- "I am Sao Feng."
"Sao Feng, Sao Feng. Nope, never heard of 'im."
"Never heard of me! I'm only the fiercest captain to ever sail the South China Sea! The Seven Seas, in fact!"
- ―Sao Feng and Jack Sparrow
Sao Feng was a legendary Chinese pirate, well-known as the Pirate Lord of Singapore and scourge of the South China Sea. Known as a fierce captain, Feng controlled the sea passages from the bathhouses of Singapore, had an army of Chinese pirates under his command, and used the opulent junk known as the Empress as his flagship. Originally just a captain of single ship, he became a Pirate Lord when he overthrew his brother Liang Dao with the help of Jack Sparrow during the Quest for the Shadow Gold.
During his time as Pirate Lord, Sao Feng possessed the navigational charts, which he kept in his uncle's temple, the map to the Farthest Gate. A group of pirates led by fellow Pirate Lord Captain Hector Barbossa came for these charts, sending Will Turner to steal them, while simultaneously infiltrating his bath house in Singapore. This almost brought the two groups into conflict with each other until the untimely arrival of Mercer's soldiers of the East India Trading Company. Near the end of the battle, Feng allowed Barbossa's crew to take one of his ships and his charts to Davy Jones' Locker to rescue Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl. Feng would also join the East India Trading Company until he was betrayed by Lord Cutler Beckett, in which he would rejoin the pirates and agreed to join the Brethren Court the fight against Beckett until he fell to the Flying Dutchman.
- "Liang Dao is my older brother. He inherited the title of Pirate Lord from our father."
- ―Sao Feng to Jack Sparrow
Nothing is known about Sao Feng's youth except that he was the son of a Chinese Pirate Lord who participated in the Third Brethren Court. When he grew up, he became captain of the Empress, a ship in the pirate fleet of Liang Dao, his older brother who inherited the Piece of Eight from their father and became the new Pirate Lord of Singapore and the South China Sea. Over the years, Sao Feng became one of the fiercest pirates that ever sailed the South China Sea.
Quest for the Shadow Gold
Meeting with Jack Sparrow
In the early 1730s, Sao Feng was sent by Liang Dao to find the black gem of great value known as the Deep Sea Opal. According to myths and legends, any man who possessed it would earn great fortune, power, and fame. But the legends also told that the opal's power would not go to anyone who steals it, as only those who receive it as a gift would benefit from its glorious effects. The man who was foolhardy enough to steal it, on the other hand, was said to be cursed forever.
During the journey, Sao Feng made a plan to obtain the gem for himself and overthrow Liang Dao. Though he didn't believe in the story about the curse, or that there was any power in the opal beyond its value as a precious gem, he knew Liang Dao's pirates would never consider switching allegiance to him if they believed he was a cursed man.
Sailing in the waters north of Australia, the Empress encountered the Black Pearl, the ship of the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, the Pirate Lord of the Caribbean. The Pearl was anchored not far away from a coral reef, and the Empress anchored nearby. Feng asked Jack what was he doing in his territory, to which Jack's crewmember Alex replied that they were searching for the mystical elixir known as the Shadow Gold.
Sao Feng then invited Jack, his First Mate Hector Barbossa, and his crewmember Carolina to his cabin, where he proposed a deal: he'll get Jack the vial of Shadow Gold if Jack steals the Deep Sea Opal. Though Barbossa and Carolina objected, Jack agreed. Sao Feng then told him that the opal was located deep under the sea, down in the watery depths. He also told him that the opal was supposedly guarded by a creature called the Rainbow Serpent. He then informed Jack that his attendant Lian would accompany him to ensure there are no tricks. When Jack, Lian, Billy Turner, and Diego de Leon returned from the sea bottom a few hours later with the opal, the Empress and the Black Pearl sailed for Singapore.
Overthrowing his brother
- "Fight, any pirate who stands with me—all of you who know that I should be Pirate Lord, not my brother. Not Liang Dao!"
"Never! To me, loyal warriors!"
- ―Sao Feng and Liang Dao
When the two pirate ships docked in Singapore, Sao Feng took Jack and his friends to Liang Dao's palace. When they were taken before Liang Dao, the Pirate Lord expressed faux relief that his brother has returned unharmed, but Sao Feng revealed that he intends to use the Deep Sea Opal to claim the throne of the Pirate Lord.
A massive fight began, during which some of Liang Dao's warriors joined Sao Feng, who convinced Jack and his men to fight on his side as well. After the battle, Jack demanded the vial of Shadow Gold which Feng promised him, but the confused Liang Dao revealed that he has no such thing. As Feng took his brother's Piece of Eight, and refused to kill him, telling him to live in disgrace, he told Jack that the Shadow Gold is actually in Hong Kong in the possession of Mistress Ching, the head of the Pirate confederation of China and the Pirate Lord of the Pacific Ocean.
- "Liang Dao. I was merciful to you. I will not make the same mistake again."
- ―Sao Feng to Liang Dao
The Empress and the Black Pearl sailed for Hong Kong, where Jack and his friends had to disguise themselves as agents of the East India Trading Company, because the town was governed by the EITC official Lord Benedict Huntington. When they found Mistress Ching and her men, Sao Feng introduced himself to her as the new Pirate Lord of Singapore.
Mistress Ching took them all to her opium den where Ching and Feng immediately began discussing how best to proceed in regards to the problem of Benedict Huntington. Carolina, despite Jack's warning, tried to warn them about the Shadow Lord and his plans. Sao Feng expressed curiosity over Carolina's warnings, but Mistress Ching refused to believe her story, insisting that Benedict Huntington and his men are her only worry. Just then, Benedict Huntington himself steped before them, revealing that almost all men in the opium den are actually EITC agents in disguise. Feng and Ching automatically accused each other of betrayal, but Liang Dao suddenly emerged from amongst the agents, revealing that he was the one who gave their meeting location to Huntington.
A major battle then broke out between the pirates and the EITC agents. During the battle, Huntington tried to shoot Feng with his pistol, but Lian and her sister Park threw themselves forward and managed to knock their master out of the bullet's path. In the end, both Feng's and Sparrow's crews managed to escape from the city.
Lord of Singapore
- "You are Sao Feng, the Pirate Lord of Singapore. You command in an age of piracy where bold captains sail free waters. Where waves aren't measured in feet but as increments of fear, and those who pass the test become legend."
- ―Elizabeth Swann to Sao Feng
As a new Pirate Lord of the South China Sea, Feng resided in a bath house in Singapore, from which he ruled his territory and warriors like an emperor. He also maintained Cheng's Castle, in which was housed a valuable Dragon Tile. His empire, buoyed by a network of spies, had great influence and Feng himself managed a large fleet of junks. Through unknown circumstances, Sao Feng would come into possession of mysterious navigational charts, the map to the Land of the Dead, which he would keep in his uncle's temple.
The only man Sao Feng ever risked his life for was Jack Sparrow. At some point prior to Jack's death by the Kraken, Sparrow committed an act that insulted Feng deeply, possibly by stealing the hearts of his twin companions, Lian and Park, sparking a grudge between the Pirate Lords that would last years.
War Against Piracy
Meeting with Barbossa
- "Captain Barbossa. Welcome to Singapore."
- ―Sao Feng to Hector Barbossa
Following Sparrow's death, Will Turner arrived in Singapore and broke into the temple of Sao Feng's uncle, in an attempt to steal Feng's navigational charts. Will was captured and held at the bath house while Feng awaited the arrival of the would-be thief's allies. They arrived in the form of fellow Pirate Lord Hector Barbossa, and Elizabeth Swann, with whom Feng was immediately taken. However, Feng remained suspicious, especially since soldiers of the East India Trading Company had been seen in the city, forcing his men to travel only through the sewers.
During their meeting, Barbossa tried to acquire Feng's navigational charts, and requested a ship and safe passage through Singapore's waters. Feng inquired as to why they wanted his charts in the first place. Barbossa attempted to change the subject by summoning Feng to the Brethren Court, in order to decide what was to be done against the East India Trading Company––which was systematically exterminating pirates around the world. Feng was hesitant to enter into open war with the East India Trading Company, and so Elizabeth declared Feng a coward, claiming that he was hiding in his bath house while his fellow pirates died. Feng was angered by this remark, but, impressed by Elizabeth's assertiveness, calmed himself and did not retaliate.
- "But I cannot help but notice, you have failed to answer my question! What is it you seek in Davy Jones' Locker?"
"[Lian and Park giggle]"
"He's one of the Pirate Lords."
"The only reason I would want Jack Sparrow returned from the Land of the Dead is so I could send him back myself!"
- ―Sao Feng (to Hector Barbossa), Will Turner, Lian and Park
Feng instead pointed out that Barbossa had still not said why he wanted his charts. Feng also told them that he thought that it was odd that they would ask for his navigational charts, on the same day they were almost stolen. He then revealed Will Turner, who he had kept in a pool of water, to his guests. Barbossa told Feng that Will was not their ally, but when Feng moved to kill Will, Elizabeth let out a gasp. Feng realized that they had been lying, and asked why they were going to such lengths to acquire his charts. Barbossa and Elizabeth refused to answer, but Will revealed that they needed the charts to rescue Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker. Remembering how Sparrow had insulted him in the past, Feng became angry, and declared that he wanted Jack to remain dead.
- "Drop your weapons! Or I kill the man."
"…Well kill him, he's not our man."
"If he's not with us, and he's not with you…who's he with?"
- ―Sao Feng, Hector Barbossa, and Will Turner regarding Steng
When weapons were thrown up through the floorboards to Barbossa and Elizabeth, the meeting became much more tense. Feng noticed an unfamiliar man with a fake tattoo among his soldiers—undoubtedly a spy. Feng seized the man and declared that he would kill him if Barbossa did not drop his weapons. Barbossa, however, encouraged Feng to kill the man, claiming that the spy was not his, and at that moment, the man's real paymasters revealed themselves, and soldiers of the East India Trading Company burst through the doors of the bath house and opened fire on Feng's men. As the skirmish escalated, it transformed into a full-scale battle, which poured out onto the streets of Singapore. Soon after Feng's bodyguards, Lian and Park, were killed by Mercer––the leader of the contingent of Company soldiers––Feng ordered a retreat. Feng was then confronted by Will Turner, and offered Feng a deal: Will would hand over a living Jack Sparrow, on whom Feng to carry out his revenge, all in exchange for Feng's promise than when he captured Sparrow's ship, the Black Pearl, he would make Will captain. Feng agreed, and handed over his charts to Will, as well as giving Barbossa the Hai Peng and allowing them to leave unharmed. To ensure that Feng could carry out his plans, he sent his second-in-command, Tai Huang, with them.
Once Barbossa's crew departed, Feng was approached by Mercer, who offered Feng a another deal: Feng would be allowed to take the Black Pearl for himself and would be spared by the East India Trading Company if he handed its crew, specifically Jack Sparrow, over to Lord Cutler Beckett. Feng agreed to arrange an ambush for the Black Pearl and its crew once they returned from the Locker. Feng then left Singapore in the Empress, and set off to wait for the Pearl to return to the Caribbean.
Betrayals and alliances
- "There is no honor in remaining with the losing side, leaving it for the winning side…that's just good business."
- ―Sao Feng to Hector Barbossa
Sao Feng intercepted the newly risen Black Pearl off the coast of a small island, signaling for Tai Huang to turn on Barbossa's crew and deliver them to him. His crew then seized the Pearl and handed it over to Will Turner. The HMS Endeavour soon joined them, and Feng handed Jack over to Beckett. Feng found himself on the receiving end of yet another betrayal: Mercer defaulted on his side of their bargain and claimed the Black Pearl for the East India Trading Company. This, along with placating words from Barbossa, convinced Feng to finally join the fight against Beckett and the Company. He agreed to allow Barbossa to escape, if he could return to the Empress with Elizabeth. Feng believed her to be the sea goddess Calypso in human form, and wished to sample her legendary fiery nature for himself. Barbossa and Elizabeth agreed, over Will's protests, and Feng boarded his ship with the supposed "Calypso". The Empress launched a broadside on the Endeavour, inadvertently facilitating Jack Sparrow's escape from Lord Beckett. The Empress then sailed across open water, headed for Shipwreck Cove.
- "Soon we will arrive at Shipwreck Cove, and you will be free…Calypso"
- ―Sao Feng to Elizabeth Swann
Onboard the Empress, Sao Feng had his new twin assistants dress Elizabeth in a stunning silk outfit and held her as his guest in his cabin. Here, he admitted that upon first sight, he believed Elizabeth might be Calypso, and her actions since then had only made him more certain. However, Elizabeth ignored his advances, and struck him in the face. Enticed, Feng forced himself upon Elizabeth, who bit his lip when he attempted to kiss her.
It was in that moment of chaos that the Empress fell under attack from the Flying Dutchman, flagship of Davy Jones, under the command of Admiral James Norrington–an agent of the East India Trading Company himself. The Dutchman had been sent by Beckett to catch the Empress, and it fired upon Feng's vessel. A cannon ball blasted through Feng's cabin and knocked him back into a piece of wood, impaling him.
- "With all nine Pieces of Eight, you will be free. Take it! You are captain now."
- ―Sao Feng to Elizabeth Swann
Elizabeth came to him in time to catch his dying words. Feng, still believing Elizabeth to be Calypso, gave her his piece of eight, the seemingly meaningless monkey fist necklace which marked Feng's pirate lordship of the South China Sea. Feng had thus marked Elizabeth as his heir, and when he died, she inherited the Empress and his title as Pirate Lord. Feng asked Elizabeth to forgive him, calling her "Calypso" once more. Elizabeth, now in possession of his piece of eight and his ship, would go on to join the Brethren Court at Shipwreck Cove.
- "Forgive me, Calypso."
- ―Sao Feng's last words to Elizabeth Swann
Personality and traits
Fearsome and battle-scarred, Sao Feng's name means "romantic warrior". Sao Feng was an imposing figure, commonly garbed in robes layered with a shoulder guard and an armor-plated belt inset with jade stones. He bore a large dragon tattoo on his body, as did all of his Chinese pirates, which was a sign that they were sworn brothers. He wore his moustache and goatee beard long, and kept his head shaved. Ancient dueling scars crossed his face as a testament to his prowess and fearless nature. Feng also wore a single ring on his right pinky finger, which was comprised of a large gold signet set with a small round jade stone, with a red silk scarf attached for luck. He was also noted to have long fingernails.Attached to Sao Feng's collar piece, two above each shoulder, are four Tuareg crosses, symbolic jewelry that represents regions in West Africa. The crosses on Sao Feng's shoulders represent the region of Agadez in the country of Niger.
It took a harden pirate to rule the South China Sea. Sao Feng earned his status and reputation through his ruthlessness, and was respected by his fellow Pirate Lords. He commanded a vast fleet of junks, crewed with loyal soldiers and sailors, all of whom he used to extend his influence. He may have even been affiliated with the Pirate Confederation of China, headed by fellow Pirate Lord Mistress Ching. Although he was well-feared, Sao Feng preferred to stay out of the battles in the fight with the East India Trading Company.
The only man he ever risked his life for was Jack Sparrow. However, Jack repaid him by stealing the hearts of his twin companions. This may had a part in Sao Feng's later relationship with Jack, possibly on a grudge that would last for years, despite both being members of the Brethren Court.
- "Can I be blamed for my efforts? All men are drawn to the sea, perilous though it may be."
"And often men offer desire as justification for their crimes."
"I offer simply my desire."
- ―Sao Feng and Elizabeth Swann
Feng relished in the challenge of winning over strong and beautiful women, and retained many concubines in his bath house. Feng was shrewd and quick-witted, and despite not being above betrayal and double-dealing, he remained dignified, retaining a strong sense of honor. Feng also was very proud, and often took insult from even the smallest of insincere or offensive gestures. He was also known to hold a grudge against Jack Sparrow, as he had once "payed him great insult", and Feng keeps the nature of the insult close to the vest. In addition, Feng was very short-tempered, and was very deadly when angry. He was also very knowledgeable about the sea goddess Calypso, believing her to be more than just an old legend.
Sao Feng was one of the few pirate captains who had more than one pirate flag. One flag was purple and featured a golden hand holding a sword with Chinese letters next to it. The other flag was black and featured a red skeleton dangling in the center, a design originally used by the infamous pirate Edward Low.
Equipment and skills
- "Yes, it is good to fight again. Even against one as unskilled as you!"
- ―Sao Feng
Sao Feng was a skilled combatant, being widely known as making swift and deadly strikes. His attacks were highly varied, allowing Feng to keep his opponents on their toes. He wielded a traditional Chinese dao in battle, and was known to utilize everyday sailors' tools, such as the wooden fid, as weapons. Feng also possessed a pistol, which he rarely used, relying on swift swordplay instead.
It is unknown where he stood in supernatural legends, as he didn't believe in either the Deep Sea Opal or Calypso. Despite this, among his possessions, Sao Feng held one of the great keys to a true pirate mystery: the charts that showed the way to World's End. Sao Feng also owned one of the nine pieces of eight, as did the other Pirate Lords. His piece of eight was made of silk, from the famous Silk Road which Marco Polo traveled, and jade, a traditional Asian gem. It was known as the jade Captain's knot. He wore it around his neck at all times, and prior to his death, passed it on to Elizabeth Swann, in which it was later destroyed during the freeing of Calypso, along with the other pieces of eight.
Behind the scenes
- Sao Feng was portrayed by Chinese actor Chow-Yun Fat in At World's End. He was voiced by Paul Nakauchi in the At World's End video game.
- In the "Inside the Brethren Court" feature, it was said that Sao Feng's title of Pirate Lord was passed down to him from his father, while it is revealed Sao Feng took the title from Liang Dao in Legends of the Brethren Court: Rising in the East.
- The character was primarily based on the legendary Cantonese Chinese pirate Cheung Po Tsai.
- Though At World's End performed quite-well in China when the film was released, Sao Feng fastly became a subject of controversy. While Chow Yun-Fat is well known at his country of birth, a lot of Chow's scenes were cut by Chinese censors for defacing and vilifying the Chinese culture, in spite of the fact that the South China Sea had a long history of piracy.
- Onboard the Empress, Feng recites (in Cantonese) the last four lines of "關山月" ("Guan Shan Yue") by Li Bai from Three Hundred Tang Poems.
- In At World's End and other media, Sao Feng was bald. However, in the Nintendo DS version of the At World's End video game and the front cover of Legends of the Brethren Court: Rising in the East, Sao Feng had long, flowing hair that recedes only at the front.
- Sao Feng's black pirate flag appears in the Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure attraction.
- In LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, Sao Feng's death happens offscreen. When Elizabeth Swann comes out from the bathroom, she finds that Feng has been killed by one of the Flying Dutchman's cannonballs, so he technically never names Elizabeth as captain of the Empress, although Elizabeth becomes captain of the Empress after that.
- Legends of the Brethren Court: Rising in the East
- The Dragon Tile! (Appears in flashback(s))
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game) (First appearance)
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Non-canonical appearance)
- Disney Infinity (Mentioned only)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Gods and Ghosts M (Non-canonical appearance)
- Legends of the Brethren Court: Rising in the East
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- The Pirates' Guidelines
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide
Notes and references
- ↑ Estimation based on Chow-Yun Fat's age during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and the fact that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides takes place in 1750, approximately twenty years after the events of At World's End. See the timeline page for more info.
- ↑ 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 occurred in August 1729 which sets Sao Feng's death during the Attack on the Empress during the same year.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 DisneyPirates.com: Pirate Lords Map: Sao Feng
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 Legends of the Brethren Court: Rising in the East
- ↑ The Dragon Tile!
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide p76-77 "Sao Feng"
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End "Inside the Brethren Court" featurette
- ↑ "Pirates were known to change their flags, and use false flags. Rather than presume a mistake, I would go with the explanation that for different reasons at different times, different flags were chosen. Certainly the examples of treachery in At World's End supports the idea of choosing different flags to emphasize different situations and alliances." - Terry Rossio
- ↑ The Secret Files of the East India Trading Company
- ↑ The Pirates' Guidelines
- ↑ In real-world history, a red skeleton with a black background was one of Edward Low's flags.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game)
- ↑ 6. The Pirates of China - 15 Epic Stories From Behind The Scenes Of Pirates Of The Caribbean at TheThings.com
|Crew of the Empress|
|Members of the Brethren Court|