I'm a master of fright, and a demon of light, and I'll scare you right out of your pants. To a guy in Kentucky, I'm Mister Unlucky and I'm known throughout England and France.
~ Jack Skellington
Fear and doubt are signs of a strong heart. They push your heart, strike out in new directions! Without them, your zest for life might fade... as would your taste for fear. And believe me, that would really ruin my fun.
~ Jack explaining his reasons for scaring people to Sora in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories
Jack Skellington is the main protagonist of the 1993 animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Jack was conceived by Tim Burton, voiced by Chris Sarandon with song-writer, Danny Elfman doing his singing voice.
Jack is introduced as the paragon of Halloween Town - one of several worlds that embody the holidays. Though Halloween Town has an elected Mayor, Jack is the premier scarer and as such has been a celebrity of such extensive renown he is considered the town's unofficial King. Years spent scaring in creative and effective new ways have earned Jack a celebrated reputation beyond compare, however, he has become bored with the position and wants to find a new muse outside of Halloween. After the latest Halloween, Jack voices his malaise to his pet ghost dog, Zero in the Pumpkin Patch. The Halloween Town resident Sally - a Frankenstein-Esque homunculus overhears Jack's creative frustration and becomes empathetic towards him, but remains hidden as he bemoans his rut.
Jack walks out into the woods around Halloween Town until he finds a set of doors that lead between his town and the other Holidays. While examining them he ventures to explore one and comes up Christmas Town. Jack is both endeared and inspired by the fresh new concept of Christmas. He sneaks throughout the town trying to comprehend Christmas. Jack sees Santa Claus, picks up some assorted gifts and knick-knacks from Christmas Town to bring back to Halloween Town with him to show his people what Christmas brings with it.
Upon returning to Halloween Town, Jack asks the Mayor to call a meeting.
At the meeting, Jack presents a Christmas Tree, gifts and tells the town of Santa Claus. The town does not quite understand what Christmas is but finds Jack's enthusiasm infectious. The townspeople want their own Christmas so they can use it to scare girls and boys as a second Halloween. Jack regrets that he cannot quite get through the concept of Christmas to them but loves the idea of having his own spooky version of Christmas and decides he will be the new Santa that year. While the town is preparing and Jack is researching Christmas in an attempt to reverse engineer it, Sally has a premonition that Jack will be in danger if he tries to be something he is not. Sally tries to support Jack with supplies she gathers but also warns him of her vision, however, Jack is too excited to take the warning seriously, and instead asks Sally to sew him a Santa suit.
While Sally is working on the Santa suit, Jack has the three ghoulish children Lock, Shock and Barrel, go to the doors and kidnap Santa Claus. Though the three get the Easter Bunny at first, they eventually return with Santa. Santa is disoriented from the trip and put off by the town of monsters but Jack assures him it is for his benefit. Jack says Santa deserves a year off for his good work and tells Santa he will be acting as Santa that year. Jack tells Lock, Shock and Barrel to take good care of Santa and see that he is comfortable, before taking Santa's hat to complete his ensemble and continuing to oversee the town's new Christmas preparations. Unbeknownst to Jack, Lock, Shock and Barrel take Santa to their boss, Oogie Boogie - the bogey-man. Oogie Boogie is far less philanthropic than Jack and a rival. Oogie locks up Santa and torments him while he waits for Jack to eventually come by to try to recover him so the two can fight, Oogie Boogie's ultimate ambitions to dethrone Jack and be the new Pumpkin King.
Once the town's preparations are complete Sally attempts to save Jack by sabotaging the town's Christmas with a potion that creates a thick fog to keep Jack from taking off. But Zero's nose is found to glow in the dark, leaving Jack to rely on Zero as his won Rudolph, and the slay full of haunted Christmas paraphernalia launches with Jack determined to spread his brand of Christmas cheer to the people of the world. Sally sees the only way to make things right is to find Santa Claus so he can pass out Christmas gifts instead. Jack's passing out of gifts send the people of the world into a panic as they must deal with evil living toys, monster Christmas decorations and monsters shoved into stockings. The police get involved and see the Fake-Santa, which they proceed to shoot down.
Jack survived the fall but is morbidly depressed that he was a terrible Santa. After much soul-searching, Jack decides his place is as the Pumpkin King, lord of Halloween. Jack is happy he tried something new but accepts that Christmas is just not something he excels at. Once Jack has recovered from the failure he makes up his mind to go recover Santa Claus so the people of the world can still have a merry Christmas. Retracing Lock, Shock and Barrel's steps Jack finds that Santa was taken to Oogie Boogie's Mansion.
At Oogie Boogie's Jack finds both Santa and Sally held hostage. Sally had gone to rescue him as soon as Jack left. Jack fights Oogie Boogie - eventually defeating him by pulling the threads of his sack-cloth body until it unraveled, revealing that underneath the sack, Oogie was a mass of writhing bugs that he had had been eaten. The apparent last bug of the mass - Oogie Boogie's heart/brain, is squashed by a very disgruntled Santa. Jack apologizes to Santa and offers to send him back home, explaining that Christmas needed to be saved after his attempts to fill-in for Santa went awry. Santa takes Jack's inference in stride but thanks Sally as the one resident of Halloween Town who had tried to make things right from the start, then takes off to travel across the world to spread gifts and good cheer back to the holiday.
Santa, after making things right for the human world, passes over Halloween Town and makes it snow. As the snow falls it seems to implant the Christmas spirit in the town residents, who all of a sudden seem to grasp Jack's original delight with the concept of Christmas. Jack spots Sally heading into the pumpkin patch to be alone as she laments that Jack never noticed her attention. Jack overhears Sally's proclamation of loves, just as she had overheard his of malaise earlier and goes to confront her. The movie ends with Jack and Sally kissing as both seem to now fully understand each other and what each was missing from their lives, gaining new meaning from the experience.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge
In the game The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, Jack is disappointed with that year's Halloween. Jack goes to Sally's creator/father, Dr. Finkelstein, for help. Doctor Finkelstein gives Jack the Soul Robber, an invention that changes shape. Jack leaves Halloween Town for new for Halloween ideas. Upon Jack's return to town, he finds that Oogie Boogie has resurrected. Jack must set things right again and uses the Soul Robber to put Oogie Boogie down again. In the game, Jack's attacks take the form of singing and dancing. The game portrayal of Jack leaves him a bit more inept that he was in his original film.
Jack Skellington appears in the first four installments of the Kingdom Hearts video game series. During his attempts to go from world to world and defeat the evil Heartless - (who eventually destroy whatever world they are in) main protagonist - Sora, along with his friends Donald Duck and Goofy, befriend Jack. As he aids Sora, Donald and Goody, Jack helps battles the Heartless, who turn out to have gotten into the world thanks to Oogie Boogie. For the game, Jack uses magics activated by his scaring techniques, making him a powerful mage character and a good replacement for Donald during visits to Halloween Town.
In Kingdom Hearts, Oogie Boogie had been working with the Heartless to try to upstage Jack. Upon seeing the Heartless, Jack wants to use them to put on a great Halloween celebration. He asks Dr. Finkelstein to make a heart for the creatures so they can use it to make them dance. Sora decides to help, on the chance the experiment works they will be able to control the Heartless rather than fight them. In their attempts to experiment on the Heartless though the creatures get loose and wreak havoc in Halloween Town. Lock, Shock and Barrel steal the heart and bring it to Oogie Boogie so he can control the Heartless. Sora agrees to help regain the heart for Jack and restore order to Halloween Town along the way. Oogie is defeated but the time it took means Jack misses Halloween that year. Jack still thanks Sora and promises something terrifying next year for the town to make-up for his experiments with the Heartless not working out.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Jack Skellington appears to help Sora as he goes up against the Heartless. Jack had not called the Heartless that time but wants to help Sora so he joins Sora as a card. Jack is one of Sora's main friends who become card-based summons as he fights the Heartless in a limbo-like state through-out the game.
Kingdom Hearts II
In Kingdom Hearts II, Jack Skellington is beginning his quest to run Christmas to help give Santa a break. One of the game's central antagonists, Maleficent, raises Oogie Boogie from the dead to help her take over Christmas Town and turn Santa into a Heartless. Jack Skellington, Sora, Donald and Goofy help Santa get rid of Oogie Boogie and save Christmas. Once the Heartless are dealt with Jack decides that Halloween needs his immediate attention.
Upon their return to Halloween Town, Dr. Finkelstein's experiment has left and no one knows where it went. The four go to Santa's house to find that someone has been stealing presents. They come up with the plan to make decoy presents, then place them out for the thief to find and lay in wait. The thief is revealed to be the experiment - who had stolen the presents to try to fill the void where its heart was supposed to be.