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Immortal Captain of the Flying Dutchman
|Family||Bootstrap Bill Turner (father)
Elizabeth Swann (wife)
William Turner III (son)
Weatherby Swann (father-in-law, deceased)
|Appearance(s)||The Curse of the Black Pearl
Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
|Portrayed by||Orlando Bloom (adult)
Dylan Smith (adolescent)
William "Will" Turner, Jr. is a fictional character and the main Protagonist in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. He appears in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and two of its sequels, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007). He is portrayed by Orlando Bloom (and as a child by Dylan Smith in the prologue of The Curse of the Black Pearl).
William Turner is a blacksmith's apprentice working in Port Royal, Jamaica. He secretly loves the governor's daughter, Elizabeth Swann (played by Keira Knightley), although he occupies a lower social class than she does. Will is an exceptional swordsman, although he lacks actual combat experience. Despite being mild mannered, Will is brave, as seen when he confronts notorious pirate Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) in a sword fight and by his response to a pirate attack on Port Royal. He is loyal to those he cares about and would risk everything to protect them, especially Elizabeth Swann. This trait is seen throughout the films as Will's character develops more by his reaction to unforeseen circumstances rather than his personal ambition or deliberate choices.
Most likely he would have continued playing his trade, never presuming to rise above his current station, pining for the woman he believes he can never have. At his best, Will is clever, heroic, and courageous and never shirks responsibility or leaves an obligation unfulfilled. He can also be preoccupied and brooding and, early on, demonstrated rather simplistic and naïve views, although his character gradually matures and deepens into a more complex and worldly man as the films progress.
Will's final costume in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is reminiscent of Errol Flynn's swashbuckler movie roles. There is also a nod to Douglas Fairbanks when Turner uses his knife to glide down the ship's sail in Dead Man's Chest, just as Fairbanks did in the 1926 film, The Black Pirate.
Will is about 20 years old as the series begins. He has medium length, brown hair, worn loose or tied back in a short ponytail, brown eyes, and white skin. In the first movie, he wears a puffy-sleeved white shirt, a simple brown jerkin, brown breeches, thick brown stockings and leather shoes with metal buckles. He also wears a grey, wide-brimmed hat with a white feather through the back of it, a belt buckle around the top of it, and a design bordering the edges. In the second and third movies he wears various outfits including a fashionable suit and tricorne hat for his wedding that is of a typical style for upper-class gentlemen from his era. In the second film, he also wore a leather jacket over a white shirt, breeches, and, as requested by Orlando Bloom, boots. In both sequels, he is also seen wearing a leather cord necklace with what appear to be charms and other trinkets hanging from it. In the third film, he predominantly wears a puffy-sleeved maroon shirt, a black coat, dark breeches, and leather boots. Sometime between Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, Will acquires a tiny gold-hoop earring that he wears throughout the third film. Just after Will becomes immortal, he appears in a green bandana.. His hair changes from slightly oily and wavy in the first and second movie to dryer and fuller, possibly the effects of sailing. In one scene in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl when Turner and Jack are fighting in the blacksmith's shop, there is a glimpse of Orlando Bloom's wrist tattoo of the Elvish word for "nine". Bloom and the other actors except John Rhys-Davies who comprised the nine "Fellowship of the Ring" members in The Lord of the Rings trilogy have this same tattoo to commemorate their participation in the films. While some felt his tattoo should have been covered for his "Pirates" role, the producers simply stated, "Will has a 'pretty' tattoo on his wrist."
According to the audio commentary from the first Pirates of the Caribbean DVD (featuring the scriptwriters), Will Turner is the best swordsman in the Pirates universe. According to the commentary, Barbossa's skills are equal to James Norrington (Jack Davenport) and exceeded only by Will Turner. Jack Sparrow's skills trail closely behind Barbossa's.
Will is "Bootstrap" Bill Turner's only child. According to Jack Sparrow, Will strongly resembles his father, both in appearance and ability. However, his father was absent during his early childhood in England (he was born in Glasgow, Scotland but his mother moved him to England when he was young) and Will grew up believing him to be a merchant seaman. Following his mother's death, Will, then about twelve years old, emigrated to Port Royal, searching for his father, and, after being rescued from a shipwreck, was apprenticed to a blacksmith. The Black Pearl crew have been searching for the gold medallion that "Bootstrap" sent Will, which Captain Barbossa needs to break the curse.
The Curse of the Black Pearl
Will Turner is introduced to the story as a young boy who is rescued at sea by the British navy, the sole survivor of a pirate attack. Aboard the ship is Port Royal's new governor, Weatherby Swann, and his daughter Elizabeth, then aged twelve years. It was Elizabeth who spotted Will clinging to the floating wreckage, and he was placed under her care for the voyage's duration. Discovering a gold medallion around his neck, she hid it to prevent anyone from branding him a pirate.
Over the next eight years, Will and Elizabeth maintain a respectful friendship, although Will must conceal his true romantic feelings for her. He is now a blacksmith apprentice in Port Royal, and though it provides him a respectable occupation, it makes him unsuitable to court Elizabeth, even though she may (secretly) reciprocate his feelings. Another suitor, Commodore James Norrington, a man socially superior to Will in nearly every way, seems likely to win Elizabeth's hand. Meanwhile, Will has developed into a master craftsman of fine swords, although it is his oft-drunken master who usually claims credit for Will's exquisite workmanship. Will is also an exceptional, self-taught swordsman. The DVD commentary states that he is the best among the characters in the film, including Barbossa, Norrington, and Jack Sparrow. Will lacks practical fighting experience, however. When Sparrow outwits Will in a sword fight, Will claims Jack "cheated" by ignoring the "rules of engagement," and would have killed Sparrow in a fair fight. Sparrow retorts, "That's not much incentive for me to fight fair then, is it." He impresses upon the naïve young man that the only rules that matter are, "What a man can do, and what a man can't do." It is a lesson Will is unlikely to forget.
Initially, Will is depicted as an honorable, but rather simple, character whose actions are primarily driven by his emotions rather than reason, particularly when someone he cares about is threatened. However, as he matures throughout the trilogy, he is guided more by logic and experience and gradually realizes that the lines between what is right and what is lawful are often obscured. Will is always motivated by love and loyalty to protect friends and family. For now, however, he appears to follow the convention that obeying rules, working hard, and knowing one's station in life will result in fair treatment and a secure livelihood, even if there is little opportunity for social advancement. It is a fateful twist of irony that Will, a peaceful and law-abiding man, learns that his father was the pirate Bootstrap Bill Turner, who served aboard the Black Pearl when it was commanded by Captain Jack Sparrow. Despite Sparrow's comments that Bootstrap was "a good man," Will remains deeply conflicted over his new-found lineage. Will learns that when First Mate Barbossa and the crew mutinied and marooned Sparrow, only Bootstrap defended him, infuriated by Barbossa's betrayal. Bootstrap was tied to a cannon and thrown overboard after it was learned he sent a gold medallion to Will so the crew would remain under an ancient Aztec curse as punishment for betraying Sparrow. To break the curse, the last medallion and Turner's blood must be returned to the Aztec chest.
Even though Will is a model citizen and despises pirates, he feels justified in resorting to piracy and forming an alliance with Jack Sparrow if it is to save Elizabeth. After commandeering a navy ship and recruiting a crew in Tortuga, Will and Sparrow sail to Isla de Muerta where Barbossa has taken Elizabeth. Unknown to Will, Sparrow intends to use him to bargain back the Black Pearl. When Will learns his role in lifting the curse, he barters himself to Barbossa to free Elizabeth and the crew, although Barbossa tricks him. In the end, Sparrow and Will succeed in lifting the curse; Sparrow kills Barbossa, and the pirate crew is defeated. At Sparrow's execution in Port Royal, Will, believing Sparrow deserves to live, declares his love for Elizabeth before attempting to rescue Sparrow from the gallows. They are quickly subdued by redcoats, but Will refuses to abandon Sparrow. Elizabeth intervenes and saves Will by declaring her love for him and vouches for Sparrow. Will is pardoned while Sparrow escapes by falling off the rampart and into the bay where the Black Pearl awaits.
Dead Man's Chest
Will returns with the other main characters from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. In this film, his appearance has become more pirate-like, reminiscent of Errol Flynn's swashbuckler movie characters, and reflects Will's evolution from naïve boy to world-wise man. For aiding Jack Sparrow's escape, Will and Elizabeth are arrested just prior to their wedding ceremony by Lord Cutler Beckett, a man made wealthy and powerful by profits from the East India Trading Co. Beckett threatens Will and Elizabeth with execution for aiding Captain Jack Sparrow's escape, but offers clemency if Will can find Sparrow's compass. Beckett also possesses a Letter of Marque with which he intends to recruit Jack as a privateer.
To save Elizabeth, Will hunts for Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl. He finds the crew captive on Pelegosto, a cannibal-inhabited island. They escape, and are unexpectedly reunited with Pintel and Ragetti. Jack agrees to give Will his compass if he helps him find a key, though he has no idea what it unlocks. Jack seeks out Tia Dalma, a voodoo priestess who takes a particular interest in Will, proclaiming he has a "touch of destiny." Dalma says the key is to the Dead Man's Chest containing the heart of Davy Jones. The crew searches for Jones, and Will soon finds himself stranded on a wrecked vessel that Jack deviously claimed was Jones' ghost ship, the Flying Dutchman. When the real Flying Dutchman suddenly arrives, Jack attempts to barter Will to Davy Jones to repay his blood debt, but Jones refuses, saying one soul is unequal to another. Instead, he keeps Will as a "good faith" payment and demands an additional 99 souls. Otherwise, Jack must surrender or face the Kraken. Sparrow had once struck a bargain with Davy Jones to raise the Black Pearl from the ocean bottom and to make Jack captain for 13 years. Sparrow would then serve aboard the Dutchman for a century.
Will, now an indentured sailor aboard Jones' ghost ship, meets "Bootstrap" Bill Turner, the father Will once searched for. When Will challenges Davy Jones to Liar's Dice, betting his soul against the key to the Dead Man's Chest, Bootstrap joins in, and purposely loses to save his son from eternal enslavement. With Bootstrap's help, Will steals the key and escapes in a longboat, vowing to one day free his father. A passing ship rescues Will, but Jones' summons the Kraken to destroy it. Will survives and stows back aboard the Dutchman, now headed for Isla Cruces where the Dead Man's Chest containing Jones' heart is buried.
On Isla Cruces, Will is reunited with Elizabeth, who has escaped jail and joined Jack Sparrow's crew. Also present are Sparrow and former-Commodore James Norrington, also a member of Jack's crew. They locate the chest, and, key in hand, Will intends to stab the heart to kill Davy Jones. But he finds himself at the tip of Jack's sword and caught in a three-way duel between himself, Sparrow, and Norrington, all claiming the heart. Norrington ultimately steals it and the Letters of Marque, escaping just as Davy Jones' crew attack.
The Black Pearl flees, outrunning the Flying Dutchman, but Davy Jones again summons the Kraken. Drawing on his previous experience fighting the monster, Will leads the crew in temporarily fending it off, gaining enough time to abandon ship. When Elizabeth realizes that Sparrow is the Kraken's sole prey, she distracts him with a passionate kiss while handcuffing him to the mast. Unknown to her, Will witnesses this and believes Elizabeth now loves Sparrow. From the longboat, the crew watches the Kraken drag the Pearl and Sparrow to Davy Jones' Locker.
Will, Elizabeth, and the crew seek refuge with Tia Dalma. As they mourn their captain, Will is particularly despondent, though not only about Elizabeth and Jack. Tia understands his despair—with the Black Pearl Will could defeat Davy Jones and free his father. Gibbs proposes a toast to their fallen captain, to which Will glumly raises his mug. Seeing Elizabeth's teary face and believing she loves Sparrow, he nobly tries comforting her. "If there was anything that could be done..." Tia Dalma interrupts, asking would he be willing, would they all be willing, to travel to World's End to bring back Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl. All say "aye", including Will, who sees a revived opportunity to obtain the Black Pearl and rescue Bootstrap. Tia Dalma says they will need a captain who knows those waters. To everyone's astonishment, a resurrected Captain Barbossa descends the stairs.
At World's End
Will is next seen in Singapore with Elizabeth, Barbossa, Tia Dalma, and the Black Pearl crew. They are there to bargain with Sao Feng, the Pirate Lord of the South China Sea for the navigational charts leading to World's End and Davy Jones' Locker. Will already attempted to steal the charts from Sao Feng's uncle, but was captured. Ostensibly, the group's mission is to rescue Jack Sparrow from the Locker, but, like the others, Will has a secret motive: to retrieve the Black Pearl and free his father from Davy Jones. When Mercer and the East India Trading Company soldiers attack Sao Feng's bathhouse, Feng strikes a secret bargain with Will—Jack Sparrow in exchange for the Black Pearl. Will and the others journey to World's End on Feng's ship, sailing over an enormous waterfall into Jones' Locker. There, they find a delusional Jack aboard the Pearl. After some convincing, Jack sets sail with them, although he and Barbossa dispute who is captain. Will learns that Elizabeth sacrificed Jack to the Kraken. And though he now understands why Elizabeth has been so distant and despondent, she believes that her unrelenting guilt over causing Sparrow's doom is her burden alone to bear. Will tells her their relationship will not endure if they lack trust in one another and make their choices alone.
Will has also made choices alone, however, and secretly collaborated with Feng to commandeer the Black Pearl, although Will's motive is to save his father. But Sao Feng betrays Will in lieu of another bargain with Lord Beckett, though Beckett double-crosses him. Feng then offers Barbossa the Black Pearl in exchange for Elizabeth, who he mistakenly believes is the sea goddess, Calypso. Elizabeth may understand Will's underlying motives, but she is stunned that he bartered Jack Sparrow to Sao Feng to achieve his goal. Ignoring Will, she agrees to Feng's terms in exchange for the crew's safety. Jack tosses Will in the brig, but he soon escapes. Still plotting to obtain the Pearl, Will leaves a trail for Lord Beckett to follow to Shipwreck Cove, the Brethren Court stronghold. Jack catches him, but surprisingly hands Will his magical compass before pushing him overboard, apparently intending for Beckett to find them. Clinging to a floating barrel, Will drifts helplessly towards Beckett's ship, Endeavour.
Will is reunited with Elizabeth, who was named captain and pirate lord by the mortally wounded Sao Feng, after Will is exchanged for Jack during parley with Beckett and Davy Jones. Elizabeth tells Will she now understands the burden he bears, but having been aboard the Dutchman, she believes Bootstrap can no longer be saved, although Will disagrees. During the maelstrom battle, Will again proposes to Elizabeth, convincing her this may be their only opportunity to wed. Knowing that she truly loves Will and wants to be with him, Elizabeth calls on Barbossa to immediately marry them; they exchange vows amid the fighting and share their final kiss before destiny claims Will. Unknown to them, Jack has escaped the Dutchman's brig.
After a climactic showdown with Jack atop the Flying Dutchman's mast, Davy Jones duels with Elizabeth. Will rushes to her defense, only to lose his weapon in the unharmable body of Jones, who, ironically, now wields the same sword Will crafted for Commodore Norrington in Curse of the Black Pearl. Jones presses the blade to Will's chest and asks menacingly, "Do you fear death?" Jack attempts to intervene, but Jones mortally stabs Will with the blade made by him in the Curse of the Black Pearl. Jack, who now possesses Jones' heart, sacrifices his bid for immortality to instead save Will, guiding Will's hand to stab the heart, killing Jones. Just as Will dies, Bootstrap carves out his son's heart and places it in the Dead Man's Chest. Will is resurrected into the Flying Dutchman's immortal captain, fulfilling his destiny to free the Dutchman crew from Davy Jones' cruelty. Now under Will's command, the Flying Dutchman resurfaces, and the crew has reverted to human form. Will commands the Dutchman against the Endeavour and the combined firepower of the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman destroy the Endeavour, killing Cutler Beckett. The remaining armada retreats without a fight.
Will is now a psychopomp, bound to sail the Netherworld, ferrying souls to the other side. The Dutchman crew, no longer cursed, have reverted to human form and bestow their loyalty on Captain Turner. Will is allowed one day ashore before beginning his ten-year duty in the Netherworld aboard the Dutchman. Elizabeth, a mortal, is unable to accompany Will, though "Bootstrap" Bill chooses to remain with his son, despite Will freeing him. Will spends his one day with Elizabeth on an island where they consummate their marriage. Before returning to the Dutchman at sunset, he entrusts the Dead Man's Chest containing his beating heart to her care. The Flying Dutchman disappears from the horizon amid the Green Flash.
Will returns ten years later to Elizabeth and their son, at the end of At World's End.
There is some controversy over Will's final fate. A leaflet inside the special edition 2-Disc DVD states that the captain of the Flying Dutchman is eternally bound to the ship, and may only step on land once every ten years. But since then, video commentary and blog posts by the writers have stated that as Elizabeth remained faithful to Will until he returned to this world, unlike what Calypso did for Davy Jones, he is free of his duty and lives out the rest of his life with Elizabeth and their son.
In The Curse of the Black Pearl, Will is passionately and secretly in love with Elizabeth. Unaware what her feelings are, he believes she considers him nothing more than an acquaintance and inferior to her in social class. However, their relationship progresses when Will rescues her from Barbossa. They realize how much they care for each other, and when Will is supposedly killed when the pirates destroy the HMS Interceptor, Elizabeth attacks Barbossa. She later tries to rally the Black Pearl crew to save Will from being sacrificed to lift the curse. Just before Jack's execution in Port Royal, Will proclaims his love to Elizabeth before attempting to save Sparrow; Elizabeth chooses Will over Norrington. In Dead Man's Chest, the two are to be married, but their wedding ceremony is interrupted by Lord Cutler Beckett, who arrests them for abetting piracy. When Will witnesses Elizabeth kissing Jack aboard the doomed Black Pearl, he believes she now loves Sparrow, unaware it was only a ruse to sacrifice Jack to the Kraken; Elizabeth is dismayed when Will's secret bargain with Sao Feng is exposed. Though he desperately wants to save his father from Davy Jones, Elizabeth does not believe his actions justify betraying the Black Pearl crew.
It is unclear until almost the end whether Will and Elizabeth can overcome their differences. Will was deeply hurt when he mistakenly believed Elizabeth was in love with Jack, although he finally realizes she was driven only by her deep guilt over sacrificing Sparrow to the Kraken. She was unaware that Will could only rescue his father by killing Davy Jones and succeeding him as the Flying Dutchman's immortal captain, bound to sail the Netherworld. He would be torn apart from her forever. When Elizabeth discovers Will's burden, she understands his motives, but rejects his methods (bargaining the crew to Sao Feng). Though vexed that Will withheld this from her, she, in turn, had hurt Will by keeping her own secrets. They come to realize that unless they are honest and trust one another, their relationship will not survive. They finally overcome their differences, and during the climatic Maelstrom battle, Will again proposes to Elizabeth, who realizes how much she loves Will and only wants to be with him; Barbossa marries them amidst the fighting. After his wedding to Elizabeth, Elizabeth and Will go on the Flying Dutchman to help fight. After Davy Jones has pushed them both to the side Davy sees Jack holding his heart. After Jack's little speech Davy Jones stabs Will knowing Will and Elizabeth are in love. Jack finally decides to be unselfish so he has Will stab Davy Jones heart right before he dies. After exploding the ship owned by Lord Beckett, Will and Elizabeth spend his last day on land before his ten years at sea for their honeymoon. Will gives Elizabeth the chest containing his heart as she promises to keep it safe. They share one last kiss and Will disappears on the Flying Dutchman for ten years.
Will returns ten years later to Elizabeth and their son William "Will" Turner III, at the end of At World's End. While the film is ambiguous, the writers' commentary states that because Elizabeth stayed faithful to him and met him at the end of his first ten years as Captain of The Flying Dutchman, he is free from servitude and returns to Elizabeth and their son, spending his life with them.
Throughout the trilogy, Will maintains a complicated and strained relationship with Captain Jack Sparrow. In The Curse of the Black Pearl, Will, who despises pirates, is revolted by Jack. He helps to capture him in Port Royal, but realizing he needs Jack's help to rescue Elizabeth, he frees him from jail. Although he thinks Sparrow is untrustworthy, Will eventually considers him a far better man than anyone realizes, and he willingly risks his own life to save Sparrow from the gallows.
In Dead Man's Chest, Will is ambivalent regarding Sparrow, probably never expecting to see him again. When Lord Cutler Beckett, who is hunting Sparrow interrogates him, Will claims Jack is "more acquaintance than friend," Though this is accurate, it may also be an effort to shield Jack or simply to downplay his association with him to protect himself and Elizabeth. However, Will again needs Jack's assistance to spare himself and Elizabeth from Lord Beckett's death sentence, though Sparrow's "help" soon lands Will aboard the Flying Dutchman as Davy Jones' captive. Jack does attempt to retrieve Will when he bargains with Jones for 100 souls in exchange for his own. Jones refused to release Will, however, likely suspecting that Jack cared enough for Will as a friend that keeping him captive would help motivate Sparrow to fulfill his debt.
In the beginning of At World's End, Will cares little for Sparrow, believing he has stolen Elizabeth's affections, though he eventually does learn the truth behind Jack's death. Will agrees to help rescue Jack from Davy Jones' Locker only because he needs the Black Pearl to free his father from the Flying Dutchman. After Will's attempt to gain the Pearl by delivering Jack and the crew (minus Elizabeth) to Sao Feng fails, Jack throws Will in the brig. Will escapes and, still intent on saving his father, leaves a trail for Beckett's ship to follow. Jack, who has become an unexpected mentor to Will despite their mutual distrust and animosity, discovers him. During a lengthy conversation, they once again demonstrate their grudging mutual respect and need for one another to fulfill their respective goals; Will admits he hatched his plan by thinking like Jack, and confides he is torn between killing Davy Jones to free his father (thus binding himself forever to the Flying Dutchman) or staying with Elizabeth and leaving his father in eternal servitude. Jack proposes a vague agreement that he will stab Davy Jones' heart, making himself immortal, and will then free Will's father, thus allowing Will and Elizabeth to be together. Jack unexpectedly hands Will his magical compass before pushing him overboard, ensuring Cutler Beckett will find him and be led to Shipwreck Cove, placing Jones' heart within Jack's grasp. Will and Jack's relationship is again in doubt.
Elizabeth is the most important person in Will's life, and anything or anyone threatening her is his enemy, including Sparrow. Although Jack represents nearly everything that Will despises, he is often intrigued, puzzled, and even amazed by Sparrow without sacrificing his own personal convictions or morals. Will respects Jack, even while considering him unethical and distasteful, and ultimately deems him a pirate but, "a good man." And though their relationship continually teeters on either helping or betraying one another, depending on their respective circumstances, Jack proves that he does care for Will when he selflessly sacrifices his bid for immortality to save the fatally wounded Will. Jack has also learned a few tricks from Will, using the same technique Will employed to free Jack from jail in the first film, to escape the Dutchman's brig. In the end, they are friends.
Video game appearances
Will Turner appears in the Pirates of the Caribbean world, Port Royal, of Kingdom Hearts II. In the Japanese version of Kingdom Hearts II as well as in the movies he's voiced by Daisuke Hirakawa, who was also the Japanese voice for Legolas, another famous character portrayed by Bloom. Crispin Freeman provided the voice of Will for the U.S. version of the game since Orlando Bloom was unavailable due to the filming of Dead Man's Chest and At World's End. Freeman was also the voice of Will in the video game Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow and in the video game adaptation of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
Will Turner appears in the video game Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and in Lego Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game as a playable character in both games and was again voiced by Crispin Freeman. He also appears in the game Pirates of the Caribbean Online game as the character who gives the player their first sword. In the earlier versions of the game, Will urges the player to run and locate Tia Dalama after soldiers can be heard banging on his door. Will stays behind to confront them, drawing his sword. In the newer version, undead skeletons appear inside instead.