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John Silver is the deuteragonist of Disney's 2002 animated feature film, Treasure Planet. He is a cybernetic pirate captain who dedicated his life to finding Treasure Planet and achieving ultimate prosperity. Driven by greed, Silver was ruthless in his pursuit—feared by all and challenged by none.


Background

Development

John Silver was animated through a mix of traditional hand-drawn techniques and cel-shaded computer animation for his cybernetic enhancements. To test and figure out how these blended techniques could be achieved, animators would apply the computer-animated arm to pencil animation of Captain Hook.

Personality

Silver is rather greedy and cunning, having spent most of his life searching for the treasure of Captain Flint, but he has a caring side, too, and understands that friendship can be more important than treasure. He dislikes unnecessary acts of violence and cruelty, originally intending to mutiny only after the treasure was in hand, and thus, avoiding bloodshed as much as possible, and is generally honest and honorable in his piratical dealings. Nonetheless, he maintains a constant air of harsh brutality and deception around his crewmates, understandably necessary to maintain his position as their leader.

Appearances

Treasure Planet

Initially, Captain Amelia assigns him as the ship's cook, and 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 he may get wind of the plans. He decides to give Jim so much work that he won't 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 Mr. Arrow, the first mate, falls into a black hole, Silver realizes that it must have been Scroop who did it, and tries to comfort Jim, convincing him not to give up.

However, soon after, Silver has to tell his mutinous crew that he sees Jim as nothing more than a "nose-wiping little whelp" to keep them in line, and Jim hears this just as they arrive on Treasure Planet itself. When Jim escapes with the map, he could not bring himself to shoot him. He later apologizes and offers Jim a deal on the treasure, his deal appearing genuine, but grows angry when Jim turns him down, and threatens to blast him to kingdom come, although he is also shown to not wish to do this. When Silver finally gets the treasure, Treasure Planet begins to self-destruct, and Jim almost falls to his death. Silver has to choose between taking some of the treasure and saving Jim. He chooses Jim, which effectively saves his life as between them, they build a solar-surfer, and Jim manages to save the entire remaining crew from destruction.

Silver then attempts to escape the consequences of prison for his actions, but Jim catches him. They exchange a heart-warming goodbye, and Silver also gives Jim his pet shape-shifter, Morph, to have Jim remember Silver by. Just before Silver leaves, he gives Jim the few gems 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.

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