes Mullroy and Murtogg aiming a cannon at it, forcing Jones to continue under Beckett's service.[15] Beckett later summons Jones to his ship, the Endeavour, where Jones confronts Will Turner again and divulges the truth of his own story while learning of Jack Sparrow's escape from the Locker. The three men then plan to arrive at Shipwreck Cove.[12]

Human Davy Jones.

Jones later confronts Calypso in her human shape of Tia Dalma, locked in the brig of the Black Pearl; here, the two former lovers engage in a poignant conversation wherein several crucial subplots between the two are revealed, such as the reasons for which Calypso did not meet him after Jones' first decade of service on the Flying Dutchman and the subsequent mutation of Davy Jones.[10] Tia Dalma touches his chest, and Jones is briefly seen in his original human form (also portrayed by Bill Nighy), which bears striking similarities to his grotesque appearance, including a long and full beard with multiple braids parallel to his facial tentacles.[10] Jones, despite his attempts to hate her, seems unable to truly do so and instead tells her that his heart will always belong to her. Tia Dalma says that after her release, she will fully give her love to him and will help him fight the Brethren Court.[10] However, Will Turner later reveals to her that Jones had revealed how to enslave her to the Brethren Court.

After the parlay between Beckett, Turner, and Jones with Swann, Hector Barbossa, and Sparrow, the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl sail into battle as flagships for their sides.[16][17] A monstrous maelstrom (caused by the now-free Calypso) forms between them and both enter it, engaging in an epic battle. During the battle Jones kills Mercer and retrieves the key to the Chest. After Mercer is dead, he fights Jack Sparrow for his Chest - an intense sword fight atop the mast of the Dutchman.[17] In the end of the battle, Jack acquires both the Chest and the key while Jones battles Will and Elizabeth. Jones quickly overpowers Elizabeth, and is subsequently impaled through the back by Will before he can finish her off. Undaunted, Jones bends the tip of Will's sword so he cannot remove it and kicks him aside; realizing their relationship, he holds Will at sword-point, asking if he fears death. At that moment, Jack appears, having acquired the heart, and taunts him in a desperate bid to save Will. Before Jack can stab the heart, Jones thrusts and twists his sword deep into Will's chest. Suddenly Will's father jumps upon Jones to fight him, but is quickly defeated. Moments later, Sparrow helps Turner put his hand on his broken sword and plunge it into Davy Jones' beating heart, mortally wounding him. Jones staggers backwards and looks up into the sky, in which a blast of lightning is visible.[18] The heart stops beating and Jones then dies, his last word being "Calypso." He then tumbles backwards off the ship, and falls into the still raging maelstrom.



Davy Jones is a character written to be highly ruthless and sadistic particularly to his crew, believing that every human should suffer in the afterlife with much pain.[19] This is shown by his proclamation of "Life is cruel. Why should the afterlife be any different?!". In addition, though he often demands good faith and payment from those he makes deals with, Jones is treacherous and cannot be counted on to do the same. Despite Jones' vicious nature, his character has appeared to be deeply influenced by situations involving love and passion, as a result of the ruined relationship he had with Calypso, the sea goddess, in the past.[12][18] As revealed in At World's End, Jones' character fell madly in love with the goddess Calypso.[10] His character's passionate nature is rarely shown to others, such as when he plays his theme on the pipe organ whilst shedding a single tear over Calypso and ultimately meeting her aboard the Black Pearl.[10]

In the films, Jones possesses a locket that plays a distinguishable melody, and he is known to play the same melody on his pipe organ.[10][13] This melody is also his character's theme, and can be heard throughout the film's score. It comes in two variations: The soundtrack version and the film version. The soundtrack version is never heard in its full splendor during the film (only in the end credits), and its melody is heard only in Dead Man's Chest. The film version is played in both films multiple times, and is heard last during the climax of the film. Because Jones and Calypso own matching locket musicboxes, Tia Dalma's theme is similar to that of Davy Jones, albeit in a different arrangement.

Powers and abilities

Davy Jones' character was given a large arsenal of supernatural abilities at his disposal. Though normally relying on the strength of his crew, ship, and the Kraken, Jones has proven quite powerful on his own. He is seen in At World's End as a brilliantly skilled swordsman and was able to break Jack Sparrow's sword with his crab-claw hand as well as defeat everybody that opposed him. Jones is capable of teleportation on board the Flying Dutchman and the Black Pearl and can pass through solid objects, although he is never seen going through people. This ability to teleport was thought to be a plothole, as he is not seen to teleport to different ships during battle. When asked, the producers of Dead Man's Chest simply said that they noticed the plot hole as well, but chose to say that his teleportation skills only work at night-time.[20]

Having no heart, Jones is immortal, capable of surviving injuries that would be fatal to mortals. However, he is not impervious to pain, as demonstrated when Jack was able to cut off some of his facial tentacles during their battle, causing a scream of anguish, as well as shouting in pain after Will impales him through the back. The severed tentacle, displaying both animation and loyalty to its master, later inched across the ship deck with the key to Jones' chest. Nonetheless, Jones does seem to have a large pain tolerance, as evidenced when he quickly recovered from the pain of Will's sword, even continuing to fight with the weapon stuck in his body, and was completely indifferent to being stabbed in the shoulder by a dying Norrington. Jones can also track any soul that is owed to him using the black spot, which any member of his crew can mark a victim with, but only he can remove.

Davy Jones' character has only two real weaknesses: his inability to come on land, and his heart.[13] Anyone who possesses his heart can "control" him by extortion.[13] Because he can only go on land once every decade, Davy Jones sends his crew to accomplish whatever task he needs done on land. However, in At World's End, Jones is seen on "land" (actually a sandbar in the middle of the ocean), standing in a bucket of water, which means that there may be several loopholes to this rule.[16]

As Davy Jones was appointed by Calypso to be the one to use Flying Dutchman to ferry the souls of those who died at sea, he cannot die without a successor. This is expressed with the phrase "The Dutchman must have a captain", repeated over the course of the film, which means that whoever kills Davy Jones has to take his place as the new captain of the Flying Dutchman and ferry the lost souls to the other world.[21] This position is eventually assumed by Will Turner.

Jones has also the power to control and call forth the Kraken, a sea monster which can destroy ships upon command by Jones and tracks down those marked with the Black Spot. It is also revealed in the third film that Jones thinks of the Kraken as a pet, and when Beckett forced to Jones to kill his beast, Jones display unease with Beckett's statement.


Davy Jones was part of Series One of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest action figure set produced by NECA. Although the initial run of figures had a sticker on the box that proclaimed that the figure came with the Dead Man's Chest and Jones' heart, both props (as well as the key) were released with the Bootstrap Bill figure in Series Two.[22] Jones also made an appearance as a smaller figure with crew members Angler, Wheelback and Penrod. Jones was issued as a plush toy as part of Sega's "Dead Man's Chest" plush assortment. Jones was also part of a 3 figure pack as a 3.75 inch figure with Hector Barbossa and a limited edition gold Jack Sparrow for At World's End. Davy Jones and his ship, the Flying Dutchman, were produced as a Mega Blocks set for the movies Dead Man's Chest and At World's End. Although his minifigure counterpart in the Dead Man's Chest set has more bluish tentacles then his counterpart in the At Worlds End set, which has more greenish tentacles.

He will be made as a Lego minifigure in November 2011, with 4184 Black Pearl.

A children's and adult Halloween costumes were released for Halloween 2007.

Davy Jones was released as a PEZ dispenser, along with Jack Sparrow and Will Turner.

Hot Toys also announced plans to make a 1:6 version of Davy Jones which became available Q2 2008, and is widely regarded as more detailed than those produced by NECA.


  1. "Our 10 Favorite CG Characters". Entertainment Weekly.,,20041669_20041686_20046918_9,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  2. Grant, Richard E. (2006). The Wah-Wah Diaries: The Making of a Film. Chatham, Kent: Picador. ISBN 978-0-330-44197-1. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, second disc, "Meet Davy Jones"
  4. "An interview with Director Gore Verbinski". Post Magazine. Retrieved 2006-12-09.  [dead link]
  5. "Various quotations and references". Never Been Typed. Retrieved 2006-07-09. 
  6. "An interview with Bill Nighy". Retrieved 2006-07-09. 
  7. "Review by Russ Breimeier". Retrieved 2006-07-09. 
  8. "A review by Iloz Zoc". Retrieved 2006-07-09. 
  9. "Davy / Nighy news update". Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.17
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.8
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.15
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.5
  14. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.12
  15. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.14
  16. 16.0 16.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.19
  17. 17.0 17.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.21 through 24
  18. 18.0 18.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.24
  19. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  20. Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man's Chest audio commentary
  21. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Ch.13
  22. crawford. "Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest action figures - Another Toy Review by Michael Crawford, Captain Toy". Retrieved 2011-04-11. 

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