Generic Doomsday Villain

Yami: I'm having a little difficulty understanding your evil motives.
Marik: Silence! All you need to know is that I am evil, and I'm going to defeat you!

The Generic Doomsday Villain is an overpowering antagonist without a believable goal, motive or plan. They do not fancy themselves to be doing the right thing, they're not Driven by Envy, they have no personal vendetta against any of their victims, they are not in it for the money, they're not seeking Revenge for any real or imagined wrong done to them, they're not trying to satiate their excessive Pride, they're not even a sadist who enjoys hurting people. So, why are they spreading destruction and misery? Because... they're EVIL.

A story needs a Villain to drive the plot forward and to give the heroes something to foil. This villain needs to be powerful enough to stump the protagonists at least for a Story Arc. The Generic Doomsday Villain serves these purposes, but they're all power and no personality. You know you are dealing with a Generic Doomsday Villain when you can imagine them being replaced with a natural disaster or a completely different villain, and the plot would pretty much still work the same way.

It's possible for a villain to start out as a Generic Doomsday Villain, to establish their threat early on so the hero(es) have a reason for fighting them. Their backstory, motivations, and characterization can be revealed either in a focus episode or in a gradual manner throughout a series. Sometimes, a writer will use this intentionally, making a villain who is literally like a force of nature or a natural disaster, or with motives beyond human comprehension — not really intended to be a character in their own right, just something that happens which the heroes have to deal with.

A related concept is For the Evulz, where a villain does evil simply for the sake of it. This can easily be confused with a Generic Doomsday Villain, but For the Evulz as a motive more specifically emphasizes the villain as a sadistic asshole who gets off on their acts. A Generic Doomsday Villain will usually lack even that aspect to their personality, seeming to do evil for literally no reason because that's just what they do. Also don't confuse with Omnicidal Maniac. First, while a Generic Doomsday often is an Omnicidal Maniac, this trope is by no means limited to villains who want to destroy the world. Second, a Maniac's plan might not strictly make sense (say, being portrayed more as a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum, thus hampering their own survival), but their destructive motive is very real. Also compare the Complete Monster, whose motivation is that they're purely evil characters, while Generic Doomsday Villains don't get the characterization to say if this is the case.

Most bosses a player comes across in a video game are likely to be this, as they exist more as obstacles to the player than real characters.

See also Invincible Villain, who generally receive more characterization, but whose functional or actual invincibility causes them to also become defined more for the threat they pose to the hero. While similar, it should not be confused with Diabolus ex Nihilo, which is a powerful villain who comes out of nowhere to shake things up and promptly move off. The Outside-Context Villain may appear similarly powerful with as little motivation, but in their case the answers come before long, and it's established that their being unknown to the in-universe world at large is part of the threat. Contrast Visionary Villain.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Digimon:
  • Naruto has Kaguya Otsusuki aka the final villain of Naruto after hijacking Madara who is merely characterized as the source of all Chakra, an "unstoppable" Physical God that even the sage fears, the one responsible for the Uchiha's corruption and being almost literally nothing more than an obstacle for Team 7 to defeat and seal. We don't even know the reason for her to invoke the Infinite Tsukuyomi and turn everyone into White Zetsu. We do, however, get the briefest glimpse of a lamenting mother buried somewhere in her mind, but she's a power-mad, raging psycho more than anything.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Bottom and Black Hole of the second and third Pretty Cure All Stars movie series. They were practically the same villains: monstrous ancient evils seeking to obtain the MacGuffin of that movie by resurrecting previous Quirky Mini Boss Squad members and giving the girls a hard time so he could take over/destroy the world. They're also powerful enough to wipe out the collective teams (knocking them back into human form in the case of Black Hole) that they HAVE to use their movie-only Super Mode to defeat them. On the other hand, Fusion, the Big Bad from the first movie and New Stage, seems to have a bit more personality, isn't seeking any sort of MacGuffin, fights the girls on his own and just wants to unite the world as a Hive Mind.
    • Most of the villains in Futari wa Pretty Cure were this, with almost no characterization besides being evil.
  • Walpurgisnacht in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, who just shows up one day to wreck the city and leaves just as suddenly; she doesn't even fight the magical girls if they don't attack her first. Her only purpose is to provide the reason for Homura's endless time loops, and the real Big Bad is Kyubey. It's a Justified Trope due to the mindless nature of Witches in general.
  • The titular dragon from Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is much less of an actual villain and more of a force of nature enacting its apocalyptic rage, with no characterisation beyond the threat of its supreme power (read: nuking countries and deities without the need to move around).
  • Many villains from various Shonen Jump series Filler arcs and Non Serial Movies are lucky if they get even the flimsiest of motivations for what they're doing.
    • Broly, of Dragon Ball Z movies 8, 10 and 11 is one of the best examples of this. More powerful than any other character beforehand? Check. Spends all but the last five minutes of the movie utterly dominating every single thing the protagonists throw at him? Check. Little personality besides "raarrgrl Kakarot grrr"? Check. Mind you, Tropes Are Not Bad, as the notoriously Power Level-obsessed DBZ fanbase has embraced Broly with open arms since his first appearance.
      • Broly is far from alone in this regard. Unless their name is Beerus, the most complex your average DBZ movie villain gets is "I want revenge" - see Cooler in his first appearance, Raichi, Paragus, and Garlic Jr. Janemba, Android 13, Cooler in his second appearance, Hirudegard, Turles, Lord Slug, and Bojack don't even get that much.
  • Anubis in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light. No reason is given for why he wants to destroy the world. The Abridged Series lampshades this. If there is a reason, it's just that a god of death is supposed to end life, and 4Kids wanted a quick buck.

    Comic Books 
  • Typically very common in Crisis Crossover events, as writers and artists are quicker to show how powerful their creation is than to make it interesting.
  • The Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths has many of these qualities. No real personality, motivations or backstory, just ridiculous amounts of power in one package. Still, part of the concept is that he's so ridiculously powerful that it's difficult to so much as get his attention so there is some reasoning behind his Generic Doomsday Villain nature.
  • Doomsday, whose sole reason for being was the eponymous event in The Death of Superman. While previous Superman villains were usually really smart guys or evil robots or alien warlords or some other intelligent type to contrast Supes' superstrength (along with the rest of his Superpower Lottery), Doomsday was just raw unstoppable rage on wheels with no agenda outside destruction and couldn't be reasoned with. Most of his depth comes from the back story in later comics; Doomsday was established as a "guinea pig" that became both Nigh Invulnerable through adapting to withstand what defeated him and bloodthirsty for dying so many times to get that. In essence Doomsday is just a primitive, animalistic being - something which does not leave much space for personality. (In fact, the moment he gained a personality, he also inherited fear, which allowed Superman to defeat him almost effortlessly.)
    • In the Justice League cartoon he could talk normally and his origins were changed considerably (he's a corrupted clone of Superman, and not from space), but he's otherwise unchanged. He exists only to fight Superman and cannot be reasoned with, acting more as a plot device than a character.
    • Subverted in Smallville, which opted to balance out the mindless animal aspects of Doomsday by making him a Superpowered Evil Side rather than a standalone character. While this opened up some new storytelling avenues and made him deeper than his usual plot device threat, it appears to have been seen by the fandom as a form of Menace Decay and the idea has not been revisited, with later depictions (like the one below) sticking firmly to Doomsday's "roots", such as they are, instead.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has Lex Luthor bringing Doomsday to life because he figured this "Kryptonian abomination" could defeat Superman - "If man won't kill God, the Devil will do it!". And all the beast does is try to destroy anything in his path, providing an excuse for Supes, Batman and Wonder Woman to join forces.note 
  • These pop up now and then in Invincible. Unusually, they are treated by the writer with all the gravity they deserve: very little. One notable one was vanquished by all the guest stars and supporting characters in the series working together while the series protagonist, Mark, was unavailable. It was a Crisis Crossover reduced to the B-plot of one or two issues of one title.
  • Onslaught was more powerful than anything in X-Men history, took nearly all the Marvel heroes to beat, had no overarching plan other than "blow shit up" and existed solely to set up "Heroes Reborn", which was later retconned back anyway. Onslaught did have a back story as a psychic entity born from the combined mentality of Professor X (mutants and humans should co-exist) and Magneto (humans will never accept mutants). So he wanted to turn everyone in the world (and later the universe) into a hive mind with himself in control. However, many of the details behind his character were scattered amongst various Marvel comics titles (requiring someone to read all the comics tied into the Onslaught saga for all the details), or crammed into a book released solely as a summary for the Onslaught saga, complete with notes and information on what was planned for the saga from the writers themselves. For some, Onslaught's Generic Doomsday Villain nature made the writers' attempts to focus on Onslaught's plan changing from "kill all the humans so mutants can prosper" to "kill everyone in the world for no reason" much less dramatic that it was intended to be.
  • Spider Man's equivalent to Doomsday would probably be Morlun, a villain introduced by J. Michael Straczynski during his run, who had almost no real backstory to speak of, and his exact nature was never revealed. Morlun's personality was pretty bland as well, since he really only wanted to "eat" Spidey and stated that it wasn't personal. For some unfathomable reason, this was the first time a villain had ever made Spider-Man angry, even when guys like the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus had kidnapped, murdered or otherwise threatened his loved ones. It was not until Spider-Verse that his backstory, personality and motivation were established.
  • The Suicide Squad once had to face one of these in the form of Brimstone, an Apokoliptian behemoth that combined this trope with Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. An artificial monster created from a "techno-seed", Brimstone believed itself to be a fallen angel that had to cleanse the earth of "false gods" (read: superheroes) but aside from this delusion had no character at all to speak of. In its death throes the beast called for Darkseid, who callously dismissed it as unworthy before revealing to his henchman Desaad that the only reason he'd even created it in the first place was to "remind the humans they are never far from my thoughts".
  • The Transformers: Stormbringer series turns the Decepticon Thunderwing into the "force of nature" variation of this trope. After he creates his "polydermal shell", the grafting process goes awry, burning out all of Thunderwing's sentience and higher brain functions, which causes him to become ultra-powerful, and go on a rampage across war-torn Cybertron, forcing both Autobots and Decepticons to temporarily ally to try and halt its advance. In the end, Thunderwing is only stopped when Cybertron swallows it whole, a process which only hastens the planet's death (which Thunderwing himself saw coming and the polydermal grafting procedure was an ill-conceived attempt to try and weather the storm it would bring, ironically turning him into the final nail in Cybertron's coffin).
  • The 2013 run of Uncanny X-Men gives us Matthew Malloy, an all-powerful mutant and the main menace in the "Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier" story arc. Malloy's creator Brian Bendis was clearly trying to avoid this by giving him a sympathetic background, but said background was only revealed by other characters and Malloy himself had zero personality to speak of, making him fall into this anyway. One of the first things Bendis had him do was inflict The Worf Effect on Exodus, one of the most powerful mutants in the entire X-Pantheon, just to show the reader how badass he was. But his lack of any rational personality left the X-Men unable to reason with him, and the storyline ended with them dispatching Malloy via Ret Gone because that was literally the only option they had left.

    Fanfics 
  • My Little Unicorn:
    • Titan. He has great power and wants to destroy Unicornicopia so he can spread chaos and destruction over reality, just because. His dialogue is dripping in clichés and there is nothing unique about his appearance at all. Being Stupid Evil and going with the first Saturday morning cartoon plot his minions come up with doesn't help matters.
    • Queen Chrysalis and Fratello in My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic II.
    • King Sombra in My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic III.
    • Presumably, The Dark King will be this in My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic IV.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Hokuto's Evil Plan in Acts III and IV amounts to simply resurrecting Alucard and just sitting back to watch as Alucard destroys everything, including Hokuto himself. Part of it is because Hokuto is an adamant nihilist who firmly believes that all life, human and monster alike, is evil and meaningless, and part of it, according to Tsukune and the others, is that he's just out of his mind.
  • Sben from Yognapped. He has no goal in the first installment other than completely tearing Minecraftia to the ground and framing Simon and Lewis for it. The Alpha Griefer, another Big Bad, calls him out on being nothing more than a murderous monster in a confrontation that ends with Sben taking a bullet to the back. When he comes back in the third installment with unmatched speed and strength, he becomes more of a tragic character.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Justice League: War incarnation of Darkseid has all the power one would expect from one of DC's most charismatic and terrifying villains, but that's about it. Presumably, the writers were banking on people already knowing who he is, since he gets absolutely no explanation as to who he is or why he particularly wants to conquer Earth to begin with. He spends most of his screen time beating up the Justice League, until he gets sent back to his home dimension when it's time to end the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • American Sniper gives us The Butcher, who lives up to his name. He kills civilians with a power drill and no motivation is presented whatsoever. He barely talks, too. And although the film claims to be based on a true story, the Butcher was made up for the film.
  • The villain of Cobra, nicknamed the Night Slasher, is a Serial Killer who has assaulted and killed many women with a knife he can use to break through an ordinary door with one stab. He leads and performs his killings with the "New Order", a cult that wants to create a society where only the strong survive. It is staffed with people from all walks of life who are willing to do anything for a serial killer, up to and including slaughtering a small town just so no one can stop them from getting rid of a single witness and her protectors. However, the movie does not give the Night Slasher or the New Order a backstory to explain their motives, any apparent personalities other than being unrepentantly evil—or, in the Night Slasher's case, a real name. In the end, he and his gang appear to exist just to be a band of criminals evil enough for Cowboy Cop Lt. Cobretti to dispatch by the dozen.
  • In Dracula Untold, the Elder Vampire gives almost no reasons for his stated goal of conquering the world (though he does suggest that part of it is to get revenge on the one who betrayed him and another is simply that he has very little else to do for all eternity). Mehmet, likewise, acts like a dick to Vlad for very little reason. He even states at one point that he sees very little value in Wallachia.
  • While even the most generic slasher movies give an explanation for their killers' motives to murder people, Final Exam has none of that. The killer in that film is just some guy with a knife who slaughters college students. He doesn't even have a name.
  • Simon Moon, the Brutish Serial Killer of the Chuck Norris thriller The Hero And The Terror. The eponymous "Terror" barely appears onscreen, doesn't talk, and is never given a motive. They throw in a brief exposition scene where a psychologist speculates about a Freudian Excuse, but since Simon doesn't speak it's never clarified either way. It's also said that Simon is actually incapable of higher thinking, so presumably he doesn't even understand that what he's doing is wrong, but what's important is that he's "pure evil" and Norris has to stop him. He could essentially be replaced with a shark and the movie would have been no different for it.
  • The villain from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has a generic doomsday agenda (provoke nuclear war, destroy planet) without a motivation deeper than being some sort of insane A-bomb mystic. His Motive Rant plus a deleted scene indicates he believes mankind will eventually keep building more and more powerful WMDs until it destroys itself completely, therefore he wishes to create a "survivable" nuclear conflict to scare the remains of mankind into never doing it again.
  • Ivan Drago of Rocky IV has a punch that could crumple metal, about five short lines, and no apparent motivation other than being Russian and wanting to be the best. Compared to Rocky III's Clubber Lang, who wasn't exactly deep but had a lot of personality, Drago kind of sticks out. Notably, we're told his punch strength (2000psi) multiple times, but we know almost nothing about his backstory.
  • Russ Thorn in The Slumber Party Massacre has no personality, or backstory that would give him some sort of motivation for the things he does. He's just some psycho who killed people in the past, got locked up, escaped and is now killing again.
  • Shinzon from Star Trek: Nemesis. His reasoning seems to consist of "Well, I'm the villain of this movie, so I guess I better mentally rape Troi and destroy Earth." The extreme actions that actually relate to his supposedly well-intentioned goals occur entirely in the opening minutes of the movie: as he was raised by the Remans, he understandably doesn't like their status as the Warrior-Slave Race of the Romulan Empire. But when he assassinates the entire Romulan Senate and installs himself as the new dictator... he's already solved all the Remans' problems. At that point his only real explanation for wanting to destroy Earth is to prove the Remans' superiority over the Romulans and show the galaxy that their Romulan empire is not to be messed with which is somewhat unclear. For a poorly explained reason (to prove to everyone that the Remans are to be taken seriously), he has a super battleship way more advanced than every ship it comes up against. He also got a planet-destroying superweapon from... somewhere. Like a few other entries, Shinzon's backstory was fleshed out more in the (usually non-canon) novels that reveal his original reasoning, why he's trying to destroy Earth, where he got the snazzy ship and where that superweapon came from.
  • Among Star Wars villains, Darth Maul is the prime example of this trope. He barely speaks throughout the entirety of The Phantom Menace, mostly existing to serve more as an obstacle than a character. As the lightsaber duel he took part in proved so memorable, this had fans complaining about his wasted potential.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), The Shredder wants to rule New York City by means of a biological toxin that would instantly gain recognition from governments all over the world when they learn about it on the news. New York would've just been his first step if he plans on expanding from there. Sacks, on the other hand, is just looking to make a profit.
  • In another example where Tropes Are Not Bad, there's the alien from the original The Thing. Its motivations are never explained, nor are intentions. If it's hostile, or simply acting in self-defense, or has some other motive that doesn't even make sense to us is never made clear, since the film focuses on the people desperately trying to stop it, and it's all the more frightening for it.
  • Malekith the Accursed in Thor: The Dark World is out to destroy the universe and return everything to darkness. Why? Because light annoys him and he wishes it was gone. He's less a character and more a plot device to justify having Thor and Loki team up. Apparently they had intended to flesh out Malekith's character through additional scenes (according to Christopher Eccleston, his actor) but it was excised from the film proper.
  • You like the destruction they cause, but don't much care about them? Sounds like a C-list Kaiju. The better ones have some motivation and / or are oddly sympathetic, but the ones that never appeared in more than one movie are pretty much this. Whether it's a bad trope, of course, depends on how cool the destruction is.
    • The original Mecha Godzilla is a justified case: it's a robot built for destruction, and thus doesn't have a personality besides being programmed to follow orders and come up with the best plan to win a fight.
  • In Fantastic Four (2015), Doom's reasoning for going bad is... unclear, and his goal itself effectively amounts to "blowing up the world".

    Literature 
  • Rodney Casares from the Peter Clines book Ex-Heroes. He randomly turns up with the power to control the zombies, to survive the zombification with his own intelligence intact, and with enhanced physical abilities and stature he never had in life. The most that's ever explained about him is that he used to be a random gangbanger and that he was one of the first victims of the disease, but he is otherwise completely unique and exists for no reason other than to present a massive threat to the main cast.
  • A classic example would be Professor Moriarty of Sherlock Holmes. He's introduced in the last chapter of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and is talked up to be Holmes's Arch-Enemy who is supposedly his intellectual equal, even though we never see evidence of this. He was also said to be "the Napoleon of crime", and had a hand in many of Holmes' previous capers. In this particular case, he was behind a conspiracy bigger than anything Holmes had tackled before, and it ended up supposedly costing Holmes his life. And yet he had little page time and no personality to speak of, only defined by the threat he posed. Of course, he became the Breakout Villain and has since been more fleshed out in adaptations and spin-offs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The First Evil wants to spread evil all over the world, because it's Made of Evil and thus it likes evil. This gets bonus points for being an Informed Ability; we are told repeatedly it cannot be fought directly, and yet does damned little in the onscreen villainy department.
    • Earlier episodes of Buffy play with the trope quite a bit. In "The Zeppo", the generic villains are never given enough screen time to explain their motivations as that's part of the joke. In "Doomed", like most of the show's baddies, they're a metaphor for something else. Most notably, in "Becoming", Angelus decides to destroy the world just because he can, and so Spike betrays him because he doesn't see how he would gain from the end of the world.
    • Ditto the Beast from Angel. His status as this becomes a plot point, when they realize he's not smart enough to have come up with his plan on his own, and is serving someone else.
    • The Judge is an ancient demon with the power to burn the humanity out of people, which is lucky as burning the humanity out of people is pretty much all he seems interested in doing. The rest of the time he just kinda sits around, waiting to destroy the world while more interesting villains hog the spotlight.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Criminal Minds, despite its main premise being about discovering Serial Killers' Freudian Excuses, never reveals the motive(s) of the Roycewood family in Season 5's "Mosley Lane". The most we do know about them is that they've spent over a decade utilizing their mortuary business to elaborately abduct, abuse, and murder countless children — only sparing the very first one because they need an extra accomplice in their crimes — and they're both killed off in different fitting ways by the episode's conclusion.
  • The Flash (2014): The Big Bad of Season 2, Zoom, is little more than a nigh-unstoppable demon who forces lesser villains to force Barry to get faster.
  • Arthur Petrelli from Heroes is a conscious attempt to avert this, with him stealing Peter's Physical God powers and not using them to cause wanton destruction. Though his lack of motivation or any real plan land him into this trope anyway. He existed to steal Peter's power and as soon as he did that he faded into the background and sat around waiting for Sylar to kill him.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The Replicators. Since most of them are machines made out of Lego blocks, they have no personality whatsoever. All they do is multiply. And they just. Won't. Stay. Dead. Though this changed when the show introduced the Human Form Replicators (including the Asurans), which actually had personalities and in some cases became recurring characters. Some were even somewhat sympathetic.
    • Anubis, known as the most evil of all Goa'uld, his goal goes beyond wanting to rule over the galaxy. He literally wants to wipe out all life in it, using a weapon of the Ancients that sends out a wave that can do exactly that. And since he is practically the only being that would survive this, well... No reason is ever given for this (Anubis doesn't elaborate any further than stating that it's part of his "grand design"), other than that he's evil, although Daniel theorizes he may want to rebuild things in his own design (since the Ancient device Anubis planned to use was also capable of creating life... in fact, that was its original purpose).
  • Super Sentai:
    • Tokumei Sentai Go Busters has the villain of its second solo movie. Azazel is a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere with no connection to Messiah and just wants to destroy the world because... uh, because... we'll have to get back to you on that one. He basically exists to kick off a plot that isn't much about him, much like the Trope Namer. As tongue-in-cheek as the whole film was, you're probably supposed to laugh at this guy who comes out of nowhere calling himself "Azazel the Great Demon King" and trying to destroy the world because he's evil and that's what evil guys do.
    • Some seasons of Power Rangers, especially the first few seasons, to the point where some episodes involved the villains trying to conquer Earth, and others involved their attempts to destroy it... either possibility seemed to satisfy them equally.
  • Non from Supergirl is this as a result of Real Life Writes the Plot. The original villain Astra had to be written out due to the actress's Broadway commitments. Non was merely Astra's Dragon and picked up the reins from her. While Astra had clear motives—namely revenge against her sister—it's never said why Non wants to activate Myriad.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Surtr, the fire giant who is responsible for the end of the world in Norse Mythology, is probably the Ur-Example. He doesn't appear in any myths except the one that tells of Ragnarok, where he and his armies invade Asgard, he kills Freyr and engulfs the world in fire, and even that myth gives him little description or characterization. Still, while he may not appear, he is referred to in numerous other tales of both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. And he's hardly the only giant lacking character depth.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Prior to the Attitude/Monday Night Wars era, the "generic doomsday villain"-type storyline was used heavily in the World Wrestling Federation to build up a heel wrestler toward a world title shot against Hulk Hogan. Villains such as King Kong Bundy, Big Bossman, Akeem/One Man Gang, Earthquake and others spent would spend several weeks on TV beating up jobbers and mid-card wrestlers before their big match against Hogan ... and invariably they would all lose. note  The outcomes of these matches became so predictable it was as though these fearsome bad guys were simply generic bad guys who, after screwing with Hogan, weren't so big and bad after all.
  • Between 2002-2006 in WWE, it was incredibly hard to sum up Triple H's character beyond "World Champion", "Stephanie McMahon's husband", and "sledgehammer aficionado". Oh, and "Complete Jerkass."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Delta Green has the Cult of Transcendence come close to this trope. Their basic goal is to 'uplift' humanity into a proper Mythos race, an existence without concern for order, compassion, pain or pleasure. They do this by subtly sabotaging human society and corrupting people anyway they can. They're oddly philosophical about it, too. Deconstruction or Reconstruction? Either way, their entry lampshades the fact that their basic lack of humanity means they act like this trope, and do not care if they win or lose, which what makes them so dangerous.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Leviathan, from the supplement Elder Evils, is a serpent made of the leftover chaos of the world. If it wakes up, the world will cease to exist. Interestingly enough, it's Chaotic Neutral, not evil - destroying the world is simply what it does. The campaign layout provided has the "good ending" condition being putting it back to sleep, not killing it, as it's literally thousands of kilometres long and hence not capable of being fought by human-sized characters. Besides, killing it might cause it to destroy the world in its death throes. And if that didn't happen, its death might still irreparably damage the balance of order and chaos and destroy the world anyhow.
    • The Tarrasque. It's a gigantic, kaiju-like reptilian beast that wakes up, wrecks and/or eats everything, and then goes back to sleep. Wizards of the Coast have never committed any one backstory to canon, but most of them are variations of an extinct civilization conjuring a destroyer through forgotten magic.
  • The Big Bad Ensemble of the Old World of Darkness tend to be treated similarly, but then again, the manifestation of any of them was explicitly a sign of the apocalypse.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Necrons were introduced as a faction of skeletal androids with a grudge against organic life and that was pretty much all they did: kill, kill, kill without any sort of personality, much less dialogue. Their 5th Edition codex, however, added a more detailed backstory to the army (albeit one very similar to Warhammer's Tomb Kings), so while the average Necron warrior might be a mindless drone after so many millennia of being repeatedly killed and repaired, the ruling caste consists of actual characters with quirks and motivations beyond "kill all humans". As always, there's debate whether the new background is better or worse than the Necrons being a race of mysterious, silent killers.
    • The Tyranids to an extent. They're a Horde of Alien Locusts that shows up, eats everything on a planet and uses the bio-mass to make more Tyranids to repeat the process on the next world. Certainly dangerous, certainly terrifying, but they're essentially animals. The most nuance to their backstory is the suggestion that they're attacking our galaxy because something even worse is chasing them.
    • The Orks fight and kill things. Why? Because... well, what else are Orks supposed to do? Fortunately their lack of motivation doesn't prevent them having personality, often functioning as the comic relief of the setting. In their case they were deliberately engineered to be this way by the Old Ones.

    Video Games 
  • All the Big Bads that has appeared in the Aveyond series have rather vague motives for doing what they do. Why does Ahriman want to destroy the world? Why does the Snow Queen or rather, Heptitus, want to freeze the world? Why does Gyendal want to enslave the humans? Why does Qetesh wants a Mist Wraith sacrifice? Well, because reasons, and that's all you'd get from them.
  • The modern shooter genre has been accused of producing these frequently (usually in the form of Russia), but Solomon of Battlefield 3 probably takes the cake out of all of them. While Zakahaev and Makarov had the less-than-original motivation of restoring Russia's status as a superpower, Solomon wants to nuke Paris and New York and start World War III because... ummm... he's evil?
  • The Final Boss and ultimate threat of Battle Moon Wars is a devil. Yeah, that's it. Doesn't help that it's quite the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. They could have at least given it a name. Also, as the game is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, it also falls victim to "More powerful than anyone they've faced before!" Syndrome.
  • Hades Izanami from BlazBlue is often considered one due to her lack of any real motivation other than "kill everyone because she's a God of Evil", and is somewhat of a Replacement Scrappy for Hazama/Terumi and Relius. Not to mention that in the sequel she spends Act 1 of the three-part Arcade in the backstage without any further development, leaving her Dragon, Phantom/Nine, to do most of the fighting and guess what, the first part turns out to be Nine's plan which can be considered deeper than her generic doomsday. This has started to change with the release of Act 2, though time will tell if she will be fleshed out in motivation as much as fighting ability.
  • The Federation of The Americas from Call of Duty: Ghosts are often accused of being this. Throughout the entirety of the campaign, they appear to have no overall goal over than destroying the US and murdering American civilians seemingly just to remind the players that they're the bad guys. Not helped by the fact that the only named character on their side who has more than two lines is the very American Gabriel Rorke, (already universially considered the lamest badguy in the series for other reasons) or that they happened to be sandwiched between the much more memorable Raul Menendez and Johnathan Irons.
  • Lavos from Chrono Trigger fits for only being a (mostly) non-sentient Planetary Parasite that Came from the Sky, and after millenia feeding, woke up and destroyed the planet. Despite driving the plot, it's only a "giant tick" Bigger Bad the protagonists will face once they feel ready. Chrono Cross diverges by making the aftermath of Lavos' defeat enabling him to become a full-on Eldritch Abomination bent on obliterating all of existance.
  • The GLA in Command & Conquer: Generals. While most villain factions in Command & Conquer has some fleshing out to explain their motives, even if said motives are being hungry for power, GLA's explanation, fighting back foreign imperialism, doesn't even make sense given that all they attempt to do in the story is cause destruction and don't show regard for human life in any shape or form. The fans didn't mind this much, given that China and America's characterization was almost as shallow, and the game have such a bare bones story meant the GLA's lack of characterization was more a result of how little effort was put into the story than anything else.
  • While most bosses in Devil May Cry have either at least a bit of personality, or engaged in a banters with Dante, all of the bosses in the second game (sans Arius) have neither any personality nor speak any line whatsoever including the Final Boss Argosax. Essentially, they're just another enemy for Dante and Lucia to defeat.
  • The Archdemon and darkspawn of Dragon Age are a rampaging force of nature, but they frame a backdrop for more complex and nuanced character conflicts, and only after confronting the antagonists native to Fereldin can the player wrap up the overarching invasion-of-evil epic. The darkspawn are partly motivated by the need to eat (often people) and reproduce, by abducting women and transforming them into broodmothers. They gain more depth in Awakening; one faction of the "Awakened" wants to awaken the rest of the Darkspawn and create a place for themselves in the world, though they are hampered by Blue and Orange Morality. Another faction follows an insane Death Seeker who resents her new sentience because it cuts her off from the song of the Old Gods.
  • Alduin in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. His backstory states that he's a god that takes part in the destruction of the world so a new one can be born, but he never displays any significant personality traits beyond his Pride and being evil.
  • Final Fantasy's early instalments tended to feature these, with Giant Space Flea from Nowhere final bosses with absolutely no characterisation beyond this appearing after you kill them. They got a lot less common after the popularity of the relatively well-developed Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, but still show up after that point, often because of Grandfather Clause nostalgia or Troubled Production problems.
  • Grima from Fire Emblem Awakening. He's a close expy of a villain from an older Fire Emblem, has no motive or personality besides causing the apocalypse For the Evulz, and his only bit of background raises more questions. For comparison, the villains of the NES Fire Emblem games were more developed.
  • The Shivans in FreeSpace seemingly exist just to be a nigh-unstoppable force for the Terran-Vasudan Alliance to repeatedly bash their heads against in a desperate attempt to defeat, with no reason yet given (and with the ultimate fate of the series, likely never will) for their actions (then again, the Shivans aren't exactly the talkative sort.)
  • Deathborn in F-Zero GX's Story Mode, who wants to possess both the F-Zero Champion belt and the Underworld Champion belt, using the immense power gained from owning both to destroy the galaxy because...? The Bigger Bads of Story Mode, the Creators, are even worse in this regard and more vague in both their motives and actual goals.
  • The Unbound in late Geneforge were designed to spread a wave of equal-opportunity devastation over the world, with the expectation that the Shapers would be caught off-guard and demolished while the Rebels bunkered down and waited it out. By the last game, they're everyone's problem.
  • Guild Wars:
    • Nightfall, Warmarshall Varesh wants to wake a dark god and its legion of demons, unleash Torment upon the world, and bring about eternal night and suffering because... hmm.
    • The elder dragons in the Guild Wars 2. They are gods that wreck destruction because, because...
  • Halo:
    • The Flood, a mix-zombie plague / Eldritch Abomination has no clear motive, if they ever really needed one, in the games aside from consuming everything. It's not until the book Halo: Silentium that they finally get a clear motive: revenge on the Forerunners for wiping the Precursors, their creators.
    • In Halo 3, the Didact was introduced in the backstory, a morally conflicted Forerunner who wanted to save the galaxy without sacrificing billions for thousands. But he only ended up escalating the conflict, and had to be urged by his wife to take the extreme route even if it would mean her death alongside all the victims. The Forerunner Saga further deepened him, as The Obi-Wan to the hero who has some old wounds with humans, but wants the best for all people. But in Halo 4, he's a Darth Vader Clone in skull-armor of evil who wants to Kill All Humans because racism. Supplemental material has since had to reconcile the two portrayals, with explanations as convoluted as "the good Didact was a clone of the original who turned evil."
  • Lampshaded in Injustice: Gods Among Us. "I live to kill you!" and nothing else.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising features two: The Aurum, a Horde of Alien... uh, bees that "are created from, and return to, nothing." and The Chaos Kin, a pure manifestation of evil that takes control of a host and slowly devours its soul. Both are presented as serious threats; the former requiring all the warring factions to do an Enemy Mine and team up, and the latter being a major Knight of Cerebus that causes the game to take an unexpected plunge into Darker and Edgier territory.
  • Several of the villains in the Kirby series, like Nightmare, Dark Matter and Zero, Drawcia, and Necrodeus are this, since they're presented as the villains for attacking Kirby's home planet with little revealed motivation or characterization to go with it.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Bellum in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, who despite being dangerous, seems to be only as intelligent as a wild animal.
    • Malladus from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks is this for similar reasons. He doesn't have any personality, and his purpose seems to be that of an Expy of Ganon to get around his death beforehand. It doesn't help that he has almost no screen time and only a few speaking lines.
    • Ganon tends to be this depending the game, often when he hijacks the plot and thus doesn't have much time to get any characterization. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword gives a reason for this: As the incarnation of Demon King Demise's hatred for Link and Zelda, he literally exists solely to plague the two as long as reincarnations of them exist.
    • Onox in Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons, unlike Veran in Ages, displays very little personality beyond destruction For the Evulz.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Averted with the Skull Kid who is wearing the titular mask for most of the story, but played straight by the mask itself, which is revealed to be sentient near the end of the game.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: Zant plays this straight at first, but later subverts it, when it's revealed to be a facade, and he's actually a Psychopathic Manchild who is upset over his people's imprisonment and not being chosen as their ruler, and usurped the throne after being granted by power by Ganondorf.
  • Odio in Live A Live is a reincarnating force of destruction. At any point in time there would be a hero to rise up, Odio will manifest during that time, causing terror, death, and annihilation, and directly oppose the hero. Odio will always bear a similar-sounding name that fits with that time period (such as Odi Iou for feudal Japan or Odie Oldbright for late 20th century America), making him easy to spot for the player, but the idea is that while the heroes may consistently defeat Odio, it will always rise up again in some other time. ... Except no, he isn't that at all-he's actually the mind of Fallen Hero Oersted, who has very well-defined motives. The reason he opposes the protagonists, as it turns out, is because he takes umbrage at their idealism and wants to prove a point to himself.
  • The Dark Star from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. An odd example in that, although it shows the same traits as other generic doomsday villains, these very traits are played in a way that make it seem unknowable and eldritch. Nobody knows where it came from or how it came to be. Someone dug it up one day and instantly realized that whatever this... thing was, it was bad news. Things got bad enough that the nigh-omnipotent, wish-granting Star Sprites had to get involved to seal it back again. It desires the end of the entirety of existence and instantly made some major progress towards that goal the instant it regained its full power. It is so utterly, purely evil that Mario and Luigi almost choke to death just by being near it. An excellent example of Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Justified in the case of Omega of Mega Man Zero 3. He's a Reploid simply programmed to kill and cause nothing but destruction.
  • The Big Bad of Mother 3 is Pokey Minch, now an emaciated batshit crazy Man Child who could be anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 years old due to his abuse of the Phase Distorter. Even he doesn't really know why he wants to destroy the world, but it seems to sway all over the place between loneliness, jealousy, boredom, and insanity.
  • In Myth the ultimate Big Bad is the divinity called the Leveler. His modus operandi consists of, at regular intervals, take over the body of the hero who killed his last incarnation, resurrect and corrupt other heroes of ages past, and then try once again to destroy all life on the planet and rule over the dead lands. Why? It's not really explained.
  • The title characters of the Overlord games are meant to be classic stereotypical Evil Overlords and thinly-veiled Sauron copycats. While the characters are often doing evil and the players do get to determine how evil they are, it's really Evil Chancellor Gnarl that carries their villain cards for the Silent Protagonists. What makes it worse is that, in the entire time you're trying to build yourself up as the incarnation of evil, you spend the entire time fighting heroes... Who are now the corrupted embodiments of various sins, so you're not even being THAT effective a bad guy. While it could be said that by defeating them you prove you are the "most evil", the Karma Meter in the game basically sways between (very!) benevolent dictator and Omnicidal Maniac. At least in the sequel, the "hideously evil" path means you have to slaughter everyone in the villages you took over while the "domination" path meant magical Mind Control.
  • Paper Mario 64's Crystal King isn't even mentioned until nearly reached anyway and is never given a goal for serving Bowser (unlike with the other bosses' clear gains).
  • Erebus from Persona 3 fits this role, thanks to being the Anthropomorphic Personification of mankind's will to die, and thus his only purpose is to come into contact with Nyx and cause The End of the World as We Know It, and will never truly disappear as long as humans keep wishing for death.
  • Dark Force from Phantasy Star series is an chaotic monster sealed within some sort of containers as the "Pandora's Box" which corrupts and attacks people who find it. Profound Darkness in Phantasy Star IV is a one-upped version of Dark Force, coming out of nowhere as the Bigger Bad while being described as an origin of evil itself.
  • Resident Evil 6 features NEO Umbrella as the villains. Their ultimate goal is to unleash a massive B.O.W. called HAOS that will infect the entire planet with a deadly mutating virus, purely for the sake of "plunging the entire world into chaos".
  • Something series:
    • Ballser in Something. In fact, the scenario describing the game does not even mention his name at all.
    • The Evil Guy in Something Else. The introduction just shows his invasion of the Bears' world and his kidnapping of the Bear Elder.
  • Blizzard Entertainment:
    • Warcraft 3 gives us Archimonde who wants to destroy the world of Azeroth just so he can drain the powers of the World Tree for himself. He comes off especially generic in light of villains like Tichondrius, Kel'thuzad, and especially Arthas, who are well characterized with deep backstories and vibrant personalities. Later expanded universe materials expand more on his motives: he was seduced by the Dark Titan Sargeras with promises of a universe to rule, which he lapped up because he believed the Eredar were the greatest race and deserved to rule. Any planet that refused to join his Legion needed to go.
    • StarCraft II gives us Amon, essentially a God of Evil who wants to create a new species in order to eradicate every life in the Universe. He does provides interesting background to the Universe, and causes major changes, but compared to villains like Mengsk, Kerrigan or the Overmind, he seems rather bland. The final game of the trilogy at last gives him characterization and a motivation, however: he believes that the Xel'Naga infinite 'cycle' of two races, Purity of Form and Essence, coming into being and eventually peaceably merging into the next generation of Xel'Naga, is "corrupt", and wishes to make it so it can't keep happening by killing all life (no life means nothing to incarnate into the next Xel'Naga generation). ...And even that is revealed as not the whole story, when the Protoss Preserver Rohana reveals, via a psychic link with him, that beneath that goal, Amon is driven by hatred and spite toward all living things. Turns out, he wasn't always a Xel'Naga, and feels that becoming one eons ago was "forced" upon him.

    Webcomics 
  • Homestuck's Jack Noir ends up becoming this. Starts out with a good bit of personality, but once he takes over as Big Bad he just starts wrecking things for no real reason. Word of God describes his personality as basically being buried beneath his power, and describes him as akin to a raging dragon. A later scene from Jack's perspective clarifies it further: once he's gained enough power to become the Big Bad, he's just become bored. Most of his evil acts have just been him trying to come up with something to do with his new power. It's justified, seeing that Jack's entire purpose is to be a game construct and give players of SBURB a questline to take down the Black Queen. And then his rampage across the trolls' session was out of Unstoppable Rage after Jade dies again.
  • The Snarl from The Order of the Stick. Not a major player in the story, but ready to obliterate everything if it ever gets loose. Though we've only heard about the Snarl in two flashbacks told by different characters with an agenda that contradict each other, and one of the main characters has admitted he probably doesn't know as much as he should about this alleged threat to the world.

    Web Originals 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
    • The Entity/Missingno is somewhat of a deconstruction. When its plan is revealed to be to simply assimilate everything in existence, Linkara calls it out on having such a simple and generic motive, the Entity suffers from an existential crisis. Thanks to Linkara, the Entity eventually get a motive: to find out what happens when an Outer God dies.
    • In-universe, this is what Linkara considered Batman in the Elseworld "Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham" storyline to be. He considers this trope to be the worst kind of villain.
  • In Dusk's Dawn the villain's motivation is never really explained. He's just doing… evil, well… because he's evil.
  • Discussed on The Editing Room in X-Men: First Class: The Abridged Script. Robert Downey, Jr. makes a cameo and points out in full Sarcasm Mode that supervillains would likely have something in their lives that would make them rethink blowing up Earth.
  • Parodied by How to Write Badly Well: Make Your Villain Genuinely Evil.
  • The reason why the SCP Foundation refuses to take Zalgo as SCP.
    "You're overpowered, you don't have a hook, and quite frankly, you're boring."
    "The Director"
    • For a straighter example, there's SCP-682 from a different author, a reptilian monster whose sole defining characteristics are "Hates everything" and "Cannot be killed ever". Unusually for this trope, 682 has become an Ensemble Darkhorse despite his lack of motive.
  • Worm has the terrible wrath of the Endbringers, who are steadily destroying humanity for no apparent reason with regular, devastating attacks on population centers and stress points: Behemoth, Simurgh, and Leviathan.
    • Played with later, when it's heavily implied (though not outright stated) by Tattletale and Scion that Eidolon inadvertently created them out of a need for "worthy opponents." They exist for the same reason in-universe that many of the examples on this page exist out-of-universe: simply to pose a powerful challenge to the hero.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
  • D.A.V.E in The Batman is a deconstruction. He is a robot programmed by Dr. Hugo Strange with the memories and abilities of Batman's worst foes for the sole purpose of giving Batman a challenge. He proceeds to easily curbstomp Batman and steals all of Gotham's money just to commit the ultimate crime, but is defeated when Batman asks him to explain his origin story. Since D.A.V.E believed that he used to be a person, he basically went catatonic after realizing that he had no backstory of his own.
  • Aside from a vague backstory involving a Time War that is never developed or explained, Maltruant from Ben 10: Omniverse has no clear characterizations or motivations, is a blatant Card-Carrying Villain and we have no idea why he wants to reshape the Universe in his own image or why he went rogue in the first place.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Pariah Dark, being an obscenely powerful ghost out for world domination, but without a terribly interesting personality. However, the Made-for-TV Movie he appeared in featured major roles from a lot of the more interesting Rogues Gallery members (such as Vlad, Valerie, Fright Knight, and Skulker), so it all evened out.
    • Nearly all of the third season villains were generic Take Over the World villains with little difference between them apart from appearances, voice, and powers (IE: Nocturne and Vortex).
  • Parodied with Evil the Cat in Earthworm Jim, who's master plan is to destroy the universe. When finally asked what he plans to do after that, he has to think about it for a moment before finally settling on "Gloat, I suppose. Cackle wickedly among the ashes, that sort of thing."
  • On Gargoyles, the Archmage had aspects of this. By Greg Weisman's admission he was originally only supposed to be a one-off villain at first, and so he was written as just a clichéd Evil Sorcerer. Weisman felt David Warner did a great job voicing him, however, so the writers decided he was Not Quite Dead due to a Stable Time Loop, and he came back after gaining several powerful artifacts that gave him godlike powers.
  • Justice League:
    • Doomsday basically keeps his role of catalyzing other characters' stories (despite speaking full sentences now!). He showed up for the sole purpose of starting a fight, and then getting lobotomized to show how dangerous the Justice Lords are. In the second appearance, to challenge the heroes' own morality (he's mightily destructive. He's totally unrepentant about it and pretty much told us pointblank he'll never stop. How do we stop him for good but observe our rules?) In the end he's banished to the Phantom Zone, which Batman treats as no different than a death sentence. His second appearance he is retroactively given a back story, albeit a retcon that ties him into the Cadmus myth arc.
    • The show's version of Brimstone, a superweapon that went berserk for no identifiable reason other than to give Green Arrow a reason to join the league.
    • Most of the henchmen assembled in the third season, simply because there's way too many of them for them get much characterization.
    • In "Panic in the Sky" Lex Luthor figuratively got under Brainiac's skin (after the latter literally got under his skin) by accusing him of being one of these. Luthor pointed out that Brainiac had no real plans of doing anything with its vast store of knowledge and that it had no real reason for destroying the universe. Brainiac realized Luthor had a point and agreed to a Fusion Dance so they could actually do something with all of that power and knowledge.
  • Imperiex from the second season of Legion Of Superheroes, who launches a full scale invasion of the galaxy because... he's power hungry, we guess?
  • Vaatu in The Legend of Korra. He's the spirit of darkness and chaos, and seeks to dominate the world and bring about a reign that would bring about the end of humanity, and has little characterization beyond that. He doesn't really care about the consequences of his action, it's just in his nature to want to bring about darkness. Likewise, his counterpart Raava cares little about the actual beings being harmed by Vaatu, just that them being harmed is anathema to light and order. She is a Generic Peace Hero.
  • Many of the one-shot villains on Megas XLR are like this. Ender, who existed to "end" things, and Gurrkek the Planet-Killer really fit the bill, however.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: King Sombra is built up as being a huge threat to the Crystal Empire, and is also revealed to have set up an intricate security system to prevent anypony from getting the Crystal Heart in the past, but other than that, his characterization is nonexistent, especially in comparison to the show's previous villains, and there is barely any backstory for him to speak of. This isn't helped by him speaking very little and not having any meaningful interaction with the other characters.
  • Atomic Skull from Superman vs. the Elite has no motivation for his violence. Why is he killing people? To draw out Superman. Why does he want to fight Superman? Because it's what he does, apparently.
  • A few of the Sushi Pack villains fall into this, most notably the Titanium Chef, who wants to spread chaos throughout the world for no other reason than he has a book that tells him how.
  • Dark Kat flirted with this in SWAT Kats. He always wanted to "build a new city" over the old that would serve as a "capitol of crime", but it often seemed like he was more interested in destruction itself, as in his first appearance where he tried to nuke the city. Another applicable villain under this heading would be Volcanus, the fire demon, who never even spoke, just woke up and made a beeline for the nuclear power plant...
  • Teen Titans:
    • Trigon was easily the most powerful villain of all, seeing as how he destroyed the world approximately 12 seconds after entering our dimension. However, being the "incarnation of evil" doesn't seem to leave much room for a complex or interesting personality. Luckily, every episode with Trigon in it also had Slade around acting as The Dragon.
    • Most of the villains in the show seemed to be wreaking havoc just 'cuz. It doesn't help that the show had a general aversion to origin stories.
  • The Juggernaut in his second appearance in X-Men: Evolution. In his first, his goal was to kill Xavier for putting him in prison. The second, Xavier is nowhere to be seen, and he just decides to wreck random destruction for no reason. His main purpose in the story is really just as plot device to get the X-Men to fight out of genuine heroism despite people starting to discriminate against, even though their chances of beating him as slim.
  • The Light in Young Justice were heavily criticized as this before they got more characterization as the show went on, though Ocean Master who barely does anything and Klarion still never received much, even though the latter made the most appearances of the group in the first season. Similar to Justice League and Avengers above, however, the worst case of this are many of the henchmen that appear in the show who don't get to be reoccurring characters, some of which don't even talk.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GenericDoomsdayVillain