History Main / BiggerBad

4th May '15 9:00:46 AM Koveras
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->'''Taran''': Another of Arawn's servants?\\
'''Gwydion''': Gwyn owes allegiance to a lord unknown even to me, and one perhaps greater than Arawn.
-->-- ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain''

There is the BigBad, a character directly responsible for the plot even while sending out various minions and lieutenants to make the hero's life busy. But what about a greater enemy that is ''indirectly'' responsible for the plot? That's where this trope comes in.

A BiggerBad is a threat that's actually more dangerous, affects more people, or a villainous presence that is more significant than the story's current BigBad ''in the setting as a whole'', but isn't causing the conflict of ''the immediate story'' (and may have little to do with it at all). While the BigBad is directly responsible for the current story — the BigBad is the villain or situation that the protagonists are attempting to defeat or overcome — a BiggerBad isn't a major force in the plot. They are just responsible for a anything evil or just bad that fuels the at least a part of the fictional setting (how much of it depends on how scope of the BiggerBad's influence) in which the story takes place. A BiggerBad may be the Big Bad's superior, but just as often they're completely unrelated — indeed, a BiggerBad may threaten the BigBad just as much as they threaten the protagonists. Whatever the relationship between the BigBad and BiggerBad, the BiggerBad is always OutOfFocus — the threat they pose is general and in the background, while the threat posed by the BigBad is specific and immediate.

Despite the name, this is not strictly a subtrope of BigBad. A Bigger Bad is a more threatening force of evil in the setting and overshadows it, but due to various factors, it is disconnected on a personal level from the main plot, which is caused by the BigBad. There are different ways this may manifest, for example:
* A SealedEvilInACan that the current BigBad is obsessed with, which may or may not get released.
* A [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils demon lord, archdevil]], GodOfEvil, or EldritchAbomination with a ReligionOfEvil and/or PathOfInspiration built around them.
* A [[TheDreaded Dreaded Warlord]] who inspires immense fear (or even admiration) from the BigBad, but is not involved with their actions.
* An NebulousEvilOrganization who is aware of the BigBad (and is often associated with them) but for whatever reason is uninterested in current events.
* A SentientCosmicForce that can't, by any realistic stretch of the imagination, be considered a character.

If the BigBad tries to harness the Bigger Bad for their own gain, they'll likely learn the painful (sometimes fatal) lesson that EvilIsNotAToy.

A Bigger Bad doesn't always have to remain a Bigger Bad, however. Hinting towards a greater enemy is a common method of {{foreshadow}}ing who the next big bad is going to be, the current BigBad is defeated and the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil kicks in to provide a bigger threat for the heroes to face. Alternatively, the Bigger Bad could show up and try to ruin everyone's day, becoming the new BigBad and possibly forcing an EnemyMine situation between the heroes and the previous villain. Inversely, a BigBad can be KickedUpstairs to become a Bigger Bad.

There can also be more than one BiggerBad — either multiple Bigger Bads working together (a la BigBadDuumvirate), multiple Bigger Bads each with their own agenda (a la BigBadEnsemble), or in multiple layers of Bigger Bads, each bigger than the last (eg, the BigBad threatens a city, the first BiggerBad threatens the country, and an EvenBiggerBad threatens the whole world).

In a general sense this should also not be considered the same as TheManBehindTheMan, because if they are behind the plot they would be a BigBad. However, TheManBehindTheMan and BiggerBad can overlap if TheManBehindTheMan remains distant enough from the story. The BiggerBad must not give orders to the BigBad, but they can corrupt the BigBad to make the Big Bad work for them. They allow the BigBad to do their own thing and don't interfere unless it's in their interests to do so.

Compare VillainousLegacy, where a villain serves this type of role long after their defeat and/or death. May also overlap with PredecessorVillain, if the predecessor was significantly worse than the current BigBad and still exists in some form.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/DragonBall'': Frieza is this to Vegeta during the Saiyan arc before becoming the BigBad himself in the Namek/Frieza arcs. Same for his father King Cold, before showing up himself at the beginning of the Androids arc.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'':
** Ryuk is the Bigger Bad to Light, since he's responsible for all of the events while Light simply uses the [[ArtifactOfDoom weapon]] Ryuk gave him, and eventually [[spoiler:kills Light]].
** Overshadowing Ryuk is [[UltimateEvil The Shinigami King]]. Although never seen in person, he casts a shadow over the entire world of ''Death Note'', having created the {{MacGuffin}}s in the first place. Indeed, he was the one who gave Ryuk another notebook that allowed him to kick off the entire story to begin with.
* ''Anime/KirbyRightBackAtYa'': The {{evil|Overlord}} Lord [[CardCarryingVillain Nightmare]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** The [[spoiler:Ten-Tailed Beast, the original tailed beast, of whom the other nine are pieces of its chakra divided.]] BigBad Tobi wants to reform [[spoiler:the Ten-Tails]] and become its Jinchuriki, so he can enslave everyone with his Mangyeko Sharingan.
** The Akatsuki were the Bigger Bads for Part I. We're told that they're out there, and that Sasuke's [[CainAndAbel brother]], Itachi Uchiha, is a member, and that current BigBad, Orochimaru, is motivated in part by fear of them. Two of their agents (Kisame Hoshigaki and the aforementioned Itachi) put in a brief importance and inflict horrible damage on the town, but then they pass right back out of the story, and Orochimaru becomes the focus again. In Part 2, the Akatsuki take center stage, and their leader becomes the series' new BigBad. %% Don't add Madara as a Bigger Bad. He's a Man Behind The Man.
** The series' final arc revealed that the biggest Bigger Bad of all is [[spoiler: Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, the first Chakra user, the true identity of the Ten-Tailed Beast, and a [[PhysicalGod Physical Goddess]] [[InformedAbility allegedly]] more powerful than any other enemy fought so far. Black Zetsu, who is revealed to have been responsible for setting in motion the entirety of history since the Ten-Tails' defeat all for the sake of reviving Kaguya, is a manifestation of her will. She is essentially responsible for the entire series, and beyond, with Black Zetsu manipulating EVERYONE to set in motion the Infinite Tsukuyomi.]]
* The Overdevil in ''OvermanKingGainer''.
* Chaos in ''Manga/SailorMoon'', with all the Big Bads of each arc revealed to be incarnations of it.
* Lord Tamamo in ''Manga/GaRei'', master of the original Kyuubi and Mitogawa's superior.
* The Emperor of Darkness from ''Anime/MazingerZ'' and ''Anime/GreatMazinger'' fits the bill. The HumongousMecha previous BigBad Dr. Hell found were ancient -- and severely outdated -- weapons of his army. During the first series, he did not directly interfere with the plot, and he remained in his underground empire, watching the war between Kouji Kabuto and Dr. Hell as one of his underlings schemed to bring both of them down. After [[spoiler:causing the end of Dr. Hell's army and Mazinger-Z]], he became BigBad of the next series. [[spoiler:And again, together with the rest of the Mycean Empire]] in ''Anime/ShinMazinger''.
* In ''Manga/OutlawStar'', the BigBad is a Kei Pirate named Hazanko who seeks to overthrow the Tendo King, an [[TheUnseen unseen]] Bigger Bad. But there is an even ''bigger'' bad above the Tendo King called the Tenpa Emperor, who is only mentioned once. The identity, powers, and position of these characters is never explained, but the fact that Hazanko had to use the Leyline in order to become a PhysicalGod to beat them means they're terrifyingly strong.
* In ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', that would be [[spoiler:The Idea Of Evil]]. Invented by humans to explain their suffering, it keeps the world a miserable place, enabling characters like Griffith and the rest of the Godhand to run rampant over humanity. It has no actual will though, and cannot enact any plans of its own, leaving Griffith et al. to actually drive the plot.
* Kardis, the goddess of destruction in ''RecordOfLodossWar.''
* ''Manga/FairyTail'':
** Zeref the Black Mage. It's been 400 years since his death, and people are still fighting against demons and other evil artifacts he made back then. [[spoiler:And it turns out he's still alive, but dormant...[[DeathSeeker expect not]] and intends to [[SuicideByCop wage war on humanity]]. At this point in the series, he finally takes up the role of the overall BigBad]].
** [[spoiler:It also turns out that Hades, master of the Grimoire Heart dark guild, is behind half the events before the TimeSkip, with his servant, Ultear, manipulating [[ArcVillain Arc Villains]] Lyon and Jellal, and Brain forming the Oración Seis dark guild while being a mentor to Jellal. However, Hades doesn't become a BigBad until the Sirius Island arc, only to be a DiscOneFinalBoss to Zeref.]]
** It's later revealed, [[spoiler:after Zeref is found on Sirius Island and becomes a BigBad]], that [[spoiler:there's a being that even he fears, [[TheDreaded Acnologia]]: [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast The Black Dragon of the Apocalypse]].]]
** For the Tataros arc, Mard Geer is serving as the ArcVillain / DragonInChief to [[TheDreaded Master E.N.D.'s]] BiggerBad, since the later is currently sealed away and the former seeks to free him.
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}''
** Millenniumon in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02''. KickedUpstairs variety.
** The D-Reaper in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' is responsible for Calumon coming to real world, Zhuqiaomon's Devas attacking the humans and all of the chaos the Digital World suffers, yet the kids don't know of its existence nor does it harm the human world until the final third of the series.
** ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'': Lucemon
* [[DiscOneFinalBoss Primal Dialga]] was portrayed as one in the anime adaptation of ''[[VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time-Darkness-Sky]]''. Granted, as he wasn't even the villain of the game.
* In ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'', we have the BigBad [[spoiler:Takano Miyo]], but [[spoiler:Tokyo]] just used her and her goals to further their own plans.
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass R1'', Cornelia is the one making decisions about how Britannians in Area 11 will deal with Japanese rebels, while TheEmperor of [[TheEmpire Britannia]] is far away and sets national policies but gives his children some free rein (within certain boundaries) in how they govern their territories. (This leeway is to see which child can achieve results and prove their worthiness to succeed him.) There are only two scenes in the entire R1 series in which TheEmperor has more than a cameo-like appearance -- one of them is a speech he gave, and the other is a BackStory flashback.
* The main antagonist of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[spoiler:the ever-adorable Kyubey]], plays a role like this in the spin-off ''Manga/PuellaMagiOrikoMagica''. In another spin-off, ''Manga/PuellaMagiKazumiMagica'', [[spoiler:he decides to [[HijackedByGanon emulate Ganon.]]]]
* In a similar function to ''Sailor Moon's'' Chaos, Black Hole of ''PrettyCureAllStars DX 3'' was this for not only the separate villains, but for those who showed up in even the team up movies. It only applied for the All-Stars movie series.
* In ''Manga/InuYasha'', [[spoiler:Magatsuhi, the spirit of evil in the Shikon Jewel]]. Does nothing for 90 percent of the show, then shows up and causes trouble. Dangerous, evil, ancient, but it's still Naraku driving the EvilPlan.
* [[spoiler:Jesei]] is spoken of in the third to last episode of ''{{Inukami}}'', and only after that does he affect the plot directly. The rest of the time, he was just an observer and instigator of an unknown part of another character's backstory.
* ''Franchise/YuGiOh'':
** [[Anime/YuGiOh The first series]] and the [[Manga/YuGiOh manga]] have [[spoiler:Zorc Necrophades, the demonic being originally defeated by the Pharaoh. He's both MadeOfEvil and TheCorruption, and was born of slaughter and genocide. [[BigBad Dark Bakura]] is trying to release him, and at the very end of the final arc, Zorc finally takes center stage as a BigBad in his own right.]]
** The manga only spin-off ''Manga/YuGiOhR'' has two:
*** Though he never appears, Dark Bakura is technically this due to [[spoiler:killing Pegasus in the Duelist Kingdom arc]], which fuels the motivation of the BigBad of the spin-off, Yako Tenma, to [[spoiler:resurrect Pegasus, since Yako was his adopted son]].
*** [[spoiler:At the same time, however, Yako was corrupted by the Wicked Avatar, a card that was meant as an EvilCounterpart to all three Egyptian God Cards, but Pegasus never published the Wicked Avatar. Yako published it after Pegasus' death and it corrupted him, and the corruption drives Yako to resurrect Pegasus and get revenge for his death.]]
** The Light of Ruin in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX''. Season 2's BigBad was serving it, [[spoiler:and the third season's BigBad turned to evil because of it]].
** The King of the Underworld in the Dark Signers arc of ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', being the force behind the Earthbound Gods and the reason that the Dark Signers can make a DealWithTheDevil and return BackFromTheDead. This one may not qualify, though, as there's no indication it's even sentient and [[spoiler:it, along with its GoodCounterpart the Crimson Dragon, is being played like a violin by the straight BigBad, Rex Godwin]].
** ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'' has [[spoiler:an evil deity called Don Thousand, the true ruler of the Barian World.]]
* [[BigScrewedUpFamily The]] [[TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether Zabi]] [[RoyallyScrewedUp family]] and [[TheCaligula Gihren]] [[TheEvilPrince Zabi]] in particular become this in the various sidestories set during ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'''s One Year War. ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam'', ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam0080WarInThePocket'' and ''[[Manga/MobileSuitGundamThePlotToAssassinateGihren The Plot to Assassinate Gihren]]'' are all examples of this.
* Blue Cosmos leader Muruta Azrael, and his successor, Lord Djibril, take on this role in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'''s sidestory, ''CE 73: Stargazer''. As the heads of Blue Cosmos, and [[TheManBehindTheMan the powers behind]] the Atlantic Federation, all of Sven Cal Bayan's actions can be traced to them, as can the Earth Forces' eventual assault on the Stargazer satellite. Despite this Azrael makes only two, non-speaking, appearances, and Djibril, while mentioned, is never seen.
* Except for Part 2, which deals with the creators of the stone mask that gave Dio his powers, Dio Brando is this for ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', affecting the plot whenever he doesn't take up the BigBad role directly, especially in Part 6.
* The Five Celestial Serpents or World Nobles from ''Manga/OnePiece'' are the ones who hold the reigns of the military, using them as playthings and sentencing innocents to death to cover up the world's lost age, while also gleefully owning and abusing slaves of every race and doing literally everything they condemn because they're above the law. Currently Sakazuki/Akainu and Teach/Blackbeard are fighting for the position of BigBad, but the World Nobles are always in the shadows telling Akainu what to do.
* In ''Anime/GuiltyCrown'', GHQ is secretly being assist by [[spoiler:Da'ath. An ancient organization exist since human evolution and is responsible of the Apocalypse Virus' creation for their AdamAndEvePlot.]]
* ''Anime/SwordArtOnline'''s first BigBad, Kayaba Akihito, is the source for the next two {{Big Bad}}s, as his game helped influence them in some say. [[spoiler:One of them is his rival who used his game as a template for his own and the other was a survivor of Akihito's game who wasn't quite done with his [[{{Griefer}} fun]]]].
* The Bigger Bad of ''Anime/KillLaKill'' eventually turns out to be [[spoiler: the Original Life Fiber, the source of all life fibers, who manipulated the evolution of mankind since its arrival on Earth and eventually seeks to assimilate all humans and consume and destroy the planet to launch its spawn into space to reproduce [[VideoGame/ChronoTrigger Lavos-style]]. BigBad and TheManBehindTheMan Ragyo Kiryuin is merely a servant to the Original Life Fiber.]]
* In ''Manga/ArpeggioOfBlueSteel'' the Fleet of Fog claim to answer to a mysterious Admiralty Code, though what it actually is remains unclear and it has not appeared onscreen.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/XMen'':
** The "Here Comes Tomorrow" story arc of Creator/GrantMorrison's ''ComicBook/NewXMen'' gave us the original character John Sublime, who was introduced with the strong suggestion that he may be the greatest overarching threat permeating the X-mythos. A sentient colony of bacteria almost as old as the Earth itself, Sublime was revealed to have orchestrated many major events in the X-Men's past, including the creation of the Weapon X program, all in a bid to wipe the mutant race from the Earth (as they are the only species immune to his mind control). It's implied that he may have even manipulated humanity to create the very idea of anti-mutant prejudice in the first place, thus making him the one villain who has managed to consistently keep the heat up on the X-Men since Day 1.
** Apocalypse is this in ''[[Comicbook/XForce Uncanny X-Force]]''. He himself is [[ZeroEffortBoss killed effortlessly]] in the very first arc as a result of [[ClippedWingAngel rejuvenating himself into a helpless child body]], but almost every subsequent villain is working to either recreate him or find a successor for him. The arc even carried over into Remender's new book, ''Comicbook/UncannyAvengers''.
** Due to the chaotic nature of creative teams on the books at the time, the comics of the '90s featured a lot of these, with a writer introducing a mysterious mastermind character of some sort, then abruptly leaving or being kicked off the book shortly afterward, with the next creative team deciding not to follow up on the plotlines of the previous and [[AbortedArc aborting the entire arc]]. Typically these characters are never so much as mentioned again, although Creator/PeterDavid got to revisit one he created, the Isolationist/Armageddon, nearly twenty years after the fact.
* [[EldritchAbomination The Ogdru Jahad]] tend to be behind most villains in ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' stories.
* The Franchise/MarvelUniverse has the cosmic beings Death and Oblivion, who are incredibly powerful and exactly what they sound like. They tend to empower mortals to achieve their goals for them; Thanos and Maelstrom, respectively, are their favorite "heralds," each of whom is a universe-threatening BigBad in his own right. The two cosmic beings have each been around for (in our time) decades, and have been directly battled only a handful of times.
* ''ComicBook/TransformersGeneration2'' has the Liege Maximo, founder of Jhiaxus's Decepticons (and, possibly, ''all'' Decepticons). Later, Unicron, EldritchAbomination and Satan-figure, to the franchise as a whole.
* The Lord of the Locusts in ''{{Bone}}''
* ''[[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog]]'': One could make an argument that [[MagnificentBastard Mammoth]] [[DevilInPlainSight Mogul]] is this. Thousands of years ago, he founded the Order of Ixis, which eventually led to the creation of [[EvilSorcerer Ixis Naugus]], whose actions, [[spoiler:which may include starting the Great War]], in turn led to [[BigBad Dr. Robotnik's]] rise to power, who's [[spoiler:death]] ultimately led to nearly every villain in the book today, with Naugus [[spoiler:responsible for the ones that aren't Mogul]]. Naugus and Robotnik are still quite active (and are, in fact, the current [[BigBadEnsemble top two villains]] of the series), whereas Mogul has semi-retired from active villainy, running a casino and deciding to use his immortality to outlive the heroes and make his move then.
* ''ComicBook/LockeAndKey'': the BigBad is Dodge; the Bigger Bads are [[spoiler: the {{Eldritch Abomination}}s behind the Black Door that he wants to release.]]
* As revealed during ''Comicbook/FearItself'', the MarvelUniverse's ''real'' {{Satan}}. The other demon lords hold meetings around his throne sometimes, but it's stated that all of them, including, apparently, [[CosmicBeing cosmically-powered]] ones like Shuma-Gorath and the aforementioned Dormammu, are terrified of even ''trying'' to sit on it. He's been gone from this plane of existence so long that even among the demons themselves it's a common belief that he doesn't actually exist.
* ''Franchise/GreenLantern'' baddie Krona may well be the Bigger Bad responsible for almost everything wrong with Franchise/TheDCU. While he's not the most powerful villain in the setting (though he's close; in [[{{JLA-Avengers}} a crossover]] with the MarvelUniverse he curbstomped {{Galactus}}), he's [[TheManBehindTheMan the man behind]] [[OmnicidalManiac Parallax]], [[KillerRobot the Manhunters]], and, indirectly, the Anti-Monitor, as his experiment was the thing that fractured the original Monitor probe in two. In turn, he thus unintentionally caused virtually every CrisisCrossover the DC heroes have ever faced. In his early appearances, it was actually stated that his experiment created ''evil itself'', though this has since fallen by the wayside and may be CanonDiscontinuity.
* [[TropesAreTools The trope can easily become a problem]] when a bunch of writers work in a shared universe, especially one where the characters are in speaking distance of each other. For example, Marvel kept doing multibook crossovers over the course of the two years Lucifer was, or at least six hundred and sixteen fragments of him were, running wild and free on Earth. With the possible exception of ''Annihilation'', nothing that inspired the crossover events was a bad a problem as this but Ghost Rider was the only one who seemed to care about it.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'': In ''ComicBook/GrantMorrisonsBatman'', Dr. Hurt is the main Big Bad, but is revealed to have a Bigger Bad controlling him, who he thinks is the demon Barbatos, but is actually a weapon Darkseid sent back to the dawn of man when Batman was hit by the Omega Effect in ''ComicBook/FinalCrisis''.
* The early ''ComicBook/ConanTheBarbarian'' comics from Marvel often had the royal family from the Kingdom of Turan as this trope.
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW'':
** Shockwave. While Megatron or Scorponok or any other Decepticon are always front and center as the BigBad, Shockwave has always worked behind the scenes with his regenesis project, which is a number of energies which bond to planets and create different Ore. This kicks off the earth conflict, which he is absent for, as the empowering Ore is there and everyone is fighting over it. It kicks off Spotlight Kup, which he is also absent for, because it drives Kup crazy. It is the reason behind the [[ComicBook/TransformersRobotsInDisguise Syndromica]] arc, which he has very little to do with. In addition his projects have been behind the destruction of numerous civilizations, which he was also absent for because the Dynobots got to him before he could stabilize them. As of ComicBook/TransformersDarkCybertron he has subverted the Trope, and stepped up as the major threat, requiring all the Transformers to unite against him.
** The Dead Universe and alternate universe that seeks to consume the one present and mind controls anyone it can reach, even controlling the Decepticons to do its bidding. [[spoiler:Later we learn that Shockwave is responsible for its existence.]]
* Senator Roark and Mob Boss Wallenquist in ''ComicBook/SinCity''. The former is an immensely powerful and unashamedly CorruptPolitician who can get away with anything while the latter is an immensely powerful [[TheDon crime lord]] controlling most of the organized crime in the city. While both men are responsible for the greatest evils in Basin City and perpetuate the CrapsackWorld itself, neither would really qualify as the main villain in any of the stories. Their organizations and influence are so vast that they're usually concerned with larger matters than direct confrontation with the ([[AntiHero Anti-]])heroes.
* In ''ComicBook/SpiderVerse'' Solus is the BiggerBad. He is father to [[BigBad Morlun]] and all the other [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Inheritors]], but doesn't take part in the Great Hunt for totemic beings himself. He also turns out to be a cosmic-scale threat capable of going toe-to-toe with the Spider-Man of Earth-13, a reality where he kept his [[PhysicalGod Captain Universe]] powers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* [[spoiler:Carmen]] in ''[[FanFic/Hottie3TheBestFanFicInTheWorld Hottie 4: Even Better Sequel]]'', who was also [[spoiler:the BigBad]] in ''{{Hottie}}'' and the last chapters of ''Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World''.
* Princess Jody in ''[[http://fav.me/d5kqh6t Supetastic 6: Year Four]]''.
* ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** Discord in the second and third parts, while he was the BigBad proper in the first part. While [[spoiler:Loneliness]] and then Princess [[spoiler:Gaia/Nightmare Whisper]] are the {{Big Bad}}s for the second and third parts, Discord's actions in the first part (and the actual show) are the reason one, possibly ''both'', of them even exists at all and everything in the entire fic can be traced back to Discord, even though he's been SealedEvilInACan the entire time. [[spoiler:He is set free and becomes the BigBad for the final arc.]]
** Discord's father Havoc fits for the series as a whole. After all, he created Discord in the first place, plus he's more or less directly responsible for Discord's original reign over Equestria, as [[spoiler:he fed Discord ''his own brother'' and Havoc's avatar in order to increase his power, then sent him to Equestria]]. Though that was actually his [[FightingAShadow Avatar]], which had gone DrunkOnTheDarkSide to the point it was considered insane even by [[BlueAndOrangeMorality Draconequus standards]].
** [[spoiler:[[SuperpoweredEvilSide Nightmare]] [[KnightTemplar Paradox]], Twilight's [[FutureMeScaresMe potential Nightmare self]]]] is this for the [[BadFuture Dark World]]. At first, it looks like she and Discord are in an EvilVersusEvil BigBadEnsemble. However, after [[spoiler:[[DiscOneFinalBoss Discord's death]]]], it turns out that [[spoiler: she's been forcing Discord to live out a GroundhogDayLoop. So by this point, Discord's only still an EvilOverlord because she's ''forcing him to'']].
** Subverted in the Shining Armor Arc. [[GodOfEvil Father Deer]] is set up as the [[GodEmperor supreme leader]] of the Hooviet Empire, above even [[BigBad General-Admiral Makarov]], but not only is Makarov revealed to be playing his superiors, but it turns out Father Deer doesn't really exist.
* ''New Dawn'' revealed the real villain of the first book was not the cat's paw Nebiros, but rather the insidious New Order, at first seemingly spearheaded by [[SmugSnake Chris]], but in reality controlled by an even bigger bad: [[spoiler: [[TheCorrupter Sharon Tate Roman.]] And to add to the intrigue, it is unknown if Nebiros or Chris even knew she existed.]]
* Satan is this in ''Fanfic/ThePrayerWarriors'', since he is said to have created the false gods and had a hand in the rise of communism in Russia, but hardly ever appears.
* [[spoiler:The Avatar]] in ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', having created the [=SUEs=] and the [[BigBad Usurper]] as a means of testing whether a MarySue could compete with a canon character on equal terms, is this.
* Queen Chrysalis in FanFic/TheNuptialverse, as everything wrong in-universe is more or less related to the emotional fallout caused by her invasion in "A Canterlot Wedding", from the strain on Twilight's friendships to fuel for [[VillainWithGoodPublicity Olive Branch]]'s anti-Celestia tirade. Not to mention she's still at large while everypony else deals with their own problems. That said, [[spoiler: Discord is an even ''Bigger'' Bad, seeing how he made Chrysalis what she is in the first place.]]
* Chrysalis plays a similar role in ''FanFic/CadenceInAMinor''. She never actually appears in person, but [[spoiler:raping a brainwashed Shining Armor while taking the place of his bride]] is the root cause of most of the fic's conflict.
* Discord again in ''[[FanFic/PonyPsychologySeries Secrets and Lies]]''. Twilight's fear that he is attempting to escape once more, and that he provoked her into killing another pony in order to weaken the Elements of Harmony, kick off the events of the story, [[spoiler:and Topsy Turvy, said other pony, in fact planned it in order to sow enough chaos to release him]].
* ''Moriarty was there'' was an essay published by Doyle's {{Fandom}} trying to upgrade Moriarty from BreakOutVillain to true BigBad status for the [[Literature/SherlockHolmes Sherlock Holmes book series]] by doing a {{Revision}} about Holmes cases and arguing that Moriarty was there as a Bigger Bad for various {{BigBad}}s cases: after all, canon has established him as a DiabolicalMastermind, with vast criminal resources that can be exploited by minor criminals by a fee. For example, the essay proposes that the criminal of the very first novel, A Study in Scarlet, after losing his MementoMacGuffin and recognizing he is LuredIntoATrap by whoever put the ad in the paper to recover it (Holmes), then consulted Moriarty, who commissioned a MasterOfDisguise to pose as an elderly woman to get it (it worked!).
* Metal Sonic in ''[[FanFic/MarioAndSonicHeroesUnite Mario and Sonic: Heroes Unite!]]''. His power is claimed in the description to be "bigger than Eggman and Bowser's powers combined".
* ''FanFic/JusticeLeagueOfEquestria'' would appear to have [[spoiler: Darkseid]] for the series as a whole, judging by [[BigGood Athena]]'s comments about [[spoiler: the War in Heaven against his forces]]. ''Mare of Steel'' [[spoiler:ends with him opening a boomtube to Equestria]], setting him up to be the BigBad of the main ''Justice League of Equestria'' story.
* Fanfic/TheCadanceverse has Nemesis, the entity/force that corrupted Celestia and Luna, and is still free and on the loose even after they're purified by the Elements of Harmony.
* In ''Fanfic/TheLionKingAdventures'', [[spoiler: the UltimateEvil of the entire series is the Writer, an AuthorAvatar of [=ThatPersonYouMightKnow's=] dark side. He created the entire universe and all the characters in it, as a means of having his own world in which to create chaos and destruction.]]
* In ''Fanfic/LanternsOfEquestriaBlackestNight'', [[EldritchAbomination the Black]] is the true villain, while the Black Lantern of [[FallenHero Commander Hurricane]] serves it and acts as the de facto BigBad of the story.
* In the ''Manga/MedakaBox'' fanfic ''Fanfic/WorldAsMyth'', [[spoiler:Ihiko Shishime]] seems to be this, as his existence is heavily implied to be the reason for the BigBad's plans.
* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/172088/tales-of-the-oppressed Tales of the Oppressed]] has King Sombra. He's the one responsible for everything bad that happened in the story, but 38 chapters in and he's only had one major appearance.
* [[http://www.mediaminer.org/fanfic/view_ch.php?id=119212&cid=407331 The War of Megazords Vs. Gundams]] has ''two'' Bigger Bads: Patrick Zala and Mykan Yuki. They fueled each other's hatred towards Naturals and Coordinators receptively and are what sparked their respective wars. In short, ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed'' had Zala the BigBad and Mykan its Bigger Bad, while Megazords vs. Gundams had the reverse.
* In [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7628447/1/Memories Memories,]] Discord's mother is this. It was because of her that Discord took over Equestria, because of her that Discord "Discorded" the Mane Six, and because of her that [[spoiler: Serenity had to die. [[BackFromTheDead (she got better)]]]] She appears to be becoming the BigBad in [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7656204/1/From-Here-to-Eternity the sequel,]] though.
* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/83123/rainbow-in-the-wastes Rainbow in the Wastes]] has [[spoiler: Queen Chrysalis. The ''entire events of the story'' were all just a hallucination caused by her- Rainbow Dash isn't in the world of Videogame/{{Fallout}}, she's in a LotusEaterMachine. The whole thing was a case of TheBadGuyWins.]]
* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/148281/somber-ties Somber Ties]] has two. The first, as one might expect from a story that takes place in the Chrystal Empire, is King Sombra. The second (and bigger) one is Blackheart, as the evil force behind his rise to power.
* In ''FanFic/TheEndOfEnds'', Trigon created the Dark Prognosticus, thus giving rise to Logan’s power.
* In ''Fanfic/YoungJusticeDarknessFalls'': Darkseid serves this role to the first 2 seasons of the show, as Vandal Savage's endgame involved him, making him an essential part of the plan. He also serves as one to Superman, as he was actually behind the destruction of Krypton as well. Although, once his invasion of earth begins, he takes on the role of BigBad as well.
** Following this, ''Fanfic/YoungJusticeTitans'' has another bigger bad in the form of [[TeenTitans Trigon]]. The new secondary villians the church of blood are dedicating their efforts to finding a way to release him into earth.
* Most fics in the ''Franchise/{{Shadowchasers}}'' series have one:
** In [[Fanfic/{{Shadowchasers}} the original fic]], the true BigBad ultimately answers to [[EldritchAbomination the Light of Ruin]], who had demanded Athentia accept Jamor's challenge in the first place. As Ember guesses, the Earth's destruction [[OmnicidalManiac suits a being like this just fine.]]
** In Fanfic/ShadowchasersPowerPrimordial, The BigBad’s ultimate goal is to [[spoiler: free an imprisoned being called Pandorym, who mastered the [[MacGuffinTitle Power Primordial]] better than almost any other being, and used it to challenge [[CouncilOfAngels the Hebdomad]], but lost.]]
** In both Fanfic/ShadowchasersTorment and Fanfic/ShadowchasersAscension, this role is filled by the MadGod Tharizdun. In the former fic, the villains are cultists trying to free him from his prison where the other gods sent him. In the latter fic, [[spoiler:the BigBad plots to kill him to usurp his powers to become a god himself, only to realize, too later, he’s in far over his head.]]
** The series as a whole seems to have an overall Bigger Bad, as it is revealed in Ascension that [[spoiler:Tharizdun is a BarrierMaiden of sorts keeping an even greater destructive force, the Great Old Ones of the Franchise/CthulhuMythos from regaining the power they endowed him with.
* AskJappleack: Applelox is revealed to be the father of Discord and Wolfilor, and the one who sent them to Equestria, making him directly responsible for the events in PonyDotMov.
* Ace Swift, the AssholeVictim of TurnaboutStorm. His immoral actions indirectly caused the conflict in the story. He's never met in person though since he's dead.
* ''FanFic/BeingDeadAintEasy'' has the Big Five. They're technically behind a lot of major events in the story, as they're responsible for sabotaging [=KaibaCorp=] and siccing Morrison on Kaiba—inadvertently starting the entire plot—but aren't personally involved or seen at all. At most, they get a couple mentions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films - Animated]]
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon as a whole seems to have the Chernabog from ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'', who appears to be the Disney version of Satan.
** In ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'', the spirit trapped inside the titular Black Cauldron is one. [[BigBad The Horned King]] wants to use the cauldron to TakeOverTheWorld with an undead army.
** ''Disney/TheLionKing'' BigBad, Scar, becomes this in ''Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride'' and ''Disney/TheLionKingOneAndAHalf'', with the BigBad of the former wanting to avenge him and the villains of the latter working for him.
** ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'' has Captain Nathaniel Flint, based on the original Captain Flint from ''Literature/TreasureIsland''. While he is long dead by the main story, it is his treasure that drives the plot [[spoiler:not to mention he set the planet to explode when the treasure was found]].
** In ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'', the friends on the other side appear to be the [[TheDragon dragons]] for the BigBad, [[spoiler: but ultimately his evil scheme was to sacrifice souls to them in order to get out of a deal he made with them before the film.]]
** ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' has the Cy-Bugs from the game ''Hero's Duty'', who are powerful and a great threat as a whole, while just being a threat in Ralph's quest and having nothing to do with the situation at ''Sugar Rush''. [[spoiler:However, they come back in the climax, when they begin to destroy ''Sugar Rush'', and the BigBad even [[OneWingedAngel fuses with one of them]]!]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'', there's the Dark Forces that Rasputin sold his soul to and gained most of his powers from to get revenge on the Romanov family. [[spoiler:The deal he made with them spectacularly backfires; first he's reduced to a decaying zombie stuck in limbo after he drowns and stuck like that until the last Romanov dies, and when his reliquary is destroyed they immediately claim him, and he dies a rather horrific death.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'', [[spoiler:"The Man Upstairs" was the template that the BigBad was based on. On top of that "the Kraggle" is merely one of his many bottles of Krazy Glue used to glue his pieces together.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films - Live-Action]]
* TheDarkSide in ''Franchise/StarWars'' is the most powerful evil in the setting, but is a metaphysical force of evil rather than a character. TheEmperor is the BigBad of the movies as a whole, and Darth Vader is TheDragon. See the BigBad page for a (largely) complete listing of [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] Big Bads.
* In ''Film/JamesBond'', this crops up a few times, usually in the early films but it's returned for the Craig movies. Generally the Bigger Bad is either a NebulousEvilOrganization like SPECTRE (e.g. ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'') or Quantum (e.g. ''Film/CasinoRoyale'') or some unnamed client country that is generally implied to be [[RedScare Red China]] (e.g. ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}''). ''Film/DrNo'' has both, as No works for SPECTRE but it's implied they were hired by China. ''Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice'' has SPECTRE and its chief Blofeld acting as the BigBad while working for this Bigger Bad (though, as he blatantly extorts money from them at one point under their protest, this might be more of a BigBadDuumvirate).
* The [[MegaCorp Tyrell Corporation]] of ''Film/BladeRunner'', which created the replicants and [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman the resulting social hierarchy between them and humans]].
* ''Film/SkyHigh'': The powerful supervillain Baron Battle. He's presently serving a [[CrossesTheLineTwice quadruple-life sentence]] and never gets out at any point in the film, but he greatly influences the backstory and is strongly implied to be ''far'' more evil than Royal Pain. WordOfGod says that [[WhatCouldHaveBeen had the planned sequels actually been made]], he would've put in a personal appearance.
* NormanOsborn in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan''. He is Curt Connors' boss, [[spoiler: who is said to be dying]] and wants Connors' experiments to [[spoiler: save his life]], and he is [[TheGhost never seen on screen and speaks through his assistant]]. It's also heavily implied he was involved in the deaths of Peter Parker's parents. With [[spoiler:the character's (apparent) death in the sequel, it looks like Gustav Fiers/The Gentleman will be Bigger Bad from this point on.]]
* Krona in ''Film/GreenLantern'', posthumously. He is the Guardian who absorbed the yellow energy of fear, with [[BigBad Parallax]] as the result.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' has two: [[spoiler: Armin Zola (The instigator of HYDRA's infiltration into SHIELD) and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (The current leader of HYDRA).]]
* The Mandarin in the ''Film/IronMan'' films. He is the leader of the Ten Rings, the terrorist organization who held Tony Stark hostage in ''Film/IronMan1'', and he personally appears as the BigBad in ''Film/IronMan3''. [[spoiler: In actuality, he is an actor named Trevor Slattery who was drugged and hired by the real BigBad of the movie, Aldrich Killian, as a cover for his failed Extremis experiments. ''[[Film/MarvelOneShots Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King]]'' reveals the existence of the true Mandarin, whom Trevor's portrayal of him was loosely based on him.]]
* In John Carpenter's ''Film/PrinceOfDarkness'' Satan, the BigBad in this dimension, turns out to be just TheDragon for his father: the Anti-God, who is in a mirror-universe waiting to be summoned.
* In ''Film/DieHard2'', the Big Bad Colonel Stuart is trying to release Ramon Esperanza, a deposed TheGeneralissimo who is being extradited. ''Film/AGoodDayToDieHard'' has Yuri Komarov as the hidden bigger bad with his daughter Irina being the big bad and final antagonist.
* Horror franchises sometimes have Bigger Bads.
** In ''Film/TheTexasChainSawMassacre1974'', Leatherface's grandfather is called by the family "the ultimate killer", although because he is aged beyond normal human standards, he remains TheUnfought.
** In ''Film/{{Scream 3}}'', [[spoiler: the BigBad, Roman Bridger, is revealed to have told Billy Loomis, the BigBad of [[Film/{{Scream 1996}} the first movie]], about his fathers affair with Laureen Prescott, and is thus indirectly responsible for the events of the first movie, and even more indirectly, the RoaringRampageOfRevenge of Mrs. Loomis in [[Film/{{Scream 2}} the second one.]] Billy Loomis himself]] is the Bigger Bad of the rest of the movies, posthumously.
** The dream demons in ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'', who gave Freddy Krueger his powers. They do make an appearance by way of flashback in ''[[Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare Freddy's Dead]]'', but they are never directly involved in the plot.
** In the ''Franchise/{{Hellraiser}}'' films, there is Leviathan, the god of hell. The films' BigBad Pinhead is the leader of the Cenobites, who are Leviathan's foot soldiers, but Leviathan itself only appears in [[Film/HellboundHellraiserII the second movie]]. It has a ''slightly'' more active role in the comic spin-offs.
** In ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'' we have the man in black, who is really [[spoiler:Dr. Terrence Wynn]] the leader of the cult of Throne, [[spoiler:who placed the curse on Michael in the first place.]] They wish to aid or possibly control Michael. He is only directly involved in the fifth and sixth film.
** The Jigsaw Killer is the BigBad in the first three ''Film/{{Saw}}'' movies. After he dies at the end of the third one, he becomes a Bigger Bad posthumously, as his remaining legacy hovers over and still drives the actions of his various apprentices nominally trying to continue his work: [[spoiler:Amanda (who dies before Jigsaw himself), Detective Hoffman, and Doctor Gordon]]. Plans he deliberately set into motion before his death still have far-reaching effects long after he died.
** ''CubeZero'' has Jax, a FauxAffablyEvil member of the shady government group responsible for the construction of the cube. He acts as TheHeavy and is the highest ranking member we see. He is not the leader of the group though, and receives a call from his own higher ups telling him to get on with his work. The unseen higher ups could be considered the Bigger Bads.
* Assuming ''{{Film/Prometheus}}'' is in continuity with the rest of the franchise, the Engineer race serves as this to the ''{{Franchise/Alien}}'' series, having created the Xenomorphs to begin with.
* In the ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' films, [[spoiler:Behemecoatyl]] is retroactively the Bigger Bad of the first two films when it's introduced in ''Film/StarshipTroopers3Marauder''. It is the absolute leader of the Bugs, but is never seen in the previous ones, in which the humans only fought its minions.
* The unseen King George III in ''Film/ThePatriot'', ruler of the British Empire. He's only ever referred to in passing, but Cornwallis and the other Generals ultimately answer to him.
* In ''Film/TheNeverEndingStory'' the Nothing is the actual BigBad; that is, the one threatening the world.[[SavageWolves G'mork]] acts as TheHeavy but hints that there is a Bigger Bad.
-->'''G'mork:''' I am the servant of the power behind the Nothing.
* The main villain in ''Film/GhostShip'' implies he is working for Satan, or at least Hell. He says he needs to find enough souls to make "management" happy, [[spoiler:and he needs the current salvage crew to fix the ''Graza'' for him to accomplish that mission.]]
* President Patel, the leader of ''Film/{{Elysium}}''. While he personally disapproves of Delacourt's methods for enforcing the status quo, he sits at the very top of a tyrannical system that can only be sustained through the continuous exploitation of Earth's inhabitants.
* In ''Film/{{Smiley}}'' [[spoiler: Smiley himself is this. It turns out he is a RedHerring for the events of the film, which turn out to be an elaborate prank on the protagonist based on the legend of Smiley. However, just when we think Smiley himself never existed in the first place, he shows up in the last ten seconds of the movie.]]
* Daryll Lee Callum is this in ''Film/{{Copycat}}''. Peter Foley, the actual copycat of the title, is a fan of serial killer Callum who is committing his killings in an attempt to impress the imprisoned Callum.
* Lockdown's employers in ''Film/TransformersAgeOfExtinction''. They're the ones who sent Lockdown to hunt down Optimus Prime and [[spoiler: it's revealed that they were the creators of the Transformers]].
* The writers behind the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse seem to be setting up ComicBook/{{Thanos}} as the BiggerBad of the universe as a whole. So far, he has served as TheManBehindTheMan to ''two'' different {{Big Bad}}s in two separate movies, being the true commander of the Chitauri army in ''Film/TheAvengers'' and Ronan the Accuser's benefactor in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''. The heroes never even get to meet him face-to-face in either film. Being a genocidal galactic emperor with vast armies at his command, he may well be the most powerful villain so far unveiled in the series.
* In ''TheKarateKid'', Kreese could be seen this way, being the cruel sensei who helped turn Johnny into what he is but is never directly confronted during the movie.
* In ''KungPowEnterTheFist'', Master Pain (later "Master Betty") is the delegate of the mysterious Evil Council, who seem to be set up as one side of a larger conflict. ("''Behold, the symbols: One... over here. The other... over there.''") All the audience knows about them by the end, including their long-term goals, is that they're aliens... and French. It makes ''just'' enough sense to be weird that we don't learn more and seem like material for a sequel.
* ''Film/ThePurge'': The New Founding Fathers are responsible for the annual purge's existence, along with the millions of people murdered as a result of it and what the main characters go through, yet none are shown or directly confronted in the film or its sequel.
* ''HomeAlone 3'' has the Korean terrorist who orders the criminals to look for the chip.
* Minister Sorokin from ''Film/JackRyanShadowRecruit''.
* ''Film/ParanormalActivity'': [[spoiler:[[EvilOldFolks Grandma]] [[BitchInSheepsClothing Lois]]]]
* In {{The Western}}s ''{{Film/Utu}}, Film/MadDogMorgan, Film/NedKelly, Film/TheOutlawMichaelHowe,'' and ''Film/VanDiemensLand'', the EvilBrit colonialist officials commit atrocities in the name of the British monarch.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The man with a beard but no hair, and the woman with hair but no beard for Daniel Handler's ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''.
* NapoleonBonaparte for two Creator/PaulFeval novels ''Literature/JohnDevil'' (1862) and [[Literature/GentlemenOfTheNight ''The Mysteries of London'']] (1843-44) adapted for the stage as ''Gentlemen of the Night''. The BigBad of each claims to have met Napoleon on St. Helena in about 1815-1816. Both have their own reasons for the Wars against England however, and Henri Belcamp in ''John Devil'' could have actually benefited Napoleon (Since the other's main narrative is set after he died), and Henri even more so is really about his own Ambition, he really wants to be the next Napoleon, freeing the first is merely for a PassingTheTorch moment. O'Brean in ''Gentlemen of the Night'' [[WellIntentionedExtremist is motivated by liberating and avenging Ireland]]. Both are [[BatFamilyCrossover made in continuity with each other]] via Literature/TheBlackCoats.
* Another Féval story, ''Literature/TheVampireCountess'', uses Napoleon as the BigGood. The Bigger Bad of that story is [[VampireMonarch Count Szandor]] who [[FemmeFatale the title character]] is in love with.
* The unseen Evil priest in ''Literature/VampireCity''.
* ''Franchise/TolkiensLegendarium'':
** Morgoth was always the ultimate evil presence in Middle-Earth, but after his defeat and imprisonment at the end of ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', Sauron took over the role of the active BigBad, overlapping with DragonAscendant. Morgoth was not destroyed, however, and Tolkien's writings indicate he will free himself in time to command the forces of darkness once again at the Last Battle.
** Sauron himself as the Necromancer during ''Literature/TheHobbit'' - he definitely exists and will later be revealed as the canonical ultimate evil, but has no direct role in the story's plot, except as a device to give Gandalf a reason to leave the group for chapters at a time to go get information on him.
* In the ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'', the ultimate enemy is Perimal Darkling (think TheCorruption on a cosmic scale), which appears to be largely mindless and is in no sense a "person", nor does it seem to have desires beyond consuming the whole universe. [[ImmortalityImmorality Master Gerridon]], nominally TheDragon, generally serves as the primary antagonist.
* [[TheFairFolk The Lords of Norsunder]] are the ultimate malevolent force in the ''Inda'' books, but during the timeline of the series are largely uninterested in human affairs. [[EvilSorcerer Erkric]], the BigBad, came up with his schemes on his own but bargained with one of them for his powers, but when he failed to live up to his end [[EvilIsNotAToy she killed him]] and then departed.
* Several of TadWilliams' works feature an entity called Unbeing or Old Night, which is the representation of entropy and ultimate decay. It's never any of the {{Big Bad}}s, but is portrayed as being tied to their actions, and at least one (Hellebore of TheWarOfTheFlowers) planned to deliberately unleash it.
* In The ''Literature/{{Belgariad}}'' and ''TheMalloreon'', the King of Hell is mentioned several times as a demon god SealedEvilInACan who controls the [[TheLegionsOfHell single nastiest faction in existence]], but because he isn't part of the conflict between the Light and Dark Prophecies, he to all practical intents and purposes sits the series out. A couple of his top minions ''do'' show up in supporting villain roles, but were likely acting independently.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'':
** The Council of Thirteen are the political heads of the Yeerk Empire, but only appear in one book, a VillainEpisode where they're more focused on judging Vissers One and Three than the conquest of Earth per se. Visser Three is the commander of operations on Earth and consequently functions as the BigBad. The main plotline ends with his defeat.
** Crayak is a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien who plays TheChessmaster throughout the galaxy to encourage mass genocides of entire species for no reason; in a series full of shades of grey he's one of only a handful of characters who qualify as pure evil. However, he only becomes directly involved in the story a handful of times and isn't terribly invested in it. The implication is that he and his [[EvilCounterpart Good Counterpart]], the Ellimist will continue their long "game" millennia after the Animorphs' series has ended.
* The Black Thing in ''AWrinkleInTime''. IT is the BigBad, and the Man with the Red Eyes may be [=ITs=] [[TheDragon Dragon]]. TheMovie states that the Black Thing was created by IT, making IT the biggest villain of that adaptation.
* Azathoth in the whole of Franchise/CthulhuMythos, a manifestation of perfect amoral chaos who creates and destroys, kept asleep by the Lesser Outer Gods with 'pipes and drums' so his awakening doesn't ''destroy the universe'', but never does anything except listening to music. Most of the other powerful {{Eldritch Abomination}}s (Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth) also take a very distant role in most of Lovecraft's stories, a notable exception being "The Call of Cthulhu". Nyarlathotep is a bit more hands-on, and August Derleth's Mythos stories frequently feature the likes of Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth about to personally emerge everywhere before being halted by a DeusExMachina or [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu explosives]].
* The Crimson King was presented as the central evil in Creator/StephenKing's metaverse; however, in an example of TheDevilIsALoser, when he's finally confronted in the GrandFinale of ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series he's revealed to be nothing more than an insane old man armed with nothing except [[Literature/HarryPotter suspiciously]] [[ShoutOut familiar]] flying grenades, who is promptly defeated in one of the most ignoble manners possible. It's later revealed he had relied on ancient technology to give him most of his seemingly multiverse-spanning omnipotent powers, and when he lost that through the efforts of various heroes on various realities he was reduced to the pathetic wretch confronted by Roland.
* ''Literature/TheRiftWarCycle'': Nalar, Raymond E. Feist's God of Evil, is slowly revealed to fill this role, and being imprisoned in another dimension, can do little more than be the influence for the various Big Bads in his books [[spoiler: and the ''true'' BigBad, the Dread, has nothing to do with him]]. Leso Varen, his minion, fills this role as well (making Nalar an Even Bigger Bad).
* Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/JamesBond'' novels often have the Soviet Union sponsoring some or all the activities of a novel's main villain.
* In ''Literature/{{Gone}}'', Caine is the BigBad, the counterpart to the hero, and the one who usually drives the plot. The Gaiaphage is an EldritchAbomination that arrived via meteorite, crashed into a nuclear power plant, {{Mind Rape}}s several main characters including Caine, and looks at the whole situation as a game, but rarely shows up and is usually just a vague threat in the background.
* ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain'':
** Arawn Death-Lord who played the role of the BigBad for ''The Book of Three'' and ''The Black Cauldron'', is this for ''The Castle of Llyr'' and ''Taran Wanderer''. By ''The High King'', he's the BigBad again.
** There's also Gwyn the Hunter's unnamed lord. Even Gwydion doesn't know his name or identity, but believes that he's greater in power than Arawn - although not necessarily evil, since Gwyn's function (basically a GrimReaper figure) is a necessary one.
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'', [[spoiler:Tash, the chief Calormene god,]] plays this role until ''Literature/TheLastBattle''. [[spoiler:Interestingly, we don't even know he's a real being until he enters the story and steps down to BigBad status.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'', the evil deities frequently play this role in the novels, such as Hiddukel in the Taladas Trilogy, or Takhisis in Chronicles. There is also [[spoiler: Morgion]] in the Minotaur Wars Trilogy.
* [[UltimateEvil The Void]] of ''Literature/TheWordAndTheVoid'' is the Bigger Bad to each of the trilogy's respective villains. Due to its status as an AllPowerfulBystander it never intervenes in the plot, and as such, has little impact beyond merely existing. CanonWelding by the author makes the Void the Bigger Bad of the [[LongRunner long running]] ''Literature/{{Shannara}}'' series as well, where it has ''less'' of a direct role.
* [[spoiler:The Warren of Chaos]] in ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', chiefly opposed by Anomander Rake and [[DarkIsNotEvil the Warren of Darkness]]. The actual BigBad, or the closest thing to one, is the Crippled God.
* Set, in Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' and ''Literature/{{Kull}}'' stories.
* The Bellon-Tockland Institute in Creator/DeanKoontz's ''Literature/FalseMemory'', a semi-fascistic psychology think tank. The main villain of the book, [[MeaningfulName Mark Ahriman]], is a psychologist who develops a form of mind control and employs it both on behalf of the Institute and for his own deviant amusement; the trouble he causes for the main characters stems from [[spoiler:his grudge against the stepfather of two of them, another academic who spammed Amazon with with negative reviews of Ahriman's work, as well as a previous affair with the wife/mother which ended badly]]. Although we do see Ahriman manipulate a patient into [[spoiler:biting off the nose of the U.S. President]] as a "message", and the Institute's connections are used in the BackStory to explain how he has escaped any accountability for his murderous pastime, the Institute's plans have no direct bearing on the novel's events and [[VillainWithGoodPublicity they are ultimately cleared]] [[KarmaHoudini of any connection to Ahriman]] after [[spoiler:the protagonists break his control on them and another one of his unstable pawns randomly kills him]].
* The Otherness from the ''Literature/RepairmanJack'' series, a vast, impersonal cosmic force locked in an endless war to conquer the multiverse. In our world, its goals are carried out by the immortal [[BigBad Rasalom]] and his disciples.
* Quinn Dexter is the BigBad of ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy''; behind him and threatening [[ApocalypseHow the entire universe]] is [[spoiler: the Dark Continuum.]]
* [[spoiler: Florence de Peyser]] in Peter Straub's ''Ghost Story''.
* [[spoiler: The Shard Odium]] is shaping up to be the most powerful evil in Creator/BrandonSanderson's [[TheVerse universe]] Franchise/TheCosmere, though some WordOfGod indicates that something more subtle but even more dangerous ''may'' be out there. [[spoiler: Odium takes the role of BigBad proper]] in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive.''
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', the Dark Forest serve this role during the ''Power of Three'' arc. They are recruiting an army to destroy the Clans, and are made up of the most powerful villains the heroes have ever faced. However, this is mostly going on in the background, as the main driving point of the arc is uncovering the secrets of the past and defeating the villain Sol, who is trying to make the Clans destroy each other.
* [[BigBrotherIsWatching Big Brother]] from ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour''...[[RiddleForTheAges maybe]]. He never actually enters the story, and the major Party officials (like [[spoiler:O'Brien]]) do most of the villainy. George Orwell intentionally leaves lots of questions about Big Brother unanswered. How much power and influence does BB have? Has there only been one BB, or has the title been passed on from person to person over time? Does he even exist, or is he just the Party's fictional mascot?
* [[EldritchAbomination The Nameless]] in the ''Literature/ColdfireTrilogy''. He/she/it/they (it's complicated) is far and away the most powerful evil in the series, but while it features prominently in the backstory of [[VillainProtagonist Gerald Tarrant]], the bad guy actually responsible for the conflict is [[TheCorrupter Calesta]]. The Nameless's only real role in the present-day story is to [[spoiler: punish Tarrant for apparently backing out on the DealWithTheDevil they made]].
* ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities'' gives us the ''first'' Marquis de Saint-Evremonde. By the time the story begins, he's already dead, but it's revealed in a flashback that he was the linchpin for everything bad that happened when he [[spoiler: raped [[BigBad Madame Defarge]]'s sister, causing the good Madame to [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge swear revenge and mark the Marquis' entire family and anyone who would help them for death]]]]. Unfortunately, this includes the completely innocent main characters.
* Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse:
** The first six books of the ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'' series have [[MadScientist Borborygmus Gog]] as the BigBad. He's got a very long leash and a lot of discretion, but ultimately is employed by TheEmperor. Palpatine only appears once, in a call to the scientist.
--> He [Gog] could order the deaths of hundreds if he wished. With his terrible knowledge he could engineer nightmares. But as powerful as the scientist was, the Emperor could snuff him out with little more than a thought.
** The works set between ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' and ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' (including ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'', the ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'', and the ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'') feature an array of villains of varying threat levels and goals, but almost all of them serve the Empire, [[VestigialEmpire even if in name only]], and would not have their power if it weren't for the Emperor, despite him being long dead at this point. The exception is ''ComicBook/DarkEmpire'', where the Emperor is BackFromTheDead and serving as the Big Bad.
** All the villains of the ''Literature/HandOfThrawn'' duology have motivations that revolve around Thrawn, who has been dead for over a decade.
* In the ''Fever'' series by Karen Marie Moning, [[spoiler: the Unseelie King is the ultimate evil force but makes no obvious appearance until the end of book five where he saves the day. Seemingly still evil since he is still technically the originator of all the evil things going on because he created all the Unseelie.]].
* The planet Mesa and Manpower Inc. was eventually revealed in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series to be ultimately responsible for the long and bloody war between Manticore and Haven. When their role was revealed, ''then'' it was discovered they were merely a front for the secretive Mesan Alignment organization. Manticore and Haven were.... less than impressed to find out just who was responsible for their long, bloody conflict. [[TheAlliance So they decided to do something about it.]]
* The ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'' series seems to like this trope. The first two BigBad characters ([[VillainWithGoodPublicity Nefarian Serpine]] and [[GeneralRipper Baron Vengeous]]) were only the men they were because of their now-dead master [[SorcerousOverlord Mevolent]]. Mevolent was considered the BigBad of the setting prior to his death before the beginning of the series, but ''he'' wouldn't have gotten there without ''his'' master, the so-termed '[[UltimateEvil Nameless One]]'. Furthermore, Mevolent, along with Serpine, Vengeous, [[StandardEvilOrganizationSquad the Diablerie]] (whose [[IJustWantToBeSpecial leader]] is the BigBad of book three), [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge Dreylan Scarab]] (BigBad of book four) and [[MagnificentBastard Eliza Scorn]] (who is yet to be a BigBad but is still a significant threat in later books) were all primarily motivated by their [[ReligionOfEvil worship]] of the [[EldritchAbomination Faceless Ones]], evil gods who were themselves worshipped ([[EvenEvilHasStandards albeit also eventually banished]]) by the long-dead [[AbusivePrecursors Ancients]]. Meanwhile, possibly the most powerful magician in the setting is Mevolent's one surviving lieutenant, [[PersonOfMassDestruction Lord Vile]], who [[DragonWithAnAgenda wasn't actually loyal to Mevolent]] in the first place, simply wanting to [[OmnicidalManiac kill everything]], but has yet to significantly impede the heroes as he is usually kept mostly subdued on account of being [[spoiler: Skulduggery's SuperPoweredEvilSide]]. And on the subject of [[spoiler: {{SuperPowered Evil Side}}s]], there are all these prophecies about how [[ApocalypseMaiden Darquesse]] [[spoiler: AKA Valkyrie Cain]] is destined to cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, but seven books in she's still yet to come to the fore.
* ''The Brethren'', by JohnGrisham, makes reference early on to one Natli Chenkov, a Russian politician and Communist hardliner who is suspected of planning to stage a coup and start a war the director of the CIA doubts America can win. The main action of the book involves three former judges (the titular Brethren) who run a blackmail scheme from prison and unwittingly hook the congressman whom said CIA director hopes to install as President to beef up the military and block Chenkov's ambitions, bringing down the CIA's wrath on them. Whether this makes Teddy Maynard (the CIA director) the BigBad (albeit a WellIntentionedExtremist) or the Brethren [[VillainProtagonist Villain Protagonists]] (albeit sympathetic ones) is arguable, but Chenkov is hardly mentioned after the initial explanation.
* Similar to King's ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'', all the horror novelist Brian Keene's works are connected by the Labyrinth, in which dwell the Thirteen, {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that existed in the PrimordialChaos before the birth of the universe. Among them, the Thirteenth is the most powerful and feared.
* ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': Kthonia is the most powerful villain in this story but she is neither involved, [[spoiler: aware of, or inclinded to assist with]] Jihadain's EvilPlan. [[spoiler: When Kalak kills Jihadain, however, she becomes the TrueFinalBoss.]]
* Lord Voldemort, the official BigBad of ''Literature/HarryPotter'', is in this role instead sometimes:
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets''. If you consider each Horcrux as a separate person, the main portion of Voldemort's soul (residing in the disembodied Voldemort himself) was a Bigger Bad in this book. Tom Riddle was more a manifestation of Voldemort's will, and in any way acted independent from him (although in his interests).
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban''. He wasn't directly involved in that book's events at all, although the villain does work for him.
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' doesn't feature Voldemort at all, and all his actions take place outside the main events of the plot. The BigBad of the book eventually turns out to be [[spoiler:Severus Snape, who kills Dumbledore and set most of the events in motion to further himself in Voldemort's eyes.]] Although the next book [[spoiler: reveals that Snape was actually a deep-cover double agent for the good guys.]]
* In ''Literature/TheChathrandVoyages'', it's established early on that [[EvilSorcerer Arunis]] (most dangerous individual member of TheBigBadShuffle the series has going on) worships entities called the Night Gods. These gods later turn out to be very real, and Arunis doesn't just worship them, he [[AGodAmI wants to be one]]. They've set him a task to complete before they'll accept him into their ranks- namely, scouring Alifros, the world where the books are set, of life- but otherwise take no direct part and Arunis (and the other villains) stand and fall by their own merits.
* In Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Empire of the East'', the eponymous evil [[TheEmpire empire]] is ruled by mortal men, particularly by Emperor John Ominor, the BigBad. It was founded, however, by Orcus, the king of all demons, whom Ominor overthrew in a coup and imprisoned. It will probably not surprise anyone to learn that Orcus eventually escapes.
* DaleBrown's books have portrayed the Chinese presidents and high commands that tacitly condone the generals' and admirals' actions as this, in contrast to the Russian presidents who have directly been {{Big Bad}}s.
* The Ix from [[Literature/{{Dragons}} The Last Dragon Chronicles]]. They trump Gwilanna hands down.
* Charles "Trout" Walker in ''Literature/{{Holes}}'', the even worse deceased grandfather to the BigBad. The entire plot ultimately stems from his [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain racially-motivated murder]] of Sam the Onion Man, which caused Green Lake to dry up and Sam's lover Kate Barlow to cross the DespairEventHorizon and become an outlaw, ultimately burying treasure in the desolate lakebed. Trout became obsessed with finding the treasure, even forcing his granddaughter to help him dig, [[FreudianExcuse which is why she forces other children to dig in the present]].
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' has a BigBadEnsemble with Littlefinger, the Lannisters, the [[spoiler: Boltons and Freys]] although they're working, sort of, for the Lannisters,and [[WellIntentionedExtremist Well Intentioned Extremists]] [[spoiler: Varys]] and Melisandre. Overshadowing them all, are [[MonstrousHumanoid the Others]].
** The NeglectfulPrecursors of the current Lords and Ladies offer a different - and possible straighter - example. Martin goes out of his way to show that one VERY big reason that Westeros is such a CrapsackWorld - almost on par with the {{Realpolitik}} - is that [[CycleOfRevenge no one ever forgets their grudges]] [[SinsOfTheFather even when the people responsible are long dead]]. Oaths broken, wars fought, people killed - the actions of the past shape the ways the nobility interacts in the present [[InherentInTheSystem and will continue doing so well into the future]]. Tyrion sadly lampshades how each generation puppets the generation that comes after from beyond the grave.
* ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' "Alien Bodies" has the Enemy and the [[YouCannotKillAnIdea Celestis]] in this role. The Doctor does encounter them, though in his future.
* Chancellor Paige from ''[[Literature/TheMazeRunner The Maze Runner Trilogy]]'', the head of all the mess that is WICKED. [[spoiler: Eventually, though, the cruelty of that position gets to her and she decides to cut their losses and stop torturing people for a cure that might never come.]]
* In [[Literature/NewSeriesAdventures "Prisoner of the Daleks"]] Dalek X (the Dalek Inquisitor-General) serves as the main villain. However it is mentioned he answers to the Supreme Dalek.
* In the ''Literature/{{Nightrunner}}'' series, the GodOfEvil Seriamaius seems to encourage his followers, especially necromancers, (and others) in villainous actions, but never appears as an actual character except in prophetic dreams. Granted, none of the more benign gods put in personal appearances either.
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', Snow implies that [[spoiler:District 13]] caused the Dark Days in an attempt to rise to power, only to back down when the Capitol defeated them and the rebelling Districts, causing the rise of the Hunger Games. [[spoiler:He says this when he realizes that Alma Coin was playing this trope from the beginning for that exact same reason. Thankfully, Katniss decides to bump her down to the BigBad and off her afterwards]].
* Since the first three ''Literature/AgeOfFire'' novels all take place at roughly the same time, [[ANaziByAnyOtherName the Wrymmaster]] -- the BigBad of the first book -- is this for the latter two. It's his minions and allies that set the events of the series in motion, scattering the three sibling protagonists and sending them all on their own individual storylines. And while he only shows up in the first book, his presence is still felt in the other two to varying degrees.
* Asmodeus is too busy overseeing the destruction of entire worlds to get involved in day-to-day evildoing. Until his son [[spoiler:Magnus]] summons him in ''[[Literature/TheMortalInstruments City of Heavenly Fire]]'', at which point he briefly appears in humanoid form and acts as a DeusExMachina before returning to his more cosmic interests.
* Derek Leech, who appears in the background of various stories by Creator/KimNewman, is a monstrous hybrid of Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch, and also TheAntichrist. He is clearly plotting some kind of evil Tory apocalypse, but has been known to help sympathetic characters fight other evil types whose preferred apocalypses would [[EvilVersusOblivion clash with his own]].
* In ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'', Lamia wove the spell that allows monsters to detect demigods, three thousand years ago. That one act has shaped everything that happened since.
* In ''Literature/AlexRider'', Zeljan Kurst is the leader of SCORPIA, and the one who orders the [[BigBad BigBads]] of ''Snakehead'' and ''Scorpia Rising'' to carry out their plots, though he never comes face to face with Alex.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Agent Carter'' Season 1: [[spoiler:Arnim Zola]].
* ''Agents of SHIELD Season 1: Alexander Pierce, but [[spoiler:posthumously]].
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': From seasons 1 to 3 and much of 4, the law firm of Wolfram & Hart play the role of Big Bad; however the unseen Senior Partners are always portrayed as the Bigger Bad. Angel spends the whole show and all his strength trying to grind their operation to a halt, even for a moment, by destroying their means of influencing Earth. Optimistically, he was ''just'' successful enough to make them focus their attention upon him. The downside would be that he now has their attention. As of Season 9, they've been branching out in the Bigger Bad department; their machinations are now starting to affect Buffy and the Scoobies too.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'': Comicbook/RasAlGhul is this for the first two seasons, with Season 2 revealing that he was the one who trained Season 1 BigBad Malcolm Merlyn, and his presence being felt throughout the second season via his League of Assassins minions, all [[TheGhost without ever showing up]]. Come Season 3, however, he finally does appear, stepping down into the main BigBad role.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': Don Eladio, the head of the Juárez Cartel. His actions drove Gus Fring to the be man he is in the show and his cartel causes problems for Walter and Jesse for three-and-a-half seasons. Despite all this, he only appears twice in season 4 [[spoiler:and is killed off in his second appearance]].
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Acathla in the Season 2 finale, with Angelus' motivation being to unseal him and inflict literal Hell on Earth.
** The First Evil is introduced as the [[MadeOfEvil source and personification of all evil]] in season 3, but doesn't take on a direct BigBad role until season 7. Even then its lack of physical presence meant it had to work through others.
** The True Demons were {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that ruled the Earth before humans, and all the monsters and "demons" that the heroes fight are nothing but remnants of them that they left behind as one final "screw you" before leaving/being kicked out.
** In Season 9, Whistler is revealed to have been behind Twilight in season 8 and seems to be the new BigBad
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'': The Source of All Evil in in the first three seasons.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': It is implied that the [[MegaCorp Blue Sun Corporation]] was going to end up like this, being responsible for River's ordeal at Academy (note how she freaked out whenever she saw the company logo), sending the [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Hands of Blue]] after her, and being the ones to which all the nastier members of [[TheEmpire the Alliance]] answered. Cancellation of the series, however, left things at just implications.
* ''Series/FreddysNightmares'': Freddy Krueger. He was only directly involved in the plot of eight episodes, though a few implied he was pulling the strings behind the scenes.
* ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}'' TV series: There's the implication that it's actually ''R.L. Stine himself'' (the author of the books) who's behind everything in all the stories (in a meta sense he is, of course) and the ultimate evil of the series, even though he doesn't appear in any of them. In the intro, a man in black walks up to a town, and his briefcase (clearly marked with his name) flies open. The papers fly out and morph into the ''Goosebumps'' logo, which proceeds to spread misery around the town until it reaches a creepy mansion, which then shows clips of some of the stories.
* ''Series/{{Justified}}'': Theo Tonin, the head of the Detroit mob, is this in Season 3. His adoptive son, Robert Quarles, is the actual BigBad of the season, providing all of the drama, and driving the plot without any instructions from Theo. That said, Theo is the one who made Quarles who he is, and is the reason he's in Kentucky in the first place. In Season 4, Theo takes over as TheBigBad, sending [[DragonInChief Nicky Augustine]] to Kentucky with specific orders to kill Drew Thompson.
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'':
** ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'' has [[spoiler:The Original OOO]], who had alchemists make [[spoiler:the Core Medals, including the ones that'd give birth to the Greeeds]], in an attempt to take over the world.
** ''Series/KamenRiderX'', ''Series/KamenRiderAmazon'', and ''Series/KamenRiderSuper1'': Great Leader. He wasn't a presence in any of those series, but few people were surprised when he showed up in ''Series/KamenRiderStronger'' and ''Film/KamenRiderZX'' to take credit for the founding of each show's respective GenericEvilOrganizationSquad.
** ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' has the Helheim Forest. While it's the central reason ''why'' the Riders are fighting Inves and each other [[spoiler:and later on the Overlords]], it takes a backseat to the overall conflicts. Case in point, even when Takatora reveals its true nature and ''why'' Yggdrasil is fighting it, Kouta still finds a reason to oppose Yggdrasil more than Helheim. An even bigger case in point? [[spoiler:Near the finale, ''all'' the villains are taken care of save for Helheim, whose avatar personally appears and reveals himself to two {{big bad wannabe}}s (who both wind up getting pushed out of the conflict soon after). The final battle isn't with him, but rather with [[TheRival Kaito]] who had obtained the same level of power as the Overlords. The closest thing [[TheHero Kouta]] did to defeating the actual Bigger Bad is moving his operation away to a far off distant planet, and depending on how you view his reaction, the avatar of Helheim is cool with it]].
* ''Series/{{Nikita}}'': For the first season-and-a-half, [[OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness Oversight]] was this to [[GovernmentConspiracy Division]], officially giving Percy his orders even as he was recognized as series BigBad. As time went on, and Percy started overstepping his boundaries, Oversight grew more wary of him, and by the time Season 2 started, they had Percy locked up and replaced by [[TheStarscream Amanda]]. And now, as of the midway point of the season, [[spoiler: Oversight is defunct, the Guardians having killed most of them in a (successful) plot to free Percy; this has resulted not only in Amanda taking Division rogue, but in the last remaining Oversight member to [[EnemyMine join forces]] with Team Nikita.]]
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'':
** Cora is this for Regina the Evil Queen, as she is Regina's mother and the one who shaped her into the BigBad she is now and her influence remains on her even though she's been out of the picture for a long, long time now. In Season 2, Cora appears personally, ditching this status and becoming the full-on BigBad.
** [[spoiler: Peter Pan]], the BigBad of Season 3A, can be seen as this for much of the series. Aside from being TheManBehindTheMan to Greg and Tamara in the second half of Season 2, his actions were also a major contributing factor to making Rumplestiltskin what he is. Which makes him indirectly responsible for every villainous act taken by both Rumple and his various students (Cora, Regina, and Zelena) throughout the run of the show.
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'':
** ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'': The "Master" couldn't do anything until near the end.
** ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'': BigBad Emperor Gruumm was the leader of the Troobian Empire but was just collecting power for the Omni.
** ''Series/PowerRangersTurbo'': The finale reveals Dark Specter, the Bigger Bad behind Zedd, Rita, the Machine Empire, and Divatox. In ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'' he gathered together all the {{Big Bad}}s of the franchise to that point under him, and sicced newcomer Astronema on the Rangers, but seldom directly intervened. In the end, he was done in by TheStarscream and ''never'' faced the Rangers directly.
** ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'': Emperor Mavro is the father of Vrak and Vekar (the latter serving this role in the first 20 episodes) but doesn't appear in person until the last 3 episodes.
** ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'': [[spoiler:The original Master Org. The one the rangers had been fighting was Dr. Viktor Adler, a former friend to Cole's parents who consumed the remains of the original for revenge and became the new Master Org. After being killed by the Orgs when they found out about his deceipt, he grows a real horn and comes back to life. In the final 6 episodes, he returns and killed off two of the traitors, and talks as though he and the original Master Org are now truly one.]]
** ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'': [[spoiler:Alphabet Soup was a corrupt government facility that kidnapped child geniuses and forced them to work for them by lying about an allergy to sunlight and drove them either to being near emotionless (Dr. K) or completely child-like (Gem and Gemma). Dr. K created [[BigBad Venjix]] for them and used it in an attempt to break free, but stopped her before she could program a firewall. Because of them, Venjix broke free and began his assault on humanity, but they tried to kill Dr. K so that no one will know where Venjix came from. By the events of the series, it's members were either arrested, captured by Venjix or killed.]]
* ''Series/{{Revenge}}'' has the [[NebulousEvilOrganization Americon Initiative]], the domestic terrorist group who the Graysons laundered money for (which they then framed David Clarke for). Initially just a part of the backstory, they later started influencing the story again in late season 1 via their assassin the White Haired Man, and in season 2 seem to be stepping down to knock the Graysons out of the BigBad position.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'':
** Randall Flynn, appearing in [[Recap/RevolutionS1E7TheChildrensCrusade episode 7]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E8TiesThatBind episode 8]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E11TheStand episode 11]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E12Ghosts episode 12]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E13TheSongRemainsTheSame episode 13]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E16TheLoveBoat episode 16]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E18Clue episode 18]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E19ChildrenOfMen episode 19]], and [[Recap/RevolutionS1E20TheDarkTower episode 20]]. He was a member of the USA Department of Defense before the blackout, and he may very well have been the one to have caused it to happen in the first place. In any case, he apparently has no affiliation to [[BigBad Sebastian Monroe]], and he seems to be monitoring the locations of the 12 pendants for an as yet unknown purpose. That, and he seems to keep an extremely low profile.
** The first season finale reveals two things: [[spoiler: the first thing being that Randall was working for an even Bigger Bad called the American Government and President of the United States all along, and the other thing being that the blackout was not an accident and that ''someone'' deliberately caused the nanites to go out of control]].
* The BigBad in ''Literature/{{Sharpe}}'' is usually a French commander with wide powers, but responsible to his superiors and ultimately Napoleon.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': In the fifth season, [[RoboticPsychopath Brainiac]] is the BigBad. He's behind every nasty thing that goes down that season, and is one of the greatest threats Clark ever encounters. His goal, however, is to [[SealedEvilInACan release]] General Zod, a Bigger Bad who was trapped in the Phantom Zone on Jor-El's orders. Zod can't do anything, and in fact is unable to even communicate with Braniac. General Zod's status as the series' Bigger Bad is further emphasized due to him being the ultimate source of the Big Bads from almost all later seasons; his son Doomsday and his younger clone Major Zod. The General is able to come out and play on exactly one occasion.
* ''Series/TheSopranos'':
** Livia Soprano. She is implied to be the chiefly responsible for moulding Tony's psychological behaviour. Ultimately, it was her who actually destroyed his own family.
** Carmine Lupertazzi. After he and his empire are referred to merely as "New York" in the first two seasons, he finally appears in-person during Season 3. Despite being a longtime ally of the Dimeo crime family, Carmine's organization is almost universally viewed by Tony and his associates with wariness and suspicion (not least because the former regularly uses its vastly greater size and resources to coerce the New Jersey mobsters into "sharing" their profits on local business ventures). After the relationship between the two families deteriorates in Season 4, the Lupertazzi crime family ultimately becomes the story's preeminent antagonist and remains so until the end of the series.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** Ra was the first Goa'uld to find Earth and use a human as a host, which gave him and other Goa'uld a massive supply of hosts, soldiers and slaves and allowed them to spread all across the galaxy, with Ra as the top System Lord for over ten thousand years. He's killed off in [[Film/{{Stargate}} the original film]] before the series, but his legacy poses the main threat for most of the series.
** In seasons nine and ten, the Ori are the Bigger Bad, since they're [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascended beings]] and thus more of a concept rather than actual characters. Their DarkMessiah Adria takes on the BigBad mantle for season ten.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': For the first 4 seasons the primary villains have been working on [[spoiler:the imprisoned Lucifer]]'s orders to bring about the Apocalypse and prepare Sam Winchester as [[spoiler:the archangel's earthly vessel]]. He is freed in season 5, and steps down to BigBad as he again walks the Earth and plans humanity's extinction.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'' often has bigger bads.
** Season 4: Antonia Gavilan (for a portion only)
** Season 5: Lilith
** Season 6: Macklyn Warlow
** Season 7: Sarah Newlin
* ''Series/TwentyFour'''s seventh season has African warlord Benjamin Juma. While Juma is behind the story's core conflict, his underling Iké Dubaku serves as the direct BigBad in the season's first ten episodes. [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] when, after Dubaku's capture, Juma finally appears onscreen and becomes a proper BigBad himself]].
* ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'': Gorog, one of the Big Bads, can count as the Bigger Bad in the entire DisneyChannelLiveActionUniverse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology & Religion]]
* According to most varieties of UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}}, this is the role {{Satan}} plays in the human world.
* Angra Mainyu (better known by the Persian name Ahriman) in some forms of Zoroastrianism.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* In the Audioplay/BigFinishDoctorWho Divergent Universe arc the Kro'ka controls where the Doctor, Charley, and C'rizz go but is working for the Divergence. [[spoiler:In [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho063Caerdroia Caerdroia]] he is revealed to be working for Rassilon, who meets the Doctor in the next story.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is the role the DemonLordsAndArchDevils and [[GodOfEvil Gods Of Evil]] in the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' world are likely to play in most games.
** The best examples may be the Obyriths and their partner Tharizdun. The former are beings that predate mortal life and even gods. The latter is a god seduced by the Obyriths into evil and madness who shares their desire to destroy everything. Tharizdun [[spoiler:used a shard of evil to create the Abyss (and by extension all demons)]], making him responsible for the existence of the greatest evils in the setting.
** Vecna, one of the most notorious [[GodOfEvil evil gods]] in the history of the game, who is known for his [[ArtifactOfDoom dreaded Eye and Hand]], claims to have gained his power from a being he calls simply [[EnigmaticEmpoweringEntity the Serpent]], but the exact nature of this being (which is possibly his only ally) is unknown (including whether it even ''exists'', the only source on its existence being the words of a mad and evil god).
** The Dark Powers in the ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' setting can play this role depending on what type of game the DM is running. Just as many people say that the Dark Powers are not evil at all, but may actually be good. After all, each domain is an IronicHell for its ruler, who is an eternal prisoner of it, making Ravenloft a prison of the damned. Seeing as the Dark Powers punish evildoers, it is very possible that they are good.
* The Deathlords of ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' are OmnicidalManiac ghosts granted power by [[EldritchAbomination the Neverborn]] in the name of destroying Creation. The Neverborn themselves, however, aren't much a threat; they're busier spending time coping with the pain of being eternally-dying-but-never-truly-dead and sending strange messages to their servants.
* ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'':
** The [[PhysicalGod Exarchs]], who stormed the Supernal realms and broke reality in the time of Atlantis. Together all eleven of them form the main villains of the setting, responsible for both the Abyss and the depressing state of the world.
** The Abyss has the Annunaki.
* The Wyrm was this for the now defunct ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse.''
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}''/''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** [[GodOfEvil The Chaos Gods]] rarely pay any attention to mortal affairs, spending the vast majority of their time [[EnemyCivilWar fighting each other]], but the powers that are available to mortals because of their very existence (and the [[TheCorruption corruption]] and [[PowerBornOfMadness madness]] that results from them) are the cause of multiple evil factions in both settings.
** Since ''Warhammer 40000'' is [[EvilVersusEvil that sort of game]], the GodEmperor of Mankind probably also qualifies, despite being "dead" for ten thousand years, considering he created and initially led [[TheEmpire the xenocidal, expansionist Imperium]].
** ''40K'' has the even ''Bigger'' Bad of [[PhysicalGod the C'tan]], who created the Necrons, indirectly created Chaos with their war against [[NeglectfulPrecursors the Old Ones]] (which in turn allowed the Chaos Gods to be born later), and indirectly led to the creation of the Orks and Eldar (as the Old Ones created them to fight against the C'tan). Originally they served as part of the BigBadEnsemble, but then the 5th Edition {{Retcon}} had them be [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu shattered into pieces]] millions of years ago.
* ''TabletopGame/BlueRose'' has the seven Exarchs of Shadow, though it's never stated explicitly whether they actually exist or are just a myth.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}''':
** Kazavon in the ''Curse of the Crimson Throne'' campaign. A monstrous Blue Dragon and PsychoForHire who once served as Zon-Kuthon's [[TheDragon Champion]], Kazavon was killed long before the story began. His evil persists however, in the form of seven [[ArtifactOfDoom Artifacts Of Doom]] made out of his bones, which are so contaminated by the pure evil of his soul that they [[TheCorrupter corrupt]] all they touch, exacerbating the evil that is already there in the human soul. Queen Illeosa, TheBigBad of the setting, is wearing the Crown of Fangs carved out of his teeth; with her defeat the story is over, but the possibility of someone else picking up the Crown (or one of the other six items) remains a very real threat.
** Queen Abrogail II of Cheliax takes on this role in ''Skull & Shackles''. Your main foe in the campaign, and the one responsible for almost everything, from Captain Barnabas Harrigan's treachery, to the confrontation you are forced into with Kerdak Bonefist at the end, is Abrogail's cousin Admiral Druvalia Thrune of the Chelish Navy, who is acting independently of the crown. While Druvalia's defeat will solve most of their problems, the [=PC=]s should step lightly--flaunting their victory overly much can result in a new war with Abrogail once the campaign comes to an end.
* The Supreme Monstrosity in TabletopGame/DinosaursAttack, also named by fans, "Dinosaur Satan."
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'':
** The Eldrazi, until ''Rise of the Eldrazi'' when they actually show up.
** Yawgmoth, who had a similar treatment. For most of the original storyline, the various Evincars of [[{{Mordor}} Rath]] were the setting's primary antagonists, especially Volrath. Rath and its Evincars were essentially satellites to [[PhysicalHell Phyrexia]] and [[GodOfEvil Yawgmoth]], it's ruler. While Phyrexia turned up quite a bit throughout the game's history (going at least as far back as [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=1039 Gate to Phyrexia]] in ''Antiquities''), Yawgmoth Himself didn't take center stage until the ''Urza's'' Block and then not again until ''Invasion''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* In ''Theatre/MarginForError'', UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler is obviously the power behind the German Consul, but his presence in the play is limited to a bronze bust and an obnoxious radio speech.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' is very fond of this trope, particularly the ''SealedEvilInACan'' variety. Every plot from the second game onwards revolves around the chief villain attempting to summon one of these, with various levels of success.
* The Patriots in the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' saga. A faceless, all-powerful group of power brokers that rule America from the shadows, the Patriots are the biggest overarching threat pervading the series, though Snake doesn't directly come into conflict with them until the final game. Ironically, most of the {{Big Bad}}s that he faces before then are actually battling the Patriots themselves for their own reasons. The Patriots simply stay in the shadows and don't get involved personally. [[spoiler: The label becomes a lot more appropriate when you learn that they're not even human: they're a nebulous system of [=AIs=] that are far beyond any one person's control, even the one who gave them their programming and unknowingly caused everything to happen: Major Zero, who's a Bigger Bad himself]].
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' has several ones that the BigBad wants to unseal or resurrect:
** Ganon in ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' is the force motivating all the other bad guys rather than an actual character in the game, but he didn't actually tell anyone to do anything. Who the Big Bad in Zelda II is, is up for debate.
** Ganon is this in the first part of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link To The Past]]'', until Agahnim succeeds in unsealing him and leaves the spotlight to him (Agahnim isn't mentioned again until encountered in the final dungeon). [[spoiler:Ganon comes out of Agahnim's body after this battle, and Ganon calls Agahnim his "alter-ego", meaning Agahnim was either a disguise used by Ganon or a person possessed by him.]]
** Ganon again in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames'' only appears as a boss in a linked game, and the plot is driven by Twinrova trying to resurrect him.
** Malladus from ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]''. The plot is actually driven by Chancellor Cole trying to resurrect/unseal him.
** [[spoiler: Demon King Demise]] from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', and by extension the whole series. [[spoiler: Hyrule's GodOfEvil, SealedEvilInACan, and [[DragonInChief Ghirahim]]'s master, he is also the source of the continued returns of the series' BigBad, Ganondorf, having cursed [[TheHero Link]] and [[BigGood Zelda]] for imprisoning him.]] You get the picture.
** Ganon, once again, in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]'', [[spoiler:except this time, instead of being revived by his own schemes or by a loyal follower, he's revived by Yuga in order to merge with him to gain the Triforce of Power. Ganon doesn't even get a change to face Link by the end, but his power is still used by Yuga]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'':
** [[{{Satan}} Sargeras]] -- the Fallen Titan and founder of the universe-consuming Burning Legion -- is a Bigger Bad through most of the lore, with exception of the War of the Ancients (where he is Big Bad, though never fought directly) and the events leading up to the first RTS game, where he possesses the mage Medivh, and uses him to open the Dark Portal, leading to the invasion of the Orcs. After Medivh's first death he is MIA as far as the story has progressed (all of the actual gameplay except for two dungeons, which takes place in the past), and leaves the work to his CoDragons, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde.
** [[EldritchAbomination The Old Gods]] are the primordial elemental beings who ruled the world before the Titans came. Even when they are not actively pulling the strings (they mostly are), one can always find signs of them in the world. This is especially true in the ''Mists of Pandaria'' expansion, where WordOfGod states they are not pulling the strings actively, but VERY prevalent Sha energy is the aftermath of one who died in the war against the Titans during the creation of Azeroth.
* The One Being in the ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' series. Although Onaga, the original ruler of Outworld, and Shinnok, the former Elder God, would also count.
* ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'':
** Nightmare in ''VideoGame/KirbysAdventure'' is merely a SealedEvilInACan - the actual leader of the villains ([[GoodAllAlong if you can call them that]]) is King Dedede.
** In ''VideoGame/KirbysDreamLand2'', all Zero did was send Dark Matter out to Pop Star. Zero never appeared until ''Dreamland 3'', which was where Dark Matter was changed from a single entity to a species mostly controlled by Zero. In ''Dreamland 2'' however, Dark Matter is the Big Bad while Zero is the Bigger Bad. However, considering Zero never shows up until the end, Zero can be considered the Bigger Bad of the entire Dark Matter trilogy, with the Dark Matter in ''Dreamland 2'', the Dark Matter possessing Dedede in ''Dreamland 3'', and Miracle Matter in ''VideoGame/Kirby64TheCrystalShards'' being the Big Bads of their respective games.
* The Mysterious Man in ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead'' series.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'':
** WordOfGod confirms that Sephiroth is in control, but all of his powers and motivation, most of Shinra's military might, and the reason for the [=WEAPONs=]' creation is Jenova. She might have been the secret Chessmaster, but she doesn't actually seem to be anything more than a vegetable during the game proper. Considering Ifalna's report, she was basically kicked upstairs from the role of Big Bad.
** Hojo, the MadScientist responsible for Sephiroth's existence, and for Sephiroth gaining enough power to enact his EvilPlan, and who is also the single most vile entity in existence.
* Golbez acts as the BigBad through most of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', until it is revealed that [[spoiler:he was brainwashed by a Lunarian named Zemus. Then, after Fusoya breaks Golbez out of his mind control, they kill Zemus, only for the spirit of his hatred to be released and manifest itself as Zeromus, who becomes the real FinalBoss]].
* Hector is like this in ''YggdraUnion'' and ''KnightsInTheNightmare''; he is the BigBad proper of ''RivieraThePromisedLand''.
* In the ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' series, as revealed near the end of the first game, [[spoiler: the dead god Bhaal]] pushed the plot into movement in the backstory, but being dead, takes no active part in the story of the games other than as semi-impersonal power scattered among [[spoiler: his mortal children]]. All the three {{Big Bad}}s in the series are after this power in some way or another.
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStar'' has [[spoiler:The Profound Darkness]]. The series protagonist's struggle against the Dark Force/[[SpellMyNameWithAnS Falz]], the recurring BigBad, amounts to FightingAShadow of a fraction of [[spoiler:the Profound Darkness' own evil and hatred]]. DF himself is a threat to the entire universe, so nobody wants to find out what [[spoiler:the Profound Darkness]] can do if left unchecked.
* Gerald Robotnik from ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2''. The main conflict of the story is against Eggman, but it was Gerald's actions 50 years in the past that caused many of the problems in the game. However, he is only a PosthumousCharacter and has a rather indirect effect on the story in general. The story doesn't revolve around stopping him and his machinations are only revealed after Eggman accidentally sets off the ColonyDrop at the end.
** ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' would reveal [[BigBad Black Doom]] was the BIGGER Bigger Bad of the previous game. He made a deal with Gerald, he gives him DNA for his experiments and Gerald would ensure Shadow would help him claim the Chaos Emeralds
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Starcraft}} Starcraft I]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/StarcraftII II]]'', the {{Big Bad}}s are the Zerg Overmind, Sarah Kerrigan and (in ''Wings of Liberty'') Arcturus Mengsk. The Zeratul side missions (starting in ''Brood War'' and continuing in ''Wings of Liberty'') reveal a nebulous Bigger Bad looming in the horizon: [[spoiler:Amon]].
* In ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'', Ozwell E. Spencer is one of the founders of the Umbrella Corporation, who murdered his rivals to gain total control. [[spoiler:He was also into world domination.]] However, he never interacts with or even takes notice of the protagonists, and the various biohazards of the games are instigated by underlings with their own motives.
* ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'':
** The Creators served as this between ''I'' and ''V'', but might have been retconned out by ''VI'' - in the early games, they were an enemy race to the Ancients, stated to be evil and of fairly equal power to the Ancients (who created both the Big Bad, the Big Good, and the worlds the games take place on), but with absolutely no relation to the games whatsoever except possibly the war with them being the reasons the Ancients doesn't put more effort into correcting the Sheltem situation. The exposition of the backstory in ''VI'' contradicts their existence, or at least the war with them, however.
** The Kreegan were sort-of this in ''VII'' - as far as the game is concerned, the Kreegan are just hanging out in the Land of the Giants, being a threat greater than the ones that comes closest to being the Big Bads for the game and keeping someone they kidnapped before ''VI'' with them. Their king gets killed, but before and after that he has no relation to the plot of the game, and Armageddon's Blade showed his death did little to slow the Kreegans.
** Kalibaar's Master from ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic IV'' is set up to be this. But it's never really explained what happened to him.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Opoona}}'' the BigBad is [[spoiler:an ArtifactOfDoom and the sages under TheCorruption.]] Said artifact was created by [[spoiler:The Dark Emperor]], who never appears in the game proper.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'':
** In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'', Dracula is this, since the only time he ever comes out to play is a NonStandardGameOver.
** [[spoiler:Chaos]] is this for the entire series.
** Dracula also plays this role in ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaCurseOfDarkness Curse of Darkness]]'', with most the game being about his resurrection.
** In the [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow Lords of Shadow continuity]], {{Satan}} is the bigger bad of the games, working through the lords of shadow in the first and his bastard children, the acolytes, in the second. Amusingly, the only reason he's in the background for ''Lords of Shadow 2'' is because he's absolutely ''terrified'' of Dracula because his power visibly surpasses his own (let that sink in for a second) and doesn't wish to fight him again because Dracula as a ''human'' killed him the last time.
* In ''VideoGame/SlyCooperAndTheThieviusRaccoonus'', the BigBad is a mechanical owl named Clockwerk. But in [[VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves the second game]] Clockwerk becomes the Bigger Bad because he is now destroyed, shut down, and separated into several pieces, but still a very dangerous potential threat if he were to be rebuilt. Most of the bad guys are just using pieces of Clockwerk for their own small-time schemes, until it becomes clear that Arpeggio intends to fully rebuild Clockwerk to [[spoiler:take Clockwerk's body for himself so that he can be immortal. Then his protege Neyla backstabs him and takes Clockwerk's body for herself.]]
* Cubia in ''[[DotHackGU .hack//GU]]''. The BigBad is [[spoiler:Ovan]]... [[AntiVillain sort of]]. After he is dealt with though, Cubia reappears [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere as a side effect]]. Where AIDA was merely causing some comas, violence, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking graphics glitches]], Cubia comes pretty close to crashing the whole of the Internet... which, in a world where EverythingIsOnline, would be incredibly devastating.
* In ''VideoGame/CaveStory'', Ballos is the inventor of the demon crown and is the TrueFinalBoss, but that doesn't change the fact that the Doctor was the main villain up until he was defeated.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has the Archdemon as the BigBad; ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' has [[spoiler:Meredith]]. ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' has the Elder One, aka [[spoiler:Corypheus]]. Across all three games are the machinations of [[spoiler: Flemeth, who eventually reveals herself to be a LivingBodysuit for the Elven Goddess Mythal, and has been gathering godly powers for "a reckoning which will [[RageAgainstTheHeavens shake the very heavens"]]]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bully}}'', Mr. Harrington, the father of [[SmugSnake Derby]] [[BlondGuysAreEvil Harrington]], fills a role like this. He doesn't make a personal appearance in the story and is only referenced in a few lines of dialogue, but his money and meddling in school affairs are one of the root causes of a lot of the corruption at Bullworth Academy.
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** ''[[AceAttorneyInvestigations Ace Attorney Investigations 2]]'' has [[spoiler:Di-Jun Huang]], who not only took the identity of [[spoiler:the president of Zheng-Fa]] but also had powerful associates in the Prison and Legal systems of Japan/the USA. However, his actions also lead to [[spoiler: his death at the hands of the BigBad: Simon Keyes]].
** [[spoiler:Blaise Debeste]] is the Bigger Bad of the [[UpToEleven entire franchise]], being the one who [[spoiler:gave Manfred von Karma the first penalty in his [[ThePerfectionist perfect 40-year career]]. The penalty was for using a falsified autopsy report as evidence, but Blaise was the one who had the report falsified in the first place]]. This in turn lead to the [[spoiler:DL-6 Incident]], a tragic event that was both directly and indirectly responsible for the backstories of several major characters.
* [[spoiler: Prime Minister Bill Hawks]] in ''ProfessorLaytonAndTheUnwoundFuture''. Aside from being a DistressedDude, he doesn't play much of a role in the conflict of the story, but he was responsible for the incident that served as the StartOfDarkness for the game's two main villains.
* The main villain of ''VideoGame/Stinkoman20X6'', due to the game not having a final level.
* The Shadow Queen from ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' takes this role, being a SealedEvilInACan, and is most likely the catastrophe that destroyed the ancient town. Grodus, the actual BigBad, seeks to free her so he can use her for his own ends. [[EvilIsNotAToy This proves unfortunate]].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'':
** The return of the Shadowlord, the BigBad of the game's original story arc, was orchestrated by [[spoiler:the [[AbusivePrecursors Zilart princes]] [[AristocratsAreEvil Kam'lanaut]] and [[CreepyChild Eald'narche]]. They become the Big Bads of the first expansion ''Rise of the Zilart'', but their plans unwittingly (though perhaps they were influenced by him) to allow the [[GodOfEvil Big Bad]] from the second expansion ''Chains of Promathia'' back into the world.]]
** Ultimately, all of the troubles that happened in the game stemmed from the pact made by the Shadowlord with [[spoiler:the Celestial Avatar [[CastingAShadow Odin]]. Odin gave Raogrimm the power to get revenge for his murder in exchange for releasing Odin from his slumber, this revenge and its consequences nearly lead to the destruction of Vana'diel at least half a dozen times since then, but none of that was ever part of Odin's goal. Odin is also [[DarkIsNotEvil not too bad of a guy]] if you get to know him.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'', the Bigger Bad of the series as a whole is the unnamed SerialKiller who murdered at least five children (maybe as many as eleven) at a birthday party in 1987, possibly causing the animatronics to develop their murderous tendencies. (One theory is that the driving force behind them is the ghosts of his victims.) It is believed that he didn't survive either, and that he is featured in the game somehow, possibly as Golden Freddy, the Marionette, or even the Phone Guy (or even all three). His identity and most information about him remains a mystery for now, but with a third (and presumably final) installment in the series confirmed, that may not be the case for long for long.
** The [[VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3 third installment]] eventually reveals that the [[spoiler: aforementioned killer died when he tried to hide from the ghosts of the dead children inside an animatronic suit. Said animatronic (with the dead body of the killer still inside it) is implied to be haunted by the killer and tries to kill you, thus making the killer the BigBad of the third game.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}'' has the Leveler, a malevolent force that is responsible for turning a hero to darkness every thousand years.
* As told by ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 6'''s Scenario Campaign mode, Jin Kazama is the one who set the world into chaos (and thus the actual antagonist) but only did so in order to awaken the monster Azazel. This is most apparent in the story mode, where Azazel is taken out almost casually a short while before the true final battle against Jin.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'' had hints of this when it ultimately was revealed that Marluxia, the game's BigBad, was a [[TheStarscream Starscream]] trying to overthrow the leader of Organization XIII (simply called the Organization back then).
* Shows up in ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' (and their {{Expansion Pack}}s, [[VideoGameRemake remakes]], etc.) of all places. Giovanni, the BigBad of the original ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'' games, is AWOL in this entry but his organization is still committing crimes and experiments in his name. The BigBad of these games is the DragonAscendant, who went nameless in the original ''Gold'' and ''Silver'' editions but was named Archer in the remakes.
* [[spoiler:Darkrai]] from the ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers'' games.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'':
** Sigma is the BigBad. His actions are tied to the Maverick Virus, which was created by [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic Dr. Wily]]. He only interacts with the plot directly in ''Videogame/MegaManX5''.
** Lumine takes the cake in ''Videogame/MegaManX8'', picking up right after Sigma is defeated.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'':
** WellIntentionedExtremist Copy X and the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Four Guardians]] at the helm of the plot. After the first game, the BigBad is defeated and [[InstantAwesomeJustAddNinja Phantom]] has pulled a bungled SuicideAttack. The remaining three Guardians go on the warpath with Zero and the Resistance, which causes its new leader, [[KnightTemplar Elpizo]], to snap and use the powers of the Bigger Bad, the Dark Elf, for vengeance.
** The next game introduces [[TheChessmaster Dr. Weil]], who ''created'' the Dark Elf ''and'' shows up with his own ultra-NighInvulnerable version of Zero: [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Omega]]. Weil rebuilds Copy X and uses him as an UnwittingPawn, along with the children of the Dark Elf, Crea and Prea, who never intentionally did anything evil because ''they're mere infants''.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManZX'' has Model W as a driving antagonistic force, though individual games focus more on their direct {{Big Bad}}s. ''Advent'' implies that Model W is [[spoiler:Dr. Weil, BackFromTheDead.]]
* The {{Infocom}} game ''VideoGame/{{Enchanter}}'' has an EldritchAbomination [[SealedEvilInACan sealed up]] directly below the castle of the evil warlock Krill; the player needs to stop Krill ''without'' freeing the entity, lest it destroy the world.
* ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'' has [[spoiler:Baion]], who sees no need to learn to control Lares (since Nero and Blanck can do that for him already) or chase the protagonists as Bruno did; instead, he just wants to summon Tartaros and bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** For the [[VideoGame/MassEffect1 first]] and [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 second]] games [[AbusivePrecursors The Reapers]] are in dark space, and the goal of the Big Bads of those games (each an individual Reaper) is to facilitate their return. Their reasons are left secret but it is simply known that they regularly destroy advanced galactic civilizations every 50,000 years. But that fact was known only to the main characters and not to the galaxy at large, leaving many to believe they are just rumors and only the BigBad is the threat.
** In the third game, the Reaper horde have arrived, and serve as the BigBad this time and at the end [[spoiler: it's revealed that at the heart of the Citadel was an AI referred to as The Catalyst, who created the Reapers as a solution to a theory that natural and artificial life would continually destroy each other. The harvest was a way to provide balance by destroy the advanced civilizations before the artificial life they created would turn against them, leaving the lesser species to evolve and take their place in the next cycle]]. The DLC "Leviathan" reveals more details on this revelation through [[spoiler:the eponymous creatures, which were the first sentient species to develop in the galaxy and are telepathic to an almost omniscient level. They created the Catalyst, who created the Reapers in their image and started the harvest cycle, destroying most of their species in the process]]. They're rather miffed about this, as it wasn't their intention at all.
* ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'' and ''Videogame/{{Portal 2}}'' have Cave Johnson, the [[MadScientist deranged]], [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corrupt]] [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and]] [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain non-wheelchair-friendly]] CEO of Aperture Science, despite being [[PosthumousCharacter long dead]] by the time of the games. He's responsible for the company's horrific (and counterproductive) policies, as well indirectly responsible for creating [=GLaDOS=] and putting her in charge of the facility.
* Easily [[spoiler:Yami]] from ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', who's [[spoiler:existence creates all of the evil beings you face in the game, being the root of all evil and all.]] Doesn't appear till the very final battle and is barely hinted at before, also doesn't seem to be a very intelligent being either since it doesn't talk.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'', one of the two possible origins of the BigBad, [[spoiler:Akuro]], is that he was the true Bigger Bad of ''Okami'' and was controlling [[spoiler:Yami]].
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' reveals that the true villain is, and always has been, [[spoiler:Juno]]. [[spoiler:Juno's]] machinations were a major reason the Assassins and Templars were never able to put aside their differences and work together to make a better world. All so that [[spoiler:Desmond would have no way to save the world from the solar flare that didn't also allow her to escape.]]
* In the Twoson and Fourside arcs of ''VideoGame/{{Earthbound}}/Mother 2'', the main threats are Mr. Carpainter and Monotoli, respectively. However, they get their power from the Mani Mani Statue, which eludes the party until Fourside, when the party can enter an illusion version of it named Moonside and destroy the statue, which breaks Monotoli's power considerably.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'':
** A number of villains belonged to the mysterious [[LegionOfDoom Black Cloak Society]], making them a potential Bigger Bad for the whole series. Unfortunately, the series died before anything could come of it, though they return in FanSequel ''VideoGame/TheSilverLining'' in a more direct role.
** The Creator/AGDInteractive remake of ''II'' added The Father, a member of, and possibly the leader of the Black Cloak Society, who's the villain behind Hagitha, the main villain of the game. At the end of the game, he also curses Graham, which causes the events of the next two games.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'':
** ''Storm of Zehir'' has Zehir, the yuan-ti god of poison.
** The fan campaign ''The Maimed God's Saga'' has Malar, the Faerûnian god of savagery.
* ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}'' has The Trinity, the supposed creator of Double, who is the antagonist for many of the characters. [[spoiler:DownloadableContent reveals that the true Bigger Bad is actually Eliza, an ancient vampiric monster. She is the reason the Trinity, and by extension the Skullheart itself, exists. In her story route, her ancient ambitions are rekindled...]]
* The Grotesqueries Queen could be considered the true big bad in the backstory of ''VideoGame/{{Nier}}'' since it was because of her that the Gestalts and Replicants were created to allow humanity to outlast the White Chlorination Syndrome caused by the Queen's remains.
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'':
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem]]: [[spoiler: Medeus]], who, plot-wise, is basically just a tool for the game's actual BigBad, [[spoiler: Gharnef]] to use to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, and only makes a physical appearence as the FinalBoss.
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'': [[spoiler:Chancellor Sephiran]] though this fact is only revealed in the sequel where he's the direct BigBad.
*** In a weird example, Radiant Dawn does the inverse: Ashnard, the BigBad of ''Path of Radiance'', turns out to have been the cause of a ''major'' problem for Daein during that sequel. Of couse, he doesn't actively play a role due to being dead by then.
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Genealogy of the Holy War]]'': [[spoiler:Loptyr]], to Manfroy. We only see this character directly twice due to him [[spoiler: spending most of the game posessing Julius]]: during an attack that summons him and [[spoiler: when he leaves Julius' body after his defeat.]] But he is the biggest force of evil in the setting and his full revival is what Manfroy is working towards.
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Thracia 776]]'': Veld is the game's BigBad, but he's only a comparatively minor member of the Loptyr Sect, and so Manfroy is still his superior. Manfroy does appear a few times in the game, but never plays a major role. Julius [[spoiler: (presumably still posessed by Loptyr)]] also appears, but it's more-or-less a cameo, making those two the [[BiggerBad Bigger Bads]] of the game, due to it being a {{Midquel}}.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'': [[spoiler:Fomortiis]] to [[spoiler:Lyon]]. Like some of the above examples, this character only physically appears during the final battle.
* The [[TheEmperor Garlean Emperor]] Solus zos Galvus in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', the [[HiddenVillain unseen]] superior to BigBad Nael van Darnus, who commands his invasion force. However, later content patches imply that Garlemald is currently undergoing a brutal war of succession, implying the emperor died before we ever even saw him. Once the Garleans are gone, the next bigger bad is [[spoiler: Zodiark]], the god worshipped by the Ascians. To a lesser extent, the Ascians themselves step down after Lahabrea is defeated and instead focus on teaching the beast tribes ways to summon their primals stronger than ever before. While they'll be a threat eventually, for the time they're content to just sit back and help the [[WorldHalfFull already dying world]] kill itself faster.
* God is indirectly responsible for the awful cycles of war in ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' with the constant resurgence of the army of Ruin, but he's not pulling the strings. Nor is the BigBad his minion. [[spoiler:In the final route you can finally fight God and actually completely resolve the story, but until then he's just not really present.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'': It's heavily implied that the aliens from ''Mothership Zeta'' have been watching humanity for years, and it's also heavily implied that it was they who launched the nuclear weapons that started the Great War and ravaged the planet, [[PassThePopcorn just to see what would happen]].
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' and its [=DLCs=] feature a really weird version. The BigBadEnsemble that occurs if you have all DLC installed- Caesar, Elijah, Klein, and Ulysses- are all to a degree responsible for the conflicts of the game, and each other's plans. By the end, they all seem to be the Bigger Bad to one another.
** Caesar (AKA Edward Sallow), the BigBad of the vanilla game, was the one who led the Legion when it conquered Ulysses's tribe, thus giving him his motivation in ''Lonesome Road''. He's also the one who ordered the White Legs to destroy New Canaan, the one who gave them intelligence, attack dogs, and other aid, and the one who sent Ulysses to help them. This, along with the fact that Salt-Upon-Wounds, the leader of the White Legs, considers himself a soldier for Caesar, makes him the Bigger Bad of ''Honest Hearts''.
** Father Elijah, the BigBad of ''Dead Money'', has a plan that dwarfs the other's plans in monstrosity and [[DystopiaJustifiesTheMeans sheer]] [[OmnicidalManiac scale.]] It was also he who [[OneManArmy soloed the Big MT]], where he acquired a lot of advanced technology that would help him enact his plan in ''Dead Money''. The way he completely [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu owned]] [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu the Think Tank]], led by Klein, also partly caused them to want to break out of Big MT to spread chaos into the rest of the world using their advanced pre-war technology- and he gave them a way to do it, considering he battered the walls down by ramming a train into them.
** Doctor Klein and the Think-Tank, the BigBad of ''Old World Blues'', were responsible for the creation of the Cloud, the Ghost People, and the invincible laser-shooting holograms of the Sierra Madre. This caused the Sierra Madre to transform into a DeathWorld, thus setting up the events of ''Dead Money''. Elijah's plan also revolved around exploiting said poisonous gas and holograms to make himself emperor of post-war America, and he would've never been able to do that if the Think-Tank didn't so thoroughly screw up the Sierra Madre.
** Finally, Ulysses, the BigBad of ''Lonesome Road''. He told Father Elijah about the location of the Sierra Madre, and is thus indirectly responsible for aiding Elijah's plan. He also asked the Think-Tank an ArmorPiercingQuestion which, along with Elijah's rampage, caused them to want to break out of the Big MT and screw up the rest of the world like they did with the Sierra Madre. He was also sent by Caesar to train the White Legs in modern warfare, letting them become the main antagonists in ''Honest Hearts'', and found caches of machine guns for them to use, giving them the ability to wipe out many civilizations in Utah, where guns were rare except among the New Canaanites. He went rogue soon after to enact his [[NukeEm plan]] in ''Lonesome Road''. In terms of the main plot and the conflict between NCR and the Legion, he's also the one who initially reported the location of Hoover Dam to Caesar.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', [[spoiler:AZ is this, sort of. He's not actively malevolent any more, but the DoomsdayDevice he built is the reason that Lysandre is almost able to wipe out everyone on the planet, but he doesn't have that direct an impact on the plot, at least until towards the end.[[/spoiler]]
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'':
** Ajunta Pall, the founder of the Sith Order and thus the Bigger Bad behind the vast majority of ''Franchise/StarWars'' media. Among Bigger Bads he's fairly unique in that many of his successors are ''much'' worse than he was, and indeed it's possible within the game to help his tortured spirit find redemption.
** ''Literature/{{Revan}}'' reveals that the Sith Emperor was responsible for Revan and Malak's fall, and thus the events of the ''KOTOR'' games. He takes the Big Bad role for ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic''.
* Several ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' video games feature the mysterious Egyptian demon Nitemare, the original creator of the Shadow Games and thus the Biggest Bad of the entire setting. While due to numerous contradictions the games in which he appears are not canon to the greater series, it remains somewhat unclear whether Nitemare himself and his role in the {{Backstory}} are, as he was created, though never used, by [[WordOfGod Kazuki Takahashi himself]].
* Ray Bulgarin from ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV''. He is an antagonist much more influential in the Niko Bellic's life than Dimitri.
* [[ToxicPhlebotinum Phazon]] from the ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' trilogy. A mysterious toxic mutagen that destroyed the Chozo civilization on Tallon IV, ripped open a dimensional hole on Aether, and is being used to create biological weapons by the Space Pirates. Initially thought a passive corrupting force, there are hints throughout the first two games that Phazon is actually SentientPhlebotinum, which is confirmed in the third. Each game has its own BigBad, and Phazon is always why they're a threat in the first place.
* The Big Bad of ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'' is [[spoiler:General Tor]], but as he explains he is utterly subservient to his military leaders, who are ''themselves'' subservient to the [[spoiler:Komato]] race as a whole, because of their powerful herd mentality combined with millennia of cultural jingoism. The idea is that war is bigger than one person, and is ultimately a symptom of a severely messed-up society.
* In the original ''Videogame/HalfLife'', the BigBad was the Nihilanth, a powerful alien leading the Xen invasion forces. However, {{Valve}} revealed that the Nihilanth and his forces were invading earth in order to flee from the Combine. Sure enough in ''{{Videogame/Half Life 2}}'', the Combine are the main antagonists. In fact, while Dr. Breen is the BigBad of the sequel, he is subservient to another Bigger Bad, the Advisors, who not only [[spoiler:take direct control over the remaining Combine's forces in ''Episodes One'' and ''Two'' following Breen's death]], but who also implied to be the leaders of the Combine overall.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** In the ''Dragonborn'' DLC for ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', the main antagonist is Miraak, a former [[ReligionOfEvil Dragon Priest]] and the first Dragonborn. It's later revealed that he's subservient to [[spoiler:Hermaeus Mora]], the Daedric Prince of [[spoiler:Knowledge]], who he's [[TheStarscream plotting to overthrow]]. [[spoiler:Turns out, Hermaeus Mora was letting Miraak build up his power, knowing he'd eventually target the last Dragonborn and lure them to Solstheim, where Mora could recruit them. He then used their conflict to steal the secrets of the Skaal, before [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness killing]] Miraak and informing the Dragonborn they've [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt inherited his position]].]] Overall, quote an impressive display of a Bigger Bad and ManipulativeBastard at work.
** Mehrunes Dagon was this in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'' to Jagar Tharn. Then a really obscure text revealed that Alduin was the Bigger Bad to ''him'' in ''Battlespire'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'', much of the game's mess can be laid at the feet of the leaders of the Grineer and the Corpus, none of whom you get to strike directly at. And then there are Sentients, who waged war with Orokin Empire, which led to creation on Tenno in the first place and Empire downfall [[spoiler:by Tenno hands]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Harvester}}'', [[spoiler:the entire game is merely a simulation to create serial killers, making the programmers behind the simulation fit this trope]].
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'':
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory'', [[DragonAscendant Fawful]] takes over the castles of both Peach and Bowser, with the objective of using Peach to awaken a source of evil known as The Dark Star.
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', the Big Bad is Princess Shroob, the Shroob leader. [[spoiler:Except she's only been the main leader since the beginning of the game; Peach sealed her older sister away offscreen at the very beginning of the game, making the younger Princess Shroob the Big Bad and the older one the Bigger Bad.]]
* While [[spoiler:Prince Cort]] is the BigBad in ''VideoGame/LegendOfLegaia'', he has been subtly corrupted by the Rogue from a WellIntentionedExtremist into TheEvilPrince. As the Rogue is the game's analogue of [[SatanicArchetype Satan]] but is disconnected from the game's plot as a whole, it qualifies as the Bigger Bad.
* In the first ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' game [[spoiler: [[BigBad Tetelo]] is performing the Voodoo Murders in order to appease [[GodOfEvil Ogoun Badagris]], who destroyed her tribe after her father tried to cheat him out of a special HumanSacrifice. ''[[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Her.]]]]''
* In ''VideoGame/SuikodenIII'', Hikusaak, Emperor of Harmonia, [[spoiler:plans to gather the 27 True Runes to create a world of perfect order - a soulless dystopia. The actual villains of the game are the people trying to stop him, because their plan to do so will kill millions of people.]]
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona'':
** While the BigBad in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' is [[spoiler:Ikutsuki, for trying to bring about The Fall by causing Nyx to descend to Earth and turn everyone into braindead zombies]], it's easy to assume that, by extension, the Bigger Bad is Nyx. However, it's eventually revealed that [[spoiler:Nyx is more of a force of nature than an actual entity, and doesn't really wish to bring about The Fall]]. No, the ''real'' Bigger Bad is [[spoiler:Erebus, the manifestation of mankind's will to die, who actively ''does'' want to bring about The Fall and can do so by coming into contact with Nyx.]] Another, more human BiggerBad is [[spoiler: Mitsuru Kirijo's grandfather]], the CorruptCorporateExecutive, EvilSorcerer, and MisanthropeSupreme who summoned Nyx to Earth in the first place. [[spoiler: Ikutsuki]] was his protege, and the other major human villain, Takaya, was experimented on by him.
** While the real killer and mastermind behind the killings and abductions in Inaba in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' is [[spoiler:Adachi]], the path to the True Ending reveals that there's someone behind even them: [[spoiler:Izanami, who gave the protagonist, Adachi and Nametame the power to enter the TV World in order to test humanity.]]
** ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'' reveals another Bigger Bad: The Malevolent Entity, who is heavily implied to be [[spoiler:Nyarlathotep.]]
** Nyarlathotep has this role in ''Persona2EternalPunishment''. In ''Innocent Sin'', TheReveal about him showed he was actually involved directly for a decent chunk of the game, but in ''Eternal Punishment'', while his existence is revealed early, he's mostly only referenced when bringing up Innocent Sin's events and that his power caused ThePlan to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, but it's mostly his pawns that interact with characters, and he himself doesn't actually appear until the very end of the game.
* One has been vaguely hinted as existing in the main ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' continuity, as well. Exact nature is unclear, but there have been various opaque references to [[GodIsEvil YHVH]] not always being the tyrant he is now, meaning the root cause of the OrderVersusChaos ForeverWar is something else. Its exact nature is a point of debate among fans, as is whether or not it's likely to be "officially" revealed at all. YHVH and Lucifer themselves are also skilled at playing BiggerBad when the situation calls for it.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' has The Occuria; all of the villains' horrible actions were done [[WellIntentionedExtremist in the name of freeing the mortal races from the yoke of these]] AbusivePrecursors.
* ''VideoGame/TheWonderful101'' has the villains, the Geathjerk Federation, mention the reason they attack Earth is because of "The Greater Galactic Coalition". [[spoiler: The Supreme Overlord [[FinalBoss Jergingha]] reveals that the Greater Galactic Coalition is [[BadFuture the human race from 1500 years in the future, where Geathjerk came from]] to wipe out humanity and prevent their worlds from being enslaved and destroyed.]]
* As of ''[[VideoGame/{{Contra}} Contra: Shattered Soldier]]'', [[spoiler: it turns out that the [[GovernmentConspiracy Triumvirate]] is truly responsible for everything that has happened in the ''Contra'' series, when they had stole the [[ArtifactOfDoom Relic of Moirai]] and provoked the Alien Wars in the first place.]]
* Ares in ''VideoGame/GodOfWar: Ascension'', the BigBad of the first game, plays this role due to ''Ascension'' being a prequel detailing the consequences of Kratos breaking his oath to serve, with Ares himself not playing any direct role.
* Ares turns out to be the Bigger Bad of ''VideoGame/SpartanTotalWarrior'', manipulating both Rome and The Spartan [[SinsOfOurFathers to complete his revenge against The Spartan's mother]], a handmaiden of Aphrodite who snitched on Ares' affair with Aphrodite to her husband.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro'' trilogy has it's main villain Malefor in this role in the first two games, with whatever servant he has acting as TheDragon in each game, Cynder in the first and Gual in the second, as the BigBad plotting his return, before taking over as the BigBad in the third and final game.
* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'', Monica Hughes is this for Cyrus Temple, as she is the one who spearheaded the STAG initiative.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' StoryArc consisting of games 10 through 13 is generally referred to as the "Moriya arc", because the events of each game are caused by a character who debuted in the previous game, despite not appearing in the game in question, starting with the Moriya Shrine members. ''Subterranean Animism'' was caused by Kanako giving Utsuho [[FromNobodyToNightmare the tremendous power]] [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity that gave her ideas of megalomania]]. ''Undefined Fantastic Object'' was caused by a geyser that Utsuho created launching the Palanquin Ship into the sky. And ''Ten Desires'' was caused by Byakuren landing the Palanquin Ship on Miko's mausoleum, giving her the boost she needed to resurrect.
* Manus, Father of the Abyss, is this to the world of ''Videogame/DarkSouls''. He is only encountered in DownloadableContent and long dead in the present day [[spoiler:thanks to the Chosen Undead defeating him in the past]], but he is ultimately responsible for the ViciousCycle plaguing the world. [[spoiler:One of the reasons the First Flame needs to stay lit is to keep the Abyss (the unfettered form of the Dark Soul) that Manus unleashed sealed away. Without the First Flame keeping the Dark Soul in check, all humans would likely become monsters like Manus.]] In [[Videogame/DarkSoulsII the sequel]], [[spoiler:the BigBad is a fragment of Manus' soul granted human form. The ''smallest'' fragment no less.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'', [[spoiler:The Butcher]] is the primary reason [[spoiler:his son, Coach Oleander]] is as screwed up as he is, and why he embraces the whole TakeOverTheWorld schtick. In a weird variation, defeating the former (or rather [[spoiler:a mental projection of him]]) is key to defeating the latter.
* The Elf quest series in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'', its longest-running storyline, hinted at a mysterious "Dark Lord" whom the BigBadDuumvirate of [[AristocratsAreEvil Elf Lord Iorwerth]] and [[MoleInCharge King Lathas]] worship and plan to summon to Gielinor. [[spoiler: Only in the GrandFinale is this being revealed to be [[PiecesOfGod a shard of the Elven supreme goddess Seren]], specifically the embodiment of all her bad qualities, whom the evil Elves elevated to a god in its own right. [[EvilIsNotAToy Iorwerth pays with his life for messing with it.]].]]
* [[spoiler:The Galactic Federation]] in ''VideoGame/{{Phoenotopia}}''. They're the greatest immediate threat to humanity present ([[spoiler:other than Billy]]), but they're not directly responsible for any major plot points; they simply [[spoiler:prompt the abductions, spur Gale to bring Billy to the Phoenix Weapons, and give Billy a chance to take over Earth]].
* Lavos from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' remains mostly in the background, driving the actions of some people (such as the ancient civilization that tried to harvest his power [[EvilIsNotAToy and discovered it's a bad idea]]) while [[PlanetaryParasite feeding on the planet's energy]] until he can awaken and cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. That is, if the time-travelling protagonists did not know about this and made stopping Lavos their ultimate goal once they beat closer threats.
* ''[[VideoGame/TearsToTiara2 Tears to Tiara 2]]'' has Metatronius, the overseer from heaven originally sent to watch over earth but was [[SealedEvilInACan sealed]] by the [[{{Precursors}} elves]] in the great war a thousand years prior.
* ''Mage Gauntlet'' has an unusual case. Uamuleth is insulted by Lexi saying Hurgoth sent him, calling Hurgoth a "weakling." When defeated, however, he drops a crystal tether, implying he was indeed sent by Hurgoth. [[spoiler:Neither of them is the real Big Bad - it's actually Whitebeard - but notes in Master Mode reveal Uamuleth to be a Bigger Bad whose cultists and demons pose a much greater threat to both Earth and the Dark Realm than Hurgoth - whom he's right about, and who has nothing to do with the crystals - ever could.]]
* While the primary Big Bad's of the ''[[VideoGame/SenranKagura Senran Kagura]]'' series are [[spoiler:Dogen and Orochi]], [[spoiler:Shin]] is the source of all the Yoma.
* General Ignacio Sanchez and Nate Johns in ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption''. Sanchez, the brutal President of Mexico, is this to the Mexican storyline. As the superior of Colonel Augustin Allende, the governor of the Nuevo Parasio region (and the closest thing to a BigBad in Mexico), Sanchez is the true power despite never being confronted. Johns serves as this more personally to John Marston's story in the U.S., at first being a gubernatorial candidate, and later being elected Governor of West Elizabeth. Him coming from a rich family and promising to clean up crime in the state spurs [[KnightTemplar Edgar Ross]] and the Bureau to send John out to kill his former friends. Like Sanchez, Johns is never actually confronted. [[spoiler:However, neither of them end up well in the end. Sanchez is ultimately deposed by Abraham Reyes, while Johns doesn't survive multiple corruption scandals and is ultimately kicked out of the governor's mansion.]]
* ''Uka Uka'', Aku Aku's [[EvilTwin evil mask twin]], in the ''[[Franchise/CrashBandicoot Crash Bandicoot series]] ''.
* ''TheLegendOfSpyro'' Series: Malefor is the BigBad of the entire trilogy, but he only appears in person in the last game. This makes him the BiggerBad of the first two games., which feature Cynder (his unwitting slave) and Gaul (the leader of his ape henchmen) as the Big Bads.
* ''Franchise/TalesSeries'':
** [[spoiler: Fortuna]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'' may be providing [[spoiler: Elraine]] with [[spoiler: her existence]] and power, but she herself spends most of the game sealed and completely indifferent to the actions of the heroes and only fights you at the very end.
** [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere The]] [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil Adephagos]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'', another SealedEvilInACan that does not drive most of the plot. Even when it manifests, it itself is simply a mindless malevolence.
* ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'': [[spoiler:[[TheManBehindTheMan Chakravartin]]]]
* ''VideoGame/FarCry3'': [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Hoyt Volker]].
* ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'': The Elder God.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VisualNovels]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' gradually reveals over the three routes that [[spoiler:the source of the Grail's corruption is Angra Mainyu, who will be reborn if any of the {{Big Bad}}s succeed in their plans]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** The Snarl, a God-killing EldritchAbomination, is the most powerful and malevolent presence in the series, and the whole reason everything is happening, but appears to have no real mind or personality of its own; there are some hints as of [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0672.html this comic]] (major spoilers ahoy) that this might not be the case.
** The IFCC Directors are three fiends who are [[spoiler:rather, were]] TheManBehindTheMan to the Linear Guild, but they themselves refer to more powerful fiends ("the Lower Downs") from whom they are attempting to gain support for their venture, using their [[spoiler:corruption of Vaarsuvius]] as proof of concept.
* [[EldritchAbomination Lord English]] from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' is the most powerful character in the setting, but remained TheUnseen until after Act 5, despite a great impact (mostly in the form of his chief servant, [[TheChessmaster Doc Scratch]]) on the plot. The BigBad was initially thought to be [[spoiler:[[PhysicalGod Jack Noir]]]], stab-happy treacherous Archagent, who the protagonists have much more motivation to destroy but he has since lost focus in the story as Lord English's machinations become more and more obvious [[spoiler:as well as his possible origin.]]
* Chaos of ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' is an evil EldritchAbomination and embodiment of decay that is the whole reason behind the Light Warriors' quest. Although he ''does'' desire to end (''and'' eternally torment, however that works) existence for no real reason, he does not come into play until the real BigBad, [[PhysicalGod Sarda]], accidentally brings him about. Who was himself indirectly created by Black Mage.
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' the Demon King of the Dimension of Pain generally plays this part in Dimension of Pain arcs. The demon lord Horribus serves as BigBad. [[spoiler:Presumably Psykosis will be replacing him in future Dimension of Pain appearances.]]
* Malefor in ''TheLegendOfSpyro [[http://shalonesk.deviantart.com/gallery/11400696#/d23ieon Zonoya's Revenge]]''. Not only was he responsible for everything that happened in the games, he [[spoiler:brainwashed Cynder into slashing out the eye of Zonoya, her best friend, which was Zonoya's StartOfDarkness. Zonoya was also in love with him, leading to many of her actions in addition to her revenge plot, making him responsible for most of the plot..]]
* [[spoiler: CommanderBadass's superiors]] in the Nomura Syndrome arc of ''Webcomic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings''. They were the ones that hired the BigBad Creator/{{Gackt}} to release TheVirus and turn Commander Badass into a {{Bishounen}}. [[spoiler: And it's just so they can market new merchandise.]]
* [[spoiler:Altair]] in ''Webcomic/WhiteDarkLife'' is a far more villainous character than Dark Matt or [[spoiler:Artemis]]. The latter are simply selfish and commit evil to [[spoiler:keep Dark Matt from being erased once he is finally purified]] and are rather comical at times. The former on the other hand wants to murder all the demons, little children included.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Lord Vyce story arc of ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'' has the MultiversalConqueror Lord Vyce the BigBad, but his goal in conquering is to in fact protect dimensions from, and eventually track down and kill an EldritchAbomination that he simply refers to as "The Entity", which devours entire planets, and eventually universes. [[spoiler: Later it turns the Entity came to our universe as BatmanGambit in hopes Linkara would defeat Lord Vyce, since it considered fighting him to be too inconvenient.]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', the [[UltimateEvil Nameless Evil]], which later took over the god Dreamweaver's body and became known as Death, has been behind all atrocities which have taken place in various eras, subtly influencing events to its liking.
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'':
** [[spoiler:The Director]] is this, as most of the things that happened to the Blood Gulch Crew and Freelancers were caused by him and his plans.
** The Chairman serves as a HeroAntagonist Bigger Bad when he [[spoiler:sends that BigBadDuumvirate of Wash and the Meta to find Epsilon with the ultimate goal of arresting the Director. Actually, he's not a hero at all when the Season 12 finale reveals that he was the BigBad "Control". He is also the Bigger Bad for the overall series when it's revealed that he funded the Insurrection that the Freelancers fought against.]]
** Flashbacks in Season 10 show that [[spoiler:the A.I. Sigma]] qualifies for the Recollection Trilogy as a whole; [[spoiler:he's technically the BigBad of ''Reconstruction'', but he is killed after those events. However, his influence on the Meta still remains in ''Recreation'' and ''Revelation''.]]
** In Seasons 11 and 12, General Doyal takes this role on the account of being [[spoiler:the leader of the Federation Army]]. However, [[spoiler:he can be ''hardly'' be considered a fighter, and he has ''no'' control over Locus. Locus is working under the orders of the BigBad, Control, and Doyal's role is subverted when it's revealed that Locus and Felix are manipulating the CivilWar on the planet Chorus under Control's orders.]]
* ''Roleplay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers'':
** Cipher serves as one for the entire RP in general, often acting through proxies instead of fighting the J-Team directly, having a hand in the backstories of several characters, and even created 'M which antagonized the J-Team during the Unova arc. For Orre they end up becoming the Big Bad of the arc.
** OLD MAN's nemesis, the Magikarp Salesman, a powerful demon who doesn't really concern himself with the J-Team's antics at all.
** The Seven Jerk Dragons serve as this for the PMD-R arc. While they don't make a direct appearance, their actions are directly responsible for the state of PMD-B when J-Team members visit it.
* Tyrant and the Kind in Winter of {{Literature/Citadel}}. One holds the entire population of Europe in mental thrall while the other is responsible for freezing a large chunk of the Northern Hemisphere.
* ''Literature/{{Worm}}'':
** [[ThoseWackyNazis Empire 88]] are an offshoot of a more established German organisation called Gesellschaft, who sometimes send cape assistance over but are never confronted directly by Taylor.
** Cauldron is this for a large part of the story. Long before they directly come into the picture, they indirectly aid and abet a lot of the antagonists.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Eddy's Brother from ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' is responsible for Eddy being the selfish, greedy {{Jerkass}} that he is, and thus for all of the schemes that drive almost every episode.
* A handful of episodes of ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'' feature [[EvilSorcerer Baron Mordo]] as the BigBad, who is trying to unseal his demonic master Dormammu. Dormammu is a presence in the episodes, but the sorcerer is the primary villain.
* Unicron of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' is the ultimate evil in the metaseries, but is usually a distant figure, with Megatron (or his replacement as Decepticon leader) being BigBad. In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' he's mentioned as early as the pilot episode as the source of Dark Energon, which plays a considerable role throughout the series, before finally taking over as the BigBad in the finale movie ''Predacons Rising''. The exceptions are ''Anime/TransformersArmada'', where Unicron is the BigBad all along, orchestrating the conflict for his own purposes, and {{Transformers The Movie}}, where he serves as the {{Big Bad}} with [[DemotedToDragon Galvatron]] as both {{The Heavy}} and {{The Starscream}}.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons'' animated series, one episode featured BigBad Venger's master, an insanely powerful EldritchAbomination that appears and starts destroying the entire realm. Even at the end, when it's banished with the combined efforts of Dungeon Master, Venger, and the Heroes, DM still remarks that what they've accomplished is but a temporary victory.
* ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'':
** Horde Prime, mainly in ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower'' since the Horde was her primary enemy. The master of both Hordak and Skeletor, Prime almost never played a direct role, but would occasionally appear to berate Hordak for his constant failures.
** Hordak himself is the Bigger Bad in ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse2002''. He plays a prominent role in the backstory as the ArchEnemy to King Greyskull (and oddly enough to fellow archvillain King Hiss as well) and the one who transformed the dying Keldor into [[BigBad Skeletor]]. In the series proper he is a SealedEvilInACan who only briefly appears as gigantic cloudlike apparition during an attempt to release him only to fade away once the attempt is foiled. Had the series continued Hordak would have been freed and become the BigBad proper for a season [[spoiler:before being defeated by Skeletor.]] Also, Hordak is the one who divided that series' version of Eternia into the Light Hemisphere and the Dark Hemisphere.
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}'' used the exact same format, with BigBad Tex Hex answering to an entity called Stampede.
* On ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'', [[VillainProtagonist Zim]] could probably be seen as the BigBad focusing on Earth, with the Irken Empire itself (including [[BigBadDuumvirate the Tallests]] and Control Brains) as the Bigger Bad out to conquer the rest of the universe, especially since technically Zim conquering Earth wasn't even part of the Empire's plans.
* Lucius Heinous I on ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes''. So far, [[HumanPopsicle he's always been frozen]], but every subsequent member of the Heinous line fears him, including the current BigBad, Lucius VII. [[WordOfGod Edward Kay]] has stated he might get unfrozen one day...
* While humans in ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' are long extinct ([[LastOfHisKind except for Finn]]), their [[AtomicHate "Mushroom War"]] not only led to [[TheMagicComesBack the return of magic]], but also one of their bombs created [[VileVillainSaccharineShow the Lich]], who proceeded to spread monsters across the planet and [[OmnicidalManiac kill almost everything]]. The AlternateUniverse [[FanNickname "Farmworld"]] shows that even without the Lich, humanities' actions indirectly lead to an apocalypse.
* The Nightmare Prince's mother from ''WesternAnimation/PotsworthAndCompany''.
* The BigBad Mumm-Ra of ''[=ThunderCats=]'' (both the [[WesternAnimation/ThunderCats original]] and [[WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011 2011 reboot]]) is a servant of the Ancient Spirits of Evil, who grant him his power in exchange.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' season 2 reveals Vaatu to be the canonical ultimate evil of the entire ''Avatar'' universe, as he is the embodiment of darkness, chaos and destruction. He was the reason the Avatar came into existence. [[spoiler:It's not until Korra's time that he takes center stage for that season.]]
** [[spoiler:Yakone]] serves as the Bigger Bad of book one. [[spoiler: He was a crime boss who used psychic bloodbending to commit his crimes until Avatar Aang took his bending away. He received plastic surgery and escaped to the Northern Water tribe, where he fathered two sons, Noatok and Tarrlok. When both sons were revealed to be waterbenders, he put through rigorous training to master his psychic bloondbending to destroy the Avatar. His actions caused his oldest son Noatok to hate bending and become Amon, while his youngest son Tarrlok became a corrupt politician who wanted to outdo his father. Both became enemies of Aang's successor, Korra. By that point, Yakone was already dead.]]
** Fire Lord Sozin served as the BiggerBad in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Avatar Roku's former friend turned evil, he used Roku's death as the chance to start the hundred year war, which resulted in the extinction of the airbenders, save for Aang. Ozai served this role is seasons 1 and 2 as he never has any direct contact with the heroes, not even Zuko save for a flashback, and only becomes directly involved in season 3, where his face is actually shown.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' had an unnamed EldritchAbomination that was killed long before the series began. BigBad Aku is the last surviving piece of it, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero accidentally granted sentience, wizard-powers, and mobility by Jack's father in an attempt to destroy the evil blight]].
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'': While the Huntsclan is still Jake's primary enemy, they're ranked as only the number 4 threat to the Magical Community. Instead, the Dark Dragon serves as the most powerful enemy in the series, and thus only gets personally involved in two episodes.
* The Three Ancestral Witches are this in ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'', especially in seasons 1 and 3. Being responsible for the destruction of Domino, they are the cause of many of the series's problems. The Trix, their descendants, take over their role to conquer the magical universe, and Valtor was their creation and servant. [[spoiler:At the end of season 3, they attempt to directly control Valtor to their will, but he's killed before he can do anything.]] They become more involved in the movies.
* While ''WesternAnimation/LeagueOfSuperEvil'' centers around the schemes of the League, Skullossus is the most threatening villain to the world at large.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has Wainwright Montgomery Burns, grandfather of Mr. Charles Montgomery Burns. He's the reason why Mr. Burns became a malicious and greedy old man, since Wainwright took Charles away from his parents and raised him to be selfish.
* According to WordOfGod, Chris [=McLean=] will always possibly be the true villain of the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' series, even though a certain contestant causes trouble in each season, Just in case he isn't.
* [[spoiler: ''Darkseid'']] was revealed to be this in the finale of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', being the secret collaborator with [[BigBad The Light]], and the show ended before he could take a direct role.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Grojband}}'' has Mayor Mellow, despite not being a villain.
* Creator/LaurenFaust apparently had an idea for something like this to feature in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''. According to her, ''something'' turned Luna into Nightmare Moon, and ''something'' freed Discord from his stone imprisonment. There are no allusions to this entity in the show itself, and as Lauren no longer works on the show, it's unlikely this will ever be picked up on. The former was picked up in [[ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW the IDW comics]], where [[spoiler:Nightmare Moon is a separate entity that merged with Luna upon sensing her envy and resentment towards Celestia. It serves as the BigBad of the second arc. Whether this story is in canon with the show is another matter.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'' featured a slew of villains, from Professor Pericles, to Mr. E, to [[spoiler:Mayor Jones]], and yet all were unaware that they were pawns corrupted by [[spoiler:the influence of [[EldritchAbomination The Evil Entity]] that was encased in a crystal sarcophagus, waiting for someone to to set it free.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': Salvatore Valestra, a mobster who [[spoiler: forced Andrea, one of Bruce's love interests, to leave the country. Without her, Batman ended up alone and took the cowl to become Batman.]] [[spoiler: Ordering the death of Andrea's father]] led to the events of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'', the man he hired also led to a fair share events in the present; [[spoiler: the man would become the Joker.]]
* Due to it being a spin-off of ''Film/TronLegacy'', ''WesternAnimation/TronUprising'' has the former's BigBad, Clu, in this role. His takeover of the grid is at the heart of the conflict in the show and all of the villains answer to him, but never confronts Beck.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', Darth Vader and the Emperor, the [[BigBad Big Bads]] of the original trilogy, serve this since the show's BigBad, The Inquisitor, merely works for them.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' has [[WesternAnimation/OperationZERO Grandfather]], the BigBad of TheMovie, and the father of the series-wide Big Bad, Father. He's the reason ''[[AbusiveParents why]]'' Father is the way he is, and his actions prior to the series eventually facilitated the founding of the Seventh Age of the Kids Next Door by his ''other'' son, Numbuh 0 a.k.a. [[spoiler:Monty Uno, Numbuh 1's father]].
* ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' has Lord Dominator, who's been described as such as a better Hater than Lord Hater according to the series' creator.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'':
** Bill Cipher shaping up to be the cause of The Author's disappearance and the cause of all of the supernatural forces in the town.
** Nathaniel Northwest is revealed to be this in "Northwest Mansion Mystery" for why the Northwest family are [[TheSociopath uncaring and unloving]], to both [[AbusiveParents their daughter Pacifica]] and the people of Gravity Falls. [[spoiler: As revealed in Season One, his being the founder of Gravity Falls was a lie and was given money for the cover up. He abused his wealth by having the townsfolk build him his mansion in exchange for letting them be invited to his annual parties, a promise he gleefully refused to keep. This act is also what caused the MonsterOfTheWeek, a Lumberjack ghost, to threaten the lives of his successors. His cruel and uncaring ways were passed down for generations, with Pacifica's parents being the current heads of the family and emotionally abusing their daughter into following their legacy]].
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': The [[spoiler: Homeworld Gems]] who Rose Quartz and the Crystal Gems rebelled against before the series began, and who had [[AlienInvasion insidious plans for the Earth.]] [[spoiler: The end of season one reveals that the two more antagonistic gems, Peridot and Jasper, are in service to the supposed leader of the Homeworld, Yellow Diamond, who has yet to appear.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'': Maltruant's plans for conquest in the final episode cement him as one for the entire ''Ben 10'' franchise, as his arriving on Earth in the past, with Ben, Rook and Skurd following him, are why pre-series Vilgax becomes interested in a device that grants the wearer shapeshiting abilities.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'': The Demon Shredder was the inspiration for Ch'rell, the Utrom Shredder, and his reign resulted in the creation of the Ninja Tribunal, whose servant adopted Hamato Yoshi, the Utrom Shredder's eventual victim, which in turn led to Yoshi's pet rat Splinter and four baby turtles to being mutated. Five of his minions were enslaved by the Utrom Shredder, but once he is defeated and they break free, they start reviving their master and he steps down to BigBad status for season 5.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'': Project Carthage is a military operation Franz Hopper and his wife were once a part of that they left when they felt it became too unethical. When they took his wife, leaving him and his daughter alone, he created [[BigBad XANA]] to combat them. Instead, XANA imprisoned them both and developed sentience in a bid to destroy humanity.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesOfDarkWater'': While Ren and his crew are traveling to find the thirteen treasures of Rule to destroy the Dark Water, dealing with Bloth and his crew wanting the treasure to control it, they are too busy to deal with [[EldritchAbomination The Dark Dweller]] that created the dark water to consume their world.
[[/folder]]
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[[redirect:Main/GreaterScopeVillain]]

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->'''Taran''': Another of Arawn's servants?\\
'''Gwydion''': Gwyn owes allegiance to a lord unknown even to me, and one perhaps greater than Arawn.
-->-- ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain''

There is the BigBad, a character directly responsible for the plot even while sending out various minions and lieutenants to make the hero's life busy. But what about a greater enemy that is ''indirectly'' responsible for the plot? That's where this trope comes in.

A BiggerBad is a threat that's actually more dangerous, affects more people, or a villainous presence that is more significant than the story's current BigBad ''in the setting as a whole'', but isn't causing the conflict of ''the immediate story'' (and may have little to do with it at all). While the BigBad is directly responsible for the current story — the BigBad is the villain or situation that the protagonists are attempting to defeat or overcome — a BiggerBad isn't a major force in the plot. They are just responsible for a anything evil or just bad that fuels the at least a part of the fictional setting (how much of it depends on how scope of the BiggerBad's influence) in which the story takes place. A BiggerBad may be the Big Bad's superior, but just as often they're completely unrelated — indeed, a BiggerBad may threaten the BigBad just as much as they threaten the protagonists. Whatever the relationship between the BigBad and BiggerBad, the BiggerBad is always OutOfFocus — the threat they pose is general and in the background, while the threat posed by the BigBad is specific and immediate.

Despite the name, this is not strictly a subtrope of BigBad. A Bigger Bad is a more threatening force of evil in the setting and overshadows it, but due to various factors, it is disconnected on a personal level from the main plot, which is caused by the BigBad. There are different ways this may manifest, for example:
* A SealedEvilInACan that the current BigBad is obsessed with, which may or may not get released.
* A [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils demon lord, archdevil]], GodOfEvil, or EldritchAbomination with a ReligionOfEvil and/or PathOfInspiration built around them.
* A [[TheDreaded Dreaded Warlord]] who inspires immense fear (or even admiration) from the BigBad, but is not involved with their actions.
* An NebulousEvilOrganization who is aware of the BigBad (and is often associated with them) but for whatever reason is uninterested in current events.
* A SentientCosmicForce that can't, by any realistic stretch of the imagination, be considered a character.

If the BigBad tries to harness the Bigger Bad for their own gain, they'll likely learn the painful (sometimes fatal) lesson that EvilIsNotAToy.

A Bigger Bad doesn't always have to remain a Bigger Bad, however. Hinting towards a greater enemy is a common method of {{foreshadow}}ing who the next big bad is going to be, the current BigBad is defeated and the SortingAlgorithmOfEvil kicks in to provide a bigger threat for the heroes to face. Alternatively, the Bigger Bad could show up and try to ruin everyone's day, becoming the new BigBad and possibly forcing an EnemyMine situation between the heroes and the previous villain. Inversely, a BigBad can be KickedUpstairs to become a Bigger Bad.

There can also be more than one BiggerBad — either multiple Bigger Bads working together (a la BigBadDuumvirate), multiple Bigger Bads each with their own agenda (a la BigBadEnsemble), or in multiple layers of Bigger Bads, each bigger than the last (eg, the BigBad threatens a city, the first BiggerBad threatens the country, and an EvenBiggerBad threatens the whole world).

In a general sense this should also not be considered the same as TheManBehindTheMan, because if they are behind the plot they would be a BigBad. However, TheManBehindTheMan and BiggerBad can overlap if TheManBehindTheMan remains distant enough from the story. The BiggerBad must not give orders to the BigBad, but they can corrupt the BigBad to make the Big Bad work for them. They allow the BigBad to do their own thing and don't interfere unless it's in their interests to do so.

Compare VillainousLegacy, where a villain serves this type of role long after their defeat and/or death. May also overlap with PredecessorVillain, if the predecessor was significantly worse than the current BigBad and still exists in some form.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/DragonBall'': Frieza is this to Vegeta during the Saiyan arc before becoming the BigBad himself in the Namek/Frieza arcs. Same for his father King Cold, before showing up himself at the beginning of the Androids arc.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'':
** Ryuk is the Bigger Bad to Light, since he's responsible for all of the events while Light simply uses the [[ArtifactOfDoom weapon]] Ryuk gave him, and eventually [[spoiler:kills Light]].
** Overshadowing Ryuk is [[UltimateEvil The Shinigami King]]. Although never seen in person, he casts a shadow over the entire world of ''Death Note'', having created the {{MacGuffin}}s in the first place. Indeed, he was the one who gave Ryuk another notebook that allowed him to kick off the entire story to begin with.
* ''Anime/KirbyRightBackAtYa'': The {{evil|Overlord}} Lord [[CardCarryingVillain Nightmare]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** The [[spoiler:Ten-Tailed Beast, the original tailed beast, of whom the other nine are pieces of its chakra divided.]] BigBad Tobi wants to reform [[spoiler:the Ten-Tails]] and become its Jinchuriki, so he can enslave everyone with his Mangyeko Sharingan.
** The Akatsuki were the Bigger Bads for Part I. We're told that they're out there, and that Sasuke's [[CainAndAbel brother]], Itachi Uchiha, is a member, and that current BigBad, Orochimaru, is motivated in part by fear of them. Two of their agents (Kisame Hoshigaki and the aforementioned Itachi) put in a brief importance and inflict horrible damage on the town, but then they pass right back out of the story, and Orochimaru becomes the focus again. In Part 2, the Akatsuki take center stage, and their leader becomes the series' new BigBad. %% Don't add Madara as a Bigger Bad. He's a Man Behind The Man.
** The series' final arc revealed that the biggest Bigger Bad of all is [[spoiler: Kaguya Ōtsutsuki, the first Chakra user, the true identity of the Ten-Tailed Beast, and a [[PhysicalGod Physical Goddess]] [[InformedAbility allegedly]] more powerful than any other enemy fought so far. Black Zetsu, who is revealed to have been responsible for setting in motion the entirety of history since the Ten-Tails' defeat all for the sake of reviving Kaguya, is a manifestation of her will. She is essentially responsible for the entire series, and beyond, with Black Zetsu manipulating EVERYONE to set in motion the Infinite Tsukuyomi.]]
* The Overdevil in ''OvermanKingGainer''.
* Chaos in ''Manga/SailorMoon'', with all the Big Bads of each arc revealed to be incarnations of it.
* Lord Tamamo in ''Manga/GaRei'', master of the original Kyuubi and Mitogawa's superior.
* The Emperor of Darkness from ''Anime/MazingerZ'' and ''Anime/GreatMazinger'' fits the bill. The HumongousMecha previous BigBad Dr. Hell found were ancient -- and severely outdated -- weapons of his army. During the first series, he did not directly interfere with the plot, and he remained in his underground empire, watching the war between Kouji Kabuto and Dr. Hell as one of his underlings schemed to bring both of them down. After [[spoiler:causing the end of Dr. Hell's army and Mazinger-Z]], he became BigBad of the next series. [[spoiler:And again, together with the rest of the Mycean Empire]] in ''Anime/ShinMazinger''.
* In ''Manga/OutlawStar'', the BigBad is a Kei Pirate named Hazanko who seeks to overthrow the Tendo King, an [[TheUnseen unseen]] Bigger Bad. But there is an even ''bigger'' bad above the Tendo King called the Tenpa Emperor, who is only mentioned once. The identity, powers, and position of these characters is never explained, but the fact that Hazanko had to use the Leyline in order to become a PhysicalGod to beat them means they're terrifyingly strong.
* In ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', that would be [[spoiler:The Idea Of Evil]]. Invented by humans to explain their suffering, it keeps the world a miserable place, enabling characters like Griffith and the rest of the Godhand to run rampant over humanity. It has no actual will though, and cannot enact any plans of its own, leaving Griffith et al. to actually drive the plot.
* Kardis, the goddess of destruction in ''RecordOfLodossWar.''
* ''Manga/FairyTail'':
** Zeref the Black Mage. It's been 400 years since his death, and people are still fighting against demons and other evil artifacts he made back then. [[spoiler:And it turns out he's still alive, but dormant...[[DeathSeeker expect not]] and intends to [[SuicideByCop wage war on humanity]]. At this point in the series, he finally takes up the role of the overall BigBad]].
** [[spoiler:It also turns out that Hades, master of the Grimoire Heart dark guild, is behind half the events before the TimeSkip, with his servant, Ultear, manipulating [[ArcVillain Arc Villains]] Lyon and Jellal, and Brain forming the Oración Seis dark guild while being a mentor to Jellal. However, Hades doesn't become a BigBad until the Sirius Island arc, only to be a DiscOneFinalBoss to Zeref.]]
** It's later revealed, [[spoiler:after Zeref is found on Sirius Island and becomes a BigBad]], that [[spoiler:there's a being that even he fears, [[TheDreaded Acnologia]]: [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast The Black Dragon of the Apocalypse]].]]
** For the Tataros arc, Mard Geer is serving as the ArcVillain / DragonInChief to [[TheDreaded Master E.N.D.'s]] BiggerBad, since the later is currently sealed away and the former seeks to free him.
* ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}''
** Millenniumon in ''Anime/DigimonAdventure02''. KickedUpstairs variety.
** The D-Reaper in ''Anime/DigimonTamers'' is responsible for Calumon coming to real world, Zhuqiaomon's Devas attacking the humans and all of the chaos the Digital World suffers, yet the kids don't know of its existence nor does it harm the human world until the final third of the series.
** ''Anime/DigimonFrontier'': Lucemon
* [[DiscOneFinalBoss Primal Dialga]] was portrayed as one in the anime adaptation of ''[[VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time-Darkness-Sky]]''. Granted, as he wasn't even the villain of the game.
* In ''VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi'', we have the BigBad [[spoiler:Takano Miyo]], but [[spoiler:Tokyo]] just used her and her goals to further their own plans.
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass R1'', Cornelia is the one making decisions about how Britannians in Area 11 will deal with Japanese rebels, while TheEmperor of [[TheEmpire Britannia]] is far away and sets national policies but gives his children some free rein (within certain boundaries) in how they govern their territories. (This leeway is to see which child can achieve results and prove their worthiness to succeed him.) There are only two scenes in the entire R1 series in which TheEmperor has more than a cameo-like appearance -- one of them is a speech he gave, and the other is a BackStory flashback.
* The main antagonist of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'', [[spoiler:the ever-adorable Kyubey]], plays a role like this in the spin-off ''Manga/PuellaMagiOrikoMagica''. In another spin-off, ''Manga/PuellaMagiKazumiMagica'', [[spoiler:he decides to [[HijackedByGanon emulate Ganon.]]]]
* In a similar function to ''Sailor Moon's'' Chaos, Black Hole of ''PrettyCureAllStars DX 3'' was this for not only the separate villains, but for those who showed up in even the team up movies. It only applied for the All-Stars movie series.
* In ''Manga/InuYasha'', [[spoiler:Magatsuhi, the spirit of evil in the Shikon Jewel]]. Does nothing for 90 percent of the show, then shows up and causes trouble. Dangerous, evil, ancient, but it's still Naraku driving the EvilPlan.
* [[spoiler:Jesei]] is spoken of in the third to last episode of ''{{Inukami}}'', and only after that does he affect the plot directly. The rest of the time, he was just an observer and instigator of an unknown part of another character's backstory.
* ''Franchise/YuGiOh'':
** [[Anime/YuGiOh The first series]] and the [[Manga/YuGiOh manga]] have [[spoiler:Zorc Necrophades, the demonic being originally defeated by the Pharaoh. He's both MadeOfEvil and TheCorruption, and was born of slaughter and genocide. [[BigBad Dark Bakura]] is trying to release him, and at the very end of the final arc, Zorc finally takes center stage as a BigBad in his own right.]]
** The manga only spin-off ''Manga/YuGiOhR'' has two:
*** Though he never appears, Dark Bakura is technically this due to [[spoiler:killing Pegasus in the Duelist Kingdom arc]], which fuels the motivation of the BigBad of the spin-off, Yako Tenma, to [[spoiler:resurrect Pegasus, since Yako was his adopted son]].
*** [[spoiler:At the same time, however, Yako was corrupted by the Wicked Avatar, a card that was meant as an EvilCounterpart to all three Egyptian God Cards, but Pegasus never published the Wicked Avatar. Yako published it after Pegasus' death and it corrupted him, and the corruption drives Yako to resurrect Pegasus and get revenge for his death.]]
** The Light of Ruin in ''Anime/YuGiOhGX''. Season 2's BigBad was serving it, [[spoiler:and the third season's BigBad turned to evil because of it]].
** The King of the Underworld in the Dark Signers arc of ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', being the force behind the Earthbound Gods and the reason that the Dark Signers can make a DealWithTheDevil and return BackFromTheDead. This one may not qualify, though, as there's no indication it's even sentient and [[spoiler:it, along with its GoodCounterpart the Crimson Dragon, is being played like a violin by the straight BigBad, Rex Godwin]].
** ''Anime/YuGiOhZexal'' has [[spoiler:an evil deity called Don Thousand, the true ruler of the Barian World.]]
* [[BigScrewedUpFamily The]] [[TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether Zabi]] [[RoyallyScrewedUp family]] and [[TheCaligula Gihren]] [[TheEvilPrince Zabi]] in particular become this in the various sidestories set during ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'''s One Year War. ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam'', ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam0080WarInThePocket'' and ''[[Manga/MobileSuitGundamThePlotToAssassinateGihren The Plot to Assassinate Gihren]]'' are all examples of this.
* Blue Cosmos leader Muruta Azrael, and his successor, Lord Djibril, take on this role in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'''s sidestory, ''CE 73: Stargazer''. As the heads of Blue Cosmos, and [[TheManBehindTheMan the powers behind]] the Atlantic Federation, all of Sven Cal Bayan's actions can be traced to them, as can the Earth Forces' eventual assault on the Stargazer satellite. Despite this Azrael makes only two, non-speaking, appearances, and Djibril, while mentioned, is never seen.
* Except for Part 2, which deals with the creators of the stone mask that gave Dio his powers, Dio Brando is this for ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', affecting the plot whenever he doesn't take up the BigBad role directly, especially in Part 6.
* The Five Celestial Serpents or World Nobles from ''Manga/OnePiece'' are the ones who hold the reigns of the military, using them as playthings and sentencing innocents to death to cover up the world's lost age, while also gleefully owning and abusing slaves of every race and doing literally everything they condemn because they're above the law. Currently Sakazuki/Akainu and Teach/Blackbeard are fighting for the position of BigBad, but the World Nobles are always in the shadows telling Akainu what to do.
* In ''Anime/GuiltyCrown'', GHQ is secretly being assist by [[spoiler:Da'ath. An ancient organization exist since human evolution and is responsible of the Apocalypse Virus' creation for their AdamAndEvePlot.]]
* ''Anime/SwordArtOnline'''s first BigBad, Kayaba Akihito, is the source for the next two {{Big Bad}}s, as his game helped influence them in some say. [[spoiler:One of them is his rival who used his game as a template for his own and the other was a survivor of Akihito's game who wasn't quite done with his [[{{Griefer}} fun]]]].
* The Bigger Bad of ''Anime/KillLaKill'' eventually turns out to be [[spoiler: the Original Life Fiber, the source of all life fibers, who manipulated the evolution of mankind since its arrival on Earth and eventually seeks to assimilate all humans and consume and destroy the planet to launch its spawn into space to reproduce [[VideoGame/ChronoTrigger Lavos-style]]. BigBad and TheManBehindTheMan Ragyo Kiryuin is merely a servant to the Original Life Fiber.]]
* In ''Manga/ArpeggioOfBlueSteel'' the Fleet of Fog claim to answer to a mysterious Admiralty Code, though what it actually is remains unclear and it has not appeared onscreen.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/XMen'':
** The "Here Comes Tomorrow" story arc of Creator/GrantMorrison's ''ComicBook/NewXMen'' gave us the original character John Sublime, who was introduced with the strong suggestion that he may be the greatest overarching threat permeating the X-mythos. A sentient colony of bacteria almost as old as the Earth itself, Sublime was revealed to have orchestrated many major events in the X-Men's past, including the creation of the Weapon X program, all in a bid to wipe the mutant race from the Earth (as they are the only species immune to his mind control). It's implied that he may have even manipulated humanity to create the very idea of anti-mutant prejudice in the first place, thus making him the one villain who has managed to consistently keep the heat up on the X-Men since Day 1.
** Apocalypse is this in ''[[Comicbook/XForce Uncanny X-Force]]''. He himself is [[ZeroEffortBoss killed effortlessly]] in the very first arc as a result of [[ClippedWingAngel rejuvenating himself into a helpless child body]], but almost every subsequent villain is working to either recreate him or find a successor for him. The arc even carried over into Remender's new book, ''Comicbook/UncannyAvengers''.
** Due to the chaotic nature of creative teams on the books at the time, the comics of the '90s featured a lot of these, with a writer introducing a mysterious mastermind character of some sort, then abruptly leaving or being kicked off the book shortly afterward, with the next creative team deciding not to follow up on the plotlines of the previous and [[AbortedArc aborting the entire arc]]. Typically these characters are never so much as mentioned again, although Creator/PeterDavid got to revisit one he created, the Isolationist/Armageddon, nearly twenty years after the fact.
* [[EldritchAbomination The Ogdru Jahad]] tend to be behind most villains in ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' stories.
* The Franchise/MarvelUniverse has the cosmic beings Death and Oblivion, who are incredibly powerful and exactly what they sound like. They tend to empower mortals to achieve their goals for them; Thanos and Maelstrom, respectively, are their favorite "heralds," each of whom is a universe-threatening BigBad in his own right. The two cosmic beings have each been around for (in our time) decades, and have been directly battled only a handful of times.
* ''ComicBook/TransformersGeneration2'' has the Liege Maximo, founder of Jhiaxus's Decepticons (and, possibly, ''all'' Decepticons). Later, Unicron, EldritchAbomination and Satan-figure, to the franchise as a whole.
* The Lord of the Locusts in ''{{Bone}}''
* ''[[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog Sonic the Hedgehog]]'': One could make an argument that [[MagnificentBastard Mammoth]] [[DevilInPlainSight Mogul]] is this. Thousands of years ago, he founded the Order of Ixis, which eventually led to the creation of [[EvilSorcerer Ixis Naugus]], whose actions, [[spoiler:which may include starting the Great War]], in turn led to [[BigBad Dr. Robotnik's]] rise to power, who's [[spoiler:death]] ultimately led to nearly every villain in the book today, with Naugus [[spoiler:responsible for the ones that aren't Mogul]]. Naugus and Robotnik are still quite active (and are, in fact, the current [[BigBadEnsemble top two villains]] of the series), whereas Mogul has semi-retired from active villainy, running a casino and deciding to use his immortality to outlive the heroes and make his move then.
* ''ComicBook/LockeAndKey'': the BigBad is Dodge; the Bigger Bads are [[spoiler: the {{Eldritch Abomination}}s behind the Black Door that he wants to release.]]
* As revealed during ''Comicbook/FearItself'', the MarvelUniverse's ''real'' {{Satan}}. The other demon lords hold meetings around his throne sometimes, but it's stated that all of them, including, apparently, [[CosmicBeing cosmically-powered]] ones like Shuma-Gorath and the aforementioned Dormammu, are terrified of even ''trying'' to sit on it. He's been gone from this plane of existence so long that even among the demons themselves it's a common belief that he doesn't actually exist.
* ''Franchise/GreenLantern'' baddie Krona may well be the Bigger Bad responsible for almost everything wrong with Franchise/TheDCU. While he's not the most powerful villain in the setting (though he's close; in [[{{JLA-Avengers}} a crossover]] with the MarvelUniverse he curbstomped {{Galactus}}), he's [[TheManBehindTheMan the man behind]] [[OmnicidalManiac Parallax]], [[KillerRobot the Manhunters]], and, indirectly, the Anti-Monitor, as his experiment was the thing that fractured the original Monitor probe in two. In turn, he thus unintentionally caused virtually every CrisisCrossover the DC heroes have ever faced. In his early appearances, it was actually stated that his experiment created ''evil itself'', though this has since fallen by the wayside and may be CanonDiscontinuity.
* [[TropesAreTools The trope can easily become a problem]] when a bunch of writers work in a shared universe, especially one where the characters are in speaking distance of each other. For example, Marvel kept doing multibook crossovers over the course of the two years Lucifer was, or at least six hundred and sixteen fragments of him were, running wild and free on Earth. With the possible exception of ''Annihilation'', nothing that inspired the crossover events was a bad a problem as this but Ghost Rider was the only one who seemed to care about it.
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'': In ''ComicBook/GrantMorrisonsBatman'', Dr. Hurt is the main Big Bad, but is revealed to have a Bigger Bad controlling him, who he thinks is the demon Barbatos, but is actually a weapon Darkseid sent back to the dawn of man when Batman was hit by the Omega Effect in ''ComicBook/FinalCrisis''.
* The early ''ComicBook/ConanTheBarbarian'' comics from Marvel often had the royal family from the Kingdom of Turan as this trope.
* ''ComicBook/TheTransformersIDW'':
** Shockwave. While Megatron or Scorponok or any other Decepticon are always front and center as the BigBad, Shockwave has always worked behind the scenes with his regenesis project, which is a number of energies which bond to planets and create different Ore. This kicks off the earth conflict, which he is absent for, as the empowering Ore is there and everyone is fighting over it. It kicks off Spotlight Kup, which he is also absent for, because it drives Kup crazy. It is the reason behind the [[ComicBook/TransformersRobotsInDisguise Syndromica]] arc, which he has very little to do with. In addition his projects have been behind the destruction of numerous civilizations, which he was also absent for because the Dynobots got to him before he could stabilize them. As of ComicBook/TransformersDarkCybertron he has subverted the Trope, and stepped up as the major threat, requiring all the Transformers to unite against him.
** The Dead Universe and alternate universe that seeks to consume the one present and mind controls anyone it can reach, even controlling the Decepticons to do its bidding. [[spoiler:Later we learn that Shockwave is responsible for its existence.]]
* Senator Roark and Mob Boss Wallenquist in ''ComicBook/SinCity''. The former is an immensely powerful and unashamedly CorruptPolitician who can get away with anything while the latter is an immensely powerful [[TheDon crime lord]] controlling most of the organized crime in the city. While both men are responsible for the greatest evils in Basin City and perpetuate the CrapsackWorld itself, neither would really qualify as the main villain in any of the stories. Their organizations and influence are so vast that they're usually concerned with larger matters than direct confrontation with the ([[AntiHero Anti-]])heroes.
* In ''ComicBook/SpiderVerse'' Solus is the BiggerBad. He is father to [[BigBad Morlun]] and all the other [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Inheritors]], but doesn't take part in the Great Hunt for totemic beings himself. He also turns out to be a cosmic-scale threat capable of going toe-to-toe with the Spider-Man of Earth-13, a reality where he kept his [[PhysicalGod Captain Universe]] powers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* [[spoiler:Carmen]] in ''[[FanFic/Hottie3TheBestFanFicInTheWorld Hottie 4: Even Better Sequel]]'', who was also [[spoiler:the BigBad]] in ''{{Hottie}}'' and the last chapters of ''Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World''.
* Princess Jody in ''[[http://fav.me/d5kqh6t Supetastic 6: Year Four]]''.
* ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'':
** Discord in the second and third parts, while he was the BigBad proper in the first part. While [[spoiler:Loneliness]] and then Princess [[spoiler:Gaia/Nightmare Whisper]] are the {{Big Bad}}s for the second and third parts, Discord's actions in the first part (and the actual show) are the reason one, possibly ''both'', of them even exists at all and everything in the entire fic can be traced back to Discord, even though he's been SealedEvilInACan the entire time. [[spoiler:He is set free and becomes the BigBad for the final arc.]]
** Discord's father Havoc fits for the series as a whole. After all, he created Discord in the first place, plus he's more or less directly responsible for Discord's original reign over Equestria, as [[spoiler:he fed Discord ''his own brother'' and Havoc's avatar in order to increase his power, then sent him to Equestria]]. Though that was actually his [[FightingAShadow Avatar]], which had gone DrunkOnTheDarkSide to the point it was considered insane even by [[BlueAndOrangeMorality Draconequus standards]].
** [[spoiler:[[SuperpoweredEvilSide Nightmare]] [[KnightTemplar Paradox]], Twilight's [[FutureMeScaresMe potential Nightmare self]]]] is this for the [[BadFuture Dark World]]. At first, it looks like she and Discord are in an EvilVersusEvil BigBadEnsemble. However, after [[spoiler:[[DiscOneFinalBoss Discord's death]]]], it turns out that [[spoiler: she's been forcing Discord to live out a GroundhogDayLoop. So by this point, Discord's only still an EvilOverlord because she's ''forcing him to'']].
** Subverted in the Shining Armor Arc. [[GodOfEvil Father Deer]] is set up as the [[GodEmperor supreme leader]] of the Hooviet Empire, above even [[BigBad General-Admiral Makarov]], but not only is Makarov revealed to be playing his superiors, but it turns out Father Deer doesn't really exist.
* ''New Dawn'' revealed the real villain of the first book was not the cat's paw Nebiros, but rather the insidious New Order, at first seemingly spearheaded by [[SmugSnake Chris]], but in reality controlled by an even bigger bad: [[spoiler: [[TheCorrupter Sharon Tate Roman.]] And to add to the intrigue, it is unknown if Nebiros or Chris even knew she existed.]]
* Satan is this in ''Fanfic/ThePrayerWarriors'', since he is said to have created the false gods and had a hand in the rise of communism in Russia, but hardly ever appears.
* [[spoiler:The Avatar]] in ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', having created the [=SUEs=] and the [[BigBad Usurper]] as a means of testing whether a MarySue could compete with a canon character on equal terms, is this.
* Queen Chrysalis in FanFic/TheNuptialverse, as everything wrong in-universe is more or less related to the emotional fallout caused by her invasion in "A Canterlot Wedding", from the strain on Twilight's friendships to fuel for [[VillainWithGoodPublicity Olive Branch]]'s anti-Celestia tirade. Not to mention she's still at large while everypony else deals with their own problems. That said, [[spoiler: Discord is an even ''Bigger'' Bad, seeing how he made Chrysalis what she is in the first place.]]
* Chrysalis plays a similar role in ''FanFic/CadenceInAMinor''. She never actually appears in person, but [[spoiler:raping a brainwashed Shining Armor while taking the place of his bride]] is the root cause of most of the fic's conflict.
* Discord again in ''[[FanFic/PonyPsychologySeries Secrets and Lies]]''. Twilight's fear that he is attempting to escape once more, and that he provoked her into killing another pony in order to weaken the Elements of Harmony, kick off the events of the story, [[spoiler:and Topsy Turvy, said other pony, in fact planned it in order to sow enough chaos to release him]].
* ''Moriarty was there'' was an essay published by Doyle's {{Fandom}} trying to upgrade Moriarty from BreakOutVillain to true BigBad status for the [[Literature/SherlockHolmes Sherlock Holmes book series]] by doing a {{Revision}} about Holmes cases and arguing that Moriarty was there as a Bigger Bad for various {{BigBad}}s cases: after all, canon has established him as a DiabolicalMastermind, with vast criminal resources that can be exploited by minor criminals by a fee. For example, the essay proposes that the criminal of the very first novel, A Study in Scarlet, after losing his MementoMacGuffin and recognizing he is LuredIntoATrap by whoever put the ad in the paper to recover it (Holmes), then consulted Moriarty, who commissioned a MasterOfDisguise to pose as an elderly woman to get it (it worked!).
* Metal Sonic in ''[[FanFic/MarioAndSonicHeroesUnite Mario and Sonic: Heroes Unite!]]''. His power is claimed in the description to be "bigger than Eggman and Bowser's powers combined".
* ''FanFic/JusticeLeagueOfEquestria'' would appear to have [[spoiler: Darkseid]] for the series as a whole, judging by [[BigGood Athena]]'s comments about [[spoiler: the War in Heaven against his forces]]. ''Mare of Steel'' [[spoiler:ends with him opening a boomtube to Equestria]], setting him up to be the BigBad of the main ''Justice League of Equestria'' story.
* Fanfic/TheCadanceverse has Nemesis, the entity/force that corrupted Celestia and Luna, and is still free and on the loose even after they're purified by the Elements of Harmony.
* In ''Fanfic/TheLionKingAdventures'', [[spoiler: the UltimateEvil of the entire series is the Writer, an AuthorAvatar of [=ThatPersonYouMightKnow's=] dark side. He created the entire universe and all the characters in it, as a means of having his own world in which to create chaos and destruction.]]
* In ''Fanfic/LanternsOfEquestriaBlackestNight'', [[EldritchAbomination the Black]] is the true villain, while the Black Lantern of [[FallenHero Commander Hurricane]] serves it and acts as the de facto BigBad of the story.
* In the ''Manga/MedakaBox'' fanfic ''Fanfic/WorldAsMyth'', [[spoiler:Ihiko Shishime]] seems to be this, as his existence is heavily implied to be the reason for the BigBad's plans.
* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/172088/tales-of-the-oppressed Tales of the Oppressed]] has King Sombra. He's the one responsible for everything bad that happened in the story, but 38 chapters in and he's only had one major appearance.
* [[http://www.mediaminer.org/fanfic/view_ch.php?id=119212&cid=407331 The War of Megazords Vs. Gundams]] has ''two'' Bigger Bads: Patrick Zala and Mykan Yuki. They fueled each other's hatred towards Naturals and Coordinators receptively and are what sparked their respective wars. In short, ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSeed'' had Zala the BigBad and Mykan its Bigger Bad, while Megazords vs. Gundams had the reverse.
* In [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7628447/1/Memories Memories,]] Discord's mother is this. It was because of her that Discord took over Equestria, because of her that Discord "Discorded" the Mane Six, and because of her that [[spoiler: Serenity had to die. [[BackFromTheDead (she got better)]]]] She appears to be becoming the BigBad in [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7656204/1/From-Here-to-Eternity the sequel,]] though.
* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/83123/rainbow-in-the-wastes Rainbow in the Wastes]] has [[spoiler: Queen Chrysalis. The ''entire events of the story'' were all just a hallucination caused by her- Rainbow Dash isn't in the world of Videogame/{{Fallout}}, she's in a LotusEaterMachine. The whole thing was a case of TheBadGuyWins.]]
* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/148281/somber-ties Somber Ties]] has two. The first, as one might expect from a story that takes place in the Chrystal Empire, is King Sombra. The second (and bigger) one is Blackheart, as the evil force behind his rise to power.
* In ''FanFic/TheEndOfEnds'', Trigon created the Dark Prognosticus, thus giving rise to Logan’s power.
* In ''Fanfic/YoungJusticeDarknessFalls'': Darkseid serves this role to the first 2 seasons of the show, as Vandal Savage's endgame involved him, making him an essential part of the plan. He also serves as one to Superman, as he was actually behind the destruction of Krypton as well. Although, once his invasion of earth begins, he takes on the role of BigBad as well.
** Following this, ''Fanfic/YoungJusticeTitans'' has another bigger bad in the form of [[TeenTitans Trigon]]. The new secondary villians the church of blood are dedicating their efforts to finding a way to release him into earth.
* Most fics in the ''Franchise/{{Shadowchasers}}'' series have one:
** In [[Fanfic/{{Shadowchasers}} the original fic]], the true BigBad ultimately answers to [[EldritchAbomination the Light of Ruin]], who had demanded Athentia accept Jamor's challenge in the first place. As Ember guesses, the Earth's destruction [[OmnicidalManiac suits a being like this just fine.]]
** In Fanfic/ShadowchasersPowerPrimordial, The BigBad’s ultimate goal is to [[spoiler: free an imprisoned being called Pandorym, who mastered the [[MacGuffinTitle Power Primordial]] better than almost any other being, and used it to challenge [[CouncilOfAngels the Hebdomad]], but lost.]]
** In both Fanfic/ShadowchasersTorment and Fanfic/ShadowchasersAscension, this role is filled by the MadGod Tharizdun. In the former fic, the villains are cultists trying to free him from his prison where the other gods sent him. In the latter fic, [[spoiler:the BigBad plots to kill him to usurp his powers to become a god himself, only to realize, too later, he’s in far over his head.]]
** The series as a whole seems to have an overall Bigger Bad, as it is revealed in Ascension that [[spoiler:Tharizdun is a BarrierMaiden of sorts keeping an even greater destructive force, the Great Old Ones of the Franchise/CthulhuMythos from regaining the power they endowed him with.
* AskJappleack: Applelox is revealed to be the father of Discord and Wolfilor, and the one who sent them to Equestria, making him directly responsible for the events in PonyDotMov.
* Ace Swift, the AssholeVictim of TurnaboutStorm. His immoral actions indirectly caused the conflict in the story. He's never met in person though since he's dead.
* ''FanFic/BeingDeadAintEasy'' has the Big Five. They're technically behind a lot of major events in the story, as they're responsible for sabotaging [=KaibaCorp=] and siccing Morrison on Kaiba—inadvertently starting the entire plot—but aren't personally involved or seen at all. At most, they get a couple mentions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films - Animated]]
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon as a whole seems to have the Chernabog from ''Disney/{{Fantasia}}'', who appears to be the Disney version of Satan.
** In ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'', the spirit trapped inside the titular Black Cauldron is one. [[BigBad The Horned King]] wants to use the cauldron to TakeOverTheWorld with an undead army.
** ''Disney/TheLionKing'' BigBad, Scar, becomes this in ''Disney/TheLionKingIISimbasPride'' and ''Disney/TheLionKingOneAndAHalf'', with the BigBad of the former wanting to avenge him and the villains of the latter working for him.
** ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'' has Captain Nathaniel Flint, based on the original Captain Flint from ''Literature/TreasureIsland''. While he is long dead by the main story, it is his treasure that drives the plot [[spoiler:not to mention he set the planet to explode when the treasure was found]].
** In ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog'', the friends on the other side appear to be the [[TheDragon dragons]] for the BigBad, [[spoiler: but ultimately his evil scheme was to sacrifice souls to them in order to get out of a deal he made with them before the film.]]
** ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' has the Cy-Bugs from the game ''Hero's Duty'', who are powerful and a great threat as a whole, while just being a threat in Ralph's quest and having nothing to do with the situation at ''Sugar Rush''. [[spoiler:However, they come back in the climax, when they begin to destroy ''Sugar Rush'', and the BigBad even [[OneWingedAngel fuses with one of them]]!]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'', there's the Dark Forces that Rasputin sold his soul to and gained most of his powers from to get revenge on the Romanov family. [[spoiler:The deal he made with them spectacularly backfires; first he's reduced to a decaying zombie stuck in limbo after he drowns and stuck like that until the last Romanov dies, and when his reliquary is destroyed they immediately claim him, and he dies a rather horrific death.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'', [[spoiler:"The Man Upstairs" was the template that the BigBad was based on. On top of that "the Kraggle" is merely one of his many bottles of Krazy Glue used to glue his pieces together.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films - Live-Action]]
* TheDarkSide in ''Franchise/StarWars'' is the most powerful evil in the setting, but is a metaphysical force of evil rather than a character. TheEmperor is the BigBad of the movies as a whole, and Darth Vader is TheDragon. See the BigBad page for a (largely) complete listing of [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] Big Bads.
* In ''Film/JamesBond'', this crops up a few times, usually in the early films but it's returned for the Craig movies. Generally the Bigger Bad is either a NebulousEvilOrganization like SPECTRE (e.g. ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'') or Quantum (e.g. ''Film/CasinoRoyale'') or some unnamed client country that is generally implied to be [[RedScare Red China]] (e.g. ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}''). ''Film/DrNo'' has both, as No works for SPECTRE but it's implied they were hired by China. ''Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice'' has SPECTRE and its chief Blofeld acting as the BigBad while working for this Bigger Bad (though, as he blatantly extorts money from them at one point under their protest, this might be more of a BigBadDuumvirate).
* The [[MegaCorp Tyrell Corporation]] of ''Film/BladeRunner'', which created the replicants and [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman the resulting social hierarchy between them and humans]].
* ''Film/SkyHigh'': The powerful supervillain Baron Battle. He's presently serving a [[CrossesTheLineTwice quadruple-life sentence]] and never gets out at any point in the film, but he greatly influences the backstory and is strongly implied to be ''far'' more evil than Royal Pain. WordOfGod says that [[WhatCouldHaveBeen had the planned sequels actually been made]], he would've put in a personal appearance.
* NormanOsborn in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan''. He is Curt Connors' boss, [[spoiler: who is said to be dying]] and wants Connors' experiments to [[spoiler: save his life]], and he is [[TheGhost never seen on screen and speaks through his assistant]]. It's also heavily implied he was involved in the deaths of Peter Parker's parents. With [[spoiler:the character's (apparent) death in the sequel, it looks like Gustav Fiers/The Gentleman will be Bigger Bad from this point on.]]
* Krona in ''Film/GreenLantern'', posthumously. He is the Guardian who absorbed the yellow energy of fear, with [[BigBad Parallax]] as the result.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' has two: [[spoiler: Armin Zola (The instigator of HYDRA's infiltration into SHIELD) and Baron Wolfgang von Strucker (The current leader of HYDRA).]]
* The Mandarin in the ''Film/IronMan'' films. He is the leader of the Ten Rings, the terrorist organization who held Tony Stark hostage in ''Film/IronMan1'', and he personally appears as the BigBad in ''Film/IronMan3''. [[spoiler: In actuality, he is an actor named Trevor Slattery who was drugged and hired by the real BigBad of the movie, Aldrich Killian, as a cover for his failed Extremis experiments. ''[[Film/MarvelOneShots Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King]]'' reveals the existence of the true Mandarin, whom Trevor's portrayal of him was loosely based on him.]]
* In John Carpenter's ''Film/PrinceOfDarkness'' Satan, the BigBad in this dimension, turns out to be just TheDragon for his father: the Anti-God, who is in a mirror-universe waiting to be summoned.
* In ''Film/DieHard2'', the Big Bad Colonel Stuart is trying to release Ramon Esperanza, a deposed TheGeneralissimo who is being extradited. ''Film/AGoodDayToDieHard'' has Yuri Komarov as the hidden bigger bad with his daughter Irina being the big bad and final antagonist.
* Horror franchises sometimes have Bigger Bads.
** In ''Film/TheTexasChainSawMassacre1974'', Leatherface's grandfather is called by the family "the ultimate killer", although because he is aged beyond normal human standards, he remains TheUnfought.
** In ''Film/{{Scream 3}}'', [[spoiler: the BigBad, Roman Bridger, is revealed to have told Billy Loomis, the BigBad of [[Film/{{Scream 1996}} the first movie]], about his fathers affair with Laureen Prescott, and is thus indirectly responsible for the events of the first movie, and even more indirectly, the RoaringRampageOfRevenge of Mrs. Loomis in [[Film/{{Scream 2}} the second one.]] Billy Loomis himself]] is the Bigger Bad of the rest of the movies, posthumously.
** The dream demons in ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'', who gave Freddy Krueger his powers. They do make an appearance by way of flashback in ''[[Film/FreddysDeadTheFinalNightmare Freddy's Dead]]'', but they are never directly involved in the plot.
** In the ''Franchise/{{Hellraiser}}'' films, there is Leviathan, the god of hell. The films' BigBad Pinhead is the leader of the Cenobites, who are Leviathan's foot soldiers, but Leviathan itself only appears in [[Film/HellboundHellraiserII the second movie]]. It has a ''slightly'' more active role in the comic spin-offs.
** In ''Franchise/{{Halloween}}'' we have the man in black, who is really [[spoiler:Dr. Terrence Wynn]] the leader of the cult of Throne, [[spoiler:who placed the curse on Michael in the first place.]] They wish to aid or possibly control Michael. He is only directly involved in the fifth and sixth film.
** The Jigsaw Killer is the BigBad in the first three ''Film/{{Saw}}'' movies. After he dies at the end of the third one, he becomes a Bigger Bad posthumously, as his remaining legacy hovers over and still drives the actions of his various apprentices nominally trying to continue his work: [[spoiler:Amanda (who dies before Jigsaw himself), Detective Hoffman, and Doctor Gordon]]. Plans he deliberately set into motion before his death still have far-reaching effects long after he died.
** ''CubeZero'' has Jax, a FauxAffablyEvil member of the shady government group responsible for the construction of the cube. He acts as TheHeavy and is the highest ranking member we see. He is not the leader of the group though, and receives a call from his own higher ups telling him to get on with his work. The unseen higher ups could be considered the Bigger Bads.
* Assuming ''{{Film/Prometheus}}'' is in continuity with the rest of the franchise, the Engineer race serves as this to the ''{{Franchise/Alien}}'' series, having created the Xenomorphs to begin with.
* In the ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' films, [[spoiler:Behemecoatyl]] is retroactively the Bigger Bad of the first two films when it's introduced in ''Film/StarshipTroopers3Marauder''. It is the absolute leader of the Bugs, but is never seen in the previous ones, in which the humans only fought its minions.
* The unseen King George III in ''Film/ThePatriot'', ruler of the British Empire. He's only ever referred to in passing, but Cornwallis and the other Generals ultimately answer to him.
* In ''Film/TheNeverEndingStory'' the Nothing is the actual BigBad; that is, the one threatening the world.[[SavageWolves G'mork]] acts as TheHeavy but hints that there is a Bigger Bad.
-->'''G'mork:''' I am the servant of the power behind the Nothing.
* The main villain in ''Film/GhostShip'' implies he is working for Satan, or at least Hell. He says he needs to find enough souls to make "management" happy, [[spoiler:and he needs the current salvage crew to fix the ''Graza'' for him to accomplish that mission.]]
* President Patel, the leader of ''Film/{{Elysium}}''. While he personally disapproves of Delacourt's methods for enforcing the status quo, he sits at the very top of a tyrannical system that can only be sustained through the continuous exploitation of Earth's inhabitants.
* In ''Film/{{Smiley}}'' [[spoiler: Smiley himself is this. It turns out he is a RedHerring for the events of the film, which turn out to be an elaborate prank on the protagonist based on the legend of Smiley. However, just when we think Smiley himself never existed in the first place, he shows up in the last ten seconds of the movie.]]
* Daryll Lee Callum is this in ''Film/{{Copycat}}''. Peter Foley, the actual copycat of the title, is a fan of serial killer Callum who is committing his killings in an attempt to impress the imprisoned Callum.
* Lockdown's employers in ''Film/TransformersAgeOfExtinction''. They're the ones who sent Lockdown to hunt down Optimus Prime and [[spoiler: it's revealed that they were the creators of the Transformers]].
* The writers behind the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse seem to be setting up ComicBook/{{Thanos}} as the BiggerBad of the universe as a whole. So far, he has served as TheManBehindTheMan to ''two'' different {{Big Bad}}s in two separate movies, being the true commander of the Chitauri army in ''Film/TheAvengers'' and Ronan the Accuser's benefactor in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''. The heroes never even get to meet him face-to-face in either film. Being a genocidal galactic emperor with vast armies at his command, he may well be the most powerful villain so far unveiled in the series.
* In ''TheKarateKid'', Kreese could be seen this way, being the cruel sensei who helped turn Johnny into what he is but is never directly confronted during the movie.
* In ''KungPowEnterTheFist'', Master Pain (later "Master Betty") is the delegate of the mysterious Evil Council, who seem to be set up as one side of a larger conflict. ("''Behold, the symbols: One... over here. The other... over there.''") All the audience knows about them by the end, including their long-term goals, is that they're aliens... and French. It makes ''just'' enough sense to be weird that we don't learn more and seem like material for a sequel.
* ''Film/ThePurge'': The New Founding Fathers are responsible for the annual purge's existence, along with the millions of people murdered as a result of it and what the main characters go through, yet none are shown or directly confronted in the film or its sequel.
* ''HomeAlone 3'' has the Korean terrorist who orders the criminals to look for the chip.
* Minister Sorokin from ''Film/JackRyanShadowRecruit''.
* ''Film/ParanormalActivity'': [[spoiler:[[EvilOldFolks Grandma]] [[BitchInSheepsClothing Lois]]]]
* In {{The Western}}s ''{{Film/Utu}}, Film/MadDogMorgan, Film/NedKelly, Film/TheOutlawMichaelHowe,'' and ''Film/VanDiemensLand'', the EvilBrit colonialist officials commit atrocities in the name of the British monarch.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The man with a beard but no hair, and the woman with hair but no beard for Daniel Handler's ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''.
* NapoleonBonaparte for two Creator/PaulFeval novels ''Literature/JohnDevil'' (1862) and [[Literature/GentlemenOfTheNight ''The Mysteries of London'']] (1843-44) adapted for the stage as ''Gentlemen of the Night''. The BigBad of each claims to have met Napoleon on St. Helena in about 1815-1816. Both have their own reasons for the Wars against England however, and Henri Belcamp in ''John Devil'' could have actually benefited Napoleon (Since the other's main narrative is set after he died), and Henri even more so is really about his own Ambition, he really wants to be the next Napoleon, freeing the first is merely for a PassingTheTorch moment. O'Brean in ''Gentlemen of the Night'' [[WellIntentionedExtremist is motivated by liberating and avenging Ireland]]. Both are [[BatFamilyCrossover made in continuity with each other]] via Literature/TheBlackCoats.
* Another Féval story, ''Literature/TheVampireCountess'', uses Napoleon as the BigGood. The Bigger Bad of that story is [[VampireMonarch Count Szandor]] who [[FemmeFatale the title character]] is in love with.
* The unseen Evil priest in ''Literature/VampireCity''.
* ''Franchise/TolkiensLegendarium'':
** Morgoth was always the ultimate evil presence in Middle-Earth, but after his defeat and imprisonment at the end of ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', Sauron took over the role of the active BigBad, overlapping with DragonAscendant. Morgoth was not destroyed, however, and Tolkien's writings indicate he will free himself in time to command the forces of darkness once again at the Last Battle.
** Sauron himself as the Necromancer during ''Literature/TheHobbit'' - he definitely exists and will later be revealed as the canonical ultimate evil, but has no direct role in the story's plot, except as a device to give Gandalf a reason to leave the group for chapters at a time to go get information on him.
* In the ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'', the ultimate enemy is Perimal Darkling (think TheCorruption on a cosmic scale), which appears to be largely mindless and is in no sense a "person", nor does it seem to have desires beyond consuming the whole universe. [[ImmortalityImmorality Master Gerridon]], nominally TheDragon, generally serves as the primary antagonist.
* [[TheFairFolk The Lords of Norsunder]] are the ultimate malevolent force in the ''Inda'' books, but during the timeline of the series are largely uninterested in human affairs. [[EvilSorcerer Erkric]], the BigBad, came up with his schemes on his own but bargained with one of them for his powers, but when he failed to live up to his end [[EvilIsNotAToy she killed him]] and then departed.
* Several of TadWilliams' works feature an entity called Unbeing or Old Night, which is the representation of entropy and ultimate decay. It's never any of the {{Big Bad}}s, but is portrayed as being tied to their actions, and at least one (Hellebore of TheWarOfTheFlowers) planned to deliberately unleash it.
* In The ''Literature/{{Belgariad}}'' and ''TheMalloreon'', the King of Hell is mentioned several times as a demon god SealedEvilInACan who controls the [[TheLegionsOfHell single nastiest faction in existence]], but because he isn't part of the conflict between the Light and Dark Prophecies, he to all practical intents and purposes sits the series out. A couple of his top minions ''do'' show up in supporting villain roles, but were likely acting independently.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'':
** The Council of Thirteen are the political heads of the Yeerk Empire, but only appear in one book, a VillainEpisode where they're more focused on judging Vissers One and Three than the conquest of Earth per se. Visser Three is the commander of operations on Earth and consequently functions as the BigBad. The main plotline ends with his defeat.
** Crayak is a SufficientlyAdvancedAlien who plays TheChessmaster throughout the galaxy to encourage mass genocides of entire species for no reason; in a series full of shades of grey he's one of only a handful of characters who qualify as pure evil. However, he only becomes directly involved in the story a handful of times and isn't terribly invested in it. The implication is that he and his [[EvilCounterpart Good Counterpart]], the Ellimist will continue their long "game" millennia after the Animorphs' series has ended.
* The Black Thing in ''AWrinkleInTime''. IT is the BigBad, and the Man with the Red Eyes may be [=ITs=] [[TheDragon Dragon]]. TheMovie states that the Black Thing was created by IT, making IT the biggest villain of that adaptation.
* Azathoth in the whole of Franchise/CthulhuMythos, a manifestation of perfect amoral chaos who creates and destroys, kept asleep by the Lesser Outer Gods with 'pipes and drums' so his awakening doesn't ''destroy the universe'', but never does anything except listening to music. Most of the other powerful {{Eldritch Abomination}}s (Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth) also take a very distant role in most of Lovecraft's stories, a notable exception being "The Call of Cthulhu". Nyarlathotep is a bit more hands-on, and August Derleth's Mythos stories frequently feature the likes of Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth about to personally emerge everywhere before being halted by a DeusExMachina or [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu explosives]].
* The Crimson King was presented as the central evil in Creator/StephenKing's metaverse; however, in an example of TheDevilIsALoser, when he's finally confronted in the GrandFinale of ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series he's revealed to be nothing more than an insane old man armed with nothing except [[Literature/HarryPotter suspiciously]] [[ShoutOut familiar]] flying grenades, who is promptly defeated in one of the most ignoble manners possible. It's later revealed he had relied on ancient technology to give him most of his seemingly multiverse-spanning omnipotent powers, and when he lost that through the efforts of various heroes on various realities he was reduced to the pathetic wretch confronted by Roland.
* ''Literature/TheRiftWarCycle'': Nalar, Raymond E. Feist's God of Evil, is slowly revealed to fill this role, and being imprisoned in another dimension, can do little more than be the influence for the various Big Bads in his books [[spoiler: and the ''true'' BigBad, the Dread, has nothing to do with him]]. Leso Varen, his minion, fills this role as well (making Nalar an Even Bigger Bad).
* Creator/IanFleming's ''Literature/JamesBond'' novels often have the Soviet Union sponsoring some or all the activities of a novel's main villain.
* In ''Literature/{{Gone}}'', Caine is the BigBad, the counterpart to the hero, and the one who usually drives the plot. The Gaiaphage is an EldritchAbomination that arrived via meteorite, crashed into a nuclear power plant, {{Mind Rape}}s several main characters including Caine, and looks at the whole situation as a game, but rarely shows up and is usually just a vague threat in the background.
* ''Literature/ChroniclesOfPrydain'':
** Arawn Death-Lord who played the role of the BigBad for ''The Book of Three'' and ''The Black Cauldron'', is this for ''The Castle of Llyr'' and ''Taran Wanderer''. By ''The High King'', he's the BigBad again.
** There's also Gwyn the Hunter's unnamed lord. Even Gwydion doesn't know his name or identity, but believes that he's greater in power than Arawn - although not necessarily evil, since Gwyn's function (basically a GrimReaper figure) is a necessary one.
* In ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'', [[spoiler:Tash, the chief Calormene god,]] plays this role until ''Literature/TheLastBattle''. [[spoiler:Interestingly, we don't even know he's a real being until he enters the story and steps down to BigBad status.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'', the evil deities frequently play this role in the novels, such as Hiddukel in the Taladas Trilogy, or Takhisis in Chronicles. There is also [[spoiler: Morgion]] in the Minotaur Wars Trilogy.
* [[UltimateEvil The Void]] of ''Literature/TheWordAndTheVoid'' is the Bigger Bad to each of the trilogy's respective villains. Due to its status as an AllPowerfulBystander it never intervenes in the plot, and as such, has little impact beyond merely existing. CanonWelding by the author makes the Void the Bigger Bad of the [[LongRunner long running]] ''Literature/{{Shannara}}'' series as well, where it has ''less'' of a direct role.
* [[spoiler:The Warren of Chaos]] in ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', chiefly opposed by Anomander Rake and [[DarkIsNotEvil the Warren of Darkness]]. The actual BigBad, or the closest thing to one, is the Crippled God.
* Set, in Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian'' and ''Literature/{{Kull}}'' stories.
* The Bellon-Tockland Institute in Creator/DeanKoontz's ''Literature/FalseMemory'', a semi-fascistic psychology think tank. The main villain of the book, [[MeaningfulName Mark Ahriman]], is a psychologist who develops a form of mind control and employs it both on behalf of the Institute and for his own deviant amusement; the trouble he causes for the main characters stems from [[spoiler:his grudge against the stepfather of two of them, another academic who spammed Amazon with with negative reviews of Ahriman's work, as well as a previous affair with the wife/mother which ended badly]]. Although we do see Ahriman manipulate a patient into [[spoiler:biting off the nose of the U.S. President]] as a "message", and the Institute's connections are used in the BackStory to explain how he has escaped any accountability for his murderous pastime, the Institute's plans have no direct bearing on the novel's events and [[VillainWithGoodPublicity they are ultimately cleared]] [[KarmaHoudini of any connection to Ahriman]] after [[spoiler:the protagonists break his control on them and another one of his unstable pawns randomly kills him]].
* The Otherness from the ''Literature/RepairmanJack'' series, a vast, impersonal cosmic force locked in an endless war to conquer the multiverse. In our world, its goals are carried out by the immortal [[BigBad Rasalom]] and his disciples.
* Quinn Dexter is the BigBad of ''Literature/TheNightsDawnTrilogy''; behind him and threatening [[ApocalypseHow the entire universe]] is [[spoiler: the Dark Continuum.]]
* [[spoiler: Florence de Peyser]] in Peter Straub's ''Ghost Story''.
* [[spoiler: The Shard Odium]] is shaping up to be the most powerful evil in Creator/BrandonSanderson's [[TheVerse universe]] Franchise/TheCosmere, though some WordOfGod indicates that something more subtle but even more dangerous ''may'' be out there. [[spoiler: Odium takes the role of BigBad proper]] in ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive.''
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', the Dark Forest serve this role during the ''Power of Three'' arc. They are recruiting an army to destroy the Clans, and are made up of the most powerful villains the heroes have ever faced. However, this is mostly going on in the background, as the main driving point of the arc is uncovering the secrets of the past and defeating the villain Sol, who is trying to make the Clans destroy each other.
* [[BigBrotherIsWatching Big Brother]] from ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour''...[[RiddleForTheAges maybe]]. He never actually enters the story, and the major Party officials (like [[spoiler:O'Brien]]) do most of the villainy. George Orwell intentionally leaves lots of questions about Big Brother unanswered. How much power and influence does BB have? Has there only been one BB, or has the title been passed on from person to person over time? Does he even exist, or is he just the Party's fictional mascot?
* [[EldritchAbomination The Nameless]] in the ''Literature/ColdfireTrilogy''. He/she/it/they (it's complicated) is far and away the most powerful evil in the series, but while it features prominently in the backstory of [[VillainProtagonist Gerald Tarrant]], the bad guy actually responsible for the conflict is [[TheCorrupter Calesta]]. The Nameless's only real role in the present-day story is to [[spoiler: punish Tarrant for apparently backing out on the DealWithTheDevil they made]].
* ''Literature/ATaleOfTwoCities'' gives us the ''first'' Marquis de Saint-Evremonde. By the time the story begins, he's already dead, but it's revealed in a flashback that he was the linchpin for everything bad that happened when he [[spoiler: raped [[BigBad Madame Defarge]]'s sister, causing the good Madame to [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge swear revenge and mark the Marquis' entire family and anyone who would help them for death]]]]. Unfortunately, this includes the completely innocent main characters.
* Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse:
** The first six books of the ''Literature/GalaxyOfFear'' series have [[MadScientist Borborygmus Gog]] as the BigBad. He's got a very long leash and a lot of discretion, but ultimately is employed by TheEmperor. Palpatine only appears once, in a call to the scientist.
--> He [Gog] could order the deaths of hundreds if he wished. With his terrible knowledge he could engineer nightmares. But as powerful as the scientist was, the Emperor could snuff him out with little more than a thought.
** The works set between ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'' and ''Literature/NewJediOrder'' (including ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'', the ''Literature/JediAcademyTrilogy'', and the ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'') feature an array of villains of varying threat levels and goals, but almost all of them serve the Empire, [[VestigialEmpire even if in name only]], and would not have their power if it weren't for the Emperor, despite him being long dead at this point. The exception is ''ComicBook/DarkEmpire'', where the Emperor is BackFromTheDead and serving as the Big Bad.
** All the villains of the ''Literature/HandOfThrawn'' duology have motivations that revolve around Thrawn, who has been dead for over a decade.
* In the ''Fever'' series by Karen Marie Moning, [[spoiler: the Unseelie King is the ultimate evil force but makes no obvious appearance until the end of book five where he saves the day. Seemingly still evil since he is still technically the originator of all the evil things going on because he created all the Unseelie.]].
* The planet Mesa and Manpower Inc. was eventually revealed in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series to be ultimately responsible for the long and bloody war between Manticore and Haven. When their role was revealed, ''then'' it was discovered they were merely a front for the secretive Mesan Alignment organization. Manticore and Haven were.... less than impressed to find out just who was responsible for their long, bloody conflict. [[TheAlliance So they decided to do something about it.]]
* The ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'' series seems to like this trope. The first two BigBad characters ([[VillainWithGoodPublicity Nefarian Serpine]] and [[GeneralRipper Baron Vengeous]]) were only the men they were because of their now-dead master [[SorcerousOverlord Mevolent]]. Mevolent was considered the BigBad of the setting prior to his death before the beginning of the series, but ''he'' wouldn't have gotten there without ''his'' master, the so-termed '[[UltimateEvil Nameless One]]'. Furthermore, Mevolent, along with Serpine, Vengeous, [[StandardEvilOrganizationSquad the Diablerie]] (whose [[IJustWantToBeSpecial leader]] is the BigBad of book three), [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge Dreylan Scarab]] (BigBad of book four) and [[MagnificentBastard Eliza Scorn]] (who is yet to be a BigBad but is still a significant threat in later books) were all primarily motivated by their [[ReligionOfEvil worship]] of the [[EldritchAbomination Faceless Ones]], evil gods who were themselves worshipped ([[EvenEvilHasStandards albeit also eventually banished]]) by the long-dead [[AbusivePrecursors Ancients]]. Meanwhile, possibly the most powerful magician in the setting is Mevolent's one surviving lieutenant, [[PersonOfMassDestruction Lord Vile]], who [[DragonWithAnAgenda wasn't actually loyal to Mevolent]] in the first place, simply wanting to [[OmnicidalManiac kill everything]], but has yet to significantly impede the heroes as he is usually kept mostly subdued on account of being [[spoiler: Skulduggery's SuperPoweredEvilSide]]. And on the subject of [[spoiler: {{SuperPowered Evil Side}}s]], there are all these prophecies about how [[ApocalypseMaiden Darquesse]] [[spoiler: AKA Valkyrie Cain]] is destined to cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, but seven books in she's still yet to come to the fore.
* ''The Brethren'', by JohnGrisham, makes reference early on to one Natli Chenkov, a Russian politician and Communist hardliner who is suspected of planning to stage a coup and start a war the director of the CIA doubts America can win. The main action of the book involves three former judges (the titular Brethren) who run a blackmail scheme from prison and unwittingly hook the congressman whom said CIA director hopes to install as President to beef up the military and block Chenkov's ambitions, bringing down the CIA's wrath on them. Whether this makes Teddy Maynard (the CIA director) the BigBad (albeit a WellIntentionedExtremist) or the Brethren [[VillainProtagonist Villain Protagonists]] (albeit sympathetic ones) is arguable, but Chenkov is hardly mentioned after the initial explanation.
* Similar to King's ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'', all the horror novelist Brian Keene's works are connected by the Labyrinth, in which dwell the Thirteen, {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that existed in the PrimordialChaos before the birth of the universe. Among them, the Thirteenth is the most powerful and feared.
* ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': Kthonia is the most powerful villain in this story but she is neither involved, [[spoiler: aware of, or inclinded to assist with]] Jihadain's EvilPlan. [[spoiler: When Kalak kills Jihadain, however, she becomes the TrueFinalBoss.]]
* Lord Voldemort, the official BigBad of ''Literature/HarryPotter'', is in this role instead sometimes:
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets''. If you consider each Horcrux as a separate person, the main portion of Voldemort's soul (residing in the disembodied Voldemort himself) was a Bigger Bad in this book. Tom Riddle was more a manifestation of Voldemort's will, and in any way acted independent from him (although in his interests).
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban''. He wasn't directly involved in that book's events at all, although the villain does work for him.
** ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' doesn't feature Voldemort at all, and all his actions take place outside the main events of the plot. The BigBad of the book eventually turns out to be [[spoiler:Severus Snape, who kills Dumbledore and set most of the events in motion to further himself in Voldemort's eyes.]] Although the next book [[spoiler: reveals that Snape was actually a deep-cover double agent for the good guys.]]
* In ''Literature/TheChathrandVoyages'', it's established early on that [[EvilSorcerer Arunis]] (most dangerous individual member of TheBigBadShuffle the series has going on) worships entities called the Night Gods. These gods later turn out to be very real, and Arunis doesn't just worship them, he [[AGodAmI wants to be one]]. They've set him a task to complete before they'll accept him into their ranks- namely, scouring Alifros, the world where the books are set, of life- but otherwise take no direct part and Arunis (and the other villains) stand and fall by their own merits.
* In Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Empire of the East'', the eponymous evil [[TheEmpire empire]] is ruled by mortal men, particularly by Emperor John Ominor, the BigBad. It was founded, however, by Orcus, the king of all demons, whom Ominor overthrew in a coup and imprisoned. It will probably not surprise anyone to learn that Orcus eventually escapes.
* DaleBrown's books have portrayed the Chinese presidents and high commands that tacitly condone the generals' and admirals' actions as this, in contrast to the Russian presidents who have directly been {{Big Bad}}s.
* The Ix from [[Literature/{{Dragons}} The Last Dragon Chronicles]]. They trump Gwilanna hands down.
* Charles "Trout" Walker in ''Literature/{{Holes}}'', the even worse deceased grandfather to the BigBad. The entire plot ultimately stems from his [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain racially-motivated murder]] of Sam the Onion Man, which caused Green Lake to dry up and Sam's lover Kate Barlow to cross the DespairEventHorizon and become an outlaw, ultimately burying treasure in the desolate lakebed. Trout became obsessed with finding the treasure, even forcing his granddaughter to help him dig, [[FreudianExcuse which is why she forces other children to dig in the present]].
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' has a BigBadEnsemble with Littlefinger, the Lannisters, the [[spoiler: Boltons and Freys]] although they're working, sort of, for the Lannisters,and [[WellIntentionedExtremist Well Intentioned Extremists]] [[spoiler: Varys]] and Melisandre. Overshadowing them all, are [[MonstrousHumanoid the Others]].
** The NeglectfulPrecursors of the current Lords and Ladies offer a different - and possible straighter - example. Martin goes out of his way to show that one VERY big reason that Westeros is such a CrapsackWorld - almost on par with the {{Realpolitik}} - is that [[CycleOfRevenge no one ever forgets their grudges]] [[SinsOfTheFather even when the people responsible are long dead]]. Oaths broken, wars fought, people killed - the actions of the past shape the ways the nobility interacts in the present [[InherentInTheSystem and will continue doing so well into the future]]. Tyrion sadly lampshades how each generation puppets the generation that comes after from beyond the grave.
* ''Literature/EighthDoctorAdventures'' "Alien Bodies" has the Enemy and the [[YouCannotKillAnIdea Celestis]] in this role. The Doctor does encounter them, though in his future.
* Chancellor Paige from ''[[Literature/TheMazeRunner The Maze Runner Trilogy]]'', the head of all the mess that is WICKED. [[spoiler: Eventually, though, the cruelty of that position gets to her and she decides to cut their losses and stop torturing people for a cure that might never come.]]
* In [[Literature/NewSeriesAdventures "Prisoner of the Daleks"]] Dalek X (the Dalek Inquisitor-General) serves as the main villain. However it is mentioned he answers to the Supreme Dalek.
* In the ''Literature/{{Nightrunner}}'' series, the GodOfEvil Seriamaius seems to encourage his followers, especially necromancers, (and others) in villainous actions, but never appears as an actual character except in prophetic dreams. Granted, none of the more benign gods put in personal appearances either.
* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', Snow implies that [[spoiler:District 13]] caused the Dark Days in an attempt to rise to power, only to back down when the Capitol defeated them and the rebelling Districts, causing the rise of the Hunger Games. [[spoiler:He says this when he realizes that Alma Coin was playing this trope from the beginning for that exact same reason. Thankfully, Katniss decides to bump her down to the BigBad and off her afterwards]].
* Since the first three ''Literature/AgeOfFire'' novels all take place at roughly the same time, [[ANaziByAnyOtherName the Wrymmaster]] -- the BigBad of the first book -- is this for the latter two. It's his minions and allies that set the events of the series in motion, scattering the three sibling protagonists and sending them all on their own individual storylines. And while he only shows up in the first book, his presence is still felt in the other two to varying degrees.
* Asmodeus is too busy overseeing the destruction of entire worlds to get involved in day-to-day evildoing. Until his son [[spoiler:Magnus]] summons him in ''[[Literature/TheMortalInstruments City of Heavenly Fire]]'', at which point he briefly appears in humanoid form and acts as a DeusExMachina before returning to his more cosmic interests.
* Derek Leech, who appears in the background of various stories by Creator/KimNewman, is a monstrous hybrid of Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch, and also TheAntichrist. He is clearly plotting some kind of evil Tory apocalypse, but has been known to help sympathetic characters fight other evil types whose preferred apocalypses would [[EvilVersusOblivion clash with his own]].
* In ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'', Lamia wove the spell that allows monsters to detect demigods, three thousand years ago. That one act has shaped everything that happened since.
* In ''Literature/AlexRider'', Zeljan Kurst is the leader of SCORPIA, and the one who orders the [[BigBad BigBads]] of ''Snakehead'' and ''Scorpia Rising'' to carry out their plots, though he never comes face to face with Alex.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Agent Carter'' Season 1: [[spoiler:Arnim Zola]].
* ''Agents of SHIELD Season 1: Alexander Pierce, but [[spoiler:posthumously]].
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': From seasons 1 to 3 and much of 4, the law firm of Wolfram & Hart play the role of Big Bad; however the unseen Senior Partners are always portrayed as the Bigger Bad. Angel spends the whole show and all his strength trying to grind their operation to a halt, even for a moment, by destroying their means of influencing Earth. Optimistically, he was ''just'' successful enough to make them focus their attention upon him. The downside would be that he now has their attention. As of Season 9, they've been branching out in the Bigger Bad department; their machinations are now starting to affect Buffy and the Scoobies too.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'': Comicbook/RasAlGhul is this for the first two seasons, with Season 2 revealing that he was the one who trained Season 1 BigBad Malcolm Merlyn, and his presence being felt throughout the second season via his League of Assassins minions, all [[TheGhost without ever showing up]]. Come Season 3, however, he finally does appear, stepping down into the main BigBad role.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': Don Eladio, the head of the Juárez Cartel. His actions drove Gus Fring to the be man he is in the show and his cartel causes problems for Walter and Jesse for three-and-a-half seasons. Despite all this, he only appears twice in season 4 [[spoiler:and is killed off in his second appearance]].
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Acathla in the Season 2 finale, with Angelus' motivation being to unseal him and inflict literal Hell on Earth.
** The First Evil is introduced as the [[MadeOfEvil source and personification of all evil]] in season 3, but doesn't take on a direct BigBad role until season 7. Even then its lack of physical presence meant it had to work through others.
** The True Demons were {{Eldritch Abomination}}s that ruled the Earth before humans, and all the monsters and "demons" that the heroes fight are nothing but remnants of them that they left behind as one final "screw you" before leaving/being kicked out.
** In Season 9, Whistler is revealed to have been behind Twilight in season 8 and seems to be the new BigBad
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'': The Source of All Evil in in the first three seasons.
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': It is implied that the [[MegaCorp Blue Sun Corporation]] was going to end up like this, being responsible for River's ordeal at Academy (note how she freaked out whenever she saw the company logo), sending the [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Hands of Blue]] after her, and being the ones to which all the nastier members of [[TheEmpire the Alliance]] answered. Cancellation of the series, however, left things at just implications.
* ''Series/FreddysNightmares'': Freddy Krueger. He was only directly involved in the plot of eight episodes, though a few implied he was pulling the strings behind the scenes.
* ''Literature/{{Goosebumps}}'' TV series: There's the implication that it's actually ''R.L. Stine himself'' (the author of the books) who's behind everything in all the stories (in a meta sense he is, of course) and the ultimate evil of the series, even though he doesn't appear in any of them. In the intro, a man in black walks up to a town, and his briefcase (clearly marked with his name) flies open. The papers fly out and morph into the ''Goosebumps'' logo, which proceeds to spread misery around the town until it reaches a creepy mansion, which then shows clips of some of the stories.
* ''Series/{{Justified}}'': Theo Tonin, the head of the Detroit mob, is this in Season 3. His adoptive son, Robert Quarles, is the actual BigBad of the season, providing all of the drama, and driving the plot without any instructions from Theo. That said, Theo is the one who made Quarles who he is, and is the reason he's in Kentucky in the first place. In Season 4, Theo takes over as TheBigBad, sending [[DragonInChief Nicky Augustine]] to Kentucky with specific orders to kill Drew Thompson.
* ''Franchise/KamenRider'':
** ''Series/KamenRiderOOO'' has [[spoiler:The Original OOO]], who had alchemists make [[spoiler:the Core Medals, including the ones that'd give birth to the Greeeds]], in an attempt to take over the world.
** ''Series/KamenRiderX'', ''Series/KamenRiderAmazon'', and ''Series/KamenRiderSuper1'': Great Leader. He wasn't a presence in any of those series, but few people were surprised when he showed up in ''Series/KamenRiderStronger'' and ''Film/KamenRiderZX'' to take credit for the founding of each show's respective GenericEvilOrganizationSquad.
** ''Series/KamenRiderGaim'' has the Helheim Forest. While it's the central reason ''why'' the Riders are fighting Inves and each other [[spoiler:and later on the Overlords]], it takes a backseat to the overall conflicts. Case in point, even when Takatora reveals its true nature and ''why'' Yggdrasil is fighting it, Kouta still finds a reason to oppose Yggdrasil more than Helheim. An even bigger case in point? [[spoiler:Near the finale, ''all'' the villains are taken care of save for Helheim, whose avatar personally appears and reveals himself to two {{big bad wannabe}}s (who both wind up getting pushed out of the conflict soon after). The final battle isn't with him, but rather with [[TheRival Kaito]] who had obtained the same level of power as the Overlords. The closest thing [[TheHero Kouta]] did to defeating the actual Bigger Bad is moving his operation away to a far off distant planet, and depending on how you view his reaction, the avatar of Helheim is cool with it]].
* ''Series/{{Nikita}}'': For the first season-and-a-half, [[OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness Oversight]] was this to [[GovernmentConspiracy Division]], officially giving Percy his orders even as he was recognized as series BigBad. As time went on, and Percy started overstepping his boundaries, Oversight grew more wary of him, and by the time Season 2 started, they had Percy locked up and replaced by [[TheStarscream Amanda]]. And now, as of the midway point of the season, [[spoiler: Oversight is defunct, the Guardians having killed most of them in a (successful) plot to free Percy; this has resulted not only in Amanda taking Division rogue, but in the last remaining Oversight member to [[EnemyMine join forces]] with Team Nikita.]]
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'':
** Cora is this for Regina the Evil Queen, as she is Regina's mother and the one who shaped her into the BigBad she is now and her influence remains on her even though she's been out of the picture for a long, long time now. In Season 2, Cora appears personally, ditching this status and becoming the full-on BigBad.
** [[spoiler: Peter Pan]], the BigBad of Season 3A, can be seen as this for much of the series. Aside from being TheManBehindTheMan to Greg and Tamara in the second half of Season 2, his actions were also a major contributing factor to making Rumplestiltskin what he is. Which makes him indirectly responsible for every villainous act taken by both Rumple and his various students (Cora, Regina, and Zelena) throughout the run of the show.
* ''Franchise/PowerRangers'':
** ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'': The "Master" couldn't do anything until near the end.
** ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'': BigBad Emperor Gruumm was the leader of the Troobian Empire but was just collecting power for the Omni.
** ''Series/PowerRangersTurbo'': The finale reveals Dark Specter, the Bigger Bad behind Zedd, Rita, the Machine Empire, and Divatox. In ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'' he gathered together all the {{Big Bad}}s of the franchise to that point under him, and sicced newcomer Astronema on the Rangers, but seldom directly intervened. In the end, he was done in by TheStarscream and ''never'' faced the Rangers directly.
** ''Series/PowerRangersMegaforce'': Emperor Mavro is the father of Vrak and Vekar (the latter serving this role in the first 20 episodes) but doesn't appear in person until the last 3 episodes.
** ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'': [[spoiler:The original Master Org. The one the rangers had been fighting was Dr. Viktor Adler, a former friend to Cole's parents who consumed the remains of the original for revenge and became the new Master Org. After being killed by the Orgs when they found out about his deceipt, he grows a real horn and comes back to life. In the final 6 episodes, he returns and killed off two of the traitors, and talks as though he and the original Master Org are now truly one.]]
** ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'': [[spoiler:Alphabet Soup was a corrupt government facility that kidnapped child geniuses and forced them to work for them by lying about an allergy to sunlight and drove them either to being near emotionless (Dr. K) or completely child-like (Gem and Gemma). Dr. K created [[BigBad Venjix]] for them and used it in an attempt to break free, but stopped her before she could program a firewall. Because of them, Venjix broke free and began his assault on humanity, but they tried to kill Dr. K so that no one will know where Venjix came from. By the events of the series, it's members were either arrested, captured by Venjix or killed.]]
* ''Series/{{Revenge}}'' has the [[NebulousEvilOrganization Americon Initiative]], the domestic terrorist group who the Graysons laundered money for (which they then framed David Clarke for). Initially just a part of the backstory, they later started influencing the story again in late season 1 via their assassin the White Haired Man, and in season 2 seem to be stepping down to knock the Graysons out of the BigBad position.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'':
** Randall Flynn, appearing in [[Recap/RevolutionS1E7TheChildrensCrusade episode 7]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E8TiesThatBind episode 8]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E11TheStand episode 11]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E12Ghosts episode 12]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E13TheSongRemainsTheSame episode 13]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E16TheLoveBoat episode 16]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E18Clue episode 18]], [[Recap/RevolutionS1E19ChildrenOfMen episode 19]], and [[Recap/RevolutionS1E20TheDarkTower episode 20]]. He was a member of the USA Department of Defense before the blackout, and he may very well have been the one to have caused it to happen in the first place. In any case, he apparently has no affiliation to [[BigBad Sebastian Monroe]], and he seems to be monitoring the locations of the 12 pendants for an as yet unknown purpose. That, and he seems to keep an extremely low profile.
** The first season finale reveals two things: [[spoiler: the first thing being that Randall was working for an even Bigger Bad called the American Government and President of the United States all along, and the other thing being that the blackout was not an accident and that ''someone'' deliberately caused the nanites to go out of control]].
* The BigBad in ''Literature/{{Sharpe}}'' is usually a French commander with wide powers, but responsible to his superiors and ultimately Napoleon.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': In the fifth season, [[RoboticPsychopath Brainiac]] is the BigBad. He's behind every nasty thing that goes down that season, and is one of the greatest threats Clark ever encounters. His goal, however, is to [[SealedEvilInACan release]] General Zod, a Bigger Bad who was trapped in the Phantom Zone on Jor-El's orders. Zod can't do anything, and in fact is unable to even communicate with Braniac. General Zod's status as the series' Bigger Bad is further emphasized due to him being the ultimate source of the Big Bads from almost all later seasons; his son Doomsday and his younger clone Major Zod. The General is able to come out and play on exactly one occasion.
* ''Series/TheSopranos'':
** Livia Soprano. She is implied to be the chiefly responsible for moulding Tony's psychological behaviour. Ultimately, it was her who actually destroyed his own family.
** Carmine Lupertazzi. After he and his empire are referred to merely as "New York" in the first two seasons, he finally appears in-person during Season 3. Despite being a longtime ally of the Dimeo crime family, Carmine's organization is almost universally viewed by Tony and his associates with wariness and suspicion (not least because the former regularly uses its vastly greater size and resources to coerce the New Jersey mobsters into "sharing" their profits on local business ventures). After the relationship between the two families deteriorates in Season 4, the Lupertazzi crime family ultimately becomes the story's preeminent antagonist and remains so until the end of the series.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** Ra was the first Goa'uld to find Earth and use a human as a host, which gave him and other Goa'uld a massive supply of hosts, soldiers and slaves and allowed them to spread all across the galaxy, with Ra as the top System Lord for over ten thousand years. He's killed off in [[Film/{{Stargate}} the original film]] before the series, but his legacy poses the main threat for most of the series.
** In seasons nine and ten, the Ori are the Bigger Bad, since they're [[AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence ascended beings]] and thus more of a concept rather than actual characters. Their DarkMessiah Adria takes on the BigBad mantle for season ten.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': For the first 4 seasons the primary villains have been working on [[spoiler:the imprisoned Lucifer]]'s orders to bring about the Apocalypse and prepare Sam Winchester as [[spoiler:the archangel's earthly vessel]]. He is freed in season 5, and steps down to BigBad as he again walks the Earth and plans humanity's extinction.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'' often has bigger bads.
** Season 4: Antonia Gavilan (for a portion only)
** Season 5: Lilith
** Season 6: Macklyn Warlow
** Season 7: Sarah Newlin
* ''Series/TwentyFour'''s seventh season has African warlord Benjamin Juma. While Juma is behind the story's core conflict, his underling Iké Dubaku serves as the direct BigBad in the season's first ten episodes. [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] when, after Dubaku's capture, Juma finally appears onscreen and becomes a proper BigBad himself]].
* ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'': Gorog, one of the Big Bads, can count as the Bigger Bad in the entire DisneyChannelLiveActionUniverse.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology & Religion]]
* According to most varieties of UsefulNotes/{{Christianity}}, this is the role {{Satan}} plays in the human world.
* Angra Mainyu (better known by the Persian name Ahriman) in some forms of Zoroastrianism.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* In the Audioplay/BigFinishDoctorWho Divergent Universe arc the Kro'ka controls where the Doctor, Charley, and C'rizz go but is working for the Divergence. [[spoiler:In [[Recap/BigFinishDoctorWho063Caerdroia Caerdroia]] he is revealed to be working for Rassilon, who meets the Doctor in the next story.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is the role the DemonLordsAndArchDevils and [[GodOfEvil Gods Of Evil]] in the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' world are likely to play in most games.
** The best examples may be the Obyriths and their partner Tharizdun. The former are beings that predate mortal life and even gods. The latter is a god seduced by the Obyriths into evil and madness who shares their desire to destroy everything. Tharizdun [[spoiler:used a shard of evil to create the Abyss (and by extension all demons)]], making him responsible for the existence of the greatest evils in the setting.
** Vecna, one of the most notorious [[GodOfEvil evil gods]] in the history of the game, who is known for his [[ArtifactOfDoom dreaded Eye and Hand]], claims to have gained his power from a being he calls simply [[EnigmaticEmpoweringEntity the Serpent]], but the exact nature of this being (which is possibly his only ally) is unknown (including whether it even ''exists'', the only source on its existence being the words of a mad and evil god).
** The Dark Powers in the ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'' setting can play this role depending on what type of game the DM is running. Just as many people say that the Dark Powers are not evil at all, but may actually be good. After all, each domain is an IronicHell for its ruler, who is an eternal prisoner of it, making Ravenloft a prison of the damned. Seeing as the Dark Powers punish evildoers, it is very possible that they are good.
* The Deathlords of ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' are OmnicidalManiac ghosts granted power by [[EldritchAbomination the Neverborn]] in the name of destroying Creation. The Neverborn themselves, however, aren't much a threat; they're busier spending time coping with the pain of being eternally-dying-but-never-truly-dead and sending strange messages to their servants.
* ''TabletopGame/MageTheAwakening'':
** The [[PhysicalGod Exarchs]], who stormed the Supernal realms and broke reality in the time of Atlantis. Together all eleven of them form the main villains of the setting, responsible for both the Abyss and the depressing state of the world.
** The Abyss has the Annunaki.
* The Wyrm was this for the now defunct ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse.''
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}''/''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** [[GodOfEvil The Chaos Gods]] rarely pay any attention to mortal affairs, spending the vast majority of their time [[EnemyCivilWar fighting each other]], but the powers that are available to mortals because of their very existence (and the [[TheCorruption corruption]] and [[PowerBornOfMadness madness]] that results from them) are the cause of multiple evil factions in both settings.
** Since ''Warhammer 40000'' is [[EvilVersusEvil that sort of game]], the GodEmperor of Mankind probably also qualifies, despite being "dead" for ten thousand years, considering he created and initially led [[TheEmpire the xenocidal, expansionist Imperium]].
** ''40K'' has the even ''Bigger'' Bad of [[PhysicalGod the C'tan]], who created the Necrons, indirectly created Chaos with their war against [[NeglectfulPrecursors the Old Ones]] (which in turn allowed the Chaos Gods to be born later), and indirectly led to the creation of the Orks and Eldar (as the Old Ones created them to fight against the C'tan). Originally they served as part of the BigBadEnsemble, but then the 5th Edition {{Retcon}} had them be [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu shattered into pieces]] millions of years ago.
* ''TabletopGame/BlueRose'' has the seven Exarchs of Shadow, though it's never stated explicitly whether they actually exist or are just a myth.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}''':
** Kazavon in the ''Curse of the Crimson Throne'' campaign. A monstrous Blue Dragon and PsychoForHire who once served as Zon-Kuthon's [[TheDragon Champion]], Kazavon was killed long before the story began. His evil persists however, in the form of seven [[ArtifactOfDoom Artifacts Of Doom]] made out of his bones, which are so contaminated by the pure evil of his soul that they [[TheCorrupter corrupt]] all they touch, exacerbating the evil that is already there in the human soul. Queen Illeosa, TheBigBad of the setting, is wearing the Crown of Fangs carved out of his teeth; with her defeat the story is over, but the possibility of someone else picking up the Crown (or one of the other six items) remains a very real threat.
** Queen Abrogail II of Cheliax takes on this role in ''Skull & Shackles''. Your main foe in the campaign, and the one responsible for almost everything, from Captain Barnabas Harrigan's treachery, to the confrontation you are forced into with Kerdak Bonefist at the end, is Abrogail's cousin Admiral Druvalia Thrune of the Chelish Navy, who is acting independently of the crown. While Druvalia's defeat will solve most of their problems, the [=PC=]s should step lightly--flaunting their victory overly much can result in a new war with Abrogail once the campaign comes to an end.
* The Supreme Monstrosity in TabletopGame/DinosaursAttack, also named by fans, "Dinosaur Satan."
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'':
** The Eldrazi, until ''Rise of the Eldrazi'' when they actually show up.
** Yawgmoth, who had a similar treatment. For most of the original storyline, the various Evincars of [[{{Mordor}} Rath]] were the setting's primary antagonists, especially Volrath. Rath and its Evincars were essentially satellites to [[PhysicalHell Phyrexia]] and [[GodOfEvil Yawgmoth]], it's ruler. While Phyrexia turned up quite a bit throughout the game's history (going at least as far back as [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=1039 Gate to Phyrexia]] in ''Antiquities''), Yawgmoth Himself didn't take center stage until the ''Urza's'' Block and then not again until ''Invasion''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theatre]]
* In ''Theatre/MarginForError'', UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler is obviously the power behind the German Consul, but his presence in the play is limited to a bronze bust and an obnoxious radio speech.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' is very fond of this trope, particularly the ''SealedEvilInACan'' variety. Every plot from the second game onwards revolves around the chief villain attempting to summon one of these, with various levels of success.
* The Patriots in the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' saga. A faceless, all-powerful group of power brokers that rule America from the shadows, the Patriots are the biggest overarching threat pervading the series, though Snake doesn't directly come into conflict with them until the final game. Ironically, most of the {{Big Bad}}s that he faces before then are actually battling the Patriots themselves for their own reasons. The Patriots simply stay in the shadows and don't get involved personally. [[spoiler: The label becomes a lot more appropriate when you learn that they're not even human: they're a nebulous system of [=AIs=] that are far beyond any one person's control, even the one who gave them their programming and unknowingly caused everything to happen: Major Zero, who's a Bigger Bad himself]].
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' has several ones that the BigBad wants to unseal or resurrect:
** Ganon in ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' is the force motivating all the other bad guys rather than an actual character in the game, but he didn't actually tell anyone to do anything. Who the Big Bad in Zelda II is, is up for debate.
** Ganon is this in the first part of ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast A Link To The Past]]'', until Agahnim succeeds in unsealing him and leaves the spotlight to him (Agahnim isn't mentioned again until encountered in the final dungeon). [[spoiler:Ganon comes out of Agahnim's body after this battle, and Ganon calls Agahnim his "alter-ego", meaning Agahnim was either a disguise used by Ganon or a person possessed by him.]]
** Ganon again in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOracleGames'' only appears as a boss in a linked game, and the plot is driven by Twinrova trying to resurrect him.
** Malladus from ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks Spirit Tracks]]''. The plot is actually driven by Chancellor Cole trying to resurrect/unseal him.
** [[spoiler: Demon King Demise]] from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'', and by extension the whole series. [[spoiler: Hyrule's GodOfEvil, SealedEvilInACan, and [[DragonInChief Ghirahim]]'s master, he is also the source of the continued returns of the series' BigBad, Ganondorf, having cursed [[TheHero Link]] and [[BigGood Zelda]] for imprisoning him.]] You get the picture.
** Ganon, once again, in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkBetweenWorlds A Link Between Worlds]]'', [[spoiler:except this time, instead of being revived by his own schemes or by a loyal follower, he's revived by Yuga in order to merge with him to gain the Triforce of Power. Ganon doesn't even get a change to face Link by the end, but his power is still used by Yuga]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'':
** [[{{Satan}} Sargeras]] -- the Fallen Titan and founder of the universe-consuming Burning Legion -- is a Bigger Bad through most of the lore, with exception of the War of the Ancients (where he is Big Bad, though never fought directly) and the events leading up to the first RTS game, where he possesses the mage Medivh, and uses him to open the Dark Portal, leading to the invasion of the Orcs. After Medivh's first death he is MIA as far as the story has progressed (all of the actual gameplay except for two dungeons, which takes place in the past), and leaves the work to his CoDragons, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde.
** [[EldritchAbomination The Old Gods]] are the primordial elemental beings who ruled the world before the Titans came. Even when they are not actively pulling the strings (they mostly are), one can always find signs of them in the world. This is especially true in the ''Mists of Pandaria'' expansion, where WordOfGod states they are not pulling the strings actively, but VERY prevalent Sha energy is the aftermath of one who died in the war against the Titans during the creation of Azeroth.
* The One Being in the ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' series. Although Onaga, the original ruler of Outworld, and Shinnok, the former Elder God, would also count.
* ''Franchise/{{Kirby}}'':
** Nightmare in ''VideoGame/KirbysAdventure'' is merely a SealedEvilInACan - the actual leader of the villains ([[GoodAllAlong if you can call them that]]) is King Dedede.
** In ''VideoGame/KirbysDreamLand2'', all Zero did was send Dark Matter out to Pop Star. Zero never appeared until ''Dreamland 3'', which was where Dark Matter was changed from a single entity to a species mostly controlled by Zero. In ''Dreamland 2'' however, Dark Matter is the Big Bad while Zero is the Bigger Bad. However, considering Zero never shows up until the end, Zero can be considered the Bigger Bad of the entire Dark Matter trilogy, with the Dark Matter in ''Dreamland 2'', the Dark Matter possessing Dedede in ''Dreamland 3'', and Miracle Matter in ''VideoGame/Kirby64TheCrystalShards'' being the Big Bads of their respective games.
* The Mysterious Man in ''VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead'' series.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'':
** WordOfGod confirms that Sephiroth is in control, but all of his powers and motivation, most of Shinra's military might, and the reason for the [=WEAPONs=]' creation is Jenova. She might have been the secret Chessmaster, but she doesn't actually seem to be anything more than a vegetable during the game proper. Considering Ifalna's report, she was basically kicked upstairs from the role of Big Bad.
** Hojo, the MadScientist responsible for Sephiroth's existence, and for Sephiroth gaining enough power to enact his EvilPlan, and who is also the single most vile entity in existence.
* Golbez acts as the BigBad through most of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', until it is revealed that [[spoiler:he was brainwashed by a Lunarian named Zemus. Then, after Fusoya breaks Golbez out of his mind control, they kill Zemus, only for the spirit of his hatred to be released and manifest itself as Zeromus, who becomes the real FinalBoss]].
* Hector is like this in ''YggdraUnion'' and ''KnightsInTheNightmare''; he is the BigBad proper of ''RivieraThePromisedLand''.
* In the ''VideoGame/BaldursGate'' series, as revealed near the end of the first game, [[spoiler: the dead god Bhaal]] pushed the plot into movement in the backstory, but being dead, takes no active part in the story of the games other than as semi-impersonal power scattered among [[spoiler: his mortal children]]. All the three {{Big Bad}}s in the series are after this power in some way or another.
* ''VideoGame/PhantasyStar'' has [[spoiler:The Profound Darkness]]. The series protagonist's struggle against the Dark Force/[[SpellMyNameWithAnS Falz]], the recurring BigBad, amounts to FightingAShadow of a fraction of [[spoiler:the Profound Darkness' own evil and hatred]]. DF himself is a threat to the entire universe, so nobody wants to find out what [[spoiler:the Profound Darkness]] can do if left unchecked.
* Gerald Robotnik from ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2''. The main conflict of the story is against Eggman, but it was Gerald's actions 50 years in the past that caused many of the problems in the game. However, he is only a PosthumousCharacter and has a rather indirect effect on the story in general. The story doesn't revolve around stopping him and his machinations are only revealed after Eggman accidentally sets off the ColonyDrop at the end.
** ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' would reveal [[BigBad Black Doom]] was the BIGGER Bigger Bad of the previous game. He made a deal with Gerald, he gives him DNA for his experiments and Gerald would ensure Shadow would help him claim the Chaos Emeralds
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Starcraft}} Starcraft I]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/StarcraftII II]]'', the {{Big Bad}}s are the Zerg Overmind, Sarah Kerrigan and (in ''Wings of Liberty'') Arcturus Mengsk. The Zeratul side missions (starting in ''Brood War'' and continuing in ''Wings of Liberty'') reveal a nebulous Bigger Bad looming in the horizon: [[spoiler:Amon]].
* In ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'', Ozwell E. Spencer is one of the founders of the Umbrella Corporation, who murdered his rivals to gain total control. [[spoiler:He was also into world domination.]] However, he never interacts with or even takes notice of the protagonists, and the various biohazards of the games are instigated by underlings with their own motives.
* ''VideoGame/MightAndMagic'':
** The Creators served as this between ''I'' and ''V'', but might have been retconned out by ''VI'' - in the early games, they were an enemy race to the Ancients, stated to be evil and of fairly equal power to the Ancients (who created both the Big Bad, the Big Good, and the worlds the games take place on), but with absolutely no relation to the games whatsoever except possibly the war with them being the reasons the Ancients doesn't put more effort into correcting the Sheltem situation. The exposition of the backstory in ''VI'' contradicts their existence, or at least the war with them, however.
** The Kreegan were sort-of this in ''VII'' - as far as the game is concerned, the Kreegan are just hanging out in the Land of the Giants, being a threat greater than the ones that comes closest to being the Big Bads for the game and keeping someone they kidnapped before ''VI'' with them. Their king gets killed, but before and after that he has no relation to the plot of the game, and Armageddon's Blade showed his death did little to slow the Kreegans.
** Kalibaar's Master from ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic IV'' is set up to be this. But it's never really explained what happened to him.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Opoona}}'' the BigBad is [[spoiler:an ArtifactOfDoom and the sages under TheCorruption.]] Said artifact was created by [[spoiler:The Dark Emperor]], who never appears in the game proper.
* ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'':
** In ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'', Dracula is this, since the only time he ever comes out to play is a NonStandardGameOver.
** [[spoiler:Chaos]] is this for the entire series.
** Dracula also plays this role in ''[[VideoGame/CastlevaniaCurseOfDarkness Curse of Darkness]]'', with most the game being about his resurrection.
** In the [[VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow Lords of Shadow continuity]], {{Satan}} is the bigger bad of the games, working through the lords of shadow in the first and his bastard children, the acolytes, in the second. Amusingly, the only reason he's in the background for ''Lords of Shadow 2'' is because he's absolutely ''terrified'' of Dracula because his power visibly surpasses his own (let that sink in for a second) and doesn't wish to fight him again because Dracula as a ''human'' killed him the last time.
* In ''VideoGame/SlyCooperAndTheThieviusRaccoonus'', the BigBad is a mechanical owl named Clockwerk. But in [[VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves the second game]] Clockwerk becomes the Bigger Bad because he is now destroyed, shut down, and separated into several pieces, but still a very dangerous potential threat if he were to be rebuilt. Most of the bad guys are just using pieces of Clockwerk for their own small-time schemes, until it becomes clear that Arpeggio intends to fully rebuild Clockwerk to [[spoiler:take Clockwerk's body for himself so that he can be immortal. Then his protege Neyla backstabs him and takes Clockwerk's body for herself.]]
* Cubia in ''[[DotHackGU .hack//GU]]''. The BigBad is [[spoiler:Ovan]]... [[AntiVillain sort of]]. After he is dealt with though, Cubia reappears [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere as a side effect]]. Where AIDA was merely causing some comas, violence, and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking graphics glitches]], Cubia comes pretty close to crashing the whole of the Internet... which, in a world where EverythingIsOnline, would be incredibly devastating.
* In ''VideoGame/CaveStory'', Ballos is the inventor of the demon crown and is the TrueFinalBoss, but that doesn't change the fact that the Doctor was the main villain up until he was defeated.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' has the Archdemon as the BigBad; ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' has [[spoiler:Meredith]]. ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' has the Elder One, aka [[spoiler:Corypheus]]. Across all three games are the machinations of [[spoiler: Flemeth, who eventually reveals herself to be a LivingBodysuit for the Elven Goddess Mythal, and has been gathering godly powers for "a reckoning which will [[RageAgainstTheHeavens shake the very heavens"]]]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bully}}'', Mr. Harrington, the father of [[SmugSnake Derby]] [[BlondGuysAreEvil Harrington]], fills a role like this. He doesn't make a personal appearance in the story and is only referenced in a few lines of dialogue, but his money and meddling in school affairs are one of the root causes of a lot of the corruption at Bullworth Academy.
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'':
** ''[[AceAttorneyInvestigations Ace Attorney Investigations 2]]'' has [[spoiler:Di-Jun Huang]], who not only took the identity of [[spoiler:the president of Zheng-Fa]] but also had powerful associates in the Prison and Legal systems of Japan/the USA. However, his actions also lead to [[spoiler: his death at the hands of the BigBad: Simon Keyes]].
** [[spoiler:Blaise Debeste]] is the Bigger Bad of the [[UpToEleven entire franchise]], being the one who [[spoiler:gave Manfred von Karma the first penalty in his [[ThePerfectionist perfect 40-year career]]. The penalty was for using a falsified autopsy report as evidence, but Blaise was the one who had the report falsified in the first place]]. This in turn lead to the [[spoiler:DL-6 Incident]], a tragic event that was both directly and indirectly responsible for the backstories of several major characters.
* [[spoiler: Prime Minister Bill Hawks]] in ''ProfessorLaytonAndTheUnwoundFuture''. Aside from being a DistressedDude, he doesn't play much of a role in the conflict of the story, but he was responsible for the incident that served as the StartOfDarkness for the game's two main villains.
* The main villain of ''VideoGame/Stinkoman20X6'', due to the game not having a final level.
* The Shadow Queen from ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' takes this role, being a SealedEvilInACan, and is most likely the catastrophe that destroyed the ancient town. Grodus, the actual BigBad, seeks to free her so he can use her for his own ends. [[EvilIsNotAToy This proves unfortunate]].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'':
** The return of the Shadowlord, the BigBad of the game's original story arc, was orchestrated by [[spoiler:the [[AbusivePrecursors Zilart princes]] [[AristocratsAreEvil Kam'lanaut]] and [[CreepyChild Eald'narche]]. They become the Big Bads of the first expansion ''Rise of the Zilart'', but their plans unwittingly (though perhaps they were influenced by him) to allow the [[GodOfEvil Big Bad]] from the second expansion ''Chains of Promathia'' back into the world.]]
** Ultimately, all of the troubles that happened in the game stemmed from the pact made by the Shadowlord with [[spoiler:the Celestial Avatar [[CastingAShadow Odin]]. Odin gave Raogrimm the power to get revenge for his murder in exchange for releasing Odin from his slumber, this revenge and its consequences nearly lead to the destruction of Vana'diel at least half a dozen times since then, but none of that was ever part of Odin's goal. Odin is also [[DarkIsNotEvil not too bad of a guy]] if you get to know him.]]
* In ''VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys'', the Bigger Bad of the series as a whole is the unnamed SerialKiller who murdered at least five children (maybe as many as eleven) at a birthday party in 1987, possibly causing the animatronics to develop their murderous tendencies. (One theory is that the driving force behind them is the ghosts of his victims.) It is believed that he didn't survive either, and that he is featured in the game somehow, possibly as Golden Freddy, the Marionette, or even the Phone Guy (or even all three). His identity and most information about him remains a mystery for now, but with a third (and presumably final) installment in the series confirmed, that may not be the case for long for long.
** The [[VideoGame/FiveNightsAtFreddys3 third installment]] eventually reveals that the [[spoiler: aforementioned killer died when he tried to hide from the ghosts of the dead children inside an animatronic suit. Said animatronic (with the dead body of the killer still inside it) is implied to be haunted by the killer and tries to kill you, thus making the killer the BigBad of the third game.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Myth}}'' has the Leveler, a malevolent force that is responsible for turning a hero to darkness every thousand years.
* As told by ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 6'''s Scenario Campaign mode, Jin Kazama is the one who set the world into chaos (and thus the actual antagonist) but only did so in order to awaken the monster Azazel. This is most apparent in the story mode, where Azazel is taken out almost casually a short while before the true final battle against Jin.
* ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsChainOfMemories'' had hints of this when it ultimately was revealed that Marluxia, the game's BigBad, was a [[TheStarscream Starscream]] trying to overthrow the leader of Organization XIII (simply called the Organization back then).
* Shows up in ''VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver'' (and their {{Expansion Pack}}s, [[VideoGameRemake remakes]], etc.) of all places. Giovanni, the BigBad of the original ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'' games, is AWOL in this entry but his organization is still committing crimes and experiments in his name. The BigBad of these games is the DragonAscendant, who went nameless in the original ''Gold'' and ''Silver'' editions but was named Archer in the remakes.
* [[spoiler:Darkrai]] from the ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonExplorers'' games.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'':
** Sigma is the BigBad. His actions are tied to the Maverick Virus, which was created by [[VideoGame/MegaManClassic Dr. Wily]]. He only interacts with the plot directly in ''Videogame/MegaManX5''.
** Lumine takes the cake in ''Videogame/MegaManX8'', picking up right after Sigma is defeated.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'':
** WellIntentionedExtremist Copy X and the [[QuirkyMinibossSquad Four Guardians]] at the helm of the plot. After the first game, the BigBad is defeated and [[InstantAwesomeJustAddNinja Phantom]] has pulled a bungled SuicideAttack. The remaining three Guardians go on the warpath with Zero and the Resistance, which causes its new leader, [[KnightTemplar Elpizo]], to snap and use the powers of the Bigger Bad, the Dark Elf, for vengeance.
** The next game introduces [[TheChessmaster Dr. Weil]], who ''created'' the Dark Elf ''and'' shows up with his own ultra-NighInvulnerable version of Zero: [[SuperpoweredEvilSide Omega]]. Weil rebuilds Copy X and uses him as an UnwittingPawn, along with the children of the Dark Elf, Crea and Prea, who never intentionally did anything evil because ''they're mere infants''.
** ''VideoGame/MegaManZX'' has Model W as a driving antagonistic force, though individual games focus more on their direct {{Big Bad}}s. ''Advent'' implies that Model W is [[spoiler:Dr. Weil, BackFromTheDead.]]
* The {{Infocom}} game ''VideoGame/{{Enchanter}}'' has an EldritchAbomination [[SealedEvilInACan sealed up]] directly below the castle of the evil warlock Krill; the player needs to stop Krill ''without'' freeing the entity, lest it destroy the world.
* ''VideoGame/{{Solatorobo}}'' has [[spoiler:Baion]], who sees no need to learn to control Lares (since Nero and Blanck can do that for him already) or chase the protagonists as Bruno did; instead, he just wants to summon Tartaros and bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'':
** For the [[VideoGame/MassEffect1 first]] and [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 second]] games [[AbusivePrecursors The Reapers]] are in dark space, and the goal of the Big Bads of those games (each an individual Reaper) is to facilitate their return. Their reasons are left secret but it is simply known that they regularly destroy advanced galactic civilizations every 50,000 years. But that fact was known only to the main characters and not to the galaxy at large, leaving many to believe they are just rumors and only the BigBad is the threat.
** In the third game, the Reaper horde have arrived, and serve as the BigBad this time and at the end [[spoiler: it's revealed that at the heart of the Citadel was an AI referred to as The Catalyst, who created the Reapers as a solution to a theory that natural and artificial life would continually destroy each other. The harvest was a way to provide balance by destroy the advanced civilizations before the artificial life they created would turn against them, leaving the lesser species to evolve and take their place in the next cycle]]. The DLC "Leviathan" reveals more details on this revelation through [[spoiler:the eponymous creatures, which were the first sentient species to develop in the galaxy and are telepathic to an almost omniscient level. They created the Catalyst, who created the Reapers in their image and started the harvest cycle, destroying most of their species in the process]]. They're rather miffed about this, as it wasn't their intention at all.
* ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'' and ''Videogame/{{Portal 2}}'' have Cave Johnson, the [[MadScientist deranged]], [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corrupt]] [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking and]] [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain non-wheelchair-friendly]] CEO of Aperture Science, despite being [[PosthumousCharacter long dead]] by the time of the games. He's responsible for the company's horrific (and counterproductive) policies, as well indirectly responsible for creating [=GLaDOS=] and putting her in charge of the facility.
* Easily [[spoiler:Yami]] from ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', who's [[spoiler:existence creates all of the evil beings you face in the game, being the root of all evil and all.]] Doesn't appear till the very final battle and is barely hinted at before, also doesn't seem to be a very intelligent being either since it doesn't talk.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'', one of the two possible origins of the BigBad, [[spoiler:Akuro]], is that he was the true Bigger Bad of ''Okami'' and was controlling [[spoiler:Yami]].
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' reveals that the true villain is, and always has been, [[spoiler:Juno]]. [[spoiler:Juno's]] machinations were a major reason the Assassins and Templars were never able to put aside their differences and work together to make a better world. All so that [[spoiler:Desmond would have no way to save the world from the solar flare that didn't also allow her to escape.]]
* In the Twoson and Fourside arcs of ''VideoGame/{{Earthbound}}/Mother 2'', the main threats are Mr. Carpainter and Monotoli, respectively. However, they get their power from the Mani Mani Statue, which eludes the party until Fourside, when the party can enter an illusion version of it named Moonside and destroy the statue, which breaks Monotoli's power considerably.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'':
** A number of villains belonged to the mysterious [[LegionOfDoom Black Cloak Society]], making them a potential Bigger Bad for the whole series. Unfortunately, the series died before anything could come of it, though they return in FanSequel ''VideoGame/TheSilverLining'' in a more direct role.
** The Creator/AGDInteractive remake of ''II'' added The Father, a member of, and possibly the leader of the Black Cloak Society, who's the villain behind Hagitha, the main villain of the game. At the end of the game, he also curses Graham, which causes the events of the next two games.
* ''VideoGame/NeverwinterNights2'':
** ''Storm of Zehir'' has Zehir, the yuan-ti god of poison.
** The fan campaign ''The Maimed God's Saga'' has Malar, the Faerûnian god of savagery.
* ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}'' has The Trinity, the supposed creator of Double, who is the antagonist for many of the characters. [[spoiler:DownloadableContent reveals that the true Bigger Bad is actually Eliza, an ancient vampiric monster. She is the reason the Trinity, and by extension the Skullheart itself, exists. In her story route, her ancient ambitions are rekindled...]]
* The Grotesqueries Queen could be considered the true big bad in the backstory of ''VideoGame/{{Nier}}'' since it was because of her that the Gestalts and Replicants were created to allow humanity to outlast the White Chlorination Syndrome caused by the Queen's remains.
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'':
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem]]: [[spoiler: Medeus]], who, plot-wise, is basically just a tool for the game's actual BigBad, [[spoiler: Gharnef]] to use to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, and only makes a physical appearence as the FinalBoss.
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance]]'': [[spoiler:Chancellor Sephiran]] though this fact is only revealed in the sequel where he's the direct BigBad.
*** In a weird example, Radiant Dawn does the inverse: Ashnard, the BigBad of ''Path of Radiance'', turns out to have been the cause of a ''major'' problem for Daein during that sequel. Of couse, he doesn't actively play a role due to being dead by then.
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Genealogy of the Holy War]]'': [[spoiler:Loptyr]], to Manfroy. We only see this character directly twice due to him [[spoiler: spending most of the game posessing Julius]]: during an attack that summons him and [[spoiler: when he leaves Julius' body after his defeat.]] But he is the biggest force of evil in the setting and his full revival is what Manfroy is working towards.
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Thracia 776]]'': Veld is the game's BigBad, but he's only a comparatively minor member of the Loptyr Sect, and so Manfroy is still his superior. Manfroy does appear a few times in the game, but never plays a major role. Julius [[spoiler: (presumably still posessed by Loptyr)]] also appears, but it's more-or-less a cameo, making those two the [[BiggerBad Bigger Bads]] of the game, due to it being a {{Midquel}}.
** ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'': [[spoiler:Fomortiis]] to [[spoiler:Lyon]]. Like some of the above examples, this character only physically appears during the final battle.
* The [[TheEmperor Garlean Emperor]] Solus zos Galvus in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'', the [[HiddenVillain unseen]] superior to BigBad Nael van Darnus, who commands his invasion force. However, later content patches imply that Garlemald is currently undergoing a brutal war of succession, implying the emperor died before we ever even saw him. Once the Garleans are gone, the next bigger bad is [[spoiler: Zodiark]], the god worshipped by the Ascians. To a lesser extent, the Ascians themselves step down after Lahabrea is defeated and instead focus on teaching the beast tribes ways to summon their primals stronger than ever before. While they'll be a threat eventually, for the time they're content to just sit back and help the [[WorldHalfFull already dying world]] kill itself faster.
* God is indirectly responsible for the awful cycles of war in ''VideoGame/DuelSaviorDestiny'' with the constant resurgence of the army of Ruin, but he's not pulling the strings. Nor is the BigBad his minion. [[spoiler:In the final route you can finally fight God and actually completely resolve the story, but until then he's just not really present.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'': It's heavily implied that the aliens from ''Mothership Zeta'' have been watching humanity for years, and it's also heavily implied that it was they who launched the nuclear weapons that started the Great War and ravaged the planet, [[PassThePopcorn just to see what would happen]].
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' and its [=DLCs=] feature a really weird version. The BigBadEnsemble that occurs if you have all DLC installed- Caesar, Elijah, Klein, and Ulysses- are all to a degree responsible for the conflicts of the game, and each other's plans. By the end, they all seem to be the Bigger Bad to one another.
** Caesar (AKA Edward Sallow), the BigBad of the vanilla game, was the one who led the Legion when it conquered Ulysses's tribe, thus giving him his motivation in ''Lonesome Road''. He's also the one who ordered the White Legs to destroy New Canaan, the one who gave them intelligence, attack dogs, and other aid, and the one who sent Ulysses to help them. This, along with the fact that Salt-Upon-Wounds, the leader of the White Legs, considers himself a soldier for Caesar, makes him the Bigger Bad of ''Honest Hearts''.
** Father Elijah, the BigBad of ''Dead Money'', has a plan that dwarfs the other's plans in monstrosity and [[DystopiaJustifiesTheMeans sheer]] [[OmnicidalManiac scale.]] It was also he who [[OneManArmy soloed the Big MT]], where he acquired a lot of advanced technology that would help him enact his plan in ''Dead Money''. The way he completely [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu owned]] [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu the Think Tank]], led by Klein, also partly caused them to want to break out of Big MT to spread chaos into the rest of the world using their advanced pre-war technology- and he gave them a way to do it, considering he battered the walls down by ramming a train into them.
** Doctor Klein and the Think-Tank, the BigBad of ''Old World Blues'', were responsible for the creation of the Cloud, the Ghost People, and the invincible laser-shooting holograms of the Sierra Madre. This caused the Sierra Madre to transform into a DeathWorld, thus setting up the events of ''Dead Money''. Elijah's plan also revolved around exploiting said poisonous gas and holograms to make himself emperor of post-war America, and he would've never been able to do that if the Think-Tank didn't so thoroughly screw up the Sierra Madre.
** Finally, Ulysses, the BigBad of ''Lonesome Road''. He told Father Elijah about the location of the Sierra Madre, and is thus indirectly responsible for aiding Elijah's plan. He also asked the Think-Tank an ArmorPiercingQuestion which, along with Elijah's rampage, caused them to want to break out of the Big MT and screw up the rest of the world like they did with the Sierra Madre. He was also sent by Caesar to train the White Legs in modern warfare, letting them become the main antagonists in ''Honest Hearts'', and found caches of machine guns for them to use, giving them the ability to wipe out many civilizations in Utah, where guns were rare except among the New Canaanites. He went rogue soon after to enact his [[NukeEm plan]] in ''Lonesome Road''. In terms of the main plot and the conflict between NCR and the Legion, he's also the one who initially reported the location of Hoover Dam to Caesar.
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonXAndY'', [[spoiler:AZ is this, sort of. He's not actively malevolent any more, but the DoomsdayDevice he built is the reason that Lysandre is almost able to wipe out everyone on the planet, but he doesn't have that direct an impact on the plot, at least until towards the end.[[/spoiler]]
* ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'':
** Ajunta Pall, the founder of the Sith Order and thus the Bigger Bad behind the vast majority of ''Franchise/StarWars'' media. Among Bigger Bads he's fairly unique in that many of his successors are ''much'' worse than he was, and indeed it's possible within the game to help his tortured spirit find redemption.
** ''Literature/{{Revan}}'' reveals that the Sith Emperor was responsible for Revan and Malak's fall, and thus the events of the ''KOTOR'' games. He takes the Big Bad role for ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic''.
* Several ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' video games feature the mysterious Egyptian demon Nitemare, the original creator of the Shadow Games and thus the Biggest Bad of the entire setting. While due to numerous contradictions the games in which he appears are not canon to the greater series, it remains somewhat unclear whether Nitemare himself and his role in the {{Backstory}} are, as he was created, though never used, by [[WordOfGod Kazuki Takahashi himself]].
* Ray Bulgarin from ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV''. He is an antagonist much more influential in the Niko Bellic's life than Dimitri.
* [[ToxicPhlebotinum Phazon]] from the ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' trilogy. A mysterious toxic mutagen that destroyed the Chozo civilization on Tallon IV, ripped open a dimensional hole on Aether, and is being used to create biological weapons by the Space Pirates. Initially thought a passive corrupting force, there are hints throughout the first two games that Phazon is actually SentientPhlebotinum, which is confirmed in the third. Each game has its own BigBad, and Phazon is always why they're a threat in the first place.
* The Big Bad of ''VideoGame/{{Iji}}'' is [[spoiler:General Tor]], but as he explains he is utterly subservient to his military leaders, who are ''themselves'' subservient to the [[spoiler:Komato]] race as a whole, because of their powerful herd mentality combined with millennia of cultural jingoism. The idea is that war is bigger than one person, and is ultimately a symptom of a severely messed-up society.
* In the original ''Videogame/HalfLife'', the BigBad was the Nihilanth, a powerful alien leading the Xen invasion forces. However, {{Valve}} revealed that the Nihilanth and his forces were invading earth in order to flee from the Combine. Sure enough in ''{{Videogame/Half Life 2}}'', the Combine are the main antagonists. In fact, while Dr. Breen is the BigBad of the sequel, he is subservient to another Bigger Bad, the Advisors, who not only [[spoiler:take direct control over the remaining Combine's forces in ''Episodes One'' and ''Two'' following Breen's death]], but who also implied to be the leaders of the Combine overall.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'':
** In the ''Dragonborn'' DLC for ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', the main antagonist is Miraak, a former [[ReligionOfEvil Dragon Priest]] and the first Dragonborn. It's later revealed that he's subservient to [[spoiler:Hermaeus Mora]], the Daedric Prince of [[spoiler:Knowledge]], who he's [[TheStarscream plotting to overthrow]]. [[spoiler:Turns out, Hermaeus Mora was letting Miraak build up his power, knowing he'd eventually target the last Dragonborn and lure them to Solstheim, where Mora could recruit them. He then used their conflict to steal the secrets of the Skaal, before [[YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness killing]] Miraak and informing the Dragonborn they've [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt inherited his position]].]] Overall, quote an impressive display of a Bigger Bad and ManipulativeBastard at work.
** Mehrunes Dagon was this in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena Arena]]'' to Jagar Tharn. Then a really obscure text revealed that Alduin was the Bigger Bad to ''him'' in ''Battlespire'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'', much of the game's mess can be laid at the feet of the leaders of the Grineer and the Corpus, none of whom you get to strike directly at. And then there are Sentients, who waged war with Orokin Empire, which led to creation on Tenno in the first place and Empire downfall [[spoiler:by Tenno hands]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Harvester}}'', [[spoiler:the entire game is merely a simulation to create serial killers, making the programmers behind the simulation fit this trope]].
* ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'':
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory'', [[DragonAscendant Fawful]] takes over the castles of both Peach and Bowser, with the objective of using Peach to awaken a source of evil known as The Dark Star.
** In ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime'', the Big Bad is Princess Shroob, the Shroob leader. [[spoiler:Except she's only been the main leader since the beginning of the game; Peach sealed her older sister away offscreen at the very beginning of the game, making the younger Princess Shroob the Big Bad and the older one the Bigger Bad.]]
* While [[spoiler:Prince Cort]] is the BigBad in ''VideoGame/LegendOfLegaia'', he has been subtly corrupted by the Rogue from a WellIntentionedExtremist into TheEvilPrince. As the Rogue is the game's analogue of [[SatanicArchetype Satan]] but is disconnected from the game's plot as a whole, it qualifies as the Bigger Bad.
* In the first ''VideoGame/GabrielKnight'' game [[spoiler: [[BigBad Tetelo]] is performing the Voodoo Murders in order to appease [[GodOfEvil Ogoun Badagris]], who destroyed her tribe after her father tried to cheat him out of a special HumanSacrifice. ''[[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Her.]]]]''
* In ''VideoGame/SuikodenIII'', Hikusaak, Emperor of Harmonia, [[spoiler:plans to gather the 27 True Runes to create a world of perfect order - a soulless dystopia. The actual villains of the game are the people trying to stop him, because their plan to do so will kill millions of people.]]
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona'':
** While the BigBad in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' is [[spoiler:Ikutsuki, for trying to bring about The Fall by causing Nyx to descend to Earth and turn everyone into braindead zombies]], it's easy to assume that, by extension, the Bigger Bad is Nyx. However, it's eventually revealed that [[spoiler:Nyx is more of a force of nature than an actual entity, and doesn't really wish to bring about The Fall]]. No, the ''real'' Bigger Bad is [[spoiler:Erebus, the manifestation of mankind's will to die, who actively ''does'' want to bring about The Fall and can do so by coming into contact with Nyx.]] Another, more human BiggerBad is [[spoiler: Mitsuru Kirijo's grandfather]], the CorruptCorporateExecutive, EvilSorcerer, and MisanthropeSupreme who summoned Nyx to Earth in the first place. [[spoiler: Ikutsuki]] was his protege, and the other major human villain, Takaya, was experimented on by him.
** While the real killer and mastermind behind the killings and abductions in Inaba in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' is [[spoiler:Adachi]], the path to the True Ending reveals that there's someone behind even them: [[spoiler:Izanami, who gave the protagonist, Adachi and Nametame the power to enter the TV World in order to test humanity.]]
** ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'' reveals another Bigger Bad: The Malevolent Entity, who is heavily implied to be [[spoiler:Nyarlathotep.]]
** Nyarlathotep has this role in ''Persona2EternalPunishment''. In ''Innocent Sin'', TheReveal about him showed he was actually involved directly for a decent chunk of the game, but in ''Eternal Punishment'', while his existence is revealed early, he's mostly only referenced when bringing up Innocent Sin's events and that his power caused ThePlan to bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt, but it's mostly his pawns that interact with characters, and he himself doesn't actually appear until the very end of the game.
* One has been vaguely hinted as existing in the main ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' continuity, as well. Exact nature is unclear, but there have been various opaque references to [[GodIsEvil YHVH]] not always being the tyrant he is now, meaning the root cause of the OrderVersusChaos ForeverWar is something else. Its exact nature is a point of debate among fans, as is whether or not it's likely to be "officially" revealed at all. YHVH and Lucifer themselves are also skilled at playing BiggerBad when the situation calls for it.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' has The Occuria; all of the villains' horrible actions were done [[WellIntentionedExtremist in the name of freeing the mortal races from the yoke of these]] AbusivePrecursors.
* ''VideoGame/TheWonderful101'' has the villains, the Geathjerk Federation, mention the reason they attack Earth is because of "The Greater Galactic Coalition". [[spoiler: The Supreme Overlord [[FinalBoss Jergingha]] reveals that the Greater Galactic Coalition is [[BadFuture the human race from 1500 years in the future, where Geathjerk came from]] to wipe out humanity and prevent their worlds from being enslaved and destroyed.]]
* As of ''[[VideoGame/{{Contra}} Contra: Shattered Soldier]]'', [[spoiler: it turns out that the [[GovernmentConspiracy Triumvirate]] is truly responsible for everything that has happened in the ''Contra'' series, when they had stole the [[ArtifactOfDoom Relic of Moirai]] and provoked the Alien Wars in the first place.]]
* Ares in ''VideoGame/GodOfWar: Ascension'', the BigBad of the first game, plays this role due to ''Ascension'' being a prequel detailing the consequences of Kratos breaking his oath to serve, with Ares himself not playing any direct role.
* Ares turns out to be the Bigger Bad of ''VideoGame/SpartanTotalWarrior'', manipulating both Rome and The Spartan [[SinsOfOurFathers to complete his revenge against The Spartan's mother]], a handmaiden of Aphrodite who snitched on Ares' affair with Aphrodite to her husband.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfSpyro'' trilogy has it's main villain Malefor in this role in the first two games, with whatever servant he has acting as TheDragon in each game, Cynder in the first and Gual in the second, as the BigBad plotting his return, before taking over as the BigBad in the third and final game.
* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'', Monica Hughes is this for Cyrus Temple, as she is the one who spearheaded the STAG initiative.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' StoryArc consisting of games 10 through 13 is generally referred to as the "Moriya arc", because the events of each game are caused by a character who debuted in the previous game, despite not appearing in the game in question, starting with the Moriya Shrine members. ''Subterranean Animism'' was caused by Kanako giving Utsuho [[FromNobodyToNightmare the tremendous power]] [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity that gave her ideas of megalomania]]. ''Undefined Fantastic Object'' was caused by a geyser that Utsuho created launching the Palanquin Ship into the sky. And ''Ten Desires'' was caused by Byakuren landing the Palanquin Ship on Miko's mausoleum, giving her the boost she needed to resurrect.
* Manus, Father of the Abyss, is this to the world of ''Videogame/DarkSouls''. He is only encountered in DownloadableContent and long dead in the present day [[spoiler:thanks to the Chosen Undead defeating him in the past]], but he is ultimately responsible for the ViciousCycle plaguing the world. [[spoiler:One of the reasons the First Flame needs to stay lit is to keep the Abyss (the unfettered form of the Dark Soul) that Manus unleashed sealed away. Without the First Flame keeping the Dark Soul in check, all humans would likely become monsters like Manus.]] In [[Videogame/DarkSoulsII the sequel]], [[spoiler:the BigBad is a fragment of Manus' soul granted human form. The ''smallest'' fragment no less.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'', [[spoiler:The Butcher]] is the primary reason [[spoiler:his son, Coach Oleander]] is as screwed up as he is, and why he embraces the whole TakeOverTheWorld schtick. In a weird variation, defeating the former (or rather [[spoiler:a mental projection of him]]) is key to defeating the latter.
* The Elf quest series in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'', its longest-running storyline, hinted at a mysterious "Dark Lord" whom the BigBadDuumvirate of [[AristocratsAreEvil Elf Lord Iorwerth]] and [[MoleInCharge King Lathas]] worship and plan to summon to Gielinor. [[spoiler: Only in the GrandFinale is this being revealed to be [[PiecesOfGod a shard of the Elven supreme goddess Seren]], specifically the embodiment of all her bad qualities, whom the evil Elves elevated to a god in its own right. [[EvilIsNotAToy Iorwerth pays with his life for messing with it.]].]]
* [[spoiler:The Galactic Federation]] in ''VideoGame/{{Phoenotopia}}''. They're the greatest immediate threat to humanity present ([[spoiler:other than Billy]]), but they're not directly responsible for any major plot points; they simply [[spoiler:prompt the abductions, spur Gale to bring Billy to the Phoenix Weapons, and give Billy a chance to take over Earth]].
* Lavos from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' remains mostly in the background, driving the actions of some people (such as the ancient civilization that tried to harvest his power [[EvilIsNotAToy and discovered it's a bad idea]]) while [[PlanetaryParasite feeding on the planet's energy]] until he can awaken and cause TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. That is, if the time-travelling protagonists did not know about this and made stopping Lavos their ultimate goal once they beat closer threats.
* ''[[VideoGame/TearsToTiara2 Tears to Tiara 2]]'' has Metatronius, the overseer from heaven originally sent to watch over earth but was [[SealedEvilInACan sealed]] by the [[{{Precursors}} elves]] in the great war a thousand years prior.
* ''Mage Gauntlet'' has an unusual case. Uamuleth is insulted by Lexi saying Hurgoth sent him, calling Hurgoth a "weakling." When defeated, however, he drops a crystal tether, implying he was indeed sent by Hurgoth. [[spoiler:Neither of them is the real Big Bad - it's actually Whitebeard - but notes in Master Mode reveal Uamuleth to be a Bigger Bad whose cultists and demons pose a much greater threat to both Earth and the Dark Realm than Hurgoth - whom he's right about, and who has nothing to do with the crystals - ever could.]]
* While the primary Big Bad's of the ''[[VideoGame/SenranKagura Senran Kagura]]'' series are [[spoiler:Dogen and Orochi]], [[spoiler:Shin]] is the source of all the Yoma.
* General Ignacio Sanchez and Nate Johns in ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption''. Sanchez, the brutal President of Mexico, is this to the Mexican storyline. As the superior of Colonel Augustin Allende, the governor of the Nuevo Parasio region (and the closest thing to a BigBad in Mexico), Sanchez is the true power despite never being confronted. Johns serves as this more personally to John Marston's story in the U.S., at first being a gubernatorial candidate, and later being elected Governor of West Elizabeth. Him coming from a rich family and promising to clean up crime in the state spurs [[KnightTemplar Edgar Ross]] and the Bureau to send John out to kill his former friends. Like Sanchez, Johns is never actually confronted. [[spoiler:However, neither of them end up well in the end. Sanchez is ultimately deposed by Abraham Reyes, while Johns doesn't survive multiple corruption scandals and is ultimately kicked out of the governor's mansion.]]
* ''Uka Uka'', Aku Aku's [[EvilTwin evil mask twin]], in the ''[[Franchise/CrashBandicoot Crash Bandicoot series]] ''.
* ''TheLegendOfSpyro'' Series: Malefor is the BigBad of the entire trilogy, but he only appears in person in the last game. This makes him the BiggerBad of the first two games., which feature Cynder (his unwitting slave) and Gaul (the leader of his ape henchmen) as the Big Bads.
* ''Franchise/TalesSeries'':
** [[spoiler: Fortuna]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny2'' may be providing [[spoiler: Elraine]] with [[spoiler: her existence]] and power, but she herself spends most of the game sealed and completely indifferent to the actions of the heroes and only fights you at the very end.
** [[GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere The]] [[AsLongAsThereIsEvil Adephagos]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'', another SealedEvilInACan that does not drive most of the plot. Even when it manifests, it itself is simply a mindless malevolence.
* ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'': [[spoiler:[[TheManBehindTheMan Chakravartin]]]]
* ''VideoGame/FarCry3'': [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Hoyt Volker]].
* ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'': The Elder God.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:VisualNovels]]
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' gradually reveals over the three routes that [[spoiler:the source of the Grail's corruption is Angra Mainyu, who will be reborn if any of the {{Big Bad}}s succeed in their plans]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** The Snarl, a God-killing EldritchAbomination, is the most powerful and malevolent presence in the series, and the whole reason everything is happening, but appears to have no real mind or personality of its own; there are some hints as of [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0672.html this comic]] (major spoilers ahoy) that this might not be the case.
** The IFCC Directors are three fiends who are [[spoiler:rather, were]] TheManBehindTheMan to the Linear Guild, but they themselves refer to more powerful fiends ("the Lower Downs") from whom they are attempting to gain support for their venture, using their [[spoiler:corruption of Vaarsuvius]] as proof of concept.
* [[EldritchAbomination Lord English]] from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' is the most powerful character in the setting, but remained TheUnseen until after Act 5, despite a great impact (mostly in the form of his chief servant, [[TheChessmaster Doc Scratch]]) on the plot. The BigBad was initially thought to be [[spoiler:[[PhysicalGod Jack Noir]]]], stab-happy treacherous Archagent, who the protagonists have much more motivation to destroy but he has since lost focus in the story as Lord English's machinations become more and more obvious [[spoiler:as well as his possible origin.]]
* Chaos of ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' is an evil EldritchAbomination and embodiment of decay that is the whole reason behind the Light Warriors' quest. Although he ''does'' desire to end (''and'' eternally torment, however that works) existence for no real reason, he does not come into play until the real BigBad, [[PhysicalGod Sarda]], accidentally brings him about. Who was himself indirectly created by Black Mage.
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' the Demon King of the Dimension of Pain generally plays this part in Dimension of Pain arcs. The demon lord Horribus serves as BigBad. [[spoiler:Presumably Psykosis will be replacing him in future Dimension of Pain appearances.]]
* Malefor in ''TheLegendOfSpyro [[http://shalonesk.deviantart.com/gallery/11400696#/d23ieon Zonoya's Revenge]]''. Not only was he responsible for everything that happened in the games, he [[spoiler:brainwashed Cynder into slashing out the eye of Zonoya, her best friend, which was Zonoya's StartOfDarkness. Zonoya was also in love with him, leading to many of her actions in addition to her revenge plot, making him responsible for most of the plot..]]
* [[spoiler: CommanderBadass's superiors]] in the Nomura Syndrome arc of ''Webcomic/ManlyGuysDoingManlyThings''. They were the ones that hired the BigBad Creator/{{Gackt}} to release TheVirus and turn Commander Badass into a {{Bishounen}}. [[spoiler: And it's just so they can market new merchandise.]]
* [[spoiler:Altair]] in ''Webcomic/WhiteDarkLife'' is a far more villainous character than Dark Matt or [[spoiler:Artemis]]. The latter are simply selfish and commit evil to [[spoiler:keep Dark Matt from being erased once he is finally purified]] and are rather comical at times. The former on the other hand wants to murder all the demons, little children included.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Lord Vyce story arc of ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'' has the MultiversalConqueror Lord Vyce the BigBad, but his goal in conquering is to in fact protect dimensions from, and eventually track down and kill an EldritchAbomination that he simply refers to as "The Entity", which devours entire planets, and eventually universes. [[spoiler: Later it turns the Entity came to our universe as BatmanGambit in hopes Linkara would defeat Lord Vyce, since it considered fighting him to be too inconvenient.]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', the [[UltimateEvil Nameless Evil]], which later took over the god Dreamweaver's body and became known as Death, has been behind all atrocities which have taken place in various eras, subtly influencing events to its liking.
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'':
** [[spoiler:The Director]] is this, as most of the things that happened to the Blood Gulch Crew and Freelancers were caused by him and his plans.
** The Chairman serves as a HeroAntagonist Bigger Bad when he [[spoiler:sends that BigBadDuumvirate of Wash and the Meta to find Epsilon with the ultimate goal of arresting the Director. Actually, he's not a hero at all when the Season 12 finale reveals that he was the BigBad "Control". He is also the Bigger Bad for the overall series when it's revealed that he funded the Insurrection that the Freelancers fought against.]]
** Flashbacks in Season 10 show that [[spoiler:the A.I. Sigma]] qualifies for the Recollection Trilogy as a whole; [[spoiler:he's technically the BigBad of ''Reconstruction'', but he is killed after those events. However, his influence on the Meta still remains in ''Recreation'' and ''Revelation''.]]
** In Seasons 11 and 12, General Doyal takes this role on the account of being [[spoiler:the leader of the Federation Army]]. However, [[spoiler:he can be ''hardly'' be considered a fighter, and he has ''no'' control over Locus. Locus is working under the orders of the BigBad, Control, and Doyal's role is subverted when it's revealed that Locus and Felix are manipulating the CivilWar on the planet Chorus under Control's orders.]]
* ''Roleplay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers'':
** Cipher serves as one for the entire RP in general, often acting through proxies instead of fighting the J-Team directly, having a hand in the backstories of several characters, and even created 'M which antagonized the J-Team during the Unova arc. For Orre they end up becoming the Big Bad of the arc.
** OLD MAN's nemesis, the Magikarp Salesman, a powerful demon who doesn't really concern himself with the J-Team's antics at all.
** The Seven Jerk Dragons serve as this for the PMD-R arc. While they don't make a direct appearance, their actions are directly responsible for the state of PMD-B when J-Team members visit it.
* Tyrant and the Kind in Winter of {{Literature/Citadel}}. One holds the entire population of Europe in mental thrall while the other is responsible for freezing a large chunk of the Northern Hemisphere.
* ''Literature/{{Worm}}'':
** [[ThoseWackyNazis Empire 88]] are an offshoot of a more established German organisation called Gesellschaft, who sometimes send cape assistance over but are never confronted directly by Taylor.
** Cauldron is this for a large part of the story. Long before they directly come into the picture, they indirectly aid and abet a lot of the antagonists.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Eddy's Brother from ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'' is responsible for Eddy being the selfish, greedy {{Jerkass}} that he is, and thus for all of the schemes that drive almost every episode.
* A handful of episodes of ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManTheAnimatedSeries'' feature [[EvilSorcerer Baron Mordo]] as the BigBad, who is trying to unseal his demonic master Dormammu. Dormammu is a presence in the episodes, but the sorcerer is the primary villain.
* Unicron of ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' is the ultimate evil in the metaseries, but is usually a distant figure, with Megatron (or his replacement as Decepticon leader) being BigBad. In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' he's mentioned as early as the pilot episode as the source of Dark Energon, which plays a considerable role throughout the series, before finally taking over as the BigBad in the finale movie ''Predacons Rising''. The exceptions are ''Anime/TransformersArmada'', where Unicron is the BigBad all along, orchestrating the conflict for his own purposes, and {{Transformers The Movie}}, where he serves as the {{Big Bad}} with [[DemotedToDragon Galvatron]] as both {{The Heavy}} and {{The Starscream}}.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/DungeonsAndDragons'' animated series, one episode featured BigBad Venger's master, an insanely powerful EldritchAbomination that appears and starts destroying the entire realm. Even at the end, when it's banished with the combined efforts of Dungeon Master, Venger, and the Heroes, DM still remarks that what they've accomplished is but a temporary victory.
* ''Franchise/MastersOfTheUniverse'':
** Horde Prime, mainly in ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower'' since the Horde was her primary enemy. The master of both Hordak and Skeletor, Prime almost never played a direct role, but would occasionally appear to berate Hordak for his constant failures.
** Hordak himself is the Bigger Bad in ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse2002''. He plays a prominent role in the backstory as the ArchEnemy to King Greyskull (and oddly enough to fellow archvillain King Hiss as well) and the one who transformed the dying Keldor into [[BigBad Skeletor]]. In the series proper he is a SealedEvilInACan who only briefly appears as gigantic cloudlike apparition during an attempt to release him only to fade away once the attempt is foiled. Had the series continued Hordak would have been freed and become the BigBad proper for a season [[spoiler:before being defeated by Skeletor.]] Also, Hordak is the one who divided that series' version of Eternia into the Light Hemisphere and the Dark Hemisphere.
** ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}'' used the exact same format, with BigBad Tex Hex answering to an entity called Stampede.
* On ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'', [[VillainProtagonist Zim]] could probably be seen as the BigBad focusing on Earth, with the Irken Empire itself (including [[BigBadDuumvirate the Tallests]] and Control Brains) as the Bigger Bad out to conquer the rest of the universe, especially since technically Zim conquering Earth wasn't even part of the Empire's plans.
* Lucius Heinous I on ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes''. So far, [[HumanPopsicle he's always been frozen]], but every subsequent member of the Heinous line fears him, including the current BigBad, Lucius VII. [[WordOfGod Edward Kay]] has stated he might get unfrozen one day...
* While humans in ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' are long extinct ([[LastOfHisKind except for Finn]]), their [[AtomicHate "Mushroom War"]] not only led to [[TheMagicComesBack the return of magic]], but also one of their bombs created [[VileVillainSaccharineShow the Lich]], who proceeded to spread monsters across the planet and [[OmnicidalManiac kill almost everything]]. The AlternateUniverse [[FanNickname "Farmworld"]] shows that even without the Lich, humanities' actions indirectly lead to an apocalypse.
* The Nightmare Prince's mother from ''WesternAnimation/PotsworthAndCompany''.
* The BigBad Mumm-Ra of ''[=ThunderCats=]'' (both the [[WesternAnimation/ThunderCats original]] and [[WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011 2011 reboot]]) is a servant of the Ancient Spirits of Evil, who grant him his power in exchange.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' season 2 reveals Vaatu to be the canonical ultimate evil of the entire ''Avatar'' universe, as he is the embodiment of darkness, chaos and destruction. He was the reason the Avatar came into existence. [[spoiler:It's not until Korra's time that he takes center stage for that season.]]
** [[spoiler:Yakone]] serves as the Bigger Bad of book one. [[spoiler: He was a crime boss who used psychic bloodbending to commit his crimes until Avatar Aang took his bending away. He received plastic surgery and escaped to the Northern Water tribe, where he fathered two sons, Noatok and Tarrlok. When both sons were revealed to be waterbenders, he put through rigorous training to master his psychic bloondbending to destroy the Avatar. His actions caused his oldest son Noatok to hate bending and become Amon, while his youngest son Tarrlok became a corrupt politician who wanted to outdo his father. Both became enemies of Aang's successor, Korra. By that point, Yakone was already dead.]]
** Fire Lord Sozin served as the BiggerBad in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Avatar Roku's former friend turned evil, he used Roku's death as the chance to start the hundred year war, which resulted in the extinction of the airbenders, save for Aang. Ozai served this role is seasons 1 and 2 as he never has any direct contact with the heroes, not even Zuko save for a flashback, and only becomes directly involved in season 3, where his face is actually shown.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'' had an unnamed EldritchAbomination that was killed long before the series began. BigBad Aku is the last surviving piece of it, [[NiceJobBreakingItHero accidentally granted sentience, wizard-powers, and mobility by Jack's father in an attempt to destroy the evil blight]].
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDragonJakeLong'': While the Huntsclan is still Jake's primary enemy, they're ranked as only the number 4 threat to the Magical Community. Instead, the Dark Dragon serves as the most powerful enemy in the series, and thus only gets personally involved in two episodes.
* The Three Ancestral Witches are this in ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'', especially in seasons 1 and 3. Being responsible for the destruction of Domino, they are the cause of many of the series's problems. The Trix, their descendants, take over their role to conquer the magical universe, and Valtor was their creation and servant. [[spoiler:At the end of season 3, they attempt to directly control Valtor to their will, but he's killed before he can do anything.]] They become more involved in the movies.
* While ''WesternAnimation/LeagueOfSuperEvil'' centers around the schemes of the League, Skullossus is the most threatening villain to the world at large.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has Wainwright Montgomery Burns, grandfather of Mr. Charles Montgomery Burns. He's the reason why Mr. Burns became a malicious and greedy old man, since Wainwright took Charles away from his parents and raised him to be selfish.
* According to WordOfGod, Chris [=McLean=] will always possibly be the true villain of the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' series, even though a certain contestant causes trouble in each season, Just in case he isn't.
* [[spoiler: ''Darkseid'']] was revealed to be this in the finale of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'', being the secret collaborator with [[BigBad The Light]], and the show ended before he could take a direct role.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Grojband}}'' has Mayor Mellow, despite not being a villain.
* Creator/LaurenFaust apparently had an idea for something like this to feature in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''. According to her, ''something'' turned Luna into Nightmare Moon, and ''something'' freed Discord from his stone imprisonment. There are no allusions to this entity in the show itself, and as Lauren no longer works on the show, it's unlikely this will ever be picked up on. The former was picked up in [[ComicBook/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDW the IDW comics]], where [[spoiler:Nightmare Moon is a separate entity that merged with Luna upon sensing her envy and resentment towards Celestia. It serves as the BigBad of the second arc. Whether this story is in canon with the show is another matter.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'' featured a slew of villains, from Professor Pericles, to Mr. E, to [[spoiler:Mayor Jones]], and yet all were unaware that they were pawns corrupted by [[spoiler:the influence of [[EldritchAbomination The Evil Entity]] that was encased in a crystal sarcophagus, waiting for someone to to set it free.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': Salvatore Valestra, a mobster who [[spoiler: forced Andrea, one of Bruce's love interests, to leave the country. Without her, Batman ended up alone and took the cowl to become Batman.]] [[spoiler: Ordering the death of Andrea's father]] led to the events of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanMaskOfThePhantasm'', the man he hired also led to a fair share events in the present; [[spoiler: the man would become the Joker.]]
* Due to it being a spin-off of ''Film/TronLegacy'', ''WesternAnimation/TronUprising'' has the former's BigBad, Clu, in this role. His takeover of the grid is at the heart of the conflict in the show and all of the villains answer to him, but never confronts Beck.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'', Darth Vader and the Emperor, the [[BigBad Big Bads]] of the original trilogy, serve this since the show's BigBad, The Inquisitor, merely works for them.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'' has [[WesternAnimation/OperationZERO Grandfather]], the BigBad of TheMovie, and the father of the series-wide Big Bad, Father. He's the reason ''[[AbusiveParents why]]'' Father is the way he is, and his actions prior to the series eventually facilitated the founding of the Seventh Age of the Kids Next Door by his ''other'' son, Numbuh 0 a.k.a. [[spoiler:Monty Uno, Numbuh 1's father]].
* ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' has Lord Dominator, who's been described as such as a better Hater than Lord Hater according to the series' creator.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'':
** Bill Cipher shaping up to be the cause of The Author's disappearance and the cause of all of the supernatural forces in the town.
** Nathaniel Northwest is revealed to be this in "Northwest Mansion Mystery" for why the Northwest family are [[TheSociopath uncaring and unloving]], to both [[AbusiveParents their daughter Pacifica]] and the people of Gravity Falls. [[spoiler: As revealed in Season One, his being the founder of Gravity Falls was a lie and was given money for the cover up. He abused his wealth by having the townsfolk build him his mansion in exchange for letting them be invited to his annual parties, a promise he gleefully refused to keep. This act is also what caused the MonsterOfTheWeek, a Lumberjack ghost, to threaten the lives of his successors. His cruel and uncaring ways were passed down for generations, with Pacifica's parents being the current heads of the family and emotionally abusing their daughter into following their legacy]].
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': The [[spoiler: Homeworld Gems]] who Rose Quartz and the Crystal Gems rebelled against before the series began, and who had [[AlienInvasion insidious plans for the Earth.]] [[spoiler: The end of season one reveals that the two more antagonistic gems, Peridot and Jasper, are in service to the supposed leader of the Homeworld, Yellow Diamond, who has yet to appear.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse'': Maltruant's plans for conquest in the final episode cement him as one for the entire ''Ben 10'' franchise, as his arriving on Earth in the past, with Ben, Rook and Skurd following him, are why pre-series Vilgax becomes interested in a device that grants the wearer shapeshiting abilities.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003'': The Demon Shredder was the inspiration for Ch'rell, the Utrom Shredder, and his reign resulted in the creation of the Ninja Tribunal, whose servant adopted Hamato Yoshi, the Utrom Shredder's eventual victim, which in turn led to Yoshi's pet rat Splinter and four baby turtles to being mutated. Five of his minions were enslaved by the Utrom Shredder, but once he is defeated and they break free, they start reviving their master and he steps down to BigBad status for season 5.
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeLyoko'': Project Carthage is a military operation Franz Hopper and his wife were once a part of that they left when they felt it became too unethical. When they took his wife, leaving him and his daughter alone, he created [[BigBad XANA]] to combat them. Instead, XANA imprisoned them both and developed sentience in a bid to destroy humanity.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesOfDarkWater'': While Ren and his crew are traveling to find the thirteen treasures of Rule to destroy the Dark Water, dealing with Bloth and his crew wanting the treasure to control it, they are too busy to deal with [[EldritchAbomination The Dark Dweller]] that created the dark water to consume their world.
[[/folder]]
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[[redirect:Main/GreaterScopeVillain]]
23rd Apr '15 5:27:00 PM Zyffyr
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[[redirect:Main/GreaterScopeVillain]]
23rd Apr '15 5:13:43 AM TheTropper
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* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': The [[spoiler: Homeworld Gems]] who Rose Quartz and the Crystal Gems rebelled against before the series began, and who had [[AlienInvasion insidious plans for the Earth.]] [[spoiler: The end of season one reveals that the two more antagonistic gems, Peridot and Jasper, are in service to the supposed leader of the Homeworld, Yellow Diamond, who doesn't appear]].

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': The [[spoiler: Homeworld Gems]] who Rose Quartz and the Crystal Gems rebelled against before the series began, and who had [[AlienInvasion insidious plans for the Earth.]] [[spoiler: The end of season one reveals that the two more antagonistic gems, Peridot and Jasper, are in service to the supposed leader of the Homeworld, Yellow Diamond, who doesn't appear]].has yet to appear.]]
15th Apr '15 6:23:24 PM Smiffy
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* In TheWesterns {{Film/Utu}}, Film/MadDogMorgan, Film/NedKelly, Film/TheOutlawMichaelHowe, and Film/VanDiemensLand, the EvilBrit colonialist officials commit atrocities in the name of the British monarch.

to:

* In TheWesterns {{Film/Utu}}, {{The Western}}s ''{{Film/Utu}}, Film/MadDogMorgan, Film/NedKelly, Film/TheOutlawMichaelHowe, Film/TheOutlawMichaelHowe,'' and Film/VanDiemensLand, ''Film/VanDiemensLand'', the EvilBrit colonialist officials commit atrocities in the name of the British monarch.
15th Apr '15 6:21:15 PM Smiffy
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Added DiffLines:

* In TheWesterns {{Film/Utu}}, Film/MadDogMorgan, Film/NedKelly, Film/TheOutlawMichaelHowe, and Film/VanDiemensLand, the EvilBrit colonialist officials commit atrocities in the name of the British monarch.
13th Apr '15 12:46:09 AM lalalei2001
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* ''FanFic/BeingDeadAintEasy'' has the Big Five. They're technically behind a lot of major events in the story, as they're responsible for sabotaging KaibaCorp and siccing Morrison on Kaiba—inadvertently starting the entire plot—but aren't personally involved or seen at all. At most, they get a couple mentions.

to:

* ''FanFic/BeingDeadAintEasy'' has the Big Five. They're technically behind a lot of major events in the story, as they're responsible for sabotaging KaibaCorp [=KaibaCorp=] and siccing Morrison on Kaiba—inadvertently starting the entire plot—but aren't personally involved or seen at all. At most, they get a couple mentions.
13th Apr '15 12:41:17 AM lalalei2001
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Added DiffLines:

* ''FanFic/BeingDeadAintEasy'' has the Big Five. They're technically behind a lot of major events in the story, as they're responsible for sabotaging KaibaCorp and siccing Morrison on Kaiba—inadvertently starting the entire plot—but aren't personally involved or seen at all. At most, they get a couple mentions.
11th Apr '15 9:30:02 PM MetalSmasher86
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* Golbez acts as the BigBad through most of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', until it is revealed that [[spoiler:he was brainwashed by a Lunarian named Zemus. Then, after Fusoya breaks Golbez out of his mind control, they kill Zemus, only for the spirit of his hatred to be released and manifest itself as Zeromus, who becomes the real FinalBoss]].
11th Apr '15 5:55:02 PM Ford1114
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* In ''Anime/GuiltyCrown'', GHQ is secretly being assist by [[spoiler:Da'ath. An ancient organization exist since human evolution and is responsible of the Apocalypse Virus' creation for their AdamAndEvePlot.]]



** In Fanfic/ShadowchasersPowerPrimordial, The BigBad’s ultimate goal is to [[spoiler: free an imprisoned being called Pandorym, who mastered the [[MacGuffinTitle Power Primordial]] better than almost any other being, and used it to challenge [[CouncilOfAngels the Hebdomad]], but lost.]]

to:

** In Fanfic/ShadowchasersPowerPrimordial, The BigBad’s BigBad’s ultimate goal is to [[spoiler: free an imprisoned being called Pandorym, who mastered the [[MacGuffinTitle Power Primordial]] better than almost any other being, and used it to challenge [[CouncilOfAngels the Hebdomad]], but lost.]]
11th Apr '15 12:08:59 AM DuelMark
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* ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesOfDarkWater'': [[EldritchAbomination The Dark Dweller]]

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/ThePiratesOfDarkWater'': While Ren and his crew are traveling to find the thirteen treasures of Rule to destroy the Dark Water, dealing with Bloth and his crew wanting the treasure to control it, they are too busy to deal with [[EldritchAbomination The Dark Dweller]]Dweller]] that created the dark water to consume their world.
This list shows the last 10 events of 1274. Show all.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.BiggerBad