|"You can't give up on this girl, Odd. Look at me, I never lost hope with Yumi. (...) You know, I don't believe in already lost causes. Listen to me, Odd. As long as there is hope, you have to hold onto it."|
Tall and slender with an angel face, a dark and mysterious air, a deep look in his eyes... William Dunbar is what is commonly known as a hot guy! But William only seems interested in Yumi.
His impenetrable air doesn't stop William from also being a welcoming and friendly teenager. But he's not much of a normal teen, since he shares the Lyoko Warriors' secret, about XANA and the responsibilities entailed.
Unlike the other heroes who quite peacefully hold the secret of their past lives as saviours of humanity, William did not come out from this double life unscathed because he was under XANA's control for several months. This also earned him a tacit animosity from Odd, Ulrich, Jeremy and Aelita. Only Yumi does not seem to have relationship problems with him at the start of Evolution.
In terms of schooling, William seems to have become particularly studious. We often seem him working with Yumi on presentations or other things (episode 05 “Rivalry”). We also learn that he is taking English tutoring. Finally, he seems to be a fan of literature. He offers Yumi a book of poems by Baudelaire in episode 22 “Mutiny”.
William seems to have some mechanical knowledge, as he fixes a damaged scanner (episode 19 “The Trap”).
Final point of trivia. William is the only hero of our group of six to not appear in an episode of Code Lyoko Evolution: episode 03 “Spectromania”. Also note that he only makes a brief figurative appearance in episode 01 “XANA 2.0” and he does not get a photo representation like the other heroes and Jim.
"William is really sensitive, and highly-strung... It's not easy to know what he's thinking."
If you go by appearances, William is, as previously stated, tall, dark and handsome. Silent, distant, William's thoughts are often hard to determine, even for his close friends.
The teenager is revealed to have a slightly abrupt character. He is often on edge. Evidently, his unhappiness was due to the rejection he suffered from the Lyoko Warriors following their previous adventures. He therefore argues with the group on two occasions (episodes 02 “Cortex” and 04 “Miss Einstein”), because he is forgotten by them when XANA returns.
Even after his reintegration into the group, William's resentment stays strong. It remains buried within him and ferments. We then discover a William who immediately becomes hostile towards Yumi in episode 15 “The Codeless”. XANA tries to manipulate him with a clone of himself on this occasion. Losing his way a little and blinded by bitterness, William turns against his friends for a moment before coming to his senses.
Of course, Yumi is one little cornerstone of this resentment. While she didn't leave William on the sidelines, in ignoring the boy's feelings for her, she unknowingly puts a strain on his sense of morality... But William is sentimental. This makes him suddenly irritable and he reacts badly to Odd's outbursts or Yumi's rejection.
He betrays the Lyoko Warriors a second time. In episode 22 “Mutiny”, manipulated by Laura, he lets himself be roped into a solo mission on Lyoko to go destroy the Cortex. The mission goes wrong. We can nevertheless clearly take William's attempt as a desperate gesture to get the group's attention and obtain their approval.
However William isn't thick-headed, as following these two flops, he apologises sincerely to the group, and they gladly forgive him.
In battle, William is determined and a bit of a nagger. As a general rule, he likes action. He is therefore vexed when he is put on the sidelines in episode 26 “Ultimate Mission”.
As well as some of his more sharp and visceral reactions, William can also show himself to be someone who enjoys life. He is enthusiastic and likes to joke, like with his famous line “Mind if I smoke?” before shooting off as Supersmoke.
However, William's humour appears to be a lot more limited when the jokes come from other people. He gets easily annoyed at jokes about him. He also gives Odd a mocking smile when the boy says they will have to team up (episode 11 “Rendezvous”). He also rebelled against the nickname “Will” that Odd gives him in episode 26 “Ultimate Mission”.
William also has a proven taste for competition.
His outsider is of course Ulrich, with whom he competes both in real life (for Yumi's heart) and on Lyoko. This rivalry reached its peak at the time of William's reinstatement into the group. Ulrich had a nervous breakdown and tried to resolve the situation alone on Lyoko. William returns to his little competitive game and eventually saves the karateka's day on Lyoko (episode 05 “Rivalry”). We also discovered a very confident William at the same time.
This competitive spirit is found to a lesser extent with Odd, whose “philosophical” considerations he doesn't support (episode 11 “Rendezvous”).
When it comes to human relations, William is not as close to Jeremy and Aelita than the others. At least, he flanks them the least often. On the other hand, the member of the group he appears to be least open to is Laura.
Indeed, he shows to be incapable of stopping her from going to the factory in episode 08 “Virus”, He has never shown to be outwardly hostile about her presence in the group and he accompanies her on her last stand in episode 22 “Mutiny”. During this period, he even draws Laura's attention to the consequences her behaviour would have on her being in the group. In the end, he remains silent during the blonde's exclusion.
This tacit sympathy is due to the fact that Laura is in a more or less similar situation to William's.
In terms of love, William's situation is very ambiguous. He's still in love with Yumi and he doesn't hide it, like when he declares so in episode 09 “How to Fool XANA”, saying he never lost hope. He also shows to be slightly seductive towards the Japanese girl in episode 01 “XANA 2.0” and tries to give her love poems by Baudelaire (episode 22).
However, William seems to have backed down a little, since he never expressed his feelings directly to Yumi as he had done in the past. He even invites Ulrich to support the girl in a moment of weakness (episode 06 “Suspicions”).
"No, I have something better than that. I think I kept a little souvenir from my time with XANA..."
In the video game universe, William is what we could call a tank.
He is pretty straightforward in nature and doesn't excel in the art of strategy. William likes to think that everything can be resolved by force... So William always quickly draws his sword, even to attack the Iris of the Cortex (episode 02 “Cortex”) or the sphere generating the space-time warp (episode 24 “Temporal Paradox”).
In the heat of the action, he doesn't hesitate to throw Odd towards the tower so he can deactivate it (episode 11 “Rendezvous”).
However William has some good assets:
His sword, long and powerful, is a formidable weapon, Easy to handle, William can use it in any circumstance to hit monsters or block their shots. As a bonus, he can make it appear or disappear at will. He can also throw it (episode 09 “How to Fool XANA”).
The dark warrior also has amazing strength, which allows him to send XANA's monsters flying (like the Blok in episode 9), as well as his own allies.
Of course, what makes him stand out is still his two powers.
The first is the most important: Supersmoke. Granted to him by XANA, it allows William to change into invulnerable virtual smoke. This allows him to move at high speed, without a vehicle, to reach inaccessible places by flying, force his way through barrages of monsters, or to retreat.
With such power, William has a range of unique benefits. He isn't afraid of falling towards the Digital Sea and he's the only Lyoko Warrior who can move through the Cortex without any trouble. This power even gives him the upper hand against flying monsters like Mantas.
The saddest part is that, in the end, William doesn't use his power to its full potential. It's incomprehensible, for example, that he didn't use it to escape from the Scyphozoa (episode 22 “Mutiny”).
William's second power is the ability to throw shockwaves from his sword. It's a devastating power because it destroys everything it touches in a single hit...and once again, is unexploited. William can use it to get rid of several monsters in a row, kill an enemy on the ground (episode 15 “The Codeless”) or even destroy an enemy from a distance.
To top it all off, William is fast and agile. He manages to destroy lots of monsters in splendid combo attacks. All his assets combined make William appear to be, objectively, the best Lyoko Warrior in Code Lyoko Evolution.
We can notably remark how easily he destroys clones and other doppelgängers on Lyoko. Indeed, while Yumi is easily thrown around by William's clone, and even in general, the heroes have struggled to overcome virtual humanoid avatars, William overcomes his own clone. He also destroys a significant number of doppelgängers in episode 21 “False Pretences”, including Ulrich's very aggressive clone.
On the other hand, he doesn't fare as well against Tyron's Ninjas, being unaccustomed to having opponents that think and are unpredictable like humans. Even if he's not the one who's defeated the most Ninjas, William still does particularly well against them. This can be seen with the Ninja in episode 14 “Intrusion”. While the creature gets rid of Aelita and Odd in quick succession, William holds his ground against it for a while before being defeated.
On the logistical side of things, William has a particularity. He is the only Lyoko Warrior to not have source codes...and therefore cannot deactivate towers. This makes him the central pillar of the attack because his role is often to defend the others and make diversions to allow them to reach the tower safely.
While he should have a logically erased role, William nevertheless steals the spotlight a lot. In episode 06 “Suspicions”, he sacrifices himself to the Cortex's Core defence system to allow Aelita to reach the platform on which the interface is.
In terms of fighting skills, William's biggest flaw remains negligence. The majority of his forced devirtualisations are the result of not paying attention. Sometimes William gets caught by surprise (like by the Blok Wall in episode 07 “Countdown”). Sometimes he makes beginner errors and is inattentive (like when he is devirtualised in episode 18 “Tenacity”, having just arrived on the Cortex).
William has no assigned vehicle like the others (due to his late arrival in the group). However, he usually doesn't need one, as Supersmoke is a good substitute. When he uses one, like the Overbike (episode 05 “Rivalry”), he shows to be quite capable. He also excels in piloting the Skidbladnir and its Navskids. We never see him driving the Megapod.
Finally, we discover a form of XANA-William in episode 22 “Mutiny”, after he falls victim to the Scyphozoa. The monster failing to seize him completely, it remains attached to William. Thus, the XANA Warrior doesn't seem much stronger than his good alter ego. He uses no powers and fights in an average way before being freed.
"You too, when you send the others to Lyoko! You still don't trust me, do you? Didn't I save the day last time?"
#04 Madame Einstein
William is a young man with a particular history. Roped into the adventure by the Lyoko Warriors, he becomes a victim of XANA and remains under the virus' control for several months. This is why when the artificial intelligence resurfaced, the heroes decide to leave William out.
He isn't fooled, however, as he immediately realises what is happening. His request to rejoin the group is rudely denied. But William doesn't give up. He calls in at the laboratory when the heroes conduct their first mission on the Cortex. When everything goes wrong, Jeremy sends him in as reinforcements and William saves Aelita (episode 02 “Cortex”).
Nevertheless, the Lyoko Warriors sideline him again (episode 04 “Miss Einstein”. Cornered by two successive spectre attacks, they have, once again, no other choice but to request William's help. At the end of a tight battle on Lyoko, a vote is made to allow William back into the group (episode 05 “Rivalry”).
When the heroes discover the existence of source codes, William appears to be the only one to have not received them from XANA. This makes him a more distanced warrior, as he is the only virtual fighter who cannot deactivate towers. That doesn't stop him from becoming vital support to the group when XANA attacks or while exploring the Cortex, always fighting with passion and resolving many situations.
However, being one of the codeless only deprives him of the ability to deactivate towers on Lyoko. On Earth, William is not targeted by spectres... This makes him the only one who can be exposed to them without risk (or almost none...).
It sometimes happens that William takes a particular role in certain situations. When the heroes want to trap a spectre (episode 19 “The Trap”, William is appointed the role of supervising Yumi (bait for the spectre) and intervening if necessary. Later in episode 21 “False Pretences” when the heroes come across a spectre blocking the entrance to the secret passage to the factory, William tries to intervene to give Odd and Ulrich time to run away... Well, he doesn't really succeed... But he had good intentions.
As explained above, William makes the mistake of turning against the heroes twice. First in episode 15 “The Codeless”, manipulated by a clone of himself. Then in episode 22 “Mutiny” in which he is Xanafied by the Scyphozoa.
These two episodes have a happy ending, as the heroes recover William.
William is not given a major role in the group's major decisions. He supports the heroes in the fight against XANA and its spectres, he supports them in the discovery of the Cortex and Tyron's Ninjas. Finally, he is on their side for all major decisions regarding what to do next, especially after the discovery of Aelita's mother's survival.
Silent but faithful to his duty, William has played a leading role in this second war against XANA. When the heroes finally infect the Cortex with their virus, William stands beside Aelita and the rest of the group when they go down to shut the Supercomputer back down again, a clear sign that he earned his place in the group...once and for all!