The name Cobra Commander refers to several versions of the same character.
For a list of the other versions, see Cobra Commander.

The name Doctor refers to several versions of the same character.
For a list of the other versions, see Doctor.
Cobra Commander is a Cobra character from the GI Joe films Rise of Cobra and Retaliation.
Cobra banner.png

The time has come for the Cobra to rise up and reveal himself! You will call me 'Commander!'

—Cobra Commander to Destro

Born Rexford "Rex" Lewis, he was a military scientist, former team mate and friend of Conrad "Duke" Hauser, and the brother of Ana. During a U.S. military mission a horrible explosion scarred his face all over, he became the Doctor, head of Nanomites projects at M.A.R.S. Industries, working with James McCullen. Secretly, he had his own agenda, and would set himself up as Cobra Commander, supreme leader of the Cobra organization.


Rise of Cobra (2009 Movie)

Rex Lewis appears in the first live action G.I. Joe movie, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Science requires sacrifice!

—A saying Rex learned from McCullen and Dr. Mindbender

Rex Lewis as "The Doctor."

Four years prior to the events of Rise of Cobra, Rex Lewis was in the U.S. Military alongside his best friends, Duke and Ripcord. His sister, Ana, was in a loving relationship with Duke, who would propose to her at a party before the team was deployed to their next mission. Ana agreed to marry Duke as long as he kept her brother safe. Duke promised her that he would.

During the mission, Duke sent Rex into a building to get information on some mysterious weapons project being constructed. An airstrike was set to destroy the building in five minutes. Rex ran inside to download the information while Duke and Ripcord defended the area against enemies outside.

When in the building, Rex saw a computer recording of a project known as "Nanomites", which were far more advanced than any project he had known of in today's scientific affairs. Rex was quite fascinated, being a scientist himself, not a soldier like the rest of the unit. Rex found Dr. Mindbender, creator of the Nanomite project for M.A.R.S., in the building. 

Rex Lewis meeting Ana and Duke before the explosion.

However, as Rex downloaded the info, the computer sounded a warning that the airstrike was inbound - it was coming too early, and he needed to evacuate fast. However, Mindbender sealed the door of the bunker, blocking Rex's means of escape and telling him that if they survived, he would tell Rex everything about the Nanomites. The explosion from the strike destroyed the building as Duke tried to rescue Rex. Ripcord held him back, and Rex was presumed dead.

Rex and Mindbender survived, and Rex was given the proper medical equipment to live onward. 

Though Rex himself confirmed Mindbender's survival, his status within M.A.R.S. projects after the incident was not revealed. At Rex's funeral, an empty coffin lay in a grave as Ana looked down on it, greatly saddened.[1] The unit honored his sacrifice with a 21 gun salute, and his sister held a neatly folded American flag in her arms over his casket. However, after the "moving ceremony", he went with Mindbender to M.A.R.S. and learned all about the Nanomites. He joined M.A.R.S. and James McCullen, perfecting Mindbender's research and becoming McCullen's assistant. Rex, going by the alias of Doctor, felt sympathy for Ana, as Duke had "abandoned" her, being too depressed to face her. He also gained a great hatred for his former best friend, as he had left him for dead.

The Doctor broke into Ana's house one night and injected her with Nanomites, using her as his first test subject. Rex expressed that he truly did love his sister despite his corruption, and believed that he had given her life purpose and a way to deal with the pain of being "truly alone" by programming her to work for McCullen so that she could move on from her broken heart. Over the next four years, the Doctor managed to use his Nanomite create the Neo-Viper project and Nanomite warhead. He showed fascination with the Cobra snake and made it the symbol of his research. His assignments also including placing one of his 20 Neo-Vipers in Washingtion, D.C. and giving Zartan the ability to shapeshift.

When Duke was captured in Paris and taken to the M.A.R.S Antarctic base, Rex revealed himself by removing the wig he was wearing and his breathing mask. Duke was angered by Rex's betrayal and he attempted to inject Duke with the Nanomites and make him a slave like the Neo-Vipers. By then, the Baroness overcame her programing, attacked her brother, and saved Duke. Amazed that Ana was the first to overcome the programming, Rex held the switch that would cause the nanomites in her system to kill her from the inside, revealing he was willingly kill his own sister. McCullen was angered by her sacrifice for Duke because he loved her as well, and attempted to kill Duke with a flamethrower.

Duke shot McCullen with Baroness' powerful shockwave pistol, which backfired the flamethrower on McCullen, badly burning his face. Rex decided to escape as the M.A.R.S. base was destroyed by G.I. Joe. He grabbed the scarred and burned McCullen and took him to come with him during his escape. They made it to a submarine (specifically given the Cobra insignia by Rex) and fled the crumbling base as Duke and Ana pursued them. The sub's propeller was damaged by a lucky missile shot from Duke, slowing them down. Rex injected McCullen with special nanomites designed precisely for McCullen, he used them to heal James's face however it was was transformed into some kind of synthetic metal.

Rex introduces himself as Commander to Destro

Rex gave McCullen the name "Destro" and used the nanomites to programme him to become his unwilling Lieutenant . He then donned a transparent, artificial mask in place of his Doctor breathing equipment that he had been designing. He then took the name "Commander," and planned to take over McCullen's organization, rebranding it Cobra. However, Destro and Cobra Commander were placed in high security prison by Duke, despite the Commander's vow that things had only just begun.

Retaliation (2013 movie)

Cobra Commander appears in the sequel, played by Luke Bracey and voiced by Robert Baker.

After the events of Rise of Cobra, Cobra Commander and Destro were placed in the Einsargen Subterranean Prison, a maximum-security underground prison in Germany. They were forced inside containers. Since then M.A.R.S. had been completely redesigned as Cobra, with most vehicles, equipment and uniforms sporting the cobra insignia. Zartan found out about the prison when torturing President of the United States. Storm Shadow managed to infiltrate the Commander's prison with Firefly, who sent out flying bombs through the prison. Cobra Commander's container experiences a technical fail, which gave him advantage of escaping the prison. He pulled a technician inside the container, knocking him into the container's glass several times. In the last knock, warden James enters after being informed about the fail. He mandates the guards to shoot the the Commander, destroying the container in the process. Cobra Commander was able to kill the guards. James puts a defibrillator in the splashed water, electrocuting the Commander. Storm Shadow and Firefly freed Cobra Commander and destroyed the base, leaving Destro behind, with the Commander quipping, "Destro, you're out of the band." However, James was able to fire on the coolant tanks for the prison, setting the chamber ablaze and severely burning Storm Shadow's back, while Commander shot him down. The Commander ordered Firefly to get him to the Himalayas to heal his burn scars. By now most of the GI Joe's had been assassinated in an attack which was spearheaded by Firefly and launched by Zartan, who was impersonating President of United States. Upon hearing that three Joes survived the attacks partially due to negligent strategy on the behalf of one Cobra soldier, Cobra Commander is outraged that a few Joes survived and ordered Firefly and Zartan to eliminate those three quickly.  

Cobra Commander fled to a secret Cobra base of unknown location where he oversaw the construction of a Zeus satellite, a weapon that could drop a Tungsten rod with a force equivalent to a nuclear bomb which he planned on using for his quest for world domination. Cobra Commander forced an eye-scan from the true President of the United States to gain him access to the United States's nuclear arsenal as part of his plan for global nuclear disarmament. 

Once Zartan (still disguised as the President) was able to convince the world's leaders to get rid of their nuclear arsenals (including the US's), he revealed the Zeus satellite array and described their power as being similar yet also different from a nuke, as the explosives aren't launched; but dropped. Cobra Commander then entered the meeting room and ordered his soldiers to drop a Tungsten rod on London. As the world leaders were about to surrender to the Commander, Storm Shadow and Jinx immediately began killing off Cobra soldiers, forcing Cobra Commander to order all other Zeus satellites to fire on their designated targets, also ordering Firefly to protect the command briefcase for them. Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye managed to finish off the last of the Cobra soldiers, Firefly, and Zartan (who was killed by Storm Shadow), but Cobra Commander was able to escapein a helicopter before he could be captured as his satellites self-destructed, ending Cobra's plan. 

Later, as the real President of the United States reclaimed his position, General Joseph Colton handed Roadblock a pistol that belonged to General George Patton, asking Roadblock to use it to finish off the Commander once he finds him.

Snake Eyes (2021)

Although not seen or mentioned in this movie, Akiko does refer to Cobra being controlled by a “single centralised command”.

Rex Lewis/Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)


Rex Lewis was originally a friendly man who was good friends with Duke and Ripcord. He was a clever scientist and Ana affectionately referred to him as her "genius, egghead brother". However Rex appeared to be obsessed with science, even saying that the nanotechnology created by Doctor Mindbender was "beautiful."

After his apparent death, Rex was badly scarred, and was unable to breathe properly without the mask he wore. He developed a great hatred of Duke, thinking that Duke had abandoned him. The trauma of being caught in an explosion, along with the hatred he felt towards Duke, caused him to go mad and he became sadistic, vengeful and power-hungry. Rex gained the trust of James McCullen while secretly planning to take over M.A.R.S Industries and replace it with a new organization named Cobra. He was determined to make Duke suffer for abandoning him, displaying both his sadism and his lust for revenge.

Rex claimed that he had loved his sister Ana and originally injected her with nanomites to spare her from the pain she felt over his "death" and Duke's abandonment. However as time went on, Rex became so corrupted that he was willing to kill his own sister. 

Despite being held in a prison tube for so long, Cobra Commander's animosity was somewhat quelled for the most part. Even so, he still ordered all the Joes to be annihilated, proving it wasn't completely gone, but at the same time he was less hands-on than when he was posing as "The Doctor." His intellect remained high, as he was able to use Zartan as a puppet to convince the world's leaders to get rid of their nuclear arsenal; they were unaware of the Commander's Zeus weapons in space, thus allowing Cobra Commander to utilize the Zeus satellites on London. Had it not been for the high pressure of being under fire, the Commander might have succeeded if he had fled with the control briefcase himself instead of entrusting it to Firefly, who had an encounter with Roadblock and was killed, allowing the Joe to destroy Cobra Commander's Zeus satellites.



Main article: Cobra Commander (Movie)/Toys

Behind the scenes

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum also co-starred in Havoc and Stop-Loss.
  • Levitt wore a mask – which was redesigned from the comics because the crew found it too reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan - and prosthetic makeup underneath. Upon seeing concept art of the role he was being offered, Levitt signed on because; "I was like, 'I get to be that? You're going to make that [makeup] in real life and stick it on me? Cool. Let me do it.' That's a once-in-lifetime opportunity."
  • Levitt described his vocal performance as being half reminiscent of Chris Latta's voice for the 1980s cartoon, but also half his own ideas, because he felt rendering it fully would sound ridiculous.
  • When the first pictures of "The Doctor's" filecard were leaked online, many fans assumed that would be Cobra Commander's final look in the film, since the dual roles and the evolution of the character were not yet known.
  • When seen in the film wearing his class A blue uniform, Lewis's decorations can be visually identified as the Combat Medical Badge, Parachutist Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, and Army Service Ribbon, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and Army Superior Unit Award.
  • Joseph Gordan-Levitt told in an interview that he'll not return as Cobra Commander.

External links


  1. It is unknown if the coffin was actually empty, as Rex described the funeral as a "moving ceremony" and pointed out how "above", there was a folded flag in Ana's arms, suggesting he was silently watching from the open grave.