Most common in(But not limited to) movie trilogies, this is when a villain plays a major role in the first installment in a series, then in the next goes AWOL (or at least plays a less important role) but then eventually comes back in a later installment to be the big bad all over again.(TV Show examples tend to treat a whole season as the analogy for a single film for this trope)
there are varying reasons why you will see this trope
- Fans did not enjoy the new villain and demanded the old one back
- The villain was The Dragon in the first installment and later became the big bad
- The Villain was in hiding whilst being believed he was dead
- Nostalgia, what better way to wrap up the series then to come full circle and face your old foe one last time
- The interim installment was a B-plot.
Contrast Hijacked by Ganon
, where it looks like there is a new villain but the old one turns out to be pulling the strings.
- bonus footage in the blu-ray of TRON: Legacy possibly imply that the Master Control Program might be doing this
- SPECTRE's agents are the main antagonists in the early James Bond films, except in Goldfinger.
- In the Harry Potter series, while Voldemort (in some form) shows up as the Big Bad of almost every book, he is nowhere to be seen in book three, The Prisoner Of Azkaban.
- Fawful in the Mario & Luigi Series
- Char Aznable was supposed to be in Gundam ZZ but when Chars Counterattack has been green-lit, the writers decided to introduce new villains instead.
- Sort of inverted in the Super Mario RPG/Paper Mario series. Bowser, who is, without fail (unless you count Super Mario USA), always the main villain of the main Super Mario series, is only the main villain once (the original Paper Mario). In the rest of the games he's either the butt end of jokes, or a party member. Or both...
- The sequel to An SMWC Production will feature a new villain named Norveg instead of Bowser, who is vacationing in World 4.