“Wow, you have a fantastic nose.” The more light I have, the better! Zero, you’re the team’s leader!”
Zero is a supporting character in Tim Burton’s 1993 stop-motion Disney film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. He is Jack Skellington’s pet ghost dog.
Zero is completely devoted to his owner. Despite his ghostly appearance, he behaves like a normal dog, with his favorite activity being retrieving the bones that have been taken from Jack’s skeletal corpse.
Despite Zero’s devotion, he (along with Sally) was the only Halloween Town resident who objected to Jack’s unhealthy Christmas preoccupation. Zero appears to be quite insightful since his fears were confirmed when Jack’s Christmas turned out to be a disaster.
Jack’s happiness is Zero’s main priority. Despite his worries about the Christmas tribulation, Zero assisted Jack in getting through it in the hopes of assisting him in realizing his dream. He did, however, make an attempt to guide Jack in the right direction by reminding him of his genuine mission (doing so by showing a portrait depicting Jack with a pumpkin). Zero’s attempts, like Sally’s, fell on deaf ears until the final act of the film.
Zero is a ghostly dog who looks like he’s made of a white sheet, just like a conventional ghost. He, like Pluto, has floppy basset dog ears. His “eyes” are nothing more than blank holes in the sheet. Zero’s snout is long and slender, and the tip of his upper jaw curls upward. His nose, like Rudolph’s, is a miniature lighted jack-o-lantern, and his collar is a faded brown tint.
When Jack summons Zero from his grave after the annual Halloween party has ended, he consoles his master as he expresses his dissatisfaction with Halloween’s diminishing excitement. Later, Zero joins Jack on his walk through the woods and begs him to play fetch with him. Later, the two discover a secret room with many doors leading to similar worlds themed around other holidays. Jack walks through the Christmas door, as Zero remains outside. When Jack reappears, Zero is by his side as the former enters the square of Halloween Town with different Christmas-related products. Jack makes it his duty to learn about Christmas traditions and implement them into Halloween Town.
When Christmas eventually arrives (and Jack is forced to take over as Santa Claus for the year), Zero is chosen to lead the sleigh so that his bright nose can direct the other reindeer into the human world. During the incident, the military shoots Jack and Zero out of the sky, but they both survive.
Jack, to Zero’s delight, comes to grips with his role as the Pumpkin King at a cemetery, and the two rush back to Halloween Town to save Santa Claus from Oogie Boogie. Zero barks at Oogie and seems shocked as the villain dies at Jack’s hands during the combat. In the end, Jack and Sally proclaim their love for one another on the spiraling hill. And Zero observes as they do so before flying into the air and transforming into a star.
In the As Told by Emoji episode based on The Nightmare Before Christmas, an emoticon version of Zero appears. Before transitioning into his well-known ghostly visage, he began the short as an emoji of a normal dog (with an emoji of a pumpkin).
Zero appears to be Jack’s ally, and his presence is crucial in various points of the plot. Jack races to the cemetery after hearing from Corpse Kid and Clown that Oogie’s thugs had kidnapped Sally and taken her there. He discovers the Hanging Tree, albeit his Hanging Men are missing. And he informs him that he has no idea where Sally is, but that his men could. Jack says he could find them and question them, and that he could utilize Zero’s nose to do it. Jack follows Hanging Tree’s directions to Zero’s grave, and after a fight with Lock and several skeletons, he arrives at the tomb and calls Zero. He reappears and brings Jack to five different locations in the cemetery, one for each Hanging Man.
He is seen again much later after Jack has all but undone everything Oogie did in Halloween Town. And he learned from Oogie’s shadow that the villain was currently in Christmas Town. So he calls Zero again from his grave to help him find the key to Spiral Hill so that he can reach the Hinterlands. Zero’s nose again proves helpful, and Jack finds the key.
Zero’s grave is accessible at any point once the Graveyard can be reached, but he will never be home except for those two times. Apart from that, he is only seen in the closing scene. Jack and Sally share a heartfelt moment like the ending of the film.
Kingdom Hearts series
Zero is a minor character in the Kingdom Hearts franchise, appearing only in the backdrop of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II on his homeworld of Halloween Town. In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, he is given a slightly larger role. As he can sense Heartless and uses this ability to aid Jack Skellington and Roxas.
Disney Parks: ZERO
Disneyland Resort: Zero
Zero appears in the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction in the Endless Hallway and the Graveyard scene with Jack. He also appears in Disneyland’s Happy Hallowishes fireworks show, floating over the castle in a similar fashion to Tinker Bell.
Zero made an appearance in Disneyland’s Frightfully Fun Parade in 2016 in a unit themed on The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Walt Disney World: Zero
Zero makes a cameo appearance during the segment of Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! based on The Nightmare Before Christmas in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.