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Jack Sparrow

Jack Sparrow
Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Jack Sparrow is a fictional pirate captain and is one of the primary characters of the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Johnny Depp portrays Sparrow and won great acclaim for his comic performance and, following the sudden popularity of the character after his debut in The Curse of the Black Pearl, he reappeared in the two sequels, as well as a series of prequel books, video games and even in the Disney theme park ride which inspired the films.

Character development and acclaim

Depp claims that punk forerunner Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards (who has a cameo role as his father in the third movie), and Pepé Le Pew (from Looney Tunes) were main inspirations for his performance (although Errol Flynn – primarily in Captain Blood [1935] – was also an influence). Depp has also said that he imagined pirates as being “like the rock stars of their time” and that he likes to portray Sparrow as “sexually ambiguous”.

The part earned Depp an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, a rarity for a comic performance. The nomination also was the first for Best Actor in a Leading Role for a Disney film.

Wardrobe and equipment

“My effects”

Sparrow carries a number of items on his person at all times, which he collectively calls “my effects”. They include his pistol, sword, coat and tricorne hat, and an unusual compass. Oddly, he does not seem to feel the term “my effects,” includes the hat, which he always specifies separately (see below).

His sword is a hanger (a 17th and 18th century style of sabre) rather than a cutlass, the weapon preferred by most cinematic pirates. The sabre’s longer blade allows him to keep his enemies a few inches further away than a cutlass.

He carries a single barreled pistol given to him by Barbossa when he maroons him, apparently so he can commit suicide. The weapon as made by and bears the name of a gunsmith named “Perry.” He only uses the pistol at the film’s end, having saved his only shot to kill Captain
Barbossa. During his escape from the Turkish prison in Dead Man’s Chest, he carries a double-barreled pistol. He later returns to his original, single barreled variant, using it to prove to Tia Dalma that the monkey is undead after being shot.

After his compass, Sparrow’s most prized possession is his hat. He is rarely seen without it, and he always mentions it when discussing his effects. When Sparrow orders the ship to head for land to escape the Kraken, his hat is tossed overboard by Jack the monkey. A panicked Sparrow commands it be left behind, which so surprises the crew they are literally struck motionless.

The hat, which is unwittingly picked up by nearby Turkish fishermen, is eaten by the Kraken when it attacks the wrong ship. Sparrow spends the entire film searching for a suitable replacement and even walks through a pub fight trying on the brawlers’ tricornes. He eventually regains his own hat when it is regurgitated by the Kraken as it is about to devour him. Covered in mucus, he merely shakes it off and puts it back on before drawing his sabre and attacking the monster.


Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass was obtained in a barter with Tia Dalma (as established in Dead Man’s Chest). Rather than point north, its needle points to whatever the person holding it wants most. That can be treasure or other valuable items, but also a person or a geographical location. It works for anyone using it, but only if they know what they truly want. It will even work while lying untouched on the ground, if the possessor is nearby. When it fails to work properly for Sparrow, Tia explains that it is because he does not know what he truly wants, “or do you know but are loath to claim it as your own”.

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Jack Sparrow Male human Rogue 8/Duelist 4; CR 12; Medium-size humanoid; HD 8d6 +16 plus 4d10
+4; hp 64; Init +5; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (touch 15, flat-footed 15); Atk +15/+10
melee (1d6+2/16-20, masterwork rapier) or +13/+9 ranged (1d12/x3, musket); SA
Sneak Attack +4d6; SQ Canny Defense, Enhanced Mobility, Evasion, Grace, Improved
Reaction +2, Improved Uncanny Dodge, Trap Sense +2, Trapfinding; AL CN; SV Fort
+3 Ref +11 Will +3; Strength 14, Dexterity 17, Constitution 14, Intelligence 14, Wisdom 7, Charisma 16. Height 5’7”

Skills: Balance 14, Bluff 18, Diplomacy 14, Escape Artist 3, Gather Information 12, Hide 11, Jump 14, Listen 8, Move
12, Perform (Dance) 6, Sleight
of Hand 14, Sense Motive 5, Spot 3, Survival 3, Swim 12, Tumble 17,Rope

Feats: Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Firearms), Improved
(rapier), Mobility, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus (rapier)

Possessions: Magic Compass, masterwork rapier, musket, Pirate
Hat, Traveler’s Outfit

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