Pirates of the Caribbean: Why Davy Jones Looks Like An Octopus

Davy Jones’ octopus-like appearance in Pirates of the Caribbean is no accident. Not only do his tentacles and barnacles make for an impressive-looking villain, but they also hint at his background and personality. Actor Bill Nightly played Davy Jones, but although the villain’s appearance is based on him, his more aquatic features were completely computer-generated. The only time he appears as a human is during At World’s End, when he visits Calypso, and his past is finally revealed.

As the captain of the Flying Dutchman, Davy Jones is incredibly powerful and one of the most dangerous villains of the series. He can appear on any ship at sea, pass through solid objects, and feels no pain. He can track any soul that is marked by the black spot, and he’s also capable of summoning and controlling the Kraken, a terrifying sea monster that can destroy and sink any ship in the sea. However, while he’s immortal, he has two weaknesses. First, he can only step on land every 10 years (although a bucket with seawater seems to circumvent this problem), and second, he has carved out his heart out of his chest. Anyone holding his heart can control and command him.


The reason why he ripped his heart out is deeply connected to not only his appearance but the appearance of his crew and ship. Before becoming the captain of the Dutchman, Davy Jones was a great sailor who fell in love with Calypso, the goodness of the ocean. Calypso gave him the task of guiding the spirits of those who died at sea, and Jones accepted this duty out of love for her. She promised they would reunite on land after 10 years. But Calypso, much like the ocean, could not be bound to anyone or anything. After a decade doing his duty, Jones returned to land, but Calypso wasn’t there to greet him.

Betrayed, Davy Jones decided to seek revenge and helped the first pirate court bind Calypso to human form, imprisoning her. Out of guilt of what he did, he took out his heart and hid it in a locked chest so he could not feel the pain of losing her. After that, Jones abandoned his duties as a guide to the spirits and instead started attacking ships and recruiting sailors who were about to die. He would save them from death if they served him for 100 years aboard the Flying Dutchman.

Because he abandoned his sacred duties, Davy Jones slowly became consumed by aquatic fauna and flora, gaining monstrous features such as tentacles. His corruption also affected the ship itself and the crew. The longer a sailor served him, the less human they became, eventually merging with the ship and losing all their sense of self. While it’s not outright stated how this process works, Calypso reveals this curse is tied to Jones’ years of cruelty and corruption. At the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, once Will Turner becomes the captain of the Flying Dutchman, the crew recovers their human forms, suggesting what matters is the heart of the one tasked with ferrying souls. If his heart is pure and dutiful, then the Dutchmen and its sailors can retain their normal appearances.

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