King Neptune, born over 5,000 years ago, is the series' depiction of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. In the universe of SpongeBob SquarePants, Neptune is the god and supreme ruler of the sea. His name is often used in place of God's, with phrases such as "Dear Neptune," "Neptune preserve her!", and "Oh my Neptune!" However, he has never explicitly been shown to be worshiped by the creatures of the sea.
King Neptune is a regal king who has a strong opinion of his rank as a deity and is known for using his powers to bully mortals and punish them for talking back to him. He often judges people for their sizes and thinks a person with a grand physical appearance is worthy of him. At first, he imprisoned Triton for wanting to help mortals, but then he eventually welcomed Triton back into the family after SpongeBob freed him.
In "Neptune's Spatula", he keeps thinking SpongeBob is just a joke, and can't pull out the spatula. He then becomes destructive and repeatedly burns Patrick, only to fix him later, albeit incorrectly with his face on his butt.
In "The Clash of Triton", when Neptune's son Triton does not want to be a god like his father and wants to use his powers to help people, Neptune locks him in a cage in the Island in the Sky until he learns how to be a proper god like his father. He only ends up accepting Triton after he wrecks the town.
King Neptune first appears in the season 1 episode "Neptune's Spatula," where he spawns after SpongeBob pulls the golden spatula from the ancient grease, making him Neptune's royal fry cook. However, Neptune refuses to accept such a lowly creature like SpongeBob as the chosen one and challenges him to a cook-off where, if the latter wins, he will become a god in Atlantis, but if he loses, he must give up fry cooking forever. The challenge is held at the "Poseidome," where the first one to make 1,000 patties wins. Using his godlike powers, Neptune wins the challenge just as SpongeBob finishes his first patty. To celebrate his victory, he gives the patties to the audience, who hate it. Neptune then tastes SpongeBob's patty and loves it. He declares SpongeBob the winner and makes him a god. However, when SpongeBob learns that his friends can't join him in Atlantis, he does not want to go and instead, makes Neptune his "trainee" at the Krusty Krab. In the show, Neptune is green and has fairly realistic human features, has hair, a mustache, a beard, thick fingers, is very muscular, and has a different crown. This version of Neptune also appears in Battle for Bikini Bottom, where he summons SpongeBob and Patrick to the Poseidome to defeat a robot version of Sandy.
In the live-action Patchy the Pirate segment of "Party Pooper Pants," a live-action version of Neptune is at Patchy's party. Neptune plays a central part in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The movie also introduces Neptune's daughter, Princess Mindy. This Neptune is actually the same person who was haircut, green-skinned and far more cartoony than the version in "Neptune's Spatula." He is also explicitly portrayed as a king rather than a god and lives in a palace just outside of Bikini Bottom rather than Atlantis. This Neptune is very brutish and tyrannical, which he tells his daughter is necessary for him to be respected as a ruler. His crown is very important to him, not only because it is a symbol of his power, but because it covers his "thinning" (bald) head. When the crown is stolen by Plankton, Neptune attempts to execute Mr. Krabs, who is framed for the crime. In "SpongeHenge," Shubie denies Neptune's existence when an anchovy tells her that Neptune must be mad, saying, "Everyone knows Poseidon is the ruler of the undersea."
Neptune appears briefly in "SpongeBob vs. The Patty Gadget", where he was sleeping until being awoken by the explosion of the patty gadget. A picture of King Neptune, as seen in "Neptune's Spatula," is shown in "Krusty Towers." Squidward refers to this Neptune as "Neptune XIV."
In "The Clash of Triton," the version of King Neptune from "Neptune's Spatula" appears with John O' Hurley voicing him once more.
In "Trident Trouble," the Neptune's Spatula version of King Neptune appears. SpongeBob accidentally gets ahold of his trident and Neptune gets SpongeBob's spatula, causing trouble. In "High Sea Diving," the Neptune's Spatula version of King Neptune reappears. At the very end of the episode, he appears in Bikini Bottom and was angry at Old Man Jenkins for tricking the town with his made-up stories and impersonating of him. As punishment, Neptune then zaps the deluded and now scared old man with his trident.
Employee of the Month - An amusement park called Neptune's Paradise is a destination for SpongeBob and Patrick.
Battle for Bikini Bottom - King Neptune invites SpongeBob and Patrick to the Poseidome to face off against a giant Robo-Sandy which they manage to defeat.
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (video game)- King Neptune's role is the same as in the Movie: his crown goes missing and he accuses Mr. Krabs of taking it. He later sends SpongeBob and Patrick to find it, allowing Plankton to take Bikini Bottom for himself. His crown is returned and he frees Mr. Krabs. Under the control of Plankton, he is the final boss of the game.
SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis - King Neptune makes a cameo in a painting in the Bikini Bottom Museum as an object SpongeBob must photograph. The painting is also unlockable in the gift shop with The Sirens added in it.
Clash of Triton - Triton, King Neptune's son, captures King Neptune on his birthday at the Krusty Krab. After his and Queen Amphitrite's tridents fall near SpongeBob and Patrick they gain powers and defeat Triton's underlings (The Monsters from the Party). They defeat Triton, restore Bikini Bottom to its former glory, and reunite Triton with his proud father.
King Neptune's design in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie never being used again was due to there being a "firewall" between Nickelodeon and Paramount content at the time. This resulted in other elements from the movie (such as locations and characters) not being able to be used early on in the series.
The designs are actually poked fun at in the 20th-anniversary portrait.
"This joke has gone far enough!"
"I think I want to try it for a second time!"
"Quit stalling this execution!"
"Go wait in the carriage!"
"I'm not bald! It's thinning!"
"My crown is in the forbidden Shell City?!""
"Eugene Krabs, your six-day reprieve is up and it is time for you to die!"
"And once your little champion fails to return, I get to splatter this crab all over the walls!"
"My hair's thinning a bit."
"You, go to Shell City? (evilly laughs)"
"No one who's gone to Shell City has ever returned! What makes you think you could? You're just a kid."
"Very well then... I'll have to fry you both!"
'Oh, I'm sorry for falsely freezing you, Krabs, and may I say, sir. you are a very lucky fellow to have your own employ such a brave, faithful and heroic young lad.'
"Squire, will you hurry?... (Squire accidentally sprays hair in his eyes and screams)
"Except give SpongeBob and Patrick a little more... Time-time-time-time-time. What?"
"It looks like I just hit a single! Let's see if you can get a home run, son!"
"Oh, how I miss my son!"
"Son, I demand to know the meaning of this impudent imprisonment!"
"You're going to be a god and like it!"
””Until you learn to embrace your destiny as one of the gods I am sealing you inside this magical shrinking cage.””
"Maybe we do have a problem..."
"Gah! Where am I, in Crazytown? I have had enough of this nonsense!"