In Underworld Selene calls Viktor

The oldest and strongest of us

Surely, Marcus was older (as a vampire, anyway)?

In the flashbacks to the early war against the Lycans Viktor also treated Marcus as little more than one of his servants.

How did this come to be? It is acknowledged that Marcus was the original vampire (a son of Corvinus) and if Marcus dies then all vampires die.

What was Marcus' motivation for turning someone with more political power than himself into a vampire in the first place?

  • @amarillo I'm not sure, what makes you say it was a rumor? You could be right, but I don't remember that part and I know there are other movies that use that part of vampire mythology.
    – Hack-R
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 0:36
  • @amarillo I'm watching it again right now so hopefully I'll be able to confirm. I thought about that regarding Corvinus (the father) but since he wasn't bitten by bat or wolf I guess that's the difference. Hopefully after I finish re-watching it it'll clear this up.
    – Hack-R
    Commented Apr 3, 2016 at 0:42

4 Answers 4


This answer contains numerous spoilers for Underworld: Evolution.

Marcus was the first and oldest vampire, the ancestor of all other vampires. He therefore became a vampire earlier than Viktor. According to the Underworld Wiki article on Viktor, the production notes and novelizations of the films differ on who was born earlier.

Marcus told Viktor that if he (Marcus) or William (the first werewolf) died, then all of their descendents would die with them. We know that this isn’t true, because

Marcus and William both died near the end of Underworld: Evolution and their descendants lived on.

Explanation from Andreas Tanis

Andreas Tanis, the exiled historian for the vampires, explains a few things in Underworld: Evolution (52 minutes into the film) about why Marcus turned Viktor, and the origin of the myth that Marcus and William had to remain alive (emphasis mine):

Toward the end of his ruthless life, when the next breath meant more to Viktor than silver or gold, Marcus came with an offer, a reprieve from sickness and death. Immortality. And in return, Viktor was to use his army turned Immortal to help him ... to defeat the very first werewolves. A dangerous and very infectious breed ... raging monsters, never able to take human form again. ...

So once Viktor’s army was turned, the legions of vampires under his control tracked down and destroyed the animals, then captured William and locked him away ... for the very same reason that Viktor never conspired against Marcus: fear. He was warned that should Marcus ever be killed, all those in his bloodline would follow him to the grave. ... A clever deception, but one Viktor was hardly willing to put to the test. And so Marcus was protected at all costs.
—Andreas Tanis

Andreas Tanis
Andreas Tanis

By turning Viktor, Marcus not only gained a powerful warlord as an ally, but also Viktor’s army. This gave the vampires the force they needed to fight back the first generation of werewolves. However, since Viktor was personally more powerful than Marcus, Viktor ended up taking control, making Marcus subordinate to him. Viktor eventually claimed to be the oldest vampire, exiled the historian, and forbade anyone from looking into the past to prevent them from discovering the truth.

Another consideration is that once Viktor’s army was turned, the coven gained hundreds or thousands of vampires whose primary loyalty was with Viktor. Even if Marcus had decided to kill Viktor, he would have to contend with an army of angry vampires who would be unlikely to accept Marcus’s rule, if anyone found out that Marcus had killed him.

Production notes

This is explained further in the Underworld: Evolution Production Notes (emphasis mine):

Viktor ... was merely a usurper. “I was the first,” declares Tony Curran of Marcus, “but it doesn’t mean I was the most powerful. I was an arrogant young vampire; Viktor was a powerful man and when he became a vampire, being older and more experienced, he took over the leadership.” Viktor then used his power to wage war on the werewolves who at the time were far more destructive and uncontrollable than their later progeny.

  • If I were Marcus I would've kept that rumor going too and used my crazy-looking bat form to kill Viktor. On that note, I was watching the sequel where Michael saw Marcus for the first time (looking like a bat more than a human) and he asked "he's a hybrid too, isn't it?" and Selene said "yes". In what way was Marcus a hybrid? A Corvinus, yes, but he had no wolf in him? On that note, if a Corvinus had been bitten by an ant or a mosquito as would seem likely... would they have been werebugs?
    – Hack-R
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 12:08
  • @Hack-R I don’t know... I thought Selene was mistaken about Marcus being a hybrid, but the Underworld wiki says that he became a hybrid when he was awakened by a Lycan’s blood seeping into his mouth. I have no idea why that would make him a hybrid though. It seems like there’s a lot of stuff that I missed in those movies. As for bugs, maybe there’s some explanation for what sort of bites or blood transfer cause a transformation. Didn’t Lycans and vampires bite each other all the time in combat without transforming? The Underworld wiki probably has an explanation somewhere...
    – Molag Bal
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 13:26
  • Regarding why Marcus didn't turn on Viktor after the werewolves were hunted, another reason why he wouldn't have wanted to do that, more so than the army potentially turning on him (which wasn't really a given) is that in in order to maintain the myth of the death of the elder killing their progeny Marcus couldn't kill Viktor, or else everyone would know it wasn't true.
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 23:54
  • @Xantec did the myth say that when any vampire was killed, his descendents died, or did that only apply to the sons of Corvinus? If Viktor had wanted to test the former theory, he could have imprisoned two humans, turned one, forced that one to turn the other, and then killed the first one. It would be safer to make Viktor think that the vampires' lives were bound only to Marcus.
    – Molag Bal
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 0:21
  • @Hack-R - Marcus wasn't originally a hybrid, although he had the potential to be one from his Corvinus blood. The Lycan killed in the elder's chamber at the end of the first movie left blood pouring all over the floor, and it began to seep down into Marcus' coffin chamber. He was therefore awakened not by vampire blood, but by Lycan blood. Drinking that blood transformed him into his new hybrid state, as well as giving him access to what the Lycan had known of current events.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 7:40

This is a very tricky question to give a definitive answer to. There are many factors you have to consider such as blood, age and political power. Firstly we need to look at the immortal strains.

Markus was born to the first immortal (Alexander Corvinus) and was later bitten by a bat becoming the first vampire. This meant Markus had both Vampire and Corvinus strains, this is evident in 'Evolution' because only a Corvinus strain immortal can become a hybrid. Viktor however was only a vampire strain immortal. This means he misses the added boost of the Corvinus strain which as we see in 'Evolution' gives you a very sizeable boost in all an immortal's aspects. On these grounds Markus is a clear winner as his heritage is more powerful than Viktors.

Personal power When Markus turned Viktor he had not been a vampire to long and ultimately lacked authoritative, battle and political experience that Viktor had an abundance of. Viktor had been fighting and commanding people all his life and power was nothing new to him. In a fight at this stage Viktor would most likely win because of his increased experience, we can only imagine how that fight would have gone because Markus would by no means fall easily but at the same time never he never lead a ruthless and powerful life as Viktor had. Markus may have been born into immortality and the power that came with it but Viktor mastered using power as he reigned for many years, learned how to command power and ultimately knew how to fight better than Markus. I assume this because he had a long successful reign with a powerful army to back him.

Political power Viktor hands down. Markus had no devoted followers, armies or allies from the beginning, this is why he came to Viktor seeking assistance. He needed the few things he never had. Going through the ages as an elder he never had the presence Viktor had, this is evident in 'Evolution' when Lorenzo (Alexander Corvinus) stated that "it was never his coven". The old world coven was built with Viktors armies who were loyal to Viktor from the off. This is clear in the prologue of Evolution When the death dealers pointed their crossbows at Markus when addressed by Viktor, his soildures would have killed Markus at Viktors command. Markus always lived in Viktors shadow never standing a chance of commanding the power Viktor always did. This is shown in the known fact the Viktor stated himself as the oldest and most powerful vampire, a fact that was never disputed as Markus was always to out numbered to do anything effective about it. Markus choose for the sake of his brother and the survival of vampires it's best to knuckle under and believe in his illusion of power as an elder. I could go on but the evidence is insurmountable. Viktor ruled!

Power (raw power) When we ask the question of who is better? We really mean. In a fair fight without weapons who would reign victorious? We imagine both of them squaring off against each other like Michael and Viktor only without the sword.

This is a tough one because Markus changed into a hybrid after Viktor died becoming near unstoppable. Under these circumstances Markus would clearly win. It took Selene the boosted power of Alexander Corvinas's blood to give herself a fighting chance.

If you consider them fighting in the early days when William was free, Viktor would have most likely won through skill and experience. Markus had a strength advantage due to his heritage. This sadly does not mean a great deal at the time due to the lack of experience for markus and power for Viktor.

Michael had a strength advantage over Viktor when they fought which was clear as he brought Viktor to his knees giving him a fight he has most probably not had since Lucian.

However Viktors 14+ centuries experience with combat and using his immortal skills saw him overcome raw strength as he knew how to take the high ground and over power Michael. Michael was running on pure strength as he had no battle experience and had been an immortal for about 30 seconds.

This example shows how pure strength does not always wins battle, your wits and developed skill give you an upper hand. Having said that you have to consider that Markus lived a completely immortal life in full control and knowledge of his powers, he lacked the experience in combat and battle skill Viktor had which would indeed tip the scale. In these circumstances the result would realistically be the same as Viktors altercation with Michael, cutting the final result pretty close but surely enough siding with Viktor as his advanced knowledge of combat and battle skill combined with his new found power would have made him a deadly adversary and the ultimate winner.

Fastforward 14 centuries to Markus's rightful time to rule in 'Underworld', I think thing would have been fairly level but tipped in Markus's favour. At this point in time they are both very old having came to power to close in time to make any long term significant difference. Both have experience in combat, killing and exercising their immortal skills having both fought against lycans and ruled throughout the centuries. In the Underworld franchise one clear fact we learn is age = power. Having already show Markus would have the power advantage but lack of experience to Viktor, in 'Underworld' this would not be the case. Both vampires would have 14+ centries combat experienced to the point Viktors human years would now give him no advantage which brings things down a bit for Viktor. Markus would have a power advantage but unlike before he would have the experience to compliment his power. This would make him more of a threat to Viktor as he cannot take advantage of Markus's lack of experience. Through sheer power of strains Markus would have an upper hand. Ultimately Markus would win, their experience and skill being level it would come down to who has more power which is Markus. The only way Viktor would stand a chance of a clear win is if he had the other two immortal strains, other than that it would be a well fought fight but with Markus logically topping out. This does not mean Viktor would go down quietly, he was a powerful vampire who would have put up a fight deserving of the title 'Elder'.

This is my opinion based on my extensive knowledge of the films, lore, strains and characters. I made my decision on the logicality of the franchise and the expressions of power I have seen in the films and how each character tops out over the other.

  • Wow, you put a lot of thought into this! I don't have time to really fully read it this moment, but +1 for the significant effort on your first post. Cheers.
    – Hack-R
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:36
  • Welcome to SFF. this looks like a nice first post!
    – Skooba
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 21:13
  • Thank you. First time I have ever done anything like this.
    – user75430
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 18:11

Viktor needed the power of a ruler to find/catch his werewolf brother William.

He specifically chose someone with power like a King (Viktor) because, as Marcus said, he needed Viktor's men to capture his brother.

  • 2
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. The question isn't about who would win in a fight, the question is how come Marcus turned someone who was able to subordinate him?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 24 at 22:05

Markus was much stronger than Viktor; but as stated above Viktor had an Army, and lots of battle experience.

Think of DC Comics, General Zod vs Cal El aka Superman; as Superman was stronger as living on Earth with a yellow sun; but Zod has the battle tested experiences which gave him a fighting chance.

In Underworld II Evolution, the opening scenes show Markus challenging Viktor and the soldiers sensing danger, turned their weapons on Markus; and he then knew Viktor was ruthlessly vain and would kill Markus, even at risk if he died too. Basically ensuring he was top dog and Markus was to I say bend the knee.

I do wonder though, why they went from Emelia, Markus and Viktor ruling to one ruling and two asleep/hibernation. Truly I feel it was a way to ensure Markus and Viktor would cause an all out vampire civil war. From what I have gathered Markus was much more forgiving than Viktor; and in those times that was the key to ruling, making everyone fear you and always walking on eggshells to keep order. As without order, is chaos.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. There's a lot here that doesn't seem relevant to the answer. Why did Marcus turn Viktor in the first place? Please make sure your answer is focused on the question.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 22:38

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