Make Way for the New Villains
Nute Gunray: The war is over! Lord Sidious promised us peace! We only wanted-Evil Versus Evil, this is for when a previous villain, whether a significant or minor one, is made significantly less of a threat (or in some cases outright killed) with the help of the next villain. The previous villain is put aside, to make way for the new villains. This often implies that the new villain is more competent, more evil, or for whatever other reason more threatening, but not necessarily. Cases where the new villain is less threatening instead can qualify as this trope, too. May be the result of Big Damn Villains. Compare Always a Bigger Fish, which sometimes overlaps with this but not always and Sorting Algorithm of Evil, and Bait-and-Switch Boss. Also The Worf Effect, depending on how they take them out. In video games, this is often the True Final Boss. Contrast Hijacked by Ganon.
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Anime and Manga
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyubey is, for lack of a better term, unstoppable. Killing him is utterly useless, trying to out-gambit him is nigh-impossible, and while Madoka's sacrifice denies him victory on his terms, he ultimately still gets exactly what he wants. Come Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion, Akuma Homura reduces him to a quivering, traumatized mess by forcing him to hold all the curses of the world.
- In the android saga of Dragon Ball Z, things are bad enough with three Nigh Invulnerable killing machines running around. Then Piccolo encounters a town's worth of slaughtered people, and the creature Cell who wants to absorb said androids to get stronger.
- This is how Phibrizo reveals his identity in Slayers, by killing current villain Gaav right out of the blue, and after he was already giving Lina and the others an increasingly tough time.
- After Keith Giffen took over the second series of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, he did a storyline where Carnelian is killed off to make way for the return of the first series' Big Bad Dark Opal. This lasts for one page in that issue and two pages in the following issue before Dark Opal himself is dispatched to make way for the new villains, The Child and Flaw.
- In the buildup to the Great Darkness Saga in the Legion of Super-Heroes (which Keith Giffen also worked on — he seems to love this trope), previous Big Bads Mordru and the Time Trapper are found beaten and helpless to show how bad Darkseid is.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man the first thing Mysterio did when he showed up was shoot the Kingpin out of a window.
- In Fantastic Four when the Marquis of Death appeared he set Doctor Doom on fire and tossed him into prehistory. Unsurprisingly, he came back.
- One of Onslaught's first actions was to beat The Juggernaut to a pulp and hurl him all the way to New Jersey. Mostly to get back as Juggernaut from the crap he did to Professor Xavier all their lives as Onslaught turned out to be Xavier's dark side run amok.
- When trying to establish Kaine as a credible threat during The Clone Saga, the writers had him kill off longtime Spider-Man foe Doctor Octopus. It didn't take.
- Les Légendaires did this in the Anathos Cycle by having both Darkhell and the Guardian being obliterated by Anathos to show how bad the new villain was (though this had already been established by having him effortlessly delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to the good guys).
- Toyed with in Captain America, where Red Skull was assassinated by the Winter Soldier during Ed Brubaker's first issue, leading many readers to think the writer was playing this trope straight. Instead, it was revealed that Red Skull had survived inside the body of the Winter Soldier's employer, setting up one of the series' longest running Plot Threads.
- Despite supplying the page quote, Anakin killing Gunray and his minions in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is an inversion of this. It was a prequel after all, so it was more like Make Way for the Old Villains.
- A non-lethal example is in Batman Begins, when vicious crime boss Carmine Falcone is trying to blackmail corrupt psychiatrist Jonathan Crane... who in turn sprays fear toxin in Falcone's face then and there, forcing Falcone into an intense panic attack and leaving him insane for the rest of the movie.
- In Jurassic Park III, the Spinosaurus kills a T. rex for no reason other than to announce how much more powerful and mean she is than the last big evil dinosaur.
- In Gamera Vs Guiron, the titular Guiron is introduced by cutting a space Gyaos to pieces.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy, Ronan offhandedly kills the Other, Thanos' representative from The Avengers, for annoying him during his meeting with Thanos.
- Calvin killing William Henry Harrison in The Tales of Alvin Maker.
- In Magic: The Gathering, Volrath, the Big Bad (actually The Dragon, but for all intents and purposes) of the Weatherlight saga is missing and presumed dead after a climactic showdown near the end of the first half of the story. When he reappears midway through the second half, in sufficiently badass and grandiose fashion, it's only to be killed in a one on one duel to the death by Crovax, who becomes the new Ascendent Evincar.
- Happens in the Warrior Cats novel The Darkest Hour, the final book of the original series. Tigerstar, the main villain of the series, obtains the assistance of an insane cat called Scourge, and his followers "BloodClan", in the prologue. Scourge isn't mentioned again until the supposed Final Battle, where Tigerstar calls him for aid. However, after the protagonist Firestar tells Scourge about Tigerstar's treachery, Scourge realizes that Tigerstar is a terrible boss to have. Stating "Nothing will control me", Scourge rips Tigerstar apart, killing him many times in one blow. Scourge goes on to become the villain of the book.
- In The Book of the Dun Cow, Starter Villain Ebenezer Rat dies in a fight with the Basilisks, who serve the novel's major villain, Cockatrice.
- In the New Jedi Order series, two of the alien species nearly wiped out by the Yuuzhan Vong are the Yevetha and the Ssi-ruuk, two races with similar, though less vicious, MOs to the Vong, and which had served as villains in previous books.
Live Action TV
- In Star Trek: Voyager, Species 8472 is introduced by destroying an armada of Borg Cubes.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The Anointed One (a little kid vampire who was held over from season one) is shoved into a cage and hoisted into sunlight early in season two by Spike.
- Spike gets similar treatment in this a quarter into season four where he returns ready to cause trouble for Buffy, only to be tasered and captured by members of the Initiative. He escapes from them in the next episode, but has a chip planted in his head to make sure he can't harm the heroes again, which wound up sending him directly into a certain other trope.
- Twilight killed the Master and Ethan Rayne by proxy.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: At the beginning of season two, Lord Zedd, Rita's superior, appears to relieve her of command after one failure too many. Her minions quickly jump ship as he sticks her in another dumpster and launches her into space. She comes back, of course...
- Power Rangers Zeo: Rita and Zedd are, in turn, ousted from the moon by the arrival of the Machine Empire. They get their revenge at the end of the season, but then (apart from a cameo in the Turbo movie) disappear until Space.
- This is done to Captain Crais by Scorpius at the end of the first season of Farscape. In fact, it's done in three different ways: first, he manages to convince Crais's own bodyguards into obeying his orders and putting their boss in the Aurora Chair; secondly, he takes over Crais's command carrier and has him stripped of rank and office; finally, just to drive home the fact that Scorpius is well and truly in control, Crais tries to kill him and ends up having his ass kicked for his troubles.
- In Mystery Science Theater 3000, Pearl suffocating a baby-fied Forrester to death, and turning out to be more dangerous.
- In Doctor Who, the old Daleks allow themselves to be killed by the new ones, agreeing that they're impure and should be destroyed.
- The Daleks were also subject to this in the Eighth Doctor Adventures, as they end brutally killed by Krotons. Yes, those Krotons. Make way for the sixties monsters only remembered as a joke...
- And for the trifecta, at one point it was thought that rights issues would have prevented the Daleks being used in the 2005 series — in which case, it would have been revealed that they'd been wiped out by the Toclafane.
- Happens in Stargate SG-1 when the Replicators start picking off the Goa'uld, who, up until that point, had been formidable enemies.
- Heroes loved to do this. Arthur announced his prescence by killing Adam, and shortly afterward killing Maury. Arthur in turn was killed off by Sylar, who had previously disposed of Bob. Then Danko was killed by Edgar on behalf of Samuel. And that's not even counting all the minor villains killed by Sylar.
- Nukus in Big Bad Beetle Borgs was careful to get rid of Vexor and his minions before taking over as the main antagonist.
- Mutant X - in the final episode of season 1, new Big Bad Gabriel Ashlocke imprisions original Big Bad Mason Eckhart and takes over his mutant-hunting facility for his own ends.
- Generation Next lived up to their name by taking out Special K, The Christopher Street Connection and The Ring Crew Express before going on to have a successful match in their Ring of Honor debut.
- Mercedes Martinez willingly stayed out of Valkyrie's way after it interrupted her match with Amazing Kong in its debut. They caught up to her after about eleven shows but points for being Genre Savvy.
- In Super Robot Wars Z2: Rebirth Chapter, Uther does this to Gaioh.
- RuneScape's "Ritual of the Mahjarrat" quest officially, and properly, introduces the Dragonkin by having them gang up on a recently renewed and overpowered Lucien by kicking him to the curb and impaling him with his own staff.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Shinra is rendered much less of a threat after Sephiroth appears and kills its president.
- The Kingdom Hearts series has this happen a couple of times. The first was Maleficent from the first game being ousted (but not killed) by Organization XIII in Kingdom Hearts II. Then played with in Birth By Sleep where we find out that she was slightly manipulated by Xehanort (of whom the leader of Org. XIII, Xemnas, is his Nobody) who told her about the Princesses of Heart. Then in Dream Drop Distance the trope happens again with both Xemnas and "Ansem" Seeker of Darkness (the Heartless of the aforementioned Xehanort and other Big Bad of the first game) being Demoted to Dragon to Xehanort. And even in the first game, Maleficent herself was manipulated by Xehanort's Heartless. Chances are that in these games it's ether this trope or Hijacked by Ganon with Xehanort.
- Super Mario RPG begins with the classic showdown between Mario and Bowser - and then Bowser's castle gets hijacked by the Smithy gang, and everyone within is sent flying. Bowser teams up with Mario for the first time in video game history to take down Smithy and reclaim his castle.
- Incognito Cinema Warriors XP: Comically ineffectual, possibly senile Dr. Harrison Blackwood, who has been holding Rick and the 'bots captive, is knocked out and shipped out for brainwashing in episode four by Jonathan Kincaid, who promptly reveals that he can shut down the 'bots, give Rick a brain aneurysm with the press of a button, and reconnect calls through the viewscreen after being hung up on.
- In Family Guy, the "evil monkey" getting a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Dylan [Brian's son] is a clear case of this. While the monkey later turns out to be a nice guy, up until that point he had been a villain, albeit minor. And, in that episode, the point was to show that Dylan was going to be harder to deal with than the monkey.
- In the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Princess Azula's first episode has her telling Zuko and Iroh of their fugitive status and almost managing to capture them.
- Young Justice begins its second season with a species called the Kroloteans secretly infiltrating Earth, before they're finished off by an unknown "Competitor" after three episodes. Played With because these new foes are actually allies of the Light, the previously-established Big Bad of the series.
- Ben 10: Ultimate Alien played straight and inverted this trope at the same time in its finale: when Diagon arrives on Earth, he ends up, after a brief fight with Ben, killing previous villain Sir George... and is almost immediatly then killed and absorbed by Vilgax, Ben's long date Arch-Enemy, who assumes the role of True Final Boss for the remaining of this finale.
- Subverted in season 4 of Teen Titans, where season 1 and 2 Big Bad Slade, after being Demoted to Dragon for the whole season following a Deal with the Devil, is apparently double-crossed and disposed of by his boss Trigon. Turns out Slade saw it coming and made sure he would be able to escape, allowing him to make an Enemy Mine with the heroes and to get what he wanted from all of this. By the end of the season, Slade is alive and free to scheme again, while Trigon has been obliterated by his daughter.
- Danny Phantom's The Ultimate Enemy played with this trope. Upon being separated from Danny Fenton, the ghost Danny turned malevolent and stripped Vlad of his ghost half, followed by merging with it to become Dark Danny.