Note: The character featured in this article has appeared in multiple media, as both a protagonist and antagonist. In keeping with the objectives of this site, only the characters villainous actions will be covered in detail. For further information relating to his good deeds, you will need to view the external links.
Mathayus is the Akkadian warrior that was well known as the Scorpion King among all that knew his identity, and would become an ancient evil that was stopped from decimating the Earth by Rick O'Connell. He is the overarching antagonist of the 2001 film The Mummy Returns and the titular protagonist of The Scorpion King saga.
In The Mummy Returns, the first Scorpion King movie and Rise of the Akkadian, he was portrayed by former WWE wrestler Dwayne Johnson in his first villainous role, who also played Sarge in Doom, Agent 23 in Get Smart and Terrorcon Cliffjumper in Transformers Prime. Mathayus is played by Michael Copon, Victor Webster, and Zach McGowan in the prequels and sequels.
Rise of the Akkadian
Mathayus was picked by King Urmhet to protect the lord of Khemet and a concubine from a dangerous beast. The beast was summoned by Magus, who convinced him to join forces before Mathayus declined to the sorcerer. He got sent to Magus' prison and met an elderly prisoner named Hammet. He eventually found his way through the Netherworld and retrieved the Sword of Osiris. Magus reveals himself as the man who mislead Mathayus into helping him summon Set, the Chaos God once he sacrifices Mathayus' brothers. Once Magus died at the hands of Mathayus, he became a vessel for Set, which Mathayus quickly defeated and rescued his brothers.
The Last Akkadian
Mathayus, along with his two brothers, the last of a dying people, the Akkadians, Mathayus became a mercenary, training extensively in the deadly arts and only applying service to those whom he and his brothers personally favoured, though upon the death of his brothers, Mathayus went on to end the reign of Memnon, a murderous warlord who sought to conquer all around him, and went on to become a warlord himself known as the Scorpion King. Upon Memnon's death, Mathayus ascended power by assuming the role of a king, becoming a formidable ruler in ancient Egyptian times, before the era of the Pyramids.
The Scorpion King
Campaign of conquest
Following his ascension to the throne Mathayus, now known as the Scorpion King, began a campaign to unify all of Egypt under his control. Commanding a large, loyal army, Mathayus' retained his reputation as a formidable warrior and was not afraid to lead his men from the front line. The campaign lasted seven long years and reaped a massive bounty across Egypt.
Finally though, after a final attempt to conquer the ancient city of Thebes, the monarch and his army were decisively defeated. In an attempt to stop Mathayus' ambitions, the Scorpion Kings enemies drove their defeated enemies into the sacred, empty wastelands of Ahm Shere. Far from refuge and with no food, water or shelter, the men gradually succumbed to heatstroke, dehydration and sheer exhaustion. Finally, only Mathayus himself remained. Whilst he probably endured the longest due to the training in his early life, even Mathayus was not immune to the effects of the desert.
A Deadly Pact
Leaving the corpses of his men behind, Mathayus continued walking until he reached somewhere near the heart of the desert. Finally, he stopped and fell to his knees, unwilling and unable to take another step. As he teetered on the verge of death, Mathayus' realized that his hatred for his enemies had not subsided. Now, more than ever, he yearned to make them pay for his defeat and suffering.
With nothing to lose, The Scorpion King made one final gamble. Remembering the passage he had read from the Book of the Dead, he gazed up towards the heavens and prayed to Anubis, the Egyptian God of death and mummification. Through the incantation, Mathayus offered the dark god a deal. He asked Anubis to spare his life, allow him to defeat all of his enemies and build the golden pyramid he was promised. In exchange, Mathayus would not only dedicate the monument to his new master, he would give Anubis the most precious thing in his possession, his soul.
At that moment, a scorpion emerged out of the ground as if in answer to Mathayus' prayers. Desperate, the Scorpion King (who was immune to the arthropods venom) picked up the struggling creature and ate it as some form of sustenance. However, he soon discovered that this had been a test from Anubis, who wanted to make sure Mathayus was serious about his proclamation. Judging him to be sincere, Anubis used his powers to create a giant oasis around the Scorpion King, filling it with trees, fresh water and various forms of protection from outsiders. Having earned the favor of the God himself, Mathayus roared with triumph. It was here, in the Oasis of Ahm Shere that the King would make his new headquarters.
Anubis also gave the Scorpion King command of his own deadly army. This legion of practically immortal warriors succeeded where Mathayus' human soldiers had failed. Over the next few years, Mathayus led his soldiers on several campaigns, gathering the resources necessary to build his golden pyramid. Built at the heart of his oasis, Mathayus honored his word and dedicated the collosal structure to his new master. The final act in the Scorpion Kings campaign was a retaliatory strike on Thebes, where Mathayus' watched on happily as the army of Anubis slaughtered the entire city until finally no resistance remained, making Egypt his at long last.
Despite their arrangement however, Anubis did not seek to destroy Egypt, since doing so would be dangerous to his own existence. He watched as his champion carried out the revenge Anubis had promised him. During the final moments of the fall of Thebes, Anubis decided that he had fulfilled his side of the arrangement and that the time had now come for Mathayus to honor his!
Whilst the Scorpion Kings gleefully surveyed the carnage around him, amidst the burning ruins, a statue of the God was suddenly surrounded by divine energy. Turning the fires from the burning rubble upon his champion, Anubis struck the unsuspecting Mathayus in the back, separating the Scorpion Kings body and soul. Mathayus' burning spirit was carted back to the sacred oasis Anubis had granted him. There Anubis gave his champion a new body, a twisted but perhaps fitting composition of scorpion and human. At the same time, Mathayus' body, disintegrated and his army likewise turned to dust, leaving behind no trace of their existence. All that was left, was Mathayus' jackel headed scorpion braclet.
Placing his champion in hibernation, Anubis put a curse on him, condemning Mathayus to remain in stasis until the next year of the scorpion, an event that happened only once every five thousand years. When that time came, Mathayus would face a challenger. If he defeated the challenger or none arrived, the Scorpion King would return to hibernation. If the challenger defeated Mathayus however, they would gain complete control over the army of Anubis and were then free to make one of two decisions. They could either use the army for themselves to conquer the entire world or banish the soldiers of Anubis back to the underworld, thus breaking the cycle for all time.
The key to all of this was Mathayus' bracelet. Whomsoever put it on, would be granted access to several visions, which would guide them towards the Oasis of Ahm Shere. Upon arrival, they would have to enter the pyramid and do battle with the Scorpion King, but use the bracelet to awaken Anubis' army from its stasis. However, in order to ensure that only the greatest and strongest warrior would undertake such a task, Anubis also cursed the bracelet. Whoever put it on would have only one week to reach the pyramid. If they did not enter the structure before the morning sun struck the pyramid, then the bracelet would suck the wearers life from them. To prevent any of this from happening, the Egyptians sealed all of Mathayus' remaining relics away under lock and key. Over the course of several millennia, Mathayus' name was forgotten, but the legend of the Scorpion King remained. By the early 1900s however, many egyptologists doubted that he had ever existed.
Return and Death
|“||Go to hell, and take your friends with you!||„|
|~ Rick O'Connell after fatally impaling Mathayus.|
5,000 years later, Mathayus remained in his statis. His bracelet was discovered by Rick and Evelyn O'Connell, who took it from its resting place back to England. There, their son Alex put the bracelet on for a little bit of fun. However, the magic that was imbued into the artifact activated meaning that the Scorpion King would awaken in seven days time. Unfortunately for the O'Connell's, Alex was kidnapped shortly after the resurrection of their arch-nemesis the High Priest Imhotep, who sought to use the Scorpion Kings invincible army to conquer the world.
Following several encounters and misadventures, both sides reached the Pyramid. There Imhotep descended into its heart in order to challenge the Scorpion King, but not before Anubis stripped him of his great powers to make the fight fair. Rick O'Connell followed with the intention of stopping Imhotep's ambitions. Both men sought Mathayus' destruction, but when the giant monstrosity emerged from hibernation, Imhotep feigned loyalty to the abomination. Since Imhotep and Mathayus spoke the same language, Imhotep claimed that Rick was the champion sent to kill him, causing the Scorpion King to focus all of his attention on Rick, killing one of Imhotep's servants in the process.
Rick eventually discovered carvings on the wall of the pyramid, probably put there by Anubis himself, telling him how to defeat the Scorpion King. It turned out that a trinket Rick's brother in law Johnathon had been carrying was in-fact the Spear of Osiris, the one weapon, which could harm the Scorpion King. Whilst Rick distracted the giant monstrosity, Johnathon and Alex activated the spear, then tried to launch it, only for it to be intercepted by Imhotep. The mummified High Priest proclaimed that the Army of Anubis was now his and threw the spear at Mathayus.
At the last second, however, Rick managed to leap up and grab the spear. Recognizing the danger, the Scorpion King tore after Rick, intending to kill him and destroy the spear. Slipping on the floor, Rick almost fell through a gap in the floor, which led directly into the the underworld. However, he managed to save himself, by using the spear to impale Matahyus, stabbing him through the abdomen, much to Imhotep's despair.
With the Scorpion King defeated, the fate of Anubis' army now rested in Rick's hands. This was important, because Mathayus' warriors were about to fall upon Ardeth Bay and the decimated Medjai ranks. As the Medjai prepared to make a gallant but ultimately futile last stand against the advancing horde, Rick (using the section quote) told Mathayus to take his followers with him to hell. He then stabbed the spear in further, whereupon, with a final scream the Scorpion Kings body exploded in a puff of black smoke. As Rick commanded, the jackel headed legions likewise disintegrated, sparring the lives of Ardeth and his remaining warriors.
With the prophecy fulfilled, Mathayus and Anubis arrangement was ended. Shooting out of the pyramid, a mass of black smoke rose out of the structure, with Mathayus' face appearing amongst the smog. With a final scream of pain, this final manifestation of the Scorpion King acknowledged his defeat and the end of his suffering. Retracting into the structure, Mathayus' spirit departed from the mortal plain. The oasis, its inhabitants and the pyramid were subsequently destroyed, sinking into the sands to be lost for all time. All that remained was the massive diamond, which once sat atop the pyramid, which was taken by Johnathon shortly before the pyramids destruction. With the oasis gone, the threat of the Scorpion King had been eliminated once and for all.
- Mathayus appears in the Live "Forever May Not Be Long Enough" and Godsmack "I Stand Alone" music videos.