Silent Antagonist

This is the villainous counterpart to Heroic Mime; while the hero's silence makes him open to interpretation, the Silent Antagonist's silence makes him a sort of Enigmatic Minion, or in the worst of cases, an utterly implacable force of nature.

A Subtrope of The Voiceless. The Supertrope of Enemy Mime. Sister Trope to Enigmatic Minion.


Examples:

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     Anime/Manga  
  • The captain of Hellsing never speaks. In fact, the only time he shows any emotion at all is an Oh, Crap! when Alucard releases his Level Zero transformation, and a quick smile during his battle against Seras. And that only happens right before he dies, implying that he's a Death Seeker, which fits in nicely with a monologue said by Integra's father in a flashback.
  • In Dragon Ball, Evil Buu remains completely silent for the one chapter he appears in. Dragonball Z, however, gives him a few lines of dialogue to increase the episode's runtime.
    • Janemba from Fusion Reborn! never actually spoke. In his first form, he was only able to say his name over again and his second form only consists of maniacal laughs or growls.
  • Thirteen of the Seventeen Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion, the exceptions being Leliel, Arael, Arimisael, and Tabris (also known as Kaworu).
  • Noro from Tokyo Ghoul is both The Voiceless and The Faceless, never making a sound even when suffering brutal injuries. His utter silence is one of many things creepy about one half of the Aogiri Co-Dragons. It isn't clear whether he simply chooses not to speak or is incapable of it.
  • None of the villains featured so far in Digimon Adventure tri. spoke a single word leaving their motives and personalities unknown. This includes the Digimon Emperor, Alphamon, Imperialdramon, and The resurrected Dark Masters. Gennai is the only aversion to this trope so far as he speaks while revealed to be the bad guy.
  • Subverted with Pica in One Piece. For about a dozen chapters or so after he was introduced, Pica never vocalized anything, not even screams or grunts. It also meant he would attack without calling them out, giving Zoro a difficult time. It turns out it was all a lead-up to a gag: Pica's voice is actually very high pitched, in contrast to his enormous, thug-like appearance. People make fun of him and laugh at him due to his voice, so he just stays quiet—not for his own embarrassment, but to avoid unnecessary death and annihilation through him retaliating.

     Comic Books 
  • The Flash foe Murmur has got his tongue cut out and his lips sewn together.
  • In Joker, Harley Quinn of all people is this. She does do some awesome stuff (and look damn good doing it), though. This might just be because Harley's usual characterisation wouldn't gel with the comic's atmosphere so well. It's implied she is capable of speech since she's shown opening her mouth in several panels as if mid word, but since the story is told from the point of view of a man named Jonny the implication is he's not paying attention to what she's saying as part of his general issues with women.

     Film 
  • The Mysterious Woman from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
  • The Thin Man in the first Charlie's Angels movie. He originally had lines in the script, but they decided he'd be more villainous if he was The Voiceless.
  • Jaws from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. He also counts for most of Moonraker but it's finally subverted when he gets one line near the end of the film.
    • Also Goldfinger's top henchman and butler, Oddjob, can't speak English, so he doesn't talk. Other than the painful scream he emitted as he was electrocuted.
  • Karl Ruprect Kroenen from the film version of Hellboy. The comic version not only speaks but is quite Affably Evil.
  • The Baseball Furies gang in The Warriors never utter a word, even as they fight the Warriors. (They do grunt a bit as they're punched or clubbed, but that's it.)
  • Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace only has a couple of lines, and none in the presence of the heroes. Averted in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where apparently getting cut in half and going back and forth over the line of sanity made him a whole lot more willing to talk.
  • Kevin from Sin City. Apparently, he spoke only to Cardinal Roark and "had the voice of an angel" but the audience never hears him.
  • Adolf Hitler in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. He meets Indy face to face, but doesn't say a word. A variation in that he's not an antagonist in the context of the scene, because he doesn't know who Indy is. Indy is wearing a stolen Nazi uniform and is remaining silent himself, so Hitler assumes he is just another autograph-seeking soldier. He takes Dr. Henry Jones's book from Indy and signs it, then promptly gives it back without realizing that it was the diary he was trying to get his evil mitts on in the first place.
  • Rinzler, The Dragon in TRON: Legacy, is mute for 99% of the film. It's not just to make him creepier; it's because Rinzler is Tron, reprogrammed to serve the villains, and hearing his voice would spoil The Reveal. When he does speak, it indicates that he's himself again. The only word he speaks before is "USER!" is his debut scene, which is hardly recognizable as Tron's voice.
  • The Rocketeer has Lothar, The Dragon to Neville Sinclair. He only ever says three sentences and one word in the whole movie. This doesn't make him any less scary though.
  • Kiriyama from the film version of Battle Royale.
  • Colonel Gunther Reza in Duck, You Sucker! speaks a grand total of two lines, both during his first appearance. From that point on he's completely silent, a fact that only makes his Implacable Man status all the more disturbing.
  • Katya, the blond assassin in the Die Hard film Die Hard with a Vengeance, who utters only a single sound (a frustrated scream) in the entire film. Ironic, given that the actress who plays her, Sam Phillips, is a noted singer in real life.
  • A common device in John Carpenter's work is the monster or villain that does not speak. They are either unable or unwilling to explain their motivations, which enhances the sense of Otherness about them. We never know what they're thinking; all we know is they intend us harm and will not tell us why.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the Future Sentinels do not speak or make any sort of noise, which is bad for any mutant trying to hide as they can creep up on you and you wouldn't know it until it be far too late.
  • Kyle and Ken Katayanagi in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, unlike their comic book counterparts.note 
  • The Big Bad of Big Hero 6, Yokai, combines this trope with his creepy Kabuki mask, black coat and massive swarm of microbots to make for a terrifying No-Nonsense Nemesis. He finally speaks when revealing himself as Professor Callaghan to Alisair Krei.
  • The Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier spends most of the movie as this, and it's creepy as hell. It's also a change from the comics, probably because Bucky Barnes' actor has a pretty distinctive voice.
  • Victoria in New Moon, the second Twilight film, is very active as an antagonist but never says a word. It's zig-zagged, though: in a deleted scene, she reminisces about her dead mate to a pair of humans whom she's about to kill; if left in, that would have been the only scene in the film in which she spoke, and she speaks freely in both the first and third films. This is somewhat in keeping with the books, in which she is voiceless in the first, is an entirely offscreen menace in the second, and doesn't appear until the climax of the third in which she is Suddenly Voiced.

    Live Action TV 
  • Played to horrifying effect in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Hush, with "the Gentlemen," a group of demons/monsters/whatever-the-hell-they-are who show up to steal people's voices and rip out hearts. Throughout the episode, they never utter a word, just grin at each other and use gestures... and yet they still manage to be absolutely terrifying.
  • This is basically the point of the Star Trek: Enterprise episode Silent Enemy. Aliens show up and menace the Enterprise, but refuse to respond to any hails, save for playing back an edited version of a message Archer had sent to them. But no alien voice is ever heard and the crew never does figure out what exactly they were doing, nor why they were doing it.
  • Twin serial killers Robert and Nicholas Millberry from Series 2 of Luther never communicate while hunting, spending their whole first episode and most of their second in total silence. Robert doesn't talk until after his arrest, and Nicholas only speaks to Luther during their last confrontation, when body language alone will not do the trick.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Incident on and Off a Mountain Road", the villain Moonface fits the typical mute serial killer character. His only sort-of dialogue is shushing his victims to be quiet while he tortures and murders them.
  • Doctor Who: The Flood from Waters of Mars says all of a few lines through one of its victims, and then never says a word again Inhuman screeching and roaring, on the other hand... Used to great effect, since the focus of that episode wasn't on the Flood at all, but the Doctor's own rapidly unraveling mental state.
  • Sluggo from the Mr. Bill segments on Saturday Night Live.
  • The X-Files:
    • Flukeman in "The Host" is a humanoid radioactive parasite incapable of language.
    • The Peacock Brothers in "Home" seem to understand English, as their mother speaks to them, but they remain silent while onscreen.

    Literature 
  • Lord Vile from Skulduggery Pleasant doesn't speak until Death Bringer. He whispers Valkyrie's name before snapping out of it.
  • Almost all of the Demons from The Elfstones of Shannara are like this, except for their boss, the Dagda Mor, who has one line of dialogue. Most notable is the Reaper, who is silent, faceless and implacable, pursuing the two main characters tirelessly for most of the book.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 gives us the Necrons: skeletal, alien robots with a heavy undead flavoring. One of their trademarks was being the mysterious faction as the motivations for their actions were inscrutable, largely because, well, they just never vocalized. Their origins and reasons for wars of conquest and genocide to abducting entire populations of humans just weren't known to many players who didn't read up on them, as well as even some of the most accomplished in-'verse scholars. These days, a significant retrofitting to their lore changed them somewhat; while they still do the same things as before, their motivations are much less opaque and their leadership has been given considerably more personality as well as the ability to speak. Their rank and file are more or less unchanged however: after nearly 60 million years in stasis, the neural systems allocated to the common "citizens" of the Necron empires is, well, more faulty, and their cognitive faculties have decayed to the point of leaving them as little more than automatons.

    Theatre 
  • In The Golden Apple, Paris never speaks, though he hardly needs to talk when Hector is around.

     Video Games  

     Webcomics 
  • Invoked in Goblins by one of the Alternate Universe Minmaxes; as a result of Min-Maxing, he traded away his ability to speak in exchange for becoming a more deadly combatant.
  • There are a few enemies in Awful Hospital who don't speak any lines, such as Molly Curdle and the X-Ray Skeleton. They are not to be trifled with.
  • Nebula: Ceres; assuming that their unintelligible thought bubbles aren't meant to represent distorted speech, they don't say a single word in any of their appearances, even when Sun (who they both know could kill them with little to no effort) is glaring down at them and demanding to know what they're doing to the planets and what it is they want from him.
  • In Alice Grove, the tall, hulking Mr. Church (to date) has not said a word. However, he's demonstrated that he is a very dangerous foe of Alice and her friends by crushing Sedna's shoulder with one hand, taking a blow from a pipe to the head (and promptly tearing its wielder limb from limb), and catching Alice in the middle of a Flash Step as she tried to kill his master.

     Web Original 
  • Israphel, from the Yogscast series Shadow Of Israphel, never says a word in any of his appearances. Even his most recurring Co-Dragons, who have spoken a combined total of two words, are chattier. To get around this, he occasionally leaves mocking signs, but he does this less as the series goes along.
  • The Slender Man is this, in addition to often being hidden in plain sight. It's part of his charm.
  • Mannequin in Worm is incapable of speech, having severely modified his body and long since removed his mouth, digestive tract, lungs, and anything else similarly without use. Instead, he communicates by mocking gestures with his fingers.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, after Android #13 fuses with the remains of #14 and #15, he becomes completely silent, never speaking a single word beyond grunts as Dr. Gero orders him to execute Goku in vengeance.
  • Neopolitan of RWBY has yet to utter a single word, and her motives and identity are completely unknown, though she clearly has a connection with Roman Torchwick. What is known is she is a total badass: she defeated both Yang and Ruby with ease and slaughtered an entire Atlas airship full of trained soldiers on her own.

     Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has Combustion Man, who would rather blow stuff up with his mind than talk.
  • The fourth season of The Legend of Korra features an apparent Enemy Without of the title character who appears to her in the Avatar state and dressed as she was when she fought the previous season's big bad. She never speaks the entire time she repeatedly beats up Korra, and what exactly she is remains ambiguous to the end.
  • Skurge the Executioner, Annihilus, and Galactus do not speak at all during their appearances on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!.
  • Apocalypse from X-Men: Evolution is like this during his first appearances, though he finally talks during the Grand Finale.
  • Soundwave's Transformers Prime incarnation, who has stopped talking on his own since coming to Earth. He "speaks" by replaying clips of other people talking (with the standard Soundwave voice effect underneath), and usually doesn't even bother with that unless prompted.
  • This is what Jinmay from Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is in her first appearance when she was under Sakko's control.
  • Hong Kong Phooey once encountered a pickpocket who never spoke.
  • Wallace & Gromit has the following examples:
    • Feathers McGraw from The Wrong Trousers never even squeaks. It adds to his mildly creepy act.
    • Beyond one growl (since he's a dog), Preston from A Close Shave never says anything. When he is revealed as a robot, he makes a quiet roar at his near-victims.
  • Batman Beyond had the deadly assassin Curare, who never speaks in any of her episodes. Since Terry has a tendency to trade wisecracks throughout his fights, her silence, as well as her skill level, seems to draw an answering seriousness and maturity from Terry.
  • King Sombra from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, in stark contrast to the loud and hammy villains like Nightmare Moon, Discord, and Queen Chrysalis, gets exactly five lines in his entire two parter and none of which are longer than four words or said to any of the heroes. Word of God is that it was done to enforce that more than anything he was an Advancing Wall of Doom waiting to lay waste to the Crystal Empire the second Princess Cadance's rapidly draining stamina gave out and her force field collapsed.

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