Gepetto fell into his role as the most voracious conquerer in the Homelands almost by accident. When Pinocchio ran away to the Mundane World, Gepetto carved new children to keep him company. The Blue Fairy obligingly brought them to life, with an added loyalty spell, so that they would never run away. A group of nobles approached him about replacing a corrupt and tyrannical ruler with a living puppet, and after some misgivings, Gepetto agreed. The tyrant was humanely dispatched, and a puppet in his image took his place and ruled well. But another land had a terrible leader, and so he repeated the process. And then again, and still again, until all the countries around him were ruled by puppets bound to him by the Blue Fairy's loyalty spell. Any conspirators who complained were also replaced.
The Blue Fairy, for reasons of her own, went along with this for a time, but eventually grew bored. Gepetto, who now had many court wizards to advise and teach him, learned enough magic to incapacitate the Fairy and extract the essence of her magic, which he used to make more puppets into flesh.
By now, he had enough military might under his command to conquer openly, but to protect his identity he made a vast animated puppet as Emperor. In addition to armies of unfeeling animated wood, he had his sorcerers conjure demons and monsters to add to his armies. He had become the ever-feared Adversary.
Recently, he expanded his attempts into recapturing the Fables who had escaped to the mundane world. However, the Fable community struck back with their own armies, equipped with mundane technology and weaponry.
He was given full citizenship to Fabletown after his Empire's defeat, mainly due to Pinocchio's interference. As he had found a loophole through the loyalty spell, seeing that his father really needed to stop being the Emperor for his own good. Geppetto was none too happy that he no longer had an empire to run and was forced to follow the rules as a citizen of Fabletown. But in truth, most of the Fables weren't very happy to have him either among them and most refused him service in their shops or restaurants. It was during a tour of the city with Pinocchio, aided very closely by Beast, Grimble and Hobbes, that he witnessed firsthand what he had done to the people who were forced out of their home world, but refused to believe that he did anything that was not in what he felt was the best interest of the people. Being a sorcerer, Geppetto lives on the thirteenth floor of The Woodlands building with the other magic users. However, he learned rather quickly that his links to outside sources had been severed and could only use spells when Frau Totenkinder allowed him to.
Geppetto was responsible for Mr. Dark's imprisonment, having recognized the threat he posed. When Mr. Dark escaped, the enchantments upon Fabletown began to fade until all of the structures collapsed. Geppetto only told riddles about the true nature of what happened before he was forced to join the others in relocating to the Farm. Soon after arriving, he slipped away from Pinocchio only to find himself confronted by Reynard The Fox, King Noble, and other animal residents. Geppetto maintained the protection spells that kept him from being harmed by their attack, but the animals then decided to bury him alive deep in the middle of the forest.
Geppetto was eventually freed from his burial imprisonment from a heavy rain which washed away the dirt over his burial spot. Seeking protection, Geppetto allied himself with Grandfather Oak, the oldest tree in the forests around the Fabletown Farm. Grandfather Oak provided Geppetto with two dryads, Prince Aspen and Princess Alder, as bodyguards.
Returning to the Farm, Geppetto sought election as the new head of the Farm, promising to solve the problem of Mr. Dark as he had many centuries ago. The Farm was split on what to do but when Rose Red, official leader of the Farm, recovered from a temporary suicidal depression, she put a quick end to Geppetto's move and appointed him one of her advisors. He is currently attempting to put a small wooden soldier spy in the new Sacred Grove so that he may learn its secrets and use it to replenish his power and salvage his Empire. Proving that he is still very much a large threat to Fabletown and the others.
Outwardly, Geppetto remains the amiable woodcarver of legend, polite and caring. His pleasant exterior, however, hides an utterly ruthless man whose forces are responsible for countless deaths across the Fable lands. He cares for his children, particularly Pinocchio. He does not seem to consider attacking Fabletown before he can steal back or negotiate the return of the damaged but still conscious heads of the soldiers he lost in "March of the Wooden Soldiers."
He is apparently reasonably magnanimous when he considers himself to have the upper hand, as when he felt that he had Boy Blue as his prisoner. His mask slips, however, when crossed. He beat Pinocchio after he presented him with a wooden bug he carved from the mystic grove. Geppetto threw him out of his cottage telling his confused son "no one carves from there but me!" Upon his arrival in Fabletown and signing of the compact that granted him immunity for his past actions, he is frequently condescending or hostile (albeit nonviolently so), often treating others as though he was still an emperor. This attitude fails to ingratiate himself to the citizens of Fabletown.
Powers and abilities
While not physically strong, Geppetto has learned a great deal of magic over the years from the various wizards belonging to the lords under his control, to the extent that he should probably be considered a sorcerer of considerable power. He has every protective spell imaginable laid over him, making him effectively impregnable - he even shrugs off a blow from the Vorpal Blade, although he does express considerable surprise that the Blade actually remained intact, the only weapon ever to do so. Like all Fables, he is effectively ageless.
As the true power behind the empire, Geppetto has enormous power in the Homelands, even if that fact remains unrecognised by the vast majority of its citizens. To all intents and purposes his will is absolute within the borders of the empire. He has a huge military force at his disposal, along with considerable magical resources.
He remains a talented woodcarver and while he had access to his magic grove, he continued to make new children at a rate that he estimated to be around twenty per year. With the recent destruction of the magic grove that provided the wood and Flycatcher's recent acquisition of the grove's power, however, this is no longer possible.
Willingham originally intended for the Adversary to be revealed as Peter Pan. Peter would come to our world to steal children so they would remain young, becoming more corrupt. Also, it would turn out that Captain Hook was actually the hero attempting to rescue the children. However, DC discovered that Peter Pan was not in the public domain in Great Britain, unlike other "Fables" characters, and thus could not be used. Willingham thus used Geppetto, an idea he has since seen as better. The alias "The Adversary" appears based on "The Enemy," the common term for Sauron in the Lord of the Rings. It has also been theorized that the title "The Adversary" could be derived from Christian literature where the name "Satan" actually translates in meaning as "The Adversary".