|First appearance||X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills (1982)|
|Full name||Colonel William "Bill" Stryker, M.D.|
|Team affiliations||Weapon X, formerly Stryker's Crusade and the Purifiers|
Colonel William "Bill" Stryker, M.D. is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is usually depicted as an enemy of the X-Men. In the X-Men film series, the character has been portrayed by Brian Cox, Danny Huston and Josh Helman. In 2009, William Stryker was ranked by IGN's as the 70th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
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Fictional character biography
God Loves, Man Kills
William Stryker is a religious fanatic, with a military history which may have involved the Weapon X project (the same project that results in Wolverine being given the 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 son Jason Stryker immediately after his son's birth in Nevada. 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
William 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.
However, he returns as a major player at the start of the 2005 "Decimation" storyline, following the "House of M" storyline, in which he deemed 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. 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, who causes catastrophic damage to Stryker's brain via the rapid growth of a tumor.
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.
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. They also disrupt Nightcrawler's teleportation with a sonic attack, leading to disorientation. The battle culminates when Wolverine orders Archangel to take out Stryker, shifting into the "Death" persona and slices Stryker in half at the waist with his wings.
It is later revealed that Stryker did not actually murder his son Jason, and had in fact raised the boy in secret, alleviating his apparently debilitating mutation with the help of A.I.M. After his father's death, Jason continues his work by joining the Purifiers.
Behind the Weapon X Project
During the "Weapons of Mutant Destruction" storyline, William Stryker somehow returned from the dead and has formed the latest incarnation of the Weapon X Project with the help of some humans that he swayed to his side like Doctor Alba. He sets his sites on eradicating mutantkind by having his scientists work on Adamantium cyborgs. In order to refine these Adamantium cyborgs, William Stryker has the Weapon X Project target Old Man Logan (an elderly Wolverine from an alternate reality), Sabretooth, Warpath, Domino, and Lady Deathstrike because they have special abilities that the Weapon X are interested in having. After the Adamantium cyborgs apprehend Lady Deathstrike and harvest her genetic material for the Weapon X Project to use for their Adamantium Cyborgs, Old Man Logan and Sabretooth evade the Adamantium cyborgs as William Stryker and the rest of the Weapon X Project were able to get their tissue samples. In addition, William Stryker also has the Adamantium cyborgs target Amadeus Cho's Hulk form for his blood sample. When Amadeus Cho's Hulk form and the mutants on Old Man Logan's side raid the Weapon X Project's base and frees Lady Deathstrike and Warpath, William Stryker sets the base to self-destruct where its employees were killed in the process. It was also shown that William Stryker was starting a project that involves the blood from Amadeus Cho's Hulk form that is part of the ingredients for the Mutant/Hulk hybrids. Following some further investigations, Old Man Logan's group and Amadeus Cho's Hulk raided the Weapon X Project's central command. Amadeus Cho's Hulk form did not want Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike to kill him. As Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike disputed with Amadeus Cho's Hulk form, William Stryker took the opportunity to get away as they soon join the fight against Bobby Andrews in his mutated H-Beta form. As Hulk fights H-Beta and then the H-Alpha after it killed H-Beta, William Stryker and Doctor Alba escaped in their helicopter upon them losing control of H-Alpha.
Age of Apocalypse
In the alternate timeline seen in the 2005 "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, 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, making this Stryker a far more tolerant person than his 616 universe counterpart. 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.
The Ultimate Marvel iteration of the character is William Stryker Sr., an Admiral, the leader of the anti-mutant conspiracy within the U.S. Government, and also linked to the creation of the Ultimate version of the Legacy Virus. Stryker Sr. can also be seen in flashbacks under the pressure of God to kill mutants, another trait he passed on to his son William Stryker Jr.
In other media
- Scottish actor Brian Cox portrayed William Stryker in the 2003 film X2, while Brad Loree portrays the character in flashbacks. This version is a U.S. Army Colonel with a fervent desire to harvest mutants for weapons to take down potential mutant threats, and is a military scientist who has gone into defense contracting to eradicate mutant threats. His son Jason Stryker tortured Stryker and his wife by planting telepathic illusions in their minds until Jason's mother committed suicide by drilling into her own brain. Stryker sent Jason to Professor Xavier's school in hopes of having cured, as Stryker regarded his son's mutation as a disease. Previously, Xavier's position that mutation was not a disease to be cured angered Stryker. Stryker then gave his son a lobotomy to make more docile, and derived a substance from Jason's living body that can be used to control the minds of mutants. After Stryker uses the brainwashed Nightcrawler to make an assassination attempt on the President of the United States, the President authorizes Stryker to attack the X-Mansion. He kidnaps the school's students, and elsewhere kidnaps Cyclops and Xavier, whom he has Jason brainwash. Stryker also attempts to use a reproduction of Cerebro to kill all mutants, though this plan is foiled when the X-Men and Magneto's mutants attack Stryker's compound and rescue their kidnapped loved ones. When confronted by Wolverine, he reveals that Wolverine volunteered for the experiment in which Stryker bonded adamantium to his own bones and claws. Magneto also used Stryker's makeshift Cerebro against him and the human race which Stryker was horrified that his weapon was used against him. Stryker is left chained up while Magneto, Mystique and Pyro steal his helicopter. He tries to get Wolverine to rejoin him as he can reveal the man's past. After Wolverine chooses to stay with Xavier, Stryker bellows that one day someone else will finish his work. After he leaves, the nearby dam bursts from the resulting battle and the huge wall of rushing water drowns Stryker for good. The X-Men later give the President the files from Stryker's office containing the evidence of Stryker's crimes.
- Danny Huston portrays a young version of William Stryker in the 2009 prequel film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The character is a Major and the leader of the Weapon X project. Stryker recruits Victor Creed and Logan to join the Weapon X program, though Wolverine eventually leaves the team. Stryker manipulates Logan into returning and undergoing the procedure to have adamantium grafted to his own bones under the false belief that Kayla Silverfox was murdered by Creed. After the successful adamantium bonding process, Logan learns the truth, and Stryker shoots adamantium bullets in Wolverine's head, causing long-term amnesia. Although the physical injuries heal, Logan's memories seem to be permanently gone. Stryker attempts to shoot Kayla but the mutant's telepathic abilities force Stryker to "walk until [his] feet bleed - and keep walking", which Stryker does. He is eventually picked up by the military police to bring him in for questioning about his connection with General Munson who tried to shut Weapon X down after learning about his son's mutant status and who Stryker murdered.
- Don Creech portrays the character's father (credited as Agent Stryker) in the 2011 film X-Men: First Class. Set in the 1960s, he appears as a CIA agent discussing the existence of mutants with Charles Xavier. Like his son, he has anti-mutant beliefs. Xavier reads his mind and mentions that he was thinking of his son to prove he was a mutant. Stryker works 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 are to protect the human race from mutant threats, his own actions effectively serve as part of the catalyst of Magneto's animosity towards humans and lead him to the foundation of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, which will eventually clash with his son more than once.
- Josh Helman portrays another younger iteration of William Stryker in the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past (while archive footage and audio of Brian Cox is also used). As Bolivar Trask's right-hand man, this iteration begins education into mutant affairs. Set in 1973, Major Stryker witnesses Wolverine in action when Wolverine (projected back from the future into his past self), Beast, Magneto and Xavier attempt to prevent Mystique's assassination of Trask; the sight of Stryker causes Wolverine to experience intense flashbacks of Stryker's future actions, causing a brief but crucial distraction that allows Magneto to try and kill Mystique to change the future. Stryker is also present when Trask attempts to demonstrate the Sentinels at Washington, before Magneto launches his own attack.
- Josh Helman reprised his role in the 2017 film X-Men: Apocalypse. Set in 1983, it is revealed that the events in X-Men: Days of Future Past only altered the course of his future slightly. After Xavier is used by Apocalypse to trigger the launch of the world's nuclear missiles, Colonel Stryker comes to the X-Mansion to investigate the events, abducting Mystique, Beast, Quicksilver and Moira MacTaggert to investigate the cause of the telepathic broadcast, unaware that his helicopter is infiltrated by Scott Summers, Jean Grey and Kurt Wagner; Kurt had teleported the three into the helicopter while Jean telepathically convinces the guards not to see the three. At some point in the past decade, Stryker was able to capture Logan and mentally program after infusing the adamantium to Logan's skeleton. When Jean is able to find and release Logan, Stryker is forced to flee his base as Logan tears through his soldiers before Jean restores some of Logan's memories. In a deleted scene, Moira has Stryker arrested for kidnapping a federal officer and his wrongdoings on minors. Before being taken away, Stryker warns Moira about mutants being untrustworthy.
- The game-exclusive ultimate villain in X-Men Legends, William Kincaid (voiced by John DiMaggio), is largely based on the X-Men film series incarnation of William Stryker and similar human X-Men villains Bolivar Trask and Steven Lang.
- William Stryker is referenced several times in X-Men: The Official Game. It's revealed that his son Jason Stryker uses his father's secret program to kill the X-Men. It's also revealed that HYDRA and Kenuichio Harada funded this program with him, and gave the apprentice Yuriko Oyama to as a "gift".
- William Stryker appears in a major role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, voiced by David Florek.
- William Stryker appears as a villain in Marvel Heroes, voiced by Jim Conner. He paid MODOK to create weapons for the Purifiers to use in their war against the mutants and gave mutant genetic material to Mister Sinister for him to use in his experiments.
- Stryker is number 70 IGN. Retrieved 10-05-09.
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