Rise of the Guardians Wiki
Rise of the Guardians Wiki
Pitch Black Relationship Quotes

You didn't expect me to stay
in the dark forever... did you?


Pitch Black, the Nightmare King, is the Rise of the Guardians' re-imagining of the Boogeyman, the mythical creature that haunts the closets and dark corners of childhood nightmares and the main antagonist of the film.

He is voiced by Jude Law.

Physical Appearance

Pitch is tall, lithe and dark in appearance. He has silver-golden yellow eyes resembling an eclipse, dull pale-gray skin and glossy black hair that is styled to come out as slick, sharp spikes from the back of his head.

He wears a long, black robe with a v-neck line and shadows running down his arms, obscuring his body like a shadow. Underneath the robe, he wears black trousers and black footwear.


Pitch is everything a child fears, and he thrives on the fear of children, taking a cruel delight in turning their pleasant dreams into nightmares. But what Pitch hates is when children overcome their fears and don't believe in him, particularly when parents tell their kids that the Boogeyman is just a bad dream.

As such, he is hatefully jealous of the Guardians, who are believed in and beloved by children everywhere. Eventually, his hate and jealousy would convince him to undertake a conspiring vendetta against the Guardians and destroy the children's beliefs in them, and he could usher in another Dark Age.

Being a master manipulator, Pitch often preyed on his victims psychologically. His knowledge of people's worst fears allowed him to unnerve his enemies and enjoyed watching them squirm, often leaving their fates to their imagination through thinly-veiled threats before finishing them off. With these abilities he was able to draw Jack from the other Guardians despite being the most powerful against him and distract him long enough by exploiting his worst fear of being forgotten and give his Nightmares time to destroy Easter. This behaviour is evident towards the Guardians due to his deep jealousy toward them. At the Tooth Palace instead of immediately finishing them off, he only gloats and insults them individually by rendering their purposes moot.

As displayed multiple times, Pitch has a perverse level of pleasure from playfully tormenting with his victims in an almost animal-like fashion; these traits are exhibited when he turned Cupcake's dream into a Nightmare, overlooking Sandman's "death" and his behaviour before his attempt to kill Jaime. Pitch also considers his rivalry with the Guardians to be enjoyable as he reacted with excitement when he found another who shared this viewpoint, exclaiming "someone who knows to have a little fun" when Jack was able to challenge him with his magic.

Despite his cruel nature, Pitch has a sympathetic side. Years of loneliness caused him to find a degree of solace within Jack Frost another person who wasn't believed in and admits that he understands being cast out like Jack when he was isolated in the North Pole and consoles that he does indeed long for a family. However, as Jack points out Pitch only wants to be feared rather than loved or believed in and this becomes his undoing as his own nightmares defeat him when his worst fear of not being feared comes true.

However, he is still full of contempt and spite, as he targets Jack, at first to use and manipulate him, then to try to recruit him. Pitch then tried to depower (and kill) him when Jack refused to side with him.

Rise of the Guardians

Pitch first appeared as a shadow after his black sand swirled around North's globe of the Earth. North, fearing that the Nightmare King had returned, assembled the Guardians. The Man in the Moon, also knowing about Pitch's return, chooses Jack Frost as the new Guardian. While Jack was taken to the North Pole to discuss being chosen as the new Guardian and the return of Pitch, Pitch is seen in Cupcake's bedroom enjoying her dream about a unicorn. He smiled and said that it just needed a touch of fear. He touched the Sandman's sand, corrupting the dream into one of his Onyx (Nightmare Horses). He then instructed the Nightmare horse to inform the others that "the wait was over".

Pitch was later seen talking to the moon, referring the Moon as an 'old friend' and stating that the Man in the Moon should have seen it coming. He then asked the Moon if his Guardians were ready.

Pitch later decided to kidnap all of Tooth's Mini Fairies and take the tooth box of every child on Earth. The Guardians arrive to help Tooth battle Pitch, but was seen to have the upper hand by teleporting and avoiding their attacks. He then saw Jack and asked him if he'd been recently hanging with Guardians (in which Jack replied no). Pitch teased that Jack was just a neutral party, and thus decided to ignore him. Tooth tried to attack Pitch again, but a Nightmare Horse suddenly appeared, frightening her. After calming his Nightmare down, Pitch sardonically warned the Guardians not to be nervous, as the Nightmares had the power to "smell fear". Tooth felt that she was getting weaker and that the kids weren't believing in her anymore. When Jack asked what was happening (he was very new to the Guardians' business), Pitch explained that if enough children stop believing in any of the Guardians, they'll slowly wither away. The Guardians attempted to attack Pitch, but he escaped on his Nightmare before they could make a move.

The Guardians decided to retrieve the teeth themselves without the Mini Fairies' help. Pitch learned of this through one of his Nightmares and decided to get rid of the Sandman once and for all. Pitch sent two Nightmares after the Guardians, and while they spied on them, Jack noticed the Nightmares and immediately charged after. Sandman followed as well. Pitch sees Jack once again, sneering and remarking about how Jack was around the Guardians too much for a neutral party. Jack replied that he made it his battle after he stole the teeth from Tooth's Palace. Sandy appeared behind Pitch and the two started to battle, with Sandy quickly seizing the upper hand. Seemingly overpowered, Pitch begged for forgiveness, but then ordered all of his Nightmares to attack the two. Hundreds of Nightmares then surrounded Jack and Sandy and they tried to battle them. Sandy grabbed Jack and flew to the sky. In the sky, Pitch took the opportunity of Sandy being distracted and shot him with an arrow made of black sand.

Sandy, hurt by Pitch's arrow, turns into a nightmare and Pitch took delight in that. Jack, furious, charged at Pitch and Pitch send a handful of Nightmare his way, but to his surprise, Jack destroy them all with amazing force. Pitch then decide that Jack must go next.

When Jack was taking Sophie back home, Pitch used Jack's Tooth Box to lured him to his lair. In there, Pitch used Jack's fear of not being believed in to distract him while his Nightmare destroy Easter and he kidnapped Baby Tooth. After his plans are completed, he gave Jack his Tooth Box knowing the Guardians will not trust him again.

Later, Pitch appeared again to recruit Jack and took delight when his black sand and Jack's ice created a sculpture when they clashed. Pitch tried to be a friend to Jack and get Jack to join him in creating a world that is all Pitch Black and Jack Frost. Jack turned it down by saying he doesn't want to live in a world they fear him and to leave him alone. Angered by his refusal, Pitch revealed to Jack that he had Baby Tooth and he would trade her for his staff. Jack reluctantly gave Pitch his staff and asked for Baby Tooth, but Pitch replied no since he told him that he wanted to be alone. Baby Tooth then bit Pitch, which resulted him throwing her away and breaking Jack's staff. Pitch disappeared after leaving Jack with a broken staff and no way of returning back and get in the way.

Pitch appeared one more time in North's Workshop, where he tells the Yetis that they can stop making toys since Christmas is forever gone, but when he realized there was one light still glowing, he decided to go find the kid, Jamie, and stop him from believing in the Guardians so his plan could be accomplished.

He arrive to Burgess where he was surprised to see Jack again. Jack tried to beat him, but he soon realizes that Pitch was stronger. After Pitch defeated Jack in their sky battle and fell to Earth, Pitch took delight at seeing the Guardians in their weak state and soon he surrounded them in an alley. Pitch asked Jamie if he believed in the boogeyman, but before he could finish, Jack threw a snowball at Pitch's face, giving the Guardians enough time to escape with Jamie and recruit his friends.

The Guardians said they will protect the kids which Pitch replied but "who's going to protect them?" Jamie said he will protect the Guardians and his friends soon joined him. Pitch send his Nightmare horses at the kids but they were turned into Dreamsand making the Guardians get the energy to battle Pitch. Pitch tried to battle the Guardians, but was soon cornered. He disappeared and then reappeared behind Jack, trying to kill him once and for all, but to his surprise and the Guardians' also, Sandy was revived by Jamie and his friends.

Pitch was knocked out thanks to Sandy and when he woke up, he saw them having fun. Trying to stop them from having fun, he went after Jamie, but to his shock and fear, Jamie was not scared of him and was able to go through him. Defeated and terrified, Pitch attempted to flee back to his lair, but was confronted by the Guardians one last time. Pitch noticed that the remaining Nightmares were nearby and assumed that they were there to support him, since they sought out people who felt fear. But to his horror, they were really there for him as he was afraid and the Guardians weren't. The Nightmares then attacked Pitch and took him back to his lair.

The Guardians of Childhood

The Rise and Fall of Pitch

Before Pitch became the Nightmare King, he was once a hero of the Golden Age named Kozmotis Pitchiner. He had led the Golden Armies in capturing the Fearlings and their ilk, then volunteered to guard the prison planet they had been imprisoned in. He kept vigil for years, forced to listen to the prisoners' constant whispering and pleading.

Pitch, as portrayed in the books.

His only solace was thinking of his daughter, of whom he kept a photograph of in a locket. But one day, sensing his weakness, the prisoners imitated her voice and hypnotized Kozmotis to believe she was being held inside with them. Frantic, he opened the doors to release her, but was instead possessed by ten thousand Fearlings, transforming him into Pitch, the Nightmare King.[11] [12]

His mind and heart had been so twisted with thoughts of vengeance, he sought to destroy the Golden Age by turning all good dreams into nightmares. He plundered planets, extinguished stars and stole every dream he came across, leaving only misery and despair in his wake. Among those he destroyed were the homeworld of the Lunar Lamas and the Pooka Brotherhood, though the latter battle was the only conflict he almost lost. He hungered for children's dreams the most, since they were pure of heart, and even turned some children into Fearlings. But he had planned a different fate for the Lunanoff Prince, who never had a nightmare: Pitch would turn the infant into his Prince of Nightmares. To flee from him, the Lunanoff family set sail for Earth but he managed to track them down,[13] only to be defeated by Nightlight, the prince's guardian, in a huge explosion. Pitch and Nightlight vanished without a trace, but the Man in the Moon's parents were killed instantaneously.[14] [15]

Pitch Returns

For countless centuries Pitch was imprisoned in a cave near the small village of Tanglewood, pierced through the heart by Nightlight's diamond-like dagger. Nightlight, too, had been trapped within Pitch's dark, cold heart all that time until an unsuspecting Moonbeam released them both from their confinement. Pitch decided he would exact his vengeance on those who had imprisoned him by turning every child on Earth's dreams into nightmares.[16]

One of his targets was the village of Santoff Claussen, where he found children who had never experienced fears or bad dreams. While possessing their Bear in an attempt to attack them, Nicholas St. North killed the Bear to stop him. Pitch was forced out, but dissolved in the morning light before he could do more.[17]

Pitch's Battle at the Himalayas

Pitch later appeared in Santoff Claussen again in the form of a black spider and entered North's Djinni through its ear and possessed it. With the Djinni under his control, he went through Ombric's books of enslavement. Using the Djinni, he was with Ombric and North to the Himalayas and hesitated in doing an order for Ombric and attacked North. Before Ombric can cast a spell, Pitch uses a spell of enslavement to turn North and Ombric into dolls. He tried to used them to find the object they were searching for, but he was stopped by Katherine and Nightlight, who took the dolls away and hid in a cave. Pitch managed to find Katherine and took North away and told Katherine that she was going to be his Darkling Princess and wanted to hear one more scream before he could transform her. Though his Fearling broke the figurine of North, Katherine was able to bring him back with her belief. When Pitch tried to attack North with the Djinni, he finds out that the Djinni is programmed that it will not harm its friends. Realizing that he was defeated, Pitch decided to retreat for now and took the Djinni with him, saying that it suited him.

The Battle at the Earth's Core

Pitch came back to Santoff Claussen for Ombric's magic library. He transformed the Spirit of the Forest, Petrov, the animals, and the parents into dolls. He came to where the children were talking with Mr. Querty and tried to take the library, but Nightlight used a flash of light to distract Pitch long enough for Mr. Querty to devour the entire library and hide in Nightlight's vest. Pitch weakens Nightlight with a weapon made of lead and breaks Nightlight's diamond dagger and captures him and the children and uses them as ransom for the library.

After taking the children to the Earth's core, he tries to scare the children and Nightlight by threatening to turn him into a Darkling Prince and Katherine into his Darkling Princess. However, Nightlight was not intimidated by Pitch's threats and Pitch grabs at his head, but a flash of light occurred and changed Pitch's hand into human-like flesh color. Calmly, he placed Nightlight into a lead prison and locked the children away, while his fearlings were fashioning armor and weapons made of lead, so they travel in the sunlight. When he sensed North and Katherine entering the Earth's core, he sent his Fearlings to capture and bring Katherine to him. After Katherine was brought to him, Pitch heard the sound of a Pookan War Cry and quickly took Katherine to be imprisoned with the other children. Ombric transported a false library of spellbooks to Pitch and he started reading, thinking that they were real. Pitch sees North enter the room he is in with Tsar Lunar's sword and inquired where he got it from it was a sword for a king, not for a thief. He was going to release the children, according to his deal, but wanted to test the spells to see if the books were real and when he was saying the words of the spells, nothing was happening. Afterwards, Pitch realized that he was tricked and ordered his Fearlings to attack. There was quite a fight and he was able to stab North in the side with his sword. Then, the prison where Katherine and Nightlight were held, exploded and they came at him. Nightlight stopped short of attacking Pitch, allowing Katherine to show Pitch the locket containing his daughter's picture. When Pitch saw the locket, he stared at it and with his flesh-colored hand, he seized it, and emitted a inhuman scream, and then disappeared.

Battle at Punjam Hy Loo

Between the time after the Battle of the Earth's Core and when he faces them again, Pitch deals with the fact that his right arm was becoming more flesh-colored from the locket that seemingly fused to his fingers and tried to find a way to remove his humanity forever.

Powers and Abilities

Pitch can create weapons with his Black Sand.

Darkness came in the shifting of a villain named Pitch. The dreams he hungered for most were those of children, the pure of heart. He could sense children from seven planets off, and with a mere touch of his hands, he could leave them plagued with nightmares for the rest of their lives.

—William Joyce [18]

Powers of Shadow and Darkness

Pitch has various shadow powers, such as traversing great distances through shadows and darkness; he can literally become a shadow, and affect the physical world by interacting with other shadows.

While literally hiding in the darkness, he can't be touched or seen unless he deliberately makes his presence known. As darkness is everywhere, Pitch can appear from any shadow or dark corner almost instantly. This is why he hides under beds, because beds are always dark underneath.

Powers of Fear and Nightmares

He can create Nightmares shaped as black horses with glowing golden eyes; they are manifestations of fear or corrupted pleasant dreams pulled from the mind of a sleeping child for Pitch to control.

Pitch thrives on Fear, primarily the fear of children, but back in his day, during the Dark Ages, he fed on everyone's fears, which made him incredibly powerful. He appears to have an intuition and power of insight on personal fears, enabling him to determine what any individual fears, which he uses to play mind games or break one's spirits. He claims to always know people's greatest fears.

Black Sand

Pitch has his own version of the Sandman's Dreamsand, but Pitch's sand is black and induces bad dreams. He can corrupt Sandy's Dreamsand as well as any pleasant dream a child is having, turning those dreams themselves into Nightmares. Pitch also has the ability to morph his black sand into weapons such as a scythe or a bow and arrow.

According to Pitch, it took him "a while" to perfect his Black Sand for the purpose of turning Dreams into Nightmares.


The Guardians of Childhood

Picture books

Chapter books

Rise of the Guardians




Video Games

Creation and Conception

The first time we meet Pitch, he’s about to begin his operation to destroy the Guardians by ending all belief in them. “He’s tall, thin, elegant,” Ramsey says, “dressed all in black in a formless robe like a priest’s cassock. He has a thin, narrow face with gray skin and piercing yellow eyes. The idea is that fear can be indistinct. He moves in and out of shadows.”

Finding a suitable performance and setting the personality for the shadowy villain was difficult. “When films have a villain, the animation can become a cliché,” Hordos says. “People tell children not to believe in the boogeyman, and if no one believes in him, he will die. Pitch’s motivation is life. And, he’s found out that fear is more powerful than belief. But, he needs to have people trust him so they don’t fight him as he does his bad deeds.

How do you get that across in animation? We played him very sincere. He scares children in the most genuine way he can.”

Although Pitch looks like a man, we rarely see his legs. His long coat disappears into the shadows. “He almost glides,” Hordos says. “Super cool. You don’t feel him walking with the weight of a human. Every Guardian has a superpower. He can manipulate shadows.”

Riggers gave animators the ability within the studio’s EMO animation system to control the effect of Pitch and his shadow. “Animators could move Pitch using a full-3D rig as usual,” Prescott says, “but we had a light in the scene, so they could set up his shadow. And then we had that exact thing work seamlessly with our lighting tool so the shadows were correct. It was a challenge for the animators. They’d animate the 3D character but see only a silhouette, so sometimes they’d lose the emotion. It was almost like drawing shadows in traditional animation. It was fun watching animators and the heads of lighting banding together to find creative solutions.”

Pitch is black to Jack’s white; the nightmare opposite of Sandy’s sunny dreams. In fact, Pitch pollutes Sandy’s dreams and converts them into nightmares.

“That’s a big effect and a pivotal story point,” Prescott says. “Yancy [Lindquist, head of effects] was essential in coming up with the nightmare design. We didn’t just want to color the sand black. We wanted it to move differently, yet keep that contact with the dream.”

At Lindquist’s desk one day, they experimented with running one of the dream shots backward, and that sparked an idea: They’d use the same paradigm for the dreams and the nightmares. “Simulation is familiar; you see so much every day,” Prescott says. “And, it’s predictive. But, if you run it backward, you kind of know where it’s going, but you don’t really see that. It gets a little creepy. So, we’d run the internal simulation backward on a path that’s running forward. We used the good sand to generate the bad sand and keep a correlation between the two.”

As with Sandy’s good sand dreams, some of the nightmares took the form of animated hero characters or objects. A crowd team animated others. “The interesting thing was how the crowd and effects teams had to work together to create the nightmares,” Prescott says. “They couldn’t just send animated geometry to rendering; the nightmares had to go to effects to have ribbons and sand effects streaming off, and we needed a fairly automated pipeline for that. We’d run a basic simulation to turn the streaming ribbons into particles and, through various stages, into dust that would flow back into sand.”[19]


Guardians G symbol.png
  • Pitch's signature color is black.
  • Pitch and The Sandman are identical spirits, but one is potentially more lethal than the other.
  • Pitch is more commonly known to children as the Boogeyman.
  • Pitch's lair is in an underground palace accessed through a tunnel under a broken bed, which would refer to the old tale of monsters, like the Boogeyman, hiding under children's beds.
  • Pitch can morph and blend into shadows around him.
  • Pitch is older than the Man in the Moon because he was alive during his father's time.
  • Pitch spreads fear across the world because he wants to be believed in and in a world where only fear exist, he will be believed in.
  • Nightmares come from the fears that live in every heart.
  • Pitch's Nightmares take the shape of black horses which help him accomplish his dark deeds.
  • There is a pun following his Nightmares, as they are described by him as female, and female horses are known as mares.
  • Pitch was on Earth first, he ruled the Dark Ages with fear at a time before the Guardians existed.
  • Pitch hides under children's beds because of his love for scary and dark places.
  • Pitch's eyes resemble an eclipse.
  • According to story Artist Juan Pablo Sans, Pitch's design was heavily inspired by "the Joker for his unusual movements and personality... Hannibal's stare... Gary Oldman's Stansfield in Leon: The Professional... and trying to bring that randomness and aura to Pitch."
  • Pitch's appearance holds a strong resemblance to Dream from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. Ironically, Sandman is one of Dream's alliances.
  • Pitch's appearance, particularly his pale skin, angular face and dark robe, also bears a strong resemblance to Hades from Walt Disney Animation's Hercules.
  • "Pitch doesn’t have a key color or pattern. He’s like a chameleon that blends into the background. We always stage him at night, when he comes out of the dark corners of the rooms." – Patrick Hanenberger, production designer.
  • According to the DVD commentary, Pitch's height changes over the course of the film as he grows in power. In the Antarctic scene with Jack Frost, Pitch is in his "Medium Form", a head taller than Jack himself.
  • During the development of Rise of the Guardians, the designer even toyed with the idea of Pitch and Jack being brothers. [20]
  • According to Sandman, creatures as powerful and mysterious as Pitch or Emily Jane had dreams, but he has no clue what those are like since they both had successfully blocked his effort to read them. [21]
  • According to William Joyce, Pitch is left handed and he keeps his ancient uniform from when he was a hero of the golden age.[22]
  • The Sandman and Jack Frost are the only beings who are able to match against Pitch.
  • According to William Joyce, Pitch may have an army of bats. [23]