✅ Variations Between Releases

What’s the difference between Dark Water and Pirates of Dark Water?

When the show first debuted in 1991, only episodes 1-5 were shown, under the title Dark Water. Some of the major differences:

  • Niddler was voiced by Roddy McDowall, for a more serious and wry characterization
  • Different opening sequence
  • Different editing, some moments cut out or left in that differed from the later releases (1992 onward)

Here’s a list of many of the changes, based off YTV’s airing of the Dark Water miniseries and Cartoon Network’s airing of the Pirates of Dark Water series.

The Quest

 Dark WaterPirates of Dark Water
Opening sceneThe sky in the opening shot is reddish-black.The sky in the opening shot is reddish-orange. This was likely changed for consistency, as this is the color of the sky in subsequent moments.
Octopon: Ren at the top of the lighthouseJust before the wave rears up and crashes through the window and throws him back, a wisp of white cloud flashes quickly across the window.There isn’t any wisp of cloud before the wave hits the lighthouse.
Maelstrom: Brigmaster’s deathBloth lets go of the brigmaster and he falls down into the constrictus pit. The camera changes to look up from within the pit. There’s a “clipped” (first part is cut off) sound effect of the constructus roaring as Bloth shouts, “Eat well, my pet!” with the brigmaster’s hat floating through the air.

(NOTE: I’d conjectured that this could have also been an editorial choice made by the TV station this aired on. This edit aired on YTV. But do individual channels actually censor their own copies of TV shows?)
Bloth lets go of the brigmaster and he falls down into the constrictus pit. The camera changes to look up from within the pit. The man is falling into the pit (towards the camera), screaming, as the constrictus starts roaring, and then Bloth shouts, “Eat well, my pet!” with the brigmaster’s hat floating through the air.

(This edit aired on Cartoon Network.)
Octopon: Niddler abducting RenJust after Jenna shouts, “Ren!”, Niddler is squawking/hissing.At the same spot, Niddler’s squawking/hissing is cut back considerably. It’s cut off abruptly just before Jenna calls out after them.
Maelstrom: Ren and Konk on the deckAfter Ren and Konk play their brief game of “peek-a-boo,” the sound effects of Konk and his axe hitting the mast and rope don’t line up with the actual impacts.The sounds and actions are aligned properly.
Maelstrom: Crow’s nestAfter the nycra (acidic octopus-like creatures) dissolve through the mast and it starts to fall, its motion freezes in midair once Niddler grabs Ren.As Ren falls and Niddler grabs him, the crow’s nest topples (though it still moves a bit too slowly and there’s no sound of impact).
Going to the Abbey of Galdebar: “That doesn’t sound very appetizing…”This line happens while Niddler’s musing over the name “Galdebar,” while carrying Ren away from the Maelstrom. The sound and the images don’t line up.The dialogue and animation are aligned properly.
Abbey of Galdebar: Pirates in the AbbeyIn addition to standard sound effects, there’s a repeating audio track of random shouts (“Over there!” “Get him!” “Down here!” “That’s him!”) as the pirates break through the wall into Alomar’s chamber and run down the stairs.The shouts are taken out: the pirates are (eerily) silent as they run into the chamber. The standard sound effects of their footfalls are still there.
Abbey of Galdebar: Ren kicking the pirates away from AlomarRen does a sideways jump/kick to knock a bunch of pirates away from Alomar. There’s no sound to go with this impact.There’s a proper sound effect to accompany this now.
Abbey of Galdebar: Alomar’s last momentsHe lies still for a moment before Ren reaches his side. Then Alomar coughs, says his line, and dies, and Ren leans forward, startled.The first thing we see is Alomar’s cough. After he says his line and dies, Ren blurts, “No!” (they time it with when he leans forward, but Ren’s mouth doesn’t move), and bows his head, and then looks up as Bloth says, “Fifty gold pieces to take the boy’s life!”
Abbey of Galdebar: Niddler and the archerNiddler attacks the archer who was about to shoot a fire-arrow at Ren, and the archer grabs him and tosses him aside. He doesn’t make a sound when he’s thrown.Niddler squawks as he’s thrown aside.
Abbey of Galdebar: “Now’s our chance! Come on!”After dumping the fire-archer in the bubbling pool, Ren says, “Niddler! Now’s our chance! Come on!” Niddler responds with a harassed-sounding, “I can’t!” Then, when we see that Bloth has him by the neck, his tone changes/rises very abruptly as he begins to beg, “Please, Bloth!”After dumping the fire-archer into the pool, Ren says, “Now’s our chance! Come on!” without Niddler’s name. Niddler whimpers, “I can’t just yet!” This tone of voice matches his begging tone in the next scene (which he begins with, “Oh, please, Bloth…”).
Janda-Town: Learning that they just stole the WraithRen blurts, “What?” Then Niddler blurts, “What?”Ren blurts, “What?” Then Niddler squawks.
Dragon’s Maw: “We need less sail.”Tula reveals herself aboard the Wraith while the Maelstrom is still giving pursuit at the Dragon’s Maw. Then Tula suddenly declares this, and it feels a bit random because the context isn’t clear.Just before this line, Ren says, “We must slow the Wraith,” which explains why Tula took action, and which makes her immediate response and knowledge of sailing all the more impressive.
Dragon’s Maw: The First Treasure of RuleBloth’s fireball destroys the pinnacle where Niddler’s trying to free the First Treasure of Rule. Ren shouts, “Niddler!” We see the pinnacle with the top completely gone, and there’s a quick fade-out/fade-in. We then see Ren and Tula staring ahead in shock, and they spin around abruptly upon hearing Bloth roar, “Boy!”After Ren shouts and we see the destroyed pinnacle, there’s no fade-in/fade-out. While Ren’s staring ahead in shock, Tula’s looking at Ren, and she begins to move forward and open her mouth to say something, but Bloth’s shout causes them both to spin around.
Dragon’s Maw: Niddler with the First TreasureBloth jeers that Ren failing to collect the First Treasure is his victory. Then Ren, Ioz, and Tula look down at Niddler, and he opens his mouth silently to reveal that he’s holding the First Treasure there.When Niddler opens his mouth, he lets out a muffled, “Ha!”

Dishonor

 Dark WaterPirates of Dark Water
Atani Island: Ioz, shot with an arrowAs Ioz is revealing that the arrow actually hit a golden goblet he had hidden underneath his robe, he calmly and congenially says, “It’s nothing, really…” He opens his robe and shows the punctured goblet. “Just a flesh wound.”Ioz only says, “Just a flesh wound.”
Atani Island: Ren cutting down the Wraith’s sail(This is Ren’s way of halting the Wraith during the ship chase.) Ioz and Tula look startled when Ren cuts the sail down.Somebody (Ioz?) says, “Ren!” as it happens, though nobody’s lips are moving.
The Cut SceneAfter Bloth snarls, “Make speed, you slugs! They’re getting away!”, there’s a full scene that follows.The episode ends with Bloth snarling the above line.

Break-Up

 Dark WaterPirates of Dark Water
In pursuit of Konk's scout ship:Ioz says Konk has more fat between his ears than around his waist. Ren then says, "He'd sink his own ship before giving up the Compass and the First Treasure."Ren says, "That Konk," before the rest of his line. (A moment of clarifying dialogue, presumably to ensure that we know he's talking about Konk and not Ioz.)
The first appearance of Dark Water:It's black and orange. Its appearance and motion make it not seem like a true menace. However, this ties in with the appearance of the "orange globule" of Dark Water that swallows a guard near the end of the episode.It's black and grey, making it feel more ominous. But in one moment, it's still orange-colored.
"Ioz, snap out of it! Look to the riggings!"Ren shouts this at Ioz right after they notice the Dark Water. Then we see Ioz on his hands and knees, angled toward the left, staring in horror at the Dark Water...except that his bum is sort of up in the air and facing the "camera."Ioz's body is facing forward, but he's up on his knees and looking to the right instead. (He's facing left in the next scene, though, so this was a mistake.)
"There are other Treasures! Stop before it's too late!"This is when Niddler is clinging to Ren's arm and begging him to not go to Pandawa. Ren looks at him, and the view zooms in so we only see their heads and shoulders.Ren looks down at Niddler, but he turns away and looks up and ahead again. The view remains zoomed out the whole time.
"Konk is full of surprises!"Konk chortles this as Ren and his friends are giving pursuit through the streets of Pandawa. This is when he unscrews his pegleg and throws it at them, and it has a little sharp-bladed propellor on it.Konk also adds, "Eh, Ren?" and an extra chuckle onto the end of this line. (It's one of several moments of clarifying dialogue.)
Ren trying to help the monkeybird Queen:The bystanders are shouting at him--"Fool!" "You won't live long on Pandawa!" "Slave-lover!" Their voices are muted so that when Ioz interrupts them and shouts for Ren a moment later, his voice comes through more clearly.All the voices are normal volume.
Ren apologizing to Ioz:As the two of them and Niddler walk up, a humanoid character goes in the opposite direction, closer to the viewer. They have a very distracting appearance: a strange face, very exaggerated features, and a really bouncy gait.The character is replaced with a much more nondescript man that doesn't distract from the main cast.
Cornering Konk in the alley:Konk and the Lugg Brothers spin around and see Ren and his friends coming, and he blurts, "Noy Jitat!"They spin around, and Konk doesn't say anything.
Niddler cheering over their escape:After they get away from the Securitat and the slaver guards, Niddler stands on top of the building and shouts, "And that's just the beginning, you...dunder-mullets!" (He says this in such a way as if he's looking for exactly the right phrase to describe them.) "And if you want more, we'd be happy to--" Then Ren grabs him and drags him offscreen, and Niddler squawks.Niddler says, "dundered mullets," two words, with no hesitation. And when Ren grabs him, he hisses, "This isn't the time, Niddler--not now!"
The Wraith's been stolen:Ioz fumes, "Some thief's stolen her!" Ren retorts, "Takes one to know one, eh, Ioz?" Ioz's eyebrows shoot up and his mouth becomes an O. It's a kind of silly and out-of-character facial expression.Ioz just lifts an eyebrow and gives Ren an affronted frown. It fits his character much better while still retaining the humor of the moment.
"We stay together as a group now, or we end it. Choose."Ren asks the others whether or not they'll stay to help the monkeybird rebels, and Niddler states, "I'm staying."Niddler says, "Well, I'm staying."

Betrayal & Victory

Coming soon…

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