WILL SCARLET (also Scarlett, Scarlock, Scadlock, Scatheloke,
Scathelocke and Shacklock) is a prominent member of
Robin Hood 's
Merry Men . He is present in the earliest ballads along with Little
John and Much the Miller\'s Son .
The confusion of surnames has led some authors to distinguish them as
belonging to different characters. The Elizabethan playwright Anthony
Munday featured Scarlet and Scathlocke as half-brothers in his play
The Downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntington .
Howard Pyle included both
a Will Scathelock and a
Will Scarlet in his Merry Adventures of Robin
Will Stutely may also exist as a separate character because of
a mistaken surname.
* 1 Ballads
* 2 Later versions
* 3 Other depictions of
* 4 References
* 5 External links
The first appearance of
Will Scarlet was in one of the oldest
Robin Hood ballads,
A Gest of Robyn Hode . He helps capture
Richard at the Lee and when Robin lends that knight money to pay off
his debts, Scarlet is one of the
Merry Men who insists on giving him a
horse and clothing appropriate to his station.
Another very early ballad featuring
Will Scarlet is one variant of
Robin Hood\'s Death , in which Will's only role is to urge a
bodyguard, which Robin scorns.
A later ballad,
Robin Hood and the Newly Revived , ascribes an origin
story to him. Robin finds a finely dressed young man shooting deer in
Sherwood, and offers to let him join the band; they quarrel and fight.
Robin asks who he is; he says he is Young Gamwell, who killed his
father's steward and fled his father's estate to seek out his uncle,
Robin Hood. Robin makes him welcome and renames him Scarlet. This
story, more or less, is the common origin story for Will Scarlet,
although variations occur.
Francis Child indexed those tales:
A Gest of Robyn Hode as Child
Robin Hood's Death as Child ballad 120, and Robin Hood
Newly Revived as Child ballad 128. He also listed several other
ballads featuring Will Scarlet, sometimes in a very minor role. In
Robin Hood\'s Delight (
Child Ballad 136), the common story in which
Robin meets a stranger, cannot outfight him, and must outwit him is
altered: Robin has
Little John and Will with him, and they meet three
foresters, resulting in the usual fight and outwitting. In Robin Hood
and the Curtal Friar (
Child Ballad 123),
Will Scarlet tells Robin of
the friar, resulting in their encounter. In
Robin Hood and Guy of
Child Ballad 118),
Little John is captured coming to Will's
rescue after two of their band had been killed and Will was fleeing.
In an unusual
Robin Hood ballad
Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon
(Child ballad 129), Robin, Little John, and
Will Scarlet come to the
king's rescue, fighting the prince of the title and two giants, and
ending with Will marrying the princess; this ballad, unlike the other
Child ballads, is seldom used in later adaptations.
Traditionally, most of the outlaws are often depicted as being
middle-aged , whereas Scarlet is often depicted as young or youthful,
sometimes in his late teens. In the traditional tales, he is
hot-headed and tempestuous, but has a love of fine elegant clothes and
is often seen wearing red silk. He is the most skilled swordsman of
the merry men whilst
Robin Hood is the most skilled archer and Little
John the most skilled staff wielder . In some tales, Scarlet uses two
swords at the same time (this was parodied in the movie Robin Hood:
Men in Tights ).
According to local tradition,
Will Scarlet was killed after a battle
with the Sheriff's men and is buried in the churchyard of the Church
of St. Mary of the Purification, Blidworth in
Nottinghamshire . The
apex of the old church spire stands in the graveyard and is popularly
referred to as a monument to Will Scarlet, whose grave is otherwise
OTHER DEPICTIONS OF WILL SCARLET
In both the 1938 film , starring
Errol Flynn , and 1991 TV movie ,
Will Scarlet is portrayed as Robin's friend and companion (almost a
squire ) from the beginning, and is a witty, humorous character. In
the 1938 film, his given name is "Will o' Gamwell". This character,
played by English actor
Patric Knowles , is quite possibly merged with
Alan-a-Dale , as Will plays a lute and sings in one scene. In the 2006
BBC TV series, the same role is given to the character named Much .
In the classic 1950s series of The Adventures of
Robin Hood , the
character was played by Ronald Howard and later by
Paul Eddington .
When first met he and
Robin Hood get into a fight with each other
before Scarlet escapes from the Sheriff's men. He was initially
depicted as a bearded yet youthful gentleman. Fun-loving, adventurous
and a roguish womanising boaster. He was however also a loyal and
experienced swordsman. This version of Will's real name was Will
O'Winchester. In the first two episodes, a cynical Will Scathelock is
the original leader of the Sherwood outlaws. On his death bed,
Scathelock tells the outlaws to follow Robin Hood.
In the UK TV series
Robin of Sherwood (1984-6),
Ray Winstone portrays
a very different version of Will Scarlet. Rather than the
stereotypical merry sidekick, this interpretation gave us a much
bleaker, more passionate character. An ex-soldier who fought in
France, he is shown as the most violent of the outlaws, having turned
to murder after powerlessly witnessing the brutalisation and trampling
to death of his wife at the hands of Normans. With a burning hatred of
the Sheriff of Nottingham's men – and a lack of respect for all
authority – he tells Robin he has changed his name from Scathelocke
to Scarlet having killed three men in revenge.
In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ,
Christian Slater plays Will
Scarlet, whom the film depicts as the illegitimate half-brother of
Robin Hood. (Many older traditions make him a kinsman of Robin's,
usually a cousin or nephew.) Robin Hood's father did not acknowledge
Scarlet, and instead doted on Robin, leading Scarlet to become
resentful of Robin Hood. He initially appears as a treacherous
character, but later finds redemption when he helps the Merry Men
Maid Marian and several others from the
Sheriff of Nottingham
Sheriff of Nottingham .
Mel Brooks movie Robin Hood: Men in Tights , Will is shown as
Little John's best friend. His full name is
Will Scarlet O\'Hara ;
he's from Georgia. Played by
Matthew Porretta .
In the 2002 video game Robin Hood: The Legend of Sherwood , Will
Scarlet is shown as Robin's troublesome nephew that rebels against the
sheriff constantly and as a result of this is put in prison. He is
later rescued by
Robin Hood and added to the band of merry men. He is
shown to be extremely violent, with the ability to strangle enemies
from behind or finish them off when they are down, and it is implied
that he wears red so no one can see the blood stains.
In the BBC 2006 series
Robin Hood , Will Scarlet, portrayed by Harry
Lloyd , is an eighteen-year-old carpenter whom Robin saves from
hanging. He is a brooding, quiet character who is often one of the
most sensible and moral of Robin's band of men. The youngest of
Robin's men, Will fights skilfully with two axes. In this series, Will
appears to be best friends with
Alan-a-Dale (Joe Armstrong ) although
this is put in doubt when Alan is unmasked as a traitor and admits to
love Djaq (played by
Anjali Jay ).
Princess of Thieves ,
Will Scarlet (played by Crispin Letts) is
said to be Robin Hood's loyal friend and companion, as well as his
brother (Robin's daughter Gwyn refers to Will as "Uncle").
In the 2010 film
Robin Hood , directed by
Ridley Scott , Will Scarlet
is played by actor
Scott Grimes and is a Welsh Archer serving
alongside Robin and Allan A\'Dayle .
In a 2010 children's book 'The Time Hunters',
Will Scarlet appeared
as a main character and was living with a time traveller in modern-day
Addlebury in northwest England. He was portrayed as a noble man and
skilful archer, but sensitive about the popularity of the fictitious
In a 2012 novel by A.C. Gaughen , Scarlet (2012 novel) is a young
former daughter of a noble, dressing in drag. She is a knife thrower,
and has a pronounced scar beneath one eye.
In 2013, Once Upon a Time spinoff
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland ,
mostly based on
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland and its sequel Through the
Looking-Glass , revealed in its third episode, Forget Me Not, that one
of its main characters was not only The Knave of Hearts from the
popular children's tale,
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland , but also Will Scarlet.
In the series finale it was revealed that Will became The White King
from Through the Looking-Glass. He is played by English actor Michael
Socha . In 2014,
Michael Socha returned to the role as a main cast
member in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland's parent series, Once Upon a
Time. His appearance in the show's fourth season takes place after
Wonderland, with him ending up in Storybrooke, Maine due to Snow White
's curse. Here, he begrudgingly reunites with Robin Hood, until Robin
is forced to leave Storybrooke with
Maid Marian to save her from the
Snow Queen 's curse. He later engages in a short-lived dating
relationship with Belle .
Jamie Dornan will be portraying
Will Scarlet in the upcoming film
Robin Hood: Origins .
* ^ Jeffrey Richards, Swordsmen of the Screen: From Douglas
Fairbanks to Michael York, p 190, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Lond, Henly
and Boston 1988
* ^ Holt, J. C.
Robin Hood p 17 (1982) Thames & Hudson. ISBN
* ^ Holt, J. C.
Robin Hood p 25 (1982) Thames ">\'Fifty Shades\'
Jamie Dornan in Talks for \'Robin Hood: Origins\'". The Hollywood