Evil Genius


Spinnerette: Dr. Universe, wait! At least tell me something! You were a respected scientist, your work on the Cherenkovkirby Reactor was going to benefit all of mankind! Why would you turn into a supervillain? WHY?!
Dr. Universe: I read an Ayn Rand novel.

The Evil Genius is a standard character in the Five-Bad Band dynamic. They're usually rather high-ranked, commonly below The Dragon but above the Quirky Miniboss Squad. They are almost exclusively male except in fiction that either has an unusually high female ratio or a female motif for its villains. The Evil Genius is obviously intelligent, and is the one in charge of the Wave Motion Gun or shipping the nukes into the country or resurrecting the Lost Superweapon or what have you. This character is usually the one that will demonstrate to the Big Bad how to use a particular MacGuffin. They're usually a Mad Scientist, a military tactician, a specialist in a particular field (such as computers or electronics), or has ties to The Government (or a combination), so they're in the best position to deliver the goodies to the Evil Overlord. In medieval fantasy settings, this role is often played by an evil strategist, rogue/spymaster, or a dark wizard (provided they aren't also the Big Bad). Of course, for some reason or another, the Evil Genius is the most likely person to be the Big Bad.

Just like the Smart Guy (his Good Counterpart), this character is very frequently described as physically unimposing. Within the Five-Bad Band, the Evil Genius tends to rank lowest in the likeability department both In-Universe and with the fan base.

Although they tend to be the most intelligent, that intelligence usually never translates into political savvy, business acumen or leadership ability all of which rely more on street smarts, people skills and charisma than just technical knowledge. As a result, the evil genius is usually never the top dog. But he's still closer to the top than most.

Because an Evil Genius is not easily replaced and because he's not a realistic contender for the number one spot, his position is often more secure and less precarious than that of The Dragon or even the Big Bad. He usually doesn't need to worry about nasty things like Klingon Promotion eliminating him from the game.

Prone to being Bad Boss'd when the ridiculously circuitous plan inevitably fails or if they are no longer needed and viewed as a liability.

An Evil Genius who is also the Big Bad will frequently be The Chessmaster and maybe even a Magnificent Bastard. They can also show up as members of Quirky Miniboss Squads, but then are usually made significantly less effective by virtue of their quirkiness. They often are also Morally Ambiguous Doctorate. Some even qualify as Four Eyes, Zero Soul.

Not to be confused with the Diabolical Mastermind simulation game Evil Genius, which has its own page. Nor the books by Catherine Jinks, which involve a School for Scheming aimed at creating these.


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     Anime and Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • In Superman comics, Lex Luthor was originally this trope with shades of Big Bad. Post-Crisis the roles were inverted: Luthor was a Big Bad with shades of Evil Genius. He also has some other Evil Geniuses on his payroll.
    • The Intergang mob had Dabney Donovan as their Evil Genius.
    • The Cyborg Superman builds all of the technology used by the Sinestro Corps, including the Manhunter robots who recharge yellow rings and the space station they used as a base.
  • Captain Marvel a.k.a. SHAZAM's enemy Dr Sivana is another early textbook example of this. He's the guy in the picture above. When he's in teams, he finds himself here.
  • Captain America foe The Red Skull is often depicted this way.
  • Spider-Man has described Doctor Octopus as one, and seeing as Ock is a brilliant engineer and inventor, he fits, although unlike most, whenever he's part of a group, he's usually the one in charge.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles baddie Baxter Stockman can be viewed as a kind-of failed evil genius in most versions.
  • Darth Maladi from Star Wars: Legacy is both a Sith alchemist and the head of Sith Intelligence. She's generally portrayed as one of the most cunning Sith characters in the comic, but seems to enjoy her schemes and experiments more for their own sake than from the hope of doing anything constructive with them.
    • Also Vul Isen as he is believed to be a scientist. He never accepts anything without a proof.
  • In All Fall Down, IQ is VERY bitter about not being one of these anymore.

    Films — Animated 
  • Lord Shen from Kung Fu Panda 2 doubles as this and the Big Bad.
  • Jumba Jookiba from Lilo & Stitch likes to call himself this, although the "evil" part is eventually subverted. He was even smarter as an "evil genius child prodigy!" And adorable.
    Baby!Jumba: "Haha! Ewil! Ewil!"

    Films — Live-Action 


     Live Action TV 


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Manager turned wrestler turned manager "Pretty Boy" Bobby Heenan, while perhaps not thinking of himself as "evil", is insufferable on anything he believes to be correct and almost completely immoral. In WCW it turned out he didn't approve of the new World order though but true to the trope, was the only one to suggest Hulk Hogan might be a part of it, though he had been critical of Hogan since the AWA. Another irony is that Heenan had to drop out of school as a child due to a lack of money got his first managerial role after carrying wrestler bags to support his family. His loud mouth "Brain" persona may have been a front.
  • Lightning Hernandez was described as "an evil genius" on the Dominican Republic television program "International Wrestling" and was implied to be directing all the bad wrestlers and managers(but then, Jack Veneno was implied to be behind all the tecnicos).
  • In the remnants of the National Wrestling Alliance, "The Mastermind" Dave DuPont is an expy of Heenan, shifting between wrestler and manager.

     Tabletop Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Yawgmoth is this and the Big Bad, but in New Phyrexia, with its five-color theme, Jin-Gitaxis, the blue praetor, takes this role.
  • Warhammer 40K has Fabius Bile, former Apothecary of the Emperor's Children. Unlike most examples, he's very much imposing, being seven feet tall and wearing Power Armor, makes the Training from Hell and surgical procedures to make Chaos Space Marines even more restrictive, and has even declared that the four gods of Chaos have nothing left to offer him.

     Video Games 
  • Wild ARMs 1 had the Mad Scientist demon Alhazad. Wild ARMs 4 had part scientist, part strategist Augst.
  • Albert Silverberg of Suikoden III.
  • Izuka in Fire Emblem 10 (Radiant Dawn).
  • In Advance Wars Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike, Perky Goth Lash provides the bad guys with all of their advanced technology.
    • Caulder/Dr Stolos in Days of Ruin, who eventually becomes the Big Bad.
  • Hazama/Terumi Yuuki from BlazBlue. The most dangerous thing about his genius, however, isn't his trancendental knowledge of alchemy, which allowed him to create the titular Blaz Blue, the Black Beast, Arakune and some other unpleasant things, but rather his tactical genius, which, so far, has allowed him to outmaneuver an omniscient supercomputer with three minds (although he got help from the guy below). Then again, Hazama himself would qualify in any positions given in the Five-Bad Band.
    • If this is what Hazama entails, then there must also be a mention of Relius Clover, a brilliant researcher who sought only perfection and has performed horrendous experiments and plans (as shown during his EX Story where he practically played Sector Seven and Kokonoe for chumps to create his Ignis). He just got less time to shine than Hazama though his inclusion as a playable character and a story mode for him in elevated him a bit.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Vexen, a sterotypical Mad Scientist fits for this role. Then, in Kingdom Hearts II we have Luxord, a strategic gambler.
  • Galak Fyyar from Jedi Outcast.
  • In Epic Mickey, The Mad Doctor appears to be The Dragon for the Shadow Blot. Later however, it is revealed that the Shadow Blot himself is The Dragon for the real Shadow Blot (the other Blot revealed to be just a disconnected part). This moves our Mad Scientist, to the position of this trope.
  • Agnus fills this position for Sanctus in Devil May Cry 4. Although one could equally argue that he's The Dragon, as he appears to be the only member of the Order beyond Sanctus who truly understands what's going on, killing him is the last thing that needs to be done before the final confrontation, and the nominal Dragon is a Honor Before Reason Hero Antagonist.
  • The player character in Evil Genius.
  • Murzhor in Hero's Realm. He's got a bit of Masterof Illusion to boot.
  • Dr. Elvin Atombender from the Impossible Mission games is a genius computer programmer and former university professor. Although he has been unstable his whole life, he officially became criminally insane when a power failure caused the deletion of an artificial intelligence program that he had nearly finished. The player must stop him from hacking into the defense networks of the world's superpowers and starting a nuclear holocaust.
  • Dr. Vu in the SimCity and The Sims series.
  • Lunar: The Silver Star has Taben, who creates a mechanical army for the Vile Tribe and Magic Emperor.
  • Strider has Herzog Schlange in Strider 2 and Professor Schlange in the HD Strider remake. Both are (mad) geniuses in charge of building the bizarre mechanical monsters and weapons used by the Grandmaster's army. In the latter's case, he's charged over the Grandmaster's entire research complex, and seems to be only below Juroung in terms of ranks. Though this didn't save him from being offed in the end.
    • The Grandmaster himself has shades of this, though he leans more toward genetic engineering instead of robotics, in his quest to create a new race to which replace "the sons of old gods" and rule Earth as a true God.
  • Dr. Kimaira in Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven, notably because he's a Mad Scientist who creates wooden automatons with hidden machine-guns in medieval Japan.
  • Crow from Nefarious, who doubles as the playable Villain Protagonist.
  • Though most of Umbrella's scientists in Resident Evil counted as this, the most developed and well-known of them all was William Birkin. Not only was he one of the few scientists to not be completely unstable and insane, as he managed to have a (relatively) normal family life with a wife and child, but he was also responsible for creating both the T and G viruses which drove the entire plot up to Resident Evil 4. Albert Wesker's also pretty darned intelligent too, though his skills are more of the Chess Master / Magnificent Bastard variety rather than lab worknote .
  • Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag has Julien du Casse playing this role for the Templars, serving as the Order's main supplier of weaponry and ammunition.


     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • Tarantulas of Beast Wars is this all over the place.
  • Darkwing Duck gives as Bushroot, a member of the Fearsome Five group, which makes perfect example of Five-Bad Band.
  • Mandark from Dexter's Laboratory.
  • Exo Squad has a race of Evil Geniuses called Neo Megas.
  • Heloise on Jimmy Two-Shoes, whenever it suits her to work for Lucius.
  • Wraith in The Mighty Ducks, distinguished for mainly using magic when the Big Bad prefers technology.
  • Doctor Octopus goes the extra mile by having "Evil Genius" printed on the side of his coffee mug in The Spectacular Spider-Man. Although he is subordinate to no one.
  • Alistair Smythe works as an evil genius for the Kingpin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series
  • Two examples from Teen Titans- Gizmo is the resident Gadgeteer Genius of the HIVE Five, though his utter lack of people skills keeps him from rising any higher, while the Brain pulls double duty as Evil Genius and Big Bad of the Brotherhood of Evil.
  • Cartman himself from South Park is this in "Scott Tenorman Must Die", where he tricked Scott Tenorman into eating his parents after calculating a painstaking amount of detail, up to Cartman's friends betraying him.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Though he doesn't fit all of the character tropes, Jack Spicer (himself a self-proclaimed Evil Genius, with emphasis on self-proclaimed) calls Chase Young "the greatest Evil Genius in the world" and there's no denying that it's true. As for Jack himself - there's no denying that he is a genius, it's just whether or not he's actually, you know, evil.
  • In The Legend of Korra, both Varrick and Baatar Jr. (who's also The Dragon and Doctor Boyfriend) could be considered this for Kuvira's army, being Mad Scientists; when Varrick defects, Baatar takes the role full-time. Of course, it's more or less clear Baatar is much better than Varrick, a fact the latter is loathe to put up with.
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, there is Rhona Edwin, who was the best student at the Tomorrow Academy before Tony Stark showed up. After becoming convinced that Tony has been cheating, she takes the entire school hostage and forces Tony into a sort of game show from hell to prove his intelligence.
  • Dr. Stinger from Super Duper Sumos is an interesting example because, while none of the other villains showed him any respect at all, he was really the only one on the villains' side who ever actually did anything.
  • Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. A Ditzy Genius to be sure, but like the title characters, he's nevertheless smart enough to invent anything in only a few hours, even to the point of flagrantly defying the laws of physics.
  • Brain in Pinky and the Brain'... kinda; despite attempting to Take Over the World every night, he's not really evil.

Alternative Title(s): The Evil Genius