Dale Rice, Zander's father, worked on the original Weapon X Project where he was killed by an escaping Wolverine as he fled with a briefcase full of information about the project. The briefcase along with Dale’s damaged dog tags were picked up by Dr. Martin Sutter, a colleague of his. Dr. Sutter gave a young Zander the dog tags and comforted him. His father’s death is shown to heavily affect Zander throughout the rest of his life.
Years later Zander, now called Dr. Rice, became the surgical head on a project to recreate the Weapon X procedure along with Dr. Martin Sutter, who he had come to see as a father figure. At first they were unsuccessful as all of the specimens died during the procedure. Due to a decision made by Dr. Sutter, he was forced to work with Dr. Kinney, a talented geneticist who was going to attempt to clone Weapon X. Dr. Rice and Dr. Kinney did not get along, constantly butting heads, especially when Dr. Kinney produced a female clone (X-23) rather than an exact clone. He disagreed vehemently with her decision stating that she was “supposed to be creating a weapon, not a damn Barbie doll.” Zander got his revenge by forcing her to be the surrogate mother. He was the one to deliver the baby X-23.
During this time he was having an affair with Dr. Sutter’s wife, Rachel. Rachel later revealed to Zander that she was pregnant with his child though Zander told her to Martin that it was his instead. She had the baby, a boy named Henry. When she approached Zander about telling Martin the truth he threatened to kill her.
Zander helped oversee X-23’s development and he was the one to do the Weapon X process on her. He needed to bring out her mutation or she would survive the process. He chose to use radiation poisoning and made his hatred of her clear as he used 4 times the necessary radiation then raised it to 10 times what was needed. Then during the Weapon X process itself, he didn’t use any anesthesia and brought her claws out one by one and sharpened them outside of her body. When the other doctors objected, stating it was inhuman, he kicked them out of the room. While he was doing this he whispered to her “This is for my father.”
Dr. Rice was also in charge of another major project, the trigger scent. The trigger scent was made to send X-23 into a murderous rage and kill everyone around her. He conditioned her to do this by torturing her while she was exposed to the scent. He tested it by letting putting the trigger scent near a dog and later her sensei, one of the few people who were nice to her.
Later Zander went on a mission with X-23 to an AIM base where he forced the rest of the crew to leave her behind. As they flew away in their helicopter he dropped his father’s dog tags down, which he had kept with him since they were given to him, and said “Goodbye, Weapon X.” She later made it back to the facility alive though Zander claimed he saw her die.
Dr. Kinney took X-23 out on a mission not long after which greatly upset Zander. He then convinced Dr. Sutter to make him head of everything saying that he had “already lost one father to the program” and that he didn’t want to lose another. His motives were anything but generous though and as soon as Dr. Sutter went into his house Zander ordered X-23 to kill him and his family including Henry, Zander’s biological son.
Zander brought X-23 back to the facility and ordered her not to tell anything about the mission to anyone. He then revealed to Dr. Kinney that he had started phase two of the project, creating X-24-50 though they were still in incubation pods. He ordered her to leave the facility and be gone by morning or he would have her shot. He said she could see her little “pet”, a name he called X-23 often, one more time though. Unknown to her he put the trigger scent in her hair.
Dr. Kinney slipped a folder under the door containing one last mission for X-23: to kill Zander and destroy the facility. Zander heard that X-23 had escaped as he was making a deal to sell the future clones X-24-50 and immediate headed to find her. When he did he shot at her, but she sliced off his trigger finger. She then killed him and dropped the dog tags onto him whispering “Animal”, something that he had often referred to her as. She went out to meet Dr. Kinney and upon smelling the trigger scent killed her, completing Zander’s last successful plot.