Skully is the tritagonist of the 2011 Disney Junior animated series, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and the protagonist of Playing with Skully. He is Jake, Izzy, and Cubby's pirate parrot who keeps a look-out for crime from above; watching out for Captain Hook and his partner Mr. Smee who targets the kids for his various plots.
The character of Skully is a homage to the traditional pirate parrots that sit aside the pirate captain on their shoulder. Arquette enjoys playing his part, once noting in an interview
- "It's great to sort of performing with just using your voice. I sweat, actually, when I start doing the thing, because I really get into it. You really have to convey all of the excitement into your voice. It takes a lot, but it's really rewarding, especially when you see the little fans that love it."
Arquette has also said that he enjoys performing Skully with material outside of the actual show itself, such as at a debut of the Jake and the Never Land Pirates toy line at the annual International Toy Fair in New York City.
Skully is wise and very responsible with the kids. He is much appreciated and worries about their safety when doing dangerous tasks. Skully is friends with Jake and his crew and seems to be annoyed rather quickly by Captain Hook. Unlike Jake, Skully feels no remorse for Hook when the villainous pirate is in peril. Skully sometimes acts like a small immature child, being very playful and speaking in the third person occasionally. Skully is also very wise-cracking, often giving a joking remark on a certain situation, usually at Hook's suspense.
Skully joins every adventure Jake and his crew goes on. Skully is often the one to notice things the others miss, making him a strong advantage when it comes to dealing with Hook. At the end of every episode, Skully reveals their secret Team Treasure Chest where they store their gold doubloons.
Several episodes revolve around Skully. In the episode "Captain Hook's Parrot", Skully is kidnapped by Hook to become his new pet. Skully spends the day locked in a cage but uses his brains to keep Jake, Izzy, and Cubby on Hook's trail. According to Cubby, Hook kidnapping Skully is the worst thing the Captain ever did to them.
Skully was the lead character in the episode "Skybird Island is Falling!", where he actually led Jake and the crew in their mission to stop Skybird Island from plunging to the sea after Hook stole the magic leaves that keep the Island afloat. In spite of his small size, Skully was actually responsible for saving the team on a few occasions, including "The Pirate Princess", where he had his shadow resemble a wicked witch, scaring Hook away. He also saved the team when they were swallowed by a whale by tickling the roof of its mouth and making it laugh.
Skully was the lead character again in the episode "Sail Away Treasure" while sailing through the waters near Shipwreck Beach Jake and his crew took a shine to the old shipwreck especially Skully who reveals that he always wanted a ship of his very own. He names the little shipwreck the Leakey Beak. Jake and his crew then decided to repair the old ship until she was as good as new in the process they discover a treasure map in the sail leading to a treasure hidden on Never Peak mountain. While sailing to Never Land and the treasure Captain Hook tried to steal the little ship. In the end, the puny pirate team thwarted Hook's plans and return the ship to Wise Old Parrot on Skybird Island, While grateful to the young pirate crew he gives the ship to Skully.
Skully was the main focus of the episode "Who's a Pretty Bird?" When Skully receives a mirror as a gift from Winger, the pirate bird can't stop admiring his own reflection, causing him to fail in his lookout duties, ending with Bucky getting tangled up in seaweed as Jake and his crew journey to save Butterfly Bluff from Captain Hook.
Skully played a major role in the episode "Flight of the Feathers". After Top Bird, the leader of the Feathered Four, ends up getting his wing injured after a run-in with the wicked Fast Claw, Skully ends up taking his position on the team's hundredth mission while Jake's crew tend to his injuries.
Playing with Skully
On July 27, 2012, Disney announced a short series titled Playing with Skully that premiered in the USA September 19, 2012, tying in with both the premiere of the Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Jake Saves Bucky special and to a lesser extent, International Talk Like a Pirate Day. The show is currently airing on other Disney Junior channels worldwide.
Skully appears as an audio-animatronic in the live stage show in Disney's California Adventure and Disney's Hollywood Studios. In the show, Captain Hook steals the team treasure chest, so Jake and the crew hurry to get it back. At the climax, Hook refuses to give up the chest, but Skully reminds everyone that only the Tick-Tock Croc can scare Hook, thus giving Jake the idea to mimic the croc's tick-tocking noise.
- How Skully met Jake and origins all together are currently unknown, although many believe he learned the ability to speak fluently from Jake.
- Skully's AA is similar to the AAs Iago and Zazu in The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management).
- In the Jake and the Never Land Pirates-themed Disney Junior logo the "R" resembles Skully.
- Skully's catchphrase, "Crackers!", echoes the famous phrase "Polly want a cracker?".
- Skully has only collected gold doubloons four times so far, in "Hide the Hideout", "Peter Pan Returns", "Jake and Sneaky Le Beak!", "Who's a Pretty Bird?", and "Aye, Aye Cap'n-Cap'n".
- Skully has his own spinoff serieson Disney Junior titled "Playing with Skully".