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Villain's Final Moments

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Scene of the villain awaiting his inevitable defeat.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
AGuy on Oct 1st 2017 at 8:11:34 PM
Last Edited By:
AGuy on Jan 18th 2018 at 10:08:13 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

The heroes have finally done it. All around, there are scenes of the villain's forces getting defeated, his men surrendering or dying, his infrastructure being destroyed. The villain, with few other options, is waiting in his bunker, or his fortress, hearing the sounds of fighting coming closer and closer to him. Or the villain could be hiding somewhere remote, finally found, as he hears people who are after him pounding on the door.

In this situation, there are several things he may be doing:

  1. He may be furious at his subordinates.
  2. He may be contemplating suicide.
  3. He may be wondering about where he went wrong.
  4. He may have one final ace up his sleeve, for his last stand.
  5. Or he may just be waiting for the inevitable.

May involve Last Villain Stand, but doesn't have to. Darkest Hour can be seen as a heroic equivalent.

Obviously bound to have spoilers.

Examples

Film

  • This is the main focus of the film Downfall - the final days of Hitler and his associates in World War II.

Video Games

  • In the True Ending of Asura's Wrath, the badly-beaten Chakravartin can only mumble about how this can't be happening because they are the only god. The only reason they haven't been killed at this point is because Mithra is begging Asura not to kill them because that will make all Mantra disappear, killing Asura as well.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Dawn has the end of the GDI campaign - Kane's forces are being smashed to bits, Kane's temple is taking heavy damage, and Kane basks in the light of the Ion Cannon as it destroys the temple.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has the ending of the allied campaign - Romanov's forces are getting destroyed on several fronts, from both Allied, ground forces and aircraft, Prism Tanks destroy his nuclear missile silo, and finally, commandos raid the Kremlin, capturing him.
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm has the ending of the campaign - the scene shows the outside of Arcturus Mengsk's palace, with the sounds of fighting and flashes of gunfire present, before Kerrigan and Raynor's confrontation with him.

Feedback: 33 replies

Oct 1st 2017 at 8:51:34 PM

It can happen during the Final Battle, but this specifically involves the villain to be in a situation in which his end is coming and he realizes that there isn't much that can be done about it. The Final Battle, more often than not, has the villain anticipating his victory, up until a minute or so before he is killed/sealed away/otherwise defeated.

Oct 2nd 2017 at 4:05:13 AM

Oh I see. Well another overlapping trope could be Villains Dying Grace where the villain does something good in their final moments.

Oct 2nd 2017 at 4:11:00 AM

Oct 2nd 2017 at 1:01:25 PM

Often overlaps with Villainous Breakdown. One other possible ending: In the rarest of cases, the villain may prove a Graceful Loser and calmly admit defeat.

  • This occurs in the finale of The Shawshank Redemption, after Andy escapes the prison and sends evidence of the warden's crimes to the authorities and press. The warden discovers this the next morning via the newspaper headline, he hears a commotion outside his office as police attempt to force their way in. He bars the door and seizes his pistol, then contemplates his next move before deciding to end his own life rather than risk be captured alive.

Oct 3rd 2017 at 11:47:21 AM

At the end of Skyward Sword, a defeated Demise tells Link that his hatred will live on to torment Hyrule, explaining why there's always a Ganondorf running around looking to conquer it.

Oct 3rd 2017 at 2:02:53 PM

^ That's a dying moment, not quite the same thing.

Oct 5th 2017 at 1:38:55 AM

  • In the cinematic version of The Lord Of The Rings, the last we see of Saruman is him standing on a balcony of Orthanc in terror, watching as the Ents destroy all of his armies and possessions. The Extended Edition adds a death scene for him to the beginning of the next movie.

Oct 5th 2017 at 6:40:38 AM

In the True Ending of Asura's Wrath, the badly-beaten Chakravartin can only mumble about how this can't be happening because he is the only god. The only reason he hasn't been killed at this point is because Mithra is begging Asura not to kill him because that will make all Mantra disappear, killing Asura as well.

Dec 9th 2017 at 3:26:36 PM

waiting on the draft to improve.

Dec 9th 2017 at 3:33:10 PM

What exactly would you say is wrong with the draft? Just saying "waiting for the draft to improve" doesn't help anyone.

Dec 10th 2017 at 1:46:47 PM

Yeah, this has a pretty solid title, description, and over 3 examples. I gave it a hat.

But if I were you, I'd change the line mentioning Darkest Hour to something like "Darkest Hour can be seen as a heroic equivalent." I know first person writing is discouraged on main pages, and you'll want something that sounds more certain.

Dec 10th 2017 at 4:05:48 PM

Thanks, put that in. The draft was worded like that because I still had it in discussion mode.

Jan 12th 2018 at 10:02:55 PM

Doesn't this happen to most works where the bad guys almost always lose and all?

Jan 13th 2018 at 6:43:41 AM

Are you saying that this is People Sit On Chairs? I don't agree. Besides, if you have examples, I would greatly appreciate them.

Jan 13th 2018 at 7:13:40 AM

^ More like this is an Omnipresent Trope that needs no examples. (Or at least averted ones only.)

Jan 13th 2018 at 11:16:22 AM

I disagree - the key element of this trope is the villain waiting, knowing his defeat is inevitable. In many works, the villain is defeated in a sudden reversal near the moment of his victory.

Jan 13th 2018 at 11:58:40 AM

"villain waiting, knowing his defeat is inevitable."

Ah, then I think the title threw me off. You know what to do then...?

Jan 13th 2018 at 3:06:17 PM

I'm not quite sure what you mean.

Jan 13th 2018 at 3:48:06 PM

Jan 13th 2018 at 6:23:06 PM

^^ "Villain's final moments" doesn't specify that it's a specific moment about what a villain does when he's facing an imminent defeat. "Final moments" might be confused with ALL kinds of final moments, including where the villain has a Near Villain Victory and then got sucker-punched.

I hope I'm being clear enough.

Jan 13th 2018 at 7:05:31 PM

I disagree. That's like saying that any example of a character's clothing not remaining pristine during combat is Clothing Damage, when the trope refers to a specific kind of clothing damage.

Jan 13th 2018 at 8:40:25 PM

^ Would you rather follow a bad precedent then? The current name fails the "clear" part of Clear Concise Witty in that it's too broad and vague for reasons already stated.

Jan 13th 2018 at 10:26:41 PM

I feel that any other name either wouldn't be descriptive enough or would be too bulky. The name isn't any more vague than many other trope names (e.g. Nintendo Hard - what if I consistently find Nintendo games easy? Or Big Damn Heroes - is it about big heroes? No. Or Enemy To All Living Things - it's something completely different from Omnicidal Maniac, and yet either name can imply the other.) I think that a complaint about the name on those grounds is just unnecessary nitpicking.

Jan 13th 2018 at 11:44:24 PM

^ Well, renames because of confusion are a thing and had caused lots of problems in Trope Repair Shop. The trope names you cite are all old tropes, given leeway because of Grandfather Clause. Nowadays naming tropes have become a more rigorous business.

How about "Villain's Moment of Imminent Defeat"?

BTW Villains Dying Grace is another related trope.

Jan 14th 2018 at 3:36:42 PM

That name seems like quite a mouthful. If we are to replace the name, I feel that it should be something that is equally elegant.

Jan 18th 2018 at 1:59:43 PM

Throwing in a bomb. The name is terribly unclear and does certainly sound like People Sit On Chairs... yes, villains have final moments. They also have first moments. And second moments.

And the description and examples are so over the place that it also seems to cover, well, anything the villain does in his final moments. Including, if the fourth bullet point is believed, having more moments.

Jan 18th 2018 at 5:41:26 PM

There's quite a vast difference between something like Tartarus' death in Halo 2 (struck down in his moment of victory) and Romanov's defeat in Command And Conquer Red Alert 2 (defeated quite a bit of time after the turning point of the war, in a battle on his doorstep, nowhere near victory at this point.) I feel that you are missing the point.

I also don't get your point about "having more moments." Just waiting there to get captured/executed is different from the other options. I feel you are being patronizing for no reason.

If another name would be preferable, it should be something which isn't unreasonably "bulky". As mentioned before, many tropes have similar names which, if one really wanted to be pedantic, could be declared to be capable of being confused with something else.

Jan 18th 2018 at 6:21:47 PM

I'd still up "Villain's Moment of Imminent Defeat"

Jan 18th 2018 at 10:08:13 PM

I know the Tom Clancy book came first, but the 2002 film version is the one I saw, with a sweet villain "exit." If this is in the Clancy book, then convert Film to Literature, 'kay?

Film

  • When the Evil Plan of The Sum Of All Fears unravels, The Chessmaster Nazi knows that his underlings are certain to rat him out, and that foreign agents will hunt him down and "subtract" him for his misdeeds. He sends his driver to warm up his car, expecting it to explode; it doesn't. Getting in, he prepares to travel to a remote safehouse, and procures a cigarette. It's when the electric lighter pops up that the explosive detonates. Right method, wrong trigger.

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