Philip Swift was a young stalwart and soulful missionary. A man of simple faith and few possessions, Philip Swift was a lonely voice of reason in a world of madness. Idealistic, courageous and fearless, this missionary defied even the legendary Blackbeard in an attempt to rescue the terrible pirate's eternal soul, although Philip knew since the beginning that Blackbeard's soul would not be saved anyway.
This young missionary resided on a remote island in the Caribbean until he found himself a captive aboard Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, against his will. Philip would have been slain long ago, but Angelica believed he held the key to taming Blackbeard. During the quest for the Fountain of Youth, Philip was on a mission completely unlike the pirates, scalawags, kings and sailors all in pursuit of the Fountain; he was on a mission of salvation. Even when he was taken prisoner and ruthlessly tortured aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, Philip's spirit remained unbroken. But something stirred inside Philip's heart, as well as his soul, when he encountered a mermaid he named Syrena, feelings which proved that the path to real deliverance may lie beyond the Good Book he carried with him.
Not much is known about Philip's early life. At some point in his life, Philip became a working missionary in the Caribbean. He was later captured by Blackbeard's crewmen during a raid on a remote island, in which all the others on his ship were killed. But when Blackbeard tried to kill Philip, his beloved daughter Angelica stopped him, because she feared for Blackbeard's soul if he committed such an act. And so Philip was lashed onto the mast of the Queen Anne's Revenge. Despite this painful ordeal, the missionary still managed to cling onto his most precious effect—his holy Bible. Philip would still be held captive during Blackbeard's search for the Fountain of Youth.
Quest for the Fountain of YouthEdit
Aboard the Queen Anne's RevengeEdit
By the time Jack Sparrow was forced aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, Philip was tied to the Revenges mast, clinging on to his Holy Bible. During the mutiny on the Queen Anne's Revenge, Jack and Salaman went to save Philip. When Salaman said that Philip will be either with them or against them, he refused to join either sides of the fight. After the mutiny was foiled by Blackbeard, which was done by hanging all of the mutineers with the rigging, Blackbeard attempted to kill Jack for leading the mutiny and to make sure everybody wouldn't forget him.
But before Blackbeard could do it, Philip bursts in, calling him a coward, saying that nobody would forget him, no matter how many men he'd kill. Angered by Philip's courage to insult him, Blackbeard attempted to shoot Philip, but was stopped once again by Angelica, as she wanted to save her father's soul. Seemingly touched by his own daughter's wish, believing that every soul could be saved, Blackbeard asked Philip if what Angelica said was true. Philip told him it was, though believed Blackbeard as a longshot, saying that he'd pray for the souls aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. Blackbeard put away his pistol, touched by Angelica's faith. When Blackbeard ordered the Cook to row away on a longboat, he prepared to fire the Greek fire cannons on him as punishment. Philip tried to change Blackbeard's mind on this matter and spare the Cook's life, but was too late as the Cook was burning alive.
As the longboat was burning on open ocean, Blackbeard told to Philip that he felt closest to our Maker when he saw suffering, pain and anguish, saying it's when the true design of the world is revealed. Philip disagreed, saying he sees it when in times of hardship and tragedy, kindness and compassion are shown to those in need. Blackbeard then suggested Philip prayed the Cook to remain unharmed. Philip once again tries to change Blackbeard's mind, but was once again unsuccessful as Blackbeard had the cannons fired again.
- "Well done, sailor."
- ―Blackbeard to Philip's success in capturing a mermaid
The Queen Anne's Revenge soon made sail to the Whitecap Bay, to capture a mermaid for the Profane Ritual. Blackbeard had Philip, Scrum, Ezekiel, the Cabin Boy, Derrick, Purser and Gunner, were grouped together in a longboat. Scrum and the other crewmen were forced by Gunner to sing in order to attract the mermaids. When Tamara and other mermaids appeared, Scrum started to get close to her to kiss, despite warnings from Philip and the other crewmen to not. As Tamara showed her true form to Scrum, the mermaids then began to attack.
Throughout the mermaid attack, the crewmen's longboat was destroyed as well as Derrick and Purser being killed. Philip was able to swim back to the island along with some of the other crew members. As he got up, the bay's lighthouse exploded. While the debris fell, a mermaid saved Philip by pulling him out of the way. When he got up, he found the mermaid and stabbed her in the tail fin as he believed he was being attacked, an act he later regretted deeply. When he saw her scared, bleeding and trembling, Philip pulled the sword out, but before she could escape, Blackbeard and his crewmen captured her with a net as she hissed. Philip regretfully took credit for the mermaid's capture.
Search through the jungleEdit
- "We are in a hurry, yes?"
"Do not fall behind."
- ―Philip and Blackbeard
Philip would later travel with the crew to the island in their search for the Fountain of Youth. While journeying through dense jungle and swamps, Philip would follow the captured mermaid who was carried in a glass coffin filled with water by some of the crewmen. Philip later conversed with Jack Sparrow about converting as the pirate asked if he could be welcomed to Heaven. The missionary then noticed that the mermaid was dying because of lack of oxygen. He told the Quartermaster to open the coffin, but he refused. Philip then takes the Quartermaster's sword and breaks the lock on the tank, showing what he said to be true as the mermaid immediately gasped for air. As the Quartermaster pulled back his sword, Philip quickly shoved his Bible in its place.
Later, after witnessing Blackbeard nearly killing Angelica and Jack jumping off a chasm, the crew continued on through the jungles. As they made way, the crew dropped the tank and the mermaid spilled out of it and, because of no water, transforming into her human form. Philip gave her his shirt to cover her nudity. Blackbeard ordered the mermaid to walk. However, the mermaid was unable to walk, and so Blackbeard threatened her by saying to walk or die. To save her from being killed by the Quartermaster, Philip offered to carry her through the journey.
As they made it to another resting point, Philip started to talk to the mermaid about her beauty, though he saw her kind as deadly as he believed she attacked him. But the mermaid denied that claim as she saw Philip as different from other men, saying that he protects. It was that moment when Philip realised that she saved him at Whitecap Bay. Blackbeard ordered to bring the mermaid and cover her head, calling her a "creature", Philip yelled angrily that the mermaid did have a name. Blackbeard waited for Philip to tell it. Though he did not know her true name, Philip said that her name was "Syrena".
- "That vile creature as you call her is worth a hundred of you."
"You care for her...you fancy her. Do not deny what is clear to my eyes. Question is...does she fancy you? By God, she does. We are in luck! Bring forth a tear...or witness the death of this poor soul."
- ―Philip Swift and Blackbeard
Philip accompanied the crew arrived to the Jungle Pools, where mermaids had been bound and left to die. Syrena was put into one of the pools while Blackbeard tried to force her to cry. However, Syrena would not yield. Before Blackbeard could decide whether or not to torture her, Philip stepped in to try and stop Blackbeard. Philip told Blackbeard that his soul couldn't be saved and that Syrena was worth more than a hundred of him. Upon learning that she and Philip fancy each other, Blackbeard exploited their love by threatening to kill Philip. As Syrena watched helpless, either unable or refusing to slip a tear, Blackbeard ordered the Quartermaster to kill Philip, despite Angelica's pleas. Although in reality he only sedated him with a voodoo dart. Syrena was seemingly left to die while Philip's body was dumped nearby.
Philip regained consciousness, not knowing how or why, and immediately ran to free Syrena. Though she was shocked at first in seeing that he was alive, Philip's deed of freeing her and having told her that she is kind and compassionate, caused Syrena to cry a tear of joy. Blackbeard and his crew immediately came to get the tear from Syrena. After getting Syrena's tear in a vial, Blackbeard ordered Syrena to be secured and left at the pools to die. Knowing that he would rebel, Blackbeard ordered his men to tie Philip's hands and he was forced to go with them to find the Fountain of Youth.
- "Syrena, on my word, I had no part in this! Let her go. You don't need her now."
"Let her go? No. Secure her bonds. We leave her with her own."
- ―Philip Swift and Blackbeard
The Fountain of YouthEdit
- "Now we’re square."
- ―Cabin Boy and Philip Swift
Bounded and with no way to escape to save Syrena, Philip continued to travel with Blackbeard until the crew met with Jack Sparrow. The crew continued to search for the Fountain of Youth. The search finally reached its end as they journeyed into a blue cave where the entrance to the Fountain was.
Finally reaching the Fountain, the crew's perilous quest was over. But before Blackbeard could taste the water from the Fountain, Hector Barbossa and his crew appeared to arrest Blackbeard. With Blackbeard not wanting to go down without a fight, a battle ensued between the pirates and the British. When the Quartermaster killed one of the British soldiers, Philip tried to use the dead soldier's sword to cut free of his bonds. As he cut, the Cabin Boy appeared and freed him before continuing to fight. As Philip got up, he was suddenly run through the stomach by one of the British soldiers.
- "Syrena. My God. You will not take her. If you have taken her, give her back. Give her back...please..."
- ―Philip Swift
Philip clutched the wound and, avoiding the battle, ran away to the Jungle Pools to free Syrena from the same fate that other mermaids endured at the pools. Philip believed Syrena dead, but said to God that if she was taken, she must come back. Syrena regained consciousness and swiftly disappeared under water leaving Philip wounded and alone.
- "You are hurt."
"In body only. My mind is at peace. Because of you."
"Yes. I was lost. The wind, the tides...they were to renew a man's faith. For me, only you."
- ―Syrena and Philip Swift
Alone and mortally wounded, Philip drags himself to the nearest pool to get some water to drink and use to try and heal his wounds. As he splashes the water, Syrena returned and appeared in front of him. Reunited and free from Blackbeard and his crew, the two profess their love once more. Syrena then told Philip that she could save him from dying. Philip then begged Syrena for forgiveness for all the trouble he brought to her, as she would never have been captured had it not been for him. Syrena kissed Philip, confirming the legend that a mermaid's kiss prevents drowning by giving him the ability to breathe underwater, and pulls him into the pool. Philip was taken by Syrena as they swim through the pools to freedom. His further fate is unknown.
- "I seek but one thing."
"What is that?"
"Forgiveness. If not for me, you'd have never been captured."
- ―Philip Swift and Syrena
Personality and traitsEdit
- "You are different."
"Are you not? You protect."
- ―Syrena and Philip Swift
A man for or against faith, Philip Swift was on a mission completely unlike the pirates, scalawags, kings and sailors he dealt with. His was a mission of salvation, and even when he was taken prisoner and ruthlessly tortured, Philip's spirit remained unbroken. Philip was a strong religious man and a believer in God. This was noted by his appearance, revealing humble missionary lifestyle, such as the plain clothes he wore and his simple cross necklace, which lied close to his heart. It can also be noted by Philip's strong will even after being lashed to the mast of the Queen Anne's Revenge, in which he still managed to cling onto his Bible. A captive, forced to join the Revenges crew against his will, Philip Swift was a lonely voice of reason in a world of madness.
- "You are not bewildered, you are afraid. You dare not walk the path of righteousness, the way of the light."
"No, sir, the truth of it be much simpler than all that. I'm a bad man."
- ―Philip Swift and Blackbeard
Idealistic, courageous and fearless, the young stalwart and soulful Philip defied even the infamous Blackbeard in an attempt to rescue the terrible pirate's soul. The missionary Philip, who found himself embroiled in the quest for the Fountain of Youth, would have been slain long ago, but Angelica believed he held the key to redeeming Blackbeard. Fearlessly honest, Philip was the only man aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge who dares call Blackbeard a coward. He believed the pirate was afraid to walk the path of righteousness. Although Philip believed that every soul could be redeemed, he knew and admitted that redeeming Blackbeard's own soul was a long shot. As time went on however, Philip grew to believe that Blackbeard was entirely evil and didn't think he was capable of redeeming himself.
A compassionate man, Philip was very caring towards others, most notably to the enigmatic mermaid he named "Syrena". He was the only member of Blackbeard's crew to show any concern for the mermaid and tried to defend her several times. By the end of the search for the Fountain of Youth, Philip had shown love and care for Syrena, and she returned the feelings. But something stirred inside of his heart as well as his soul when he encountered the mermaid—feelings which proved that the path to real deliverance may lie beyond the Good Book he carried with him.
Equipment and skillsEdit
A man of few possessions, Philip Swift needed little in life, save for a few items. While wearing plain clothes, revealing a humble missionary lifestyle, Philip carried a cracked and weathered Bible, which he used in his position. He also wore a simple necklace, a plain wooden cross tied in a thin leather cord, which lied close to his heart.
Behind the scenesEdit
- Philip Swift was played by Sam Claflin in On Stranger Tides.
- Before Sam Claflin was cast as the character, Max Irons was considered for the much sought-after role of "Philip". The role was ultimately won by Claflin, a hugely promising British actor and recent graduate (2009) of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, who captivated producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Rob Marshall with a winning combination of talent and good looks.
- Johnny Depp, who portrayed Captain Jack Sparrow, had a part in the screenwriting process for On Stranger Tides. One of his contributions was a role in creating the Philip Swift character, including the idea of Philip being a missionary.
- During an interview released in May 2012, Clafin was asked if he was to reprise his role as Philip in the then untitled fifth Pirates movie, but he said that the film's production was delayed by the production of The Lone Ranger and that he hadn't heard anything. The fifth film, entitled Dead Men Tell No Tales, was released in 2017, but neither the character or Clafin himself returned.
- In early concept art made by Miles Teves, Philip (who was strangely named "Phillipe") was depicted wearing an elegant black suit with white socks, a belt, shoe with brooches.
- There is much controversy over what happened to Philip at the end. While Syrena kissed him and was previously mentioned during the Battle at Whitecap Bay that the kiss of a mermaid to a sailor would save him from drowning, mythological sirens are known for seducing sailors and leading them to their deaths, leaving unknown the fate of Philip. However, the first is more likely, since Syrena was portrayed as a somewhat timid siren and nothing like her companions (except for her depiction in the junior novleization of On Stranger Tides).
- The love story between Philip and Syrena resembles many of the early legends of mermaids, where a fierce and beautiful maiden from the sea would fall in love with a man from the church. The legend of the Mermaid Morveren from Zennor, Cornwall England fell in love with a local Choir boy named Matthew Trewella is just one example of this.
- Despite that his romance with Syrena plays an important part in the story of On Stranger Tides, Philip never falls in love with Syrena (who is described as a beatiful but a very deadly mermaid) in the fourth film's junior novelization. Also, Syrena is named by that name since her capture instead of being named with that name by Philip, possibly implying that it was her real name.
- In LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game, Philip uses his singing to attract the mermaids. Also, he is never kissed by Syrena, but it seems that she kissed him offscreen, as later it's shown that he can swim like her, as he accompanies Syrena to say goodbye to Jack, Angelica and Barbossa before leaving the cave of the Fountain of Youth following Blackbeard's death.
- For unknown reasons, in the official Disney Pirates website (as of October 2013) the character's full name is listed as "Philip Le Blanc", rather than "Philip Swift". It could be a mistake because "Swift" was used in On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide as well as the film's screenplay.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (First appearance)
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Non-canonical appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (junior novelization)
- The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ Estimation based on Sam Claflin's age during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and the fact that On Stranger Tides takes place in 1750.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide, p32-33: "Philip Swift"
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ New Stills Feature Queen Anne’s Revenge, Character Descriptions
- ↑ Max Irons or Sam Claflin Could Replace Orlando Bloom in 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4' - AceShowbiz.com
- ↑ The Art of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- ↑ Sam Claflin interview: Snow White and the Huntsman, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Hammer Horror at Den of Geek!
- ↑ PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - Miles Teves at Miles Teves Design Studio
- ↑ Characters | On Stranger Tides | Pirates of the Caribbean