: 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 Five-Bad Band
. 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
Just like the Smart Guy
, 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 leadership ability which is always more about people skills and charisma than just knowledge. As a result, the evil genius is usually never the top dog. But he's still closer to the top than most.
Prone to being Bad Boss
'd when the ridiculously circuitous plan
or if they are no longer needed and viewed as a liability
The Evil Genius
is part of the Five-Bad Band
dynamic, the Evil Counterpart
to The Smart Guy
. 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
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.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- 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
Films — Live-Action
- A very frequent minion type in the James Bond series.
- Theo and Hans Gruber in the first Die Hard.
- Palpatine from Star Wars.
- Grand Moff Tarkin from A New Hope could count, as he has the Death Star, and is a strategist with his own doctrine.
- And in the prequel trilogy era, Nute Gunray and the Separatist Council fit the role as they are the brain of everything, and later when they are no longer needed, they are killed by their boss.
- James McCullen and the Doctor in GI Joe The Riseof Cobra. At the end of the film, the Doctor becomes the Big Bad, Cobra Commander, and turns McCullen into Destro.
- Mystery Men's Casanova Frankenstein is an evil Disco genius. Even his archnemesis asks him for help with his quips. He wears a set of golden finger cuffs that carry sonic rays and hyper-lasers, and a pair of slippers that emit poison gas. And that's just what his enemy knows he's wearing while he just sits around in his dressing gown.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, has Quartermaster, a zombie who can always predict a future, and he is the one who guides Blackbeard to the Fountain of Youth.
- In A Fistful of Dollars, Ramon Rojo is a non-stereotypical example. In a family of archetypal Mexican banditos, Ramon is The Strategist, concocting the plan to steal the gold from under the Mexican army's nose, and orchestrating the eventual massacre of the rival Baxter family. He's also the only one to see through Joe, and keeps a wary eye on him throughout the film, eventually deducing that he is the traitor in their ranks.
- Soundwave plays the Evil Genius role in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: Dark of the Moon as an intelligence specialist as well as overseeing a decades-long scheme in the latter movie.
- Pete from Neighbors.
- Magneto. With truly amazing schemes. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, he was able to steal a file containing the details of the Sentinels, after reading it over he was somehow able to reprogram them while inserting metal tracks within the bodies.
- Toad from X-Men. He's even seen tampering with Magneto's machine.
- In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Professor Fassbender is a total subversion. A full-blown good guy who was kidnapped along with his daughter Margo by henchmen of former Chief Inspector Dreyfus, he was forced to build a doomsday machine and be part of Dreyfus' criminal organization against his will when Dreyfus used the professor's daughter as leverage. He still hated having to work for a madman bent on world domination. And probably things didn't get better after Dreyfus' defeat as he might have had to face charges for crimes committed against his will (like the destruction of the United Nations building), especially with Dreyfus himself too destroyed to be arrested (assuming the events of the later sequels never happened, including Dreyfus' Unexplained Recovery).
- Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter. He discovered and implemented the Horcrux system himself. Though he does carry the Villain Ball occasionally.
- Barty Crouch Jr. is a better example. He replaces a teacher, kills his father, and lures Harry away from potential protectors, and no one realizes until nearly the last moment what he's up to.
- Professor Moriarty, the Arch-Enemy of Sherlock Holmes, is described by Holmes himself as "a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker." Moriarty uses his brilliant mind to run his criminal organization,and, unlike many other evil geniuses, he is clearly the boss.
- In The Elenium, by David Eddings, Krager is this to Annias and Martel. Annias himself is this to Azash.
- In The Witcher, we have Vilgefortz. He is easily the most smart and powerful wizard in the North, and he let it get into his head.
- Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire, an educated, smart, and calculating dwarf sort of qualifies. However, he wasn't really an ally of House Lannister and he was enemies with Tywin. He embodies this trope in his own organization, in which he is also the Big Bad. He isn't really that evil though.
- The Artemis Fowl series is full of these, which makes sense, since the protagonist himself is a Teen Genius, and that requires antagonists to match. We have Artemis himself in book 1 (in his status as Villain Protagonist), Opal Koboi in book 2, Jon Spiro in book 3, Opal Koboi again in book 4, Minerva in book 5, Opal Koboi AGAIN in book 6. Turnball Root in book 7, and Opal yet AGAIN in book 8.
- Transformers: TransTech Shockwave, master of Playing with Syringes, is a self-proclaimed "morally ambiguous" genius.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe gives us Bevel Lemelisk, chief designer of the Death Star, although the actual designers were superintelligent alien children whose planet was being held hostage.
- Trapped on Draconica: Lucia's the one with the magical know-how for the evil beasts and teleportation spells and other magic to power Gothon's army.
- Several members of the Forsaken in The Wheel of Time, including Ishamael (specializes in philosophy, theology, and metaphysics), Graendal (specializes in personal manipulation) and Demandred (specializes in millitary strategy).
- The main character of Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain is a Mad Scientist who comes up with both most of the technology and most of the plans her team uses.
Live Action TV
- Most incarnations of Power Rangers and Super Sentai have one of these among the villains, with responsibilities commonly including mass-producing Mooks and the Monster of the Week, making monsters grow, and generally being the one who knows the most about the finer points of the magic/technology of the season. In Power Rangers, the first and probably the most iconic among fans was Finister, the series' first monster maker.
- Smallville had plenty of Evil Geniuses, with Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and Winslow "The Toyman" Schott running around. One interesting example was Tess Mercer, who started out as a villain, but eventually pulled a Heel-Face Turn. She became one of two Smart Guys on the heroic side, but still in traditionally evil areas, being The Chessmaster, a Manipulative Bastard, and The Cracker to Emil Hamilton's Medic and Gadgeteer Genius.
- Giller from Legend of the Seeker is both Mad Scientist and Evil Sorcerer; the two most typical archtypes that fall under this trope.
- Elizabeth from Wicked Science becomes a genius and she uses her new intelligence as a way to try to get money, fame and Toby's affections. The evil part is that she has little morals when it comes to use her inventions, including using a teleporter to sneak in Toby's laboratory so her goon can destroy/steal/sabotage whatever Toby is creating in the episode, or trapping him in a "Groundhog Day" Loop so he accepts the new universe in which he's trapped, where they are a couple and his friends hate him.
- Depending on whether you see them as Antiheroes or Antivillains, Hardison of Leverage Consulting & Associates is either The Smart Guy or The Evil Genius. His Evil Counterpart, Colin "Chaos" Mason is a non-ambiguous example being an Insufferable Genius and Jerkass extraordinaire who seems to view committing crimes as a way to stroke his own ego, and constantly betrays his own allies.
- Revenge: If you go by Alternate Character Interpretation, Mason Treadwell seems to take this role later in the first season, although he isn't fully aware of his role in Emily's scheming.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel:
- Pretty much all of the big bads both the Scoobies and Angel Investigations go up against - though definitely except Glory. Much straighter variations though are Warren Mears and Angelus. While both are Manipulative Bastards Warren is a more straight-up Mad Scientist, while Angelus is The Chessmaster.
- Toru especially - he builds a device capable of projecting a hologram, a giant Mecha-Dawn, and a device capable of casting a spell worldwide to Depower the Slayers.
- Breaking Bad is a Deconstruction of this in a more realistic setting.
- The campy 60's Batman series had lots of villains who were Canon Foreigners but one of the few who was entertaining enough to make return appearances was the Evil Genius Egghead, played by Vincent Price (who often commented publically how much he enjoyed playing the role).
- 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.
- Professor Hojo in Final Fantasy VII is this to President Shinra. After Shinra is killed, Hojo either remains the Evil Genius or gets promoted to Big Bad, depending on which side of the multi-faceted "who's responsible for Sephiroth's actions" debate you're on.
- 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 Heros 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 .
- Führer Katrina Seran from v2 of Open Blue was a strategist, Chess Master, and ship captain who became ruler of her country at the age of 20, possibly due to her own machinations.
- Belial in The Salvation War is one of these, and is the one Baldrick who actually inflicts serious damage on the humans.
- Doctor Steel. Naturally.
- The Global Guardians PBEM Universe has several. Doctor Simian, the Evil Mastermind, Brainchild, and Baron Malthus are the most notable examples.
- In the Whateley Universe, there are lots of Mad Scientist types. The ones who work for other supervillains tend to be characters like Chessmaster or Nimbus. The two of them nearly destroyed Whateley Academy on Halloween.
- Dr. Spectre from The Tyrannosaur Chronicles.
- Tattletale fills this role in Worm, though it should be noted that she's not supersmart, instead her power makes her a master of the Sherlock Scan, which she uses to great effect in social, combat, and political situations.
- 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.