The Talking Skull is a character who originated in the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. He is a talking skull (hence his name) that usually appears in the scene before the boats drop to see the pirates of said attraction.
Due to the popularity of the attraction, the skull would later be featured in media and merchandise inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and later as the film series' main logo.
As said above, the skull appears in the famous scene before the guests descend down to encounter the pirates in said attraction by telling them to hold on as they prepare for the drop, specifically mounted on the bricks upon the boats' path. After the scene, guests drop down in Dead Man's Grotto. 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.
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 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 briefly appears during the Pirates of the Caribbean sequence in the 2017 California version of Fantasmic!, where the Black Pearl/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 as the icon of the Pirates of the Caribbean world in Disney Universe 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, 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.
- According to a script for Battle for the Sunken Treasure, the skull was named "Captain X" as a tribute to the late Disney Imagineer X Atencio.