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Arthur Patrelli is the main antagonist of Volume Three: Villains in the NBC TV series Heroes. He is the husband of Angela Petrelli, the father of Nathan and Peter Petrelli, and the grandfather of Claire Bennet, and has the ability to steal powers from other people.
Arthur is a superhuman capable of stealing another person's superpowers, which he claims is permanent (his son Peter could also absorb other people's powers). After having spent a large amount of time in the Vietnam War alongside fellow superhuman Daniel Linderman, Arthur and his wife Angela founded the Company alongside Adam Monroe and Maury Parkman. He soon became father of Nathan and Peter Petrelli, whom both looked up to Arthur; Nathan was inspired by him to become a New York district attorney. When Nathan plotted to prosecute Linderman (as head of a mob), Arthur realized that since he frequently defended the man in court, it would implicate him, so he sends a man in an SUV to attack Nathan and his wife Heidi as they drove alone, which led to Nathan flying above to survive this but making Heidi a cripple. When Angela learned of this, she tried to poison him and said it was a heart attack; in actuality, Arthur had survived this and was now paralyzed, only being able to speak via his telepathic powers (the source of this power is unknown, presumably Charles Deveaux, one of the Company's other founders). He then went on to become head of another Company called Pinehearst.
Angela made claims to her sons that Arthur was fighting depression and killed himself after two failed attempts to do so.
Volume Two: Generations
Arthur and all the other founders of the Company (except Adam Monroe) were shown on a photo. Interestingly, the man who was meant to be Arthur looks completely-different from his appearance in the next season.
Volume Three: Villains
Arthur's first on-screen appearance is in the first half of the third season; during one of Angela's dreams of the future, she saw that Peter, Nathan and numerous other people she knew were murdered in the halls of Primatech Paper. Arthur (face off-screen) appears behind her and uses his powers to render her paralyzed, thus making sure that she can't warn anyone of his plans. Back at Pinehearst, Arthur is still paralyzed and is told by Maury on the status of Daphne Millbrook's recruitment into the Company; Knox, one of Arthur's goons, comes in with the captured Adam Monroe. As Adam begs for mercy, Arthur grabs him suddenly and absorbs his rapid cellular regeneration ability, thus curing him of his paralyzation and allowing to walk again; Adam, on the other hand, turned into dust and died, as his power was the only thing keeping him alive after centuries of living. Arthur addresses the "bad guys" and is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Peter; Arthur proceeds to absorb Peter's ability to mimic other people's powers and gains all of Peter's absorbed powers, including (but not limited to) time travel, mental manipulation, precognition and electricity manipulation. He later removed Maya Herrara's poison power, thus earning the trust of scientist Mohinder Suresh, who Arthur tasked with creating a formula that could give people superpowers.
While Mohinder experimented on Peter, Sylar arrives and saves Peter; Arthur threw lightning at him, but missed and thus Peter was set free without anyone to stop him. He tells Sylar that he is his father and that Angela attempted to kill him, and thus Sylar sided with Arthur. He then learns of Hiro Nakamura performing a "spirit walk" and teleports to Africa, kills the precognitive Usutu and messes with Hiro's memories, making him think that he is still 10 years of age. Back at Pinehearst, Arthur teaches Sylar to absorb other people's powers without having to actually kill them when Daphne informs him that the psychic Matt Parkman is trying to release his hold on still-paralyzed Angela, so he decides to release her. Upon discovery that the formula he wanted required a "catalyst" to work, he sends Knox and Flint Gordon to kidnap his granddaughter Claire Bennet, believing that she is the catalyst. He then uses his precognitive power to discover of an eclipse coming soon; during the eclipse, all superhumans worldwide lost their powers, including Arthur. When the eclipse passed and everyone got their powers back, Arthur time-travels to 16 years into the past and finds time-travelling Hiro (memories restored) and Claire, so he strips Hiro of his powers and absorbs the catalyst from him, then teleports back to the present and charges the formula with it. Suddenly, powerless Peter and the Haitian appear at Pinehearst and face Arthur; the Haitian stops Arthur's powers from saving himself, so now he had to worry about whether or not the formula would be finished by now. As Peter shoots at Arthur, the shot suddenly freezes in mid-air as Sylar enters the scene, asking him if he really is his father; when he detects the lies in the supervillain's response, he flings the shot into Arthur's head, killing him.
Peter, Flint and Knox burn down Pinehearst and destroy the formula, with Knox and Flint dying in the blaze, Peter getting a limited version of his absorption powers back and Mohinder being cured of his mutating condition. Meredith Gordon ends up burning down Primatech Paper, effectively wiping out both of the Companies in one night. Arthur's plot never came to fruition after that night.
Arthur had the ability to steal a person's ability by simply touching them. This made him one of the series most powerful characters after Sylar or Peter. Unlike Peter who had to learn how to control the abilities he acquired Arthur demonstrated great control of the abilities he took from people.
The following is a list of powers he stole:
- Accelerated healing (Adam Monroe)
- Telepathy (unknown, presumably Charles Deveaux)
- Electrokinesis (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Elle Bishop)
- Poison Emission (Maya Herrara)
- Telekinesis (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Sylar)
- Precognition in visual art (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Isaac Mendez)
- Time Travel (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Hiro Nakamura)
- Pyrokinesis (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Meredith Gordon)
- Flight (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Nathan Petrelli)
- Super Strength (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Niki Sanders)
- Phasing (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from D.L. Hawkins)
- Radioactivity (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Ted Sprague)
- Super Speed (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Daphne Millbrook)
- Intuitive aptitude (Peter Petrelli, absorbed from Sylar)
Some of these abilities were not demonstrated on the show but he had the potential to use all of them after stealing Peter's powers.
- Arthur Petrelli is sometimes considered by viewers of Heroes to be the most-powerful character in the entire series, having stolen all of Peter Petrelli's powers and being able to use all of them.
- Several things haven't really been made clear about Arthur:
- It isn't explained how he got his telepathy, but theories suggest he stole it from Charles Deveaux.
- No-one really knows why Arthur wanted to create the superhuman formula.
- He didn't have Sylar's hunger for power after absorbing his power through Peter.
- Through unexplained means, Arthur was fully-aware of everything that happened in the season; he knew that Hiro and Claire had time-travelled to acquire the cataylst, he knew that in New York, Elle and Sylar released the Company's prisoners, he even knew that Hiro was having a spirit walk in Africa. How would he know this? It is presumed that he read comics made by Isaac Mendez (9th Wonders!) to see these things happen. Originally, he was intended to absorb Molly Walker's clairvoyance to find Hiro and Claire in the past, but this wasn't added into the show.
- It wasn't made clear in the episode "Angels and Monsters" how Arthur was able to paralyze Angela when she was in a dream.
- In the photo of the Company's founders in Volume Two: Generations, a different actor was used to show Arthur, as his actor in Volume Three: Villains hadn't been cast yet. This is something of a continuity error.
- Fans of the show have theorized that Arthur absorbed Kaito Nakamura's ability to see the future, as he was unable to do this when he died in Volume Two: Generations as well as how he didn't expect Adam Monroe to be the assassin who wanted him dead when his ability should've told him so. Further evidence suggests that this was the event that made the founders of the Company go their separate ways.
- Despite having been killed off before the finale of Volume Three: Villains, it has been speculated that Arthur will come back to life. Below are some plausible explanations for thinking this:
- Despite having broken the Haitian's hold on the night he was killed by Sylar, he was still dead despite that his regeneration power would've saved him. So how could he be dead? Some believe that Arthur's death was an illusion he created using his telepathic powers, since Matt and Maury are capable of doing the same thing.
- Claire, Sylar and Peter both "died" when something was lodged in their brain and came back to life when said thing was removed. In Volume Four: Fugitives, Sylar demonstrates that he can make bullets exit his body and then regenerate. He could also bleed "for effect", which might be what Arthur did.
- The Haitian has the ability to depower people within close-range. Because of this, Arthur's powers could've kicked in when the Haitian left Pinehearst.
- Of all the immortal characters in the show, Arthur is the only one to die from a bullet to the head, which is able to permanently kill those with immortality (evidently differing from stabbing in the head, which is only temporary until the object is removed).