Handsome Jack is the main antagonist of Borderlands 2, and the deuteragonist of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. He has taken over the Hyperion corporation, declared himself dictator of Pandora, and stolen all of the credit for finding The Vault, going so far as to claim responsibility for killing The Destroyer. A new team of Vault Hunters is tasked with killing Jack and restoring (relative) peace to Pandora.
Jack placed Helios, an enormous geostationary space station, in the Lagrange point between Pandora and its moon, Elpis. It acts as an homage to his ego as well as a supply base from which he can send supplies and troops down to Pandora. The satellite also has a lens that allows Jack to keep an eye on the Vault Hunters at all times.
Jack's father died when he was young and his mother left him in the 'care' of her mother, Jack's grandmother, who was (at a minimum) physically abusive towards her grandson. The emotional trauma from these events was strong enough that as an adult, Jack had his grandmother murdered, and no doubt contributed towards his mental decline.
Before the opening of the first Vault
Later in life Jack married and had a daughter, Angel, one of the universe's rare Sirens. During Angel's childhood, Jack was surprised to learn Angel had the power to control technology, which ultimately made her a target for bandits and other kidnappers; a fate that would ultimately come to pass in a standoff between a kidnapper and Jack. Jack tried to plead for Angel's return to safety from said man who adamantly refused, and was caught off guard when Angel, in a fit of rage, took over a turret and killed both the kidnapper and her mother (by accident), which Jack immediately reacted to with sorrow and blame.
During Angel's youth, he trapped her in Control Core Angel to use her to control Pandora's ECHOnet and to open the vault of The Warrior. In the Borderlands 2 story mission Data Mining, Handsome Jack says that "I know you think I'm a monster. You think I enslaved Angel. But you didn't see what she did to her mother. I had to restrain Angel's power. You get that? I had to." The seeming implication is that Angel caused her mother's disappearance.
However, this interpretation contradicts the journals in Get to Know Jack. While it is true that the third journal says that Jack's wife disappeared, it also says that Jack's wife suggested that "the Angel" be shut down. For there to be something to shut down, Control Core Angel must have already been active at that time, and therefore Jack's wife's disappearance could not have been the reason for the creation of Control Core Angel. Nor could whatever Angel "did to her mother"--if indeed anything happened at all--have been serious enough for her mother to agree with restraining Angel.
A conversation in Tales from the Borderlands explains this discrepancy by clarifying that Jack remarried at some point after the death of Angel's mother and that it was his second wife who wanted the "Angel Project" shut down and who left him over it.
One of the ECHO recorders shows an employee advising Jack to restrain Angel's power because of what she did to her mother, after which Jack proceeds to kill the employee through strangulation for mentioning his wife.
After the opening of the first Vault
During the events of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, it is revealed that Jack's initial plan was to manipulate the Vault Hunters into opening The Vault to release The Destroyer so he could obtain it for himself. After The Destroyer's defeat, he used its eye as the generator for a superweapon dubbed "The Eye of Helios", capable of destroying entire settlements. Jack planned to use the weapon to eliminate entire bandit camps and other undesirables en masse on Pandora to eventually civilize the planet. Unfortunately, the Eye was captured by Colonel Zarpedon, who promptly turned it on Pandora's moon Elpis in an effort to prevent its Vault from being found by Hyperion, nearly leading to the moon's destruction. Jack managed to retake the Eye from Zarpedon with the aid of a group of Vault Hunters he had hired, along with assistance from Lilith, Roland, and Moxxi, who then betrayed Jack by destroying the Eye, not wanting him to have that much power.
Once the Eye was destroyed, Jack required a new weapon of power. He managed to open the Vault on Elpis, which housed an object shaped like the eponymous Vault symbol that contained the knowledge of the Eridians. As Jack grabbed the object, he began seeing visions of The Warrior, the Vault it was sealed in, and the Eridium buried through the planet. Lilith then appeared and destroyed the object, causing a blast of energy that destroyed Jack's left eye and branded his face with the Vault symbol.
After the opening of the Elpis Vault
After having his trademark mask grafted to his face, Jack proceeded to murder the President of the Hyperion Corporation, Harold Tassiter, and declare himself the new President. From this point forward, he began calling himself "Handsome Jack".
Shortly after killing Tassiter, Jack discovered evidence of the H-Source, a collection of Hyperion technological secrets, buried in the experimental "Fragtrap" Claptrap's system. After the Vault Hunters extracted the H-Source, Jack used one of the modules to remotely shut down all robots of the Claptrap line, and he personally shot the Fragtrap prototype.
Jack then began focusing all his efforts on obtaining the Warrior and exacting his revenge on Pandora and the Vault Hunters. He used his daughter Angel to gain full surveillance of Pandora and control of the ECHOnet system. He then established mining operations to dig up all the Eridium on the planet, which would be used (among other, more gruesome experiments) to create Hyperion's proprietary E-Tech line of weapons.
Jack also ordered Hyperion to enact corporate and military control over Pandora. With help from an informant, Jack located New Haven and destroyed the settlement with his cyborg subordinate Wilhelm. When New Haven's administer Helena Pierce tried to escape with survivors, Jack captured Pierce and personally executed her before having Wilhelm kill everybody else. He later tracked down the Vault Key and its owner Dr. Patricia Tannis, who was tortured into giving up the object. Jack then had Angel artificially charge the Vault Key by pumping her body with a constant supply of Eridium.
Handsome Jack sought to lure out Vault Hunters to his sphere of influence by displaying a need for them, then left them for dead in the Windshear Waste. He constantly communicates with them through the ECHOnet, taunting them, threatening them, and otherwise manipulating them. His building of Opportunity and the drilling into Pandora's core is no secret to the citizens of Sanctuary and Overlook, but he still keeps a leader-like façade when addressing the citizens of Hyperion-settled villages.
Following Angel's death, Jack makes his first physical appearance in the story and kills Roland. Lilith attempts to attack him, but Jack throws a Siren power-restraining collar onto her neck and captures her to replace his recently deceased daughter as a catalyst to charge the Vault key. He rescinds the bounty on the Vault Hunters, vowing to exact vengeance himself for Angel's death, and threatening to hunt down anyone who kills the Vault Hunters before he does.
His final appearance is at the Vault of the Warrior and is fought as one of the two final bosses. After being defeated by the Vault Hunters, Jack takes the already-charged Vault Key and uses it to summon and control the Warrior. The Vault Hunters defeat it as well, thus ruining his plans for dominion over Pandora. Jack angrily chastises them for stopping him from bringing his vision of order to the lawless planet and is then killed by Lilith or the Vault Hunters.
Tales from the Borderlands
When Rhys attempts to use Professor Nakayama's ID drive to track the money he lost, he collapses onto the floor, and hears a mysterious voice claiming to be disappointed at how Rhys is trying to follow in "[his] footsteps". Later, while infiltrating the abandoned Atlas warehouse, Rhys tries to get the lift operational but fails as his system suddenly runs into glitches. The mysterious voice once again taunts him. After Bossanova is killed by Zer0, Rhys and the gang (Fiona, Vaughn, and Sasha) discover a secret room containing Atlas technology, including information about a "Gortys Project". The voice then begins to get clearer inside Rhys' head and is then revealed to be the voice of Handsome Jack (the same AI Nakayama produced in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel in case of Jack's death), who then appears behind him as a hologram. Rhys initially suspects Jack is indeed just a hologram, though Jack soon shows he is self-aware and active. Initially, the Jack AI does not realize nor believe that he is dead. He tells Rhys to bring him back to Helios so he can be transferred into a new body, allowing them to run Hyperion together (but "mostly [Jack]" will control it). Jack later upgrades Rhys' Echo-Eye implant to give him the ability to hack into machinery and control it at his will. When Rhys and Fiona finally discover the Gortys Project's location, they are attacked by numerous sentry drones, which Rhys can use for his assistance against Vasquez and August. If so, Jack will take control of them by merging his consciousness into Rhys'.
The Jack AI then forces Rhys to assume position as Hyperion's CEO and reveals that it intends to create a Jack army out of him and many others. Rhys, in an attempt to stop the Jack AI, shuts off Helios' power and the entire station collides with Pandora, destroying it. However, the Jack AI still survives the ordeal and attempts to kill Rhys with his own cybernetics, forcing him to tear them off. Rhys has the option of completely destroying the ECHO eye to eliminate the Jack AI once and for all, or spare it, leaving him alone in an endless void.
Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot
During Borderlands 3, it is revealed that Jack had created a large casino simply named "The Handsome Jackpot". Through audio logs and discussions with those trapped aboard, a picture of the casino can be discerned.
The Handsome Jackpot was a scam, designed by Jack to bleed customers dry of their money. When they arrived, they'd often find themselves paying for even minor things aboard the Jackpot, and would also find the machines rigged to help pay out less. Additionally, Jack would find ways to impound vehicles and escape options from the Jackpot which would force individuals to essentially live on the Jackpot and spend everything they owned. Jack would keep a gigantic hologram of himself floating above the Spendopticon, would have his Jack doppelgangers walking about the casino for him, and had hologram devices located about the Spendopticon and other locations to explain location and attractions. Some of the holograms don't explain much, however, and a few imply that by the time Jack had created the Jackpot, he had already been suffering from serious moral myopia. One hologram doesn't even relate to the Jackpot, instead seemingly recorded while Jack yelled at an employee to bring him pretzels, telling said employee he will die whether he brings him the pretzels or not as he doesn't actually want them.
Jack would spend most of his time on the Jackpot in the VIP Tower, a place that is off-limits via a series of powerful turrets. The only other assured person aboard the VIP Tower was Pretty Boy, hired on possibly as a financial adviser. Several ECHO logs can be found that show Pretty Boy attempting to give Jack financial information regarding the Jackpot, however, Jack refused to listen. He instead spent his time mocking Pretty Boy and insulting his appearance, calling him funny and nicknaming him "Pretty Boy". When Pretty Boy showed resistance to the title, Jack told him he would be fired if he didn't agree to the name. He also created the Jackpot battle suit which Pretty Boy would later use.
After Jack's death on Pandora, a security protocol on the Jackpot was initiated. It's possible this protocol was intended to trap whoever killed Jack aboard the Jackpot, but instead was activated as a byproduct of his death elsewhere, trapping innocent individuals aboard. The patrons of the casino became trapped as the security refused to allow them access to their ships or means of escape. The Jack doppelgangers attempted to help, but as would later be explained by Timothy (after he began using his real name again), many of the Doppelgangers were killed by proxy due to anger leveled at Jack. The casino fell to ruin and was overrun with insane former patrons known now as Looters. Pretty Boy, still trapped in the VIP Towers, wanted to deactivate the shutdown and gain control of the Loader construction facility below the Jackpot using one of the "Winning Hand" devices grafted to the Jack doppelgangers. With Timothy the only one left, he began actively fleeing anybody to avoid being killed for looking like Handsome Jack. It's also revealed that Jack changed the bomb in Timothy's face to explode if he ever left the Jackpot, trapping him aboard either way.
By the time the Vault Hunters of Borderlands 3 arrive, the casino has been locked down for years, and Moxxi, in a form of revenge against Jack for their poor relationship and a bad breakup, wants the casino for herself. During their time on the Jackpot, the Vault Hunters constantly find information and material related to Handsome Jack, and characters reference him frequently despite his death. It's also during their time on the Jackpot they can find evidence that Jack never truly let go of Moxxi in thought. He has a knockoff bar called "Foxxi's", and in his control tower, one can find a picture of Angel on one side of the room, and a picture of Moxxi on the other.
- Borderlands 2
- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
- Tales from the Borderlands
- Borderlands 3 (ECHO logs only)
- Moxxi's Heist of the Handsome Jackpot
- Main article: The Talon of God
- "Handsome Jack here. When I opened the Vault and destroyed the Destroyer inside -- ironic, I know! -- I had a Hyperion weapon in my hand. When I cleaned up the frontier and burned that bandit settlement of New Haven to the ground, it was a Hyperion pistol I held in my fist. And goddamned every day as I watch over this planet, as its protector, as its champion, and as its hero, it's Hyperion firearms I put my trust in. Hell, that's why I bought the goddamn company in the first place. This is Handsome Jack, and I'm signing off on Hyperion! What do you guys think? Accent too much?"
- "Hey there. This is Handsome Jack, reminding you that we at Hyperion are still offering bounties for Pandora's most wanted. The reward has risen to eight billion dollars for the bandit we know as Brick -- big guy, looks like he survives on nothing but ground beef and roids. And hookers. Uh, we're also still offering six billion dollars for the capture of the ex-Underdome star known as Mordecai, as well as a small reward for the capture of his stupid little bird, Bloodwing -- oh, sorry. I, uh... read that backwards. It's six billion for the bird, twenty bucks for the has-been. My mistake. And, as always, I am personally willing to offer thirty billion dollars for the capture of the bandit leader known Roland -- double that if you use Hyperion weapons to bring him down, okay? Okay. Oh, and stop contacting us with questions regarding the bounty on the little freakshow known as Lilith -- the fugitive was confirmed dead months ago, okay? Alright. Handsome Jack, signing off. Hyperion rules."
- Opportunity announcements
- "Citizens of Opportunity! You represent the beginning of a grand adventure. Opportunity is only the FIRST Hyperion city on Pandora. One day you'll be saying, "Bandits? What's a bandit? I can't hear what you're saying over the motor of this free blowjob machine Handsome Jack gave all of us."
- "Hey kids, did you know that your risk of being disemboweled increases by 80,000% upon leaving Opportunity? It's a scientific fact!"
- "Did you know that littering in Opportunity is punishable by death? If not, you also ought to know that complaining about Opportunity's laws is considered verbal littering."
- "Did you know some people on Pandora still believe in silly superstitions like angels, demons, and ancient alien warriors? We call those people "bandits.""
- "Hey kids, did you know what your mommies and daddies gave up so your family could live in Opportunity? Literally nothing! Your family paid to be here! I'm the one who feeds and protects everyone! Remember, we should all love our parents, but love me more."
- General combat lines
- "There's nowhere to hide now, suckers!"
- "That was for my Angel!"
- "This is MY planet!"
- "You should've died when I told you!"
- "This one is for Angel, jackhole!"
- "My Angel was HAPPY!"
- "This is when you die, bandit!"
- "I'm gonna kill you and the rest of your stupid Vault Hunter friends!"
- "Ah, you're way too late! Just give up!"
- "I'm gonna win!"
- "You and ME, craphole! It all comes down to this!"
- "This is the end, beautiful friend!"
- Turning invisible
- "Now you see me!"
- "See ya!"
- "Try finding me, bandit!"
- "Catch me if you can!"
- Attacking when invisible
- "Hi jackass!"
- "Oh, I'm right here!"
- "Yeah take it, bitch!"
- "Over here!"
- Reaction to Decepti0n
- "Fight me assassin!"
- "Somebody kill this freaking assassin!"
- "Stop the assassin!"
- Reaction to Sabre Turret
- "Take this!"
- "Hey, did I show you my turret?"
- "Hoho, have fun with this!"
- "Stand in front of this, jackass!"
- Throwing mortar
- "Catch this!"
- "Hey, want a grenade?"
- "Eat it!"
- Calling for Guardian Surveyor
- "Try breaking through this, jackass!"
- "Reinforcements, NOW!!"
- "I want some reinforcements, now!"
- While protected by Guardian Surveyor's shield
- "Alright, safe again!"
- "You like my reflector shield, pretty sweet, huh?"
- "I'm invincible bitch!"
- "Hum, how does these bullets taste, dumbass?"
- "That's riiight, shoot the reflector shield genius!"
- "Stop shooting yourself, stop shooting yourself!!"
- "Bullets can't go through!"
- "Oh what's going on, you can't hurt me anymore oh that's gotta be SO FRUSTRATING!"
- When Guardian Surveyor is destroyed
- "Son of a... How the hell you did that?!"
- "Son of a BITCH!"
- "CRAP! Crapcrapcrap!!"
- "Slag you!"
- Mortally wounded
- "Gonna make it, fight through the pain, Jack...! Come on!"
- "Not gonna die here too...!"
- "I'm fine. I'm the hero...!"
- "Oh, dammit... COME ON!"
- "Murdering bandit... MURDERER!"
- "You're not gonna die here Jack... You're okay!"
- "Urgh... Come on... COME ON!"
- Crippling a Vault Hunter
- "He-heh! There you go!"
- "Stay down!"
- "Now, die."
- Final Words
- "No, no, no... I can't die like this... Not when I'm so close... And not at the hands of a filthy bandit! I could have saved this planet! I could have actually restored order! And I wasn't supposed to die by the hands... of a CHILD KILLING PSYCHOPATH!! You're a savage! You're a maniac, you are a bandit, AND I AM THE GODDAMN HERO!!"
- "The Warrior was practically a god! How- How in the HELL have you killed my Warrior?!"
- "You idiots! The Warrior could have brought peace to this planet! No more dangerous creatures, no more bandits, Pandora-it would have been a PARADISE!!"
- ""Too many people die." Give me a break! That's what people DO!"
- "Hail to the king, baby!"
- "Everyone thinks they're the hero of their own story."
- Final Words
- "Please don't send me back there! It's not like they say... there's nothing... there's absolutely nothing there... Don't do this. No!!"
- Handsome Jack operates like an Engineer when in combat.
- Handsome Jack will drop a purple-class head customization, named Handsome Jack's Mask when he is killed. (Krieg's version of the mask is named "GO TO HELL DIE DIE DIE")
- Jack's death has no effect on active optional missions, so his ECHO messages continue, even after his demise.
- Handsome Sorcerer is Jack's representation in Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep.
- Due to a bug, Handsome Jack's shield may not deactivate when the surveyor is destroyed, rendering him invincible.
- According to the Hyperion profile sheet, Jack is from Tantalus.
- Jack appears to have heterochromia. It is genetic and also fashioned in his mask.
- His real name is "John", as stated multiple times in The Pre-Sequel.
- The name "Jack" means "God is gracious", and the name "John" means "The grace or mercy of the Lord".
- He has a diamond pony called "Butt Stallion", which Jack clarifies is in fact a living horse made of diamonds. Butt Stallion was later rescued after the destruction of Helios by Tiny Tina, Brick, Mordecai and the Vault Hunters.
- Jack destroyed Mad Moxxi's Underdome after he thought she was cheating on him.
- Handsome Jack was partially inspired by a particular interview with Nathan Fillion on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
- Game writer Anthony Burch originally intended "Handsome Jack," a reference to Doctor Who companion Captain Jack Harkness, to simply be a placeholder name. However, the name proved popular among the production team and they decided to keep it.
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