->''"That's the problem with heroes, really. Their only purpose in life is to thwart others. They make no plans, develop no strategies. They react instead of act. Without villains, heroes would stagnate. Without heroes, villains would be running the world. Heroes have morals. Villains have work ethic."''
-->-- '''Narration''' from ''[[Comicbook/TheLastAvengersStory The Last Avengers Story]]''

An odd fact about the nature of [[SlidingScaleOfProactiveness initiative]] in fiction: If somebody has a {{plan}} at the start of the story, that character is [[AmbitionIsEvil probably a villain]].

There are several reasons why this trend exists:
# A villain, in order to be threatening, [[EvilPlan must want something, and have some chance of getting it.]]
# Most heroes are [[{{Protectorate}} protectors]] of some kind (cops, doctors [in medical dramas], or the parents of children who are being threatened by some [possibly supernatural] evil) and the villain's plans are a threat to the hero's {{Protectorate}}, thus making it impossible for them to be unusually proactive before the story starts.
# If the villain doesn't do anything, the audience is entirely within its rights to think that this is a case of OrcusOnHisThrone, which is frequently felt to be a bad thing.
# It's easier to write another story (and given that much fiction nowadays is in some form serialized) if the hero is not the one responsible for everything happening. Less important in one offs.
# TheHeavy is in full play here, as well; and one of the few ways to make a smart villain appear effective is to have him be a [[TheChessmaster successful schemer]].
# If the hero is proactive about his situation, then the Status Quo will, in most situations, eventually change, which is frequently banned under StatusQuoIsGod.
# If the hero actively opposes the villain before the latter has done anything evil, all the audience sees is a DesignatedHero harassing a DesignatedVillain for no reason. Less of a problem for running series where the villain earned his reputation in previous stories, though that can be seen as a belated heroic reaction to the villain's past actions.

Aversion of this, HeroesActVillainsHinder, comes from stories centering on the actions or emotions of the hero:
* The VillainProtagonist, obviously because they are the ones with the EvilPlan but this can vary.
** They may be against the HeroAntagonist which is this trope from a different viewpoint.
** A BigBad who is EvilerThanThou may show up which means that both TheProtagonist and TheAntagonist can be proactive AND reactive. This can result in a GambitPileup towards the end of the story as both character's schemes come to a climactic, and sometimes catastrophic, resolution.
* Variations on ToBeAMaster which require the hero to go beat up the other masters to claim the title. A variation in that the "villains" are not necessarily evil, and may simply be fellow competitors who want the same title the hero does.
* TheQuest
* Comedy
* Slice of Life
* Romance
* RagsToRiches
* GreatEscape (though it can also be considered a reaction to being imprisoned)
* PerpetualPoverty
* Any story set in a world where TheBadGuyWins and the hero must reverse this outcome.

'''This trope is much too broad for examples. Try the subtropes instead.'''