|Ship(s) captained or crewed||
Francis Drake's ship
Francis Drake's crew
|Behind the scenes|
- "Avast, dirty galley-rats! Get ready to board! It's been years since I've felt this alive! Load the cannons, men!"
"Johnson! In case you haven't noticed, you're nothing but a skull, plus...I'm the captain here."
"My apologies, Captain...?"
- ―Sam Johnson's skull and Jack Sparrow
Sam Johnson was a pirate who served as Francis Drake's first mate during the late 16th century. When he attempted to betray his captain, he was killed and his corpse was left to rot on Isla Cueva, but his skull ended up in possession of the Spanish.
- "Stupid Sparrow! Why do you think my bones are so dark? It's because I betrayed Drake!"
- ―Sam Johnson to Jack Sparrow
It is unknown how and why Johnson became a pirate. However, at some point during the second half of the 16th century, Johnson joined Francis Drake's crew, participating in his operations against the Spanish in the Caribbean. Johnson was capable enough to become Drake's first mate.
When Drake discovered Isla Cueva, a rocky island in the Caribbean Sea, he decided to hide his treasure there. Among the treasure were two magical stones, one purple that protects from curses, and the other white that brings fortune and eternal glory. Drake's men transported the treasure to the grotto deep inside the island, and put several traps on the way to it. Greedy and thirsting for power, Johnson attempted to betray Drake so he could take his place and keep the treasure for himself. However, Johnson's attempt failed, and he ended up dead and beheaded. His corpse was left to rot in the treasure cavern, but Drake's men took Johnson's head with them. Because of his betrayal, Johnson's bones magically became black just like his soul.
Return from the dead
- "Don't forget the deal, Jack... You must rejoin me with my skeleton that's buried with the treasure!"
"Not until I get what I came for, Johnson..."
- ―Sam Johnson's skull and Jack Sparrow
More than a century after his death, Johnson's black skull ended up in possession of the Spanish. A small piece of the skull was owned by the Spanish officer on Providence Island, but the rest of it was taken aboard the Spanish galleon that sank somewhere in the Caribbean. In the 1740s, the notorious pirate Captain Jack Sparrow stole the piece of the skull on Providence, and went to the Voodoo priestess Tia Dalma, who explained him what that black piece was.
After some time, Jack found the rest of the skull, and took it to his cabin aboard the Black Pearl. However, when Joshamee Gibbs inserted the last piece into the skull, he turned to stone, and the skull came to life. Jack then made a deal with the talking skull, he would reunite it with the rest of the skeleton if the skull showed him the way to Drake's treasure and explains how to lift the curse from Gibbs.
A day later, the Black Pearl arrived to Isla Cueva, and the crew came ashore. Cotton took Johnson's skull and carried it through the tunnel, but one trap which Johnson forgot about almost killed them. When they entered the treasure cavern, Johnson warned Jack that he can take only one of the magical stones, unless he wants the ceiling to collapse. As he took the purple stone, Jack told Cotton to attach the skull back to its skeleton.
Complete once again, Johnson attacked Jack and explained that he attempted to betray Drake. Now he intended to kill Jack and take control of the Black Pearl. But Jack knocked him and trapped him inside one of the treasure chests. Jack then broke one of his skeletal fingers so he could give it to Tia Dalma as a payment, and told his men to take as much treasure as they can carry. Johnson then freed himself and took the white stone, causing the cavern to start collapsing. However, Jack and his men managed to escape in time, but without the treasure. Johnson's further fate is unknown.
Behind the scenes
- It is possible that Sam Johnson's living skull is a reference to the talking skull from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.