Created By: 1810072342 on April 14, 2013 Last Edited By: 1810072342 on April 15, 2013
Nuked

Why Shouldn't He Rule The World?

Frequently we are not given reasons why having the villain's plan succeed would be a bad thing.

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I will foster happiness throughout my empire so no-one will want to overthrow me. After all my interest is in power, not being a dick.
-- The Evil Overlord list.

So there's the Big Bad, and he's a got a villainous scheme. It's big, it's ambitious, it'll make their name in villainous history. But for all we can tell, it wouldn't actually be such a bad thing. This guy might actually make quite a good job of ruling the world. It's often just left to be inferred otherwise.

If the villain isn't even evil, more blatantly self-interested, this is especially evident. If all they stand to gain out of it is riches and/or fame, there's not much really to worry about for everyone else. Punch Clock Villain and Generic Doomsday Villain characters may be suspect to this, depending on their nature.

General ways that this issue is avoided is that:
  • The villains plan requires him to kill a lot of people in the process.
  • The villain wants to destroy the world.
  • The villain explicitly states that they intend to re-make the world into a planet of darkness and suffering etc.

Compare Utopia Justifies the Means, Knight Templar, Well-Intentioned Extremist, and Visionary Villain.

Given its status as a potentially Omnipresent Trope, examples may have to be limited to Lampshade Hanging and subversions.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • April 14, 2013
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Definitely one of the Omnipresent Tropes. Examples may be limited to Lampshade Hanging and subversions.

    Compare Utopia Justifies The Means, Knight Templar, Well Intentioned Extremist, and Visionary Villain.
  • April 14, 2013
    Koveras
    Great idea (unless we already have it), but the title needs to be changed to not sound like a Stock Phrase. The first thing that comes to mind (just to get the brainstorm going): Nothing Wrong With Villains Plan?
  • April 14, 2013
    JonnyB
    The Army Of Toy Soldiers would argue that Doctor Steel would have come under this trope, had he succeeded in his plans.
  • April 14, 2013
    Paradisesnake
  • April 14, 2013
    DracMonster
    Yeah I think this is Designated Villain or Villainy Free Villain.
  • April 14, 2013
    helterskelter
    First, this would absolutely not be in the Omnipresent Tropes. Those are tropes almost guaranteed to happen, and the concept that a villain is none-too-villainous is hardly omnipresent.

    That said, this is definitely Designated Villain. See Rooting For The Empire, also.
  • April 14, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Live-Action TV

    Farscape: In one of the alternate realities Crichton is sucked into in the episode "Unrealized Reality", he is on Earth talking to his elderly father, who comments on the pros and cons of Scarran rule after (in that reality) they had found and conquered Earth.
    Crichton's father: "You remember what we were like centuries before the Scarrans conquered us--weak genes, disease, death. I think our health and longevity outweigh some personal freedoms, don't you son?"
  • April 14, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Ok, I think we got enough people agreeing that we already have this. Motion To Disgard.
  • April 15, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    ^Although in my Farscape example, there were plenty of reasons shown in the series for why the Scarrans (or their empire) were villains--this was just mentioning that there may be some benefits from them conquering Earth as well as drawbacks, and was more a philosophical question as to which outweighs what. That could maybe be a trope itself (the trope title here--Why Shouldnt He Rule The World?--seemed to hint at that)--when such questions are asked or explored in a work.
  • April 15, 2013
    MorganWick
    The problem I have with this is that it seems not only YMMV (as Designated Villain is), but a MASSIVE complaining magnet. As in, "Villain X is the bestest character in the whole world and how dare the story imply him running the world is a bad thing!" Or worse, "Villain Y who vaguely resembles a caricature of my political/religious beliefs wouldn't actually be that bad because my political/religious beliefs rock!" (For example, I bet the inevitable Atlas Shrugged example would touch off pages and pages of Natter.)
  • April 15, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Which might be why, per Wacky Meets Practical (10^), we might consider limiting examples to lampshade hanging (or asking or considering this question in-universe, like my example)--not sure about "subversions". Maybe In Universe Examples Only?
  • April 15, 2013
    WackyMeetsPractical
    I feel like this proposal is distinct from Designated Villain and Villainy Free Villain in that those tropes deal with the morality of the villain, while this proposal seems to deal with the end result, the question of whether or not the world would really be worse off if the villain won. It's different than Rooting For The Empire because it doesn't necessarily require the audience to sympathize with the villains. Here's what I think the differences are:

    Designated Villain: A character treated as a villain by the story despite having no villainous qualities. Villainy Free Villain: A character with villainous qualities despite never committing villainous acts. Rooting For The Empire: The audience feels like the bad guys are more right than the good guys. This Trope: The audience is left wondering whether or not the world would really be worse off if the bad guys won.

    The reason why I said this should be an omnipresent trope is because a lot of times, the end result of the bad guy's plan is never really explored. The heroes never really stop to consider if maybe the bad guy has a point. Here, the actions of the bad guy doesn't matter as much as the end result. Maybe when the bad guy rules the world, he'd make it a better place. Maybe if the bad guy gets the Macguffin, he'd use it to cure diseases. Maybe if the bad guy gets the girl, they'll start a happy family. Maybe the bad guy's genocide plan would really be beneficial to the planet. We'll never know because we'll never get that far into the story.

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