Jack is a tall skeleton who wears a black pin-striped suit, complete with a bat bow-tie and black dress shoes.
He has earned the title of Pumpkin King by being 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 Pumpkin King
Jack Skellington is first chronologically seen in The Pumpkin King, many years before the events of the film. He is a king noted as the king of Halloween Town, and its most frightening inhabitant. On Halloween Eve, Jack plans for his best Halloween tricks yet, while 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 rag doll 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.
Jack enters Boogie's lair and after defeating him, he exiles Boogie forbidding him of leaving his own lair ever again, saying if he even hears that the monster has left it will be "GAME OVER" for him. Jack finally frees Sally and introduces himself, Sally thanks the Pumpkin King only to be asked to just call him "Jack" without the formalities. Jack admits he's happy to make a new friend. It is clear from this point on that Sally starts developing romantic feelings for Jack, especially when a worried Dr. Finkelstein calls out for Sally admitting he was worried about her safety only to be ignored by the rag doll who is paying attention to Jack. In the end, Halloween Town is finally able to celebrate Halloween once again, but unbeknownst to them, Oogie is watching with a promise to come back wanting to get revenge on Jack.
The Nightmare Before ChristmasThe 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 longs for something different to make the same old Halloween routine something more. 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. On the other hand, Sally has a premonition that his plans for Christmas will be a disaster. She attempts to warn him, but Jack is too wrapped up in "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. Jack asks Sally how she ended up in his lair and realizes her feelings for him, while also possibly realizing his own feelings for her. Before being able to say anything to her, they are interrupted. 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 sees Sally heading for the graveyard and realizes that what has been missing from his life might have just been someone who understood him, like Sally did. He finds her on the Spiral Hill blanketed in snow and reveals his own affections for her.
At the film's end, the two embrace and share a kiss while Zero looks on.
Disappointed with this year's theme on Halloween, Jack Skellington goes to Doctor Finkelstein, who gives him the Soul Robber, an invention that changes shape. Jack decides 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.
In the 1996 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 skeletal Viking, Eskimo, Ragetti and Donald Duck. When Centipede finds him in his cabin, he makes two references to him: "Skellington" and "Jack-pot". Centipede tries to steal his compass, but is captured when Jack yanks him back by his own suspenders. Before one of his crew members can cut him in half, James and Miss Spider arrive and tackle the pirates. Jack spends most of his appearance saying "aargh", trying to catch/pick up his head, and being catapulted around his own ship. When Centipede attempts to escape, Jack drags him back down to the ship, where he and his crew are utterly defeated. His compass, sword and other accessories are all taken by Centipede. It is unknown whether this is the real Jack or another skeleton that merely resembles him.
Jack also has a brief but hard-to-catch cameo in another Henry-Selick directed film, Coraline. While the Other Mother is preparing Coraline's breakfast, Jack's skull can be seen as the egg yolk. This appearance can only be seen when it is paused and zoomed at the right second. This may possibly be a callback to his character from Nightmare's director.
Jack has a possibly-unintentional cameo in Disney's Princess and the Frog, similarly appearing as a shadow in Dr. Facilier's "Friends On the Other Side" song. He appears to the left on the wall at the ending of the song, where all the shadows are seen surfacing from Dr. Facilier's magic. Although the shadow resembles his figure, it does not show any indication of his bat bow tie, possibly suggesting an early appearance.
Jack's skull is first revealed in Tim Burton's 1988 film, Beetlejuice, where he surfaces on top of Beetlejuice's carousel-shaped hat. This appearance was made 5 years before Nightmare's release, possibly pointing to Burton's creation of Jack back in 1982 while working as a Disney animator.
Jack also appears in Burton's short film, Vincent, created back in 1982, the same year Burton wrote The Nightmare Before Christmas Poem. In the short, Jack appears in an early form accompanied by Sally near the ending of the short, where creatures are reaching for Vincent. This may be an example of how Tim toyed with the idea of a story while working for Disney.
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 inquiry, 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. With Lock, Shock and Barrel, he pulled his mouth open wide and roared, but with Oogie Boogie he promptly unstitched him.
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 hose down bugs using the B button. It will kill bugs on contact, has a long range, and possesses rapid fire capabilities.
Later in the game, Doctor Finklestein upgrades the launcher so it can be 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 seems 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 break 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.
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 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.
A scary jack in the box that stuns enemies
An explosion of weed that makes enemies forget their anger.
A blast of freezing cold that freezes enemies.
A shield for Jack. (easy mode only)
Jack has many costumes that grant him special powers.
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.
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.
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, he also reprises his role from the Japanese dub of the movie, previous doing both his speaking & singing roles in the movie.
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 causes 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 Heartless. 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.
Jack Skellington was added into the Disney game, Disney Infinity, on October 28, 2013 in order to celebrate the movie's 20th anniversary. He is available to play on all game versions with an available figurine. He calls out the quote, ""Greetings, my friend! It is I, Jack...The Pumpkin King!" when set on the Infinity Base. He is featured as apart of the Disney Heroes collection in the game, as well as dialogue voiced by Chris Sarandon.
Along with his addition, there is an available Nightmare Before Christmas Sky and a Sandy Claws outfit for his character. There is also a home decoration set similar to his home in the movie. Although not accompanied with his own quest and world in the game, Jack's figure remains the most popular and strongly welcomed.
Jack Skellington appears as a character in the Disney video game, Disney Magic Kingdoms, as apart of a Halloween event. He is the first character in the event able to be welcomed into the Kingdom to help Mickey Mouse with his "not-so-scary" Halloween party, but finds that the Kingdom is infested with bugs and goes to find out why. He soon learns, with the help from Sally and Zero, that Oogie Boogie is in the Kingdom, and sets out to stop him before everything is overrun by his bugs.
Jack has his own quests provided in this game, as well as a small attraction of his house.
Jack also appears as apart of the Disney mobile game, Disney Magical Dice: The Enchanted Board Game edition, accompanied by Sally. He is available to play as a figure once obtained through Arena 3 chests as a "good" specialty. He offers the player 173 luckiness and 182 thriftiness once at maximum level. He is also featured with the Halloween Mickey Dice in the Hinterlands, as well as the spiral hill in his figure feature.
Additionally, Jack appears in the mobile and desktop game, Disney Heroes: Battle Mode as apart of a Christmas celebration. He is a back-line control hero who can be obtained through Diamond chests. He has 4 attacks that can be unlocked: Master of Fright, What's This?, Jack-O-Lantern, and Trick-or-Treats.
According to the community, Jack's addition to the game was highly anticipated and he was even added to a Hero Wish List.
- Click here to see more images of Jack Skellington.
- 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. He is also apart of the "Frightfully Fun Parade".
- 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.
- In the Italian version, he is voiced by Pop rock, Soul, Rock and roll singer, Renato Zero.
- In the original film, by a personal request, Danny Elfman does Jack's singing voice. Chris Sarandon (Jack's speaking voice actor in the original film) wouldn't do his character's singing until the video game, "Oogie's Revenge".
- In the Japanese dub, he is voiced by Masachika Ichimura, who did both his speaking & singing voices, as well as voice him in the Kingdom Hearts games and possibly Disney Infinity.
- Both Jack and Sally can be met at Disney World, Orlando and Disneyland, California.