Antagonist Title

Guess who the villain is.

When you want to use a character's name for a title, you have several options. The most obvious choice is the hero's name, but you could also go with a Secondary Character Title. Or you could title it after your protagonist's primary antagonist.

Note that this does not apply to a work titled after a Villain Protagonist (which also goes under Protagonist Title). This trope has nothing to do with morality but with role. If there is a clear protagonist (regardless of Anti-Hero status and/or Black and Grey Morality), and the film/book/what-have-you they're in just happens to be titled after the person, group, or force The Hero fights against, then it's an Antagonist Title.

Might overlap with The Namesake if it's a vicious Genius Loci or the villain's lair. Commonly seen with Villain-Based Franchises.

This is one title you do not want to mix with I Am Not Shazam or Protagonist Title Fallacy.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Jezinkas is a Fairy Tale about evil creatures known as the Jezinkas who try to gouge out the eyes of anyone who dare trespass their territory.
  • The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs and The Robber Bridegroom from the Brothers Grimm's collection. Arguably Fitcher's Bird.
  • Bluebeard, a folktale about a Serial Killer known as Bluebeard.
  • Rumpelstiltskin: The titular character is an imp with whom the miller's daughter is forced to make a deal with.

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Russia, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra's title is translated as "Rush of the Cobra".
  • Fairly common in the Horror genre, e.g. Alien, The Thing (1982), The Blob, Nosferatu, Candyman and The Mummy (1932).
  • From James Bond:
  • Austin Powers, being a spoof of the Bond movies, used Goldmember in place of Goldfinger as the title of the third movie. Goldmember is indeed the antagonist, just not the only one.
  • Hook: Peter Pan is the protagonist.
  • The film adaptation of Trilby was called Svengali after the story's villain.
  • Beetlejuice: The Maitlands and Lydia are the protagonists. The Maitlands were originally supposed to be who the movie was named after. Beetlejuice was chosen after the character proved to be more interesting. Still a bit of a slender example, as Michael Keaton's character's name is Betelgeuse, like the star.
  • Hive Mind: Doug Trench, the last man (sort of) on Earth, is the actual protagonist.
  • The Jackal: the title character is the assassin the FBI is hunting.
  • Predator is named after the alien hunters (though the only time it is used in-universe is in the second movie: "Well, we've prepared a trap for this predator.").
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Khan is Captain Kirk's enemy.
  • Star Trek: Nemesis. Shinzon is Picard's nemesis.
  • Spaceballs. The Spaceballs are The Empire in the film.
  • The Terminator is named after the now-famous killer robot who tries to kill Sarah Connor. Also the only film in the franchise to use this trope, since the later films divided the title's association between multiple Terminator models and made some of them protagonists.
  • Just like Metal Gear below, The Matrix is also one that is not a character technically, but a tyrannical system the heroes set out to destroy.
  • The Mummy Trilogy. Thought the third does not feature The Mummy, "Imhotep", but still adds the new mummy villain in the subtitle ("Tomb of the Dragon Emperor").
  • Kill Bill. The Bride is the main character, Bill the man who tried to kill her and who is now the target of her Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Hollow Man. The title refers to Caine, the turned-invisible man who became evil. It refers to him both literally (he became invisible) and figuratively (his soul is hollow).
  • Zodiac, a movie about the real life Zodiac Killer. The protagonist is a reporter who tries to find him.
  • The title of Mean Girls refers to Regina and her lackeys; Regina is the antagonist of the film. By the end of the film, it refers to the protagonist as well.
  • Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider OOO & W Featuring Skull: Movie Wars Core. Kamen Rider Core is the Greater Scope Villain of the film.
  • Event Horizon: The titular ship becomes alive after passing through Hell.
  • Jumanji, the game, must be beaten by the protagonists before it kills them.
  • Surprisingly Heat fits this trope, even though the title is about the good guys. Because the focus of the film is evenly divided between the villain (Neil) and the hero (Vincent) the title counts for this. The "heat" is a slang term for the cops, whom Neil needs to outsmart and run from to succeed in the end. It is personified in Vincent (Neil's antagonist), who eventually literally becomes the 'heat' for which Neil needs to drop everything he is attached to in 30 seconds flat to make his escape.
  • The eponymous Wishmaster is of course the evil Djinn, although he's not referred to by that name until he uses it to describe himself in the second movie.
  • Brutal dictator Idi Amin is The Last King of Scotland referred to in the film's title (which was a real life title he took for himself). The Scottish doctor Nick Garrigan is the protagonist.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we have Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, the Winter Soldier is just The Dragon to his employers in the former...
  • Der Wixxer is a German comedy where British police try to arrest the titular Wixxer, a masked supercriminal who started killing off notorious figures of the Brtish underworld. His name, for the record, sounds exactly like Wichser, which means "wanker."
  • Carol Reed's The Third Man refers to Harry Lime, the villain of the piece, and not its hero, Holly Martins.
  • The German, a Short Film centering on an air-to-air duel during World War II.
  • Alpha Dog refers to the kidnapping's ringleader Johnny Truelove, or rather what he imagines himself to be. He's actually an idiotic Psychopathic Manchild who sets up an astoundingly bad criminal scheme and ends up paying for it.
  • Akasha is the Queen of the Damned, a superpowerful Vampire Monarch whose bloodlust is so great that she feeds on everyone, mortals and undead alike.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse features the titular Apocalypse as the Big Bad.
  • Prince of Darkness: Subverted. The "Prince of Darkness" aka Satan is a malevolent disembodied presence who starts a zombie plague against the human protagonists. However, it turns out that he is merely the foot soldier of an entity far more terrifying and a threat to reality itself—the Anti-God.
  • Used both in- and out of universe in Ra One: Ra.One is villain both of the video game he escapes from, and the movie.
  • The Night Flier: The eponymous "Night Flier" is the vampiric villain of the story, alluding to the way he goes to airports at night with his private plane to claim victims.
  • The title Dr. Giggles comes from the nickname that the main villain's doctors gave him at a mental hospital.
  • Evil Dead: Rather obviously, the "Evil Dead" in the title are the Deadite antagonists, not the Badass protagonist Ash. Army of Darkness refers to Evil Ash's undead skeletal army.
  • Psycho: Norman Bates is the psycho, not the woman he murders in the shower (Marion Crane). Averted by the sequels, where Bates becomes a straight Villain Protagonist.
  • R.O.T.O.R. is named after the homicidal robot invented by the protagonist.
  • Master of the Flying Guillotine: The film is a sequel starring the One-Armed Boxer, so in some markets it's called One-Armed Boxer 2 or One-Armed Boxer vs the Flying Guillotine, but the most common title in America refers only to the villain.
  • The Phantom Menace, can either refer to Maul(the main Sith, a mysterious assassin) or Palpatine(the seemingly harmless senator, who is really The Chessmaster responsible for the entire problem). Later on, in Revenge of the Sith, the main characters are Jedi, the enemies of the Sith. The Empire Strikes Back, the protagonists are fighting the empire.
  • The Third Man: The man of the title is a mysterious witness to the apparent accidental death of Harry Lime, a friend of the protagonist, Holly Martins. It eventually turns out that the death was faked and the Third Man was none other than Harry Lime himself, who finally becomes Martins' antagonist. The film is also notable for how little screen time Orson Welles as Harry actually got, so the title almost doubles as a Secondary Character Title.
  • The Big Lebowski: Although the main character shares the surname Lebowski, he goes by The Dude. The Big Lebowski is one of a number of antagonists.

    Game Shows 

  • The Snow Queen: Gerda is the protagonist.
  • Andersen's The Shadow is also named for its antagonist.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Sauron is the eponymous Lord of the Rings, fought against by the host of protagonists. I Am Not Shazam applies, and is indeed referenced in-universe when Pippin calls Frodo "Lord of the Ring" and Gandalf tells him not to Speak of the Devil.
    • Note that in-universe, the title is meant to be a contraction of The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King.
    • This is a major difference between the two Swedish translations, where the old one called the series Härskarringen ("The Master Ring"), and the newer one bore the title Ringarnas Herre ("The Lord of the Rings").
  • Carmilla Laura is the protagonist.
  • Dracula: Jonathan Harker is the protagonist.
  • Inkheart. While this is not the villain's actual name, it is the description of him given by his creator: "...a man whose heart was as black as ink."
  • Tartuffe: Orgon is the protagonist.
  • James Bond
  • In Emperor Mage, the title is one of the titles of Ozorne, emperor of Carthak (and a mage, hence Emperor Mage), and the Big Bad of the Immortals quartet.
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl. The unnamed orphan is the protagonist.
  • Harry Potter
    • In The Prisoner of Azkaban, this trope is subverted. The prisoner is set up as a villain for the whole book, only for it to be revealed at the end that he was a good guy all along and that he had been framed by the real villain.
    • Also, The Half-Blood Prince ends with the Prince killing a major character and running off with Death Eaters. It's also a subversion, although that's not revealed until the next book.
  • Many of the novellas about The Shadow, by Walter B. Gibson in the 1930s.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: Disregarding the Draco in Leather Pants effect, Raoul and Christine are the protagonists in the original novel. Protagonist Title Fallacy applies.
  • Hannibal. Though he's turned into a Villain Protagonist by that point.
    • Red Dragon as well, although it's an indirect example. "Red Dragon" is actually a shorthand for the painting "The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed In Sun" that figures into the plot. Francis Dolarhyde, the villain, believes himself to be representative of it, stating "I am the Great Red Dragon" and "I am the Dragon" at several points.
    • Averted with Hannibal Rising, in which Vladis Grutas is the villain.
  • From Stephen King:
    • Children of the Corn: The enemies are children, and much of the action takes place in a cornfield.
    • Christine: The name of the evil living car.
    • Cujo: He's the dog of the protagonist, and he's infected with rabies, corrupting him into a savage beast.
    • 1408: 1408 is an evil Genius Loci room.
    • IT: "It" is literally the true name of the Big Bad.
    • Misery: "Misery" is the name of the Novel Within A Novel that serves as the villain's motivation.
    • The Mist: The creatures that plagues the heroes are created from the titular mist.
  • Moby-Dick. The protagonist is either Ahab or Ishmael, depending on interpretation.
  • Scorpia is the organisation Alex Rider has to stop. Ditto Snakehead.
  • The Keys to the Kingdom series features seven books, each named after one of the antagonistic Morrow Days. Subverted in Drowned Wednesday.
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara has a Big Bad Ensemble, and each book in the trilogy is named for the main villain it spotlights- Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr.
  • Three of the Redwall series books are named for the main villain or group of villains: Marlfox, Doomwyte, and The Sable Quean.
  • Some of the Discworld novels, such as Lords and Ladies (one of the "safe" names for the Elves) and Wintersmith.
  • Cthulhu Mythos: The Colour Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror, The Call of Cthulhu.
  • Darren Shan's The Demonata. Lord Loss, the first book in the series, also counts.
  • Rebecca, despite the title character being dead.
  • The Day of the Jackal: the title refers to the assassin villain.
  • Nicolae from the Left Behind series refers to The Antichrist villain character Nicolae Carpathia.
  • In the Goosebumps book Attack of the Mutant, the Masked Mutant is the titular character and primary antagonist of the Masked Mutant comic book series.
  • The Robber Hotzenplotz: Kasper is the protagonist.
  • Some of Karl May's books, e. g. Der Oelprinz ("The Oil Prince") and Der Schut.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Adventures of Superman: "The Human Bomb" is named after Villain of the Week Bet-A-Million Butler, who straps a bomb to himself and takes Lois hostage.
  • Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego/Where In Time Is Carmen Sandiego: In these edutainment Game Show versions, she is the antagonist. The protagonists are the children trying to locate her and whatever she just stole.
  • Extremely common with story titles in Doctor Who. For starters, there are 18 episodes bearing the word "Daleks."
    • This is because the episodes were originally intended to be read as "Doctor Who and the [Episode Title]"- the Target books follow this naming pattern, and "The Silurians" was entitled "Doctor Who and the Silurians" by mistake.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • "Charlie X": Charlie Evans becomes a Reality Warper and goes mad with power.
      • "The Enemy Within": Kirk is split into a good and an evil version. Guess which one is the enemy.
      • "The Devil in the Dark": Subverted. The silicon-based Horta was killing the miners to protect its eggs. The Enterprise crew heal it and communicate with it.
      • "The Doomsday Machine": It is a planet-eating machine from another Galaxy.
      • "The Ultimate Computer": M-5, the computer, is a typical A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
      • "The Tholian Web": The energy web is being created by the Tholians to destroy the Enterprise.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • "Skin Of Evil": The villain is a black liquid known as Armus.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • "Warlord": Kes's mind is taken over by the warlord in question.
      • "Nemesis": The Nemesis are a monstrous species of aliens engaged in a war of extermination against the humanoid natives. Subverted, as it's revealed to be a simulation run by the natives to brainwash new recruits, and the "warlike aliens" were the ones who helped rescue a kidnapped Chakotay.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise:
      • "The Andorian Incident": At the end, the real villains are revealed to be the Vulcans, but the Andorians are still the antagonist for the majority of the episode.
      • "Silent Enemy": The enemy is an alien ship which attacks the Enterprise.
      • "Marauders": The Klingons are the antagonists.
      • "The Augments": The Augments are the genetically altered humans led by Dr. Arik Soong.
  • Red Dwarf has a few of these; "Queeg", "Polymorph", "The Inquisitor", "Psirens", "Legion", "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", "Emohawk: Polymorph II", and "Epideme".
  • Hannibal: The cannibalistic Dr. Hannibal Lecter is the arch-villain; Will Graham is the protagonist.
  • Much like its source material, The Walking Dead deals with the protagonists fighting zombies in a Zombie Apocalypse whom they dubbed as "Walkers", as well as fellow survivors who killed their humanity due to the stress of, or to survive, said apocalypse. And compared to the comics, the latter is much more emphasized.
  • In The Mentalist, the title character might be mentalist Patrick Jane, but each and every episode has a title that somehow alludes to the color red, in reference to Jane's nemesis, Serial Killer Red John. After Red John is finally killed in season six, the remaining episodes are named after other colors.

  • Black Knight and Black Knight 2000: Black Knight is the antagonist on these two tables, and he likes to taunt and mock the player whenever possible.
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula: The goal is to kill Dracula.
  • Centaur: The goal is to battle a cyborg being known as "Centaur".
  • Gorgar: On this table the player is in the role of a barbarian warrior who ventures into the demon Gorgar's volcanic lair to try to rescue your lover and defeat him.
  • Hook: As with the movie, Peter Pan's antagonist is the star of the game.
  • Capcom's unreleased Kingpin is named after the mafia leader of the Big City.
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Sorcerer: The player challenges a being known as the Sorcerer to a magic duel on this table.
  • Varkon: The goal of the game is to attack the face of Varkon, which can be easily seen on the table.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Perro Aguayo Jr's Power Stable Los Perros Del Mal are the main antagonists of Perros Del Mal Producciones.

  • Destroy The Godmodder: The main villain of this forum game is the Godmodder. His goal is to make everyone playing Minecraft ragequit.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering does this a lot with sets. The last two blocks ended this way, with Rise of the Eldrazi and New Phyrexia.


    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, in which the titular mask is the Big Bad (or rather Man Behind the Man).
  • A fairly large amount of golden age arcade games, such as Donkey Kong, Sinistar, Centipede, Space Invaders, and Qix, were named after their villains.
  • Parasite Eve is referring to the main antagonist, the sentient Mitochondria Eve.
  • In Japan, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner is known as ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders, which is the name of antagonist Colonel Nohman's Orbital Frame.
  • Subverted in the first God of War. The Title Drop at the end makes it clear that Ares was not actually the title character, but Kratos, who takes his place.
  • While technically not a character, Metal Gear is the name of the eponymous bipedal tank the player faces at the end of the most games.
  • Metroid and Metroid Prime.
    • Subverted later as it turns out Metroids can be used for benevolent purposes as well. They're still dangerous when broken out of containment but as time goes on and the story has less to do with Metroids, it veers more towards Artifact Title.
      • While Metroids are fearsome enemies, they're not series antagonists except in the second game. They're high-level mooks (with no allegiance), often mini-boss level enemies, but hardly ever antagonists. The only thing that keeps the series out of Artifact Title territory is the Metroids' consistent status as Living MacGuffins; the threat of their existence let alone presence is enough to start wars over.
    • It was later retconned that Metroid can be translated into "Great Warrior" and represents the hero as well as the parasitic space jellyfish the space pirates harvest for galactic domination.
  • The original title of Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja was simply Dragon Ninja.
  • Hunt The Wumpus: The Wumpus is only one of two enemies in the game (the other being Goddamned Bats), but hunting him down is the sole objective.
  • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Doctor Robotnik is the final AI opponent, and the rest of the AI opponent roster consists of his creations.
  • The Diablo series is named for the titular archdemon, one of the setting's three Prime Evils and at the end of Diablo III, the personification of demonic evil in the universe.
  • Hydorah: The name of the Final Boss.
  • Castlevania is the castle in which Dracula lives, but in Japan, it's known as Devil's Castle Dracula, referring to both the castle and its lord.
  • Bio Metal: The name of the evil aliens the player fights in the game.
  • I. M. Meen. The protagonists are two children the child-hating man known as I.M. Meen had kidnapped and trapped in his maze.
  • Skullgirls, which refers to the girl who holds this title (as well as the title as a whole).
  • Snatcher, named after the race of bioroids that the player faces in the game.
  • Soul Edge, the first game in the series, was titled after the eponymous evil sword, which serves as the primary motivating antagonist of the entire series. The name was changed to Soul Blade in the US for trademark reasons; later games were named after Soul Edge's polar opposite, Soul Calibur. However, Soul Calibur's later actions seem to be bringing this trope back to the series...
  • World of Warcraft uses it regularly. In order, you stop the demonic invasion of the Burning Crusade and kill the eponymous Lich King in Wrath of the Lich King. Cataclysm also fits, in that you're stopping Deathwing, the perpetuator of the Cataclysm (although he also proclaims "I AM the Cataclysm!" at one point.) This appears to be averted with Mists of Pandaria, where the mists are just the explanation for how no one had found Pandaria before. Subverted when it's revealed that the mists of Pandaria were a manifestation of the Sha of Pride, one of the Eldritch Abominations plaguing the land. The usual pattern returns in Warlords of Draenor, said warlords are the ones who launch an invasion with the intent of world domination and must be stopped.
  • The Carmen Sandiego games (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?, etc.) are all named for the antagonist, an elusive criminal mastermind that you, as an unnamed investigator, must track down.
  • The Aveyond prequel game, Ahriman's Prophecy, refers to the Big Bad.
  • The Tale of ALLTYNEX: Referring to the evil super-computer who serves as the Big Bad of the entire series.
  • Wario's Woods is the only game with Wario's name in the title (aside from Mario and Wario, which lists the more obvious hero first... but not the actual player character) in which he is the antagonist. The protagonist is Toad, with support from Birdo.
  • Touhou:
    • In general, each game has a boss that shares a kanji or two with the game's title.
    • The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil: "The Scarlet Devil" is the nickname of the Final Boss.
    • Immaterial and Missing Power: This is a really roundabout reference to the Final Boss and her abilities.
    • Imperishable Night: Sounds like an aversion, as the protagonists are the ones responsible for the title incident, but can be interpreted as a reference to the immortals who drive the plot.
    • Fuujinrokunote  (Wind God Record): The wind god is the Final Boss.
  • Captain Silver: Captain Silver is the name of final boss, and his treasure the MacGuffin of the game.
  • Golvellius: Golvellius is the name of the final boss.
  • Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: LeChuck is the Big Bad of the entire Monkey Island series.
  • Wardner: Wardner is the name of final boss.
  • Neo Contra: Neo Contra is the name of the evil organization in the game's plot
  • Orcs Must Die: The majority of the mooks in the series are Orcs. The first game does have a non-Orc Big Bad, but the sequel is Big Bad-less; just an army of Orcs and other monsters to fend off.
  • Jones In The Fast Lane. Jones is the name of the optional, computer-controlled competitor.
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids is a strange case, as it is both a Protagonist Title (Rayman) and an Antagonist Title (Raving Rabbids). Furthermore, after being spun-off from Rayman, the Rabbids become less antagonistic (primarily due to being the only characters of note in their series) and thus less referred to as "Raving."
  • Nier was released as two version in Japan; Nier Replicant and Nier Gestalt. Nier's replicant is the player character, while Nier's gestalt (AKA: the Shadowlord) is the primary antagonist.
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, named after the Super-Persistent Predator that chases Jill throughout the game.
  • Jaws for the NES. Unlike the movie it's based on, the big shark here is explicitly named Jaws.
  • Crash Bandicoot series:
  • Trog is named for the one-eyed cavemen who are your main foes.
  • Guess who the Big Bad is in Five Nights at Freddy's.
  • Mad Dog McCree is another final boss example.
  • Dragons Lair plays with this trope. The title really refers to the final scene, although the Dragon referred to is the final boss.
  • Xybots is named for the enemy Mecha-Mooks.

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    Western Animation