- “So—ye comes seeking adventure and salty old pirates, aye? Sure, ye've come to the proper place. But keep a weather-eye open, mates, and hold on tight...with both hands if you please. There be squalls ahead. And Davy Jones waiting for them what don't obey.”
- ―Talking Skull[src]
Captain X or simply The Talking Skull is a character from Pirates of the Caribbean who has come to serve as the franchise's logo.
Captain X was the identity of a pirate active at some point during the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean. He was of some Irish descent or at-least dialect and is often shown as having worn an eyepatch although whether this was for an eye disability or simply to adjust his eyes to dark lighting is unknown.
Eventually, Captain X died and his skull was mountain in pirate-garb with a pair of twin blades. It is believed that his skull was mounted in a brick canal within the Blue Bayou of New Orleans but the skull has also been seen in the grottos of Isla Tesoro and Voodoo Alley of Treasure Cove. Even in death, X's skull was undead and animate showing the semblance of occult powers and even a form of omniscience.
Powers and Abilities
- Undead: The skull is undead, being an animate skull.
- Water Manipulation: The skull can control the waters around boats, possible being able to summon paranormal waterfalls.
- Apparition: The skull has been shown to have the ability to materialize from one location to another.
- Flight: The skull has been shown to hover, at-least in its apparition form.
The Talking Skull originated from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction in Disneyland, serving the practical function of giving a sort of safety-spiel to guests before they drop down a waterfall. Due to the success of the attraction in Disneyland, the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions were later constructed in Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris still featuring the skull in scenes of said attraction.
The skull appears in the famous scene before the guests descend down to encounter the pirates in said attraction's Blue Bayou. The skull, mounted on the bricks upon the boats' path, tells them to hold on as they prepare for the drop. After this scene, guests drop down in Dead Man's Grotto.
A plaque over a fountain outside of Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean also shows the skull alongside two mermaids. Said plaque being dedicated to listing those involved in the ride's development.
In the Magic Kingdom version in 2006, during the refurbishment as part of the original ride having characters from the film series, the skull was removed and the removal of the skull was not well received by the fans of the original attraction.
After eleven years of absence, the skull returned in 2017 still voiced by James Arnold Taylor. In the revised version of the attraction, the skull was much larger and appeared in the Ghostly Grotto right after encountering the helmsman. The skull only gives one remark to the passing guests before his eyes flash red and the guests' long-boats plunge down a water-fall. The flash of red from his eyes is in-reality, a disguised photo-flash used for on ride photos in-front of the helmsman.
In the Disneyland Paris version, the skull is seen at the end of the attraction. Unlike the ones in California, Florida, and Tokyo, where he tells guests to prepare to drop down, the skull tells the guests to remain seated before being asked to disembark when the boats stop at the loading zone.
The skull later returned in the attraction after being absent in the Walt Disney World version of the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction voiced by James Arnold Taylor (who previously voiced Jack Sparrow in occasions where Johnny Depp is unavailable) replacing X Atencio. The skull here had a larger role whereas in the original ride, he only appeared in one scene.
As the guide of the defunct attraction, the skull appears floating in the sky, narrating the recaps from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series to which the guests were able to follow the skull across the attraction and defeat Davy Jones and his crew with the help of Jack Sparrow. At the end of the attraction, the skull tells the guests to remember the adventures they sailed with Jack Sparrow (a nod to the ending scenes of the film series).
The skull appears at the beginning of this attraction, practically reprising his role from the classic rides to give an ominous safety-spiel to guests. He is identified here under the name of, "Captain X" underneath of his area.
The skull briefly appears during the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence in the 2017 California version of Fantasmic!, where the Black Pearl (portrayed by the Sailing Ship Columbia) sails away and a projection of Jack Sparrow says his famous line "This is the day you will always remember the day you almost caught Captain..." just as the skull interrupts Jack's line shouting, "JAAACK!", followed by Sparrow finishing the line, "...Sparrow!".
Because the films were based on the original attraction, the skull from the attraction was needed to be in the film series' main logo, shown in various film posters and many merchandise inspired by the film series. Depending on each logo, the skull was designed with a different appearance:
|Red bandana and two crossed swords; this logo would be used in Disney parks as well as the logo for the now-defunct game Pirates of the Caribbean Online as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean pinball machine. This design also appeared in certain occasions, such as appearing on the world icon of the Port Royal hub of Kingdom Hearts II, as the icon of the Pirates of the Caribbean world in Disney Universe, and on the side of the Starter Pack Play Set from the discontinued video game series Disney Infinity. It is also shown on the icon and stained glass for the Pirates of the Caribbean character collections in the video game Disney Magic Kingdoms. The skull depicted for the film series' logo was based on the skull mounted on the bricks before the boats drop to see the pirates in the original attraction.|
|Same as in the first film, but with two torches in place of swords. This design also appeared as the icon of Pirates Play Set from the discontinued video game series Disney Infinity.|
|The skull still retains the bandana worn but with two crossed bones surrounding it in a nod to the Jolly Roger flag designs.|
|The skull was redesigned in silver, though retaining its red bandana and crossed swords (in a nod to the first film's skull). The skull would talk in the trailer for the Disney Second Screen bonus feature and whenever the player chooses the "Play Movie with Disney Second Screen" option on the Blu-ray disc of On Stranger Tides, but not on the discontinued app based on this feature. It also appeared on the discontinued application Pirates of the Caribbean: Master of the Seas.|
|The skull for the fifth film's logo was heavily redesigned into being a metallic gold, black-colored skull with two golden crossed bones surrounding it.|
The skull would talk on the Blu-Ray releases of the film series, specifically on the main menu.
In the Phineas and Ferb episode The Ballad of Badbeard, the skull on Phineas and Ferb's ship has a skull that slightly resembles the one used for the film series' logo and its ability to talk is also an allusion to the original attraction.
In "Untold Treasures", the skull which Mickey and Minnie encounter while trying to find treasure resembles the one encountered in the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at the Disney Parks. Here, he warns Mickey and Minnie that they should play a correct tune in order to find the lost treasure. However, as Mickey and Minnie argue with each other about playing the wrong tune while using the organ, the skull hanging on the wall is revealed to be a full-bodied skeleton and prepares to attack the two. However, when Mickey and Minnie play a catchy tune, the skeleton suddenly dances and suddenly explodes, defeating the cursed skeleton just as Mickey and Minnie grab a key to find Pete's treasure.
Sea of Thieves: A Pirate's Life
Captain X prominently appears in this game as, "The Cursed Captain". Players assist in freeing the captain by going on a mission to get him his body back.
Captain X makes a cameo in Shrunken Ned's shop in this game.
- The name Captain X was created for Shanghai Disneyland's adaptations of the franchise and is an allusion to Disney Imagineer Xavier Atencio who voiced the skull and wrote the script for the original attraction as-well-as the lyrics for Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me).
- In the refurbished ride and film posters, the skull is frequently shown as being in possession of Jack Sparrow's piece of eight, tucked into his bandanna.
- The logos for the films often make the skull resemble Jack.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Barbossa directly quotes the skull. Telling his crew before they enter the maelstrom, "It be too late to alter course now mateys!".
- In the second official trailer for the 2013 Disney adaptation of The Lone Ranger, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Gore Verbinski's contribution to the Pirates of the Caribbean film series was noted on said trailer when the film series' skull logo appears to note the producers' contribution to the Pirates franchise. This indicates that said cast and crew members were involved in the aforementioned franchise, including Johnny Depp (who played Tonto in The Lone Ranger), followed by screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio and executive producers Mike Stenson, Chad Oman, and Eric McLeod.