- "No need to be afraid, boy. Today is your lucky day. I always keep one man alive. One man to tell the tale."
- ―John Brand to Henry Maddox
John Brand was an officer of the British Royal Navy during the golden age of piracy. Accompanied by his beloved brother Eric, John Brand fought many battles against the Spanish, until fate separated the brothers, leaving John convinced Eric was dead. However, Eric was saved by the pirate crew of the Black Pearl and eventually become a pirate himself, until he was attacked and killed by John's ship, the Silent Mary. When he realised he had killed his own brother, Brand swore revenge on the man who turned his brother into a pirate - Captain Jack Sparrow. However, the confrontation with Sparrow led to Brand's downfall, and he was lost in the cursed waters of the Devil's Triangle where he became a restless spirit, waiting for a day when he could roam the seas again.
Early life and career
- "There was a British Captain. A Captain who had in his command his own brother - a brother by the name Eric. The two men never far apart."
- ―Hector Barbossa
Not much is known about John Brand's youth, except that he had a younger brother named Eric. He eventually joined the British Royal Navy, rising through the ranks until he became the captain of the warship known as the Silent Mary. Eric also joined the Navy and served aboard the Mary under his brother's command. The two brothers fought side by side against the enemies of Britain, until the day when the Mary was engaged in battle with a Spanish galleon. The cannon fire rocked their ship and Eric was blown overboard, leading John to presume he had died by drowning beneath the waves despite his attempts to rescue him. However, Eric was rescued by the pirate crew of the Black Pearl and Jack Sparrow, the ship's captain, taught him how to become a pirate despite his initial thoughts of holding him for ransom.
- "You see - this Captain had no idea he was killing his own brother. Murdering the only thing he loved. And upon the realization of what he had done, this Captain soon went into a rage. And he vowed revenge on one man. Captain Jack Sparrow. The man who turned your brother into a pirate."
- ―Hector Barbossa
Eventually, Eric became a pirate in his own right and got his own ship. Unfortunately, John hunted his ship down and refused to accept Eric's surrender, destroying the ship and killing everyone aboard. As the pirate ship slowly sank beneath the waves, John saw Eric's dead body, realising he had killed his own brother, the only individual he ever loved. Filled with fury, John swore revenge against those who turned Eric into a pirate. He hunted down the Pearl to the Devil's Triangle, but Jack Sparrow outsmarted him, setting a trap in the fog, gravely damaging the Silent Mary with a devastating broadside. Realising he was beaten, Brand slit his throat with his own knife, as he would rather take his own life than let it be taken by a pirate. However, death wasn't the end for Brand and his crew. The Devil's Triangle was formed by the Greek god Hades to protect the tomb of his brother Poseidon, so all the people who perished inside the Triangle's borders resurfaced as ghosts, doomed to patrol the area forever.
The Ghost in the Triangle
Sixteen years after their demise, John Brand and his ghostly crew saw a ship sailing into the Triangle. It was the HMS Monarch of Captain Toms, a warship of the British Royal Navy. Driven insane by their long imprisonment, Brand and his men did not hesitate to attack a ship belonging to their own country. Using their ghostly powers, they attacked the Monarch and murdered all the crew of the HMS Monarch except Captain Toms' servant Henry Maddox, whom Brand allowed to live to tell the tale of the massacre. Aboard the Monarch Brand found the Eye of Poseidon, a diamond recovered by Toms from a French warship the Courageoux some time earlier. According to legends, the Eye was once embedded into the Trident of Poseidon, a mystical artifact which guaranteed its owner complete control over the Seven Seas. Consequently, whoever controlled the seas would control the world. Brand also knew the Eye could lead him to the Trident, and its powers could free him from the Triangle. The vengeful captain let Henry live and leave the Triangle, but unbeknown to Henry, Brand and his men captured Olivia Cole, a young woman whom Henry tried to save during the battle.
A Deal with a Pirate
- "CAPTAIN JACK SPARROW WILL PAY HIS DEBT TO ME IN BLOOD! NAME YOUR PRICE, CAPTAIN!"
"Bring him to me - and I will give you The Eye. From this moment on - you have a deal with the dead."
"You’ll pardon me for not shaking on it."
- ―John Brand and Hector Barbossa
Some time after the destruction of the Monarch, another ship sailed toward the Triangle. It was the Queen Anne's Revenge, the pirate ship of Captain Hector Barbossa. However, Barbossa stopped the ship before it could fully enter the Triangle, keeping half of the Revenge outside of the Triangle's borders. Thus, when the Silent Mary reached the Revenge and the ghosts boarded the pirate vessel, they quickly disposed of the pirates at the bow, but could not harm anyone on the other side of the ship.
Threatening Barbossa, Brand allowed the pirate captain to tell the tale about how he became cursed in the first place, as Barbossa was present on the Pearl the day when Brand and his crew died. Realizing that Sparrow was Barbossa's enemy as well and that Barbossa and his skeleton crew actually mutinied against Sparrow years ago because of Eric's death, Brand strikes a deal with Barbossa to give him the Eye of Poseidon in exchange of Barbossa bringing Jack Sparrow to him.
Barbossa does so and brings Jack to the Devil's Triangle, with Henry Maddox also joining the crew to rescue Olivia. Once at the Triangle, Brand and his crew attack Admiral Scarfield and his soldiers, who have brought Melia and Jack's former crew (including Joshamee Gibbs and Scrum) with them, when they come aboard the Essex. After the British no longer pose a threat, Brand refuses to hand the Eye of Poseidon to Barbossa until he kills Jack, who fruitlessly tries to hide behind the mast and to move the Revenge halfway across the Triangle's limits, but Brand manages to take Jack and prepares to slit his throat until Carina Smyth, Barbossa's secret daughter, stands up and orders him to let Jack go. Deducing that Sparrow and Smyth love each other, Brand threatens to kill the two, but Barbossa changes his mind and moves the ship to rescue Jack and Carina, leading Brand to order his crew to sink the Revenge. While everyone abandons the ship and jumps safety into the water in direction to Coffin Island, Jack retrieves the shrunken and bottled Pearl before Brand grabs him over the side, allowing Jack to steal the Eye of Poseidon from his enemy. Brand then tries to go after Jack by walking on the water along with some of his crewmembers, but fail to do so.
Battle of Coffin Island
- "You men are now vulnerable to gun and sword. And if your flesh and body dies - you’re to join its rotten spirit in hell. MOVE OUT!! WE LIVE AGAIN!"
- ―John Brand to his crew
Later on, the crew of the Silent Mary retrieved Scarfield, his surviving soldiers and Jack's crewmembers from the sea. Though Brand intends to execute them all so they can join him and his crewmembers as ghosts, Melia intervenes and asks Brand to spare them for the moment, convincing him that she is on his side and that she had tricked Sparrow into going after the Map No Man Can Read and the Trident, requesting him to retrieve the Trident of Poseidon for her in exchange of giving him and his crew back their freedom. Deal done, Melia casts an spell and allows Brand and his crew to possess Scarfield, his surviving soldiers and Jack's crewmembers, with Brand possessing Scarfield. With their host bodies, Brand and his crew go to the Tomb of Poseidon and engage in a fight with Jack, Carina, Barbossa and his crew. During the battle, some of Brand's crewmen with their hosts get killed, but Brand engages in a fight with Barbossa and, still bitter at his betrayal, shoots him with Scarfield's pistol at the same time Barbossa shoots at him to ensure Carina's safety, but Barbossa fails to wound Brand and is hurt by the shot. Before Brand can shoot a second time, Jack mortally wounds Brand by stabbing him with his sword, yet Brand's crew engage Jack in a fight while Brand chases Carina and Henry. He eventually gets the Trident and takes Carina and Henry prisoners aboard the Silent Mary.
Dead Man's Revenge
- "My very dead men - listen to your Captain. From this moment on, every ship at sea is ours to destroy! Every sailor, pirate and soldier is ours to kill. We will not stop until the oceans of the world turn to blood!"
- ―John Brand
As all his crew leave their hosts bodies, Brand does the same and leaves the wounded Scarfield to slowly die from his injuries before using the Trident to flood both Coffin Island and the Tomb of Poseidon, seemingly killing Sparrow and Barbossa. Agreeing to rule with Melia, Brand declares the sea as their own and that every sailor, pirate or soldier is from him and his crew to kill until all oceans in the world turn to blood. However, Jack and Hector have actually survived thanks to the full restoration of the Black Pearl. Back on the Silent Mary, Brand engages Henry in a duel to kill him, but Olivia saves Henry, revealing the process that she had actually died the night the Monarch was destroyed. However, Brand's happiness comes to an end when Jack reveals himself to still be alive and well, with the intentions to claim the Trident. Brand stabs Jack with the Trident in the shoulder, but Jack still escapes and with the Trident. Brand brings the Silent Mary to life and walls of water are formed, revealing all of the shipwrecks caused by Brand in the Devil's Triangle while Jack and Carina go back to the Tomb of Poseidon to stop Brand. As all this happens, Henry manages to kill Melia aboard the Pearl.
- "You killed these men. Sank their ships. They died by your hand and were forced through the gates of hell."
"Eric - brother - we can be together again. We can rule the sea!"
"We will be together. Forever."
- ―Eric Brand and John Brand
In a last desperate attempt to kill Jack Sparrow once and for all, Brand takes Jack Sparrow's sword and tries to strike him with it, but Jack puts the Trident in front of him and the Trident gets cut in half, allowing the spirits from all of Brand's victims, led by none other than Eric, to crawl out from the dirt and surround Brand and his crew. Holding now the Trident, Eric condems John for killing all those sailors and soldiers and sinking their ships. Brand offers Eric instead the possibility to rule together the seas, but Eric assures John that they will be together forever, sending the ghosts to grab all of Brand's crewmen as punishment for their atrocities and pulling them into the blackness at the bottom of the Devil's Triangle, with Brand being the last one to be sucked down towards the Gates of Hell, ending his reign of terror over the Seven Seas once and for all.
Behind the scenes
- John Brand appeared only in one of the earlier versions of Jeff Nathanson's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales script. Christoph Waltz was rumored to be considered for the role for some time. However, the script was later rewritten and the character was replaced with Armando Salazar who was played by Javier Bardem.
- A British Royal Navy admiral named John Benbow appeared in Terry Rossio's 2012 draft of the Dead Men Tell No Tales script which was eventually rejected. It's possible Brand was inspired by Rossio's character.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2013 screenplay)
Notes and references
- In the script the witch Melia explains that Brand was trapped in the Devil's Triangle for sixteen years. Since the main story is set in 1756, the beginning of the Seven Years' War, Brand had to die in 1740.
- Javier Bardem May Play Villain in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - IGN
- Pirates of the Caribbean DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES Screenplay by Terry Rossio