- "So we're setting out to find whatever this key unlocks."
"No. If we don't have the key, we can't open whatever it is we don't have that it unlocks. So what purpose would be served in finding whatever need be unlocked, which we don't have, without first having found the key what unlocks it?"
"So, we're going after this key."
"You're not making any sense at all."
- ―Joshamee Gibbs and Jack Sparrow[src]
- "It was not worth feeling what small, fleeting joy life brings...And so, him carve out him heart, lock it down in a chest, and hide the chest from the world. The key...he keeps with him at all times."
- ―Tia Dalma on Davy Jones[src]
The actual place of origin, as well as the original maker, are unknown. The chest was buried on Isla Cruces, and Jones kept the key about his person at all times—tucked behind his facial tentacles. Captain Jack Sparrow learned of the existence of the Dead Man's Chest, and set out to find the key, as he knew a debt made with Jones thirteen years prior now had to be paid. Jack hoped to find Jones' heart and thus control Jones himself, meaning he could call off the Kraken that Jones unleashed upon his enemies.
Search for the key
Jack stole a drawing of the key from a warder at the Turkish prison, and set out to find the real thing. To do this, he enlisted the help of Will Turner, persuading him that finding the key would help to rescue Elizabeth Swann, currently languishing in jail at Port Royal. Will accepted, and boarded the Flying Dutchman. There, he tricked Jones into revealing the key's location, and stole it in the dead of night, replacing it with the drawing.
Will absconded with the key, though had by now incurred Jones' wrath, who summoned the Kraken to pursue Turner. He managed to evade death, however, and travelled to Isla Cruces, where he confronted Jack as the latter unearthed the Dead Man's Chest. A fight ensued, the culmination of which seeing Jack unlocking the chest and taking the heart. However, James Norrington later took the heart for himself, handing the empty chest over to Jones' crew. Jones unlocked the chest himself aboard the Dutchman, and learned of the heart's disappearance.
East India Trading Company
- "You can do nothing without the key!"
"I already have the key!"
"No you don't! Ha Ha!"
"Oh, that key!"
- ―Davy Jones and Jack Sparrow[src]
The key remained on board the Flying Dutchman during Jones' servitude, first used by Norrington to display the threat of killing Jones by opening the chest and having his men aim at the heart, and later kept by Ian Mercer. Following his return from Davy Jones' Locker, Jack Sparrow got the chest while it's guards, Mullroy and Murtogg, were busy arguing. Jones tried to get the chest from Jack in a duel. Jack also tried to take the key from Jones after he killed Mercer and took it back. The key was lost by Jones when the tentacle he was holding it with was severed. Jack later found the still-mobile tentacle slinking across the deck, the key still in its grasp. He used the key to finally reopen the chest.
When that happened, Will became the new captain of the Dutchman. It is likely that he took possession of the key after Will left to fulfill his duty of ferrying souls.
Behind the scenes
- The name "Key to the Dead Man's Chest" came from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide."Key to Davy Jones' Chest" came from the Dead Man's Chest Promotion Guide.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (First appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (video game)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide