Blackbeard

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Gentlemen. I'll be placed in bewilderment.
—Blackbeard

Edward Teach or Edward Thatch, better known by the name Blackbeard, was a legendary pirate captain from real-world history. He is named for his long black beard which he braided beards and lit fuses into to scare his enemies.

As a famous historical figure, he has appeared in different incarnations in several Disney-related products. He is best known for being the main protagonist in the 1968 film, Blackbeard's Ghost, and the main antagonist in Disney's 2011 film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, in which more supernatural elements are written into his character.

Background[edit]

Personality[edit]

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides[edit]

Captain Blackbeard was the pirate that all pirates knew and feared. He was ruthless and malicious. The dark captain sailed the seas and as the years passed, his age began to catch up with him. He seeks the legendary Fountain of Youth and becomes even more serious for his goal when he must deal with Hector Barbossa and Jack Sparrow.

The pirate was known to be cruel to his prisoners, often torturing them mostly for his own selfish amusement. He shows a great love for his daughter and, after his vicious pirate years, he devoted himself to teaching her the ways of a worthy pirate. He taught her sword-fighting and various other skills. Still, Blackbeard still saw her as a pawn and was perfectly willing to sacrifice her to get what he wanted.

Appearances[edit]

Film Appearances[edit]

Blackbeard's Ghost[edit]

File:Blackbeard's-ghost-screenshot.jpg
Blackbeard played by Peter Ustinov in Blackbeard's Ghost.

In the film's history, Blackbeard had 10 wives, Number 10: Aldetha was a witch. Before she died by burning completely at the stake by Blackbeard, she put a curse on him that he will always be on Earth in limbo unless there'll be a spark of human goodness in him.

200 years later, the new track coach for Godolphin, Steve Walker (Dean Jones) came to Blackbeard's Inn (which was originally Blackbeard's ship) for a rest for the night. He came to the Inn's Auction of family heirlooms held by the founders of the Inn and descendants of Blackbeard's Bloody crew known as the Daughters of the Buccaneers to save the Inn from the villainous gambler, Silky Seymour (Joby Baker). After he had his men scare off the auctioneers, Walker got involved in the auction and he won and bought, for $200, a bedwarmer which belonged to Aldetha.

After Walker accidentally sat on the bed warmer and broke it in half, he found her book of spells and a spell that brings his eyes and ears to one who is bound in limbo. Because he said the magic words of the spell: "Kree, Kruh, Vergo, Gaba, Kalto, Kree", Walker could now see "That's right" Blackbeard's ghost. Although, Blackbeard has been annoying Walker like laying on the bed Walker was going to sleep in, doing crazy things while he was sleeping "like talking in his sleep, snoring, and fighting", he couldn't leave Walker alone and had Walker arrested for speeding and drinking while driving.

Walker wanted to help Blackbeard break the curse and so he got an idea, helping the Daughters of the Buccaneers save the Inn. So, Blackbeard stole money from Professor Baker (Suzanne Pleshette), used for saving the inn to make a bet with Seymour for the Godolphin track team, to help the team win, help Walker and Baker win gambling, and fight off Seymour and his men. After Walker and Baker got the money in time, Blackbeard; whom everyone could now see after Walker had given everyone the spell that allows them to see and hear people who are bound in limbo by telling them to recite it, but the will into the fire and the curse were finally broken. Later, he left Earth and reunited with the spirits of his noble crew.

Return to Never Land[edit]

Though he doesn't appear in the film, Blackbeard is mentioned when Captain Hook explains his masterplan on how to capture Peter Pan to Mr. Smee. When Hook finishes, he asks Smee who is the most brazen, bold, and brilliant buccaneer that ever sailed the briny blue, to which a very confused Smee replies: "Um, Blackbeard?", causing an annoyed Hook to hit Smee hard over the head with his hook hand.

This dialog references how J.M. Barrie's original book described Hook as having once worked as Blackbeard's boatswain.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End[edit]

While not directly featured in the film, audio of Paul Frees' portrayal of Blackbeard from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is played in this film. After the Hai Hung passes over a waterfall to enter Davy Jones' Locker, Blackbeard shouting out, "Strike your colors, you bloomin' cockroaches!" can be heard along with an instrumental version of Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me) playing in the background.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides[edit]

This Blackbeard is totally different than the one who appears in Blackbeard's Ghost, being adapted from Tim Powers' interpretation of Blackbeard in his book On Stranger Tides, where Blackbeard escaped his historical death by way of voodoo magic.

At some point before the events of the film, Blackbeard attacked the Black Pearl without being provoked, capturing the crew in the ship's own riggings. However, Hector Barbossa escaped by chopping off his left foot. Blackbeard shrunk the ship down with his voodoo magic and placed it in a bottle. At some point, he had been presumed dead, although Barbossa claimed that the stories were effectively exaggerated when meeting Jack Sparrow.

Having received a prophecy that a one-legged man would end his life from the zombie quartermaster, Blackbeard began seeking Jack Sparrow, who was said to have been to the Fountain of Youth, which could save his life. He sent his daughter, Angelica to pose as Jack and recruit more crew-members with the possibility of capturing Jack. His plan was successful; he forced Jack to lead them to the Fountain with the threat of a voodoo doll. He captured a mermaid for her tear as part of the ritual to gain the years of life from another and badly wounded the missionary she was in love with to get it. At the Fountain of Youth, he met Barbossa, the one-legged man in the prophecy, and fell victim to a stab from Barbossa's poisoned sword. Jack then tricked him into drinking from a chalice without the mermaid's tear in it to save the life of his daughter, who had also been poisoned by the sword. His remains now lay at the Fountain's ruins. Afterwards, Angelica confronts Jack Sparrow who showed extreme prejudice to Jack for the death of her father Blackbeard.

Television Appearances[edit]

Once Upon a Time[edit]

Blackbeard appeared in Season 3 in the episode "The Jolly Roger" and is played by Charles Mesure. He was announced as an old enemy of Captain Hook.

Through some means, Blackbeard comes to possess an item called a wishing star, which can grant a wish, but only if the user has a pure heart. Approached by King Agnarr and Queen Iduna, they hand over his asking price in exchange for the wishing star.

Blackbeard meets a thief named Snow White, who is running away from the Evil Queen, and hopes he can take her as far as possible from the kingdom. She offers some money in exchange for hiding as a stowaway on his ship, but the pirate asks her to pay up more in order to earn his discretion. As she thinks about her next move, Blackbeard leaves.

In the Enchanted Forest, Blackbeard takes leadership of Hook's former ship, The Jolly Roger, and imprisons Prince Eric on Hangman's Island. When Hook arrives to reclaim the vessel, they have a sword duel. The fight is interrupted by Ariel, who Hook is helping to find Eric, but her beloved is not on the ship. Blackbeard offers to relinquish Eric only if Hook gives up on trying to take back the Jolly Roger, but the former pirate captain stiffly refuses. Instead, Hook binds Blackbeard's arms and legs and throws him to the sharks. This angers Ariel as Blackbeard was her only hope of finding Eric. Unknown to Hook, she rescues Blackbeard from death.

Later, Blackbeard also regains the Jolly Roger, though the circumstances of this are unknown.

In a scheme, Prince Hans buys Blackbeard's compliance with gold to corner Anna and Kristoff. When approached by the twosome, Blackbeard agrees, in a fib, to sell them the wishing star for an equal amount of gold in his own weight. When the deal is struck, Prince Hans and his brothers trap Anna and Kristoff. Admitting to the charade, Blackbeard then tells Anna how much she resembles her mother; recounting how her naive parents came to him asking for the wishing star, but they failed to realize that the item can only be harnessed by a pure-hearted person. After Prince Hans sentences the pair to death, Blackbeard orders a large coffer to be pulled onto the deck. He recalls how a past rival once made him walk the plank, and though death seemed certain, his life was saved by a mermaid. Jokingly, he jibs that the casket will ensure they die without "fin-terference". As Anna is forced into the coffer, she mouths off to Hans in the insistence that Elsa will escape from the urn and regain the throne from him, but to her shock, he reveals Ingrid's magic froze Arendelle and everyone in it for thirty years. After the casket is closed, Blackbeard calls for his crew to toss it into the sea, which they promptly do.

At an unknown period after this, Elsa and her family return and reclaim the kingdom. As punishment for conspiring against Anna and Kristoff, she shrinks the Jolly Roger into a bottle, leaving Blackbeard's fate unclear.

Sometime later, Blackbeard comes to possess another magic bean, which he stores in his pirate's hat. He returns to the Enchanted Forest again, and while he is in the midst of a card game with other pirates, Hook saunters up to offer a bag of jewels as payment for a bean. Blackbeard scoffs at the jewels that he presumes Hook stole from someone, and even when the latter confirms they're Agrabahn gems, he laughs at Hook for going as far as sailing the seas in a desert of all places. Hook brings up the fact Blackbeard has been without a ship since losing the Jolly Roger in Arendelle, a sore reminder that angers Blackbeard, who tries to challenge Hook to a duel. Rather than that, Hook offers up the Jolly Roger to him if he bests him in a card game. Blackbeard is intrigued by Hook's willingness to risk losing the ship himself, which the latter claims is only a risk if he loses. Accepting the deal, Blackbeard nods to one of the pirate mates, who promptly grabs the pirate seated next to him and hurls him to the floor, in order to make room for Hook to sit at the table. After Hook has lost in the game, he leads Blackbeard outside, confessing that the ship is actually in Storybrooke and if he wants his prize, he'll have to forfeit the bean to him now. Blackbeard gives him the bean, but instead of waiting for Hook to return with the ship, he opts to go with him into the portal. Because of Gideon's magic preventing Hook from going home, the two pirates end up in Neverland, where a band of vicious Lost Boys chases after them, prompting Blackbeard and Hook to run for their lives. They find a rowboat by the shoreline, however, Blackbeard knocks out Hook before hurrying to the boat and rowing into the sea. Upon waking up, Hook furiously shouts over at Blackbeard for betraying him, while the latter is unapologetic for his actions. As Blackbeard continues rowing further away, he yells that, if Hook survives, he still owes him a ship.

Printed Materials[edit]

Kingdom Keepers I: Disney After Dark[edit]

One of The Overtakers from Pirates of the Caribbean identifies himself as Blackbeard, resembling the character's incarnation from the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride. He rides on the XP-40 Space Cruiser from Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and uses the ship's laser to attack the protagonist Finn Whitman.

Video-Games[edit]

Kinect Disneyland Adventures[edit]

Blackbeard appears as the main-antagonist of the Pirates of the Caribbean mini games within this video-game. However despite the name, the character here seems to be an analogue for Hector Barbossa as they have effectively the same design just with a colour-swap (and no beard). Regardless he fights with the player and Black Barty (likely a Jack Sparrow analogue) to get to a treasure first.

Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game[edit]

Blackbeard reprises his role from the films in the Stranger Tides segments of this video-game. Furthermore, he can be unlocked as a playable character within the game.

Disney Crossy Road[edit]

Blackbeard is a playable character within this mobile-app game, based off of his Stranger Tides incarnation.

Disney Parks[edit]

Pirates of the Caribbean[edit]

Blackbeard is the, "Poster-Pirate" for Disneyland and Disneyland Paris' pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Disneyland's poster shows him with a parrot on his shoulder, digging up the treasure-chest of William Kidd while Disneyland Paris' shows him approaching the island of Isla Tesoro with a cutlass in hand. Walt Disney World's poster shows a clearly Blackbeard inspired captain albeit with a blue coat and brown hair, in modern times some have taken this to represent Barbossa.

1967-2006[edit]

In the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Blackbeard was inferred to be the captain of the ride's central pirate ship The Wicked Wench. In the ride, Blackbeard (voiced by Paul Frees) would be seen on his galleon the Wicked Wench as he shouted insults and threats to the Spanish soldiers in the seaside fortress he was attacking in search for its cursed treasure.

The captain of the Wench was heavily based on the real-life Blackbeard in that he had a long braided black beard, decorative ribbons tied into his facial hair, a leather baldric which held multiple pistols. The character as seen in the ride was developed from concept-art made of the historic pirate captain by animator Marc Davis. Even later into the attraction, his facial features were drawn very similar to historic illustrations of Edward Teach. The flag flown by the Wicked Wench was also historically the Jolly Roger flown by Blackbeard.

Between 1997 and 2006 at Disneyland's incarnation, a reproduction of Blackbeard's portrait from Blackbeard's Ghost was stashed within the treasure that a pair of pirates were struggling to drag up the lift-hill at the end of the ride. This was included due to that refurbishment having had taken influence from the film in new tableaus applied to the town pillaging scene and the Pooped Pirate.

In the year 2006, Blackbeard's animatronic was replaced by that of Barbossa from the film series. It should be noted that Barbossa himself was an adaptation of the Blackbeard inspired pirate captain from the original ride.

2006-2017[edit]

Ah, but they do tell tales. So says I, Blackbeard.
—Blackbeard (from the film series) appearing during the mist waterfall scene

In 2011, Blackbeard was once again added to the ride in Walt Disney World (this time portrayed by Ian McShane) where his face would be projected onto a waterfall guests pass through. Ultimately this effect would be removed from all but the Florida variation of the attraction where his face would alternate with that of Davy Jones.

At some date unknown in November 2013, Blackbeard (the character portrayed by Ian McShane) was removed from the mist waterfall scene in the attraction with Davy Jones now only appearing in the ride until 2018 when the mist waterfall scene was replaced with the original 1967 narration, making him only appear in the ride found in the Magic Kingdom.

Disneyland Paris[edit]

Blackbeard as captain of the pirate raid on Isla Tesoro rather than Barbossa continues to be featured in Disneyland Paris' version of Pirates of the Caribbean. In this version of the attraction however, his pirate ship looks considerably different; possibly indicating it to be a different ship than the Wicked Wench. This version of Blackbeard's ship has a black hull with red stripes, red sails and gold ornamentation; the same colour-scheme as the Queen Anne's Revenge from the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Up until 2017, Blackbeard made an additional appearance in the town pillage scene. In this scene, a swashbuckling citizen of Puerto Dorado engaged in a sword-fight with Blackbeard to protect a nearby maiden from him. While this effect continues to exist, both animatronics were seemingly replaced or re-sculpted and while the swashbuckler was recreated, Blackbeard was replaced by a lady pirate in an eyepatch. This was likely due to the effect having a troubled history with the sword-fighting audio-animatronics legitimately damaging one another with their swords.

In 2017, the mist waterfall scene showing either images of Blackbeard or Davy Jones during the scene when the boats are going up a large hill leading to the fort in the Disneyland Paris attraction was added on July 24, 2017, as part of the attraction's reopening when Disney announced that the Paris version would have characters from the film in June 2017. Additionally the restaurant of the Blue Lagoon would be refurbished as, "Captain Jack's" which in its backstory formerly belonged to Blackbeard's daughter, here identified as, "Angelica Teach".

Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island[edit]

The name, "Blackbeard" is written on a chest located on the rafts which transport guests from New Orleans Square to Tom Sawyer Island. It is possible that the implication is this is a chest of treasure which was amongst the treasure smuggled to Jackson Island by its piratical residents.

Tortuga Tavern[edit]

A mural of Blackbeard appears within this tavern-themed restaurant. Additionally there is a book kept by the shop-keep Arabella "Belle" Smith which details her customers and is opened to the pages of the Black Pearl and the Queen Anne's Revenge. Blackbeard/Edward Teach is mentioned on the page for the Queen Anne's Revenge as a customer of the tavern with the page also listing his crew from the films, notably Angelica.

A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas[edit]

Blackbeard is the main-antagonist of the Treasure of the Mediterranean mission of this interactive game found in the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland. In it he competes with Jack Sparrow and Sparrow's operatives in the Pirate League in a race to obtain the Treasure of the Mediterranean after being informed by his spies.

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar[edit]

A cannon in Trader Sam's possession has a tag on it which reads, "Traded this from a mean looking pirate with a black beard...and a pretty daughter". This referencing not only Blackbeard but also Angelica. A miniature Wicked Wench also appears bottled up on the shelf in both Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel and Trader Sam's Grog Grotto in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. The Wicked Wench will come to life and sink when the, "Shipwreck on the Rocks" is ordered, incidentally resembling how Blackbeard bottled up ships in On Stranger Tides.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure[edit]

In the queue for this attraction, Blackbeard's wanted poster can be seen amongst those for Jack Sparrow, Barbossa and Davy Jones within Fort Snobbish. The illustration of him in the poster is made to resemble his historic wood-cut inking from Captain Charles Johnson's A General History of Pyrates (1724).

Differences from History[edit]

Blackbeard's Ghost[edit]

  • Blackbeard's 10th wife Aldetha Teach is a completely fictitious character. Blackbeard having had 10 wives is based off of the legend that Blackbeard had 14 wives, mostly having been prostitutes from pirate-havens such as Nassau.
  • While not a difference from history per-say, in the film Blackbeard's beard has no braids, beads or fuses in it as it was famous for.
  • In this film, the Queen Anne's Revenge was turned into an Inn after it was wrecked. In real-life the wreckage of the ship was only found in 1996 and was underwater.

Pirates of the Caribbean[edit]

  • On Stranger Tides is set in the 1730s. In real life Blackbeard died in 1718, over twenty years before the events of the film. Furthermore, the Queen Anne's Revenge is his ship in the film while in real-life it was wrecked in 1718.
  • Blackbeard is shown to be a voodoo practitioner in this film. Not only did the historic Blackbeard have no affiliation with voodoo, but voodoo is a religion practiced by black people of the Americas while Blackbeard (in history and the film) is clearly white and English. While pop-culture depicts Haitian-Voodoo along the same lines as witch-craft, it is in reality a fairly normal religion which has simply been vilified and heavily fictionalized by pop-culture due to racism regarding the black community.
    • Blackbeard is shown using a Voodoo Doll in the film. Voodoo dolls have no actual affiliation with voodoo and instead comes from European witchcraft, only being affiliated with voodoo in the 1930s due to pop-culture vilification.
  • The Queen Anne's Revenge is shown to be capable of projecting Greek Fire from its stern. In history, Greek Fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Byzantine empire around the 7th century. Greek Fire's recipe remains a mystery and absolutely would not have been known by 18th century colonial pirates in the Americas.
  • The Jolly Roger flown by the Queen Anne's Revenge is a fanged skull surrounded by fire with blood dripping from its mouth. This Jolly Roger is completely fictitious and not resembling any of the historically documented or proposed flags Blackbeard used.
  • Blackbeard is shown to die by disintegrating in a vortex at the Fountain of Youth. In real life he died in North Carolina after he had been sliced 20 times by Lt. Robert Maynard, shot five or six times, decapitated, and had his decapitated body sink to the ocean floor not before having circled around the ship three times while his head was suspended from the bowsprit of Lt. Maynard's sloop (so the reward could be collected).

Gallery[edit]

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Trivia[edit]

  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard's quote "If I don't kill a man every now and then, they forget who I am" was inspired by a quote from the historic Blackbeard which he reportedly said after accidentally shooting his former sailing master Israel Hands in the knee while attempting to murder the man beside him during a game of cards.
    • Jack Sparrow's comment about his being dead and Blackbeard's reply in their first meeting was a reference to how Blackbeard had died in real life: he had been sliced 20 times by Lt. Robert Maynard, shot five or six times, decapitated, and had his decapitated body sink to the ocean floor not before having circled around the ship three times while his head was suspended from the bowsprit of Lt. Maynard's sloop (so the reward could be collected).
    • When Blackbeard appears to sedate the mutiny, his beard is slightly burning: this is a reference to the real-life habit of Teach to tie lighted fuses to his beard in order to scare his enemies.
  • Blackbeard is the first and only character to have appeared in The Pirates franchise to make an appearance on ABC's Once Upon a Time. Jack Sparrow was however mentioned when Emma was talking with Hook about sword-fighting.
  • Blackbeard is one of the few fully historic characters to have been a resident of the Enchanted Forest in Once Upon a Time; Davy Crockett did however make a cameo in later seasons albeit unnamed.
  • Teach is the first real-life pirate to appear in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.
  • Before Ian McShane was cast as Blackbeard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Javier Bardem and Benicio del Toro were considered for the role (Bardem was later cast as Captain Salazar in the following film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales).
  • In early script drafts for Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Milo Thatch was to have been a descendant of Blackbeard, with his explorers' spirit said to have run in the family. "Thatch" is, in fact, one of the surname aliases used by the real-life pirate.
  • Actor Ian McShane is currently slated to voice the Ghost Host in an upcoming adaptation of the Haunted Mansion. The Ghost Host was voiced by Paul Frees who also voiced the Blackbeard character in the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
  • Captain Edward Teague from the Pirates of the Caribbean films appears to be modelled after the, "Captain of the Wicked Wench" design of Blackbeard from the ride.
    • The name Edward Teague also seems to be a portmanteau of Edward Teach. Teague's clothing and facial hair are similar to written accounts of Blackbeard's appearance.
  • While possibly incidental, Blackbeard's appearance in Once Upon a Time greatly resembled his appearance as the Captain of the Wicked Wench in the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Blackbeard has knives replacing the pistols typically strapped to his chest due to the Enchanted Forest not having invented guns.
  • Blackbeard from the rides inspired the creation of Barbossa from the film series.
    • Barbossa quotes Blackbeard from the ride twice in the film-series. First saying, "Strike your colors, you bloomin' cockroaches!" while in battle with the HMS Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and, "Raise yer colors ya bloomin' cockroaches!" while commanding the Queen Anne's Revenge at the end of Stranger Tides.
    • In original scripts, Barbossa was referred to as, "Blackheart" which was likely inspired by Blackbeard's own moniker.

External links[edit]

  Films     The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) · Dead Man's Chest (2006) · At World's End (2007) · On Stranger Tides (2011) · Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)  
  Theme park attractions     Pirates of the Caribbean · Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island · Mickey's Pirate and Princess Party · The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow · Treasure Cove  
  Others     Jack Sparrow · Kingdom Hearts II  

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