The Destroyer (fandom)

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Name: The Destroyer
Creator: Warren Murphy, Richard Sapir, several others
Date(s): 1971-2012, film 1985, TV pilot 1988, new film in preparation
Medium: books, films, comics
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: Wikipedia article, Official web site
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The Destroyer is the overall title for a series of 150+ martial arts action/adventure novels, initially by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir but later by others. It's also often referred to as the Remo Williams series. The books have been adapted as a film (Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, AKA Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous (1985), as a TV pilot based on the film (Remo Williams, 1988), and as Marvel comics (1990s). Another film is in preparation[1]

The main protagonists are:

  • Chiun, Korean master of Sinanju, the "sun source" of all martial arts and the oldest house of assassins in the world. He dislikes all foreigners (e.g., non-Koreans and most Koreans who don't come from his village) and likes soap operas. He has been known to kill people who interrupt them.
  • Remo Williams, AKA "The Destroyer," the first westerner to be taught the skills of Sinanju. He is also an incarnation of the god Shiva.
  • Doctor Harold W. Smith, director of the agency CURE, set up to preserve America regardless of legalities. Chiun regards him as "Emperor Smith," the secret ruler of America. In this he may be correct, since in one story Remo is sent to force a US president (based on Nixon) to resign.

In the first book Smith hires Chiun to train an assassin for CURE. Remo Williams, an honest cop, is selected by Smith, framed for murder, and apparently electrocuted. When he is revived he is told that he is now a man that doesn't exist, and thus the perfect person to be trained as an assassin. Eventually he agrees, and begins to train in Sinanju. Chiun decides that he will need years of training, but eventually Remo becomes a master assassin in his own right. This gives him a wide range of martial arts abilities including a range of lethal blows, the ability to destroy most objects by making them vibrate so hard that they fall apart, effective invisibility, and irresistible sexual prowess. Naturally there are snags; most notably, he has to live on a diet of unflavored fish or duck and rice, and can only drink water.

The books are formulaic with an element of black comedy; typically they begin with a chapter describing someone's death by the villain of the main story, then have a chapter that begins by describing Remo Williams in action, usually unrelated to the main story. These chapters always begin with the words "His name was Remo and...", e.g. "His name was Remo and his mouth tasted of salt." These chapters generally show Remo killing someone, or carrying out some complex training exercise under Chiun's direction. Smith then contacts him (and Chiun if they are together) and asks them to deal with a problem. The remainder of the story usually involves investigation of the problem, several deaths, etc. There is often some SF or fantasy element, and villains have included vampires, werewolves, cyborgs, psionic mutants, etc. They often satirize popular fiction such as Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Dirty Harry, etc.

There are few recurring characters, since the villains are usually killed - witnesses are also killed if they learn enough to endanger the secret of CURE, and sometimes simply if they do something that annoys Remo or Chuin. The main exception is Mr. Gordons, a shapechanging robot that wants to eliminate any threats to its survival, who reappears several times.


These books have a loyal readership, but this is essentially a microfandom, with very little fan activity. All fanfic appears to be crossovers with more active fandoms.

Example Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Fan Fiction

Fan art




  1. ^ Shane Black to direct The Destroyer (accessed 24th August 2015)