Jack Skellington, also known as the "Pumpkin King", is the main protagonist of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas and all Nightmare Before Christmas media. Jack is a tall skeleton who wears a black pin-striped suit, complete with a bat bow-tie. He has earned the title of Pumpkin King by being so terrifying to humans (but never harming them), a clearly well-earned title as it appears he is even able to scare the monsters that occupy the town. He lives in Halloween Town, a world based solely on the holiday of Halloween.
The official film soundtrack contains an epilogue not in the film, stating that "many years later" Santa Claus returned to Halloween Town to visit Jack. He discovered that Jack had "four or five skeleton children at hand" who play together in a xylophone band. So it is assumed that he most likely married someone (Sally) later who was worthy of the crown and had children.
Jack is voiced by Chris Sarandon who did the speaking voice whereas his singing voice is provided by Danny Elfman who also wrote the music for movie's soundtrack. In Oogie's Revenge, Chris Sarandon did the speaking and singing roles.
The Pumpkin King Edit
Jack Skellington is first chronologically seen in The Pumpkin King, many years before the events of the film. He is noted as the king of Halloween Town, and its most frightening inhabitant. On Halloween Eve, Jack plans for his best Halloween tricks yet, whilst Oogie Boogie plots to seize control of Halloween Town, sending Lock, Shock, and Barrel to kidnap him, though accidentally kidnapping Sally instead.
Jack discovers this after seeing the Town Square deserted and with info from the Mayor. While the bugs attack the town, Jack also finds that Lock, Shock, and Barrel have been wreaking havoc. After defeating a massive spider in the Town Square, Jack returns to his own house, only to find it, too, under the control of bugs. Traveling through his house and bringing his pet dog, Zero alongside him, Jack is trapped by Lock, Shock, and Barrel, forced to use Zero to guide him out through the chimney. After the Mayor unlocks the door to Doctor Finkelstein's Lab after hearing a boom from it, where Jack discovers Dr. Finkelstein trapped by a Giant Snake. He defeats the snake and is given the task by Dr. Finkelstein to find his ragdoll assistant, Sally.
Jack travels through the Pumpkin Patch to search after the Corpse Kid, who ran away, and finds him trapped by a Possessed Pumpkin. He frees him, but the Kid is quickly kidnapped by Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Jack chases after the three kids, and frees the Corpse Kid yet again, but is baited into a trap by Lock, Shock, and Barrel, and forced to escape to the Graveyard.
He returns to the Town Square to find the Wolfman being attacked. Jack confronts them, but they distract him and run, trapping them. Jack manages to find another way out and returns to Dr. Finkelstein's Lab, where he finds that the Doctor is trapped out of his lab, with Igor having run off and the security system out of control. He finds Igor trapped, and the security panels under attack by a massive bug.
To be continued....
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The Nightmare Before Christmas EditThe story begins with the grand finale of Halloween Town's Halloween celebration, which is hailed by the return of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King. When Jack sneaks away from the adoring citizens, it is revealed that he is tired of the same old Halloween routine. He wanders off to the Graveyard to lament over his unfulfilled desires, which is heard by Sally, hiding behind a tombstone. Sally understands how Jack feels, but before she can reveal herself, he enters the Hinterlands with Zero.
Accidentally sleepwalking through the Hinterlands, Jack stumbles upon a place in the forest he has never been before. What he finds is a grove of trees with colorful doors leading to other Holiday Worlds. Jack is drawn toward the Christmas door and opens it, finding Christmas Town. Inspired by and infatuated with the holiday, he attempts with little success to explain it to the citizens of Halloween Town. After obsessively researching it, he decides that this year the citizens of Halloween Town will manage Christmas, in the hopes of "improving" it. Sally on the other hand, has a premonition that his plans for Christmas will be a disaster. She attempts to warn him, but Jack is too wrapped up (*pun*) into "his" Christmas to recognize her warnings and politely dismisses her fear.
Sally's premonition proves to be right: Not really understanding the "spirit" of Christmas, the citizens of Halloween Town create a celebration of the macabre rather than of joy. Jack, dressed as Santa Claus ("Sandy Claws" as Jack calls him) unintentionally brings terror rather than joy to the children of the world. Wanting "Sandy Claws" to rest, Jack had ordered a trio of trick-or-treaters, Lock, Shock, and Barrel, to bring Santa to Halloween Town. However, after Santa is first brought to Jack and greeted warmly by him, the three take him to their master, Oogie Boogie, who mocks, tortures, and plans to eventually kill Santa with his sadistic games. Sally attempts to rescue Santa Claus after discovering that military forces are planning to defeat Jack, but she is captured too. Upon realizing the error of his ways, Jack overcomes his identity crisis and reaffirms himself as the Pumpkin King.
Determined to set things right, Jack returns to Halloween Town, where he discovers that Santa has been taken to Oogie's Lair and that Sally is also there. He manages to rescue Santa and Sally, and defeat Oogie Boogie. Santa Claus returns to the real world to save Christmas and, as a sign of no hard feelings, gives Halloween Town a taste of true Christmas spirit, fulfilling Jack's former desire to a limited extent. Jack also finds Sally on the Spiral Hill blanketed in snow and reveals his own affection for her. At the film's end, the two embrace and share a kiss while Zero looks on.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge Edit
Tired of using the same old themes over and over on Halloween, Jack Skellington goes to Doctor Finkelstein, who gives him the Soul Robber, an invention that changes shape. Jack decided to leave Halloween Town to get new ideas for Halloween frights. When Jack comes back to town, he finds that Oogie Boogie has been resurrected. Now Jack has to set things right again. Jack dances, fights, and sings in this game to attack Oogie Boogie's minions. Jack is portrayed as inept to some degree in this game.
It should be noted that Chris Sarandon did both the speaking and singing voice for Jack in this game. Elfman only provided the singing voice in the original film due to his personal request.
In the movie "James and the Giant Peach" (Directed by Henry Selick), Jack Skellington makes a "minute longer than brief " appearance as the undead pirate captain of a sunken ship in the North Atlantic. His crew consists of a viking, an eskimo, Ragetti and a dead skeletal version of Donald Duck. When Centipede finds him, he makes two referrences to him "Skellington" and "Jack-pot". He spends most of his appearance saying "aargh", trying to catch, follow, or pick up his head, which keeps getting rolled around and tossed like a potato. When centipede leaves, he comes out with the compass, Jack's hat, sword and arm. It is debatable if this is the real Jack or another skeleton that merely resembles him.
Jack is very much a gentleman; graceful and patient in equal measures. He is usually calm and can be counted upon to do what is in everyone's best interest. Although Jack enjoys frightening others, he would never go as far as to harm humans nor monsters and is rather kindhearted.
Though his logic is sound, his reasoning can be questioned at times. He was quite thorough in his Christmas research, but opted to go with what he and his friends knew when he decided to give Sandy Claws the year off and take over for him. He was also oblivious to Sally's feelings for him throughout most of the story. This is backed up by the fact that he barely even recognized Santa Claus's distress when they first met. It seems that Jack can be naïve at times, as shown that he trusted Lock, Shock, and Barrel enough that he believed that they would simply get him Santa Claus without causing trouble, despite them being allied with Oogie Boogie and being heavily armed. In addition to this, Jack didn't realize all the chaos he was causing on Christmas Eve until it was too late.
When Jack gets angry, he is unable to contain his frustration, as shown when Lock, Shock and Barrel bring him the Easter Bunny or, when dealing with Oogie Boogie. He did not hesitate to severely scare the trio or punish his old foe for endangering his friends with grim dedication.
It is also shown that Jack is incredibly curious, and loves to explore and discover. This is shown by his immediate fascination with Christmas and his excitement upon finding it. The musical number "What's This?" demonstrates his excited, upbeat personality very well as we see him dashing from one thing to the next, like an excited child.
It appears that Jack, being undead, is immortal and may or may not feel pain from certain things. At the climax of "This Is Halloween", he sets himself on fire without serious injury. He also has the ability to remove bones from his body. Jack can take off his head (to "recite Shakespearean quotations") and remove ribs to play fetch with his dog, Zero. We can tell he feels certain pain when he reacts negatively (and normally) when Sally accidentally pricks his thumb with a needle. Jack also is very flexible for being a skeleton and possesses incredible agility which makes it easy for him to climb ledges and walls. Occasionally hints are made to further powers, particularly during an episode in one of the original film's video-game spin-offs, in which he fights Oogie Boogie and his army of bugs with fire and ice magic as well as possible dark and musical magic. In the Kingdom Hearts series, he also can use dark magic. This appears to be unfaithful to the original story, as Tim Burton has stated on the audio commentary for The Nightmare Before Christmas, that Halloween Town does not possess any "magic".
In the original film's video-game spin-offs, Jack utilizes a wide variety of powerful weapons.
The Frog Gas Sprayer was given to Jack by The Mayor to help him fight Oogie Boogie and his bug minions. It is a frog shaped bug sprayer that Jack uses to hoses down bugs using the B button. It will kill bugs on contact, has a long range, and possess rapid fire capabilities.
Later in the game, Doctor Finklestein upgrades the launcher so it can by charged for more power and increases its rapid fire capabilities. The gas cloud it produces now appears bigger and looks like a frog's face.
An invention of the great Dr. Finkelstein; contrary to what the name may imply it does not function as a boomerang but instead seem to produce a live attack bat that travels in a straight line towards the target inflicting damage. Jack can fire this three times in a row. It can be used to disable electric walls and barriers.
Later in the game, one of the Vampire Brothers will deliver an upgrade to Jack that makes the boomerang more powerful. The upgrade enables the boomerang to split into three red bats; sometimes one will have a skeleton head on it, just like Jack's, that inflicts more damage.
Jack receives this from the Corpse Kid after jack saves him from a giant possessed pumpkin. It can brake any barrier marked with a pumpkin, making it the only weapon that can do so.
A present from the Melting Man. These are super sticky shoes that enables Jack to climb high places.
A special potion made for Jack by the Big Witch. A potion that when drank, it sets Jack on fire and enables him to jet flames in a straight line burning everything in his path.
Later on, the Mayor gives Jack a Chili Pepper, upgrading the Spice Bottle's powers. The upgrade enables Jack to stay aflame longer and fly in a straight line. When using the upgraded Spice Bottle, Jack resembles his Pumpkin King costume.
A Lantern given to Jack by the Mayor. Jack uses it to look for Lock, Shock, and Barrel after they vandalized all the street lights. It is a regular lantern adorned with bat wings.
The Soul Robber is Jack Skellington's weapon from the videogame: The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge. It was created by Dr. Finklestein and given to Jack. The Soul Robber is a green slime that can change shape when Jack uses it.
Jack has many costumes that grant him special powers.
Pumpkin King Edit
A magic costume Jack uses for his performances but it also has special magic powers. it can't be purchased at the witches magic shop. It allows Jack to control fire. At first, Jack needs red souls to fuel the suit but if you get the witches to upgrade the suit three times it will have a maximum capacity of ten fire souls, collecting all the trophies gives you unlimited power.
Jack spits out a stream of flames that can blast away enemies as long as you at least have 0.1 red soul.
When used, Jack will send out a powerful ring of fire damaging any enemies within range.
This Jack's Santa costume used by Jack in his failed Christmas attempt. After Dr. Finkelstein is set free from Oogie's control he returns all the failed Christmas gifts as weapons, to fight Oogie and his soldiers.
Scared Stiff: A scary jack in the box that stuns enemies
Re-possession: An explosion of weed that makes enemies forget their anger.
Cold Front: A blast of freezing cold that freezes enemies.
Pumpkin Shield: A shield for Jack. (easy mode only)
During the game The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King, in Dr. Finkelstein's lab, Jack can stand on a puddle (acid bath), after which leeches will jump on him and turn him in to a puddle-like blob. This allows him to navigate the maze of buzals in the lab at the other end will turn him back to normal.===
In the game, The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Pumpkin King, there are certain ghosts Jack can grab onto to make himself get stretched super tall so he can get to new areas.
Chris Sarandon reprises his role for the English version, and Masachika Ichimura provides Jack's Japanese voice.
Jack Skellington introduces himself to Sora, Goofy, and Donald Duck as the ruler of Halloween Town. Jack plans to use the heart that Finklestein created to control the seemingly docile Heartless to make a festival called "Heartless Halloween" so that Halloween can be frightening, but the idea fails when not only the first experiment cause the Heartless to go berserk, but Oogie Boogie steals the finished heart, and plans to use it to take over Halloween Town. At Oogie's manor, Jack, Sora, and the gang confront him. After Oogie is defeated, Jack finds out that Oogie uses dark orbs as his source of life, which Oogie combines himself with his manor to become a giant boss. Once the gang defeats Oogie once again, and his manor crumbles, revealing Halloween Town's keyhole. Jack is considerably shorter in this game than as he appeared in the movie, though he is still rather tall when compared to the game's main protagonists.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days the main character, Roxas, travels to Halloween Town to defeat Heartless. After defeating the Leechgrave Roxas sees Jack showing Dr. Finklestein a model of a creepy scarecrow that resembles Roxas. Roxas and the inhabitants of Halloween never have direct contact except for when Zero sniffs out heartless for him.
In Kingdom Hearts II Sora, Donald, and Goofy travel to a Halloween/Christmas World where the characters from Halloween Town and Christmas Town reside. There, they reunite with their old friends: Jack, Sally, and Zero. They help convince Jack that his holiday is Halloween, not Christmas. While doing this they also defeat heatless. Oogie Boogie is resurrected by Maleficent and captures Santa. They rescue Santa and defeat Oogie Boogie once again. Eventually, they are faced with a rogue invention of Dr. Finklestein's. The group destroys it after it stole presents from Santa's workshop.
- Click here to see more images of Jack Skellington.
- Jack's Corpse Bride counterparts are Victor Van Dort and Bonejangles (Bonejangles is the same voice actor, Danny Elfman).
- The official film soundtrack CD contains an epilogue not in the film, stating that "many years later" Santa returned to Halloween Town to visit Jack, where he discovered that Jack had "four or five skeleton children at hand" who play together in a xylophone band.
- Jack hosts the "Halloween Screams" Halloween fireworks at Disneyland in Anaheim, California
- In an early test animation made by Henry Selick that was never meant for the film, Jack was voiced by legendary voice actor Frank Welker.