The name Destro refers to several versions of the same character.
For a list of the other versions, see Destro.
,Destro is a Cobra character from the G.I. Joe film.
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Destro: I've finally taken my place in the long line of McCullens!
Cobra Commander: James McCullen is no more. Now, you are Destro.
Destro: What have you done to me!?

—Cobra Commander christens Destro

Rise of Cobra (2009 Movie)

Portrayed by Christopher Eccleston.

Destro is the codename of Laird James McCullen XXIV, weapons supplier for Cobra.


James McCullen before he became Destro

James McCullen is the current head of the arms dealing clan of McCullen. Going into the business himself as CEO of M.A.R.S Industries, he sold to both sides: first to NATO, then to Cobra. As a leading arms dealer, he made a fortune. The funding for the company is believed to be coming from the McCullen clan. Like in the comics he has a relationship with the Baroness and feels threatened by Duke taking every opportunity to insult or aggravate him.

After his face is disfigured by Duke when he tried to use a flamethrower only to have it backfire by Duke firing the Baroness' pulse weapon at him, Cobra Commander heals his face with nanomites, giving his face a silver metallic appearance, and he re-christens McCullen "Destro", the right hand of Cobra Commander. The name Destro came from his ancestor who also had his face burned and was forced to wear an iron mask for the rest of his life. The name means destroyer of worlds, as explained by Destro, who owns the very iron mask his ancestor was imprisoned in. He has since been arrested by G.I. Joe, along with Cobra Commander. 

Retaliation (2013 Movie)

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Destro was imprisoned at a high security, underground facility in Germany. He was held in a life support suit floating in a fluid-filled vat, unable to move. Storm Shadow and Firefly staged a break in at the prison, with Firefly killing the guards and Storm Shadow infiltrating the prison posed as Snake Eyes. After freeing Cobra Commander from his tank, Storm Shadow gives him a gun to free McCullen as well but the Commander declines. The Commander's parting shot was to say "Destro, you're out of the band...". Destro is presumably killed in the explosion of the prison triggered by Director Nigel James.


While James McCullen was a wealthy and powerful man, he was obsessed with gaining even more power and was determined to take over the world. He was treacherous and unreliable and sold weapons both to Cobra and to GI Joe. He kept the mask that one of his ancestors had been forced to wear to remind him to never get caught selling to both sides. McCullen was unbothered about killing innocent people by using his deadly nanomite warheads. He described his goal as being to strike fear into the hearts of every man, woman and child on the planet so that they would turn to the person with the most power.

When Duke questioned why McCullen thought he was fit to rule the world, McCullen simply responded "You're not seeing the big picture". This line became clearer when it was revealed that he planned to have Zartan (in the guise of the U.S. president) act as the visible figure of power while McCullen acted as the "real power behind the throne".

However McCullen also appeared to have a softer side. He was apparently in love with Ana Lewis, also known as the Baroness, and felt threatened by Duke's own relationship with Ana. He also ordered Storm Shadow to murder Ana's husband if he touched her in a loving way. When he realised that Ana really did love Duke, McCullen was both heartbroken and furious and attempted to kill Duke but got badly burned as a result. He also seemed concerned about Ana when her brother, Rex, activated the nanomites within her and threatened to kill her.

He was also at least somewhat concerned with his humanity, at least in a physical sense, as he was horrified to discover the transformation of his face into metal.


Destro The Rise of Cobra (2009)
A Destro action figure is part of the 3.75-inch scale The Rise of Cobra toys. Accessories include a pistol, a rifle, a spring-loaded missile launcher and figure stand.
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James McCullen 2-Pack (2009) (San Diego Comic con exclusive)
2 exclusive figures for the Rise of Cobra preview at last years Comic con of James McCullen IX (1600's Destro) and James McCullen XXVI (Current Destro)

Behind the scenes

Concept art of Destro's helmet by Stephen Sommers

  • David Murray was cast as Destro, but was forced to drop out when he had problems with his visa. Murray was later cast as an ancestor of James McCullen, James McCullen IX, who is the subject of The Rise of Cobra's opening sequence.
  • Jon Chu stated that fans would get a glimpse of Destro in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, but Christopher Eccleston would not reprise his role in the sequel. Ultimately, the character appears briefly in prison, but he has no lines and is quickly removed from the action. As no actor is credited in the film with playing the role of Destro, it is possible that the "Destro" seen in the film is either a prop of some sort, or simply an uncredited extra.
  • Destro was in love with Baroness but he sees Duke as love rival.

External links