Personality and Traits
Nemo has always been a mysterious character, always tending to keep to himself though he did reveal a few details of his past. He is a brilliant genius, having created the Nautilus in the middle of the 19th Century, and powered it using a nuclear reactor a century before nuclear energy was discovered.
He willingly attacks ships, but does show guilt even if the crew of the ship belonged to his enemy, "the hated nation."
This remorse is mixed with a burning hate for the fact that the nation who enslaved him previously was responsible for subjecting him to extreme torture in an attempt to learn his scientific knowledge. When he refused, his wife and son were murdered, tortured to death. This haunted Nemo, and fuels his crusade and a desire for revenge.
As Captain of the Nautilus, he maintains a very serious, no-nonsense personality amidst his crew and that of Aronnax and his companions. He only shows extreme emotion when in solitude, as shown prior to attacking a warship, where he indulges himself in performing on the ship's organ, only to have his playing become more dramatic and erratic.
Nemo loves the ocean and made it his home. He is content to leave the people on the surface to their own desires, at least when he is relaxed.
All his food comes from some form of sea life. He also keeps various preserved samples of various sea creatures and even has a pet sea lion, Esmeralda.
According to the original novel by Jules Verne, Nemo's past is shrouded in mystery with little revealed about his early years. In the film, the earliest known account of his life is that he was originally a slave on the penal colony of Rura Penthe. After escaping, Nemo fled with other refugees to a remote island called Vulcania, where Nemo's ingenuity and scientific knowledge were exercised, including the construction of the submersible vessel, the Nautilus.
After the Nautilus was constructed, the former prisoners became its crew, with Nemo becoming the Captain. For several months the Nautilus travelled throughout the oceans, attacking numerous ships. After one such encounter, three survivors arrived aboard the Nautilus, Professor Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned Land. Nemo quickly invited Arronax to join him and reluctantly took Conseil and Ned as prisoners. He hoped to use Arronax as an emissary in order to allow Nemo to share his secrets with the world.
The Nautilus continued its travels across the oceans. Nemo got to know Arronax better, and showed him some of his past. Ned continued to irritate Nemo due to his constant attempts to escape.
Eventually the Nautilus returned to the Island of Vulcania, only to discover it to have been invaded by soldiers because Ned had secretly released several bottles containing the location of the Island. Nemo decided to prevent the soldiers from finding his secrets, and left the Nautilus to destroy the base. The attempt was successful, but as Nemo re-entered the Nautilus, he was unexpectedly shot in the back. Nemo died shortly after, gaining one last glimpse of the ocean.
Captain Nemo appears in Season 6 of the series, played by Faran Tahir. His existence in the show was established into Season Five when Henry Mills and Violet Morgan find an alternate version of the book where an illustration shows Nemo with the Nautilus, establishing his existence into the Land of Untold Stories.
Captain Nemo played a significant role in the Walt Disney World attraction based on the film. While he was not actually seen, his voice would frequently be heard narrating the journey and speaking to other crew members. In this attraction, Captain Nemo was voiced by Pete Renaday.
In Tokyo DisneySea's Mysterious Island, the story is set in an alternate path from the movie where Nemo didn't die, but instead has opened up to the world and allowed visitors to explore Vulcania in the name of scientific curiosity.
- In the original Jules Verne novel, Nemo's fate is never made clear. In fact, an older Nemo actually appeared in a later novel, The Mysterious Island, where he is revealed to have survived the ending of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and is now the only surviving member of the crew of the Nautilus. He secretly helps a group of stranded Civil War veterans who unknowingly crash a hot air balloon at the home port of the Nautilus. Much of his past which was not revealed previously is discussed, as well.
- A few years after the Disney 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea film's release, a non-Disney film adaptation of Mysterious Island was released, transparently meant to be reminiscent of the earlier film, even quoting part of its theme song as part of its own main theme (composed by Bernard Hermann). Nemo was there played by the Swedish-born actor Herbert Lom.
- Actor Gregory Peck reportedly auditioned to play Nemo, but lost the part to James Mason.
- Robert Newton was considered the role as Captain Nemo.
- Nemo, the titular character from Finding Nemo and Nemo, from Rescue Rangers, may have been named after Captain Nemo.
- Captain Finn from Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, is based on Captain Nemo.