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Villain Overview

This I command!
~ Serpentor

Serpentor is a recurring antagonist of the G.I. Joe series. In the original 1980s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero animated series, he's the main antagonist in the second season, as well a secondary antagonist in the animated film. He serves as the Cobra Emperor of the Cobra organization, and is proven to be a very pretentious and arrogant sadist.

He was created by Dr. Mindbender, Destro, and the Crimson Twins merely because they grew tired of Cobra Commander's failures to take over the world. Serpentor was created using DNA of some of history's greatest villains and conquerors, such as Napoleon, Ivan the Terrible, and Alexander the Great. Sun Tzu's DNA was almost acquired, but foiled by G.I. Joe, so the DNA of Joe trainer named Sgt. Slaughter was substituted.

Once created, Serpentor overthrew Cobra Commander, and proved to be a more effective leader, but was ultimately more of a monster than a man. Extremely grandiloquent and sociopathic beyond words, Serpentor viewed everyone, specifically Cobra Commander, as beneath him, and would often berate his henchmen with cruel words. Not even his "father", Dr. Mindbender, was above his harshness. Eventually, Serpentor was betrayed when Cobra Commander regained control of Cobra by using science to transform him into an iguana, at least temporarily.

He was voiced by the late Richard Gautier in the Sunbow/marvel series of G.I Joe and by Maurice LaMarche in the DiC cartoon.


In the Sumbow series, Serpentor is a true sociopath, showing no remorse for his actions and no concern for his minions, who he views as expendable in the fight against G.I. Joe. His arrogance knows no limit, as he believes that everyone is beneath him (including his own creator Mindbender). He views himself as a true emperor. as he able to access the memories of his various DNA donors, who were nothing more than the infamous tyrants and dictators that history has ever written, such as Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Rasputin, Ivan the Terrible, Alexander the Great, and many others.

In the Renegades series, Serpentor is very intelligent and loyal to Cobra Commander, even willing to swallow any person that displeases the Cobra Commander, as well as spitting him/her out on cue if the Cobra Commander decides to let that person live.

Powers and Abilities

Serpentor is incredibly strong and intelligent in both versions. He is able to access the memories of his various DNA donors, which makes him a brilliant strategist, but also drives him insane.

He can also change his face to those DNA-templates he's made from.


Sunbow series

G.I. Joe: An American Hero

In the classic original cartoon series, Serpentor appeared as the main antagonist of the show's second season, voiced by the late Dick Gautier. He was created through a breakthrough in cloning research by Doctor Mindbender from the DNA extracted from the unearthed remains of Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Attila the Hun, Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler, Hannibal, Genghis Khan, Grigori Rasputin, Montezuma, Geronimo, and the fictionalized Egyptian general Xanuth Amon-Toth. In the animated continuity, Sun Tzu's DNA was also intended to be part of Serpentor's creation, but the attempt to obtain his DNA was thwarted by Sgt. Slaughter, whose DNA was then intended for use as a substitute. The first attempt was sabotaged by Cobra Commander, who secretly dumped a mutant virus into the Sgt. Slaughter DNA chamber causing a monster that rampaged throughout Cobra Island until it dissolved. During Doctor Mindbender's second attempt upon the recapture of Sgt. Slaughter, Cobra Commander is betrayed by Scrap-Iron (who told Doctor Mindbender about what happened). This time, the creation was a success as Serpentor is born.

As a result of Sun Tzu's DNA being missing, Serpentor is very intolerant and overbearing. He issues most of his orders with the phrase, "This I command!" However, without the methodical Sun Tzu's influence, Serpentor was also prone to impulsiveness, as shown in his first major act—leading Cobra in an attack upon Washington, DC. He succeeded in capturing the city and demanded the surrender of the President (who was out of town with the Vice-President at the time), Congress and G.I. Joe. The G.I. Joe members managed to do a sneak attack on Cobra, turning the operation into a complete fiasco. Just as the Joes are about to capture Serpentor, a sudden burst of fire drives them back. It turns out it came from Cobra Commander, who convinced Mindbender to free him because he knew how to use a weapon. Cobra Commander convinced Serpentor to let him be his scapegoat since there would be no one to do the punishing for him.

A later episode "My Favorite Things" reveals that Serpentor can assume the facial features of those whose DNA are included in his genetic composition. In addition, a few more donors to Serpentor's creation are revealed: a Viking warrior known as "Ulrik The Batterer", and the reptilian king "Takshaka" from Indian mythology.

G.I. Joe: The Movie

In the film, Serpentor is a secondary antagonist, and is contacted by Pythona, an emissary of the ancient culture "Cobra-La". She informs him of the need to steal the Broadcast Energy Transmitter (B.E.T.). During the attack to obtain the B.E.T., Serpentor is wounded and left to be captured by G.I. Joe. Aided by Cobra-La, Cobra forces are later dispatched to rescue Serpentor and bring him to the hidden kingdom of Cobra-La. After Serpentor's arrival at the ancient kingdom, Cobra-La's supreme ruler Golobulus informs the Cobra leadership present that it was he who implanted the idea of creating Serpentor in Doctor Mindbender's brain with a biological organism called a "psychic motivator".

Along with the other Cobra hierarchy, Serpentor accepts Golobulus's authority and vows to fulfill his goal of destroying human civilization. During an attack to acquire the B.E.T. from G.I. Joe headquarters, Serpentor severely injures Duke causing Duke to slip into a coma. During the climatic attack on Cobra-La, Serpentor is defeated by Duke's half-brother Lt. Falcon when the Cobra emperor's cape gets caught in his air chariot's engine turbine. Serpentor is last seen flying out of control on his air chariot, struggling to get himself free of his cape.

G.I. Joe (DiC)

In the DiC series, Cobra Commander grew back to normal (thanks to Baroness) and overthrew Serpentor with his new force known as Python Patrol. Cobra Commander then took the opportunity to utilize a machine in turning Serpentor into an iguana to regain control of COBRA for himself. It is unknown what happened to Serpentor afterwards.

G.I. Joe: Renegades

In this series, Serpentor is a giant cobra who was created by Dr. Mindbender as a pet and loyal enforcer to Cobra Commander. He possesses enough intelligence to follow basic commands that the Cobra Command gives him.


Know that I am the one you seek. I am the one born to rule, destined to conquer. Let those who fear me follow me. Let those who oppose me die! For I am Serpentor, and this I command!
~ Serpentor's first words in the cartoon.
None shall stand against me, neither within Cobra, nor without. For I am Serpentor, and I must rule! This I command!
~ Serpentor
Blunderers! Fools! We possess power, greater than any on Earth, yet our conquests are stripped from us, on every front! Our most dangerous enemy is not G.I. Joe, but your collective incompetence!
~ Serpentor to the members of Cobra.


            GIJoeTitle.png Villains

Cobra Commander (Krake) | Baroness | Tomax & Xamot | Storm Shadow | Dr. Mindbender | Firefly | Major Bludd | Scrap-Iron | Copperhead | Serpentor | Golobulus | Cobra Troopers | B.A.T.S.
M.A.R.S. Industries: Destro
Dreadnoks: Zartan | Zarana | Zandar | Buzzer | Ripper | Torch | Monkeywrench | Thrasher

Alternate Continuities
G.I. Joe: Resolute: Cobra Commander
G.I. Joe: Renegades: Cobra Commander | Dr. Mindbender
G.I Joe 2009-2013 Film Duology: Cobra Commander/The Doctor | Destro | Storm Shadow | Baroness | Zartan | Firefly
2021 Film Series: Baroness | Storm Shadow | Kenta | Mr. Augustine