Born and raised in England in the mid-to-late 19th century, William Pratt was a struggling poet of middle class origins. Mocked and belittled by his acquaintances for his poetic efforts, he was an outsider for much of his adult life before, in 1880, he was sired by Drusilla. He was taken in by Drusilla and Angelus, the latter of whom instructed William in the art of cruelty. Despite his taste for cruelty and brutality, he possessed a remarkable capacity for human emotion, even going so far as to sire his mother to prevent her from dying. He was forced to stake her due to her taking on the emotional and moral vacuity common to vampires. He immersed himself in the vampiric lifestyle, developing a reputation as a particularly bloodthirsty rebel, and obtaining the nickname "Spike" due to his propensity to use railroad spikes as instruments of torture. He travelled Europe and Asia engaging in violence and delinquency for several decades, developing feuds with the Immortal and Dracula, among others. He killed a Slayer in 1900, and another in the 1970s.
Spike was created by Joss Whedon
for the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer
. He made his first appearance in the third episode of the second season, "School Hard".
Major Story Arcs
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Spike arrives in Sunnydale with the intention of adding Buffy to the list of Slayers he has killed. He is defeated, but continues to appear as an antagonist, and later as an unlikely ally. Though their association is initially mistrustful on both sides, Spike eventually begins working for the heroes, a position strengthened by the acquisition of a chip in his head which physically prevents him from harming humans. Over time he falls in love with Buffy, and ensouls himself to prove himself worthy of her. He eventually sacrifices himself to close the Hellmouth and save Buffy's life.
Partially resurrected by an amulet, Spike spends some time as a ghost before becoming fully corporeal through mysterious means. He soon dedicates himself to heroics, acting as a rival to Angel for some time before eventually joining Angel and his team.
Spike: After the Fall
Spike becomes involved with Illyria, whom he protects and attempts to aid during her frequent unintentional transformations into Fred. The pair work together to protect civilians in their area, and soon come into conflict with a group of female demons. Non, the demon leader, zombifies a number of Spike's protected humans by draining them of their life, and then takes Spike captive. He is joined by Illyria and Connor, who fight Non alongside him. After having Illyria kill the demon that is controlling Non's demon followers, Spike fights Non personally and defeats her. He then takes up residence in Beverly Hills as that area's Demon Lord.
Angel: After the Fall
Spike's status as Demon Lord of Beverly Hills brings him to the attention of Angel, with whom he fights. It is soon revealed that his new lifestyle is part of an act devised by him and Connor, with whom he is working to secretly rescue humans in his area. He later joins Angel and his associates in fighting the Lords of Los Angeles, despite his misgivings. He falls into a loose association with Angel's group, assisting them on a number of occasions. He also has numerous adventures on his own.
Spike leaves Los Angeles and travels to Las Vegas. There, he comes into conflict with a human named John, who lost his soul at the same time that Spike was ensouled. When John removes Spike's soul, Spike reflects that he does not need a soul to be a hero, and attempts to pass the soul on to Drusilla. Drusilla reacts poorly to being ensouled, however, and Spike soon retakes the soul.
Spike returns to Sunnydale to offer assistance to Buffy, who is in the process of attempting to defeat a sinister entity known as Twilight
. He leads her to the source of magic, a kind of magical seed which is buried beneath the city and which is tied into Twilight's power. He supports her decision to destroy the seed, despite it destroying all magic in the world. He travels to San Francisco
for a time to be near her, but the pair ultimately part ways.
Powers and Abilities
As a vampire, Spike possesses all of the super powers common to vampires, including superhuman strength and durability, superhuman senses, super speed and agility, advanced healing, and immortality. He also possesses all the weaknesses common to vampires, including aversion to crosses and inability to go out in sunlight. He has notably displayed some lack of concern for the sunlight restriction. He is a gifted and brutal fighter, displaying skill with weapons as well as in hand-to-hand combat situations, and a working knowledge of a number of martial arts. He has also displayed proficiency in torture. He is perceptive and a keen observer of those around him; these skills, coupled with his analytic ability, enable him to have a certain amount of insight into the inner workings of his associates and enemies, and to manipulate them as necessary. His analytical skills do extend to strategic and tactical planning, but his impulsivity tends to limit his success in that area. He is intelligent, and has areas of knowledge and skill in pop culture, literature, and various criminal pursuits, including lock picking, pickpocketing and hot wiring. He is known to be capable of speaking English, Latin, Luganda and the language spoken by Fyarl demons.
Buffyverse and Angel
Spike appears in numerous comics of disputed canonicity. Whether he is portrayed as a hero or villain in these comics depends on where generally in the overall timeline of the Buffyverse
the story fits.
Spike appears in three novels that act as expansions to the Buffyverse. These are Spike and Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row
, written by Christopher Golden and published in 2001; Spark and Burn
, written by Diana G Gallagher and published in 2005; and Blackout
, written by Keith RA DeCandido and published in 2006.
TelevisionBuffy the Vampire Slayer
Following his debut early in the second season, Spike appears as a regular character for the remaining five seasons of this television show. He is portrayed in all appearances by James Marsters. Angel
Spike appears in one episode in the first season, and as a recurring character in the fifth and final season of this Buffy
spin-off. He is again portrayed by James Marsters.