ByScott Sawyer, writer at
The man with the plan. And the opinions. Call me the Bandit.
Scott Sawyer

Johnny Depp created an icon when he first portrayed the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the first film adaptation of the classic ride that unexpectedly launched one of the most successful franchises in the history of modern cinema.

However, all the love we carry for witty ol' Captain Jack can certainly cloud our judgement. Truth be told: Jack Sparrow is bit of an a-hole. Over the course of five films released over 14 years, a great many characters have taken a near-fatal swing at our charming rogue, and many of them rightfully so. Let's take a look at the characters we've seen targeting Captain .

1. Hector Barbossa

Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa in 'On Stranger Tides' [Credit: Disney]
Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa in 'On Stranger Tides' [Credit: Disney]

It's actually somewhat funny to think of the fan appreciation Geoffrey Rush's Barbossa receives, considering he's always antagonizing our favorite swashbuckling rogue, and was even the villain of the original Pirates outing.

But, maybe it's Jack's own appreciation for the scraggily-bearded character that makes us like him. After all, he was Jack's first mate aboard the Black Pearl once upon a time. Before the events of The Curse of the Black Pearl, Barbossa led a mutiny against Jack, proclaiming himself the captain of the Pearl and thus setting the plot of the film in motion by stealing a heap of cursed Aztec gold. Jack and Barbossa both wanted to lift the curse, but for different reasons — Barbossa wanted to feel human again, and Jack wanted to make his enemy mortal in order to take back his ship.

Barbossa was defeated and killed, but eventually resurrected by voodoo priestess Tia Dalma in the first sequel, Dead Man's Chest. Even when fighting a common enemy, Barbossa seems more than willing to rid himself of Jack by any means, including an involuntary sacrifice to Davy Jones. In On Stranger Tides, Barbossa pursues Jack as a member of the King's Royal Navy. While he needed Jack to stay alive for a time — and even conspired with him to defeat Blackbeard — Barbossa's true intentions once Jack had fulfilled his purpose will always remain unclear.

2. Will Turner

Jack Sparrow and Will Turner in 'The Curse of the Black Pearl' [Credit: Disney]
Jack Sparrow and Will Turner in 'The Curse of the Black Pearl' [Credit: Disney]

Will's face is one that's typically viewed in a friendlier light than most others, but despite his own deep affection for Jack Sparrow, let's not forget that the road they travelled together was rather bumpy.

Their initial encounter featured a swordfight (one of the best choreographed scenes in the series) fueled by Will's desire to defend the honor of Elizabeth Swann. Even after joining forces, Will is rather aggressive towards Jack, drawing his sword at mention of his father and questioning his trust in the pirate upon learning of his connection to the Pearl. Will does not seem to wish harm upon Jack in the sequels, though it is made rather clear that he will not allow the charmer to become an obstacle on his quest to free his father or his bride-to-be. Will finds himself fighting Jack again during a ridiculous (but entertaining) three-way duel in Dead Man's Chest, and betrays Jack in At World's End, giving him to Cutler Beckett in exchange for use of the Pearl in the quest against the Flying Dutchman.

As the original trilogy comes to a close, Jack and Will find themselves on peaceful, respectable terms, as Jack saved Will's life by aiding him in the defeat of Davy Jones, therefore granting him eternal life. It is unknown whether commanding the Dutchman for 10 years will affect Will's perspective on Jack and his antics, but we will know soon enough when Orlando Bloom reprises the role in .

3. Elizabeth Swann

Elizabeth Swann in 'Dead Man's Chest' [Credit: Disney]
Elizabeth Swann in 'Dead Man's Chest' [Credit: Disney]

Elizabeth Swann's case, from the perspective of Jack Sparrow, is a rather intriguing one. While, like Will, she is widely considered, she is actually the only person who successfully managed to kill the captain of the Black Pearl.

Her relationship with Jack followed a path similar to her lover's over the course of the first film — an aggressive introduction led her down a path of questionable faith until she reached the conclusion that he was not such a bad man. At the beginning of Dead Man's Chest, Elizabeth felt Jack was worthy of defending, and she had enough faith in the pirate to rely on him when Will was imprisoned aboard the Flying Dutchman.

But their developing friendship took a major left turn when Elizabeth realized that Jack was the critical factor endangering the crew of the Pearl. Elizabeth played Jack, taking advantage of his developing affection towards her, and distracted him with a passionate kiss while she cuffed him to the Pearl's mast, leaving him to die as the Kraken's meal. While eventually the two do make nice towards the climax of At World's End, Jack does call Swann out on her malicious action upon the crew's arrival in Davy Jones's Locker.

4. James Norrington

James Norrington in 'The Curse of the Black Pearl' [Credit: Disney]
James Norrington in 'The Curse of the Black Pearl' [Credit: Disney]

Commodore James Norrington was a highly respected officer in the King's Royal Navy when he met Jack Sparrow in The Curse of the Black Pearl. He was so fueled by his desire to rid the seas of piracy that he wanted to watch Jack hang before the gallows even upon learning that the pirate had just saved his beloved Elizabeth from drowning. Even after taking advantage of Jack's knowledge and skill in the battle against Barbossa's cursed crew, the Commodore sentenced Jack to a highly publicized hanging.

With the help of Will Turner, Jack gallantly escaped Port Royal, but dialogue in Dead Man's Chest suggests that Norrington did not give up his pursuit. Joshamee Gibbs reveals to the audience that Norrington's stubborn determination to catch Jack drove him to foolishly attempt to sail through a nasty hurricane, costing his ship, crew and position.

When we see Norrington, he is an unbearable drunk, desperate enough to join Jack's crew on the quest for the Dead Man's Chest. Upon finding the chest, Norrington challenges both Sparrow and Turner in the infamous three-way duel, and while none of the three were killed, Norrington left victorious, escaping with the heart, which he would use to barter for his position. He was even promoted to Admiral, a position he retained until his change of heart and ultimate sacrifice in At World's End.

5. Cutler Beckett

Cutler Beckett in 'Dead Man's Chest' [Credit: Disney]
Cutler Beckett in 'Dead Man's Chest' [Credit: Disney]

Lord Beckett hid within a cloud of mystery when audiences first met him in Dead Man's Chest. We got only hints at his past encounters with Jack Sparrow — including a heavy implication that it was he who branded him as a pirate. We also know that he was willing to kill Jack in order to reach his MacGuffin: the heart of Davy Jones.

However, Beckett's intense rivalry with Jack sprouts from a much foggier tale. Jack is not simply the means to an end — he is an enemy. But, why? Unfortunately, the final cut of At World's End does not answer it for us. However, there are deleted scenes that pretty much paint the picture for you.

"People aren't cargo, mate."

This little quip from Captain Jack not only humanizes him but also degrades Beckett's own morality. As the story goes, long before he was the captain of the Black Pearl, Jack sailed under Beckett's command for the East India Trading Company. But when Jack learned that the cargo he was shipping were humans intended to be sold into slavery, Jack made the humane decision of risking his freedom to save the prisoners.

6. Davy Jones

Davy Jones's vendetta against Jack Sparrow is another that originated long before the start of the first film. Jack made a fateful deal with Jones — as many a pirate had before him — to serve aboard the Flying Dutchman in exchange for 13 years of freedom to sail his ship — the Black Pearl — wherever his heart desired.

By Dead Man's Chest, Jack's time to serve has come, but the captain has no intention of sacrificing his free will. After agreeing to the ridiculous task of producing one hundred souls in exchange for his own, he goes back on his word once again as he attempted to defeat Jones. Ultimately, Jack fails to outwit the devil, and (with a little "guidance" from Elizabeth Swann) goes down with his ship, saving the Pearl's crew from the Kraken and settling his debt with Jones.

However, the debt is no longer settled for Jones when Sparrow is resurrected after leading his loyal crew out of the Locker. Davy Jones strives to kill Jack Sparrow all the way to the bitter end — when Jack aids Will Turner in stabbing Jones's heart — effectively making the latter the new captain of the Dutchman.

7. Sao Feng

Sao Feng in 'At World's End' [Credit: Disney]
Sao Feng in 'At World's End' [Credit: Disney]

Captain Sao Feng is one of the most important and least developed characters in At World's End. Aside from the mere fact that they both served as pirate lords, there's absolutely no information regarding the relationship between Feng and Jack Sparrow, though the following quote implies it is not a healthy one.

"The only reason I would want to bring Jack Sparrow back from the land of the so I could send him back MYSELF!"

Sao Feng was not surprised at the news of Jack Sparrow's death, and was only willing to provide the information needed to bring him back once Barbossa convinced him that they had no choice. Upon Jack's return to the land of the living, Feng has absolutely no reservations about screwing Jack, aiding Will Turner in the takeover of the Black Pearl.

It is a great shame that Feng had to die before we could learn more about his rich personal history. Despite the fact that death seems to be reversible in these films, it is highly unlikely that we will ever see Sao Feng on screen again. (Unless, a Jack Sparrow prequel is something that lies ahead. Disney?)

8. Angelica Teach

The first and only time we met Angelica was in the highly criticized On Stranger Tides, and her introduction was quite a doozy. After having been caught impersonating Jack Sparrow, Angelica engaged in a rather claustrophoia-inducing swordfight, which managed to end in a passionate kiss. Talk about a love-hate relationship.

Angelica has a much spoken about but not much elaborated upon relationship with Jack. Their dialogue early in the film suggests that Angelica was considerably young when they met, and that Jack may not have been the best influence on her.

"You corrupted me!"

"You demonstrated a lot of technique for someone I supposedly corrupted."

Throughout the film, their allegiances are rather difficult to keep track of. Her loyalty to her father, Blackbeard, often opposes her sense of righteousness and affection for Jack. She opposes Jack's attempt at a mutiny (she even chucks a sword in his direction), but also goes to great lengths to convince her father that he should remain alive. When faced with the decision to save one of the two from death, Jack makes the natural choice of saving Angelica, despite her intention to sacrifice herself for her father. She holds this against Jack, but is prepared to make peace with him — until, of course, he leaves her stranded on a small island. That's our Jack!

9. Blackbeard

Angelica, Jack and Blackbeard in 'On Stranger Tides' [Credit: Disney]
Angelica, Jack and Blackbeard in 'On Stranger Tides' [Credit: Disney]

It should not be a surprise that Blackbeard tried to kill Jack Sparrow. If he did not try to kill someone, it is either because he actually killed them or he never met them! Blackbeard stands out from the rest of the characters on this list, as he is the only villain in the series not to hold any sort of personal grudge against Jack. Jack was simply a means to an end, as Blackbeard sought out the healing powers of the Fountain of Youth. The cruel captain was not reluctant to keep Jack alive as long as he proved himself useful.

Of course, our Jack has a way of making people want him dead. Blackbeard first meets Jack as the leader of a half-assed mutiny aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. The only reason he does not kill him is because his daughter convinces him that they need Jack to find the Fountain. Blackbeard displays a desire to kill Jack later in the film, as he becomes convinced that Jack is playing him, but this ultimately draws from an overwhelming urge to kill in general.

10. Captain Salazar

Captain Salazar in 'Dead Men Tell No Tales' [Credit: Disney]
Captain Salazar in 'Dead Men Tell No Tales' [Credit: Disney]

It's hard not to recognize Captain Salazar, as his creepy face has been the frontrunner for the Dead Men Tell No Tales marketing campaign. Fans and newcomers alike are excited to see Disney's newest addition to their rogues gallery on the big screen, and we are extremely excited to learn about his history with Jack Sparrow.

The latest theatrical trailer for the film actually teased Salazar's origins quite a bit. From what we are led to believe (nothing is official until the film is released, of course), Salazar was a captain in the Spanish Navy, hell-bent on ridding the sea of piracy. However, Salazar and his crew met a deadly end, and his speech implies that a young Jack Sparrow was somehow responsible.

We have seen footage of the ghostly presence of Salazar returning to the world we know, striking fear in the hearts of fan-favorite Barbossa and new kid on the block Henry Turner as his vengeful hunt for Jack Sparrow goes on. Time will tell what sort of tricks Jack has up his sleeve in order to save himself and his new allies from this new demon.


Which 'Pirates' villain was your favorite? Did we miss one? Share your opinion in the comment section below!


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