Also known as The Supervillain Shuffle
. The occurrence wherein a villain, originally introduced as an enemy for a specific hero, subtly through time or Continuity Creep
, deliberately or unintentionally, becomes more identified with another hero.
While any Shared Universe
may depict a hero fighting another's antagonist, usually they remain identified with the original. For instance, Superman
may occasionally fight The Joker
, but no one would claim the latter is anything but a Batman
villain. This trope refers specifically to characters that have reached the narrative point where the villain is now more identified in the popular consciousness as being an adversary to a character he did not originally fight.
Often occurs when an obscure character is used in a recent popular work or adaptation. In many cases, it also happens when the villain is better suited to another hero either thematically or with regard to powers, especially if the themes or powers of the hero have changed in the interim. Can also be the result of a writer creating a villain while writing for one character, then moving on to another project and taking all of their toys with them.
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Anime and Manga
- While this can't really happen in Japanese comics much due to most manga being stand-alone stories, it has turned up a few times in the works of J-hero king Shotaro Ishinomori. The evil Black Ghost organization from Cyborg 009 has also shown up in a few manga side stories for Kamen Rider and Skull Man.
- Wilson Fisk, The Kingpin, was introduced as a Spider-Man villain, and though Spidey still fights him on occasion, you'd be hard-pressed to say that the character is not best known for being a nemesis of Daredevil, taking the place of the Owl (who is a lot harder to take seriously) among his enemies. Referenced (but not used directly) in Spider-Man: The Animated Series; Fisk is the Big Bad for much of the show, but in the episode where Daredevil does appear, it's made very clear that for him, It's Personal, while for Spidey, it's more of your standard hero/villain thing. Greg Weisman says they wanted Kingpin to be one of the Big Bads on The Spectacular Spider Man, but couldn't specifically because he was technically classified as a Daredevil character now. (Sony only had the rights to Spider-Man characters.)
- Other Spidey villains have been known to torment Daredevil from time to time, and vice-versa; the guys practically live next door to each other, so there's a ton of overlap (the Beetle, who as said below, started as an enemy of the Human Torch, being certainly the most recurring after Kingpin). Inverted with Mysterio who seems to have not so much transferred to Daredevil's gallery as branched out, becoming an enemy of both of them.
- By comparison, the various Green Goblins were notable for being solely Spider-Man villains, never antagonizing other New York-based heroes as Doctor Octopus or Electro would. Since Secret Invasion, however, Norman Osborn has been transformed into an over-riding Big Bad of the Marvel Universe. After trying to take the Avengers again with another team of Dark Avengers and a H.A.M.M.E.R. made up of HYDRA and A.I.M. personnel, he has gone back to being a Spidey villain. Firmly reestablished at the Grand Finale of Superior Spider-Man.
- Since his resurrection Kraven the Hunter and his daughter Ana has been seen fighting other superheroes on a daily basis, mostly related to Spider-Man like Venom or Spider-Girl, but Black Panther and Incredible Hulk are also fair game. It helps Kraven seems to now live in the Savage Land, a place commonly visited by various superheroes.
- In Araņa's time as Spider-Girl, most of her antagonists were minor Spider-Man villains, like above mentioned Ana Kravinoff, Screwball or Hobgoblin.
- Spidey inherited of minor Captain America villain Vermin, JM Dematteis basically pulling a Chris Claremont.
- Fin Fang Foom was originally a general Marvel Universe monster. He has become an Iron Man villain to the point that he has appeared in both Iron Man cartoon series, was featured in the animated movie, and was considered as a foe for the live-action Iron Man movie... presumably without the purple shorts. He still shows up in a Freeze-Frame Bonus, on a billboard.
- Black Knight was originally an enemy of Ant-Man and The Wasp, but later became better known as an enemy of Iron Man. It got to the point where in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, he's depicted exclusively as an Iron Man villain.
- Solomon Grundy was originally specifically an enemy of the (Golden Age) Green Lantern. However, due to his appearances in various animated series, and the fact that several comic book creators still identify him as a Golden Age villain, Grundy is now more of a standard DC Universe villain. Similarly another Golden Age Green Lantern villain Vandal Savage is also now used as a general DC Universe villain, going up against numerous heroes.
- Aquaman has a habit of appropriating water based villains that originally debuted in other titles, such as The Shark and King Shark, Shark themed villains who started out menacing Green Lantern and Superboy, respectively.
- The Shade was originally created as a villain for The Flash, but in the modern age, he's perhaps best known for being a Trickster Mentor for the Jack Knight incarnation of Starman.
- An in-universe version is how the Mist originally fought the Wesley Dodds incarnation of the Sandman before moving to Opal City and fighting Starman. This fact is used as a plot-point in the 1990s series.
- Doctor Destiny was originally created as a villain for the Justice League of America, and specifically Green Lantern. However, he is now almost certainly best known today for being the sap who got his hand on the magical ruby created by the King of Dreams, Morpheus, in The Sandman.
- Jason Woodrue the Floronic Man, created as an adversary of The Atom, is obscure outside of his appearances in Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing and Neil Gaiman making him integral to the creation of Poison Ivy in a Secret Origins story.
- Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman was, unsurprisingly, originally created as a recurring villain in the Superman titles. Later on, he gradually became more of a Green Lantern villain due to his actions in Reign of the Supermen touching off Hal Jordan's temporary Face-Heel Turn, and his eventually joining the Sinestro Corps.
- The same thing happened with Mongul II. His father was a Superman villain, and also the one who helped the Cyborg-Superman destroy Coast City. After being killed for refusing a pact with, and then trying to punch, Neron, his son appeared a few years later as a foe of Superman. Nowadays, he fights Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps.
- Mephisto works well as a deliberate example: He was originally introduced in the Silver Surfer series, but has spent stints as an adversary of both The Mighty Thor and Ghost Rider. To the modern reader, though, he's best known for his role in One More Day. Mephisto is best understood as a member of the Rogues Gallery for the wider Marvel Universe, rather than any one hero, which is fitting as he is basically a stand-in for Satan. He has tangled with nearly every single major hero and several villains, and is a lot more personal for many.
- Clock King was originally introduced as an adversary of Green Arrow, but is now considered to be a minor member of Batman's Rogues Gallery, due in large part to his appearances in the DCAU. (And the sixties TV series.)
- Lady Shiva was originally the archnemesis of Richard Dragon, but she was later brought over into the Batman mythos, particularly Robin, Batgirl, and Birds of Prey, and has become much more well-known than Richard.
- Darkseid is a circular example of the trope. He was introduced in Superman's Jimmy Olsen title, en route to becoming the specific villain of the New Gods series. With said title's cancellation, he has become associated with Superman's rogues gallery. This likely due to how well he serves as a counterpoint to the Man of Steel: a super-powerful alien who comes to Earth to rule mankind, not serve it, and being one of the few foes of a similar weight class. He's also fairly strongly associated with the Legion of Super-Heroes, thanks to the classic storyline "The Great Darkness Saga". He's also a popular villain for Crisis Crossover stories that encompass all of The DCU, such as Legends in 1986, Genesis in 1997, and Final Crisis in 2008.
- Rhino was introduced as a Spider-Man foe but has spent most of his career battling the Hulk. At the very least, it's shared custody.
- Professor Arnold Hugo (a man who gave himself super-intelligence at the cost of an oversized cranium), debuted as a Batman opponent, but languished in obscurity until he was reused as a Martian Manhunter foe, reappearing several times.
- Thanos first appeared as an enemy of Iron Man, though he is now more commonly linked with the Silver Surfer mythos, (Marvel Comics') Captain Marvel, and then with Adam Warlock. Like Mephisto, he's now pretty much a general enemy of the entire lineup of "Cosmic Marvel" characters, if not the whole Marvelverse.
- This overlaps with Breakout Villain. Thanos's creator, Jim Starlin, was offered to write an issue of Iron Man's comic. Starlin created Thanos to be the villain for that issue. When Starlin began writing Captain Marvel he reintroduced Thanos and the rest is history.
- Seems to be all over Wolverine's mythos.
- Wolvie himself started out as a foe of the Hulk.
- Sabretooth was a foe of Iron Fist. Incidentally, Sabretooth was originally intended to be Wolverine's father by creator John Byrne (he was based on Byrne's rejected design for Wolverine sans mask), but ended up getting dumped onto the Iron Fist title when Claremont and Cockrum weren't interested. Years later, Claremont decided to bring `Tooth into the Wolverine fold.
- Also notable is that Lady Deathstrike first appeared fighting Daredevil.
- So did the first Silver Samurai.
- A lesser example would be Omega Red who started off as an X-Men foe before focusing squarely on Wolverine. In the Ultimate Marvel universe, Omega Red is primarily a foe of Peter Parker and his successor, Miles Morales.
- Superman's first supervillain was the Ultra-Humanite, but he was retconned to be a Justice Society of America villain after Golden Age Superman was removed from continuity. He also served as the main villain of Power Girl's solo series.
- Sandman was introduced in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man and was a regular baddie for some time before switching over to menace the Fantastic Four for some time with the Frightful Four then go solo again fighting Spidey.
- The contract killer Boomerang, who uses deadly gimmick boomerangs as his weapons, originally started out fighting the Hulk, before he moved on to become a semi-regular Spider-Man villain after writers realized that trick boomerangs versus the most powerful creature on earth was a bit of a mismatch.
- Mister Hyde, a villain based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, started out as a Thor villain but would later move on to become a Daredevil regular, although he also took the time to mess with Spider-Man, Captain America, Ghost Rider, and the Hulk, finally settling in to become a regular foe of Cap, DD and the Big Green Machine. Cobra, Mister Hyde's sometime partner, also started out as a Thor villain. Wisely, he has decided against challenging the god of thunder and became a foe of Daredevil and Captain America. An early storyline had Loki enhancing both their powers so they stood a chance against Thor. These days he seems to have moved to fighting teen heroes, considering his apperances in both Young Avengers and All New Ghost Rider''.
- In the very early days of the Marvel Universe, the original Human Torch had his own rogues gallery as a solo hero. Two of his mainstays, the Wizard and the Trapster, would later become enemies of the Fantastic Four, with the Wizard becoming an Evil Counterpart to Reed Richards and even forming his own Evil Counterpart team in the Frightful Four, of which the Trapster was a charter member. The Trapster and the Beetle, another long-standing enemy of the Torch, would also become recurring enemies of Spider-Man. The Eel also originally debuted as a foe of the Human Torch before becoming a semi-regular Daredevil villain.
- It's so pronounced that in both the Ultimate Spider-Man comic and TV show, the Beetle is more or less treated as a straight-up Spidey villain. Though during the days he wore his first costume, he fought Daredevil more often, to completly abandon him with his upgrade, chosing Iron Man as a secondary nemesis. Hardly a wise choice in retrospect as hornhead's Rogues Gallery was most certainly the one in which he went the highest while he represented barely more than a Mook to shellhead.
- Current Beetle debuted as one-time enemy of Captain America, but is now better known for her role in Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
- Many of the enemies the various members of The Avengers had faced as solo heroes would later become enemies of the team as a whole, with characters like Egghead, an enemy of Ant-Man, a.k.a. Henry Pym, Baron Zemo (an enemy of Captain America), the Norse trickster god Loki, an enemy of The Mighty Thor, and the Mandarin, the Arch-Enemy of Iron Man all becoming some of the Avengers' worst enemies. This would also get inverted. The first incarnation of the Masters of Evil featured the Black Knight as a foil for Wasp and Giant Man and Radioactive Man as the foil for Thor. Soon after, both became regular enemies of Iron Man.
- The Silver Samurai and Arcade debuted in the pages of Daredevil and Spider-Man, respectively, but these days they're better known as X-Men villains. Arcade then moved on to be the villain for young Marvel superheroes, since the X-Men got more savvy and Darker and Edgier. He trapped the Avengers Academy kids and the Modern Age Young Allies in Murderworld, and is the main villain in Avengers Arena, a Battle Royale type title starring many Marvel teens.
- Mystique first appeared in Ms. Marvel and was originally slated to be her Arch-Enemy. She's pretty much entirely an X-Villain nowadays, and her history with Ms. Marvel (such as killing her boyfriend) has been all but forgotten. She did return to torment Ms. Marvel in Carol's later series.
- It's basically because of her that Rogue was a Flying Brick in the late 80's through the 90's, though. And because of this, Carol hates Anna's guts.
- Deathstroke the Terminator started out as a Teen Titans rogue, turned towards antiheroism, and then became (after Identity Crisis) a sort of generic DCUniverse villain, being as much of a dick to as many superheroes as he could manage. He seems to have a hobby of harassing young heroes. He's never let go of his grudge against the Titans since he never completed his contract against them (a bit of a blow to his merc cred). He even went so far as to harass Damian Wayne, his Arch-Enemy Nightwing's (who was, for a while, Batman) protege.
- Superboy-Prime first appeared as a hero in the Superman team-up series DC Comics Presents. His Face-Heel Turn occurred in the Crisis Crossover Infinite Crisis, which put him up against many heroes of The DCU. He later faced Green Lantern as an ally of the Sinestro Corps. After that, he fought the Legion of Super-Heroes during Final Crisis. He got to be the Villain Protagonist of his own Evil Versus Evil story during Blackest Night.
- Apocalypse first appeared in X-Factor as the leader of the Alliance of Evil (a role, again, originally intended for the Owl) eventually becoming their Big Bad, getting killed, and, upon resurrection, graduating to become one of the X-Men's most powerful foes and being retconned as Cable's archenemy. The former might not be quite enough to qualify as this trope since the incarnation of X-Factor that had Apocalypse as the Big Bad consisted of the original five X-Men, making the whole thing X-Men in all but name to begin with. Cable, on the other hand, while very much an X-Men related character, has his own distinct rogues gallery that usually only overlaps with the X-Men during crossover events.
- Deathbird started as a Ms. Marvel villain before becoming a recurring foe of the X-Men in general and Professor X's girlfriend Lilandra (her sister, as it turns out) in particular. Like Mystique above, this is a result of Chris Claremont creating a villain for one book, then moving her to another when the first was canceled.
- The demon Blackheart debuted in Daredevil, though now spends most of his time messing with Ghost Rider, even appearing as the villain in the movie adaptation. He also shows up in the X-Men from time to time (amongst others), even at one point serving as the Black King of the Hellfire Club.
- Minor-league Iron Man villains Blizzard and Firebrand started out fighting Shellhead, but eventually transitioned to fighting street-level heroes like Spider-Man after Tony Stark's equipment began to completely outclass theirs.
- Moses Magnum started out fighting Spider-Man and The Punisher, but seems to have eventually settled on antagonizing Black Panther. Thematically, Magnum and T'Challa are a perfect fit.
- Bolivar Trask is most associated with the X-Men in mainstream Marvel continuity, but in the Ultimate Universe he became integrated into Ultimate Spider-Man's mythos, eventually becoming the Big Bad of the video game adaptation.
- The Absorbing Man, who was able to mimic and absorb the physical properties of anything he touched, started out as a recurring enemy of The Mighty Thor and remains a charter member of Thor's Rogues Gallery. However, he's also tangled with the Incredible Hulk enough times that, as with the Rhino (see above), it's arguably shared custody.
- Doctor Doom was created to be the main nemesis of the Fantastic Four. While he still maintains that role to the present day, he has since become one of the overall Big Bads of the Marvel universe and has fought pretty much every single Marvel hero. Most prevalent are his tussles with Black Panther. He is also known for his role in classic Iron Man stories and graphic novel Triumph & Torment where he meets Doctor Strange. Even other villains are not safe from Doom. He will gladly co-op with the heroes if he feels it serves his interests. Of course, once the interests are served...
- This is so pronounced that it's even reflected in marketing. For instance, Hasbro's "Titan Hero" action figure line usually references the installment each hero or villain comes from (Iron Man 3, Avengers Assemble, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, ect.), but the packaging for the Doctor Doom figure contains no indication that he belongs to the Fantastic Four franchise.
- In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog series, the Dark Legion - a group of villainous Echidnas - was originally created to serve as enemies of Knuckles, acting as the central antagonists of his spin-off. However, after the "Enerjak Reborn" arc in the main series (several years after the Knuckles spin-off was cancelled), the Legion allied with Sonic's Arch-Enemy Dr. Eggman and began serving as his personal army. Therefore, they can be seen as much Sonic's enemies as Knuckles' these days.
- M.O.D.O.K. was originally created as a foe for Captain America. However, in his role as leader of AIM, he's been increasingly an antagonist of Iron Man. And then Hulk, as he created Red Hulk.
- The Electrocutioner began as a one-shot Batman villain before appearing in The Vigilante where he became the closest thing Vig had to an archenemy. Since the Vigilante's death, he has returned as a sporadic Batman foe.
- Annihilation has the Fantastic Four's long-time foe Annihilus launching a devastating attack on the universe, uniting cosmic heroes like Nova and the Silver Surfer against him. Even through Annihilus returned a few years later to fight the first family again, he is now generally considered a threat to the entire universe.
- Annihilation Conquest does a similar thing - Avengers villain Ultron takes control over the Phalanx, a race mostly known for their fights with the X-Men, as well as few lesser-known villains like the Avengers' enemy Ultra-Adaptoid or the Fantastic Four's foe Blastaar, and then goes against cosmic heroes. Ultron later returned to fighting the Avengers, though.
- In a similar vein, War of Kings is driven by conflict between the Kree Empire, ruled by The Inhumans, and the Shi'Ar Empire, ruled by X-Men foe Vulcan. Time will show which group Vulcan will stick to antagonizing.
- Shuma-Gorath debuted in Marvel's Conan the Barbarian comics, but has been better known for his classic fights against Doctor Strange. He more or less lost his association with good ddoctor when he unexpectedly appeared in Marvel Super Heroes, where Strange was absent.. The Thanos Imperative and a few other appearances helped him get upgraded to universal threat, like Mephisto or Thanos.
- Demogorge the God Eater and Amatsu Mikaboshi all debuted as antagonists of The Mighty Thor. To modern readers they are probably known as enemies and occasional allies of The Incredible Hercules.
- The Queen of Fables started out attacking the entire JLA, but now she is an enemy to both Wonder Woman and Superman.
- The Punisher has few reoccurring villains due to his deadly nature but one of his few villains, Jigsaw, started off as a Spider-Man villain, although his introductory story did involve Punisher as well. Punisher himself was a Spider-Man villain, however he was more of an antagonistic Anti-Hero and now has his own titles where he scuffles with every street level hero when he's not massacring normal criminals.
- Blaze and Satanus began as demonic Superman villains, but were later revealed to be the half-human offspring of the wizard Shazam. They've since become joint enemies of both the Superman and Marvel Families.
- Speaking of Shazam foes, Dr. Sivana used to be the Big Red Cheese's Arch-Enemy, but eventually disappeared from Marvel stories to become the DC Universe's standard Mad Scientist. He returns as a Shazam foe in the New 52's Shazam series.
- The Marvel Comic story arc "Acts of Vengeance" best describes this trope. It involves the very idea of a wide array of super-villains facing heroes they had never met (or at least were villains that weren't part of the heroes' regular gallery). Such examples were Alpha Flight fighting Scorpion, Spider-Man (who was granted cosmic powers at the time) fought Goliath, The Brothers Grimm, Titania, Magneto, Graviton, Trapster, Dragon-Man, and the Tri-Sentinel. Daredevil fought Ultron, Thor fought Juggernaut, Mandarin appears in the X-Men issues, and Rusty and Skids of the New Mutants battle the Vulture. Even Magneto went against the Red Skull for very obvious reasons.
- Marv Wolfman originally created Black Cat as an enemy for Spider-Woman; however, Wolfman was transferred to Spider-Man before he could introduce her, and he brought her with him.
- Silver Banshee has historically been a Superman foe but in recent years she's been more associated with Supergirl. In the New 52 she is even a (currently non-villainous) supporting cast member in Supergirl's comic.
- Similar to Shuma-Gorath, Nightmare started as a Doctor Strange foe, but has since then fought with pretty much everybody.
- Done intentionally in The Great Fables Crossover in which Snow White and Bigby Wolf deal with Literals, antagonists of Fables spin-off series Jack of Fables, while Jack, who clashed with them all the time until this point, doesn't move a finger to help.
- Thanks to sharing continuity, Marvel's G.I.Joe series had an entire story arc with Megatron as the antagonist.
- An inversion happened to The Pride - they were always antagonists of the Runaways and it would be pretty hard to introduce them fighting any other superheroes while their entire point was they kept their operations under their radar. That was the case until the creation of Avengers Illuminatti who were also working in secret from the entire Marvel superheroic community. So of course there exist comics that revealed the two groups clashed back in the days when the Runaways were still only kids.
- Hector Hammond, a longtime enemy of Green Lantern, is recast as a Superman villain in the New 52. As the Green Lantern rarely deals with human, Earthbound threats these days, if Hammond were to see any use at all it would have to be fighting another hero.
- On that note, the Prankster, who exclusively fought Superman in the past, is now something like Nightwing's archenemy. He bears little resemblance to any previous incarnation of the character, however.
- When Nightwing moved to Bludhaven at the start of his solo title, the Batman villain Blockbuster was imported. A kid genius turned Dumb Muscle in Batman, Blockbuster had just recently found a way to regain his genius while keeping his super strength and was now a Bludhaven crimelord.
- After Doctor Sun was defeated in The Tomb of Dracula by the joined forces of Dracula and the vampire hunters, he went to antagonize Nova and Fantastic Four.
- Mad Scientist Dr. Bong began life as the foe of Howard the Duck, but recently he seems to have largely migrated over to being part of Deadpool's supporting cast. Deadpool has also tangled with Bullseye enough as a Friendly Enemy that it's practically shared custody.
- Major Force was originally Captain Atom's arch-nemesis, but ever since the infamous fridge incident, he's decidedly become a Green Lantern villain.
- The Crime Master and Jack O' Lantern were traditionally Spider-Man villains, but after Agent Venom/Flash Thompson got his own book they made the jump with him and settled down as his archenemies.
Films — Animated
- While Maleficent is still primarily known as the main antagonist of Sleeping Beauty, crossover shows and theme park attractions, as well as Kingdom Hearts, usually make her something like an arch-Disney villain and her connections to Princess Aurora are barely mentioned.
Films — Live-Action
- The Kaiju Baragon was originally the enemy of a giant version of Frankenstein's Monster in Frankenstein Conquers The World. However, Baragon eventually became part of Godzilla's Rogues Gallery thanks to video-games, action figures, and the films Destroy All Monsters and Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!.
- Both Alien and Predator started as antagonists in their own movies. Today, the two races are more known for fighting each other.
- Thanos is usually associated with Captain Marvel and the Silver Surfer, but appeared as the mastermind behind the events of The Avengers.
- Viper started off as a Captain America foe and is usually an enemy of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. as well (to the point that she's now known as Madame Hydra). Despite this, she is one of the antagonists in The Wolverine. Understandable since despite her connections to Captain America and S.H.I.E.L.D., she has appeared in several notable Wolverine storylines.
- Star Trek Into Darkness: Khan, in a change up from the original chain of events, ends up with Spock as his primary adversary in this film. He lacks the grudge that defined him from being marooned by Kirk in the prime-timeline, and ends up spending more time in an Enemy Mine with Kirk than he does fighting him, since without that glaring flaw of It's Personal with Kirk, he can make wiser decisions around him. Kirk still seems to gain his respect as a Worthy Opponent with a similar care for his crew, but this movie might be called Wrath of Spock once Kirk's Almost Dead.
Live Action TV
- Batman had the Green Arrow foe Clock King acting as a member of Batman's rogues gallery. Similarly, minor Superman villain Puzzler was once used instead of The Riddler for a two part episode, due to a contract dispute with Frank Gorshin.
- The Archer also originated as a minor Superman villain in the comics before appearing on this show as a Batman villain.
- Darla was introduced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a Dark Action Girl Female Vampire Antagonist for Buffy, though was killed off soon after her debut. However, she was revived as a much more potent and ongoing adversary for Angel in his eponymous spinoff; even in Buffy they had a much more significant connection, as Darla was established as both his vampiric sire and former lover.
- On Doctor Who, the Slitheen family started out as briefly recurring antagonists of the Ninth Doctor, then disappeared from the main series and started showing up frequently on The Sarah Jane Adventures.
- While it is in no way unusual for a villain "associated" with one Doctor to reappear facing a new regeneration, the Great Intelligence was seemingly phased out at the end of the Second Doctor's run, only to become the Big Bad of the Eleventh Doctor's final series 45 years later.
- The Cardassians began as villains of the week on Star Trek: The Next Generation but ended-up with much greater plot significance on Deep Space Nine.
- To a somewhat lesser extent, the same thing could also be said of the Romulans being more associated with The Next Generation than with TOS.
- The Borg are partially this trope and partially an aversion. They had only four TNG episodes (of which two were two-parters) plus First Contact. Compare this to their twenty (of which four were two-parters) appearances on Voyager, plus a Borg character joining Voyager's main cast for the last four seasons. (They also appeared in one episode of Enterprise, and formed a major part of Sisko's backstory on Deep Space Nine.) Despite this, in popular consciousness, the Borg are still considered Picard's nemesis.
- The Green Arrow adaptation Arrow has Deadshot and Deathstroke as recurring foes. Deadshot is a Batman villain usually associated with the Suicide Squad and Secret Six, while Deathstroke is traditionally an enemy of the Teen Titans. Justified Trope in these cases, as Deathstroke and Green Arrow had a long-standing rivalry in the comics after the events of Identity Crisis, and Deadshot has encountered Green Arrow many times in the comics (the two even becoming sorta-friends in Deadshot's second miniseries that introduced his daughter Zoe). Both have largely became standard DCU villains as it is, so they are, technically, up for grabs
- Along those same lines, Smallville had Deathstroke show up as a recurring foe despite having little if any connection to the Superman mythos, while Deadshot appeared as part of the Suicide Squad in the last season of the show. Although Smallville is pretty infamous about it. In an inverse of the Batman example from above, Arrow also uses Firefly and Dollmaker (both of whom are Batman villains).
- Arrow's second season continues the trend, using (among others) Solomon Grundy, Nyssa al Ghul, and Brother Blood.
- Season three has introduced Ra's al Ghul, justified through his canonical connection to Merlyn (but with plenty of references to Batman).
- Once Upon a Time puts either Rumplestiltskin or the queen from Snow White in everything. So far Rumple has been Cinderella's fairy godmother, Beauty's Beast, and Captain Hook's crocodile, while Regina has been the Little Mermaid's Sea Witch and the wicked stepmother who abandoned Hansel and Gretel (though not actually their stepmother, she was still responsible for the events.) Then there's the spin-off, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, in which Alice's main antagonist is Jafar.
- While the Super Robot Wars series does, of necessity, involve various Humongous Mecha fighting enemies from different shows, it can sometimes veer into this territory with especially strong enmities developing between characters of different series, especially in regards to Original Generation characters. The best example would probably be from Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, where Axel Almer of Super Robot Wars Advance fame becomes the arch nemesis of the Impact series' Kyosuke Nanbu.
- Seifer of Final Fantasy VIII, known for being Squall's Rival Turned Evil plays The Rival to Roxas, a member of Massive Multiplayer Crossover series Kingdom Hearts' Original Generation, and has nothing to do with Squall.
- In Super Smash Bros., Wario, Bowser and Ganondorf become a general Big Bad Ensemble of the Nintendo universe, with only the former interacting at all with a character he was initially associated with.
- Chaos from Final Fantasy I is actually the Big Bad of the entire Final Fantasy Multiverse as of Dissidia: Final Fantasy.
- In X-Men: The Official Game (the prequel to X-Men: The Last Stand), the HYDRA organization is depicted as being the true creators of Master Mold and the Sentinels, the mutant-hunting Killer Robots from the X-Men books. In the actual comics, HYDRA is traditionally depicted as a threat to Captain America and The Avengers.
- The Angry German Kid originally started out as a YouTube Meme, but eventually became one of the main memes at Nico Douga, with the new moniker of Keyboard Crusher.
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Doctor XX was originally created to be an ongoing antagonist for the titular Global Guardians team. But then, after the Game Master for the Hyperion Academy campaign got ahold of her, she tended to never appear in any other campaign so as to "not ruin her amazing portrayal in that campaign".
- In a reverse of the previous example, The Blood Red King was originally intended to be a semi-demonic villain for the Knights of Malta (a team of superhero priests, monks, and nuns sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church). He ended up fighting the Global Guardians more than any other hero team in the setting.
- Lampshaded on Atop the Fourth Wall:
They think that's
confusing? Why am I suddenly one of your bad guys when you weren't even in the group I was harassing in Suburban Knights?
- After The Nostalgia Critic's battle with Mara Wilson, she shows up in The Nostalgia Chick's review of Matilda. At first Mara wants to kill her to get to the Critic, but since he died in To Boldly Flee the two try to come up with another reason to hate each other, to no avail.
- Most of the villains on Batman: The Brave and the Bold qualify, Gentleman Ghost in particular. He was a minor enemy of Hawkman, but has had three episodes in a Batman-centric show devoted to him before Hawkman was even mentioned. One episode actually had Batman replacing Hawkman in the Ghost's origin story, which more or less explains the difference. The series tried to do this on purpose. Outside of his own (rarely used) rogues' gallery, it's actually fairly rare for Batman to fight an enemy that regularly opposed the team up partner for that episode. (Featured teamup during Gentleman Ghost's origin story? Etrigan!)
- Justice League
- As mentioned in the comics section, Solomon Grundy does not fight against Green Lantern or Batman, but instead against Superman and Hawkgirl.
- Unlimited portrayed Devil Ray (the Captain Ersatz of Black Manta) as a foe of Wonder Woman instead of Aquaman. This was due to rights issues with the failed Mercy Reef pilot that kept Aquaman himself from appearing in the last season of JLU.
- Gentleman Ghost and Shadow Thief spend most of their time fighting Green Lantern instead of Hawkman, although it is due to their Love Triangle involving Hawkgirl.
- Batman: The Animated Series used Clock King and Count Vertigo, who were originally Green Arrow villains in the comics. Vertigo returned in The Batman but this was in the last season when the show started focusing on assembling the Justice League and the episode he was in Batman shared with Green Arrow as a supporting role.
- Green Lantern: The Animated Series uses Byth Rok, who is traditionally a foe of Hawkman.
- Beware the Batman uses Tobias Whale, who is traditionally an enemy of Black Lightning.
- Big Bad Pete originally appeared in Walt Disney's Alice Comedies before becoming an enemy of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and eventually Mickey Mouse. In the later years of Disney shorts, Pete mainly menaced Donald, though mainly as a bullying jerkass than a straight up villain. To modern audiences he's probably best known for his role as Goofy's Poisonous Friend on Goof Troop, or his role in the Kingdom Hearts series.
- And speaking of Disney comic book villains: Emil Eagle originally was made up to give Gyro Gearloose a criminal rival, but he later became a recurring character in Mickey Mouse comics by Paul Murry et al., mostly to explain how people like Idget the Midget and Dangerous Dan McBoo or Pete could have sophisticated plans or super-science equipment.
- They aren't really villains, but Chip 'n Dale originally started out as recurring antagonists for Pluto. Though they still pester Pluto at times, they're far better known nowadays for always bothering Donald Duck, or else being key components of the Rescue Rangers team.
- The Mad Thinker and Awesome Android pop up in Iron Man: Armored Adventures as enemies (and classmates) of Tony and his buddies. In the comics, they're traditionally enemies of the Fantastic Four. And then there's Doctor Doom and Magneto, who both show up in Season 2.
- The 90's Iron Man animated series had an episode with the Beetle, who as mentioned above is primarily a Spider-Man villain. The fact that he uses a suit of Powered Armor like Iron Man and War Machine allowed him to be depicted as one of Tony's Evil Counterparts.
- Taken to the extreme in Ultimate Spider-Man, as part of the show's apparent attempt to be as different as possible to the traditional Spider-Man formula. So far, the show has largely avoided classic Spider-Man antagonists, the only ones showing up after more than twenty episodes being Venom (with Harry Osborn as the host instead of Eddie Brock), Doctor Octopus, Norman Osborn (who doesn't become the Green Goblin until the season finale) and Sandman. The other episodes involve either crossover episodes with other heroes involving villains from the guest-star's rogue gallery (Living Laser for Iron Man, Loki for Thor, Zzzax for Hulk, Mesmero and Sabretooth for Wolverine) or villains from other Rogues Galleries who are treated like they were Spider-Man's regular villains (Doctor Doom, the Frightful Four, Batroc the Leaper, Taskmaster, Whirlwind, the Juggernaut...) As an added twist, some of Spider-Man's foes are now tied to other heroes, such as Kraven being the one who killed White Tiger's father, and the Scorpion being from the same mythical city as Iron Fist.
- Hulk And The Agents Of SMASH has put the Hulks up against Annihilus, Blastaar, and Ego, the Living Planet, all longtime Fantastic Four headaches. Bonus points for X-Men foe Sauron. However, The Man Behind the Man villain of the series is the Leader, who is a Hulk villain.
- Avengers Assemble uses Impossible Man, another Fantastic Four enemy, as well as Doctor Doom.
- Dick Dastardly and Muttley started out as the enemies of the other racers in Wacky Races but then they gained a new enemy in Yankee Doodle Pidgeon in their own show, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines. But then the two started antagonizing Yogi Bear and the others starting with Yogi's Treasure Hunt, then it continues in Fender Bender 500, Yo Yogi!! and the ride The Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera. However due to rights issues they were replaced with Dread Baron and Mumbly and they antagonized Yogi and the others in Laff-A-Lympics and Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose, but the latter made them sound and act more like Dick Dastardly and Muttley so it's obvious on who they're replacing.
- While he isn't referred to by his real name, the same voice actor, the mirror mask, blue uniform hidden under trenchcoat and yelling "COBRA!" at the end of the episode made rather obvious the man called Old Snake, one-episode antagonist from The Transformers, is Cobra Commander.
- DuckTales had an episode called "All Ducks on Deck", where the villain was the Phantom Blot, who first appeared as an enemy of Mickey Mouse in old Mickey Mouse comics.