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Pay a man enough, and he'll walk barefoot into Hell.
~ David Xanatos to Owen Burnett and his most famous qoute.

David Xanatos is one of the main antagonists of the popular Disney cartoon series Gargoyles.

He serves as one of the two main antagonists of the first two seasons of the show (not counting Season 3, which is confirmed as non-canon since the main writer, Greg Weisman, left the series after season 2) as well as its canon comic series continuation.

He is an extremely wealthy businessman and the founder, owner, and president of Xanatos Enterprises who is responsible for the Manhattan Clan's reawakening.

He was voiced by Jonathan Frakes, who also played J'son in the Guardians of the Galaxy animated series.


David Xanatos (who was the founder, owner, and president of the powerful Xanatos Enterprises) was a ruthless individual and master of manipulation who rarely got himself involved personally with a battle, preferring to utilize his wealth and power as weapons of their own - he also created the Steel Clan, robotic versions of the Gargoyles and he personally donned a Steel Clan robot suit on several occasions in order to make himself a physical match for Goliath and his clan.

However, Xanatos' most dangerous weapon was always his mind; he was knowledgeable in many ways and held enough influence that he could get away with his illegal dealings (though even Xanatos is not fully immune to the law as he has spent a few months in prison due to being in possession of stolen property - his sentence greatly reduced due to his network of lawyers). Throughout his career, Xanatos was aided by his henchman, Owen Burnett (who is the Fay known as Puck, in reality), who was willing to do anything for his superior.

Xanatos's efforts to create replacements for the gargoyles resulted in the creation of the Mutates and Thailog. However, Xanatos made a mistake in creating Thailog as the clone learn a little too much from Xanatos, proceeding to rob him for twenty-million dollars before breaking off to become a new rival.

Shortly before his marriage to Fox, David Xanatos became a member of the legendary Illuminati, though is ranked as one of the lowest.

Xanatos's war with the gargoyles would only truly come to an end after the birth of his son, Alexander. The clan helped rescue Alexander from Oberon (though they had little success; rather, the day was saved by negotiation on Goliath's behalf). Xanatos was thankful to his former enemies for saving his son, so he finally put aside his long-running rivalry with the clan and dedicated himself to helping them. However, the third season, which portrayed Xanatos as an ally to the gargoyles, while compelling, is considered non-canon by the series main writer and fans.


David Xanatos is an extremely practical and business-like man who thinks of revenge as a foolish concept and concerns himself purely with increasing his current power, wealth, and business. Xanatos has no interest in world domination as he is confident he can accomplish his goals under the current system. In the end, he could be considered a knowledgeable and intellectual businessman. However, in order to have such knowledge, Xanatos is willing to sacrifice ethics and morality.

Also, despite his polite nature, there have been a few times where he was blatantly cruel. An example would be when he mocked Derek after the latter found out he was the cause of his mutation. There have also been a few instances where he has lost his cool. However, these are rare.

Unlike many of the Gargoyles' enemies, Xanatos is best described as more "amoral" than "evil", in that he bears Goliath and his clan no malice or grudges, but regards them with interest and amusement. His pursuit of them was motivated purely by their usefulness to him, which explains why he outright prevented and forbade Demona from killing them in one episode. In addition, he had no difficulty (from his point of view) making peace with them after they saved his son. His various schemes are based on practical goals, rather than evil deeds, although his plans rarely show much regard for the welfare of anybody else.

Despite his ruthless and undemonstrative personality, Xanatos is a genuinely caring and compassionate father and husband, and when with his family David Xanatos is a much more sympathetic individual... at least for a little while. Furthermore, he does have a sense of honor as even in the first-season finale, he agreed to fight the Gargoyles elsewhere in order to avoid damaging the city. He also helped them defeat Demona after finding out her plan to kill all the humans in Manhattan, if not throughout the world. His softer side is especially evident in the non-canon third season, where he ends up becoming a trusted ally of the Manhattan Clan and Elisa after the world finds out the Gargoyles exists.



  • Xanatos' voice actor in the series, Jonathan Frakes is the same actor who also portrayed Commander William T. Riker in the Star Trek franchise (this has led to him being referred to as "Evil Riker" by fans in a recurring joke).
  • During the show's development, Xanatos was originally known as Xavier and he was the descendant of the wizard that originally cursed the gargoyles to sleep for a thousand years. According to Greg Weisman, he was, "rich, powerful and petulant. Very Captain Hook." This idea of a descendant of an ancient enemy was eventually used for Wolf and Hakon in "Vendettas". The name "Xavier" was eventually dropped because of the similarity to Professor X (Charles Xavier) in Marvel Comics' X-Men. Still, Greg Weisman wanted a name with a similar sound to it. Thinking of Thanatos, the Ancient Greek God of Death, and since X and TH sounds are often interchanged, he tried the name Xanatos, which was quickly accepted by other crew members. Some time later, he checked the phone book and found that Xanatos was in fact a real name. The character's first name, David, was chosen specifically because the master gargoyle had been named Goliath, thus echoing the Biblical story of David and Goliath, but with the hero and villain roles reversed.
  • Even though Demona was the main antagonist of the series, Xanatos served as The Heavy and possibly turned out to be more dangerous than she because it was his quest to awaken the gargoyles and use her that drove the plot. However, this changed when Demona proved to be far more ruthless and wicked than David ever was.
  • He is the first animated character to be voiced by Jonathan Frakes.
  • He is the namesake of the trope, the Xanatos Gambit, in which a character manipulates and orchestrates multiple schemes in which the success of even one is considered advantageous to the perpetrator.
  • He is considered a perfect example of a Type B Magnificent Bastard.

External Links


           GargoylesTitle.png Villains

Labyrinth Clan
Demona | Thailog | Brentwood | Hollywood | Delilah | Burbank | Malibu | Fang

Xanatos Enterprises
David Xanatos | Owen Burnett/Puck | Coyote | The Pack (Fox Xanatos, Wolf, Jackal & Hyena) | Anton Severius | Steel Clan | Coldsteel | Matrix

Children of Oberon
Oberon | Raven | Anansi | Coyote | Odin | Banshee

Archmage | Macbeth | Gillecomgain | King Constantine III | Quarrymen (Assassin) | Preston Vogel | Mace Malone | Ekidna | Proteus | Anubis | Taro | Yama | Hakon | Captain of the Guard | Helios | Street Thugs

           THX Animation.png Villains

Bill Bluff | Lord Curface | Demona | David Xanatos | Owen Burnett | Fox Xanatos | Petros Xanatos | Pat Doyle | Mr. Ratburn | Boris | Von Kreepsula | Miss Gotto | Ivan Shawbly | The Bogeyman | Beatrice | The Crocodiles | Caserious | Zorgons | Mark Howard | The Pharaoh Cowboys | Emperor Zurg | Lt. Colonel Staquait | Robert Canler | Johannes Niels | Merkus | Tublat | Lady Waltham