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 William Stryker possesses the forearm (hand to elbow) of the Sentinel Nimrod.

Colonel William "Bill" Stryker, M.D. is a fictional supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe, and an enemy of the X-Men. The character has been portrayed by Brian Cox in X2, Danny Huston in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Josh Helman in X-Men: Days of Future Past. In 2009, William 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]

William Stryker in Generation Hope Vol 1 #10.

God Loves, Man Kills[edit]

William 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 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 immediately after his son's 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]

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.[3]


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.[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 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.[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, 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.[8]

Other versions[edit]

Age of Apocalypse[edit]

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, somewhat ironically making this Stryker a far more tolerant person than his 616 universe counterpart.[9] 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.[10]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

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.[11] 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..[12]

In other media[edit]


Brian Cox as Colonel William Stryker in X2.

Scottish actor Brian Cox portrayed William Stryker in the film X2. This version is a U.S. Army Colonel with a fervent desire to harvest mutants for weapons to take down potential mutant threats, such as Magneto, and is a military scientist who has gone into defense contracting to eradicate mutant threats. Prior to the film's events, 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 his son to Xavier's school in hopes of curing, as Stryker regarded his mutation as a disease. However, Professor 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 a 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. Magento also used Stryker's makeshift Cerebro against him and the human race which Stryker was horrified that his weapon was used against him. Magento leaves Stryker chained up. In his last moments, he tells Wolverine that Wolverine volunteered for the experiment in which Stryker bonded adamanitium to his own bones and claws. After Wolverine leaves him, a nearby dam bursts. Stryker's fate was not explicitly shown. Xavier and the X-Men later give the President the files from Stryker's office containing the evidence of Stryker's crimes.

Danny Huston portrays William Stryker in the prequel film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Set years before the first film, this younger version is a Major and the leader of the Weapon X project. Stryker recruits Victor Creed and Wolverine to join the Weapon X program, though Wolverine eventually leaves the team. Stryker manipulates Wolverine into return and undergo the procedure to have adamantium grafted to his own bones under the false belief that Kayla Silverfox was murdered by Creed. When General Munson tries to shut Weapon X down after learning about Jason's mutant status, Stryker kills Munson. After the successful adamantium bonding process, Wolverine learns the truth, and Stryker shoots adamantium bullets in Wolverine's head, causing long-term amnesia. Although the physical injuries heal, his memories seem to be permanently gone. Stryker attempts to shoot Kayla but the dying mutant's telepathic abilities to 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 Munson's murder.[13]

Don Creech portrays the character's father, William Stryker Sr., in 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, Stryker Sr. has anti-mutant beliefs. Xavier reads his mind and mentions that he was thinking of his son to prove he was a mutant. He 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 would eventually clash with his son more than once.

Josh Helman portrays another younger iteration of the character in X-Men: Days of Future Past, while archive footage and audio of Brian Cox from X2 is also used.[14] As Bolivar Trask's right-hand man, this iteration begins education into mutant affairs.[15][16] Set in 1973, Major Stryker witnesses Wolverine in action when Wolverine, Beast, Magneto and Charles Xavier attempt to prevent Mystique's assassination of Trask, an action that will lead to the creation of the virtually unstoppable Sentinels in the future that are based on Stryker's analysis of Mystique's blood. 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 after having been thrown there by Magneto. While the real Stryker's fate is not shown, Josh Helman will reprise his role in X-Men: Apocalypse.

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. Marvel Comics.
  5. ^ New X-Men #2-27. Marvel Comics.
  6. ^ X-Force (Volume 3) #3 (2008). Marvel Comics.
  7. ^ X-Force #15-20
  8. ^ X-Force #21. Marvel Comics.
  9. ^ Age Of Apocalypse #13
  10. ^ Age of Apocalypse #1
  11. ^ Ultimate X-Men #81
  12. ^ Ultimate Comics: X-Men #4
  13. ^ Marc Graser; Tatiana Siegel (2008-02-19). "Reynolds, will.i.am join 'Wolverine'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  14. ^ Perry, Spencer (July 15, 2013). "Characters and Story Details Revealed for X-Men: Days of Future Past". Retrieved July 16, 2013. 
  15. ^ 'Empire Magazine' March 2014 issue
  16. ^ Empire Magazine March 2014 issue

External links[edit]