A Villain Opening Scene begins the story with the villain
. As it's an Establishing Character Moment
, often the villain's first act will be a Kick the Dog
or Moral Event Horizon
crossing moment that serves to show how evil or Badass
he is, and often sets up the situation that the hero then has to resolve.
Common in stories in which the villain and the plot are essentially synonymous
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Anime & Manga
- The first scene of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's involves Hayate and her Book of Darkness, though villain is used in the loosest sense of the word here.
- Both the manga and the anime of Elfen Lied begin with the infamous scene of a emaciated naked young woman shuffling through the corridors of an Elaborate Underground Base butchering dozens of armed guards by deflecting their bullets and ripping them appart with her telekinetic powers. And then she casually pops the head of a secretary who just happens to come around the corner and uses her corpse as a shield, clearly removing any doubt that she is merely the victim of an evil organization.
- A lot of Detective Conan stories open this way as well.
- The first episode of Dragon Ball Z opens with Raditz landing on Earth and killing a farmer.
- Kirby of the Stars
- In the North American version (Kirby: Right Back at Ya!), the very first episode opens with an immense, evil crimson octopus Demon Beast/monster called Octacon attacking and eating a whole flock of sheep to a Cappy farmer's horror before flying back to King Dedede's castle. This scene actually switched places with the original Japanese opening scene where Kirby is flying through space asleep and eventually comes into orbit over Popstar in the dub.
- Also, the episode "Masher 2.0" begins with Knuckle Joe in a battle against a newly-rebuilt Masher 2.0. And not doing too well against it. At least he does well against its helpers, some of Nightmare's kaiju-esque monsters seen in Meta Knight's flashbacks.
- One Piece
- The anime series begins with Alvida and her pirate crew attacking a cruise ship.
- The tenth movie opens with hero antagonists Garp and Sengoku looking on grimly and expositing as movie Big Bad "Golden Lion" Shiki worfs an entire Buster Call-sized fleet of Navy battleships.
- Arashi No Yoru Ni begins with Giro and his pack of wolves attacking and killing Mei's mother, who tells her son to run away into a nearby forest for his own safety. Just right before she bids her son goodbye and is killed by the wolves, the mother goat attacks Giro and bites off one of his ears.
- Pokémon: The First Movie begins with Mewtwo destroying the very laboratory he was created in, killing all of the scientists inside, and immediately escaping.
- The Trigun movie begins with Gasback and his henchman robbing a bank.
- In Golden Dawn: Lost Sunrise, the prologue is about a villainous cat called "The Watcher", whose mysterious plan involves the murder of a kitten.
Films — Animation
- Many films in the Disney Animated Canon have such a scene, as Disney abuses this trope.
- Aladdin. Okay, so it actually opens with the Merchant, but straight after it goes to Jafar.
- This is also true for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which opens with Clopin, the narrator, before switching to Judge Claude Frollo arresting some Gypsies.
- Mulan opens with Shan-Yu and his army attacking the Great Wall of China. Mulan herself doesn't appear till scene three.
- For Disney, this trope goes back to the very beginning. The first proper scene of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is of the Queen consulting her Magic Mirror.
- Dinosaur actually begins with the film's Big Bad, the Carnotaurus attacking the nest made by Aladar's mother, smashing all but one of the eggs (which was taken away by an Oviraptor, and later on a Pterodactyl, to Lemur Island) and presumably killing his mother.
- Tangled begins with the villainess finding the magic flower used by Rapunzel's mother to heal her illness (and later transferring its magic to her daughter's hair), only to have it snatched away by the King to heal his aforementioned wife.
- The Lion King: Scar is the first character to speak in the film.
- The Great Mouse Detective begins with Ratigan's lackey Fidget attacking and kidnapping Olivia's father.
- Though technically not a villain, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was originally going to begin with the Leviathan sinking a Viking ship, and causing the Shepherd's Journal to be thrown into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Sleeping Beauty: Due to the film beginning with the three good fairies bestowing gifts upon Aurora while she is a baby, she doesn't get a proper introduction until after Maleficent places the curse on her.
- Cars 2 begins with Professor Z and his henchcars discussing about their evil plan for world domination and killing an unsuspecting spy car by literally crushing him into a cube, only to run into Finn McMissile, who had just infiltrated their lair.
- Rasputin from Anastasia; he even gets his Villain Song for the cutscene.
- The 1986 Transformers: The Movie opens with Unicron eating an inhabited planet.
- Recess: School's Out opens with the villians stealing the weather-altering laser.
- Despicable Me begins with Vector stealing the Pyramid of Giza (though Vector himself doesn't show his face just yet).
- Despicable Me 2 begins with El Macho stealing an Antartic base with a giant magnet (though El Macho himself doesn't show his face just yet).
- Kung Fu Panda 2 opens with the backstory of Lord Shen and the opening credits come in over scenes of him and his army.
Films — Live-Action
- Several Godzilla films start off with either Godzilla or the monster he's going to fight in the films.
- The Joker's bank robbery in The Dark Knight.
- Bane's plane hijacking in The Dark Knight Rises.
- Blade opens with vampires having a rave (with a helpless human dude), which is crashed by the title hero.
- Blade Runner: after some Scenery Porn, the first character we see is one of the replicants.
- Alfred Hitchcock's Reverse Whodunnit Rope opens with the two murderers.
- Shadow of a Doubt opens with Serial Killer Uncle Charlie on the run from police.
- Hellraiser introduces Frank and the Cenobites before the good guys, unfortunate victims of their schemes.
- Extreme case: the first scene of Predator 2 is seen through the predator's point of view.
- Spaceballs opens with the bad guys' ship and its infamous "We brake for nobody" plate.
- Some of the James Bond opening sequences.
- Dr. No, the first in the series, begins with the murder of secret service agent John Strangways.
- From Russia with Love appears to begin with Bond, but it is actually a double, who is killed by Red Grant for a SPECTRE training mission.
- You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker begin with spacecraft (or submarine)-hijacking before cutting to Bond.
- Live and Let Die opens with people getting murdered (though the cause only appears after the credits).
- The Man with the Golden Gun focuses on Scaramanga.
- For Your Eyes Only also opens with a murder, following a sequence where a spy ship accidentally collides with a mine.
- Licence to Kill blurs the two tropes, mainly focusing on Big Bad Franz Sanchez who, unfortunately for him, unintentionally interuppts the wedding on Felix Leiter, which means Bond gets involved.
- Inverted in GoldenEye: Bond is on a mission with 006; about halfway through the film, its is revealed 006 is The Big Bad. The focus, however, is mostly on Bond. Likewise, in Die Another Day, Colonel Moon is the Big Bad Gustav Graves.
- Flash Gordon: "Klytus, I'm boooooored."
- All three original Star Wars films open with a shot of one or more Imperial Star Destroyers (though the Rebel Blockade Runner is seen first in A New Hope). Return of the Jedi most closely fulfills this trope with its first scene featuring Darth Vader.
- Dirty Harry begins with the first Scorpio murder. More accurately, it starts with a pretty girl taking a swim in a rooftop pool, then zooms out at length until we see the barrel of a sniper rifle...
- Kung Pow! Enter the Fist starts with a young Master Pain (before he took on the name Betty) killing The Chosen One's parents.
- The prologue of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra shows "Destro" McCullen being arrested and sentenced for sedition against King Louis XIII. The first scene of the movie proper is of Mr. McCullen presenting his amazing nanomachine warheads to the military.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture opens with V'Ger
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opens with Anti-Villain Sybok.
- Star Trek: Nemesis opens with Shinzon (or, in any case, one of his co-conspirators) wiping-out the Romulan Senate.
- Inglourious Basterds starts up with a meeting between Col. Hans Landa and a dairy farmer. Moral Event Horizon, ahoy!
- Stargate (the film) opens with Ra abducting his future host and slaves. (We don't see Ra himself, but we do see the host and Ra's ship).
- Home Sweet Home begins with a man offering a beer to a random, stranded stranger. Said stranger is an escaped psychopath named Jay, who strangles the man to death, shoots up with PCP, steals the victim's car, and runs an old lady over. Jay will be our slasher for the rest of the film.
- A Clockwork Orange opens with a close-up of a smiling Alex, planning a night of ultra-violence.
- For both Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason. The film opens with a monologue by Freddy Krueger. He explains how he came to be, and that the parents of Springwood have stopped him by erasing him from memory. He has found someone (Jason Voorhees) who he will use to instill fear in the town of Springwood once again, which will allow him to come back. This is followed by Jason stalking one of his victims in Camp Crystal Lake in his dreams before Freddy manipulates him in the guise of his mother to go to Springwood.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) opens with Freddy Krueger constructing his iconic bladed glove when he was still a human serial killer before transitioning to Tina's first nightmare.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Iron Man 2 opens with Ivan Vanko watching his father die and then preparing for his revenge against Tony Stark.
- Captain America: The First Avenger begins with Red Skull finding and stealing the Tesseract.
- The Avengers opens with a brief, ominous scene of The Other giving Loki his scepter and musing about how they will Take Over the World and "The humans? What can they do but burn?"
- Unbreakable opens with the origin story and birth of the later supervillain and David's evil mentor Elijah, showing why his fragility devastated his mother and ultimately caused him to became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, which is further fleshed out in a later scene between the two.
- In Scanners II: The New Order, long before David is introduced as the hero, the movie opens with Peter Drak walking the streets and screaming at the sky out of mental pain. Then he walks into an arcade hall and destroys it completely, causing a total panic before blowing it up. A nice contrast to the first Scanners where the vagrant psychic drifter accidentally does something bad before he's picked up by the organization that wants to recruit him. Except here it's a knowingly evil villain.
- Comes up frequently in Harry Potter:
- Although the Dursleys aren't all-out villains like Voldemort and company, Philosopher's Stone opens with a whole chapter dedicated to Uncle Vernon's day at work, interspersed with occasional references to the magical world we now know and love.
- Goblet of Fire opens with a chapter about Voldemort murdering people, albeit from the POV of one of the victims.
- Half-Blood Prince opens with two Death Eaters visiting Snape.
- And Deathly Hallows opens with Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the Malfoy Manor.
- Notably, other than the Prime Minister scene that opens "Half-Blood Prince", the mind-melds with Voldemort, and a few cases of Early Installment Weirdness in "Philosopher's Stone", these are the only scenes in the series not shown from Harry's point of view.
- The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman begins with a scene with the villain (although it's from the viewpoint of his wife). Also somewhat subverted — Tarrant is undeniably evil, but he turns out not to be the main villain. That's Calesta, who isn't introduced until the middle of the book.
- Intensity by Dean Koontz opens with a scene about the villain, from the villain's point of view.
- Ken Follett writes amazing books like The Key To Rebecca and The Eye Of The Needle where the villain starts out as the main character, with the readers' sympathies with him, and then the focus and sympathies begin to slowly shift to the hero.
- Guards! Guards! begins with a scene involving dragons and the villain trying to summon one of them in a ploy to replace Lord Vetinari with a king. Once the dragon gets summoned, it proceeds to displace said villain's role as the villain.
- Many of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories begin with such a scene:
- The Last Battle, the conclusion to The Chronicles of Narnia, starts with Shift finding the inspiration for his Evil Plan.
- From Russia with Love takes it a few steps further by devoting the entire first third of the book to SMERSH's machinations.
- Each book in The Thrawn Trilogy starts off with a scene on an Imperial Star Destroyer, in a Continuity Nod to the original trilogy's openings with shots of a Star Destroyer. Its primary fuction is to establish Thrawn's tactical genius.
- The Dead Zone begins with the then-unknown Greg Stillson as a salesman at some godforsaken town. He comes across a dog that takes a dislike to him, checks to make sure no-one else is around, and kicks the dog to death.
- The prologue of the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire introduces the Others, the most obvious villains of the series, killing some Red Shirts.
- The prologue of the sixth Warrior Cats book, The Darkest Hour, focuses on Big Bad Tigerstar enlisting the help of a cat called Scourge. Later books, such as Sunset and Fading Echoes, show the cats of the Dark Forest planning their revenge on the living Clan cats.
- The "Project Starscream" arc of Galaxy of Fear has each book start with a scene of the Big Bad being mysterious. Other books have similar happen with other villains.
- Simona Ahrnstedt followed this trope in her first two novels. In "Överenskommelser", the prologue is from Edvard's POV. In "Betvingade", the prologue is from Roland's POV.
- The very first scene of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured not Buffy, but Darla. It looks like the guy with her is a creepy predator, but then she eats him. Driving home the whole "helpless blondes in this show aren't actually helpless" thing.
- The third season of Boardwalk Empire opens with Big Bad Gyp Rosetti beating a mechanic to death with a tire iron for implying that Rosetti was ignorant of automotive terminology.
- Any number of detective shows following the Reverse Whodunnit formula, e.g. Columbo.
- Stargate SG-1's first episodes features Red Shirt soldiers getting attacked by Jaffas. Apophis' face is seen before Teal'c (and Teal'c is the first main character we get to see).
- Battlestar Galactica opens with Number Six molesting the Armistice Officer and a Cylon Basestar destroying Armistice Station.
- Of course, the hundreds of episodes of shows with a Monster of the Week (e.g. The X-Files, Supernatural, Angel), where the entire The Teaser involves said monster killing or attacking someone, and we don't see any main characters until after the opening credits.
- Many episodes of Ultraman Tiga have a Villain Opening Scene featuring the current Monster of the Week.
- Power Rangers began with Rita Repulsa and her goons being accidentally released by two astronauts investigating the planetoid her space dumpster was hidden on. She hammily declared her intent to attack the first planet she saw, which happens to be Earth.
- Both story arcs of Dark Season have one of these as the Cold Opening of the first episode.
- NCIS generally opens with the crime they'll be investigating, villain generally included but not identified.
- The first scene of Das Rheingold begins in comedic fashion with the Rhinemaidens playing around and teasing Alberich, but ends with Alberich renouncing love so he can steal the Rhinegold to forge it into the Ring and become the Big Bad.
- The prologue of the oratorio The Golden Legend shows Lucifer making unsuccessful attempts to destroy Strasburg Cathedral.
- Ninja Gaiden II for the Nintendo Entertainment System starts with Ashtar, mastermind of the events of the first game and primary antagonist through most of the second game relaying orders to a subordinate.
- "Shounen Kininden Tsumuji" begins with the the villain gaining his demonic powers from a meteorite.
- Skies of Arcadia in a homage to Star Wars has a Valuan battleship chasing down the game's Mysterious Waif. The game's first bit of dialogue goes to the admiral piloting said battleship.
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc opens with a scene of Andre creating an army of Black Lums.
- Metroid Prime 3 opens with Dark Samus resurrecting.
- The first Tomb Raider opens with Natla's crash in the desert.
- Mortal Kombat Deadly Alliance opens with the title villains teaming up, and then killing the series' Big Bad and Chosen One. Deception opens with those two villains (and Raiden) apparently getting killed by an Eviler than Thou Villain.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- While the heroes' and villains' viewpoints are separated into their own stories, the earliest chronological scene in Sonic Adventure 2 is the start of the Dark story, with Eggman breaking into the GUN base and freeing Shadow.
- Dr. Robotnik has one in the spinoff Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, in which he explains his latest plan to Scratch and Grounder.
- Donkey Kong 64 begins with Donkey Kong's nemesis King K. Rool plotting the destruction of DK Island.
- Destroy All Humans! 2 opens with the KGB talking about Crypto and Pox, and then they blow up the mothership and kill Pox.
- Mass Effect 2 is the perfect example. To introduce the new main villains of the game, the game beging with them appearing from nowhere and shoting your trusty ship from the first game into a burning wreck with the first salvo. You just have enough time to watch your crew abandoning the ship and look out the giant hole in the hull that used to be the command center before they come round for the second attack that completely destroys your ship which disintegrates around you. Floating in the cloud of debris, your space suits starts to leak and you start your trip down to the planet several hundred kilometers below you. You get better, but after that oppoening, you just want to see those bastards dead, without even knowing their name or what they look like.
- Dr. Wily has one in Mega Man Powered Up where he appears on a TV Screen and announces his plans to the world.
- Pokey in Mother 3. If you played EarthBound/Mother 2 however, you likely knew he would appear here.
- In the Updated version of Panel de Pon in the Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Thantos's army is shown mind controlling everyone with a special song. He does this in the first as well, but he is revealed to be an illusion created by Cordelia.
- Onimusha 2 begins with Nobunaga razing Jubei Yagyu's home village.
- Baldur's Gate I's intro begins with a sinister armoured figure choking and killing a defenceless man on a rooftop for unknown reasons. The same man then shows up at the end of the prologue, looking for you and killing your foster father and mentor in the process. You then don't see any of him for the next six chapters.
- Deus Ex's famous intro involves the Big Bad and The Dragon basically discussing the entire plot in a roundabout fashion and outlining the way they're pretty much running the world without actually giving away any direct spoilers about who they are or what they are planning.
- Fur Fighters opens with General Viggo giving a monologue about the group as the camera pans over their village. He then attacks the village and steals their children and spouses.
- Dragon Quest II opens by depicting Hargon's assault on Moonbrooke Castle.
- The opening of Pokémon Black and White shows Ghetsis crowning the King of Team Plasma.
- In the opening cutscene for X's portion of Mega Man X4, a cloaked Sigma is having a discussion with the General about the Maverick Hunters, trying to convince him to fight against and destroy them.
- Castlevania: Rondo of Blood begins with a Corrupt Church headed by Shaft resurrecting Dracula.
- Iris gets one in Rosenkreuz Stilette's alternate mode, Rosenkreuzstilette Grollschwert, where she kills an unidentified priest For the Evulz and has finished making her plans to have RKS fight against the Empire, also For the Evulz, just before being caught by Grolla. Not only does she attack Grolla with powerful magic, she even pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on her by pretending she's threatened and crying out for Sichte's help! Realizing that lowering her guard on Sichte's orders could end up making her forfeit her life, she instead retreats to gather her thoughts and reassess the situation.
- Kirby Super Star Ultra
- "Revenge of the King" opens with King Dedede within his castle atop Mt. Dedede, protected from the inside by Spear Waddle Dees and guarded from the outside by Kabula.
- Also, "Revenge of Meta Knight" in both said game as well as the original Kirby Super Star opens with Meta Knight and his crew preparing to launch the Halberd, as Kirby speeds his way toward it on his Warpstar.
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards gets one as well; it begins with a cloud of Dark Matter attacking and taking over Ripple Star while Ribbon tries to get the fairies' crystal to safety and away from the Dark Matter... only for the Dark Matter scouts Dark Rimuru, Dark Rimura and Dark Rimuro to smash the crystal into dozens of pieces.
- Tales of Monkey Island starts out with LeChuck and his captive Elaine near the Rock of Gelato at the very beginning of Chapter 1, all on a dark and stormy night.
- Brain Dead 13's intro starts at Dr. Neurosis' castle, where bats fly and Fritz is summoned by Neurosis to get Lance to fix his computer and then dispose of him so that the villain can succeed in Taking Over the World.
- The first episode of Freakazoid! begins with a news report on Cave Guy, a minor supervillain, wreaking havoc and confounding the police. The narrator then directs our attention to the one hero with a chance at stopping him, adds that he's owned by another network, and settles for a nerdy teenager named Dexter. Or is he...?
- Aku from Samurai Jack. He even narrates the opening credits every week.
- The four villains at the start of The Powerpuff Girls episode "Meet the Beat-Alls" each plot to destroy the girls before deciding to band together.
- A couple of Danny Phantom episodes open with Big Bad Vlad. The most devious one might be "Kindred Spirits" where the opening unfolds his plans to make a perfect clone.
- In the opening of the first episode of Time Squad, we meet the evil nun Sister Thornley, who goes looking for one of the main characters, Otto Osworth, and finds him hiding in the closet reading. Promptly punishing him for this act, he is sent on a never ending chore run until finally being allowed go to bed, getting the chance to meet surprise guests by the names of Buck Tuddrussel and Larry 3000. Setting off the series.
- Nearly every episode of Challenge of the Super Friends opened with a meeting of the Legion of Doom.