This article is about Lord Cutler Beckett's aide. You may be looking for the POTC actor of the same name.
"Evening guv'ner! Shame that. He was carrying this: it's a letter to the King! It's from you."
―Ian Mercer to Weatherby Swann regarding Captain Hawkins' murder[src]

Ian Mercer was a loyal employee of the East India Trading Company. Being born in Scotland, Mercer served as the personal assistant of the Company's governor, Lord Cutler Beckett. Despite serving faithfully in his official capacity as a clerk, Mercer also carried out some of Beckett's more sinister agendas as an assassin and a spy. Mercer would stop at nothing to further his employer's pursuit of power.

As Lord Beckett's merciless and ruthless enforcer, Mercer came to Port Royal, Jamaica, in the Caribbean during Beckett's search for the Dead Man's Chest. He aided Beckett in taking over Port Royal as well as helped in manipulating the Swann family, which eventually, and inadvertently, lead to his employer's control of the heart of Davy Jones. Throughout Beckett's war against piracy, Mercer had led EITC soldiers in an attack against the crew of the Black Pearl in Singapore, and made a deal with the Chinese pirate Sao Feng, which allowed Beckett's flagship, the Endeavour, to temporarily capture the Black Pearl and the infamous Jack Sparrow. Towards the end of the war, Mercer was placed in charge of Jones' supernatural ship, the Flying Dutchman.


Early life

Not much is known of Ian Mercer's early life, but it is known that he was born in Scotland.[2] Over the years, he became a professional spy and a killer for hire. His dangerous life led him to Africa. At some point during the 1710s, he ended up in Calabar, the main British port on Slave Coast.


Beckett's assistant

"Permission to come aboard, Captain Sparrow?"
"Who's the Scotsman?"
"That's Mr. Beckett's assistant, Ian Mercer.
―Ian Mercer, Jack Sparrow, and Eugene Parker[src]

After Cutler Beckett became the EITC Director for West Africa, he immediately hired Mercer, to replace his previous operative, Gates, who was killed on a mission in Nippon.[2]

Mercer served as Beckett's personal informant and spy. One day, when the EITC merchant captain informed Beckett about the illegal activities of the EITC's portmaster, Benjamin Blount, Beckett sent Mercer with a group of EITC soldiers to arrest the greedy official. But Blount escaped to the interior of the continent, and was never seen again. Soon, through one of his informants, Mercer discovered that the EITC merchant captain Jack Sparrow sailed from Calabar with Blount's runaway slave Chamba aboard his ship, the Wicked Wench. He informed Beckett of his discovery, but that only convinced Beckett how clever and audacious Jack is and how good a agent he could be for him.[2]

For some time, Mercer searched around Calabar for antique artifacts of the past civilizations, something which Beckett eagerly collected. One day, Mercer encountered a Portuguese who sold stolen goods. Among his merchandise, Mercer saw several pieces of gold jewelry of ancient design. Mercer brought the trader to Beckett, who recognized the bracelets and pectorals as Kerman. Beckett bought all the jewelry from the trader, but the Portuguese had to tell him how did he get it. The Portuguese told him that he bought the jewelry from the slave trader known as Ancona Wren-John. Beckett immediately sent Mercer to find the slave trader.[2]

When Mercer found Wren-John, Beckett questioned him about the jewelry. He told them that he found it on some slaves he captured in the interior of Africa. Beckett sent Mercer to find as many slaves from that caravan as possible, and he was able to locate the two of them, an old holy man named Piye and the seamstress named Ayisha. When Mercer began to interrogate Piye, the old man died with no apparent reason. Afraid that Ayisha could suffer a similar fate, Beckett didn't allow Mercer to interrogate her. Instead, they decided to wait for the return of Jack Sparrow, a man who could seduce her and convince her to give them the bearings of the island of Kerma, a mythical place which was, according to legends and lore, inhabited by the descendants of the Kushites who left Egypt and Kush thousands of years earlier.[2]

Search for Zerzura

"To capture an entire city, Mr. Beckett, will take a private army."
"Which I intend to have.
―Ian Mercer and Cutler Beckett[src]

When Sparrow returned to Calabar, Beckett told him of his plan to pretend to help Ayisha escape from slavery, and then let her lead him to Kerma, from where he would return to Calabar with the exact bearings of the island. Sparrow agreed in exchange for thirty percent of Kerman treasure. Though he believed that Sparrow would return, Beckett ordered Mercer to plant a spy aboard the Wicked Wench. Mercer hired the carpenter Samuel Newton and sent him to join Sparrow's crew.[2]

A few days after the Wench departed, Mercer discovered traces of another Kerman who was sold as a slave. Mercer discovered that he was sold to the plantation of Roger Dalton, but he also discovered that the man escaped from the farm the same night when the Wench sailed from Calabar. Mercer informed Beckett of his discovery, but with the Wench gone, they could only wait for Sparrow's return.[2]

Soon, Beckett and Mercer began to organize a military force with which they intended to conquer Kerma. Beckett assembled a fleet of five ships, both the EITC defense ships and merchant vessels, while Mercer recruited two hundred mercenaries. They knew that Kermans armed with weapons of ancient Egypt couldn't defend their island against an army equipped with modern weapons.[2]

A few months later, Sparrow returned without Ayisha and without the bearings of Kerma. He told Beckett that he and his crew were magically put asleep somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, and when they awoke, Ayisha and the other two Kermans were no longer onboard. Not believing Jack's story, Beckett and Mercer interviewed Sparrow's entire crew, but even Newton confirmed Sparrow's story.[2]

Beckett and Mercer knew that Jack was lying, but they couldn't prove it. So Beckett ordered Jack to transport a cargo of slaves to the island of New Avalon in the Bahamas. Though Sparrow agreed, he sailed for Kerma where he set the slaves free, deciding to become a pirate. But Beckett's fleet followed the Wench and captured her. Sparrow and his First Mate Robert Greene were brought in chains back to Calabar, while Beckett's ships uselesly searched for Kerma, which was hidden by a magical illusion.[2]

Punishing Jack Sparrow

"A good, clean, job, Mr. Beckett. Nice and deep."
―Ian Mercer on Jack Sparrow's "P brand" wound[src]

A few months later, Sparrow and Greene were brought aboard the EITC brig Sentinel which sailed along the coast. A few miles from Calabar, the Wicked Wench was anchored, with no crew, stripped of everything of value. Beckett's men have searched Jack's captain's cabin and found several hidden sacks full of Kerman gold. Beckett wanted to brand Jack as a pirate. Though Mercer took a hot branding iron to leave an eternal mark on Jack, Beckett took it from him, wanting to do that part of the job himself.[2]

After that procedure, Mercer ordered the crew to open fire on the Wench, using inflammable "carcass charges." The Wench immediately started to burn, but Sparrow and Greene freed themselves and jumped overboard. Greene swam for the shore, while Sparrow boarded the Wench, desperately wanting to save his ship. The Wench quickly sank, and it looked to Beckett and Mercer that Sparrow sank with his ship.[2]

The Caribbean

Search for the Dead Man's Chest

"The last of our ships is returned."
"Is there any news on the chest?"
"None. But, one of the ships did pick up a man adrift at sea. He had these.
―Ian Mercer and Cutler Beckett[src]

For the next thirteen years, Mercer continued to serve Beckett as his right-hand man. He was with him when he rose to the position of the Governor of the East India Trading Company and became a Lord. Eventually, Mercer and Beckett discovered that Sparrow survived the sinking of the Wicked Wench and became a notorious pirate.

In the late 1720s, Mercer arrived in Port Royal with Lord Beckett, carrying the arrest warrants needed by Beckett to arrest Elizabeth Swann, Will Turner, and James Norrington. These three had helped Jack Sparrow escape from custody.

Beckett arresting Will and Elizabeth

Mercer with Lord Cutler Beckett in Port Royal.

Beckett really only wanted to use these three to find Jack Sparrow's compass, so he could use it to lead him to the Dead Man's Chest, in which was the heart of Davy Jones. With this, Beckett intended to rule the Seven Seas, and command Jones to lead his armada and bring about the end of piracy. After the arrests, Mercer helped Beckett set up his operations in Port Royal, discussing various matters of importance. Mercer watched as Beckett made a deal with Will Turner. Will would find Jack Sparrow's compass, and in return, Sparrow would receive letters of Marque and become a privateer in the employ of England. Will and Elizabeth would in turn be pardoned, but if Will did not return with the compass, Elizabeth would be hanged.[4]


Mercer confronting Governor Weatherby Swann in Port Royal.

When Beckett learned that Governor Weatherby Swann was sending his daughter, Elizabeth, to London in order to escape his plans, he sent Mercer to recapture his valuable pawn. Mercer murdered Captain Hawkins, the captain of the vessel that was supposed to transport Elizabeth to England. Soldiers then surrounded Governor Swann and his carriage. Mercer became frustrated when Elizabeth was not in the carriage, and even more so when Governor Swann pretended to not know who Mercer was looking for. Mercer had the Governor arrested and thrown in Fort Charles' prison. Elizabeth had broken into Beckett's office and stolen his letters of Marque, so Beckett sent Mercer to head Elizabeth off at her most likely destination: Tortuga.[4]

"I had you brought here because I thought you'd be interested in the whereabouts of your daughter."
"You have news of her?"
"She was most recently seen on the island of Tortuga and then left in the company of a known pirate, Jack Sparrow and other fugitives from justice.
Cutler Beckett, Weatherby Swann, and Mercer.[src]

Mercer in the Twelve Daggers.

In Tortuga, Mercer found Elizabeth in the Twelve Daggers, a local tavern. A bar fight was in progress, and it was soon ended by Elizabeth herself. The instigator of the fight, Beckett's other fugitive, James Norrington, was thrown into a pool of mud, and was escorted by Elizabeth to the Black Pearl. There he found Jack Sparrow. Instead of following them further, or hindering their departure he offered Norrington a deal on behalf of Lord Beckett and then returned to Port Royal with his report. After Mercer gave Beckett his report, Governor Swann was brought into Beckett's office. Mercer told the governor that Elizabeth had left with Sparrow and other fugitives from justice. Beckett told Swann that the Pearl would be pursued by his ships, and that all those onboard would be doomed. So in return for his daughter's safety, Swann gave Beckett his loyalty. Mercer then removed the governor's cuffs, and set out to find the Pearl.[4]

During his search, Mercer found Norrington adrift at sea. Mercer returned to Port Royal and brought him before Beckett. Norrington had stolen Jack's letters of Marque and in return for his pardon, he gave Beckett the heart of Davy Jones, which he had acquired from Isla Cruces during a battle with Sparrow and Turner.[4] With the heart now in his employer's hands, Mercer now had all new objectives to complete for Beckett.[5]

Mission to Singapore

"Our new friend in Singapore was very specific."
―Mercer to Cutler Beckett.[src]

Mercer aiming his pistol at Elizabeth Swann in Sao Feng's bath house.

Once Beckett had the heart of Davy Jones, Mercer was sent to Singapore to find the crew of the Black Pearl. Accompanied by a detachment of East India Trading Company troops, Mercer patrolled the streets and waterways of Singapore looking for the Pearls crew, as well as the secret hideout of the infamous Chinese pirate, Sao Feng. Mercer planted a spy, Steng, into Feng's organization. Steng told Mercer where Feng's bath house was, and Mercer staged an ambush. Hector Barbossa and Elizabeth Swann were meeting with Sao Feng, and it was during the middle of this meeting that Mercer broke through the doors with dozens of soldiers and opened fire on the pirates. During the battle, Mercer tried to shoot Elizabeth, but she was pushed out of the way by William Turner. The shot instead lodged itself in the forehead of Park, one of Feng's twin bodyguards and masseuses.[5]

Feng and the crew of the Pearl escaped though a secret exit of the bath house, and the battle raged into the streets of Singapore. While in a small storehouse, Park's twin sister, Lian, attempted to exact her revenge on Mercer. She drove a steel chopstick deep into his shoulder. During the struggle, Mercer threw Lian onto the ground and shot her dead. As he was leaving the scene Mercer stumbled onto a deal being made between Turner and Feng, and learned that the crew of the Pearl was on its way to rescue Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker. Later, Mercer caught up with Feng and made his own deal. Feng could have the Pearl once it returned from the Locker, all he needed to do was capture Sparrow and deliver him to Beckett. Feng agreed, and Mercer went to meet with Steng. Steng informed Mercer of the meeting of the Brethren Court, comprised of several Pirate Lords, each of whom needed one of nine pieces of eight to attend. Mercer then returned to Beckett's ship, the HMS Endeavour, to deliver his report.[5]

Deals and betrayals

"Beckett agreed! The Black Pearl was to be mine!"
"Lord Beckett's not going to give up the only ship that can outrun the
Dutchman, now is he?"
Sao Feng and Mercer.[src]

Mercer and Beckett discussing Jones and Governor Swann

After Mercer gave his report to Beckett, the Endeavour went to survey the damage done by Davy Jones' ship, the Flying Dutchman. Beckett had been using Jones to destroy pirate vessels in the Caribbean, but was frustrated that Jones never left anyone alive to interrogate. Mercer remarked that Jones was a loose cannon and that he might need further persuasion to follow Beckett's orders closer to the letter. He also told Beckett that Governor Swann kept asking questions about the Dead Man's Chest. Beckett suggested to Mercer that Swann's usefulness may have run its course. Soon after this, Governor Swann was murdered, presumably by Mercer, being Beckett's personal assassin. Following Mercer's advice, Beckett stationed Admiral Norrington aboard the Dutchman, along with many East India Trading Company troops. In time Mercer would be among them.[5]

Barboss Fighting Mercer AWE

Mercer fighting Hector Barbossa on the Black Pearl.

At the appropriate time, the men who had joined Barbossa for the rescue of Jack Sparrow in Singapore turned on Barbossa and his remaining crew, showing that their true allegiances lay with Sao Feng. Feng captured the Pearl, but defaulting on his deal with William Turner, pronounced the ship to be his, and the Endeavour soon appeared on the horizon to collect their prizes. Feng handed Jack over to Beckett aboard the Endeavour. While Sparrow was being interrogated by Beckett, Mercer boarded the Black Pearl with a contingent of East India Trading Company troops to seize control of the ship. Sao Feng became angry that Mercer had lied to him, and conspired with Barbossa to attack the Endeavour, allowing the Pearl to escape. While Feng's ship, the Empress, attacked the Endeavour, Mercer and his men battled the crew of the Black Pearl. While he became embroiled in a duel with Barbossa, his men were all killed. Barbossa kicked Mercer between the legs, and just as Barbossa was about to deliver the final blow, Mercer dived off the Pearl and into the water below, and swam back to the Endeavour.[5]

Mercer Key2

Mercer taking control of the Flying Dutchman with the key.

Aboard the Flying Dutchman

"The Dutchman is under my command."
"For now.
―Mercer and Davy Jones.[src]
Sometime between the Pearl's escape and the Flying Dutchman's attack on the Empress, Mercer joined Norrington onboard the Dutchman, and took the duty of guarding the chest with several soldiers. Norrington had placed the prisoners from the Empress in the Dutchman's brig, and tied the Empress to the Dutchman, so that it could be towed back to Beckett. However, Norrington soon had a change in heart, and released the prisoners. As they escaped back onto the Empress, Norrington was killed by a delusional "Bootstrap Bill" Turner.
Mercer Dutchman AWE

Mercer shortly before the battle of Calypso's maelstrom.

Jones, believing that the Admiral was the only thing tying him to Beckett, ordered his men to murder all the Company troops onboard, but when Jones reached his organ room, mini-cannons were aimed at the chest, and Mercer held the key to the chest, taunting Jones by saying that the Dutchman was under his control.[5]

The Dutchman eventually caught up with Beckett, and joined the rest of the armada to attack Shipwreck Island, the meeting place of the Brethren Court. Prior to the battle around Calypso's maelstrom, Mercer's soldiers were refreshed with new ones, since most of them had been killed by the crew of the Dutchman. Mercer remained onboard, near the helm with Jones. As a maelstrom began to form in between Beckett's forces and the pirates, Jones decided to steer the Dutchman into it and attack the Pearl.

"Full bore, and into the abyss!"
"Are you mad?!"
"Ha! Ye afraid to get wet?
Davy Jones and Mercer[src]
Mercer Tentacle Death

Mercer being suffocated by Davy Jones' tentacles.

Mercer was extremely hesitant to head into the vortex, but was unable to stop Jones. Mercer eventually accepted the circumstances and commanded the Dutchman during the early part of the battle, giving orders to the crew and his men. A stray cannon ball fired from the Black Pearl soon streamed toward the helm of the Dutchman. Jones grabbed Mercer and shielded him from the blast. Mercer's grateful mood soon passed when he and Jones realized that all the Company soldiers around the helm had been either incapacitated or killed by the blast. Jones took advantage of the moment and suffocated Mercer with his tentacles. Jones then took the key from Mercer's lifeless body and went to claim the chest, but fate would not allow to Jones to ever have it again. Mercer's body was consumed along with the Dutchman by Calypso's maelstrom.[5]

"Prepare to board!"
―Mercer's last words before the cannonball hit the Dutchman and Jones suffocating him.[src]

Personality and traits

Mercer with blade

Ian Mercer

Mercer was extremely solemn, often having a grim expression on his face. He followed Beckett's orders promptly, no matter what they were. He took to the murder of Captain Hawkins with a chillingly calm and emotionless manner, referring to the act with dark humor.[4] Above all other traits, Mercer's loyalty to his master was the strongest, completing every objective carefully and efficiently. He took every opportunity he could to further Beckett's agenda.[4][5]

Mercer had a tight, slightly wrinkled face, slick dark brown hair, with a small ponytail tied with a bow on the back of his head. He usually wore a hat and a variety of dark coats, always buttoned up. They ranged from dark brown[4], to a dark green color.[5] He also usually wore black gloves on his hand, adding to his already sinister look.[4]

Equipment and skills

As Beckett's ruthless enforcer, Mercer had been known to used many weapons. He carried a dagger, used to murder Captain Hawkins[4], as well as a short-barreled hold-out pistol. Mercer also had a thin-bladed cutlass, and showed an aptitude for swordplay, being able to match Hector Barbossa during their brief duel aboard the Black Pearl.[5]

Mercer was able to speak several languages. He spoke English, Spanish, Portuguese, and African pidgin. It is unknown if that was because he was highly educated or he just learned them on his travels around the world.

Behind the scenes

The Pirates of the Caribbean wiki has a collection of images and media related to Ian Mercer.
The Pirates of the Caribbean wiki has a collection of quotes related to Ian Mercer.




  1. Estimation based on David Schofield's age during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and the fact that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides takes place in 1750, approximately twenty years after the events of Dead Man's Chest. See the timeline page for more info.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 The Price of Freedom
  3. James "Jim" Carson's calendar of Henry Turner's waiting for Will Turner's return from Dead Men Tell No Tales shows that Will Turner's first visit to his family after ten years of captaining the Flying Dutchman, which is shown in the after credits scene of At World's End, occurred in August 1739, which means the Battle of Calypso's maelstrom and Mercer's death occurred in August 1729.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  6. Actor David Schofield at POTC 3: At World End Premiere - YouTube
  7. Worldplay: Calypso's Fury draft of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End script

vdeCrew of the HMS Endeavour
Captain: Lord Cutler Beckett
HMS Endeavour
Endeavour OfficerLieutenant GreitzerLieutenant Theodore GrovesIan Mercer
MullroyMurtoggAdmiral James NorringtonWeatherby Swann
Captain: Lord Cutler Beckett
HMS Endeavour
Endeavour OfficerLieutenant GreitzerLieutenant Theodore Groves
vdeCrew of the Flying Dutchman
Captain: Davy Jones
Flying Dutchman
HadrasHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld Haddy
PalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinTwo Head

Captain: Davy Jones
Flying Dutchman
HadrasHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld Haddy
PalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinBootstrap Bill TurnerTwo Head

Captain: Davy Jones
Flying Dutchman
HadrasHelmsmanHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld Haddy
PalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinSailorBootstrap Bill TurnerWill Turner
Two HeadUrchinWheelbackWyvern

Captain: Davy Jones (controlled by Lord Cutler Beckett)
Flying Dutchman
Admiral James NorringtonAnglerBroondjongenClankerCrashFauntleroyFinneganGreenbeardHadrasHelmsmanHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManray
Ian MercerMoreyMullroyMurtoggOgilveyOld HaddyPalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinSailorBootstrap Bill TurnerTwo HeadUrchinWheelbackWyvern

Captain: Will Turner
Flying Dutchman
AnglerBroondjongenClankerCrashFauntleroyFinneganGreenbeardHadrasHelmsmanHermanIgmarJellyJimmy LegsKolenikoMaccusManrayMoreyOgilveyOld HaddyPalificoPenrodPiperQuittanceRatlinSailorBootstrap Bill TurnerTwo HeadUrchinWheelbackWyvern

Featured articles
Individuals: Hector BarbossaCutler BeckettSao FengDavy JonesIan MercerPintelRagetti
BlackbeardTheodore GrovesHernán Cortés