- “Look, I am terribly sorry about what's happened to you and I'd like to help but I really need to get home.”
- ―Victor to Emily after hearing about her story and death
Victor Van Dort is the main protagonist of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.
Victor is a handsome young man, with a lanky body and pale complexion.
He has a slim face, big dark brown eyes and short, messy, dark brown (almost black) hair.
He wears a gray suit, buttoned up at his waist, including a brown vest and a short wide icy blue shiny tie plumped to cover his white shirt. His tie appears to be dimmed gray when he is in the room.
Victor is a very shy, and easily startled individual, never being very sure of himself and tending to stammer over his words. He often struggles socially, stuttering when he first met Victoria and stumbling when he tried to recite his vows at the wedding rehearsal. His nervousness led him to ruin the wedding rehearsal and made both his parents and Victoria's parents very upset with him.
Likewise, his first reaction when confronted with Emily is to act like a fool by running away from her for no reason, something which he repeats three times in the Land of the Dead.
Although he occasionally has moments where he puts his foot in his mouth, Victor has very good intentions and a kind heart. Like Emily, Victor also seemingly loves music and has an artistic side.
Victor doesn't lose his temper easily and is truly kind to everyone he meets. Despite being somewhat confused and upset with his sudden marriage to Emily, he still tries to be kind to her and went back to apologize after offending her during their fight, eventually becoming her friend.
After believing Victoria gave him a rebound since he's married why not get married as well? A heartbroken Victor decided to dedicate himself to Emily, even agreeing to give up his life for her, possibly for his own broken heart and also for Emily's happiness. However, despite Victor expressing deep feelings for Emily, he was not in love with her. In fact, it is highly possible that he only agreed to the marriage out of sympathy for Emily’s case. His sympathy for her was stated when he tried to apologize yet explain at the same time to Emily about them being different.
Despite his nervous nature, Victor can be very brave in urgent situations, as seen during his and Emily's wedding ceremony when Lord Barkis interrupted and tried to take Victoria away, causing Victor to fight Lord Barkis with a fork thrown to him by Mrs. Plum, even while Lord Barkis was armed with Bonesaparte's sword.
Victor's family are fish merchants, who recently became "nouveau riches" (meaning that they made a fortune, and seek to integrate the higher circles of society) by inventing canned fish. Victor was unsure of marrying someone he didn’t know until he met the lovely Victoria, the daughter of Finis and Maudeline. He and Victoria fell in love instantly and before they can have their romantic moment, they are called for the wedding rehearsal.
Three hours later, Victor is having cold feet about this rehearsal and accidentally slips of the tongue saying he doesn't want to be married, confusing his new girlfriend. When he’s presented the ring, he accidentally drops it, proving that he’s clumsy and when he goes to pick it up, he accidentally sets his future mother-in-law's dress on fire. Victor is then instructed to "learn [his] vows" by Pastor Galswells.
In the woods, Victor is disappointed that he messed up, but he's determined to be a great groom for his lovely Victoria. He practices his vows and puts Victoria's ring on a twig, but the twig turns out to be a finger for a corpse named Emily, who thinks that Victor is her husband. He tried to escape from her but catches him at the bridge where she kisses him and Victor ends up fainting and wakes up in Land of the Dead. He tried to run away again, but Emily catches onto him and gives him his old dog Scraps as a wedding present.
Wanting to profess his love to Victoria and permanently return to the living world, he convinces Emily that she should meet his parents so they go to Elder Gutknecht for a way to go back up. The only way to go back is to say "Hopscotch". Once there, Victor leaves Emily, who is under the impression that he is preparing his parents to greet him, in the woods so he can head back and talk to Victoria. He confesses that he's in love with her and plans to marry her soon. She admits that she's in love with Victor too and can't wait. Before they can kiss, however, Emily, who had grown tired of waiting and came to see his ‘parents’ for herself, arrives. Victor frantically tries to explain to Victoria about his current ‘marriage’ to Emily, but Emily is instead enraged Victor deceived her and drags him back to the Land of the Dead. Once there, Emily accuses Victor of cheating on her with the ‘other woman,’ while Victor tries to explain that, technically, Emily is the other woman. Emily refuses to listen and backs up her point by reminding him that they are married. Victor once again tries to explain himself by stating that they're too different, even confessing that he would never marry her. However, he quickly realizes his mistake and tries to apologize to Emily, but she leaves heartbroken. Afterwards, Emily laments to her friends about her current status and believes Victor doesn’t love her because she’s dead.
Victor decides to apologize to Emily and becomes her friend by playing the piano with her. Even though Victor is in love with Victoria, he is heartbroken when he learns that she's marrying someone else, unaware that she was being forced into it by her parents and her fiancé is Lord Barkis Bittern. Later, Victor overhears Elder Gutknecht telling Emily that her marriage to Victor isn’t valid due to Emily’s death already parting them, and in order to truly marry each other, Victor must kill himself and join Emily in undead matrimony. Emily falls in despair, knowing she could never ask Victor to give up his life for her. However, still believing Victoria abandoned him, Victor agrees to marry Emily above the Land of the Living and kill himself by drinking a poisoned goblet.
As he does the wedding ceremony, Emily notices Victoria, who escaped her groom and made it to the church, and realizes that she was being selfish with her feelings for Victor and was robbing Victoria of the same happiness she was robbed of many years ago. Victor is confused by Emily’s hesitancy, but before he can notice Victoria, Emily stops him and informs him of how she was a bride, and had her own dreams stolen from her, but now was stealing them from someone else. Victor then notices Victoria, and the two are happily reunited.
Suddenly, Barkis, Victoria's groom comes in and prepares to kill her, but he is identified by Emily as her murderer and ex-fiancé. Victor declares a sword fight with him, though Victor has a fork for a sword, giving Barkis an advantage. Before Victor could be stabbed, Emily stands in front of Barkis and tells him to get out. Victor, Victoria and Emily watch Barkis die from drinking the potion and the Land of the Dead citizens take him away. Barkis’ death then frees Victoria of her marriage to him, leaving her able to marry Victor. Victor, however, despite still loving Victoria, tells Emily he made a promise, but Emily told him he kept it by setting her free.
As a reward, she gives him back Victoria's ring saying that she can do the same for him. Victor smiles, happy that he's marrying Victoria at last. He and Victoria watch Emily turn into a bunch of butterflies and fly into the moonlight.
Powers and Abilities
Like Emily, Victor is a great pianist, being able to play solemn to enthusiastic tones, both alone or along with other pianists. He also is an artist, judging by how well he draws the butterfly at the beginning.
During his fight at the church, Victor proves to be surprisingly competent at avoiding Barkis' thrusts and even lands three separate hits on the man before being disarmed, all this while only having a fork as a weapon.
- "I'm already reeling, Mother. Shouldn't Victoria Everglot be marrying a lord or something?" - To Nell Van Dort about his wedding.
- "Tomorrow we are to be m-m-mmm. . ." - To Victoria on their first meeting.
- "Oh, Victoria. She must think I'm such a fool." - To himself on the bridge, reflecting on the ruined rehearsal.
- "With this candle....I will....oh.... I will set your mother on fire." - To himself in the woods, trying to remember his vows.
- "Ah, Mrs. Everglot. You look ravishing this evening. What's that, Mr. Everglot? Call you "dad"? If you insist, sir. "- To himself while practicing his vows at the forest.
- "I've got a... I've got a dwarf, and I'm not afraid to use him!" - To the dead people after waking up at the Land of the Dead.
- "But I don't even know your name." - To Emily about their marriage.
- "Play dead... Oh, sorry" - To the corpse of his dog Scraps.
- "Mother never approved of Scraps jumping up like this. But then again, she never approved of anything." - To Emily about her mother's character.
- "Don't you understand? You're the other woman." - To Emily after she had accused him of cheating on her with Victoria.
- "It was a mistake, I would never marry you!"- To Emily during their argument.
- "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I lied to you about wanting to see my parents." - To Emily, apologizing for going to see Victoria.
- "I like your enthusiasm." - To Emily after playing the piano with her and while snapping her dancing hand into its place.
- "With this hand I will lift your sorrows. Your cup will never be empty, for I will be your wine. With this candle, I will light your way into darkness. With this ring, I ask you to be mine. - To Emily, first in the woods and later to their wedding"
- "Get away from her!" - To Lord Barkis Bittern after he kidnapped Victoria.
- "Wait! I made a promise." - To Emily at the end of their wedding.
- Main article: Victor Van Dort/Gallery
- Finis calls Victor "Vincent" in the movie. This may be a reference to Tim Burton's 1982 animated short "Vincent." The titular character in this short resembles Victor.
- During the movie, his mother revealed that Victor was afraid of the dark and that when Victor was younger, he used to wet his pants.
- It's unknown what happened to Victor's parents when they went into the nearby woods to try and find Victor. What likely happened is that William gained control of the buggy and they made it back safely to town the next day only to find the undead walking around town. However, it is also possible they lost control of the buggy too late and died in an accident as a result.[Citation needed]
- William and Nell off screen made it to the church in time to see Emily turn into butterflies. [Citation needed]
- Victor's hair color appears to be black and his eyes are black dots. But if you pause at the right moment, you will read the poster of Victor that his parents set up on the carriage while looking for him. You will find that the poster said that Victor has brown hair and brown eyes.
- This is Johnny Depp's first time voice acting in a Tim Burton film.