Commandant Edwin Spangler, played by Daniel von Bargen, is the strict and hard-nosed commander in charge of the cadets at Marlin Academy. He suffers from dozens of injuries and is missing his right eye, his left hand, his right ring finger, and is permanently paralyzed in his right leg. Ironically, none of these injuries are combat-related, as he has never served in wartime.

He serves as an antagonist in Seasons 1 and 2.


For the first two seasons and beginning of season three, Francis was Spangler's most rebellious student and clashed with him on many occasions. He has even told Hal that in Mini-Bike, that because he likes causing chaos with his rebellion, he has often had to discipline him. This was evident when he called out a cadet for an untucked shirt violation. Soon Francis calls him out for unnecessarily punishing him for hugging his father and his shirt became untucked.

In the third season, Spangler reveals that he was about to quit his job from boredom, but Francis gave him a purpose in life in trying to discipline him. He affectionately presents a ceremonial sword in recognition to Francis, who then accidentally cuts off his right hand. After that incident, Spangler's life goes downhill as Francis leaving stood out as his only failure. He is fired from the academy because a cadet reported him being drunk in his office and charges were filed. In Dewey's Dog, Spangler tracks Francis to Alaska, and attempts to kill him at first. Taking pity on him, Francis attempts to get him a job but the former commandant is fired on the first day by showing up drunk. Eric makes him realise the only thing that ever made Spangler remotely happy was tormenting and bullying helpless students' and without that purpose there's no hope for him. They quickly find Spangler another job at the Snow Haven Retirement Home where he has the freedom to bully the elderly. After this, he is never seen again.

Episode AppearancesEdit


  • In Stock Car Races, he used to own a vicious pet terrier named Patton, whom all of the cadets hated. Unfortunately, Francis had hidden a snake named Otis in his locker. Otis escaped and made quick a meal out of Patton before escaping into freedom. Of course, Spangler's blame was towards his most rebellious student because he was the owner of Otis and punished the cadets for Francis' insurrection. However, none of the cadets minded, since Otis ate Patton, bringing the dog's reign of terror to an end.
  • Near the end of Dewey's Dog, it's revealed that the elderly residents of Snow Haven have started despising Spangler the same way as Francis, Eric and the other cadets did in the earlier seasons, after Mrs. Meektjuk (Kotoko Kanawura) stood up to him by telling him that she had arthritis.
  • In Malcolm Babysits, Francis finds that a dead janitor had a voodoo doll of the Commander; this doll has needles on its right eye, left hand and right leg, suggesting that it was the cause of the Commander's injuries.