From Academic Kids

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LeChuck in the beginning of The Curse of Monkey Island, in his zombie-pirate form

The pirate LeChuck is the main villain appearing in the Monkey Island series of computer adventure games produced by LucasArts.

Undead throughout the series, LeChuck has a different form in each of the first three games (ghost-pirate, zombie-pirate, and demon-pirate), and in the fourth and latest game he could transform at will between the three forms (including an illusory normal human form). Like many villains, he is in love with the heroine, Elaine Marley, and has gone to great lengths to force her to marry him.


LeChuck's origins

Like that of many characters in the series, LeChuck's history in the time period before the games take place is quite vague in some areas and even contradicts itself between games at times.

"Original" history from The Secret of Monkey Island

His origin as explained in the first game is relatively clear. When still alive, LeChuck was a fearsome, bloodthirsty pirate. He fell in love with Governor Elaine Marley after being invited to the governor's mansion (at the time, it was fairly common practice, although it is since unheard of). She rebuffed his advances, telling him to "drop dead"; he took the advice quite literally and did so, by searching for the legendary Secret of dangerous Monkey Island. The grave could not contain his black spirit and love for Elaine, however, and his ghost continued to haunt the seas and bedevil the governor. Her continual spurning of his love drives him to pillage and destroy.

"Revised" history

Even this relatively straightforward story becomes very complicated in the later games. An elaborate series of explanations in the final two games attempts to retcon several plot inconsistencies via an incredibly convoluted revision of LeChuck's original back-story.

In the "new" version, a still-living LeChuck decided to win Elaine's affections by locating the mythical treasure known as Big Whoop. At the time, Elaine's own grandfather, Horatio Torquemada Marley, was part of a group of four also looking for this treasure.

LeChuck was briefly stranded on Blood Island, but escaped by marrying local dowager Minnie "Stronnie" Goodsoup. LeChuck stole her family heirloom wedding ring containing an enormous diamond, which he used to purchase a new ship. He managed to reach Dinky Island (or possibly Monkey Island; the games are particularly vague on this point) ahead of Horatio Marley and uncovered Big Whoop. The evil pirate found, however, that Big Whoop was in fact a gateway to Hell, which transformed him and his crew into ghosts as they passed through it.

Rather than a setback, LeChuck saw this as an advantage: he could use Big Whoop to create a vast army of undead soldiers to do his bidding. To ensure that nobody else would find Big Whoop, he killed the other three members of Marley's crew. LeChuck enlisted Ozzie Mandrill to kill Horatio as well, but Marley was drawn into a mysterious whirlpool that ironically stranded him for years on Monkey Island, stricken with amnesia.

Over the next twenty years or so, LeChuck periodically raided Mle Island, keeping the Tri-Island Area gripped in a state of fear. Strangely enough, this failed to win Elaine's heart. (Note that ironically enough, this convoluted story introduces its own major continuity error: through the four games, Elaine appears to be in her mid-twenties or perhaps early thirties at most. Either LeChuck fell in love with her when she was a small child and too young to be governor, or she is much older than she appears to be.)

Appearances in the series

The Secret of Monkey Island

When the series' protagonist, Guybrush Threepwood, proved a slightly less repulsive suitor, LeChuck kidnapped Elaine and attempted to force her to marry him. The resourceful Elaine escaped and set a trap for the ghost pirate, which was ruined when Guybrush burst into the wedding chapel to "rescue" her. Guybrush managed to destroy LeChuck by spraying him with root beer, which is inexplicably fatal to ghosts.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

LeChuck's former right-hand man, Largo LaGrande, resurrected the pirate as a zombie. Slightly less interested in Elaine, LeChuck instead focused his attention on exacting revenge on Guybrush Threepwood. He cast a hypnotic spell over Threepwood, claiming that they were brothers (in a parody of The Empire Strikes Back) and imprisoning him in "The Carnival of the Damned", a sinister amusement park. The ending of MI2 has been the subject of extensive debate among fans of the series; its ambiguity and surrealism have caused many arguments over what should be considered canon and what should not.

The Curse of Monkey Island

In the third game's opening, LeChuck has resumed his psychotic courtship of Elaine by bombarding her fortress with cannon fire. The zombie pirate is either unaware or too busy to care that Guybrush has somehow escaped the Carnival; but the bumbling hero accidentally causes LeChuck to drop his ultimate weapon, a powerful voodoo cannonball. The weapon explodes, destroying both LeChuck's ship and his reanimated form. The arcane magic released in the destruction, however, transformed him into a demon pirate with a fiery beard and more power than ever.

CMI was the first game to significantly alter LeChuck's past. In an effort to explain the strange ending of MI2, Big Whoop was revealed as an opening to Hell. LeChuck kidnaps both Elaine and Guybrush, intending to transform them both into undead creatures: Elaine as LeChuck's bride and Guybrush as a soldier under his command. Again, the object of his affections escapes his clutches easily while the half-witted Guybrush manages to bury him beneath a mountain of snow and ice in his own Carnival. (A scene in the game's closing credits depicts a father telling his son that the park's founder is frozen deep underground; this is a joking reference to the urban legend that Walt Disney is cryonically frozen somewhere beneath one of his theme parks.)

Escape from Monkey Island

As villains do, LeChuck turned up once more in the fourth game. (How he escaped his imprisonment is left unexplained; however, fans have proposed two possibly scenarios. Either his newly introduced ally Mandrill rescued him, or his flaming beard eventually melted the snow.) The demon pirate has now joined forces with Ozzie Mandrill, an unpleasant, diminuitive Australian developer with an intense hatred of pirates. LeChuck agrees to help Mandrill find the Ultimate Insult, a voodoo talisman of incredible power capable of pulverizing a pirate's spirit; in exchange, Mandrill will give Elaine Marley to LeChuck after the Insult has broken her will.

To further aid Ozzie's plan to gentrify the pirate-infested Caribbean, LeChuck takes on a human guise as Charles L. Charles. In this form, he runs for governor of the Tri-Island Area against Elaine. In a bit of political humor, "Charles" continues to lead in the polls even after he is unmasked as the undead pirate; the public is too entranced by his improbable campaign promises to care.

Inevitably, Ozzie double-crosses LeChuck and enslaves him using the power of the Insult. Animating a huge statue of "Charles", Mandrill begins his assault on piracy until Guybrush defeats him using a giant monkey robot. The power of the Insult falters momentarily, releasing LeChuck; the understandably angry pirate crushes the traitor with the statue. The Ultimate Insult, which Ozzie was holding, explodes and LeChuck is hurled to parts unknown.


The "Le" prefix in LeChuck's name may be a reference to famous buccaneer Jean Lafitte. The "Chuck" portion reportedly comes from LucasFilm general manager Steve Arnold, who told designer Ron Gilbert that he really liked the name Chuck and would like to see it appear in more games. [1] (http://www.worldofmi.com/features/trivia/trivia.php?game=MI1&s=1)

In each game (except for EMI), LeChuck takes an arguably more powerful form than the last - from ghost to zombie to demon. If a fifth Monkey Island game is made, many fans wonder if this tradition will be reinstated. It does present the apparent problem, however, of where to progress from demonhood.

LeChuck's voice was provided by Earl Boen in both The Curse of Monkey Island and Escape from Monkey Island. (The first two games did not feature character voices.)

Although CMI claimed that LeChuck was transformed into a ghost by passing through Big Whoop, he apparently finds a way to change its effect. Later in the game, the portal seems to convert people instantly to animated skeletons.


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