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Jack Skellington is a skeleton known as the "Pumpkin King" of Halloween Town, a fictional world based solely on the holiday of Halloween. He is the main male protagonist of The Nightmare Before Christmas film and games. Normally, he is dressed in a black pin-striped suit and a bow tie resembling a bat or spider. He has a pet ghost dog named Zero, who has a small glowing nose that looks like a jack'o'lantern. His love interest is Sally, a rag doll created by Dr. Finklestein. He is voiced by Chris Sarandon. His singing voice is provided by Danny Elfman. Jack Skellington is a well-loved character and is a popular design on bags, clothes, umbrellas, belt buckles, and other items. According to Ultimate Disney.com's Top 25 Heroes, Jack is #25.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The film commences after the grand finale of Halloween, which was the town's "most horrible yet". Jack, however, is growing bored with Halloween, and is in search of a stronger sense of purpose. While wandering aimlessly through the Hinterlands, he stumbles upon a grove of trees marked by doorways with festive icons. He inadvertently finds his way into Christmas Town and becomes infatuated with the holiday. After obsessively researching the holiday, he decides that this year, the citizens of Halloween Town will make Christmas in the hopes of "improving" it. Sally, an animated rag doll who secretly loves him, has a premonition of disaster and attempts to warn Jack, who dismisses her fear.
Sally's premonition proves to be right. Not really understanding the "point" of Christmas, the citizens of Halloween Town create a celebration of the macabre rather than a "season to be jolly"; Jack, dressed as Santa Claus, brings terror rather than joy to the children of the world. Wanting Santa Claus to rest, Jack had ordered the local tricksters Lock, Shock, and Barrel to bring Santa to Halloween Town and make him comfortable; however, the three tricksters bring him instead to the evil Oogie Boogie, who decides to tease, kill, and eat Santa. Sally attempts to rescue Santa Claus, but is herself captured.
Upon realizing his error, Jack overcomes his identity crisis and reaffirms himself as the Pumpkin King. With determination to both correct his mistake and save Christmas, Jack promptly returns to Halloween Town. Upon returning to Halloween Town, he discovers that Santa has been taken to Oogie Boogie. He enters Oogie's lair and rescues his friends while destroying the fiendish Oogie. Santa Claus returns to the world to resurrect Christmas and, as a sign of no hard feelings, gives Halloween Town a taste of true Christmas spirit, which is essentially what Jack wanted. Jack finds Sally atop a hill blanketed in snow and reveals his own affection for her. The final line of the movie shows the two of them realizing that they are "meant to be together".
The official film soundtrack CD contains an epilogue track, stating that "many years later" Santa returned to Halloweentown to visit Jack. Santa says that Jack had "four or five skeleton children at hand" who play together in a xylophone band. Given the ending of the movie, it can reasonably be assumed that the children are Jack and Sally's offspring.
Jack is generally a young, vivacious, charismatic gentleman — a stark contrast to his undead status — and is fond of grand theatrics, which is likely a significant part of what makes him the best at what he does. He is quick and eager to make new friends, but on that note seems to assume (often incorrectly) that others are the same. Although kind-hearted, Jack has a tendency to be self-absorbed and more than a little oblivious, failing to notice both Sally's affections and Santa Claus's apparent dislike of him. He has a tendency to become fascinated with an idea to the exclusion of all others.
Jack appears to believe in only using violence as a last resort. When angered or forced to fight, Jack is stern and solemn. It is possible that Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie are foils: Jack is slender, good natured, kindhearted, artistic, and thoughtful where as Oogie is fat, sadistic, gross, and loudmouthed. It is also revealed that Jack holds Oogie Boogie in great contempt.
Jack Skellington is shown to have had a rivalry with Oogie Boogie. Oogie makes plans to turn Halloween Town into a New Bug Day. Jack confronts his plan and thwart him from taking over the town. Few of the Townsfolk actually saw Oogie himself, and so assume terrifying ideas about him. When Jack defeated and subsequently scared off such a menacing figure, he was made the Pumpkin King, the one in charge of making Halloween scary every year.
Tired of using the same old themes over and over on Halloween, Jack goes to Doctor Finkelstein, who gives him the Soul Robber (jokingly referred to as "Phil" in one part of the game), an invention that changes shape. Jack decided 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.
It should be noted that Chris Sarandon did both the speaking and singing voice of Jack in this game.
Jack Skellington appears in all three installments of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. He inhabits the world of Halloween Town, where the evil Heartless threatens its denizens. The games' main protagonists, Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy, befriend Jack and together they battle the Heartless and also Oogie Boogie. In fight, Jack uses some of his scary powers with demonstrations of some magic, making him a formidable mage in combat.
Sarandon reprises his role for the English version, and Masachika Ichimura does his Japanese voice.
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 cause 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.
"Created" from Sora's memories of Halloween Town, when Jack Skellington wanted to ask Doctor Finkelstein what happened when he sniffs the potion that can bring "true memories", Heartless appeared. When Jack Skellington had found out that Oogie Boogie had stolen the Doc's potion, he must stop him before Oogie drinks the whole potion. They fail to reach him before he does, but they defeat him, as Oogie becomes overwhelmed with fear as a side effect of the potion. Sora becomes worried about what will happen when he discovers his true memories, but Jack reassures him that fear is a sign of a strong heart.
Following the film loosely to some degree, out of reference, Jack tries to take Santa Claus's place again. To that end, Jack asks Sora and gang to help him be Santa's bodyguards. But after fighting the Heartless and Oogie Boogie, who has been resurrected by Maleficent, Santa explains to Jack that they each have a job to do with their respective holidays. Despite this, he begins to wear a Santa suit Sally sewed together for him. In the second trip to Halloween Town, Jack still wears the Santa suit, as he still longs to deliver Christmas presents and feels that it would be rude not to wear the suit Sally worked so hard on. Along with Sora and the gang, he helps defeat Doctor Finkelstein's experiment, who stole Christmas presents from Santa in search of a heart. As a reward for all his hard work and assistance, Santa brings Jack on a ride-along with him in his sleigh for a while. After Santa drops Jack off at Halloween Town, Jack learns the true meaning of Christmas by understanding the act of giving. He dances with Sally in the end, finally realizing all of the gifts she had given to him where all from the heart and wishes to give her something in return. She tells him that the nicest present she could ever ask for is just to be with Jack. Jack responds telling her that she doesn't even have to ask for that, meaning Jack feels the same way for her. During a cutscene in the end credits, he is shown to be wearing his original suit, suggesting he has taken Santa's previous advice to heart completely, and apparently begins presenting new ideas for next Halloween.
It appears that Jack can not be killed but can still feel pain this is seen when Sally accidently pricks his finger with a needle, due to his Undead status. This is backed up by the scene in the intro in which he lights himself on fire without injury. He also has the ability to take off his own head and use it like a stone, throwing it at adversaries. There are hints of other powers, like when he fought off Oogie Boogie and his Army of Bugs in a video-game spinoff.
Once a year at Disneyland during the Holidays, Haunted Mansion is taken over by the cast of The Nightmare Before Christmas and is turned into Haunted Mansion Holiday. Jack and other characters appear throughout the ride wearing Christmas attire.
Jack Skellington makes a small cameo in "James and the Giant Peach" during the pirate scene
Jack Skellington's Head can be seen on top of Beetlejuice's Carousel Hat in the film Beetlejuice, also made by Tim Burton