As described in "Billy's Song," when Billy was younger he was a hero of action much like Finn. He is known to have rescued Cotton Candy Princess from Fire Count, slain an evil ocean, and fought against a giant bear. Perhaps most importantly, he's also said to have defeated The Lich. In the episode "The Lich" The Lich is disguised as Billy, though it is possible the Lich may have either killed or possessed Billy.
When Finn and Jake finally meet him, he is old (his red hair turned white) and he frowns upon violent heroism like theirs. He hated the futility of fighting evil when more would always pop up later, so he chose to help people indirectly through non-violence. He even had his own magical dog, though it is deceased by Finn's time. Finn and Jake try to follow his example of pacifism but end up returning to their violent ways, with Billy's eventual admiration.
Billy is very tall and has a long beard and long hair which looks like that of a caveman. His large and unusual hands contain 6 fingers (including the thumb), though most Humanoids in Ooo possess four-fingered hands. He has blue veins bulging out on the back of each hand. Billy wears no shirt or shoes, and has brown pants.
He bears a strange scar that looks like he had stitches on his left shoulder. During his younger days he possessed a gauntlet with a jewel on the wrist and an eye on the top of the hand which he used for combat, including and most importantly during his battle with The Lich. He has a void in his chest where his heart would be until Finn's bold words fill it in "His Hero." He also appears to have a magic sword called "Nothung," which he can summon by calling its name. He is almost as big as The Lich.
- Billy is left-handed.
- In earlier versions of the storyboard, Billy was named "Hogarth."
- Billy's sword is named "Nothung" after the sword belonging first to Siegmund and later Siegfried from Richard Wagner's cycle of operas Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). Billy has the ability to call his sword by saying its name. He retains the ability to do this even when he is old.
- Billy is voiced by Lou Ferrigno, who also played The Incredible Hulk in the live action TV series from the 1970s.
- Coincidentally, Lou Ferrigno is partially deaf, which causes his speech to sound slurred. This resulted in Billy speaking with a lisp.
- Billy's appearance in the "His Hero" title card is based on Frank Frazetta's painting "Death Dealer." 
- Billy's name and heroic attributes may be a reference to the song "Billy Don't Be a Hero," originally recorded by Paper Lace but also made famous by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods.
- On some concept art for Adventure Time, Billy can be seen breaking one horn off The Lich's helmet .
- The gemstone on Billy's headband appears to be similar to the one on Princess Bubblegum's crown, only a slightly different design. It might serve the purpose of protecting Billy from the Lich's mind control.
- Both Finn and Billy have many things in common: their arch enemies are rulers of kingdoms (Ice King And Fire Count) and always capture Princesses, the Princesses most saved are from the Candy Kingdom (Princess Bubblegum and Cotton Candy Princess), and both of them have magical dogs. They both keep piles of treasure in their homes too.
- According to Pendleton Ward, Billy will return and/or be alluded to in upcoming episodes.
- A recent promo reveals this to occur in "The Lich".
- Jake stated that he has a secret crush on Billy.
- Billy's gauntlet has six fingers, while the show's characters are commonly portrayed with four fingers.