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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Long John Silver from the 2002 Disney film. The mainstream version can be found here: Long John Silver.
Villain Overview
You're just like me, Jimbo... Ya hates to lose.
~ John Silver's "dark side".
I like you, lad. But I've come too far to let you stand between me and me treasure.
~ John Silver facing Jim Hawkins.

Long John Silver, also referred to as the Cyborg by Billy Bones or also simply known as John Silver, is the former main antagonist and later deuteragonist of Disney's 43rd full-length animated feature film Treasure Planet, which is loosely based on the 1883 adventure book Treasure Island by the late Robert Louis Stevenson. He was based on the character of the same name from the book.

He was voiced by the late Brian Murray.

Personality

Long John Silver is two-sided, similar to that of the supervillain Two-Face from the DC Comics universe: he can be a pompous, manimulative, deceitful, greedy and cunning individual, similar to his original counterpart, as he is bent on finding the lost treasure of Captain Nathaniel Flint, even exerting a level of brutality and deception towards his crew-mates. However, despite his villainy, he does seem to have a caring, rapturous and enthusiastic side, as he became a fatherly figure to Jim over the mysterious journey, even telling stories to his fellow crew-mates for amusement. He even comforts Jim following Mr. Arrow's death, and even threatens Scroop (who was the one responsible for Arrow's death) for it.

Appearance

As he is on Long John Silver from the original novel, Silver is a cyborg: part machine, part organic. His alien form resembles a cross between some sort of a bear and a human (and a robot), identified as the alien species known as Ursid, though they never mention this in the movie itself. He has a cyborg arm, a leg, an ear, and an eye from some unknown incident, though he mentions when asked by Jim that "You give up a few things, chasing a dream.", so they were presumably lost in his search for Treasure Planet. His cyborg arm serves many purposes, such as cooking implements, a sword, a pistol, and a welding tool, and his cyborg eye has zoom functions and improves his aim, while his mechanical leg appears to contain an addition that he can put on his arm's mechanics to create a low-grade plasma cannon.

Powers and Abilities

  • Cybernetics: Silver is a cyborg (cybernetic organism), his right arm, leg, and eye replaced with cybernetic prosthetics and enhancements, all of which contain a myriad of functions.
    • Cybernetic Arm: Silver's cyborg arm serves a variety of functions, containing a surprising amount of tools as well as weapons, such as a clamp, a sword, a plasma flintlock pistol, a torch/flamethrower, a plethora of sharp implements and tools, like scissors, a cleaver, cooking wares, pincer-esque appendages, and more.
    • Cybernetic Peg Leg: Silver's cyborg leg works via hydraulic pump, so damage to it inhibits him, leaving him to limp until it can be repaired. It also carries a detachable grenade launcher that Silver can attach to his cyborg arm.
    • Cyborg Eye: Silver's eye gives him several optic visionary functions that he can use simultaneously, such as zoom-in, thermal vision, night vision, X-ray, and more.
  • Cooking: Silver is a masterful, commanding, authoritative and influential chef who maximizes his cooking skills with his cybernetic tools, enabling him to cook his dishes at a surprising rate of speed.

Biography

Treasure Planet

Making his debut in Treasure Planet, John Silver is initially assigned as the ship's cook by Captain Amelia. She then gives him the task of looking after Jim Hawkins. At first, they do not get along; Jim suspects Silver of being the cyborg who torched his mother's inn, and Silver does not enjoy having to look after Jim, concerned that Jim may get wind of the plans. He decides to give Jim so much work that he will not notice any plotting.

However, as the journey passes and Silver gets to know how strong-willed and determined Jim is, they form a father-son relationship. When Jim's confidence is dashed after the first mate by the name of Mr. Arrow fell into a black hole, Silver realized that it must have been Scroop who did it, and tries to comfort Jim, convincing him not to give up. However, soon after, Silver had to tell his mutinous crew that he saw Jim as nothing more than a "nose-wiping little whelp" to keep them in line, and Jim overhears this just as they arrive on Treasure Planet itself.

When Jim escaped with the map, Silver could not bring himself to shoot him. He later apologized and offered Jim a deal on the treasure, his deal appearing to be very genuine, only to grow extremely angry ("That treasure is the old me by thunder!") when Jim took a powerful stand and mocked his former friend, turned him down, and threatened to blast him to kingdom come, although he was also shown to not wish to do this. Later, Silver and his pirates captured Captain Amelia and Dr. Doppler, and took the map, and Jim along with it. When Silver finally got the treasure, Treasure Planet began to self-destruct, and Jim almost fell to his death. Silver had to choose between some of the treasure, or saving Jim in the process. He chose Jim, which effectively saved his life as between them, they built a solar surfer and Jim managed to save the entire remaining crew from the planet's destruction.

Silver then attempted to escape the consequences of prison for his treacherous actions, but Jim caught him out. They exchanged a heartwarming goodbye, and Silver also gave Jim his pet pink shapeshifter named Morph to have Jim remember Silver by. Just before Silver left, he gave Jim the few gems that he had managed to salvage from Treasure Planet, enough for Jim to rebuild the Benbow Inn. At the very end of the film, Jim looks up to the clouds and remembers John Silver, and the star/cyborg eye twinkles.

Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon

The game continues Jim Hawkins' adventures. 5 years after Treasure Planet, Jim Hawkins is about to graduate from the Royal Navy Academy. The first mission revolves around the final exam, which is invigilated by Admiral Amelia aboard her ship known as the Lyonesse.

As Jim patrols various sectors of the Etherium, Her Majesty's Empire is in the process of negotiating peace with the Procyons, raccoon-like warriors who have been at war with the Empire for centuries. They send a Diplomatic Fleet that seems more like a war fleet under the command of Procyon diplomat Evar to Parliament, the centre of government and home of the Queen, for the peace talks.

However, on the Frontier, ships begin to mysteriously vanish without trace. Soon, strange ships are sighted. While all known craft are solar-powered wooden ships (Procyons use trimaran designs), these strange ships are made of iron; where there should be sails, there are only smoking chimneys. These bizarre and almost unstoppable craft are nicknamed Ironclads.

After missing out on a chance to join the fleet scouring the Frontier for Ironclads, Jim is then sent to investigate Ironclad activity after finding one apparently lost deep in Empire territory. After locating and destroying an Ironclad base hidden in a nebula, he discovers the Ironclads are Procyon vessels, meant to draw the Navy fleets to the Frontier, allowing the "Diplomatic" Fleet to kidnap the Queen unhindered. Meanwhile, it turns out that the command ship of the Pirate fleet apparently aiding the Procyons is Long John Silver, Jim's old friend. Jim is ordered to warn the Empire of the Procyon trap.

However, they are soon intercepted by Silver's Pirate fleet. Jim tries to talk to Silver, but Silver denies ever knowing him. After a brief altercation, Silver retreats. Jim refuses to believe Silver is in league with the Procyons, but is heartbroken as he sees Silver disable a civilian ship and force it into a black hole. Now determined that Silver is not the man he once knew, he pursues Silver to a Pirate fortress.

Inside the fortress, Jim finds two identical command ships, both commanded by a Silver. Both Silvers recognize Jim, each claiming the other is a robot. One is happy to see him, claiming he just escaped his robot doppelgänger's prison, and is angry over the other Silver's ruining of his good reputation. The other Silver is aggressive, repeatedly ordering Jim to destroy the first Silver. Here the player has the option of firing on either Silver's ship. If Jim fires on the aggressive Silver, the real Silver congratulates Jim, and together they destroy the false Silver. Silver regains command of his fleet, and (together with Jim's fleet) rush back to Parliament to stop the Procyons. It was revealed that the Procyon created a robot duplicate of him and imprisoned him in his own ship to trick his crew into helping them in fighting the Empire.

They arrive at Parliament, only to find the Procyons have already sprung their trap. The Navy fleet, commanded by Admiral Amelia, is fighting off a combined force of the Procyon Diplomatic Fleet and a fleet of Ironclads. After aiding Amelia in fighting off the first wave, the Procyons split up. The Diplomatic Fleet heads straight for Parliament, and the Ironclads head for the combined Navy/Pirate force. Jim agrees to protect Parliament from the Procyon vessels, while Silver and Amelia have their troops fighting the Ironclads. Jim manages to stave off the Procyons, but an Ironclad Dreadnought arrives, apparently having destroyed both Amelia and Silver's fleets. Fearing the worst, Jim engages the Dreadnought. Although the Dreadnought is outnumbered, it easily outguns Jim's fleet.

Jim's Man-O-War is heavily damaged in the battle, and loses all of its weapons. The Dreadnought stops firing, preparing to ram, which will completely obliterate the Navy vessel. At the last moment, Silver's badly damaged ship arrives. Ramming the Dreadnought, both ships are apparently destroyed.

The Procyons are forced into harsh peace terms thanks to their treachery, and the Empire is saved. And because of Silver's cooperation with the Navy, Silver has been pardoned of his past crimes, but because no trace of him was found, an honor of a Knight of the Empire was awarded to him posthumously. Though the official word was that Silver has died during the ramming of the Dreadnought, Jim believes otherwise, knowing that Silver is out there somewhere.

Quotes

Just see it, Jimbo!
~ John Silver trying to persuade his friend Jim into a deal when Jim reveals his former friend's treachery on Treasure Planet.

Trivia

  • The alien species name "Ursid" is very clever, as it is derived from the Latin word for bear "Ursus", but it is also the name of the destructive meteor shower.
  • His first name "John" is never mentioned in the film. 
  • Silver was originally going to return in the cancelled sequel film, Treasure Planet 2, where he would be revealed to have started a smuggling ring, and comes back to help Jim, Amelia, Doppler, and their friends to defend their galaxy from a villain named Ironbeard, albeit of sake of acquiring the new ship Ironbeard had stolen.
  • John Silver was animated using both 2D animation and Cel-shaded CGI, the CGI being used to animate his cybernetic components.
  • For most of the film Silver's cybernetic eye is a golden-yellow hue, but during the mutiny it changes to a more violent red coloration. Then, when he refuses to fire on Jim, it switches back to its former golden yellow.
  • Though Silver did not fully reform by the end of the film, the sequel game Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon, establishes that he did, indeed, learn the error of his ways and went straight over time.
  • In the original Treasure Island novel, John Silver in contrast to the film version knew Captain Flint having served as his quartermaster and claimed to be only man that Flint ever feared.
  • John Silver is the second Disney villain to not seem bad at first, reveal his true nature, and later redeem himself after Amos Slade in The Fox and the Hound.
  • Christopher Plummer (the role of Fayvoon), Jim Broadbent, the late Miguel Ferrer, Sean Connery, and the late Jack Palance were all considered for the role of John Silver before the late Brian Murray was cast.
  • John Silver's supervising animator is Glen Keane.
  • Although John Silver is the main antagonist, he has only around 23 minutes of screen-time.

See also

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