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Supervillain Lair
Skull for a Head? How about skull for your whole house?

Ron Stoppable: "Have we been in this lair before?"

Every up-and-coming Super Villain aspires to create a particularly cool Supervillain Lair. It may be an Elaborate Underground Base, an old castle (preferably atop a craggy mountain peak in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a perpetual lightning storm), an underwater complex, an Evil Tower of Ominousness, a volcanic isle, a space station, a corporate office building, a BFC at the end of world 8 (in video games anyway) among other possibilities, but if you really want to be a cut above lesser villainous contemporaries you make it a floating fortress or an Airborne Aircraft Carrier. It will generally be stocked with most or all of the following:

The more elaborate the digs, and the more time spent dwelling on them, the more likely that the heroes will end up paying them a visit and exposing some important architectural flaws.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dio Brando has a preference for mansions.
  • In Black Cat, Creed, being a Classic Villain, has one of these.
  • Mazinger Z: Big Bad Dr. Hell had TWO: the island of Bardos, where he found the Mykene Humongous Mecha, and the -properly named- island of Hell, an islet near from Japan where he moved to in the second half of the series. His first base looked like a deserted island, covered with ancient, half-crumbled ruins, but his second fortress seemed less ordinary, featuring a mountain with four gigantic faces carved on the slopes. Nonetheless, both of them included the next features:
    • Great Mazinger: since the villains were an subterranean empire, their base was Emperor of Darkness' palace, and it counted like an Elaborate Underground Base.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: The lair of the Vegan invaders was a Space Base set in the Moon. When the Emperor began his final offensive against Earth, he ordered blowing it up to show his troops they had only two choices left: conquering Earth or die.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Lord Genome's city of Teppelin should easily qualify; the entire city structure IS the Giant Robot / Weapon of Mass Destruction!
  • NERV's facility at Tokyo 3 in Neon Genesis Evangelion. It's debatable whether or not they're really evil, but they certainly enjoy looking the part.
  • Claw from Kimba the White Lion has Dead River.
  • In Bleach the Big Bad's lair is Los Noches, a massive fortress in the middle of the desert. It is enormous and includes a great number of traps, minions, a war room, and a throne room. It is perfect for the villain who wants to keep "everything going according to plan."
  • The Garden of Time, Precia's base in the first season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. Take a look.

    Comic Books 
  • Lots of series set in The DCU. A recent Batman story featured the debut of a realtor who specialized in finding properties for super-criminals. Abandoned warehouses, spacious sewers, rundown theme parks, you name it.
  • The Marvel Universe has the modestly named Castle Doom (In the city of Doomstadt, in Doctor Doom's home country of Latveria). The Red Skull, Superia, and HYDRA seem to prefer elaborate bases hidden on seemingly deserted islands. The Kingpin, being a "legitimate businessman", has a penthouse in a New York skyscraper— with the floor directly below him packed full of lowlife goons. Doctor Demonicus raised an island from the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Magneto had his own private asteroid base in orbit.
  • In All Fall Down, the Order of Despots has one, on the moon. It's seen in a flashback in chapter two and the heroes return there for the climax in chapter six.

    Fanfiction 

    Film 
  • Nearly every James Bond film ever made.
  • Spoofed to death in the Austin Powers series.
    • "Welcome to my secret underground lair"
    • "Is it a hollowed out volcanoe like I asked for?"
  • The Death Stars from the Star Wars movies contain most of the features on the above list.
  • Spoofed in D.E.B.S., with Lucy's lair being something vaguely evil-looking. Then, after the film skewers the meetup dialogue (and Lucy's "evil" image), we find out that, despite all her high-tech gadgetry, the lair still has yet to be completed. This, of course, could be due to Lucy's just having come back from Antarctica or wherever.
  • Emporer Tod on the planet Spengo had about everything above in Mom and Dad Save the World
  • Syndrome in The Incredibles has an absolutely fabulous lair, in a tropical paradise - Nomanisan Island - under a volcano. Complete with monorail, underground rocket launch site, underwater docks for the subplanes, and lava walls.
  • Destro's under water base in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has everything a supervillain lair needs, which includes a self destruct mechanism.
  • The LEGO Movie's Lord Business is more than suitable for his Evil Tower of Ominousness, in which he rules over all the LEGO realms from, alongside where he also devises his plan to glue everything together. Complete with thunder and lightning, and a torturous Think Tank for Master Builders.

    Live Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Season One: The collapsed church beneath the Hellmouth. Doubles as a Tailor-Made Prison, since the Master's really anxious to get out of there.
    • Season Two: The factory for The Anointed One/Spike, and Crawford Street mansion for Angelus.
    • Season Three: City Hall.
    • Season Four: The Initiative
    • Season Five: Glory's apartment. Tough act to follow, those clandestine underground government labs.
    • Season Six: Warren's basement. Erm...
    • Season Seven: The vineyard. And eventually the Hellmouth itself.
  • The offices of Wolfram and Hart in Angel.
  • Brilliantly spoofed, along with the rest of James Bond, in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. The Fortress of Doom, Chaotica's lair in the holodeck program The Adventures of Captain Proton!
  • In Babylon 5, the (adopted) Shadow homeworld at Z'ha'dum had most of the features of a Supervillain Lair.
  • In the Big Bang Theory episode "The Ornithophobia Diffusion", Sheldon claims that if he had a working superweapon, he would be living in a Supervillain Lair on the proceeds of holding the world hostage.

    Music 
  • Dr. No: Unbuilt Trope. Dr No has one, built on a tropical island for the sole reason of feeding his megalomania. The book makes a great deal of noise about the time and expenses involved, and Bond muses about the strange, surreal quality of the whole thing.

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Spoofed relentlessly in Totally Renamed Spy Game by Cheapass Games (formerly known as "Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond").
  • Magic: The Gathering: The plane of Rath, a parasitic plane connected to Dominaria, has as its centerpiece a stronghold that looks like nothing so much as an inverted mountain. From within its vast structure, the evincars of Rath have plotted for their Phyrexian masters to conquer Dominaria in the name of Yawgmoth. While the Stronghold doesn't have one or two of the above list, it notably subverts at least one of them, with giant bugs roaming the air ducts and an apparently bottomless pit despite it having defined dimensions.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons supplement Evil contains instructions for playing evil PCs, including details on the construction of an evil lair. These cover finding a remote location, dealing with local creatures and possibly making them your minions, the cost of constructing a lair underwater or inside a volcano, creating magic traps and guardians, building escape routes...pretty much a short handbook for this trope from a Dangerously Genre Savvy villain's point of view.
  • Obviously a BIG part of {{7TV}} from Crooked Dice. They even produce downloadable scenery for you to decorate the 'set' with. The rulebook includes rules for what happens when you lose a hand to hand while standing on an overhead gantry.

    Video Games 
  • Evil Genius, where as the resident supervillain, you get to build a lair - twice - get the money, minions and henchmen you need to defeat the Super Spies, and successfully Take Over the World - all done in a cheesy 1960's-style way.
  • Impossible Mission, by Epyx.
  • Outer Heaven in Metal Gear is a mercenary facility where the titular mecha is being built.
  • In the highly acclaimed "Dreamcatcher" custom module for the original Neverwinter Nights, the following exchange dialogue option occurs between the player and a kobold minion, in a secret lair on the ocean floor:
    [PC]: "Why is it that villains always go for the underwater secret base?"
    Krunk the Kobold: "Krunk doesn't know, but he did have a previous master who had a secret volcano base. The sulfur hurt Krunk's sinuses."
  • The White Star in both Super Robot Wars Original Generation and Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, after assassinating Allied Supreme Commander Bingham Premier Cherdenko decides that You Have Outlived Your Usefulness and launches attacks at you from his Secret Volcano Base.
    • Similarly, his opposite President Ackerman has a superweapon hidden in Mount Rushmore, decimating each of the Presidents' as he activates it.
    • Don't forget the Temple of Nod/Temple Prime in the Tiberian series. Sure, they typically get blasted by the Ion Cannon, but that was Kane's plan all along. They have two purposes; to be used by his soldiers and sacrificed when the benefit is greater than that use.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Organization XIII has had not one, but 2 castles surrounded by perpetual lightning so far.
    • it should be noted that their names are "Castle Oblivion" and "The Castle That Never Was". And if a Disney world has a villain, he'll have his lair...
  • At the centre of the City of Villains, Lord Recluse spins his web of schemes within his futuristic fortress in Grandville, the capital of his island nation. And that's just the main base- each of his lieutenants has their own customised base (Ghost Widow has an Evil Tower of Ominousness, Dr Aeon has a futuristic city...), and dozens of smaller Arachnos bases are dotted in all the territory they control. Player villains can join a Super Group and construct a base of their own.
  • Let's not forget Pokémon. We've had Underground Lairs, Lairs in volcanoes, Lairs underwater, even lairs in the middle of busy cities. And most or all of them have bizarre security systems, teleporters, and massive banks of computers. Electric eye are used in the old ninja hideout.
  • Lampshaded and/or subverted in No One Lives Forever 2. In one sequence you come upon two guards discussing the needlessly elaborate evil lair. One guard explains that while it would be far more convenient and cost effective to lease office space, then potential clients wouldn't think that the organization is evil enough for high-profile jobs. As proof, he cites a vastly inferior evil organization pulling in many important jobs simply because they had a top-rate design firm redesign their secret base.
  • Wily's Skull Castle in the Mega Man series.
  • This trope was explicitly mentioned to be the inspiration behind the maps of Team Fortress 2. Seemingly innocuous buildings (farmhouses, industrial complexes, warehouses, etc.) hide areas full of computers, rocket launchpads or giant lasers.
  • The fifteenth and last stage of ESWAT takes the player into one, with a the message "WORLD CONQUEST" unsubtly flashing over a map of the world.
  • Fallout 3 has Raven Rock in the main game, Haven in The Pitt, Adams Air Force Base in Broken Steel, and the Underground Lab in Point Lookout.
  • Medal of Honor has the V2 Rocket Base in the first game, Fort Schmerzen in that game and Allied Assault, and the Gotha facility in Frontline.
  • In Carmen Sandiego Word Detective, every location is a villain lair for a member of V.I.L.E., with the main hub a lair for Carmen herself.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In the Whateley Universe, you can order your own Supervillain Lair from a website. There are ones listed for sale or rent, there are Supervillain Lair timeshares on the island of Karedonia (which is run by a supervillain), there is everything you could want, down to 'Evil lair human resources specialists to keep your henchmen happy'.
    • In the first chapter of Ayla 8, side team The Vindicators invade an evil lair in a holographic simulation for training, and get their asses kicked. The person playing supervillain turns out to be Ayla herself, as part of her classwork for the same course.
    • Later in the same story, Team Kimba does a sim run where they infiltrate a Supervillain Lair based on the lair of Crucible, an actual Whateleyverse supervillain, complete with Crucible himself at the end. Fortunately for TK, Phase had heard about the actual lair the sim was based on from a classmate a couple of weeks before, and was able to provide valuable intel, so they were able to beat the sim pretty handily, even though the difficulty had been jacked up.
  • Actively invoked in Worm both by Coil's under city bunker and later Taylor's bug filled lair.
  • The Dark Overlords from the serial Dimension Heroes each live in a different type of scary lair, from a fortress to a castle to a palace to a citadel.
  • Veldron of Super Stories has a labyrinth inside a floating island.
  • Villain Source (Your Online Source For Everything Evil) has a number of supervillain lairs for sale, ranging from skull-engraved volcano islands to inflatable castles for the supervillain on a budget (not any supervillain we'd care to hang out with). Naturally each lair comes with its own obvious, accessible self destruct mechanism.

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb has the headquarters of "Doofenschmirtz Evil Incorporated!"
  • Kim Possible has a lot of fun with this one. Most notable, in one episode Dr. Drakken builds a lair in the "World's Largest Cheese Wheel"; which, we are reminded several times, is not a cheese-covered building, but is in fact 100 percent Wisconsin swiss.
    • Then, of course, there's Señor Señor Sr., who only became a villain after Ron pointed out that his home was already half way to being a lair.
    • Other fun includes a timeshare lair that Drakken shares with his rival (on a lot holding a number of them) and an imposing lair built in the middle of a suburb, both in Kim's hometown.
  • Totally Spies!.
  • While it rarely dwelt very long on any of them, nearly every supervillain to appear on Birdman had a snazzy lair of some kind. Mountains and personal islands were the most popular, but the sky was the limit, and more than one bad guy took up residence there.
  • Several examples from The Venture Bros., most of them subverted. None of the other characters can tell what the Monarch's flying cocoon is supposed to be (it's mistaken for a giant pine cone more than once) and prior to season 3, it was parked in the Grand Canyon where anyone could see it. Phantom Limb had a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired base he called "the lair of the phantom", but it was located in a gated suburban community for supervillains.
  • Hector Con Carne has the personal island variant of the lair on an island called Bunny Island, so called because Hector's lair is shaped like a bunny.
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Dr. Weird has his lair and laboratory somewhere on the South Jersey Shore (in what was apparently once "Belle Isle Asylum). In the first Dr. Weird short, his Rabbot escapes by smashing through a wall; this flaw causes him problems later, as his inventions sometimes escape or are stolen from "[HIS] IMPENETRABLE FORTRESS!"
  • Dr. Robotnik's Robotropolis from Sonic Sat Am is pretty much a Supervillain Lair the size of an entire city.
  • All the Big Bads in Teen Titans have lairs, as do some of the less big baddies. Of note is Brother Blood, who keeps a tally on how many secret lairs Cyborg owes him. And Slade, whose lairs are always underground, always dark, and always have some theme.
  • Averted hilariously in Meet the Robinsons. When the comically inept Bowler Hat Guy has captured Lewis and is telling him his motives for doing so, he mentions how he met the robotic hat Doris and how they retreated to "our villainous lair" to make their nefarious plans. Cue camera shot of the ridiculously cute kid theme restaurant they actually went to.
  • Megabyte's Silicon Tor, Hexadecimal's Lair and Daemon's Master Clock from Reboot.
  • Spoofed in American Dad!'s James Bond parody episode "Tearjerker", where the titular villain's lair and vehicles all have some sort of major defectnote . Tearjerker (played by Roger) keeps blaming it on the lousy contractor. This even proves to be his undoing, as his Escape Pod craps out while he's over a volcano.

    Real Life 
  • Hitler's Führerbunker, where he lived for the last few months of the war, was pretty much this.
    • Pretty much all of his Führerhauptquartiere. Early on in the war, Hitler lead the German Army from a train which had some 17 components. Possibly the most infamous headquarters is Wolfsschanze (or Wolf's Lair), where the July 20 Plot took place. That facility had 2000 people working there at its peak and it took until 1955 for the Soviets to clear all the 54,000 landmines in the surrounding area.
  • The media is making Julian Assange's Wikileaks facility seem like this. Seeing pics of the underground computer storage bunker in Stockholm, you can't blame them! It does look rather "Blofeldian".
    • The facility, known as Pionen, belongs to ISP Bahnhof and hosts servers from hundreds of different companies. Those who have actually been inside can assure you, aside from a hellish noise level from the cooling systems, the pictures do it justice.
  • Saddam Hussein was quite the fan of luxurious mansions. Here's a quick peek inside the best known (The Tikrit Presidential Site).
  • Kim Il-sung also had a taste for mansions like this with a good bit of CloudCuckooLandry thrown in for good measure. For example all beds inside his mansions had to be exactly 500 meters above sea level and his duvets had to be filled with the softest down imaginable. What is the softest down imaginable? It apparently comes from the chin of a sparrow. Seven hundred thousand sparrows were required to fill a single duvet.
  • Hassan-i Sabbah, leader of The Hashshashin, took control of the fortress at Alamut in northern Persia and made it his headquarters, strengthening its fortifications and adding food stores, a library, and a pleasure garden. A possible translation of "Alamut" is the Eagle's Nest, making it Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • Subverted with Tycho Brahe, who owned an observatory on his own private island fortress...which he used for making astronomical observations.
  • Pablo Escobar humble home.


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