Jonathan Pryce as Weatherby Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'
Governor Weatherby Swann is the fictional governor of Port Royal in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean films: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Dead Man's Chest (2006), and At World's End (2007). Swann is the father of the movies' heroine Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightley. In contrast to his strong-willed daughter, he is something of a milquetoast. Both Elizabeth and the Governor sailed from England to the Caribbean eight years before, along with then Lieutenant James Norrington, presumably when Swann assumed the governor's post. Swann is a doting father, and he wishes for his daughter to accept Commodore Norrington's marriage proposal. However, he eventually comes to accept that she truly loves Will Turner. According to the Pirates of the Caribbean Visual Guide, Elizabeth's mother died when Elizabeth was a young child. It is possible that Governor Swann holds some sort of peerage, as his butler refers to him as M'Lord. Many Colonial Governors held peerages or knighthoods, however, it is not directly stated in the films whether Swann holds one. Governor Weatherby Swann is portrayed by actor Jonathan Pryce.
According to the Pirates 1 DVD commentary, in earlier drafts of the script, Swann was a relatively minor character and did not accompany Commodore Norrington in the search for Elizabeth. The character's role was expanded when it was realized there were no principal characters present during the final battle between the Royal Navy crewman and the pirates aboard H.M.S. Dauntless.
In the early 90s when Steven Spielberg had plans on making the film, he really had no choices for the role of Governor Swann but had three choices for the role of Captain Jack Sparrow, one of which was Steve Martin who (much like Spielberg) is a huge fan of Doctor Who. So to get Martin interested, Spielberg contacted Sylvester McCoy (most famous for playing the Seventh Doctor) about the role, McCoy was very interested in the project. However Disney did not give permission for the film to be made.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
- Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Weatherby Swann is the father of Elizabeth Swann. He is seen only in a few scenes, but remains a prominent character. He first appears on the Dauntless on the crossing to Port Royal from England. After a boy (Will Turner) is spotted in the water, he tells Elizabeth to watch over him. Eight years later, he is present when Captain Norrington is promoted to Commodore. After Norrington proposes to Elizabeth, Weatherby asks him if he received an answer, but only minutes after the Black Pearl attacks Port Royal. When Elizabeth has been kidnapped, the morning after he is with Norrington, Lieutenant Gillette, and other officers, the two marines, Murtogg and Mullroy, discussing plans for saving her. Weatherby does not appear in another scene until Elizabeth is rescued from an island. When Elizabeth and Jack board the Dauntless Weatherby and Norrington are at first planning to return to Port Royal and leave Will to die, for engaging in piracy much to Elizabeth's anger, until she promises to marry Norrington. When the intended ambush of Barbossa's crew on the Isla de Muerta go awry, and the pirates board the Dauntless Weatherby hides in the captain's cabin. As the battle rages on outside, Koehler, one of the cursed pirates, spots Weatherby, and several pirates punch through the glass on the door to reach in. The governor's wig he wears is seized by one hand he manages to break it off the body it is attached to; owing to the curse on the pirates, he subsequently battles with the severed hand. Once the curse is lifted, Weatherby comes out from his hiding spot, and cheers with the rest of the marines. He appears last at the hanging of Jack Sparrow, where it is revealed that he granted clemency to Will Turner for his prior actions (commandeering a ship of His Majesty's Navy and engaging in piracy), and he accepts his daughter's decision to marry Will Turner.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
- Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Like the first film, he is seen in the first scene. This time, Elizabeth and Will are arrested for helping Captain Jack Sparrow escape. It is thought that he and Cutler Beckett have met before, as he is surprised to see him again. (Weatherby Swann: "Cutler Beckett?") (Beckett: "It's 'Lord' now actually") When Will is hired by Beckett to find Sparrow's compass, he frees Elizabeth from her cell. He tells her she must flee to England, or be hanged. He tells her to stay put while he talks to the captain. The captain is actually murdered by Mr. Mercer who is working for Cutler Beckett. Weatherby is then arrested. He is only in one more scene after this, in which he is brought before Beckett. Here he is told Elizabeth and Norrington have been seen in Tortuga. Beckett tells Weatherby that his ships are in pursuit of Elizabeth and everyone on the Black Pearl. Beckett finally agrees to let Weatherby go, and make sure Elizabeth is not harmed. In return, Weatherby must contribute his influence in London, his authority as Governor, and his loyalty to the East India Trading Company. Weatherby agrees and is then released from his shackles.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Main article: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
Weatherby's role in the third film is fairly minor. He is first seen signing some papers for Beckett, including an order for an execution, as he has been taken to the South China Sea on Beckett's ship, the Endeavour. As Weatherby is sent to the Flying Dutchman with James Norrington to conduct business, Beckett comments to Mercer that he felt Weatherby had outlived his usefulness to the East India Trading Co.. Furthermore, with knowledge of Davy Jones' heart, Weatherby could be a serious threat to Beckett's plans. With that, Beckett has Weatherby murdered by his right-hand man Mercer offscreen.
Weatherby is later seen in the limbo at world's end, aboard a small dinghy amongst the recently deceased. The Black Pearl sails alongside on its return journey, and Weatherby is able to speak with his daughter one last time. Weatherby explains that the heart of Davy Jones seemed so important at the time, but learned that he who stabs the heart, must replace it with his own. Elizabeth tries to persuade her father to board the Black Pearl and return with her, and even attempts to jump overboard, but to no avail as she is restrained by Will Turner. Weatherby makes no attempt to get onboard the Black Pearl, but tells Elizabeth that he is proud of her, his last line of the film being, 'I'll give your love to your mother, shall I?" The two go their separate ways, the Black Pearl to the land of the living, and Weatherby and the other souls drifting to the afterlife. Will asks Tia Dalma if she can bring Weatherby back from the dead, but Tia Dalma explains that she cannot because Weatherby has already made his peace in death.
The children's novel version of the work contains a scene not in the film, wherein the reader is made privy to how Weatherby learns the full lore of Davy Jones' heart. Weatherby talks to Davy Jones, who tells him that Elizabeth is dead, killed by the Kraken. A distraught Weatherby goes to the heart, guarded by Norrington, and is about to stab it before Davy Jones reveals that his curse will be passed on to whoever destroys his heart. Weatherby, not wanting to end up like Davy Jones, agonizingly decides to not stab the heart. This scene was scripted and apparently filmed (stills of it exist) but deleted from the final cut.
Weatherby, presumably raised in England, firmly believes that English tradition, customs, and ideals should be upheld by its citizens, regardless of their location in the British Empire. Weatherby comments about the propriety of English women when his daughter, Elizabeth Swann, mentions to Will Turner that she dreamed about him the night before. As a sign of his office, he wears a large periwig, in contrast to the smaller, more fashionable wigs worn by other characters.
Weatherby is deeply devoted to his daughter, risking his position as colonial governor in order to help her escape from captivity in the second film. Later, when his daughter's safety is threatened, he begrudgingly agrees to help the East India Trading Company in the hopes that she will be protected. His love for Elizabeth is therefore more important to him than his social standing or his sense of honor and duty.
He does not consider Will Turner a suitable match for his daughter, but he has apparently consented to the marriage and forms a cordial relationship with his future son-in-law. Nonetheless, Weatherby's actions in the second film make it clear that he would willingly sacrifice Will to ensure Elizabeth's well-being.