Gee, Brain, what you wanna do tonight? Brain:
The same thing we do every night, Pinky: try to take over the world!
Why would any reputable villain or Imperialistic Global Superpower
set their sights on anything less than World Domination®
! As Evil Plans
go, world domination is ambitious
, more logical
and sometimes easier
than wanton destruction of everything
. They want to be in charge of everything and everyone. This could be just to feed their massive egos
, or else they've got somewhat twisted ideals
that they want everyone else to adhere to. Sometimes it's because world domination is the Path to a Better Future
. Or it's just because they are just dicks
Either way, this ambition will put them in direct conflict with the heroes, whether professional or "I just want everything to go back to normal
" types. Usually said villains fixate on the hero or someone/thing close to them
as being part of their master Evil Plan
. For a villain who has finally acquired godlike power
, and did not use it to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence
or euthanize the universe
, then this is the next logical goal and use for said power.
Villains who want this will occasionally combat other villains
who want to destroy the world or use it for other purposes, and sometimes, just sometimes, team up with the heroes to do it.
After all, you can't conquer the world if it's destroyed
, right? Whether or not the villain attempts to stab the heroes in the back the instant the world is safe, or they nod and civilly go back to their Secret Lairs in a gentleman's agreement to face each other tomorrow depends on the villain.
The results of world domination is sometimes subverted, parodied or deconstructed when the villain actually succeeds
, and it turns out that ruling the world isn't nearly as gratifying as they thought it would be
— exactly what does one do
with the world once one has it, after all? As any immortal
would tell you, ideas to try for the world (whether utopian or dystopian) can be limited. Plus, once you're ruling the world, you literally have to be in charge of everyone
, and that's like herding giraffes
. Seven billion
giraffes, as a matter of fact. You actually have to run things, and make sure it works, and dang, Dystopia Is Hard
. You will end up snapping or getting crushed under the workload of trying to dictate everything
. If they did it with Mass Hypnosis
to get rid of The Evils of Free Will
, then it'll be considerably easier to rule... and so dreadfully boring they undo the whole thing just to have someone to talk to. No wonder that "illogical" world destruction
has an appeal that competes with world domination.
The more fleshed-out villain will have some specific perception of what is wrong with the world and believe that a strong central authority with vision and strength of purpose can set it right.
For more information, check out the Evil Overlord List
, a detailed guide on what should an evil overlord do and not do. Typically, this is accomplished with Stock Evil Overlord Tactics
. Although sometimes the plans of villains with this motivation go rather in the Missing Steps Plan
direction. For several country-specific SubTropes
, see America Takes Over the World
, Japan Takes Over the World
, and China Takes Over the World
. See Take Over the City
for a more modest version.
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Anime & Manga
- The Mazinger trilogy:
- Mazinger Z: According his Backstory revealed in one of the manga versions, Dr. Hell was abused and belittled by everyone when he was a child until his mind snapped and he decided he wanted to make all pay: he would purge the world off idiots and force everybody to bow down to him. During the rise of Hitler, he realized if he took over the world he COULD do just that. Over ten years after the World War II he finally found the means as he researched several ancient ruins.
- Great Mazinger: The Mykene were an ancient civilization had been forced to survive underground for millennia. Big Bad and Physical God Emperor of Darkness and The Dragon Ankoku Daishogun wanted to return to the surface world and let their people walk freely over earth and enjoy sunlight, fresh air and clean water, and they thought take over the world was the only way to achieve that.
- UFO Robo Grendizer: Planet Vega had become unstable due to the overexploitation of ores of vegatron, a highly radioactive material. King Vega needed to find another world to settle his people on, and so he began conquering other worlds. That expansionist campaign finally led them to Earth.
- Played with in Shugo Chara!. Tadase, leader of the heroes, repeatedly states that his goal (or at least his would-be self's goal) is World Domination.
- When discussion the motives of the actual villains, the Easter corporation, the heroes quickly dismiss World Domination as a possibility.
- Princess Tutu's Japanese official website listed profiles for most of the major characters—pretty standard stuff, including height, weight, and each character's "likes" and "dislikes". Most of it isn't too much of a surprise, like Ahiru's love for ballet and dislike of food with chicken in it... but then you get to Autor's profile. What he likes? "World Domination". Apparently that's the reason he's so obsessed with Drosselmeyer's story-spinning powers!
- Il Palazzo of Excel Saga wants to take over the world, which he believes has become corrupt. He decides a more reasonable goal is to start with just Japan, and the best way to take over Japan is to start with one city.
- After Chao Lingshen is revealed as the Big Bad of the Mahora Festival in Mahou Sensei Negima!, we finally get a peek at her character bio. Listed under her Likes? World Domination.
- Now that she's out of the way, Haruna has stepped in. Lately, she overtly proclaimed herself "future mistress of this world".
- Axis Powers Hetalia: "Everyone will become one with Russia." Alternately, The Awesome Prussia will seize your vital regions.
- Code Geass: Lelouch vi Britannia eventually decides to conquer the whole world, rather than just destroy the Britannian Empire, as was his original plan. In subversion he doesn't actually want to keep it for himself. Magnificently, having taken over half the world and been betrayed, he the proceeds to take over the other half, then uses that to finish the job.
- Light Yagami in Death Note wants to be the god of the world, which effectively is the same thing.
- Cleo in Glass Fleet wants to take over the galaxy. Luckily, the Big Bad, Vetti Sforza, has already conquered most of it. Cleo decides that taking down Vetti is the quickest way of doing it. Things don't go exactly as planned...
- Jio's goal in 666 Satan, by collecting all the O-Parts to rule the world.
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn!'s Big Bad Byakuran actually has taken over the world millions of times over. Being able to share his consciousness across parallel universes, he has become supreme ruler of all but one.
- Dragon Ball
- Piccolo Daimao's goal is to conquer the world. And he does. Easily.
- Pilaf, the Red Ribbon Army, Vegeta, Frieza and his relatives, and Babidi, who all had plans for world/universal domination at one point or another. Specifically, Frieza was in the business of conquering and selling planets.
- Gundam Seed Destiny: Gilbert Durandel wants to do this as part of his Utopia Justifies the Means plot.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: This is one of Greed's stated goals, though in the end Ling calls him out on his bluff and Greed grudgingly admits that deep down his true desire was to have friends.
- In the 2003 anime version, Bradley seemed to have this as his intention, which makes sense, him being a Hitler-expy and all.
- He is actually holding the title "Führer"!
- When 4Kids was dubbing the Pokémon movies, they had a habit of changing the villains' motives to this, because kids wouldn't understand their original motives.
- This is now Team Rocket's goal. Since they've become competent and now have frikken jet-packs, they might actually have a shot.
- That didn't last long though.
- Pain of Naruto originally claims this to be the goal of Akatsuki. As a small mercenary force of exceptional skill they would build a strong reputation and slow supplant the established villages; then they would use the captured Bijuu to start small wars, promptly ending them, to gain complete dominance of the market. At that point, they would crush the weakened nations reliant on their services and become the sole world power.
- Turns out Pein was right all along; except the real Akatsuki boss, Tobi plans to use a Mass Hypnosis plan instead of the fake, economic scheme.
- As of Chapter 692, Sasuke reveals that his ultimate goal is world domination, starting with killing Naruto, the only person he believes can stop him.
- Kuroda from Neko-de Gomen!.
- This is the goal of all of the evil organizations in Hajimete No Aku. Their methods and reasons are generally more benign than most of the other examples on this page.
- In Read or Die, the British Library apparently wants to take control of the world's information networks, so they can get the world to doublethink itself into believing that they already rule the world.
- Ika Musume's ultimate goal is to take over the world in order to punish humans for polluting the oceans and harming the ocean life. Thus far, her invasion has stalled at the beach house where she first made landfall.
- The Evil Organization Florsheim from Tentai Senshi Sunred has this as their objective B. It will follow objective A; the defeat of their mortal enemy Sunred. So far, they're stuck at objective A. And probably will be for some time.
- This is the goal of Rider, aka Alexander the Great, in Fate/Zero. Which is to be expected, given that it was his goal in Real Life. An unusual case in that he is a hero rather than a villain. He's delighted to discover that the world is larger than he had realized in life, because that means there's more of it to conquer.
- Poseidon in Saint Seiya. Cue his one-time help against Hades, who wants to destroy the world.
- The Zabi family of Mobile Suit Gundam have this as their ultimate objective, seeking to grind Earth and all of the space colonies under their jackbooted heels. Their reasons for doing so differ—Degwin and Kycilia want to bring their familial political philosophy to the entirety of humanity and make Zeon the strongest nation in existence, Garma and Dozle just want to make their father proud, and Gihren sees it as an exercise in stroking his own ego. All of them, and particularly Gihren and Kycilia, believe that Despotism Justifies the Means.
- From the New World features a particularly hideous example: Monster Rat Yakomaru plans to overthrow humans by exploiting the fact that Humans Are Psychic in the Future by kidnapping a human infant and raising him into an unstoppable, animalistic sociopath and unleashing him against the communities on the Japanese archipelago, and using the chaos to capture even more infants to repeat the process until all humans have been wiped out.
- Played straight in Mark Waid's Empire limited comic series. The supervillain mastermind Golgoth actually conquers the world. All opposition is crushed, all superheroes are defeated, and Golgoth is still victorious at the end of the tale. Needless to say, it's a VERY dark story. However, Golgoth finds that ruling the world is not exactly easy, either.
- Dilbert: Dogbert has taken over the world a few time. In one arc he does so through hypnosis, but abdicates after he gets bored. He's also taken over the company frequently, usually becoming obscenely wealthy and retiring within a matter of days.
- Darkseid, the Lord of Apokolips, wants to rule the entire DC Universe.
- In the Marvel Graphic Novel Emperor Doom Doctor Doom succeeds in taking over the world. He hits the Reset Button himself when he realizes he didn't want the world, he just wanted the quest to take it over.
- The Doomster also pulled it off in Marvel Ultimate Alliance, complete with building an army with hybrid Doombot and Iron Man technology and giving himself a castle the size of Latveria. Then the heroes beat him up and Odin blows him to vapor with a lightning bolt.
- In the aftermath of the Onslaught Saga, Franklin Richards created an alternate Earth and Doctor Doom conquered THAT before getting bored with the absolute power over it he'd usurped from Franklin Richards' weird computer overseer thing.
- He pulls it off in Doom 2099 (or the United States, anyway, which is not actually the entire world). The twist? He's actually a pretty good leader.
- From AVENGERS #290, in one of his few impressive moments Dr. Druid points out to the Super-Adaptoid the importance of thinking things through:
Dr. Druid: And once you have conquered the people of Earth, what then?
Super-Adaptoid: I will rule them, Dr. Druid.
Dr. Druid: To rule means to dictate. What will you tell your billions of subjects to do?
Super-Adaptoid: I... I had not yet considered that.
- "Rule the world" is the key phrase that Piffany taught Yeagar to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys in Nodwick.
- Lex Luthor's original goal was to take total control of Metropolis as a foundation for taking over the world, and from there the rest of the universe. Then Superman showed and started ruining all of his plans. Now his goal is to get rid of Superman so he can get back to his original goal and soothe his massive ego.
- Discussed by Mercury and Jadite in Dungeon Keeper Ami. Due to the tremendous forces arrayed against Ami, both the Dark Gods and their followers, and the Light Gods and their followers; it is speculated that if she ever wants to get home, Ami is going to have to do this.
- Subverted and discussed by the Calamitous Zone's Dr. Eggman(!) in Always Having Juice.
- This is the ultimate goal of Dr. Brainstorm in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series.
- Mr. Uppity puts all the Mr. Men and Little Misses in jail in order to do so in The Mr Men Movie.
- Subverted in Queen Of All Oni. The Enforcers assume, due to their experience with past Big Bads, that this is Queen Jade's ultimate goal. However, Jade is Genre Savvy to know that aiming for a goal that large is what led to said past Big Bads being defeated, and as such is more small-scale — she merely wants enough power to ensure she's never defeated, in order to maintain the comfortable and hedonistic life style she's created for herself.
- Shadows Awakening: One thing that the Big Bad Ensemble has in common is that they all want to rule the world.
- Ojamajo Doremi Rise Of The Shadows: This is the goal of Black Queen. However, she doesn't just want to rule the world; she wants to destroy all Light Beings so her kind, the Shadows, can rule all worlds.
- In the final story of the My Hostage Not Yours series, Gaz convinces Zim to get off his ass and finally conquer the world. And they do, well before the story is over.
- The Blood Waters of Dr. Z: Dr Z wants to take over the universe — by turning himself into a humanoid catfish and mutating all sea life.
- G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: the goal of Cobra is to — you guessed it!
- Audrey II In Little Shop of Horrors.
Seymour Krelborn: We're not talking about one hungry plant here, we're talking about world conquest!.
Audrey II: And I wanna thank YOU!.
- Drax's Evil Plan in Moonraker is to wipe out humanity and replace it with a "master race" under his rule.
- Recurring villain goal in the Scanners movies:
- Darryl Revok plans to do this in Scanners by initiating a country-wide scheme of covertly prescribing pregnant women with a dangerous drug that will turn their unborn children into "scanners" (telepathic and telekinetic psychics), who he will then convert to his cause - being one himself with a deep hatred for normal humans.
- Commander Forrester in Scanners II: The New Order advocates the creation of a "New Order" to "cure" the cities of crime, which really means that he'll be in control of everything. He tries to build an army of scanners to keep the rest of society in line, and uses their abilities to get himself into successively higher public offices, going from police commander to police chief and planning to run for mayor next.
- In Scanners III: The Takeover Helena hatches such a scheme after discovering that scanners abilities work through camera and television signals. Her first step is to mind control thousands of people through a widely televised public broadcast of her, but she doesn't seem to think much further ahead than this.
- In The Shadow the villain is a descendant of Genghis Khan. He says that his ancestor conquered half the world and he's here to "finish the job".
- Star Wars: Senator Palpatine, AKA Darth Sidious, didn't just take over a world, he took over a galaxy. Beat that!
- M. Bison in Street Fighter. All he wants to do is create the perfect genetic soldier, and sending them out to wipe out every creed and every nation... until all of mankind bows before him in humble gratitude, with the entire planet united under the loving grip of the Pax Bisonica.
- General Zod in Superman II did take over Earth after defeating the pesky son of Jor-El. It just didn't last because of Superman.
- Clu in TRON: Legacy wants to escape from the Grid into Real Life and bring his army with him. How he plans to take over the world with a few thousand troops and no real weapons (or, at least, something that would work in the real world) is never explained, although some fans claim he can program more troops once outside. One thing's for sure though, if Clu escapes he will stop at nothing to make our world open and available to all of them. Yes! TO ALL OF THEM!!!!!
- The Austin Powers trilogy obviously pokes fun at this with Dr. Evil's own schemes involving holding the world hostage. Interestingly, his right hand man, Number Two, is much more successful in raking in cash with various legitimate projects, and is quite frustrated when Dr. Evil still goes for the schemes that Austin Powers is more likely to stop.
- Help! - an indestructible ring stuck on Ringo's finger is coveted by a trite, hackneyed Mad Scientist (as described by John):
Fantastic! With a ring like that I could - dare I say it - rule the world.
- Adenoid Hynkel of The Great Dictator, which is not surprising given that he was a parody of Hitler. Best shown with him dancing with an inflatable globe to Wagner's Lohengrin.
- Shaw's ultimate goal in X-Men: First Class.
- George Orwell's 1984 is the definitive literary example of this trope actually succeeding, and the consequences thereof. While the world may not technically be under the control of a single power, each of the three totalitarian superstates that do rule the world are effectively in tacit alliance with one another against their own peoples, and engage in an endless proxy war the aim of which is not to win but to divert resources, manpower and focus away from their home populations. Although we are given details of only one of the three, it is suggested that all follow roughly identical ideologies. In a rather brutal lampshading, the regime insider O'Brian acknowledges that Dystopia Is Hard, even for them, but they do not care, because the ultimate aim of the regime is pure power, rather than material or personal satisfaction.
- The Lord of the Rings: Sauron already controlled the greater part of the world by the main story opens. Two ages before that, his boss — a fallen angel type, name of Morgoth — had similar ambitions before the gods dethroned him. The key difference is that for Morgoth, world domination was merely one step in his ultimate plan to corrupt and destroy all reality, whereas for Sauron it was an end in and of itself.
- Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort has this goal, now that he's functionally immortal.
- Deconstructed in Soon I Will Be Invincible. As he works on his latest Evil Plan (and afterwards) Doctor Impossible wonders what "taking over the world" even means, having tried everything from Time Travel to an army of fish:
What does it mean to conquer the world? Is there really a way to do it? Do you have to be the richest one, or the smartest one, or to beat everyone in a fight? Or just to know you could? Is it to be invincible? ... Does it just mean to get the girl you really wanted?
- Ender’s Game: Peter Wiggin, the brother of Ender begins putting his Take Over The World plan in motion at the age of, like, fourteen? He succeeds several books later. And in an interesting turn, is a very effective and respected leader.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's A Fighting Man of Mars, this is the jeddak of Jalar's intention — though being a Dirty Coward, he insists on marvelous Mad Scientist inventions in sufficient quantities first. Also Phor Tak, who had made him those inventions and been exiled by him; desire for Revenge drives him insane.
- It is eventually revealed late in the Everworld series that this is the master plan of the witch Senna Wales.
- The Draka: The Draka seek to conquer the world so that there are no other competing ideologies or worldviews to their own. The existence of liberal democracy is considered a direct threat to their empire.
- In Powers That Be the Big Bad corporation, Intergal, wants to take over the planet of Petaybee because it terraformed it in the first place and has only just realized that it might be more profitable to mine it than to allow settlers to live there.
- Petyr Baelish's goal at this point in A Song of Ice and Fire seems to be "control as much of Westeros as possible". Given that this is Littlefinger we're talking about here, he may have a bigger ultimate goal, a smaller ultimate goal, or no goal at all.
- The Magister wants to do this, very much in The Infernal Devices.
- The Mesan Alignment in the Honor Harrington novels plans to take over the galaxy (or at least the part explored by humans). And they've been diligently working towards this end for centuries.
- The Power of Five: The goal of Nightrise.
- Swellhead has a different take on this; the Reality Warper villain plans to change the world so it all exists inside his head.
- In the Rainbow Magic series, Jack Frost tries this in the movie, planning to conquer Fairyland and the human world.
- In the Fashion Fairies series, he tries to take over the fashion world with his Ice Blue clothing line.
- The title hero in Ultimate Hero tries to do this, although he first focuses on conquering America.
- Julian The Apostate, having been assured by a Phony Psychic that the gods (and Alexander The Great) are with him, launches an invasion to this end. They aren't with him, and it ends badly.
- In The Mysterious Benedict Society books, Mr. Curtain's goal is to take over the world, manipulating people's opinions and memories with his Whisperer so that they accept him as M.A.S.T.E.R. (Minister and Secretary of All the Earth's Regions.)
- Pretty much every villain in the Age of Fire series wants to conquer the world, for varying reasons.
- This was Illyria's plan when she first reemerged. She went to revive her demonic army to conquer the earth, and found she'd been dead so long they had all crumbled to dust. She was so depressed she just gave up on it after that.
- And one season before that, rogue Power that... Am, Jasmine, nearly succeeded as she was able to brainwash everyone who saw or heard her, even via electronic media, into loving her. She was ultimately only defeated by epic Glamour Failure and Connor turning into a full-blown Nietzsche Wannabe who punched through the back of her head.
- Being Human: This is Big Bad Herrick's ultimate plan in season 1.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Warren Mears. He mostly fails because he's less like Lex Luthor, and more like Max Cady.
- Apparently the goal of The Mayor, though he never got past the "become giant demon snake" stage of his plan. Presumably this would give him the power to do so.
- The Master also showed interest in ruling the world, as did Adam, who planned to re-populate Earth with an army of beings like himself and the First wanted to possess every human being on the planet, so it probably applies as well. The only Big Bad with no ambitions of this kind was Glory who just wanted to go home at the cost of the apocalypse (and even then, she only wanted to go back to her home world so that she could rule it).
- Simone's stated goal to Buffy. Started by taking over an island near Italy and kicking everyone off of it, beating up an old woman who had given her food and shelter while doing so.
- Danger 5: Unsurprisingly, this is Hitler's goal. He is also depicted as being in charge of Benito Mussolini and Emperor Hirohito - the show being a parody of pulp and exploitation fiction, he's pretty similar to the stereotypical megalomaniacal supervillain.
- Doctor Who:
- In "Tomb of the Cybermen", Kleig, a human helping the Cybermen for power, goes on a rant about how the world is a disorganized mess of conflicting ideals, and only his superior intellect could bring it together to solve all its problems. A few seasons later, in "The Invasion", Tobias Vaughn, also helping the Cybermen, would make almost word-for-word the same rant.
- In the new series Series 3 finale, The Master takes over the world. It gets undone. He does however seem to enjoy it, playing music, torturing his prisoners and planning to take over the universe for all time. In The End of Time, the Master takes over the world again. Once again, it gets undone.
- It's probably worth noting that in the new series, at least, when an episode takes place on Earth, chances are good the Alien of the Week is trying to take over the world or some variant on that theme. Recurring villains the Cybermen are also proponents of Taking Over The World. Notable exceptions to this rule, however, are the Daleks and the Time Lords.
- Eureka: Nathan Stark admits in one episode that he has dreams about world domination. "But not all the time!"
- Kamen Rider: Tons of Showa era villains had this as this as their plan. Not so much in the Heisei era, where the villains plans are usually more complex. The only villains whose end goal plan is conquering the world is Smart Brain from Kamen Rider Faiz, whose plan entails a Zombie Apocalypse.
- The Middleman: The show is Genre Savvy about this being a standard Evil Plan.
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
- Makes Rita's motivations clear the moment her
can space dumpster is unsealed. "After 10,000 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Earth!" Same goes for the motivation of every other Power Rangers villain ever.note
- To be fair, some villains have slight differences in objective. For example, in Power Rangers Dino Thunder, Big Bad Mesagog wants to return the world to being reptiles. This even gets Lampshade Hanging by Tommy: "Why can't you just want to conquer the world like all the other sickos?"
- Revolution: As episode 5 and episode 11 demonstrate, General Sebastian "Bass" Monroe of the Monroe Republic wants to take over the continent of North America one territory at a time. By the first season finale, Bass ends up on the run from his own militia, and Tom Neville has apparently adopted this as his new goal.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Spellman family cat Salem is actually a former warlock who's being punished for plotting to rule the world. In one episode he is denied parole (and a return to his human form) when he lets it slip to the interviewer that he still dreams of overlordship.
- Stargate SG-1: The ultimate goal of each System Lord, the Replicators and the Ori is dominion over of the Milky Way galaxy. Many villains-of-the-week, however, had more modest goals.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Khan Noonien Singh wakes up after a 270-year nap and decides to take over the galaxy.
- Also, Captain ("LORD!") Garth of Izar, who declares himself "Master of the Universe" and, like Khan, plans to use the Enterprise to conquer the galaxy.
- In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Abaddon reveals that she not only wants to rule hell but also earth and the fallen angels.
- This is the goal of the villainess Dark Queen from Pro Pinball: The Web, who plans to dominate the world by unleashing an army of spiders. Don't ask how...
- In Pro Pinball: Timeshock!, this is a Side Quest. After exploring all seven continents, the player can go to Atlantis and start "Global Domination", where the game gives one minute to try and light all of the continents for massive bonuses.
- Jon Moxley stated this was his plan for KAMIKAZE in Dragon Gate USA. Really, this was just a sign of the toll his feud with Jimmy Jacobs was having on his already damaged psyche.
- Risk, "The Game of World Domination".
- In the German version, it has been bowdlerised to a "Game of World Liberation".
- World War IV, which is Axis and Allies meets Fallout.
- History of the World.
- All the evil gods in the Forgotten Realms have this goal.
- Bane has this as his main goal and almost all of his followers' failed plots revolve around this to some degree. Indeed, he is the god of tyranny.
- In Crucible: Trial of Cyric the Mad, the main character's goal towards the beginning was to get a book that would make everyone worship his god, Cyric, thereby allowing him to take over not only the world, but the entire pantheon.
- Shar is an exception: the Lady of Loss wants to destroy the world, not rule it.
- In the Kalamar D&D setting, the holy book of the god of tyranny is a political manifesto that not only proclaims the deity's intention to do this, but why it's absolutely imperative that his followers make it happen, for the greater good of all sentients.
- Cartoon Action Hour: All three sample series' Big Bads (Nekkrottus, General Archnid, and Maxilliam Mercy) have this trope at their goal—but this is justifed as it's a 1980s Shout-Out to goals of most 1980s cartoon villains.
- The Netrunner card "World Domination". If the corp manages to score the card, it wins the game.
So, Wilson, how in the frack did you know the fileset was secret plans for world domination?
'Cause it was labeled 'Secret Plans for World Domination.'
- In Mwahahaha!!!, the players are all Mad Scientists competing to be the first to do this.
- In Warhammer 40,000, there's the Monodominant faction within The Empire: they believe that peace will come when Mankind has conquered the entire Galaxy and eradicated every other intelligent species in it. The irony is that the theory was originally formulated as a sarcastic joke by a guy who thought it obviously impossible to achieve.
- Time Master: The Demoreans are obsessed with taking over the Continuum.
- This is Doctor Octopus' long-term plan in The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, with the takeover of New York City being his first step.
- King Goobot in Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast plans to steal Jimmy's latest Mark IV rocket and duplicate it so that he can use it to enslave earth.
- In Transformers: The Ride, Megatron once again sets out to steal the AllSpark shard and use it to turn all technology into Decepticons, so that he may rule the world.
- MAG ISA — The main antagonists in this comic are demons. Their agenda is to bring hell on earth and turn planet earth into a giant prison... all for the lulz.
- Tony of Real Life Comics, being the Mad Scientist that he is, does set out to accomplish this goal for one story-line because, according to him, that's what evil people are supposed to do. He manages to succeed in the end, even defeating a challenger to his reign, but relents when he starts to discover just how much work is involved.
- Bob and George featured Dr. Wily's attempts very early.
- It was deconstructed the trope in a short-lived sub-comic Raw Lemons and Baked Pizza. After having it up to here with Dr. Wily, Mega Man finally spells out just what taking over the world will require. Namely, having to sort out the already noticeable mess of differences between various nations, having to deal with the various uprisings, learning ever language known to man just to communicate with them, getting people to accept his rule in the first place and the insane amounts of stress that would be implied. It ends on a nice humorous note as Dr. Wily, having clearly gone too insane to recover, laments that he already had a custom gold world-domination crown made.
- Subverted in Girl Genius, where by the start of the story, the evil mad genius Baron Wulfenbach has already taken over the world with his no-nonsense straightforward plan. It is then doubly subverted by the Baron hating being the ruler of Europe, but doing it anyways because he believes the world needs him (and it probably does). Indeed, the Baron took over the world largely to stop everyone else from trying to do so and wrecking everything in the process. Because the comic takes place in a world full of Mad Scientists, there's always at least a dozen factions trying to rule the world. Without the Baron stamping them down, the entire continent would probably be aflame with the burnt wreckage of a million war clanks. England still has a queen, and it's implied that France (or at least Paris) is under the control of a powerful spark of its own.
- Sluggy Freelance: Happens a number of times. Bun-Bun and K'Z'K have both tried to take over the main Sluggy universe (Bun-Bun actually succeeded, for all of ten minutes). The Dimension of Pain demons apparently took over their home dimension in order to make it "of Pain," and tried to do the same thing to the Dimension of Lame. This is also the long term goal of the Hereti Corporation and the K'Z'K cults that have sprung up following the Demon's death.
- Friendly Hostility: Collin, is a megalomaniac who has dreams of becoming a dictator to politically unstable third world countries. Several arcs have sprung from this desire.
- Kevin & Kell used the subversion - in a plotline where it appeared that Herdthinners CEO R.L. had been eaten by bears, his even more ruthless wife, Angelique, took over the company and slowly replaced the normal employees with ones that suffered from domestication. Since domestication causes absolute loyalty, she planned on creating an army of them to eventually Take Over The World. After her husband returned alive and well, he reminded her of the headaches of trying to run the whole world and they agreed to just make gobs of money instead. But the last strip in the storyline did show her encouraging her children to play Risk and learn from it.
- Evil, INC is also an example — When Evil Atom gives some perspective interns to Evil, INC his personal tryout, a lady proclaims "One day I will rule the world!" to which Evil Atom gives the "Whoa, think about that! You'll be responsible for everything. Try again." The young lass replies "One day I will rent the world!"
- Dr Nonami: Mechano's goal is world conquest. So far it's not going very well.
- Deconstructed by Bug.
- Nukees: This has been the stated goal of Gav since the beginning, but especially since Ma'at told him it was his destiny. As of August 2010, he seems to have succeeded, albeit in a way no one could have expected.
- The Order of the Stick.
- Xykon, though it is mostly out of boredom.
- Tarquin, more in spirit than the word. He is perfectly content to kick back and relax as his master plan slowly absorbs the rest of the continent into a completely secret dictatorship. Or in other words, he literally owns everything he sees, so in his own words, he has "lived like a god for over three decades."
- According to Rhea, in To Prevent World Peace, "Born mages have a manifest destiny . . ." (To destroy all Magical Girls and take over the world, presumably.)
- Also, the main character was going to take over the world for its own good. Because only magical girls could be trusted to be pure dictators, right?
- Raichan in Vinigortonio needs to destroy one of the main character's building in order to conquer the world. Or at least so he says. It turns out he needs to destroy it to get to the only known source of Raichanium.
- In Commander Kitty, both Anti-Hero CK and Big Bad Zenith seem to have galactic conquest on their agendas. Of course, CK's is limited to his dreams.
- Greek Ninja: The villain's intentions are to control the world to bring back the reign of the Olympians.
- Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum: Agamemnon's hobby is "collecting the universe" and he wishes to add the Earth to his collection.
- Dimension Heroes: The Dark Overlords from the web fiction serial took over a dimension.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Precisely what the titular Mad Scientist protagonist tries to accomplish: take over the world, change the Status Quo, put power into different hands.... and impress the girl from the laundromat that he has a crush on.
Dr. Horrible: (re: Johnny Snow, his self-proclaimed "nemesis") "Look, I'm just trying to change the world, okay? I don't have time for a grudge match with every poser in a parka!"
"The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it!"
- Doctor Steel: Dr. Steel for World Emperor!. Toward a Utopian Playland!
- The basic goal of the New Villain Order
- Every Big Bad in The Questport Chronicles has this as a motivation, although for three different reasons: The Master of Darkness wants to cover the entire world with darkness; the Prince of Shadows and Illusions just wants to kill everyone. The mysterious mage's motivations are never made clear.
- Skippys List has examples:
- That Guy with the Glasses:
- This Trope is a running joke for the Nostalgia Critic in his reviews. When the antagonist of any film is revealed to have this goal in mind the review will be interrupted by M. Bison as he was played by Raul Julia in the movie adaptation of Street Fighter. The joke goes like this:
Nostalgia Critic: His goal is to - you guessed it - take over the world.
M. Bison: Of course!
The line is completely out of context (it was actually in response to Sagat saying "Guile? Alive?"), but deliberately so as part of the Critic's motif of using clips and bytes in response to himself.
- Other members of the team such as Paw Dugan and Linkara have adopted this gag for their own videos as well, effectively making it a Running Gag for the entire website.
- In the website's second-year anniversary epic Kickassia, this is the Nostalgia Critic's plan, starting with the invasion of Molassia. When he gets Molassia, he soons forgets this, becoming Orcus on His Throne. Receives an epic lampshading when the Critic actually dresses up as
M. N. Bison when launching his attack and subsequently taking over the place. Rollo T even tries to get him to recreate the clip in an interview, asking him if his plan is this as he's leaving (to get him to turn around and say it, as per the clip.)
This backfires; N. Bison only gives the line after being asked if he gets a lot of pussy with that outfit. Somewhat misplaced deliberately in the The Thief and the Cobbler review. Zigzag is trying to take over the Golden City, not the world. But Doug couldn't fit an Of Course in there if he had actually mentioned that.
- Landing on a red space during a Mario Party TV episode apparently signals that the character's plotting to do this, particularly if it leads to a 3-on-1 minigame.
- This is the future aspirations of The Sharkasm Crew's Kason, Sauxuas and Vyzor with their game company. Subverted in that they mean no harm and only seek to revolutionize the gaming industry.
- On The Irate Gamer, this is the main goal of the Evil Gamer and the Shadow Overlord.
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): Skeletor was always trying to take over Greyskull, and with that, the universe.
- Samurai Jack actually opens with Aku taking over the world. The entire thrust of the series was Jack trying to go back in time to stop it from happening.
- Most of the villains (especially the recurring ones) in Kim Possible. To quote Shego:
Shego: Every villain needs an evil plot. Take Drakken. His plot? Yeah, always 'taking over the world.' Always.
- The Brain of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain. Every episode ended this way, and every episode began with some inane plot to take over the world.
- It's refutable whether Brain is truly a villain, since he honestly believes the world would be better off with him in charge- he said as much in Megalomaniacs Anonymous. Also notable is the lack of any regularly-appearing nemesis to thwart his schemes (unless you count Pinky); they generally crash & burn on their own.
- On the other hand is Snowball, Brains archrival from the latter series, who has all of the ambition and none of the morals or good intent.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Fire Nation. It takes them a century to do it, but they eventually manage to either conquer, exterminate, or marginalize all their enemies. The only problem? They can't hold onto their global empire. There's too many rebellions across too much occupied territory for their army to effectively counter. Their solution to this problem is to genocide the vast and populated Earth Kingdom.
- The Legend of Korra: Amon and the Equalists. Their stated goal is a world revolution against benders of the four elements, but they never manage to take control of more than a single city. There's little to suggest their ultimate goal was remotely plausible, given the lack of known appeal of their revolutionary ideology to foreigners, and the practical matter of their city-state being economically dwarfed by the rest of the world.
- Lampshaded in an episode of the Spider-Man: The Animated Series: When the Kingpin announces he is planning to take over the world, Spidey retorts that he sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon villain.
- On the very last episode of The Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo manages to take over the world by stealing The Key To The World. At first he surprises everyone by creating the perfect utopia, but then gets bored with it and resumes trying to destroy everything. Most of the episode consisted of every single villain than has ever appeared on The Powerpuff Girls (yes, even the Villains of the Week) fighting to the get the Key to the World. The girls try to stop them, but once they get the key they become mad with power and start planning what they would do if each of them ruled the world and start fighting for the key themselves.
- Also lampshaded in an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A Wonderful Life episode ("Shredderville") shows an Alternate Universe where Big Bad Shredder succeeded in taking over the world, only to find the actual job of ruling so difficult and boring that he begs the Turtles to relieve him of this responsibility.
- The generally-assumed goal of the Legion of Doom on Challenge of the Superfriends, albeit it got a bit problematic in the execution. As has been pointed out elsewhere, when you've snagged all the money in the world, exactly what do you spend it on?
- On Fairly Oddparents, most villains want to do it. According to Norm the Genie, most (or all) of humanity wants to. In fact, Crocker and Vicky succeeded in 2 of the movies, albeit Vicky only in a Bad Future.
- On the episode where Timmy wishes for mind-reading powers, he finds out (yet makes no conscious effort or reaction) that Elmer's boil has a mind of its own... and is evil. Instances including the boil trying to convince Elmer to attack Timmy, whipping him to make sure no one suspects of him, and that his favorite flavored pie is "Take-over-the-world-berry!"
- While it's never explicitly stated that Lydia, the villain of Barbie & The Diamond Castle, wants to take over the world, the heroines bent on stopping her treat her actual goal, ruling the birthplace of all music (and keeping all the music for herself) as the same thing.
- Phineas and Ferb
- Parodied: Dr. Doofenshmirtz restricts all his evil schemes to the Tri-State Area for no obvious reason. The first episode even has him seemingly about to announce that he's going to take over the world, only to pull out a magnifying glass and finish with "Tri-State Area!" It's later revealed that he used to date Phineas's mother, who encouraged his set more realistic goals than "take over the world," so at her suggestion he scaled back to "the entire Tri-State Area!".
- Lampshaded in "The Beak", when Dr. Doofenshmirtz makes a public announcement that he already has taken over the Tri-State area. The idea was that if he claimed this with enough conviction, people would believe him, and treat him like their new Evil Overlord. Only Major Monogram and Carl were fooled.
- According to Doofenshmirtz, taking over the world is crazy.
- The Incredible Crash Dummies: Junkman's plan, after he's picked up lunch.
- Danny Phantom Big Bad Vlad only hinted that he had potential desires for the world as his current evil plans focused more on personal vendettas, but then Season Three came where it's revealed he wants it. Only one has ever succeeded in dominating the planet: Dark Danny in an alternate future, though that can be a case of destroying the planet. Pariah Dark gets special mention as well, since he took over the Ghost Zone (and Amity Park) before he was turned into Sealed Evil in a Can again.
- Invader Zim: This is Zim's goal right from the start, along with destroying all humans.
- Reboot: In The Medusa Bug", the chaotic villianess Hexadecimal fabricates a viral bug that gradually converts all of Mainframe and its occupants to stone. The only character that manages to avoid this fate is Bob, the Guardian, who eventually convinces Hexadecimal that while she may have perfect control over their world, life would be awfully dull with everyone frozen. And, really, the last thing Hex would want is predictability, so she terminates the bug and the system returns to normal.
- In Storm Hawks, to spread her empire over the whole Atmos is Master Cyclonis' number one goal (and seeing as she is the latest in a royal family, the ambition seems to run In the Blood). She's demonstrated some pretty impressive schemes to do so, but has always failed so far on behalf of those meddling Storm Hawks and her bumbling minions.
- Darkwing Duck lampshades this in the episode that introduced the villian Moliatry.
Darkwing: It's probably just another 'take-over-the-world' plot. We should be back by dinner.
- In another episode, Honker gets controlled by an alien-hat Puppeteer Parasite, who then announces his plan to take over the world via a TV broadcast. After the alien is defeated and Honker gets home, his dad, having only seen the broadcast, sympathetically says "Sorry the whole 'take over the world' thing didn't work out, Honk!"
- In Futurama it is implied that the United States has taken over the world sometime in the past and simply adopted the name "Earth". The "Earthican" Flag looks like the American flag just with the stars replaced with Earth. And when Nixon is running for president of "Earth" in the year 3000 at first they say he can't run because "no body can be president twice" implying the government of Earth is a continuation of the American government.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive Mom wants to take over the world, and uses mind control chips planted in every robot (which encompasses virtually all known technology in the future) to get it. This leads to the memorable line, "Go conquer Earth, you bastards!" This is inspired by the fact that Farnsworth dumped her, leading to the next one: "Hell hath no fury like the vast robot armies of a Woman Scorned!"
- Xiaolin Showdown: The goal of every main villian. Three of the four actually do rule the earth for a few hours before they're stopped by the heroes of the show. Jack Spicer rules the longest, for entire decades.
- In Teen Titans, while Slade rarely elaborates on his goals beyond what he's immediately after but this seems to be the desired end result, judging from "Aftershock II". Later, new Big Bad Trigon does take over the world- as a stepping stone to conquering the entire physical universe.
- Dolf in Alfred J. Kwak. Because of an innate fear of being perceived as weak by others, when he's still a child Dolf decides that one day he will simply rule over everyone and everything. Moreover, when he stages his coup he outright declares that he simply wants power for its own sake. A dream he has in the final episode reveals that despite many years having passed he still harbours this desire.
- Many of Baron Silas Greenback's plots on Danger Mouse involved taking over the world.
- The side story of the Sealab 2021 episode "Happy Cake" has Sparks secretly building an army to take over the world.
- In Jackie Chan Adventures, there are numerous villains with this as their goal, from the draconic Demon Sorceror of Fire, Shendu, and his siblings, to the Oni generals, to Shendu's son, Drago.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, "Magic Duel": After Twilight Sparkle proves that her amulet "from beyond the Everfree Forest" is more powerful than Trixie's Alicorn Amulet, Trixie steals it, switches amulets, and announces her plans to use its powers to take over all of Equestria. Such a pity it's a complete fake.
- In Max's audition video for Total Drama Pahkitew Island, he feels that being a contestant would be a great step towards world domination.
- In Barbie And The Secret Door, Malucia plans to take over Zinnia while her parents are away.
- This used to be one of Stewie's primary goals (the other being to kill his mother) in Family Guy, before his Character Development.
- Earth is ours!
- If you count humanity as one deeply fractionated empire then we've already achieved this. But as we all know, one world is not enough.
- The person in real life who set the record for most land conquered was Temujin, better known by his title Genghis Khan (even more, if you also count the conquests of his sons). He even invoked this goal when choosing that title, which roughly means "Oceanic ruler".
- Alexander the Great conquered what was the known world of ancient times, all before he was 33. In fact, he took massive slabs of territory that the Greeks hadn't even heard of before he started conquering the places in between. Unfortunately, he didn't live long enough to cement his control over most of it, or raise a good heir — important in a culture where men traditionally killed one another to get the throne. The empire didn't last.
- On the opposite side of the (old) world from Alexander, some other guy did take over the whole known-world to his people. His empire did last, unlike Alexander's, even if his dynasty did not.
- Caesar Augustus accomplished this, in that he took over an already-powerful republic and made himself absolute ruler. Contemporaries would compare him to Alexander the Great, but Augustus pointed out that it was far more difficult to rule an empire than to conquer one.
- The Spanish colonial empire is the Trope Maker of the empire where "the Sun never set". At its height, Spain ruled Americas, Portugal, Flanders, the south of Italy, the Philippines and controlled the Mediterranean Sea. Its colonial empire only began to fall apart at the beginning of the 19th century, when Simon Bolivar came along.
- Napoleon Bonaparte, maybe. What is certain in sure terms is that he wanted to make France the principal state in Europe, a large and prosperous military power full of national pride that would dominate the continent and lord over a vast colonial empire; essentially a new Roman Empire with Paris as its capital instead of Rome. He changed his tactics to accomplish this goal several times, but it was always a constant of Britain (which traditionally tried to undermine any continental power that it perceived as growing too powerful) and a shifting coalition of European allies opposing France to break the new empire. He did manage to take over all of continental Western and Central Europe, but was eventually outdone after the disastrous venture in Russia and the War of the Sixth Coalition. He escaped his exile on Elba to try again, but Waterloo proved to be the hypothetical nail in Napoleon's coffin, not the turning point of the warsnote .
- He did say to Benjamin Constant in 1815, 'I wanted to rule the world - who wouldn't have, in my place'
- The British, through a combination of trade and military action, created an empire that covered a quarter of the globe, across so many lines of longitude that famously "the sun never set" on their Empire.
- As well as all of the world's oceans.
- The Nazis: Although still an ongoing debate (referred to as the "Continentalist vs Globalist" theories), since the end of World War II historical study has convincingly established that the expansionist aspects of Nazi ideology only allowed two possible outcomes: total victory or total defeat. Adolf Hitler wanted to ensure German and Aryan supremacy and realised that Nazi Germany would have to take over the world to do this. However, he also realised that this would take a lot of time (he was 50 when he started the war in 1939) and planned to take over "only" Europe in his lifetime (coming fairly close to accomplishing this), leaving the rest of the task to his successors. Historians have also argued that the military alliances with Japan and Italy were part of Hitler's short- and medium-term pragmatism, not his long-term aims, and that the Nazis would likely not have had much choice about continuing to expand due to how their economy was structured.
has expressed his firm belief that the Reich
will one day control all of Europe. From there the road to world rule is practically laid bare. He who owns Europe has leadership of the world within his grasp.
- Hitler specifically did not want to establish a blood dynasty, and given his personal situation it's doubtful he would have lived long enough to groom a descendant as a successor anyway. He also kept his subordinates squabbling for position within the Nazi Party as a means of holding onto power himself. Most likely if Hitler had succeeded the Greater German Reich would have collapsed into chaos soon after his death. Nazi Germany's leadership was too busy playing hacky-sack with the Idiot Ball to plan for long-term conquest as Hitler envisioned.
- Even then, chances are they'd be fighting with Imperial Japan over who'd finally be the one to rule the entire world.
- More likely they would be fighting the US. The Americans had already converted to a Total War economy to fight Japan (specifically with regards to naval production), and all signs pointed to the US winning the Pacific war once their tremendous economic advantage was brought to bear. Even if Hitler were able to overrun Britain, occupy Russia, and defeat Japan, they would have no means to invade the Americas. Despite their significant naval advantage, the Allied powers still needed England as a staging ground to invade mainland Europe. The Nazis had no Western Hemisphere allies to stage an invasion from, and the US would respond to a Nazi invasion of any country in North or South America as it would an attack on US soil. Even then, the attitude towards civilian gun ownership meant that everyone, from backwater farmer to Mafioso, could resist any Nazi attempts at occupation (part of the reason why Yamamoto famously stated that any Japanese attempt to occupy US soil would be futile).
- And of course, there was one other huge advantage the US would have had over Germany: the atomic bomb. Hitler was very dismissive of the idea of an atomic bomb, so he gave the research very lower priority and funding. Combine this with the persecution of some of their best scientists who could have helped develop the bombnote meant that the Nazi's nuclear program was primitive at best. The Americans, on the other hand, had no idea that the Nazi's program was in such a bad shape, so they were frantically racing to get a bomb before the Nazis did.note What this means is that the Americans would have had a superweapon that could literally level cities while the Germans would not.
- Imperial Japan had some serious aspirations towards this. They saw themselves as the future lord of all Asia and the Pacific, which would have been "liberated" from Western colonial rule, but really just replaced with a Japanese one. This empire, if realized, would have given them reign over a majority of the world's population. The government document An Investigation of Global Policy with the Yamato Race as Nucleus leaves the question open as to whether Japan should then go on to dominate the entire world.
- When your founding father Vladimir Lenin repeatedly states his eagerness for what he calls the "Worldwide Conflagration", and tries to put it into action in various stages, it is a fair bet you are aiming for this. In theory, of course, the aim was "global liberation" rather than "global domination"... This would later be checked by the rise of Stalin, who believed in "Socialism in One Country".
- In fact, the original idea for the USSR was a world government with each nation having its own Soviet Socialist Republic.
- This is the stated goal of Bungie, the makers of the game Halo. It's stated all over the special features of the second two games. And the web site. And the promotional material...
- Here's Google's plan to take over the world.
- A lot of Conspiracy Theorists tend to come up with stuff that involves some Ancient Conspiracy that plans to create a One World Order.
- Since the end of World War II, the practice of large industrialized nations attacking their neighbors in order to take territory for themselves has become obsolete. The Soviet Union enjoyed the last successful attempt by controlling eastern Europe before it fell apart at the end of the Cold War and all its satellite states regained their independence.
- A lot of Biblical end times speculation has a sign of the end times being the creating of one world order, under The Antichrist. This tends to be a stumbling block against any organization - no matter how truly peaceful or well-intentioned - whose aim is one world government.
- Many religious fanatics, from sociopathic crackpots who have no actual resources (e.g. Charles Manson and his Helter Skelter plot) to those who present an actual threat to the world (e.g. Islamic terrorist groups like Al Qaeda).
- Long before Alexander the Great, Cyrus The Great of Persia became the first man to conquer what was then the known world, bringing an estimated 40+ percent of the planet's population under his control. His empire outlived him by two hundred years, and despite its portrayal in media like 300 was renowned for how peacefully it ruled its subjects.
- Despite his reputation, Genghis Khan probably did not have any ambitions in this direction. His self-proclaimed heir, Timur(-e) Lang (Tamerlane to most Westerners), was a different story. Claiming that "as there is one God in Heaven, so there should be one ruler on Earth", Tamerlane overran most of Central Asia, and was planning an invasion of China when he died.