William Stryker

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William Stryker
William Stryker 001.jpg
Colonel Stryker
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (1982)
Created by
In-story information
Full name Colonel William "Bill" Stryker, M.D.
Species Human
Team affiliations Stryker's Crusade and the Purifiers
Abilities Stryker possesses the arm (hand to elbow) of the Sentinel Nimrod

Colonel William "Bill" Stryker, M.D. is a fictional comic book supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe, and enemy of the X-Men.

In the film X2, Stryker is played by Brian Cox as a U.S. Army Colonel with a fervent desire to harvest mutants for weapons to take down potential mutant threats, such as Magneto. Danny Huston portrays Stryker in the superhero prequel movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine in which he is the villainous leader of the Weapon X project. Josh Helman portrays a much younger Stryker in X-Men: Days of Future Past. In 2009, Stryker was named IGN's 70th Greatest Villain of All Time.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist Brent Anderson, he first appeared in the 1982 graphic novel X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Stryker in Generation Hope Vol 1 10

God Loves, Man Kills[edit]

Stryker is a religious fanatic, with a military history which may have involved the Weapon X project (the same project which results in Wolverine being given his adamantium skeleton). Stryker is characterized by his unequivocal hatred of mutants. So strong is this hatred that Stryker goes so far as to kill his own wife and mutant-born son, Jason, immediately after his birth in Nevada.[2] Crazed and outraged, Stryker then makes a failed suicide attempt. As time passes, he is convinced that Satan has a plot to destroy humankind by corrupting prenatal souls, the result of this corruption being mutants. Additionally, Stryker eventually comes to see the birth of his mutant son as a sign from God, directing him to his true calling: ensuring the eradication of all mutants.

Driven by this newfound conviction, Stryker then becomes a popular but controversial preacher and televangelist. While his followers, including a secret paramilitary group called the Purifiers, commit hate crimes against mutants, Stryker arranges to have Professor Xavier kidnapped, brainwashed, and attached to a machine that, using his brainpower, will kill all living mutants. In order to stop this scheme, the X-Men are forced to join forces with their nemesis, Magneto. When the extent of his bigotry becomes obvious—he attempts to kill Kitty Pryde in front of a television audience—one of his own security guards shoots and arrests him.

God Loves, Man Kills II[edit]

Stryker, who made no appearances until this storyline in X-Treme X-Men, was assumed forgotten. This time, it was revealed that Stryker had been serving a prison sentence as a result of the events of his previous actions. Lady Deathstrike, a character with ties to the X-Men's Wolverine, makes her way onto the airplane where Stryker was being transferred. Once there, she kills his guards and rescues him, then it is revealed that the two are lovers, and he immediately begins a crusade against the X-Men, focusing on Wolverine, Cannonball, the X-Treme X-Men team, and Shadowcat, against whom he apparently keeps a grudge.

Stryker sent a group of his followers against several of the X-Men, and kidnapped Kitty Pryde. Along the way, Kitty convinced Stryker that mutants were not an abomination, and he seemed to turn over a new leaf.[3]


However, he came back as a major player right at the start of the Decimation following Marvel's House of M event, deeming the sudden massive reduction in number of the mutant population a sign of God, saying "He made the first step and now we have to take the next", basically rallying for genocide on TV. He was featured mostly in New X-Men as the main villain, but also appeared in other comics set during this time frame.[4] With the help of Icarus, one of the Xavier Institute's students, he caused a bus to explode, killing about 1/4 of the de-powered students from the academy. Then he planned the assassination of Wallflower, ordering one of his snipers to shoot her in the head. Next he tried to kill Dust, though it was actually X-23. The deaths of Wallflower and Dust were Stryker's prime objectives, as he had been informed by Nimrod that both girls would destroy his army. Finally he attacked the institute with his "Purifiers," killing Quill, leaving Onyxx and Cannonball critically wounded, and hurting Bishop, Emma Frost, and other students. After Stryker's Purifiers were defeated, he was killed by the enraged boyfriend of Wallflower, Elixir,[5] who causes catastrophic damage to Stryker's brain via the rapid growth of a tumour.

Bastion resurrected Stryker with a Technarch, to join Bastion's new Purifiers. Bastion revealed that as the founder of the Purifiers, Stryker has the second highest number of mutant kills. He is surpassed only by Bolivar Trask, the founder of the Sentinels.[6]

Bastion charges Stryker to locate Hope Summers and Cable, following their return from the future in the Second Coming event. His Purifiers, in conjunction with Cameron Hodge's Right footsoldiers, engage the X-Men and New Mutants. The Purifiers take out Magik with a weaponized ritual, Illyana is abducted by demons through one of her own stepping discs.[7] They also disrupt Nightcrawler's teleportation with a sonic attack, disorientating him. The battle culminates when Wolverine orders Archangel to take out Stryker. Warren shifts to his "Death" persona and slices Stryker in half at the waist with his wings.[8]

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

In the Ultimate Marvel reality, Beast reveals that the leader of the anti-mutant conspiracy within the U.S. Government that operated was an Admiral named Stryker, who is also linked to the creation of the Ultimate Marvel Universe's version of the Legacy Virus.[9] Stryker's son Reverend William Stryker, Jr. later appears in Ultimatum as a leader of an anti-mutant coalition armed with Sentinel tech. probably stolen from SHIELD. He has Sentinel-Tech body armor, and resembles Ahab from the mainstream Marvel Universe and various alternate realities. His wife and son (Kate and John) are killed during the events of Ultimatum who leads his hatred against mutants. Stryker's forces ("The Purifers" wearing almost Crusader-esque type outfits) later attack Juggernaut and Rogue. He is later seen with the advanced Sentinel units, NIMROD.[10] When he attacks Times Square, executing mutants in public, the X-Men appear and the Shroud kills him by phasing her arm through his abdomen. However it's revealed that he's also a mutant with the power of Technopathy. His father used medication in order to suppress his abilities, but with his last breath his powers manifest and manipulate a wave of Nimrod Sentinels to kill every mutant on the planet.[11] It is revealed that Stryker's last act left his brain-patterns imprinted on the Nimrod Model Sentinels, and have built a base based on Stryker's image, Master Mold who continues to be a threat to the X-Men.[12][13] William Stryker Sr. recently reappeared in flashbacks under the pressure of God to kill mutants, another trait he passed on to his son.[14]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

In the Age of Apocalypse reality, William Stryker's father was raised by a preacher who cared for him and other children from their town after most were slaughtered by mutants. However, in a horrible stroke of irony his father was later killed by other surviving humans. As such he had to live in hiding, learning to depend on the kindness of both humans and mutants, somewhat ironically making this Stryker a far more tolerant person than his 616 universe counterpart.[15] He takes the guise of Prophet and begins to avenge humanity along with X-Terminated. He breaks into the apartment of Krakken, an engineer who built ovens to incinerate humans, and murders him but not his family. Before killing Krakken, Prophet reveals he previously destroyed one of Krakken's eyes and then finished the job by cutting off his head. William studies the Sentinels and mutants hunt of humans in order to refine his skills in taking them down. He says he's learned their weaknesses and despite their powers, his will and skill is more powerful. With ease, Prophet made his way up an attacking Sentinel, cuts into its head and flips away as the robot is destroyed from the damage. He says his talents were obtained by watching the slaughter of thousands and his victories honor them. As Weapon X leads his final attack on the last surviving City of Men, Prophet allows them to escape by throwing an explosive at Weapon X. He then leads his team out of the city. Once clear the city is destroyed by Weapon X.[16]

In other media[edit]


Brian Cox as Colonel William Stryker in X2.
  • Stryker appears in X2, played by Scottish actor Brian Cox. His military background from the comics is expanded in the film. Stryker is said to be a military scientist who has gone into defense contracting, but in a reference to his comics' counterpart, several lines of his hint at a belief that he is destined to eradicate "mutant threats" and that he has been ordained by God to do so. His connection to Wolverine is made more explicit, as is his motivation regarding his son. Also, rather than having killed his son, Jason (who himself is partially modeled after Mastermind), at birth, Stryker sent him to Xavier's school in hopes of curing him, regarding mutation as a disease that must be cured. Xavier had no interest or belief in 'curing' mutants, which angered Stryker. Additionally, Jason continued to grow angry, resentful, and vindictive towards his parents; he tortured them by planting illusions and scenarios in their brains until his mother committed suicide by drilling into her own brain in an attempt to "bore the images out". Stryker then gave his son a lobotomy to make him more docile, making him Mutant 143, and derived a substance from Jason's living body that can be used to control the minds of mutants. He attacks the X-Mansion learning the information from brainwashing Magneto. He kidnaps Cyclops and Professor Xavier and brainwashes them both. Jason, under his father's direction brainwashes Xavier- after Xavier learns that Stryker is the mastermind behind an assassination attempt on the President by a brainwashed Nightcrawler- into using a near-identical reproduction of Cerebro (identified as Cerebro II/Dark Cerebro) to kill all mutants, while Cyclops is left to confront the attacking X-Men. Magneto, wearing a helmet designed to shield against telepathic attacks, is able to reach Xavier while the X-Men are incapacitated by the psychic assault, but then he uses Cerebro II to kill all ordinary humans by making some adjustments to Cerebro II and has Mystique impersonate Stryker and instruct Jason of the "change in plans", which Jason then communicates to the brainwashed Xavier after Magneto and Mystique escape. Stryker attempts to escape himself, but his attempt is foiled by Wolverine, and Stryker tells him about how he apparently volunteered to have the adamantium put in his skeleton. He leaves William, who tries to escape again, but is then psychically assaulted by Cerebro II, and is shocked and can't believe that the weapon was used against him. During the assault, William is chained to a large block of debris by Magneto after he tells Stryker they won't meet again. Meanwhile, Storm and Nightcrawler enter Cerebro II and disrupt Jason's illusion, allowing Xavier to break free from his control before any humans are killed. In his last moments, Stryker is approached by Wolverine and asks him whether he would actually side with him or mutants. Looking at the young mutant he was carrying to safety, a young boy with a lizard-like tongue (Artie Maddicks), Wolverine informs Stryker that he would "take his chances with him" and left him to die. As Wolverine walks away, Stryker bellows after him that even if he dies, someone else will finish his work. Given his immobilized status, Stryker is presumably killed when the nearby dam bursts. Later, Xavier and the X-Men give the President the files from Stryker's office containing the evidence of Stryker's crimes.
  • Stryker appears in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, set roughly fifteen years before the first film, according to Stryker's statement when he meets Wolverine again in X-Men 2, and is portrayed by Danny Huston. Huston liked the complex Stryker, who "both loves and hates mutants" because his son was a mutant and drove his wife to suicide. So he understands what they're going through, but despises their [destructive] force. He compared the character to a racehorse breeder, who rears his mutant experiments like children but abandons them when something goes wrong. In the film, Stryker starts off as a Major trying to recruit Victor Creed and James Howlett to join Weapon X. While searching for a mysterious rock, Stryker threatens to kill civilians to garner information, causing James Howlett to leave the team. Through the years Stryker begins working with Agent Zero and Creed and using Wade Wilson as Weapon XI. He tells Creed to kill all the other members of the team and to have Logan's girlfriend (Kayla Silver Fox) - an agent of Stryker's keeping an eye on Logan- fake her death. After Logan is left for dead by Victor, Col. Stryker persuades Logan to become Wolverine. The process is successful, and Stryker wants to use Logan's DNA for the XI, but Logan hears him give the order to erase his memory and escapes. After General Munson tries to shut Weapon X down, learning of Stryker's son and believing that he is too emotionally close to the situation, Stryker kills him. Also Stryker kidnaps mutants, including a younger Cyclops in order to pass their abilities into Weapon XI. The others escape with Kayla while Logan and Victor battle Weapon XI. Weapon XI is defeated, but Stryker shoots adamantium bullets in Logan's head, causing amnesia as a result of the damage done to his brain; although the physical injuries heal, his memories seem to be permanently gone. Stryker attempts to shoot a dying Kayla, but using her power of persuasion, Kayla forces Stryker to "walk until [his] feet bleed - and keep walking". Stryker unwillingly does so. As he is walking down the road in a scene during the credits, he is picked up by the military police who arrived to bring him in for questioning about his connection with General Munson's murder. In this scene, he is seen to have gained weight and has more rugged features, reminiscent of Brian Cox's performance of the character in X2.[17]
  • William Stryker Sr. plays a minor role in X-Men: First Class, played by Don Creech. He appears as a CIA agent set in the 1960s discussing the existence of mutants with Charles Xavier. Stryker Sr., like his son, has anti mutant beliefs. Xavier reads his mind and mentions that he was thinking of his son William to prove he was a mutant. His bigotry is also apparent; he manages to work out a deal with the Soviet forces off Cuba's coast to join U.S naval forces in attacking the X-Men at the film's climax, which disastrously fails due to Magneto's incredible mutant command over electromagnetism. Though Stryker's intentions were to protect the human race from mutant threats, his own actions effectively served as part of the catalyst of Magneto's animosity towards humans and led him to the foundation of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants which would eventually clash with his son more than once.
  • Stryker is featured in X-Men: Days of Future Past, played by Josh Helman in scenes set in 1973, while archive footage and audio of Brian Cox from X2 appears.[18] According to Josh Helman, "Stryker is [Bolivar] Trask's right hand man" in this film, which focuses on the beginning of Stryker's education into mutant affairs.[19][20] Helman also revealed that he originally cast as the young Juggernaut but was cast as Stryker instead.[21] During the film, now-Major Stryker witnesses Wolverine in action when Wolverine, Hank McCoy/Beast, Erik Lensherr/Magneto and the currently-powerless Charles Xavier attempt to avert Mystique's assassination of Trask- an action that will lead to the creation of the virtually-unstoppable Sentinels in the future based on Stryker's work and analysis of Mystique's blood- but the sight of Stryker causes Wolverine (currently 'possessed' by his future self as Kitty Pryde projects his mind into the past) to collapse and regress back to his past self due to the heightened emotional turmoil as he remembers what Stryker will do to him in the future. Stryker is also present when Trask attempts to demonstrate the Sentinels. Mystique is later shown posing as Stryker when Wolverine is recovered from the river– Magneto having impaled him with metal bars and thrown him away during the final fight– but it is unclear where the original Stryker is at this time.

Video games[edit]


  1. ^ Stryker is number 70 IGN. Retrieved 10-05-09.
  2. ^ Marvel Graphic Novel #5
  3. ^ X-Treme X-Men #25-30
  4. ^ New Mutants #1-35
  5. ^ New X-Men #2--27
  6. ^ X-Force (3rd series) #03 (2008)
  7. ^ X-Force #15-20
  8. ^ X-Force #21
  9. ^ Ultimate X-Men #81
  10. ^ Ultimate Comics: X-Men #1
  11. ^ Ultimate Comics: X-Men #6
  12. ^ Ultimate Comics: X-Men #8
  13. ^ Ultimate Comics: X-Men #16-18
  14. ^ Ultimate Comics: X-Men #4
  15. ^ Age Of Apocalypse #13
  16. ^ Age of Apocalypse #1
  17. ^ Marc Graser; Tatiana Siegel (2008-02-19). "Reynolds, will.i.am join 'Wolverine'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  18. ^ Perry, Spencer (July 15, 2013). "Characters and Story Details Revealed for X-Men: Days of Future Past". Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  19. ^ 'Empire Magazine' March 2014 issue
  20. ^ Empire Magazine March 2014 issue
  21. ^ Collura, Scott. "Turns out Juggernaut Was Originally in X-Men: Days of Future Past". IGN. Retrieved 2014-03-13. 

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