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Everything We Know About The Early Life Of Captain Jack Sparrow

The following contains spoilers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

When we meet Captain Jack Sparrow for the first time at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, the notorious pirate has already lived an interesting life. We're joining him somewhere in the middle of his career. For as much as we continue to see his adventures, how much do we really know about the sort of person Captain Jack Sparrow really is or where he came from? With each successive entry in the franchise, we've gained a bit more detail about the life of Captain Jack Sparrow.

The trailers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No _Tales_ show us that we will a flashback of a very young Jack Sparrow, so we'll be learning even more about him this weekend but until then. Here's everything we know about the life of Captain Jack Sparrow before the first movie started.

Keith Richards Pirates of the Caribbean

His Family

Little is known about the earliest days of Jack Sparrow, but we've met his father. In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest we meet Edward Teague, the keeper of the Pirate's Code and the father of Jack Sparrow. It becomes a bit more obvious where Sparrow's mannerisms come from after this. We know little about Jack's mother, not even her name. However, her head was shrunk and kept as a token by Jack's father, who eventually passed the head onto Sparrow. It can be seen hanging from his belt at the end Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as well as during On Stranger Tides.

He Earned His Name, and His Hat, During A Battle With Salazar

We learned some major information about Jack Sparrow in the most recent film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. First off, the name Sparrow was a nickname he received during a battle with pirate hunter Salazar. Jack mocked his opponent from the lookout of his ship, the Wicked Wench, and he looked like a little bird chirping. This is also the where Jack first became a captain, as he was given command of the ship during the battle when his own captain was killed. After successfully getting his ship and crew out of the battle alive, Jack received tributes from his crew, including the hat he loves so much.


He Got A Magic Compass...Somehow?

One of the most mysterious things in all of the supernatural elements in Pirates of the Caribbean is Jack Sparrow's compass. It shows the user the location of that which they most desire. In Dead Man's Chest, we learn that Jack obtained the compass by bartering it away from Tia Dalma, who was actually the sea Goddess Calypso in human form. However, in the new film we learn that Jack was given the compass by the previous captain of the Wicked Wench. Maybe Jack lost it at some point and then had to barter it back? It's far from clear.

Jack Sparrow

Jack Became A Pirate Lord

At some point, Jack Sparrow became a Pirate Lord. In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, we learn about the nine pirate lords and discover that Jack Sparrow is one of them. This was done at some point when a previous pirate lord passed on his piece of eight, one of the nine objects that bound the sea goddess Calypso in human form. It's possible that the captain of the Wicked Wench was the previous lord, though we don't see him pass on the trinket that signified his lordship, just the compass. Elizabeth Swann was handed her piece of eight directly by the captain, though it also came with command of the ship, so perhaps Jack took the piece of eight later after things had settled down.

Cutler Beckett

The East India Trading Co. Branded Him And Sunk His Ship

When we're introduced to Jack Sparrow by name for the first time we see the brand on his arm that labels him a pirate and we're told it's the mark of the East India Trading Company. Later in the series, we meet Cutler Beckett, the man who did the branding. In a deleted scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, we learn that Beckett hired Sparrow once to transport some cargo, but when Sparrow discovered the cargo was actually slaves, he freed them instead. As punishment, Beckett had Sparrow branded and the ship burned.

Davy Jones

He Sold His Soul To Get The Pearl Back

Jack Sparrow really wanted his ship back after Cutler Beckett sunk it. He wanted it back so much that he traded 100 years of servitude to Davy Jones so that he would raise the ship and allow Sparrow to captain it for 13 years. Interestingly, in an associated novel it's revealed that the ship was originally named the Wicked Wench and that Sparrow only renamed it The Black Pearl after seeing it raised from the deep. Renaming a ship is supposed to be bad luck, but one assumes that after it's already been sunk, it probably doesn't matter.


His Crew Mutinied And Left Him For Dead

While Jack Sparrow's deal with Davy Jones was for 13 years as captain of the Black Pearl, he only lasted two before his first mate, Hector Barbossa, led Sparrow's crew on a mutiny while on the search for the Isle de Muerta. Jack was left marooned on an island, which luckily was used as a cache for rumrunners, allowing Sparrow to barter passage away. It would be eight years before Jack would have an opportunity to take back the Pearl in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.