[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/DinosaursVsAliens http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dinosaursvsaliens_9393.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Who expected ''this''?]]

->''An Outside Context Problem was the sort of thing most civilisations encountered just once, and which they tended to encounter rather in the same way a sentence encountered a full stop.''
-->-- '''[[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]]''', ''Literature/{{Excession}} ''

The Outside Context Villain is, quite simply, a curve ball that [[DidntSeeThatComing no one saw coming]]. They come from a different genre; none of the protagonists have any context to understand them.

He, she or "it" may be a mysterious foreigner from the next town over or a continent away, with skills, technology or mystic powers no one heard of, much less imagined. Or they may be a {{Time Travel}}er from the future... or [[FlingALightIntoTheFuture the past]], an invader from a parallel universe, outer space, or [[EldritchLocation even stranger places]]. When they arrive, the heroes won't have any defenses in place [[EasilyConqueredWorld capable of stopping them]], no idea how to defend against their onslaught, and [[HiddenAgendaVillain no clue what their end goal might be.]]

Finding out the answers to the above questions will be the heroes' top priority. With luck they'll find scattered legends foretelling their arrival and possibly how they were beaten last time. If not, TheProfessor might theorize all new means to defeat them. One popular method is to [[SummonMagic summon]] a hero from the same place or era to battle them, because [[GodzillaThreshold this villain is so bad]] that even [[SummonEverymanHero a random Joe]] from the villain's home will at least [[UnspokenPlanGuarantee have an idea]] [[TheMagnificentSevenSamurai how to stop them]]. Of course, said villain will likely [[VillainsBlendInBetter assimilate better]] to the environment than such FishOutOfWater heroes. If the Outsider is an interloper in an existing conflict, he may become a ConflictKiller that forces an EnemyMine situation if he turns out to be EvilerThanThou.

Or, [[CuttingTheKnot one could try simply coughing or sneezing on the newcomer, possibly infecting him with an alien disease against which he has no antibodies and killing him instantly]].

Named for the Outside Context Problem from the [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]] book ''Literature/{{Excession}}'' (as seen in the quote above). The classic example he gives is a stable, powerful, and wealthy society suddenly facing a hostile invader whose advanced technology and bizarre philosophy are completely alien to them.[[note]]For example, when the [[UsefulNotes/PreColumbianCivilizations Aztecs]] met the first Spanish explorers, they were so shocked by their 'floating mountains' (ships), steel armor, and horses, that they initially put up no fight as the Conquistadors moved in to take over. By the time they rallied and fought back, many were too ill from foreign diseases - mainly smallpox - to put up much of a struggle.[[/note]]

Compare GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere, but played dramatically. Compare also DiabolusExNihilo, where such a villain is used to shake things up and then discarded, and TheSpook, which might fit in the context but is still a surprise apparition. See HowUnscientific for moments that break the conventions of the story's main genre, which is a major part of these villains. Contrast GenericDoomsdayVillain and NormalFishInATinyPond. Compare/Contrast GenreRefugee, for a more heroic example of this trope. Frequently found in the AlienInvasion genre. No real life examples, please.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Yhwach was a bolt out of the blue for Ichigo's group and the Gotei 13. Mayuri did actually foresee Yhwach coming as a result of Uryuu Ishida's actions in the Soul Society arc, but when he tried to warn Yamamoto, Yamamoto dismissed Mayuri's [[CassandraTruth concern]] as paranoid. Had he listened to Mayuri, the Gotei 13 would have had more than 17 months preparation time instead of being caught completely unaware and unprepared by a Quincy army they didn't even know existed. Yamamoto might also have been too complacent to prepare, as he personally defeated Yhwach 1000 years earlier and had grown even stronger in the interim. He simply couldn't imagine that Yhwach's power might have grown by an even greater margin in the interim. It's also very heavily implied that Urahara, Isshin and Ryuuken have been fully aware of Yhwach's activities for at least nine years and possibly longer but they have kept the knowledge within their tight circle which also left both Ichigo's group and the Gotei 13 completely unaware and unprepared. However, this is implied to be because Urahara's group have their own plans rather than burying their head in the sand as Yamamoto did.
* The Apostles from ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' are far more powerful than normal humans, and there are several Apostles above even them. The Five Godhands and the Kushan Emperor are terrifyingly powerful. The scariest part about them is that, even in a CrapsackWorld like the ''Berserk'' universe, they will make things much worse if they come to power.
* The Neuroi from ''StrikeWitches''. They came en masse, massacred humanity without a word of communication, covered the land with miasma that ate at the crust of Earth until it shattered, and [[GodzillaThreshold pushed humanity to the point]] where sending teenage girls into combat with them was the only viable option remaining.
* Wanna know who TheManBehindTheCurtain is in ''HoushinEngi''? [[spoiler:There's several and they're all aliens.]]
* In ''{{Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro}}'', you'd expect the next major villain to be a demon, since Neuro is a demon and all. [[spoiler:Only one other demon is ever shown in the series and Neuro easily controls him.]] Instead, the series goes in a completely unexpected direction by making the first truly major arc follow [[spoiler:a super powerful AI that can turn people into criminals and slaves via {{brainwashing}}]]. How do they top that? [[spoiler:Six humans who are really, ''really'' evil. [[EvilEvolves That evil is where they get their superpowers, in fact.]]]] A series about a demon detective never once goes the supernatural route.
* The D-Reaper of ''Anime/DigimonTamers''. The series' writer decided that the final boss would be neither Digimon nor human. The result was something that the heroes or the audience would have never expected.
* Each new ''Manga/DragonBall'' villain tends to be this to a varying extent, but special mention goes to famous EvilOverlord Frieza whose power advantage over all the protagonists (''and'' antagonists) combined was akin to helpless mortals opposing a god. Even though later villains [[SoLastSeason could make mincemeat out of him]], they almost always started out in a similar "tier" of power to the heroes; Frieza started out several tiers ''ahead''.
** Also worth mentioning is Raditz for literally having an alien background, embarrassing the BigGood and previous BigBad simultaneously and generally [[WhamEpisode shaking up the status quo with his mere introduction.]] All this despite only being the ''StarterVillain'' of the new story arc.
* In ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}: Diamond and Pearl'' Ash and his friends once encountered an actual ghost. While there are many Ghost type Pokemon, the one they faced was a human ghost that was going drag them into its realm.
** Another episode had Ash, his friends and Team Rocket encounter an evil Malamar. While Pokemon have played antagonistic roles in the series beforehand, they were either under the control of a person or they were just acting territorial. This Malamar was planning WorldDomination on its own and even came up with a weapon to do just that.
* ''Manga/{{Toriko}}'' has been a simple GoodVsEvil story of the benevolent IGO vs the monstrous Gourmet Corp, [[spoiler: which is why, a third power, consisting of hidden agents within both groups, collaborating with wealthy folk called NEO take everyone off guard.]]
* The Titans of ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' are {{Humanoid Abomination}}s that legend states literally appeared out of nowhere one day, and began to devour humanity to the brink of extinction. In the centuries since, humanity has learned only a few precious bits of information about them and that merely increases the mystery around them. The massive, 50m walls that surround humanity's last stronghold protected them for a century -- and then one day, a 60m Titan appeared [[StealthHiBye out of thin air]] and kicked a hole in the wall, allowing the normal-sized Titans to enter. Attempting to learn their origins [[spoiler: and why certain humans like Eren can ''transform'' into Titans]] is one of the driving goals of the series.
** Even among the Titans, the Beast Titan is inexplicable. It's a 17 meter horror that bears a striking resemblance to [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti Bigfoot]], and displays uncanny levels of not only sentience, but ''intelligence'' and the ability to speak fluently to humans. It also commands the Titans accompanying it, and at least one of the major factions is interested in obtaining it -- probably because [[spoiler: it has some means to transform humans into Titans]]. It has only appeared in a single chapter thus far, but leaves carnage and mystery in its wake with the promise that this isn't the last we've seen of it.
* Not quite a villain, but Kuya and the nation of Kunnekamun in ''{{Utawarerumono}}'' mark their entrance into the plot by walking all over the various medieval Japanese nations with their state-of-the-art ''HumongousMecha''.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', the Fourth Ninja World War was being fought between the Shinobi Alliance on one side, and Tobi and his White Zetsu Army, Kabuto and his zombie army, and [[spoiler: the real Uchiha Madara]] on the other side. About 200 chapters after the war starts, [[spoiler: Sage of Six Paths' mother, Kaguya Ootsutsuki]] shows up as the real villain. This is particularly jarring since she appears with almost no foreshadowing and is revealed to be [[ManBehindTheMan pulling the strings]] since the very beginning. The audience first knew of her existence barely 30 chapters ago, and no more than 5 people alive ''in universe'' at the time knew her name. To top it off, she ''died'' centuries ago and her role in the War was due to [[spoiler:Black Zetsu using Madara to revive her. There is an in-universe justification for this: Black Zetsu (who is such a good [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]] that he was able to manipulate ''all of ninja history'') erased nearly all records of her existence or the truth of her demise in order to ensure nobody could foresee her revival and/or properly oppose her.]]
* Akemi Homura in ''Anime/{{Puella Magi Madoka Magica}}'' is an example as she is a [[spoiler: time-traveling]] oddity of a magical girl whose existence even Kyubey cannot explain. Her powers also work much differently than the other magical girls and no one seems to be able to effectively counter them, at least until she faces the [[BigBad Big Bad]] at the end.
** Kyubey is also one, as [[spoiler: SufficientlyAdvancedAliens]] with the ability to [[spoiler: rip girls' souls out of their body and grant their wishes]] and with [[BlueAndOrangeMorality odd ideals]], to say the least. Worse, most people have a WeirdnessCensor that doesn't allow them to see him. To teenage girls, he literally appears out of nowhere to get them to sign away their lives.
* The original RX-78-2 Gundam from MobileSuitGundam is effectively one. Zeon has no doctrine for and no pilots skilled in fighting other mobile suits, which would make it bad enough. But it's also immune to any existing Zeon weapon that can actually hit it and its own weapons are able to penetrate any defense Zeon has available. Many of the early episodes quickly devolve into a MookHorrorShow as the Federation's monster rampages through Zeon troops.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The storylines in ''Ramba'' normally dealt with mobsters, drug dealers, mercenaries, etc. In "Vendetta From Hell", Ramba fights a black magic coven that summons a demon in an attempt to kill her. This was the only appearance of the supernatural in the series.
* Fighting (and beating) cosmic beings may now be passé in superhero comics, but in its original context the "{{Galactus}} Trilogy" from ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' fits this. The appearance of an all-powerful "villain" that was beyond good and evil, and who immediately put the protagonists in a literally helpless situation, was unprecedented in superhero stories at the time.
-->'''The Human Torch''': We're like ants... just ants... ants!!
** After ''Comicbook/AgeOfUltron'', Galactus has taken this to another level -- he's been displaced to ComicBook/UltimateMarvel. ''ComicBook/CataclysmTheUltimatesLastStand'' begins with him appearing out of nowhere and vaporising a chunk of New York without so much as an "I HUNGER." The Ultimates only start to understand what they're dealing with after Tony Stark matches his energy signature to [[ComicBook/SpiderMen 616 Peter Parker]].
* In ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'', [[spoiler:a giant squid monster attacks New York, and the world governments unite to fight this terrible threat. The all-too-human BigBad created the alien-looking monster as a BatmanGambit to prevent human extinction through nuclear war.]]
** Dr. Manhattan serves as a non-villainous equivalent. He's the only Super in the world (other "capes" do exist, but nearly all of them are BadassNormals who rely on gadgets, martial arts, or a combination of the two with the only one who even [[CharlesAtlasSuperpower approaches "superhuman" levels]] being Ozymandias), and sports godlike powers. World politics are changed forever when he shows up. This leads to moments like him ending the Vietnam War in about a week, and the escalation of the Cold War because the Russians are scared shitless. A noted scientist makes the comment that absolute terror is, in fact, the ''sane'' response to the existence of such a being.
* In the "burnt offering" arc of ''CableAndDeadpool'', Cable is kicking the collective asses of Deadpool and the ComicBook/{{X-Men}}. The authorities call in... the Silver Surfer, whom even Cable didn't expect, resulting in an epic beatdown and [[spoiler:eventual semi-depowering]] (even though Cable breaks the Surfer's board). This is notable since the Fantastic Four and X-Men characters rarely interact, so the Silver Surfer (who rarely intervenes in Earth's affairs even within Fantastic Four storylines) appearing really was a surprise.
* Deadpool himself becomes this in ''DeadpoolKillsTheMarvelUniverse'', as his MediumAwareness gets a boost into DangerouslyGenreSavvy, letting him subject the whole of the Marvel Universe to a JustShootHim scenario, where PlotArmor no longer applies.
* The Anti-Monitor in ''ComicBook/CrisisOnInfiniteEarths'' was out of context for the entire DC Multiverse. A being that could and did successfully annihilate nearly all the universes and forced the heroes to collapse the five remaining universes into one, forever transforming the DC Universe and everyone in it. His power was so overwhelming even an assemblage of the mightiest beings from all remaining worlds proved little more than a distraction. Even with its shell torn away, its power drained, and its power source dismantled, it took Superman and Superboy (along with some help from Darkseid) to finally finish it off... which in turn triggered a ''supernova''. He was that nasty.
* ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'' have most of their story arcs based around these.
** In ''[[ComicBook/CaptainAtom Captain Atom: Armageddon]]'', Captain Atom is essentially an out of context ''hero'' to both the Authority and the entire Wildstorm universe.
* Bane functions this way in ''Franchise/{{Batman}}: {{Knightfall}}''. A villian who has been cut off from the outside world for almost his entire life, his existence is at best an urban legend to most Gotham City natives. When he murders six prostitutes and [[{{Frameup}} carves images of bats into their flesh]], the Gotham police naturally blame Batman. Even after he and his gang launch rockets at Arkham Asylum, enabling the world's most dangerous criminals to escape and wreak havoc on the city, most Gothamites are too preoccupied with trying to stop SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, and all the rest that they remain ignorant of Bane's ultimate plan for the city: [[spoiler: to permanently cripple Batman, seize control from Gotham's mob bosses, and rule over the city as its "king."]]
* [[ComicBook/TheDeathOfSuperman Doomsday]] showed up out of freaking nowhere to curbstomp most of Earth's heroes before going off to accomplish what no one else dreamed was even possible: kill Superman.
* [[SonicTheComic Chaos]] appears randomly in the middle of Metropolis City, uses his ability to induce extreme fear in his opponents to catch the Freedom Fighters off guard completely and [[spoiler: kills Johnny Lightfoot, becoming the only villain to successfully kill a Freedom Fighter]].
** Colonel Granite and Operation Starwatch also serve as this, being completely unknown to Mobius par the Freedom Fighters leading an AlienInvasion from Planet Earth, invading Mobius, trouncing the Freedom Fighters with superior firepower, and planning to sell off the conquered Zones to human industrial developers (and rename Mobius "Planet Percy" after his first name).
* Fenris from ''ComicBook/{{Lucifer}}'' is known, vaguely, by many of the characters, but since the conflict and all of the big hitters are Judeo-Christian in origin very few of them take a minor character from a forgotten religion very seriously. Lucifer himself warns them not to underestimate the guy and still ends up getting outplayed and very nearly killed, and Fenris eventually ends up with the largest major character kill count and a very good claim at being the BigBad.
* One ''Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet'' comic had Freddy deal with this, when the teenagers he's after try to destroy him by summoning an ancient Mayan monster that can dwell within dreams like he can.
--> '''Freddy:''' What the fuck?
* In any "Marvel vs. DC" crossover, the difference in power levels that are typical for the two companies' most iconic characters mean that the DC heroes usually have to be deliberately hobbled in some way to prevent the typical "[[LetsYouAndHimFight misunderstandings]]" that occur from being a total curb-stomp leaving the Marvel heroes dead or at least hospitalized. There are a few Marvelites who could believably exchange all-out punches with Superman and survive, but Spider-Man is normally ''not'' one of them (in the crossover where they meet, it's explained away by Luthor secretly zapping Spidey with a "red sun ray" to power him up).
* In IDW's [[ComicBook/TheTransformersMegaseries Transformers works]], neither side was expecting the forces of the Dead Universe to appear, as shown by their curb-stomping any Autobot and Decepticon they encounter in the process of gathering up [[MadScientist Jhiaxus']] stuff for their own ends. The fact that they had been missing, presumed dead for several million years helped.
* ''ComicBook/PaperinikNewAdventures'' has this happen rather often:
** the series started as a continuation of the then-lagging stories of Paperinik, DonaldDuck's {{Superhero}}/AntiHero alter ego who usually fights normal criminals or human-level supervillains. Then, during a normal patrol, he stumbles on a pair of [[SlaveMooks Coolflames]], and has no idea of what the hell they are. Never mind their their masters the Evronians, a mighty empire of PlanetLooters [[EmotionEater feeding on emotions]] that are preparing an AlienInvasion...
** the second issue has the Raider, a human-level, if {{Badass}}, supervillain... Who owns a TimeMachine and has a penchant for SaveScumming;
** the third issue brings us Xadhoom, who turns the tables on the Evronians. While they were curious about Paperinik, they apparently had already encountered such exceptional individuals and knew how to deal with them. A PhysicalGoddess coming from nowhere and bent on exterminating them? Nope!;
** the above is just the first three issues. The rest of the series brings us a telepathic-telekinetic hitman, a wizard who wants to open a gate to hell on Duckburg, a MadScientist [[WellIntentionedExtremist planning to sink the US West Coast with an earthquake to raise more habitable land for all of mankind]]... Really, it says a lot when Paperinik barely reacts to an HumongousMecha spreading terror in Duckburg's harbor...
* ''ComicBook/TheUltimates'': The team was used to dealing with normal threats, like mad Mutant terrorists, shapeshifting alien-nazis, and super-soldiers gone wrong. They're completely blindsided by an actual, factual god like Loki. Not to mention The Colonel, the first fully successful super-soldier since Captain America himself, or the entire army of supersoldiers they brought with them.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* This occurs freqently in {{crossover}} works. Characters from series A have experience in dealing with the threats and factions associated with their series. They also have a view of how the world works and what is or is not possible based on their experiences and which may be an accurate view of the world in the source material for series A. Then the author introduces characters and elements from series B which has different rules or power levels. In some cases, this works both ways as not only do the A-characters not know what to make of the B-characters, but the B-characters are also surprised by aspects or abilites of the A-charactes and the world they move in.
* Inverted in ''Fanfic/FinishingTheFight'', where the capabilities of the Master Chief and UNSC technology are beyond the ability of most of Faerun to combat.
* Played with in ''Fanfic/DungeonKeeperAmi''. [[Anime/SailorMoon Sailor Mercury]] is transported into the World of ''VideoGame/DungeonKeeper'' and has a rather unconventional approach to being a Keeper, as well as the whole evil alignment. She's more like an Outside Context Stealth Hero.
* ''FanFic/TamersForeverSeries'': The Triad never considered [[spoiler: Daemon]] returning as part of their plan. Naturally, this proves to be a catastrophic error.
* ''Fanfic/SecretWar'': you thought [[spoiler: Taryst was the BigBad? ehh! wrong! It's Inquisitor Edracian who's behind everything but it's a subversion as many characters excluding Attelus and a few others knew of him and his involvement already.]]
* Inverted in the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''/''Series/{{Smallville}}'' fic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4299118/1/Stakes_and_Fenceposts Stakes and Fenceposts]]'', where Clark Kent is portrayed this way to the Buffy-verse villains ''and'' heroes. Both sides are completely baffled and terrified at how powerful he is, thinking he's some kind of HumanoidAbomination. [[MookHorrorShow Some of the fights are shown from the villains' perspective]].
* [[spoiler:Deoxys]] in ''FanFic/LatiasJourney'', an Eldrech Abomination of ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' proportions... in what starts out as a pretty straightforward {{Pokemon}} story.
* The Ironstorm Army is this in [[http://kleinerkiller.deviantart.com/gallery/41037509/Minecraftia-Saga Yognapped]]. In previous years, [[Machinima/YogscastMinecraftSeries Minecraftia's greatest battles]] were fought against a [[ReligionOfEvil shadowy cult]] with swords and bows. When teams of masked soldiers with advanced firearms appear out of nowhere and start marching into the largest population centers, [[spoiler: not even the heroes can prevent millions of casualties and the regression of Minecraftia to an AfterTheEnd state.]]
* In the ''Literature/TheCulture''/''Literature/HarryPotter'' crossover ''[[Fanfic/RuskbytesCultureShock Culture Shock]]'', the Culture finds it hard to believe that Potterverse wizards, for all they appear primitive, can manipulate both layers of the Grid simultaneously, something only an even more advanced faction had previously demonstrated, nevermind things like the moving paintings that they can't even explain.
* The ''Literature/HarryPotter'' fanfic "The Squad", the British Army is this to the wizarding world. The titular squad is a group of SAS Commandoes sporting state-of-the-art anti-terror training and equipment. Let's just say high-powered scoped sniper rifles, assault helicopters, and claymore mines are all great equalizer when it comes to Death Eaters and their wands.
* The ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'' has Princess Gaia. Twilight and the others are looking for the missing Fluttershy, and don't even realize that there even ''is'' a new BigBad [[spoiler: let alone that it's Fluttershy's SuperpoweredEvilSide.]]
** In the [[BadFuture Dark World]], this role falls to [[spoiler: Discord's sister]] [[PhysicalGod Rancor]], who [[SixthRanger joins the villains]] just as the redeemed and new Elements of Harmony begin their campaign against Discord's rule. Interestingly, she's as much this to the villains as to the heroes, as none of them (except for [[TheStarscream the Valeyard]] and [[DaddysLittleVillain Fluttercruel]]) even knew about [[spoiler: Discord's family]]. She ultimately ends up being a SpannerInTheWorks for ''everyone'' (even TheVoice) by [[spoiler: [[SixthRangerTraitor betraying Discord at the right moment]] in order to steal Destruction's power for herself.]]
** Queen Chrysalis in the Wedding Arc is this ''intentionally'', having spent years enforcing TheMasquerade while systematically infiltrating Equestria on every level so that her invasion would go off without a hitch. However, she then ironically becomes a victim of the inverse of this trope, as numerous ponies she didn't bother to view as a threat have {{Misfit Mobilization Moment}}s and begin to throw [[SpannerInTheWorks wrenches in her plans]].
* ''[[Fanfic/RyuugisTheMasterOfDeath The Master of Death]]'': Outsiders are this by definition, but even discounting what [[Literature/HarryPotter Potter]] specifically can do, Potterverse spells can do things like transfiguration that the Dresdenverse has no conception of.
* ''FanFic/ZeroVsKira'': Thanks to the [[ArtifactOfDoom Death Note]], Light is this to the Britanians and Black Knights alike.
* ''FanFic/DeathNoteEquestria'': Thanks to the powers of the Manga/DeathNote (which even she doesn't fully understand), [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight Sparkle]] as Kira becomes this to the entire Equestrian government. That said, just as L is figuring out the limits and rules of her powers, the [[OutOfGenreExperience golems]] suddenly show up, taking both sides by surprise.
* In ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', the MaiHime cast faces [=SUEs=] armed with powers such as mind control, [[TimeMaster time manipulation]] and AntiMagic. One even [[spoiler:opens a portal to the MaiOtome world and brings over an army of Schwarz members with Slaves]].
* ''Fanfic/{{Equestrylvania}}'': The reason [[BigBad Dracula]]'s forces are so effective against Equestria's military is that they come out of nowhere, and are like nothing the ponies have ever faced before.
* ''FanFic/TheGodEmpressOfPonykind'': Discord, due to not acting like a normal Chaos Daemon. [[spoiler: Not even ''the Chaos Gods'' know what he is or where he came from.]]
* ''Fanfic/SuperwomenOfEva'': A hero version. The titular [[SuperFic superpowered]] [[ActionGirl Action Girls]] (product of [[FusionFic fusioning]] the female (main and [[AscendedExtra secondary]]) cast of ''NeonGenesisEvangelion'' with (for the moment) DCComics and MarvelComics superheroes' powers) are this to both [[GovernmentConspiracy NE]][[BigBad RV]] and [[OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness SEE]][[BiggerBad LE]] and their beloved "[[AssimilationPlot scenario]]". Much HilarityEnsues as they try to reign in a VillainousBreakdown and race to find ''[[KickTheDog some]]'' ''[[MoralEventHorizon way]]'' to put them out of the way ([[RightHandVersusLeftHand without showing their hand to the other group]]).
* In ''Fanfic/MagicalPonyLyricalTwilight'' the Equestrians are this to the TSAB [[spoiler:and their High Council]], being naturally-occurring (as opposed to deliberately-engineered) nonhuman sapients who are not servile familiars and having abilities the Bureau has no experience with. The fact that their entire species can use magic in one way or another probably doesn't help.
* ''[[Fanfic/StarWarsParanormalitiesTrilogy Star Wars: Paranormalities]]'': Let's just say this story has that title due to thriving on these. The Valkoran Empire seem pretty normal for the most part at first, initially believed to be pirates/political terrorists before being revealed to be cultists, but their leaders are something else entirely. Maesterus is a Force user who isn't actually a Sith Lord (despite dressing similarly to one) with [[LovecraftianSuperpower Lovecraftian Superpowers]], Juganak is strong enough to dismantle a walker with his bare hands, Neur is a brain-damaged human-Twi'lek hybrid, Machinus is [[WasOnceAMan a droid with the soul of a Nautolan]], and Masochus is an insane ex-Sith Lord who skinned himself down to the bone. Let's not even get started on [[EldritchAbomination Valkor]] himself...
** The Forceless Collective, an army of [[EldritchAbomination Eldritch Abominations]] from another galaxy that can [[DemonicPossession possess]] other living creatures [[spoiler: and it's theorized that there are other Forceless born from the Force wounds created by mass genocides]]. Like the [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Yuuzhan Vong]], very few in the galaxy knew about their existence aside from the Valkoran Empire.
** [[PsychoForHire Gestroma]]. Why? [[spoiler: Deranged, Forceless-possessed Imperial mutant supersoldier turned BountyHunter that wants to KillAllHumans.]]
* ''FanFic/MegaManDefenderOfTheHumanRace'' has the Stardroids, extremely powerful robot aliens that no one on Earth knew about before they invaded. Their mere presence en route to Earth enabled them to [[spoiler:scan Bass's memories and even make him go haywire]], when he was the most powerful robot in the series before they arrived.
* Dante is a heroic example in Fanfic/DantesNightAtFreddys. The animatronics of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza are used to killing security guards like they are nothing, but clearly are in over their heads trying to take on a veteran demon slayer.
* ''Fanfic/BetterLivingThroughScienceAndPonies'' boasts this too; Equestria doesn't have any science or devices more complicated than a steam locomotive or an old-timey newsreel. So when [=GLaDOS=] shows up looking for new test subjects, nobody has the slightest clue how to react to it.

* ''Film/{{Apocalypto}}'' plays this twice, first with a small hunter-gatherer tribe being suddenly invaded by the comparitavely industrialized [[MayIncaTec Mayans]] and in the end [[spoiler:the Spanish arriving]].
* Simon Phoenix in ''Film/DemolitionMan'', a HumanPopsicle from the 20th century awoken in a future of PerfectPacifistPeople; to counter this threat, they unfreeze an old-school cop familar with violence. [[spoiler:OK, [[ManBehindTheMan Dr. Cocteau]] probably ''did'' [[DragonInChief expect him.]]]]
* ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982'': the villain's advanced warriors appear out of nowhere to assault the hero's DoomedHometown of {{Noble Savage}}s (in a slight inversion from the books to say the least). It's lampshaded by the music, which goes straight from ArcadianInterlude to something like "Ride of the Valkyries" when they JumpCut to the arrival of the [[DoomyDoomsOfDoom Riders of Doom]].
-->''The ashes were trampled into the earth, and the blood became as snow. Who knows what they came for... weapons of steel...? [[SociopathicSoldier or murder?]] It was never known, for their leader rode to the south... No one would know that my lord's people had lived at all.''
* Common in Batman films:
** SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker is this in ''Film/TheDarkKnight''. In the conflict between Franchise/{{Batman}}, the cops, and organized crime, all with their own brand of rational goals, nobody was prepared to deal with a mastermind who was exclusively in it ForTheEvulz.
** At the beginning of the 1989 movie ''Film/{{Batman}}'', the city officials are concerned with Boss Carl Grissom and want to nab Jack Napier only because he's Grissom's "number-one guy." Even after Napier has become SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker and killed Grissom, and he and his goons have targeted them for assassination, Vinnie Ricorso and his lackeys think that Grissom is still alive and are busying themselves with taking care of his operations while (they think) he's on vacation. It takes until almost the end of the movie for the media and the police to finally confirm that Grissom is dead and that the Joker has taken control of Gotham City's underworld:
-->'''Joker:''' [[DoNotAdjustYourSet Joker here]]. Now, you fellas have said some pretty mean things, some of which were true, about that thief, Carl Grissom. He's dead now, and he's left me in charge."
** In ''Film/BatmanForever'', Bruce Wayne is so wrapped up in stopping Two-Face that he barely even listens to Edward Nygma (the future Riddler) when Nygma tries to tell him about his pet project. Doubly ironic, in that [[CreateYourOwnVillain Wayne's ignoring him is]] ''[[CreateYourOwnVillain precisely what sends Nygma over the edge into supervillainy]]''.
** Much like in the comics, Bane's arrival in ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'' is unbelievably downplayed by the police, considering him just an overblown gangster; when chasing his crew after a terroristic assault on the Gotham Stock Exchange, the police force ''immediately'' start ignoring him when Batman reappears and diverts nearly every cop in the city to the chase, letting everyone Bats hasn't taken out himself escape. Even when Jim Gordon was ''brought to their hideout'' the concept of a literally underground army is laughed at and dismissed out of hand.
* This is how the aliens are viewed in ''Film/CowboysAndAliens''. As a result, they're initially referred to as "demons", something the cowboys do have context for.
* ''Film/{{Battleship}}'' involves an international naval exercise being interrupted... by alien ships coming from underwater to seal an island chain in an impenetrable force field, leaving three destroyers to fight them.
* Loki in ''Film/TheAvengers'' is, as SHIELD agent Natasha Romanova (aka BlackWidow) puts it, "nothing we were trained for"- most of the eponymous superteam are used to terrorists with fancy weapons, not mad {{physical god}}s from AnotherDimension. Fortunately, Loki's elder brother Thor has dealt with his crap before and joins the human heroes.
** The Chitauri experienced this as well, since it's clear they were expecting to simply waltz in and easily conquer the human race. Instead, their invasion is repelled in less than an hour by a team comprised of two BadassNormal soldiers, an Asgardian warrior, a guy in powered armour, a super-soldier... and the Hulk. Best summed up in TheStinger;
--> '''Chitauri Leader''': [[AwakeningTheSleepingGiant To challenge them]] [[HumansAreWarriors is to court death]].
* Imhotep in ''Film/TheMummy1999''. He was an Ancient Egyptian priest who was mummified alive and cursed. The result of this curse is that, when he comes back, he's practically invincible and no one except for the Medjay really know how to deal with him, and even the Medjay have no way to stop him on hand--their whole presence near Hamunaptra was to keep him from getting out in the first place.
* ''Franchise/{{Predator}}'':
** This is the entire point of the movie ''Film/{{Predator}}'': five heavily-armed military men hunting down a missing cabinet member when suddenly... technologically-advanced alien hunter!
** In ''Film/{{Predator 2}}'', the LA police think they're dealing with gang war between rival drug gangs. However, the federal task force sent in turns out to know they're dealing with an alien, they just refuse to tell anyone about it.
* The Romans in ''Rome Sweet Rome'' are completely unprepared for facing the United States Marine Corps. Several Romans die in a confrontation that they thought was just a parley, because the Romans didn't heed the Marines' warning to halt, and they thought they were maintaining a safe distance because they were out of archery range.
* ''Film/TheLongGoodFriday'' is about a London gangster whose operations suddenly come under attack from an unknown party. He assumes that it's a rival mob trying to take over his territory, but eventually discovers that [[spoiler:it's the IRA]]. He has no idea why they're after him, and his advisers warn that they operate in a completely different world than him.
* At the climax of ''Film/GangsOfNewYork'', the opposing gangs are facing off ready for a mass street fight according to the "ancient rules of combat", armed to the teeth with knives, clubs, and axes. And then, just as they're about to begin, they're hit by artillery fire, and the army marches in and starts shooting everyone. Suddenly the long blood feud is forgotten as the two sides unite in the struggle to survive.
* ''Film/IComeInPeace'': The alien drug dealer arrives in the middle of a botched sting operation to kill the human gangsters. Later, he kills more of them [[VillainousRescue when they arrive to kill protagonist Jack Caine]].

* As mentioned, the TropeNamer is from ''Literature/TheCulture'' series; the ''Literature/{{Excession}}''. And when a civilization like [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien the Culture]] considers something "Outside Context", things are about to get hairy...
* This is a major plot point in ''{{Foundation}} and Empire'', when the Mule, a ''mutant'' with MindControl and EmotionControl powers, shows up out of nowhere and starts conquering planets. Hari Seldon's predictions, which have been infallibly running the show for centuries, are suddenly no longer accurate because his science could only predict the aggregate behavior of large groups of people and could not account for a single individual with the ability to alter the behavior of large populations. However, [[spoiler: Hari knew that ''something'' was bound to happen in his thousand-year plan, so he put together a secret team to make sure the unexpected could be fixed]]. The fact that the plan still works on time after the Mule is defeated is a tip-off to one protagonist that something is up.
** By the end of ''Foundation and Earth'', Golan Trevize comes to the conclusion that this trope is the main reason why he [[spoiler: choose Gaia over the Second Foundation -- Psycho-History and the Second Foundation's means of manipulation and planning are based on ''human'' behaviour (the Mule ''thought'' like a human, he just had an ability others did not), leaving them open for problems if faced with [[BlueAndOrangeMorality truly alien ways of thinking]]]].
* When you say, "Space adventure about a magical force," you (impassively or fondly) think of ''Franchise/StarWars''. When you say, "religiously sadomasochistic alien zealots," you blank out. When you add "that are immune to TheForce", you get the [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Yuuzhan Vong]]. Extremely unusual addition or not, those guys dominated a large portion of the post-Palpatine era. A subversion might come into play, since there are [[EpilepticTrees theories]] that Palpatine, having foreseen the invasion through the Force, orchestrated the Clone War and the Galactic Civil War specifically to prepare the Galaxy.
** Abeloth also comes to mind. Really, an EldritchAbomination as the BigBad for a ''Franchise/StarWars'' book? And meta too: You know you're in the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse when LighterAndSofter is Lovecraft [-[[RecycledINSPACE IN SPACE!]]-] And it's no joke about this being Lighter and Softer than ''Literature/LegacyOfTheForce''.
* ''Literature/TheReynardCycle'': If the backstory is to be believed, the Demons "fell from the heavens" and enslaved the entire world in ''seven days''. And there were only seven of them.
* GeorgeRRMartin's ''ASongOfIceAndFire'':
** The Seven Kingdoms are ripping themselves apart in civil war, blissfully unaware that the demonic Others are amassing their army of the undead just north of the Wall. Only the Night's Watch has taken any steps to fight them, and they are woefully outnumbered and much of the knowledge they used to have about the Others has been lost.
** Mellissandre and her red god R'hllor. She's dismissed as a witch and a heathen, but she's got real power that quickly shifts the tides of the War of the Five Kings.
** Aegon the Conqueror, who arrived in Westeros and quickly conquered six of the seven kingdoms in a series of [[CurbStompBattle Curb Stomp Battles]] due to his use of dragons, particularly Harrenhal, a massive impregnable fortress that was built to withstand any invasion by land, but was absolutely defenseless again dragons.
*** And the funny thing is that he should not have been a case of this. The Targaryens spent almost a century after the Doom of Valyria living just off the eastern shore of Westeros, before Aegon decided to conquer the continent. The Westerosi kings really had no excuse not to familiarize themselves with dragon warfare.
** Although the people of Westeros hear rumors about Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons and pretender to the Iron Throne, no one expects [[spoiler:the return of Aegon Targaryen, son of Rhaegar, who was presumed slain during Robert's Rebellion. He suddenly lands in Westeros with an army of elite mercenaries without any warning. Even the reader doesn't know about him until midway through the fifth book]].
** Daenerys also encoutered the Undying Ones, a conclave of warlocks who want to get their hands on her dragons, and tap on their connection to magic.
* In the ''{{Shadowleague}}'' books, [[AntiVillain Lord Blade]] is this for the people of Callisoria, and possibly even his fellow Loremasters.
* The [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Vord]] in ''Literature/CodexAlera'' come as a nasty shock to the Alerans, who thought all they had to deal with was the [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Marat]], the [[WolfMan Canim]], the Icemen, and [[CivilWar each other]]. The only information about them the Alerans have is bits of nearly-forgotten Marat folklore from the ''last'' time they almost ate the planet.
* The premise of the ''{{Worldwar}}'' series has WorldWarTwo being thrown into confusion when the alien Race arrives with its invasion fleet, forcing former mortal enemies to fight together to save humanity. Oddly enough, this works both ways - the Race had been expecting the same knights on horseback their probes found a mere seven hundred years earlier. But not only have the natives [[HumansAdvanceSwiftly gone on to invent tanks and airplanes]], they've also devised weapons the Race never conceived of, like chemical warfare, suicide attacks, and wet-navy warships. Combined with mankind's [[HumansAreWarriors extreme tenacity, fanaticism]], [[HumansAreBastards and potential for cruelty]], the Race consider just glassing the damn planet at least [[OnceAnEpisode once a book.]]
* The characters of ''Literature/WorldWarZ'' repeatedly lampshade that nobody even ''believed'' in zombies, let alone knew anything about how to defeat them. [[note]]Hilariously not the case in RealLife: The Military ''does'' plan for things like zombie outbreaks [[DiscussedTrope specifically as thought exercises]] so they'll be ready for Outside Context Emergencies.[[/note]]
** Additionally, Iran gets one in the form of Pakistan. Iran considered itself (and, early on, genuinely was) safe and secure, with abundant natural resources, highly mountainous terrain that was extremely unforgiving to zombies, and cities located far away from one another that could be easily isolated if one of them were to be overrun. Unfortunately, Iran's attempts to stop the flow of refugees from neighboring Pakistan - including blowing bridges at the border - enraged Pakistan's government and triggered a nuclear war that destroyed both countries. The man being interviewed describes how, unlike longtime rivals and nuclear powers India and Pakistan, the lack of historic enmity between Iran and Pakistan and the relative infancy of Iran's nuclear weapons program meant that the two countries had never developed the mechanisms and diplomatic channels to prevent war between them.
* In ''Triplanetary'', the first book of the Literature/{{Lensman}} series, the heroes have escaped from the clutches of the villainous Gray Roger, figured out his nefarious plans, have mustered the space cavalry, and at last have his evil forces on the ropes -- and then out of nowhere a brand new super-advenced alien species called the Nevians barges in on the battle, easily trounces every ship with its ability to partially neutralize inertia, and kidnaps the heroes several light-years away. This signals the beginning of the LensmanArmsRace.
** The Eddorians and their more powerful underlings are this to humans and other friendly species, while the Arisians and the most powerful lensmen are outside context heroes to the Eddorians, who simply can't grasp the concept of any being having power and not immediately trying to conquer everything in sight. By the end of the series, the Children of the Lens are outside the context of everyone, including the Arisians who engineered them in the first place.
* Creator/HGWells ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds''. This trope works in both directions. The humans had no idea about the alien invaders and [[spoiler: the alien invaders had no idea about human diseases]].
* The New Republic in ''Literature/TheEschatonSeries'' is essentially 19th century Prussia IN SPACE, trying to pretend TheSingularity never happened. It is therefore unequipped to even ''understand'' the Festival, which is the Edinburgh Arts Festival hopped up on nanotech, much less defend against it.
* From the point of view of the bad guys (and readers), this is what happens in Weber's ''Literature/OutOfTheDark''. So you got your typical science-fiction alien invasion of Earth opposed by assorted teams of RagtagBunchOfMisfits, but there's really no way humans can win, since genocide by biological warfare would be fairly easy for the aliens if things get too out of hand...and then [[spoiler: freaking ''Dracula'']] decides he's getting tired of all this alien shit.
* In the ''Literature/{{Mistborn}}'' series, up until the end of the second book, everyone has been dealing with understandable threats: The [[EvilOverlord Lord Ruler]] was a badass but defeatable foe in the first book, while the various kings struggling for power, including the army of [[OurOrcsAreDifferent koloss]], were predictable and understandable, if dangerous and well-armed, foes. Then in comes [[spoiler: [[BigBad Ruin]]]], who is [[spoiler: a literal ''god'' of destruction and unmaking]].
* The appropriately named [[EldritchAbomination Outsiders]] from ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', who come from outside reality and do not play by the normal rules that govern supernatural beings. Particularly [[spoiler:Nemesis, an entity that can infect people's minds and warp their personalities to sway them to the Outsiders' cause. It can alter the fundamental mental nature of the beings it infects, such as removing the CannotTellALie restrictions that normally bind the fae, something that everyone believes to be impossible.]]
* KarlSchroeder's science fiction works, especially ''Lady of Mazes''. A recurring theme involves small societies whose ancestors exiled themselves from an all-encompassing transhuman future full of godlike artificial intelligences that manage everything. These societies strongly restrict technology and knowledge to keep from accidentally growing the AIs all over again and try to provide meaning for their people's lives, to the point that after a few generations the people have completely forgotten any other way of life existed. And then the outside world comes for them, unable to tolerate a pocket of humanity that does not take part in their "enlightened, perfect" transhuman society.
* In ''Discworld/{{Sourcery}}'', Coin the Sourcerer walks into Unseen University and starts altering the whole world with limitless magical power, the first sourcerer to show up in centuries. Discworld's wizards normally have to work within [[MagicAIsMagicA fairly consistent rules and limits]], largely because they can only draw upon and channel natural background magic that already exists in the environment; sourcerers can ''generate'' magic -or at least draw it in from Somewhere Else where it's functionally infinite- completely at will, meaning that they can [[RealityWarper brute-force reality itself by sheer power]] until the only explanation for what they do is [[AWizardDidIt A Sourcerer Did It.]] This is highlighted by the fact that even ''[[MagnificentBastard Lord Vetinari]]'' is caught completely off guard and spends most of the book as a small lizard. His credentials as a schemer and anticipator have not yet been established at this point in the series, but even if they had, there's no reason he would ever have anticipated this.
* In "The Depths of Shadows" by Jack Butler, a hardened team of heavily armed, heavily cybered up street samurai walk right out of a William Gibsonesque world into a DwindlingParty nightmare when they encounter an honest to God vampire.
* In ''Literature/CharlieAndTheGreatGlassElevator'', Space Hotel USA is invaded by Vermicious Knids, carnivorous aliens who have decimated several planets' populations but cannot invade Earth itself (they burn up in its atmosphere). Humanity is ''almost'' completely unaware of their existence, and the crew and guests of the hotel can only run for their lives when they attack. Luckily, an exception to humanity's unawareness is up there with them -- Willy Wonka, who knows all about the creatures and whose Great Glass Elevator is actually Knidproof. Although it takes some doing, he manages to rescue the remaining crew and guests, making him an Outside Context Villain to the Knids!
* The main characters of ''Literature/{{Relativity}}'' are all superheroes. The villains are all, well, supervillains. Both sides are pretty evenly matched, all things considered. And then along comes Phanthro, who can travel through time and alter history...
* [[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians Percy Jackson]] was not able to defeat the Son of Sobek because it comes from Egyptian mythology rather than Greek, so he needed [[Literature/TheKaneChronicles Carter Kane's]] help dealing with it. Likewise, Annabeth, with all her knowledge of Greek monsters has no idea what to make of the head of the staff of Serapis when she sees it, particularly since it's incomplete at the time. After she meets Sadie and finds out about the Egyptian side she's able to start making connections, and even figures out who the staff belongs to, but still Serapis, a god born of the melding of Greek and Egyptian legends, makes her feel as though he turns her entire world inside out simply by existing. And then she finds out that he was set loose by Setne, a master of a form of magic she's never encountered before. The outside context is mitigated somewhat by the presence of the Kanes, who ''are'' familiar with the Egyptian side, and help bring Percyand Annabeth up to speed.
* Happens in TheElricSaga, Elric's main foes are various evil wizards and the gods who are embodiments of chaos. In the novel Sailor on the Seas of Fate, he is suddenly summoned to join a host of other warriors to combat an enemy that threatens the entire universe, a pair of alien sorcerers from another universe that popped in from a science experiment from billions of years in the future and aren't bound by the laws of Elric's cosmos. He himself is an out of context solution, as he's revealed to be an incarnation of the cosmic Eternal Champion and he's to merge with 3 other Eternal Champion incarnations to fight the alien sorcerers on their own terms, the other warriors were simply recruited to be cannon-fodder. Nowhere before was it ever indicated that Elric was anything other than an med-dependent, bookish albino prince and later in other novels outside a few ancient immortals, almost no one on Earth is shown to have any knowledge of the Eternal Champion.
* The Great Evil from ''Literature/HumanxCommonwealth'', is so far out of context that it turns out to be [[spoiler: from another universe entirely]]. In fact [[spoiler: it's revealed that it's nature as an outside-context villain is the whole reason it's dangerous in the first place; in it's own universe it was a harmless and benevolent force but due to the physics of the HC universe being different from it's birthplace, it's powers became destructive. Flinx ends up "defeating" it by dropping it back into it's own realm, causing to instantly become friendly again.]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The Doomsday Machine, from ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''. It came from outside the Milky Way, a weapon intentionally designed to be "too dreadful to use." [[Film/StarTrekIVTheVoyageHome Not even whales can stop it]]. It eats planets.
* The Borg from ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. In their first appearance, [[GreatGazoo Q]] uses them to give the crew of the Enterprise a lesson in just how dangerous the universe still is and how "prepared" they are.
** The Q themselves could also fit this trope.
** Interestingly, Species 8472 is an Outside-Context Villain for the ''Borg'': a species from another dimension that they can neither assimilate nor destroy. It proceeds to kick their asses.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'' had many examples of this trope. The first was Sahjan, whose presence was not even explained to the ''audience'' until his final episode. Then there was The Beast, the cast given only vague warnings about its arrival and were outclassed by it in every possible way. ''Then'' there was [[EldritchAbomination Jasmine]], who had even ''less'' warning and was so beyond their experience the only way they acquired information of her at all was due to a visitor from her home dimension.
** And then things really get bad when Illyria wakes up. Her two episode introduction is more or less devoted to a long realization that this really is a [[EldritchAbomination horrible Lovecraftian]] PhysicalGod, not a poser, and that things like pointing guns or swinging swords at her are really quite quaint.
* Before the above, ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' had Glorificus. Best exemplified by Buffy's [[OhCrap expression]] when told that Glory isn't a demon, but a [[PhysicalGod god]].
** Inverted by Warren Mears. Used to dealing with vampires, demons, and gods, Buffy wasn't prepared to deal with one AxCrazy human MadScientist.
** Even before Warren Mears, there was Ted, the titular killer robot from the episode "Ted". Buffy knew how to handle vampires and demons and things that went bump in the night, but a killer robot who pretended to just be a guy? She had no idea how to deal until she figured out his secret.
** Also The Initiative as an organization - science intruding into a [[Main/FantasyKitchenSink fantasy world. ]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** Inverted by the show's basic premise - the Doctor is an Outside Context ''Hero.'' The very first episode of the show is about two schoolteachers concerned with the home life of an odd student; they go over to her address and instead find an old-fashioned Police Box with AlienGeometries belonging to a strange old man who turns out to be 'not of this Earth'. The GenreShift from a school-based drama to science fantasy is a phenomenal twist and the episode still packs quite a punch today, although [[LateArrivalSpoiler anyone who watches it is already spoiled for it]]. In the Series 5 finale of the new series a large group of his enemies, none known for working well with others, pool their resources and abilities to trap him in the ultimate prison - as he was known for just 'dropping out of the sky and ending your world'.
** In "The Ice Warriors" climate change scientists are trying to hold back a glacier, in a way that is clearly business as usual in the setting. Then one of the members finds a mummified body frozen in an ice floe and brings it back for research purposes. It turns out to be a Martian warrior downed in an ancient plane crash and trying to find its allies again. They are dependent on their computer to calculate probabilities and obsessively do what it says - naturally, it has no programming to deal with alien invasions, leaving them high and dry and forcing them to rely on the Doctor, for whom these things are somewhat more normal.
** "The War Games" is mostly a story about aliens kidnapping soldiers from various time zones and making them fight each other in an AnachronismStew setting, until (in the eighth episode of ten) the Doctor is forced to summon the Time Lords to imprison the evil timelord the [[DiabolicalMastermind War Chief]] and get all of the kidnapped soldiers home. The Time Lords arrive, immediately break the plot and mind-wipe or kill all of the principle characters, including the Doctor himself.
** Both "The Daemons" and "Battlefield" deal with villains that have what appear to be actual magical powers, and both stand out strikingly in a science fiction series (even a Mohs/ScienceInGenreOnly show which uses a lot of MagicFromTechnology).
** The stage play adaptation of "The Robots of Death" replaces the hard-to-execute-on-stage finale of the original story (where the Doctor tricks Taren Capel into his downfall using [[ScienceHero basic scientific principles that exist in real life]]) with a shock appearance from the [[GothicHorror occultism-themed]] EldritchAbomination the Fendahl, who promptly hijacks the story. Both the Fendahl and the robots were created by the same author, but "The Robots of Death" is golden-age-style science fiction and "Image of the Fendahl" is GothicHorror.
** The Devil from "The Satan Pit". The Doctor is used to DoingInTheWizard, facing creatures that are just using technology or tricks to make themselves look fearsome. So when he faces something claiming to be from "before time", and the actual Devil, he has no idea what to do.
* ''Series/{{Alphas}}'' villain Marcus Ayers explicitly calls himself - and all other Alphas - an "out-of-context problem" for normal humans. He then fatalistically points out that only way humans know how to deal with such a problem is to destroy it, [[spoiler: which they try to do to him shortly afterwards]].
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** Several episodes deal with [[{{mundanger}} crazy humans]], leaving Dean bewildered. He even lampshades in the first episode with one of these villains that he can understand all sorts of supernatural things, like ghosts, vampires, demons, etc. It's ''humans'' he has trouble dealing with. "Demons I get. Humans are just crazy."
** Ironically, the first time Sam and Dean actually fought a demon in "Phantom Traveler", it was portrayed in this manner, being vastly more powerful than anything they'd faced until that point.
* ''Series/BlakesSeven'' very nearly had this happen in Series 2, where at one point the intention was for the [[spoiler:arriving alien force in that series' cliffhanger]] to be [[spoiler:the [[Series/DoctorWho Daleks]]]].
* [[ScrewedByTheNetwork Short-lived series]] ''Series/{{Threshold}}'' was premised on the US government turning to the plans of the one person for whom alien invasion ''was not'' an Outside Context Problem. Many of the complications with her plans come from either the aliens being more insidious than she'd anticipated, or resistance and disbelief from everyone else for whom the aliens ''are'' completely outside their context.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' has a few examples to offer:
** From a Earther perspective, the Minbari: Earth Alliance knew of their existence and their fame and could conceive their firepower (on a similar level of that of the Centauri warships, that Earth Alliance knew of), but had no idea that StealthInSpace was even possible. The end result was a HopelessWar in which Humans were considered incredibly {{Badass}} for forcing the Minbari to actually ''try'' to annihilate them instead of just waltzing in and winning automatically, and would have ended with the complete extinction of Mankind had the Minbari not changed their mind at the last moment;
** The [[BigBad Shadows]]. The first time we see them, one of their warships appears from literally nowhere and disintegrate a [[SpacePirate Raider]] ship for no apparent reason, and one of their emissaries gives the Raider's loot to Londo. It takes a while for the good guys to realize even their very existence, or how powerful they actually are;
** The Thirdspace Aliens, who, in the distant past, nearly subjugated every single sentient in the galaxy, appear from nowhere with ships that could take on both the Vorlon and the Shadows and telepathic powers so immense that they could brainwash even the ''Vorlons'' (until then the most powerful telepaths in the series), and their scouting party is barely defeated before the gate enabling them to show up is destroyed.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' as well:
** Initially, the Goa'uld themselves. The Earthers thought the one they'd killed in the movie was the LastOfHisKind and that they'd eliminated any threat to Earth when they took it out. Not so much...
** The Replicators, an extragalactic, mechanical HordeOfAlienLocusts who make all kinds of trouble for SG-1 and its allies and eventually invade the Milky Way. By then SG-1 had some experience with them, but the Goa'uld still saw them as this trope.
** Anubis, whom the System Lords thought had died eons ago after his banishment. Turns out he was NotQuiteDead. His return in Season 5 forces both the System Lords and the Earth/Tok'ra/Free Jaffa alliance to shift their priorities from each other to the new enemy.
** The Ori in the last two seasons. For nearly a decade the heroes have been fighting the Goa'uld, whose modus operandi is to use technology to trick primitives into thinking they're gods. Now they have to fight aliens who by almost any definition ''are'' gods.
** And, of course, Stargate Command and the Tau'ri (Earth humans) in general are this to the Goa'uld. They had a nice little system set up where they could squabble with one another, had a treaty with the Asgard to keep them off their backs, run their own little kingdoms as they wanted... and then a small group of primitives from a long-forgotten world shows up and proceeds to kick their asses so hard that a system that survived millennia goes down in under a decade.
* In ''Series/LostGirl'', the Garuda catches everybody by surprise because it predates the Fae. There was no myths or legends of it, so there is nothing to reference. [[spoiler:However, a few people like Lachlan knew about it and had been preparing.]]
* The last half of season 2 of ''Series/OnceUponATime'' is shown to be controlled, at least in part, by Peter Pan. While people on both sides of the fourth wall had probably been expecting him since Captain Hook showed up, it's doubtful they thought it'd be as a villain. The first hint we see of him is his disembodied shadow coming to take lost and forgotten boys to Neverland, and even when he is finally shown in person, he's still different from anything they've experienced before. He controls Neverland completely, he can out-gambit Rumpelstiltskin, manipulate people without trying, and even those who have faced him before are unsure how to defeat him, or even if he ''can'' be. [[spoiler:The most startling thing about him is that he has ties to the entire main cast--he's Rumpel's ''father'', making him Neal's grandfather and Henry's great-grandfather--and no one had any inkling of the possibility of his interference]].
* ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' shows that S.H.I.E.L.D. has a name for Outside Context Problems: 0-8-4, code for an object of unknown origin and utility. [[Film/{{Thor}} Thor's hammer was one]], and a laser weapon found in some ancient ruins was another. Obviously, eventually sometimes context ''is'' provided; they still don't know much about Mjolnir, but they know where it came from and who it belongs to. Likewise, the laser weapon turned out to be a device commissioned from [[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger HYDRA]] during WWII.
* Season 2 of ''{{Series/Arrow}}'' introduces Mirakuru, a SuperSerum used by a cult to create [[PsychoSerum insane and violent]] {{Super Soldier}}s. Up until now, the protagonists had only fought ordinary criminals and corrupt businessmen. This is their first encounter with genuine superhumans.
* In ''Series/TheFlash2014'', a young Barry Allen watches his mother being murdered by what appears to be a fast-moving man shrouded in lightning. Barry's unbelievable story results in his father being imprisoned for the murder. Fourteen years later, a particle accelerator explodes, [[MassSuperEmpoweringEvent creating other "metahumans" with similar powers.]] However, that doesn't explain how a metahuman could exist ''before'' the particle accelerator explosion.
** Fans of the comics know that the murderer's origin is even more out of context: [[spoiler:He's a time-traveller.]]
* ''Series/{{Fringe}}'': Most of the problems the Fringe team face are out of their context, but the shapeshifters, and the improved ones in particular, come right out of the left field for them. But the crown contender is [[spoiler:The Invaders, time-travelling cyborgs who want the present day so they can ruin it. The only person who even suspected they were coming was William Bell. And when they do arrive, they quickly curbstomp the entire planet.]]


[[folder:Music Videos]]
* The music video of Music/{{Skrillex}}'s "First of the Year" has a child kidnapper very surprised when his victim [[SummonMagic summons a demon]] to kill him.
** The video for "Bun Dem" has a similar plot: a corrupt police officer fraudulently evicting low-income households is thwarted by a MagicalNativeAmerican boy who summons ''[[VisualEffectsOfAwesome a Thunder Bird made of lasers]]'' when the cop tries to pull a gun on him.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* How [[Wrestling/JillianHall Macaela Mercedes]] reacted when La Tigresa showed up in a new promotion based in her hometown, Cincinnati Ohio, saying she had never heard of and couldn't find anything on her except that Tigresa was from Puerto Rico.
* The Flood, really. A collection of {{Rudo}}s from across time and space, including Wrestling/KaijuBigBattel, is out there enough already but they were led by Wrestling/JimmyJacobs, who has never been of any real significance in Wrestling/{{Chikara}} and was seemingly tied down in a war against Wrestling/RingOfHonor at the time? [[spoiler: As it turns out, he wasn't the leader, for those very reasons]].

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' has quite a few of these. In the past five years, Abyssal and Infernal Exalted--types of Exalted no one's seen in all of history--have started crawling out of the woodwork after their [[TheUndead respective]] [[OurDemonsAreDifferent bosses]] got their hands on half of all the Solar Exaltations ever crafted. And for the recently-returned Solars, the eventual return of the Scarlet Empress can seem like this...[[spoiler:especially since she's now a puppet for the Yozis]].
** The Abyssals and Infernals apply doubly so to the Sidereals, who were watching the shop while the Solars were dead and the Lunars were on the run. They have the ability to track all things which reside within Fate... which the Abyssals (who have technically died and surrendered their fates) and the Infernals (who were reforged in Malfeas) don't count under.
** The quintessential example might be the conquest of Thorns. An army of ghosts and undead, led by the horrifically powerful ghost [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Mask of Winters]], supplemented by the aforementioned Abyssals (being seen for the first time) and a gigantic dying monster, leading to the city being not only taken over, but converted into a Shadowland expanding at a terrifyingly unprecedented rate.
** The event of the Alchemical Exalted (or Autochthonians in general) entering Creation would play out like this in scenarios with a military context. The reverse holds true as well; the Autochthonians have very little idea what Creation is actually like and it disturbs them fairly badly.
** In a rare inversion of this trope, the [[EldritchAbomination Primordials]] are terrifying lovecraftian planes of existence which are also sentient and compromised of greater demons and lesser ones as well as being GeniusLoci with MalevolentArchitecture topped of with BlueAndOrangeMorality. The only thing that saves them from this trope is that they made the universe and have been running things from day 1. That, and they protagonists were literally created to destroy them makes the titular Exalted outside context problems ''to them''.
* The history of the ''TabletopGame/IronKingdoms'' is this: people puttering around with warriors, wizards and the like getting steamrolled by TheEmpire with seriously high sorcery PowerLevels from across the western ocean. It took the creation of "scientific" items such as Gunpowder, Steam engines and [[HumongousMecha War Machines]] four hundred years later before TheEmpire finally got driven off
* The Eldrazi in ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', being {{Eldritch Abomination}}s from the spaces between planes of existence which ''[[PlanetEater feed]]'' on said planes, and [[NonElemental don't obey]] [[ElementalRockPaperScissors the basic rules of magic]]. Until their escape, the plane of Zendikar where they were [[SealedEvilInACan imprisoned]] was presented as an adventure world. To quote the ''Rise of the Eldrazi'' Player's Guide, "Previous quests have been for treasure and glory. In the new ''Rise of the Eldrazi'' set...only one goal remains: survival."
** Also the case for New Phyrexia's attack. Even when the Mirrans knew they were at war, they expected their opponents to wage war on the people...not the ecosystem.
** During the Conflux of Alara, ''all five'' Shards got hit with this. Each one had been without two colors of magic for so long they had forgotten those colors even existed, meaning that each one suddenly found themselves running into two mini-worlds ''defined'' by magic they had never experienced. Best exemplified by Esper, the white-blue-black Shard, which developed into a land of cyborgs who infused etherium into their bodies because only one of their three colors was even capable of artifact destruction, and then suddenly found itself running into red and green, two colors of magic that ''excel'' at blasting artifacts into shrapnel.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', this is the problem with a lot of the newer enemies. Humanity had gotten used to "ordinary" aliens like [[TheUsualAdversaries Orks]] or [[SpaceElves Eldar]], and then here comes the [[SwarmOfAlienLocusts swarm of extra-galactic, hyper-evolving locusts]]. [[SkeleBot Or ageless metal skeletons]] [[OmnicidalManiac with a grudge against organic life]]. Or a bunch of [[TheGreys little grey]] [[TheFederation communists]] who went from primitives to {{mini mecha}} with [[MagneticWeapons railguns]] [[FromNobodyToNightmare in just a few thousand years]].
** Standard Imperial policy is only so outrageously cruel and draconian because otherwise they would get suckerpunched by every out of context problem in the galaxy (for reference, soul-eating psychic jellyfish out of nowhere are one of the more expected, planned-for, and familiar threats). And they're still getting suckerpunched.
** [[OmniscientMoralityLicense The Emperor]] [[NiceJobBreakingItHero inadvertently]] set one up prior to the HorusHeresy. His Imperial Truth was a rational, secular philosophy that had no room for gods or "daemons," [[FlatEarthAtheist despite the Emperor knowing damn well that the Chaos Gods were out there]]--[[GodsNeedPrayerBadly he hoped to starve them of faith]]. So when half of the Space Marine legions fell to Chaos, not only did the loyalists have to deal with fighting soldiers just as superhuman as they were, but soldiers with access to DemonicPossession or summoned daemons.
** The Harrowing, an event mentioned in ''TabletopGame/DarkHeresy''. Fluff indicates that it was an [[EldritchLocation entire eldritch universe]] barging into the Materium and kicking the shit out of everyone so badly that all the habitable worlds in a sector or three are nothing but lifeless desert. It may well have been an even more devastating conflict than the HorusHeresy, but almost nothing remains outside of Astartes battle sagas and a few third-hand fragments in some obscure and seemingly unreliable sources. [[BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu Which isn't even covering what the Imperium had to do to survive.]]
** Slaanesh for most of the Eldar. Some seers [[CassandraTruth tried to warn their people]] that their hedonism was feeding a gestating god, but few listened. Those who did hid inside the Webway or built [[TheArk Craftworlds]] to flee in, but they did not understand just what would happen when Slaanesh was "born". The god's birth tore a hole in reality, plunging the heart of the Eldar empire into [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace the Warp]] and instantly [[YourSoulIsMine consuming the souls]] of almost the entire species. Most of those who fled did not make it far enough to escape having their souls eaten. And while those hiding in the Webway initially seemed unaffected, they soon discovered that Slaanesh was still consuming their souls, just very slowly.
** The Tau's first proper contact with the Imperium was this for both sides; the Tau thought that the human worlds they gathered up were just some isolated backwaters (they were), but were completely caught off guard by the massive amount of resources the Imperium threw at them in retaliation, while the Imperium were surprised by how an advanced civilization of aliens could develop so fast under their noses, and then stall their invasion fleet for so long.
* Literature/BabaYaga was this to the Linnorm Kings in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}''. She suddenly arrived [[spoiler:from Earth]] in her Dancing Hut one winter 1400 years ago, conquered half their territory with her army of trolls and fey, established one of her daughters on the throne, and just as quickly left, leaving her army behind to protect the newly-established kingdom of Irrisen. ''Reign of Winter'' even reveals why she bothered; she [[LifeDrinker sustains her immortality]] by consuming the LifeForce of [[OffingTheOffspring her female descendants/daughters]]. Irrisen, then, ensures she always has a steady supply of that precious bloodline protected and kept ready for her when she needs a pick-me-up.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' offers a thousand and one options for this. SummonMagic is always good to spice things up. [[MundaneUtility True Resurrection]] works on any form of dead animal matter, including the enemy's [[ElementalRockPaperScissors fancy dragonscale armor]]. Magic circles preventing your ''summoned'' creatures from entering or attacking? That's not a problem if you can ''[[RulesLawyer call]]'' them!
** Meta Example: The rules sets for each edition of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' are massive, to the point no DM or player can truly be prepared for anything that the other might throw at them. It's not uncommon for players to bring [[PsychicPowers Psions]] to the table and be able to throw a WrenchInTheWorks of a DM who only knows the rules for VancianMagic. Likewise, a DM has no concern with the logistics of getting a character to a certain level alive, and so is free to [[CharacterClassSystem mix and match classes and races]] to create something [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot truly weird.]]
** Legend tells of a DM who [[TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou put his pet tarantula]] on the board and told his players to roll initiative.
** Inevitables are [[MagicFromTechnology robots from another plane]] that enforce the natural laws of the universe.
** The Bodak [[CrossThrough is an alien from the d20 Modern setting]] that has been [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot raised from the dead]].
** Mindflayers are {{Cthulhumanoid}}s from [[StableTimeLoop the future]] who appeared out of nowhere with a fully formed empire right under the...erm..."[[StarfishAliens noses]]" of the [[TimeAbyss Aboleths]], who know and remember everything since time began.
** Ironically, [[NonIndicativeTitle dragons can be this]] for players in third edition. Dragons aren't statted up like other monsters in the core books and SRD, meaning many [=DMs=] will simply never run a [[SignatureScene dragon encounter]], and many players won't have a sense of [[CurbStompBattle how they actually work in combat]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' franchise, the BigBad of any game belonging to it is either a human, a demon, or an angel. ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor2'' then introduces the Septentriones, a group of actual space aliens as the main antagonists.
** Really, the demons (and angels) of almost any game in the franchise also count. Except for a few games, their existence completely blindsides everyone. Aside from (most of) the ''VideoGame/{{Persona}}'' and ''VideoGame/DevilSummoner'' games, they also usually accomplish the near or complete extinction of humanity.
* ''VideoGame/StarOceanTillTheEndOfTime'' has the Executioners, who roll into the galaxy and start destroying everything, apparently sent by masters from beyond our reality to destroy us all, and an order of magnitude more powerful than anything else faced up to that point in the game, with ordinary enemies rivaling bosses in difficulty--if they can be beaten at all. [[spoiler:It is even more out of context than it appears at first glance. The characters go to a CoolGate to travel between worlds, using the overpowered magical abilities that their parents gave them to break their way out of our world and into the world of the Executioners' masters...whereupon they end up dumped in what seems to be an amusement park and fight some guards who you handily beat, them being little better than mooks compared to the characters. They discover that the world that the game has been taking place in is a video game made by people in 4D space, and the Executioners are nothing more than [=NPCs=] sent to clean up the errors which have been accumulating in the game world by deleting everything]].
* Lavos from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' is an extraterrestrial planetary parasite, making him a ''literal'' GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere. Lavos's existence is known to various people at various times (the Zealots used it for an energy source, [[EvilIsNotAToy which wasn't that smart a move]]), but nobody knew its ''purpose'' until 1999, when [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt it woke up.]]
* The Parasite from ''VideoGame/{{Evolva}}'', much the same as Lavos.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' games are fond of this, with the villain often being something utterly alien to the protagonists:
** The Cloud of Darkness from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'' is familiar to the World of Darkness, but wholly unknown to the World of Light.
** The Lunarians (specifically, Zemus, Golbez, and the Lunarian LostTechnology) in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', which ''include the hero'', on his father's side anyway. He was raised as a human, so he's just as baffled by the powers of his father's people and the artifacts they left behind. There's supposedly mostly good Lunarians, but we only see one and a FaceHeelTurn.
** Exdeath of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' is known to the inhabitants of the world he comes from, but utterly unknown in the other. Fortunately, people from his world follow to help the defenseless natives of the protagonists' world fight him.
** Jenova in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', an invading planet- and life-eating parasite from space.
** The Terrans of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'', which, like IV, include the hero, who, like IV, has gone native. Unlike IV, all the other aliens are of the "invade and help their planet devour the souls of those that live on ours" variety.
*** And Necron, the enigmatic GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere TrueFinalBoss of the game. WildMassGuessing abound about just what the hell he's supposed to be.
* The Heartless tended to be these for the various Disney worlds in ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''.
* Tatanga from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioLand'' is a space alien that kidnaps Princess Daisy.
** Who's defeated by Mario's own Outside Context Fighter Airplane which hasn't been seen before or since.
** And then the sequel implies that Tatanga was ''[[TheManBehindTheMan working for]] [[EvilCounterpart Wario]]'' to [[KansasCityShuffle distract Mario]]. DangerouslyGenreSavvy!
* Another Mario example would be the Smithy Gang from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG'', an enemy so outside normal context that it caused an EnemyMine between Mario, Peach, and Bowser!
** This would also apply to most of the other Mario RPG villains who often are much bigger threats to Mario than Bowser usually is. In ''SuperPaperMario'', Bowser ends up working with Mario, Luigi, and Peach to take down Count Bleck.
** ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Bowser's Inside Story]]'' features the Dark Star, initially portrayed as a simple ArtifactOfDoom. No one knows what it really is or where it originally came from, but it clearly has an agenda of its own, and [[EvilIsNotAToy it easily replaces Fawful as the villain when he tries to use its power]].
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeonGatesToInfinity'', [[spoiler:the Bittercold]] is this for the ''entirety'' of the Franchise/{{Pokemon}} franchise, being the first boss besides [[spoiler:Dark Rust]] in ''VideoGame/PokemonRumble Blast'' that ''isn't'' a Pokémon or a Pokémon trainer. Instead, it's [[spoiler:a crystalline embodiment of all of the Pokémon's negative emotions, given form because how much negativity has been going around in the Pokémon world as of late]]. Simply being near it causes Pokémon to suffocate and, if left unchecked, it has the potential to destroy the entire world. It takes the intervention of a similarly-outside-context entity (a NatureSpirit in the form of a Pokémon) to destroy it, as, knowing no Pokémon can do the job, they decide to summon humans who can resist its debilitating effects.
* Giratina's appearance in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Pokemon Platinum]]'', [[SpoilerOpening aside from it being the box mascot]]. Prior to it lunging out of Spear Pillar to attack Cyrus and drag him into the [[EldritchLocation Distortion World]], there is ''no mention of it whatsoever'' in the storyline, explained by Cynthia as it having been wiped from the ancient legends [[SpeakOfTheDevil for fear of it returning]].
* The Zerg from ''Franchise/{{Starcraft}}'', and the Burning Legion from ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'', who are a HordeOfAlienLocusts from another part of the galaxy and an army of omnicidal demons from another dimension, respectively.
** The Zerg are out-of-context for the Protoss more than anything, since they were running the galaxy as part of their "Great Stewardship". They never imagined a HordeOfAlienLocusts coming out of nowhere with the explicit purpose of assimilating them, and destroying their ancestral homeworld.
*** The Protoss were pretty out-of-context for the Terrrans as well, the Terrans discovered they were not alone when a massive fleet showed up out of nowhere and sterilized one of their colonies.
** The United Earth Directorate from ''Brood War'' is another example. The Zerg are at least comprehensible to the Protoss as they are also a creation of the [[{{Precursors}} Xel'Naga]], and part of their power comes from absorbing the knowledge of the Xel'Naga. Terrans, as far as most of the Protoss are concerned, are a bit of background noise in their fight with the Zerg. But then a fleet from Earth shows up and (for a time at least) controls the Zerg and becomes the top power.
** The Dark Voice and his Hybrids also seems to be this in ''VideoGame/{{StarCraft II}}'', especially in the BadFuture: the Zerg were the main threat that everybody recognized, and then, just as [[spoiler: Kerrigan was killed to defeat the Zerg, the Fallen One came in, took over the Zerg, and used them to bring everlasting darkness to the Universe]].
* In ''[[Videogame/SpyroOrangeTheCortexConspiracy Spyro Orange]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/CrashBandicootPurpleRiptosRampage Crash Purple]]'', the protagonists suddenly find themselves the victims of a villain switcheroo, and have to take on each other's archnemeses.
** Similarly, the Shadow Minions from ''VideoGame/SpyroShadowLegacy''. Even Spyro couldn't damage these things until he started learning Dragon Kata.
* In the first ''VideoGame/FreeSpace'', the two known races of the galaxy, the Humans and the Vasudans, are at war. Then suddenly, weird black ships (with ''DeflectorShields'', something neither race thought possible) show up and start killing ''everyone''. Turns out those ships belong to the Shivans, a race of seriously deadly HordeOfAlienLocusts. Even after two games, the only things known about them for certain is that they're extremely technologically advanced and they always have way more power available than you think.
* Similarly in ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'', the Americans and North Koreans are busily having a scrap on an island and managing to ignore various weird happenings around the mountain in the middle of it, until suddenly the aliens leap out and freeze the whole place solid.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' the Darkspawn are this to everyone except the Grey Wardens and the Dwarves. Since it's been hundreds of years since the last Blight, the people of the surface believed that the Darkspawn had been eradicated. When the Fifth Blight strikes, the people of Ferelden are left scrambling to prepare their defenses and it doesn't help that Ferelden has so few Grey Wardens to help. Things get worse after the Battle of Ostagar--everyone is too preoccupied with serious internal problems including a civil war and underestimate the true threat level of the Blight. Nobody in Ferelden is really prepared to fight monsters that a) vastly outnumber them b) carry a lethal and corrupting magical plague and c) are controlled by an insane dragon god that is unkillable [[spoiler:unless a Grey Warden strikes the final blow]].
** In ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', Cassandra and the Seekers are desperately trying to figure out who out of all the key players in Kirkwall, was the BigBad responsible for the outbreak of [[spoiler: the Mage/Templar War]]. Varric tells her that ''none'' of them are responsible, but [[spoiler:the [[ArtefactOfDoom Red Lyrium Idol]] recovered from the [[EldritchLocation Primeval Thaig]]]] certainly was a key factor in what happened.
* Few of the factions in ''VideoGame/GalacticCivilizations II'' even knew the Dread Lords ever existed, and no-one expected they would ever return.
* The Galactic Civilisations story is almost directly copied from the MasterOfOrion, with the Antarans having been the ancient enemies of the [[Precursors Orions]] who suddenly return and disrupt the younger races (ie. the player and their opponents) efforts to conquer the galaxy for themselves. Arguably the Harvesters are this in turn to the Antarans before the start of the third game. Bioweapons created by the Antarans themselves, most of the Antarans had no idea what they were, where they came from, or why their home systems had suddenly stop communicating, and were forced into desperate measures to avoid extinction. Finally, the backstory also mentions a third galactic power descended from those exiled from the original home of the Orions and Antarans, with one of the playable races apparently being scouts or infiltrators engineered to either investigate or soften things up for invasion. However, with no further games having come in the franchise, this idea was never expanded on.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsZ'' has [[SpellMyNameWithAThe The]] Edel Bernal, who, unlike other SRW OriginalGeneration {{Final Boss}}es, is a godlike being who is ''not'' seeking power or self-aggrandizement. He just started all the chaos in the game ForTheEvulz, and as the good guys chew him out during the final battle they actually freak out somewhat when they come to the realization that ''he just doesn't care'', and it become dramatically clear that [[YoureInsane they are fighting a lunatic]] [[ItAmusedMe with no real goal except what entertains him]].
* Nobody in ''VideoGame/ValkyrieProfile2Silmeria'' expected that [[spoiler:Lezard Valenth was actually a time-shifted version of himself from the future. By the time anyone figured it out, he had outwitted everybody, forcing the survivors into an EnemyMine to beat him]].
* The Reapers, like Sovereign, from ''Franchise/MassEffect'' are this to the entire galaxy. [[spoiler:They appear to wipe out all space-faring life every 50,000 years, and spend the intervening time asleep in dark space]]. Driven home in the ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' announcement trailer where it's made clear, given that the higher-ups constantly tried to silence his/her warnings about them, that no one besides Shepard knows what they are.
** What makes the Reapers so devastating is that the scale and capabilities of the Reapers sits outside of the context of the Citadel's military doctrine. The three primary Citadel species have geared their militaries to cooperate and specialize, with each species supporting one another: the turians serve as the primary heavy combat element, supplying most of the ground troops, armored vehicles, and spacecraft. The asari provide elite biotic special forces and economic and diplomatic clout, at the expense of heavy combat units. The salarians provide advanced technology, intelligence, and covert operations units at the expense of heavy combat elements as well. This works just fine for the enemies that the Citadel is accustomed to fighting. But when the Reapers show up, they're so fast, they have such huge numbers, they have nonexistent logistics requirements, they have technology that at times breaks the laws of physics, and they have firepower and armor more powerful than anything the other races can even hope to achieve, which means they can attack ''anywhere'' at their leisure. As a result, the asari military gets smashed and the salarians only survive the majority of the war because the Reapers haven't bothered with them because their intelligence apparatus (geared to fight more conventional enemies) is a nonthreat.
** In the ''Leviathan DLC'' for the third game, Shepard hunts for a mysterious Reaper-killer codenamed Leviathan. [[spoiler: Instead of a rogue Reaper as the characters initially believed, the Leviathan are revealed to be giant aquatic lifeforms, with incredible [[MoreThanMindControl mental abilities]] and a ''massive'' [[AGodAmI God-complex]]. They are also the race indirectly responsible for the creation of the Reapers, when a [[AIIsACrapshoot Rogue AI]] [[note]](the Catalyst)[[/note]] turned against them and created the first Reapers in their image.]]
* This scenario forms the backstory of ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar''. Sera's human population had been fighting each other for ''seventy-nine years'' and only just come to an exhausted peace when a massive, well-equipped, highly-organized army--[[TheHorde the Locust Horde]]--erupted from the ground in multiple areas simultaneously and brought their civilization to its knees.
** Even earlier, this happened to [[spoiler: the Locust themselves, with the arrival of Lambency. It was the mutation's virulence that lead to the Locust eventually declaring their underground home a lost cause and making war with humanity because ''waging a genocidal war against humanity'' so that they could relocate to the surface was deemed easier than holding the Hollow.]]
* In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer3TiberiumWars'', it's business as usual with GDI and Nod killing each other, then aliens show up. The humans are so startled that they call a ceasefire and manage a (''very'' short-lived) truce to deal with the new threat before continuing their war. The ''aliens'' are surprised because Earth was supposed to be uninhabitable by that point, so their fleet sent to harvest [[GreenRocks Tiberium]] is met with [[HumansAreWarriors unexpected resistance]]. [[MagnificentBastard And deep within his command center, Kane smiles to himself.]]
* The Conqueror in ''VideoGame/TheLastRemnant'' shows up out of nowhere with an army and starts capturing Remnants until the current world order recognizes him as a ruler. [[spoiler:As it turns out, this is a HumanityOnTrial thing to see how humans are using the power of the Remnants. They fail]].
* In a ''VideoGame/{{Bodycount}}'' trailer an African militiaman is surprised by a skyscraper rising from the ground, with a large door opening. He promptly gets one-shotted by a laser from a guy in futuristic body armour.
* The Tuaparang in ''VideoGame/GoldenSunDarkDawn'' are explicitly noted not to be from any of Weyard's known nations or peoples. They have extremely advanced {{Magitek}} (Weyard is just now breaking out of MedievalStasis; Tuaparang's agents show up in a ''giant airship''), a total war culture, and [[spoiler:[[WrongContextMagic Psynergy outside the four elements]]]]!
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' almost everyone is blindsided by the Dragons. The only ones who have any idea where they came from are the Graybeards, and that's only because their mentor [[spoiler:is a Dragon]].
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars'' has a few examples:
** First, in ''Nightfall'', was the return of Abaddon, the fallen sixth god, and his Margonite followers. The other gods had gone to great lengths to render him an [[UnPerson Un-Deity]], so much of the players' knowledge of Abaddon is learned while on the run from his various armies.
** Second,, in ''Eye of the North'', was the appearance of the Destroyers. While foreshadowed in an obscure Dwarven prophecy, nobody really knew about them until they were already halfway through slaughtering the Asurans. Even by the end of the campaign and their destruction very little was actually known about the Destroyers beyond that they were an enemy.
** Third, in the sequel, ''Guild Wars 2'', is the appearance of the Elder Dragons. While they have been present since long before man or god walked the land, they were largely dormant and only hints of their power were seen.
* ''VideoGame/KidIcarusUprising'' has [[spoiler:the Aurum, a group of planet-eating robot aliens that only Pyrrhon saw coming. They leave as quickly as they appeared]].
* In ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'', [[spoiler:the Iconians. Up until TheReveal, most of the galaxy believed they were extinct for thousands of years]].
* [[spoiler:Chakravartin]] in ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' is a classic example. Absolutely no-one in the story had any inkling what his plans were, or that he even existed, until he straight-up manifested in the world and told the main characters. As [[spoiler:the Supreme Being]], his powers are infinitely greater than anybody else's. [[BeyondTheImpossible Asura beats him anyway]].
* Tabuu from ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros Brawl''. He comes out of nowhere and [[spoiler:[[CurbStompBattle effortlessly beats absolutely every character]]. Then Dedede's badges activate...]]
* In the storyline between the ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' games, humanity was so completely unprepared for the Combine invasion that the entire planet Earth was conquered in ''seven hours''.
* The Grand Menaces from ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' almost all have capabilities beyond the reckoning of the playable factions. The System Killer is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin in a universe where the lesser factions can only glass planet surfaces. The Puppetmaster can somehow subvert enemy ships and whole planets without recourse to lesser methods like {{Boarding Part|y}}ies and ground invasion. The Locusts are PlanetLooters that replicate exponentially if left unchecked. And those are just three of goodness knows how many. All will mop the floor with an unprepared player blindly going AttackAttackAttack and are hard fights even with planning and strategy.
* ''VideoGame/MedievalIITotalWar'' has two of these in the Grand Campaign. Unless you know it's coming and spend the entire early game preparing for it, the Mongol Hordes can steamroll any faction on the eastern half of the map, and even if you've prepared it's not going to be an easy fight. Then, about the time you think you've recovered from the Black Death towards the endgame, the Timurids show up, and on top of all the Mongols' strengths they have cannon-toting elephants.
* The 3D ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' games generally use this as their source of villainy, as usual BigBad Dr. Eggman's role is often demoted in these titles, either trying to benefit from the fact the villain is outside the typical context of the series or only rising to the level of being an instigator of the events and then losing his grip on them after some of the plot has passed. Examples include [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure Chaos]] (a water monster from ancient times Eggman has been trying to harness but only ends up aiding its vengeful rampage) and [[VideoGame/SonicAdventure2 Biolizard]] (a last-ditch experiment by a mad scientist aboard a space colony as his final parting gift for a world he believes betrayed him).
* The Covenant were this for the UNSC in ''Franchise/{{Halo}}''. The UNSC is busy dealing with preventing a devastating civil war with their outer colonies, when suddenly a collective of alien races shows up, burns one of their planets to glass, and declares their intent to do the same to the rest of humanity. Despite this, the UNSC (while far from being on the winning side) adapts pretty quickly and lasts far longer than expected.
** The Flood are this as well. While fighting aliens had become regular business for the UNSC, nobody expected space-zombies with a HiveMind to enter the fray.
*** Even more so in the Forerunners' case. Going about their regular business, [[spoiler:fighting humanity]], when suddenly an alien parasite [[spoiler:that claims to be the defective remnant of the gods their religion states favored them above all others]] arrives and attempts to assimilate their entire empire [[spoiler:[[RoaringRampageOfRevenge as retribution for committing genocide on them millions of years before]]]].
* ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings II'' has this, unusually for a historically-accurate game, with an expansion pack that introduces an Aztec invasion of Europe. [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything They have different gods, powerful weapons, and spread diseases that Europeans have no resistance to]], making them a serious threat completely out of left field for all the dynasties engaged in intricate political machinations.
** The Mongols and Timurids are also present, and they will utterly WRECK the east side of the map on arrival.
** In the [[VideoGame/AfterTheEndACrusaderKingsIIMod After The End]] mod, the British and Brazilians take the place of other invasions.
* As seen on the page image for GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere, the BigBad of ''VideoGame/{{Growl}}'', a game revolving around rescuing African animals from poachers, turns out to be ''aliens''.
* ''VideoGame/SaintsRowIV'': In a series about fighting enemy gangs, the cops and other realistic foes, who seriously expected alien invasion? ''VideoGame/SaintsRowGatOutOfHell'' adds a new complication in the form of Satan being real and wanting the Boss for his daughter.
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' is a series rife with Shinto and Norse symbolism, but the big reveal of ''Chronophantasma'' is that [[spoiler: Izanami herself]] is the true BigBad. [[spoiler:Not a symbolically-named machine like the Susanooh unit, the actual Shinto goddess of the underworld is out to destroy everything]].
* The ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'' mod "Devil In A Blue Dress" eventually reveals that the one behind the space pirates was none other than Morgaine Le Fey, straight out of Arthurian legend.
* The Chimera of the ''VideoGame/{{Resistance}}'' series. Taking place in an AlternateHistory where Russia's government was not taken over by followers of Lenin, Russia becomes an isolationist nation that is hidden behind the "Red Curtain". Following the Tunguska Event of 1908, Russia does not communicate with the rest of the globe, leading the other world powers to treat them as potentially hostile. About 40 years later the real nature of the Tunguska Event is revealed: it was the arrival of an alien invasion squad that has devoured Russia's population and now is turning their attention to the rest of Europe and the world beyond.

* The Old Ones in ''Webcomic/CthulhuSlippers'' are this to humanity, and are so powerful they conquer earth in a night and a day. Like almost everything in the comic, it's PlayedForLaughs.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': Klaus Wulfenbach seemed to have inadvertently summoned one when [[spoiler: he stops time]] in Mechanicsburg to contain the Heterodyne. [[spoiler: ''Something'' with a different perception of time noticed that something is amiss...and it is coming to investigate.]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* The Endbringers in ''Literature/{{Worm}}'' are massive, unstoppable monstrosities that regularly obliterate major population centers. Their origins and motivations are completely unknown [[spoiler:though the characters theorize that someone is creating them]]. The entire Hero/Villain dynamic was shaped specifically with the Endbringers in mind once they showed up. They're powerful enough to force cooperation and an unwritten code of conduct between the two sides.
* The entire premise of Website/{{Rplegacy}}'s ''Dark Clouds Gathering'' fantasy crossover [=RPG=] is that a war breaks out between [[DesignatedHero the Legion of Light]] and [[DesignatedVillain the Army of Shadow]], which is thrown for a loop when [[BigBad the Phantom-lord Grogna]] [[BigBadEnsemble summons his equals from other dimensions]] to bolster his forces, introducing people, monsters, technology, and magic that are completely unfamiliar to that world. It's then turned around on the Army of Shadow when the Legion of Light does the exact same thing to bring the heroic champions that held the villains at bay.
* While the appearance of Israphel in the ''Machinima/YogscastMinecraftSeries'' was certainly unexpected, since LetsPlay/LewisBrindley and LetsPlay/SimonLane initially assumed that they were all alone, they adapted to him fairly quickly. What ''really'' took them by surprise was the appearance of [[spoiler:the Sentinels]], bizarre, mechanical EldritchAbomination lifeforms, not that unlike the Reapers of ''Franchise/MassEffect'' in that they corrupt the thoughts of beings, driving them insane. They also did this to [[spoiler:the Sand, which was formerly the thing keeping them prisoner]]. Their appearance had received little foreshadowing, and on top of that, Simon and Lewis only travelled on the inside of one. We still have no idea what they are doing, how they are linked to Israphel, or what they even look like externally.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'', Master Cyclonis actually manages to become this mid season 2 by traveling to the other side of the planet and bringing back some of its technology.
* ''WesternAnimation/MegaMan'' had "Curse of the Lion Men", which had...[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Lion Men invading the world and turning other people into Lion Men]] ''with eye beams''. Another episode also had a genie.
** The appearance of Vile and Spark Mandrill in "Mega X", given they're from the future. Their armor is literally ''centuries'' ahead of any present-day weapons, and they are able to shrug off attacks from Mega Man and Dr. Wily alike.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}}'' presents [[BigBad Mumm-Ra]] this way to the Cats, as he and the LostTechnology his armies use have both been reduced to superstitions and legends in the centuries since he was first defeated by their ancestors.
* Unicron in ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' series. Originally he was a terrifying Galactus {{Expy}} in TheMovie before he was fleshed out as a god of chaos later on. Still, no-one had any idea how to deal with him in the first place when he showed up.
** This was lampshaded in the original movie. Kup, the eldest of the surviving Autobots had at least one story for every occasion, usually a bad one. However, upon seeing the massive Unicron, all he could mutter was "nope, never seen anything like this before."
* If there was one villain in ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' that almost ''no one'', in and out of universe, saw coming, it was the Changelings appearing at the very end of the second season. The only pony to know of their presence was trapped underneath Canterlot, imprisoned by the Changeling Queen and it's implied that she had no idea they existed until she was imprisoned in the first place. As for out of universe? Most theories for the finale didn't factor in shapeshifting insects, and the few that ''did'' guess something involving impersonation probably didn't think of something like that. Heck, the villain even used this to their advantage and struck at the best possible moment.
** In a meta-example, lots of fans of the show had speculated about what it would be like if one of the villains from the 80's cartoon was modernized and introduced to the new show, but nobody ever expected the writers to actually do it. So when, in the season four finale, Tirek made his return to the franchise, well, a few folks were caught off-guard.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''
** Season 1 gives us [[BigBad Amon]], the leader of [[AntiMagicalFaction the Equalists]], who [[spoiler:uses bloodbending]] to permanently remove a someone's [[ElementalPowers bending]]. Before him, the only person with this ability was [[WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender Avatar Aang]], a PhysicalGod.
** Season 2 gives us the Dark Spirits, spirits who have been corrupted and turn violent. They are completely indestructible and bending can only repel them temporarily. Before Season 2, spirits were rare in the human world and never harmed humans unless provoked.
** Season 4; everyone knew Kuvira would march on Republic City. No one knew she would use [[spoiler: a HumongousMecha armed with a spirit WaveMotionGun]] to do so.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'', a massive eyeball appears in the sky and attempts to perform a ColonyDrop. WordOfGod says that it, unlike every other enemy in the show, was not a gem monster [[spoiler: and thus not a [[WasOnceAMan corrupted Crystal Gem]]]], making its only connection to the cast the fact that [[PostHumousCharacter Rose Quartz]] had a weapon capable of defeating it.
** Eventually subverted [[CallBack many episodes later]]: [[spoiler: the eye is one of the villainous Gem Peridot's robots]].