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The Skeleton Helmsman is a character who originated from the original Pirates of the Caribbean attractions. Hence his name, he is a deceased sailor controlling the helm.

History

Background

The helmsman was once a sailor (likely a pirate) aboard a sailing ship in the 18th century. While sailing of the coast of Isla Tesoro's Hurricane Lagoon in the Caribbean, their ship was beached within the island's Ghostly Grotto. It was here that the helmsman would die in the wreck.

The helmsman's skeleton would remain intact for years to come, doomed to sail through an endless storm for all eternity. It is believed that like so many of the grotto's residents, the helmsman is haunted by the ghost of its mortal self.

Development History

The Skeleton Helmsman was designed by Marc Davis and slated to appear in Pirates of the Caribbean since it was being developed as a walk-through wax-museum in Disneyland. The helmsman would appear in the final ride and become one of the staples of the attraction's iconography.

Originally, the helmsman was to have dialogue play for his scene, recorded by Paul Frees, about his braving through the storm. According to this cut dialogue, the ship he was steering contained The Royal Fortune and was headed for the Spanish Main. The Royal Fortune being the name historically given to the ships of pirate Captain Bartholomew Roberts who was featured in old scripts for the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Originally it was represented with an authentic human-skeleton due to the lacking quality of fake skeletons of the day. The original skeletons were eventually phased out for more realistic props however it is noted that parts of the original bones are apparently still present in the current figures.

Due to the success of the attraction at Disneyland, the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was later constructed in Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris where it features the same scene with the helmsman.

Appearances

Pirates of the Caribbean

The helmsman was seen in the Dead Man's Cove sequence where he is seen controlling a helm hence his name on a stormy sea located on Hurricane Lagoon before guests pass through the Crew's Quarters.

In Walt Disney World, the helmsman is found nearby the Talking Skull before guests go over a waterfall and into the golden-age of piracy. When the skull's eyes flash red they are taking a photo of guests in-front of the helmsman which can be obtained after the ride ends. In Disneyland Paris, the helmsman is seen alongside an undead Captain Barbossa who chuckles and slashes at guests at they pass by the beached vessel.

Battle for the Sunken Treasure

The scene where the riders pass through Hurricane Harbor was recreated and redesigned where the helmsman transforms into Jack Sparrow.

Other Appearances

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

In the Davy Jones' Locker segment of this video-game, one of the damned sailors is a skeleton helmsman who disappears when encountered by Jack.

Kinect Disneyland Adventures

The helmsman is one of the skeleton enemies in the Dead Man's Cove level of this video-game, attacking the player and Black Barty. The helmsman is seen in the cutscene introducing the skeletons and has the difference in adaptation of having a hook-hand.

Disney Crossy Road

The Skeleton Helmsman is a playable character in this movie game. His model has him permanently standing on a wooden platform while holding a helm as Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me) plays.

Trivia

  • While the helmsman himself never appeared in any of the film series, he was featured in the first official poster for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  • Originally, the helmsman was to have dialogue play for his scene, recorded by Paul Frees, about his braving through the storm. According to this cut dialogue, the ship he was steering contained the Royal Fortune and was headed for the Spanish Main. The Royal Fortune being the name historically given to the ships of pirate Captain Bartholomew Roberts who was featured in old scripts for the Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • During development of the original Pirates of the Caribbean before it become a log-flume attraction, the helmsman was named, "Jolly Roger" according to Marc Davis and Walt Disney. However, the helmsman was not given a proper name in recent merchandise inspired by the franchise. "Jolly Roger" would later be the name of the main villain in the discontinued video game Pirates of the Caribbean Online.
  • It is sometimes theorized he might have been helmsman for the crew of the Wicked Wench due to their appearances as skeletons in the scene proceeding the helmsman's wreck. The truth to this remains a mystery.

Gallery

External links


v - e - d
Pirates-of-the-caribbean-collection-logo.png
Media
Films: The Curse of the Black PearlDead Man's ChestAt World's EndOn Stranger TidesDead Men Tell No Tales

Short film: Tales of the Code: Wedlocked
Books: Jack Sparrow prequel novelsPirates of the Caribbean: Legends of the Brethren CourtPirates of the Caribbean: The Price of FreedomPirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual GuidePirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Ultimate Sticker Book)
Video games: Pirates of the CaribbeanThe Legend of Jack SparrowPirates of the Caribbean OnlineDisney UniverseKingdom Hearts IIPirates of the Caribbean Multiplayer MobileLEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video GamePirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndPirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the DamnedPirates of the Caribbean (pinball)Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black PearlPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestPirates of the Caribbean: Master of the SeasDisney InfinityDisney Heroes: Battle ModeKingdom Hearts IIIDisney Sorcerer's Arena

Disney Parks
Treasure CovePiratelandPirate TakeoverA Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven SeasEl Teatro FandangoJungle River Cruise: Pirate Takeover!Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer IslandPirates of the CaribbeanPirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken TreasureShipwreck ShoreSiren's RevengeThe Legend of Captain Jack SparrowPirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold

Entertainment: Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate TutorialEye of the Storm: Captain Jack's Stunt SpectacularFantasmic!Pirates Summer Battle "Get Wet!"
Restaurants: Blue Bayou RestaurantPintel & Ragetti's Grub to GrabThe Snackin’ KrakenTortuga TavernTortuga Treats
Shops: Doubloon MarketJolly GypsyPirates LeaguePirate Treasure
Fireworks: Celebrate the MagicDisney Movie MagicFantasy in the SkyHappily Ever AfterIgnite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and LightMagic, Music and MayhemThe Magic, the Memories and YouRemember... Dreams Come TrueWorld of Color
Halloween: Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween ParadePirates of the Caribbean Ghost TrailThe Nightmare Experiment

Characters
The Curse of the Black Pearl: Jack SparrowHector BarbossaJoshamee GibbsWill TurnerElizabeth SwannJames NorringtonGovernor Weatherby SwannPintel and RagettiJack the MonkeyCottonMartyMurtogg and MullroyTheodore GrovesAnamariaCotton's ParrotGilletteGiselleScarlettBo'sunJacobyKoehlerTwiggWeatherby
Dead Man's Chest: Davy JonesCutler BeckettIan MercerTia DalmaKrakenBootstrap Bill TurnerMaccusClankerPenrodAnglerRatlinKolenikoHadrasPalificoOgilveyCrashWyvernGreenbeardJimmy LegsLeechPelegostos Tribe
At World's End: Sao FengTai HuangLian and ParkEduardo VillanuevaSri Sumbhajee AngriaCapitaine ChevalleAmmand the CorsairMistress ChingCaptain TeagueMoreyGreitzer
On Stranger Tides: AngelicaBlackbeardPhilip SwiftSyrenaGarhengSalamanScrumDerrickGunnerQuartermasterMarinaMermaids of Whitecap BayTamaraSpaniardKing FerdinandKing George IIRedcoats
Dead Men Tell No Tales: Captain SalazarLesaroHenry TurnerCarina SmythUncle JackScarfieldShansaGhost SharksGhost Seagulls
Tales of the Code: MungardMarquis d'Avis
Attraction: ReddAuctioneerCaptain XPrison DogHook Hand PirateSkeleton HelmsmanBarker BirdBeacon JoeThe Pooped PirateOld BillCarlosFortune RedCaptain GoreJean LafitteTom SawyerSkeleton PillagerSkeleton Pirate CaptainPirate Robber
Video Games: Black BartyJolly Roger

Books: MontezumaJames the MysteriousArabella SmithSilver

Organizations
Crew of the Black PearlCursed CrewCrew of the Flying DutchmanEast India Trading CompanyBrethren CourtSpaniard's crewBlackbeard's Zombie OfficersCrew of the Silent MaryCrew of the Wicked Wench
Locations
Isla TesoroDead Man's CovePort Royal, JamaicaFort CharlesTortugaIsla de MuertaPelegostosIsla CrucesSingaporeDavy Jones' LockerShipwreck CoveLondon, EnglandSpainWhitecap BayFountain of Youth
Ships/Boats
Wicked WenchBlack PearlFlying DutchmanQueen Anne's RevengeHMS InterceptorHMS DauntlessHMS EndeavorJolly MonBarnacleDying GullSilent MaryThe Sailing Ship Columbia
Objects
Jack Sparrow's hatJack Sparrow's swordJack Sparrow's compassCursed TreasureTreasure of CortésElizabeth Swann's gold medallionRagetti's wooden eyeJar of DirtDavy Jones' pipe organKey to the Dead Man's ChestDead Man's ChestMao Kun MapPirata CodexJack Sparrow's Pirate BeadsSword of TritonJack Sparrow Voodoo DollChalices of CartagenaDark MagicVoodooDavy Jones and Calypso's LocketsTrident of Poseidon
Music
"Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" • Theme park soundtrackSoundtrack Treasures CollectionSwashbuckling Sea Songs1966 soundtrackThe Medallion CallsHe's a PiratePirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (soundtrack)Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (soundtrack)Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (soundtrack)Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (soundtrack)Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (soundtrack)Pirates RemixedHoist the ColoursMy Jolly Sailor Bold
See Also
Pirates of the Caribbean Trading Card GameLiar's Dice


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Disney Crossy RoadSoundtrack
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Beauty and the Beast: BelleMauriceChip PottsMrs. PottsGastonLeFouFrouFrouChapeauPlumetteBeastCogsworthLumiereThe Enchantress
Lilo & Stitch: Lilo PelekaiNani PelekaiDavid KawenaMrs. HasagawaMertle EdmondsStitch
DuckTales: Scrooge McDuckDonald Duck (Classic)Huey, Dewey, and LouieWebbigail VanderquackMrs. BeakleyBeagle Boys (Big Time, Burger, and Bouncer)GyroDarkwing DuckFalcon GravesPixiu Chinese DragonPeghook's GhostLaunchpad McQuackHack and Slash SmashnikovGizmoduckShadow MagicaMa BeagleFlintheart GlomgoldPharaoh Toth-RaHeadless Man-Horse

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Toy Story: WoodyJessieBuzz LightyearHammEmperor ZurgRexSlinky DogMrs. NesbitBo PeepWheezyBabyheadBullseyeLennyThe ProspectorMint in the Box ProspectorTrixieBig BabyGreen Army MenBabyfaceJaney DollStretchBookwormRocky GibraltarMr. PricklepantsChucklesButtercup

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