In a story where the plucky heroes are fighting against the The Empire, or some other oppressive government, one of the main villains will hold the title of Governor, or whatever the story's universe calls such a rank. The governor is usually a Lawful Evil type, although more sympathetic views can put them into a Lawful Neutral type.
Sometimes though, the governor could live in a state that has a republican/democratic form of government, but they have ambitions that will put them at odds to the promised freedoms to the populace. Usually stopping their devious plans is the driving force of the plot.
They aren't usually the most powerful rank in all the land, as that is held usually by someone else. Depending on the story, the governor may faithfully serve those above them, or on the other end of the scale, have ambitions to replace those above them. Or in some stories, those above the governor may be of no consequence besides being mentioned, as the action of the story deals simply with the area of the governor's control.
Overlaps with Corrupt Politician, and an antagonistic governor can take a step above to become an President Evil, The Emperor, or Evil Overlord. Compare with Mayor Pain, which is this trope, but applied to a mayor.
- Berserk: Lord Gennon is the powerful and corrupt Governor-General of the Tudor Empire's northern battlefront, who occupies the castle of Doldrey which the protagonists of the Band of the Hawk must capture, and with whom Griffith has a personal score to settle (by personal score one means making sure that he won't vocally reminisce about the fun times they had together).
- Drifters: Lord Aram is the local Feudal Overlord from the Orte Empire and the Starter Villain for the titular heroes to fight. He is introduced putting an entire village of Enslaved Elves to the torch for helping the Drifters.
- Asterix in Corsica has a Roman governor who's only there to grab as much as he can during his stay and escape with the loot. The poor folk must starve from the taxes in order for him to get into Caesar's good graces.
- The Governor of Woodbury, Phillip or rather Brian Blake, in The Walking Dead, a psychopathic dictator and Consummate Liar who serves as the Arc Villain for issues 27 through 48.
- Conquest of the Planet of the Apes: Governor Breck, the main antagonist of the film. By the then future year of 1991 (the film was released in 1972), the United States is a police state, and it's shown that the Governor's word is law in this new America.
- Blazing Saddles: Gov. William J. Le Petomane isn't exactly antagonistic, but he is incompetent and an easy mark for State Attorney General Hedley Lamarr, who acts as his Evil Chancellor. Le Petomane's assigning of a black man as sheriff (under Hedley's suggestion, as part of his plan to clear the residents of Rock Ridge) is what sets the plot in motion.
- The Passion of the Christ: Pontius Pilate. Unlike other portrayals of him, which show him to be a brutal dictator, he is only interested in maintaining the peace in Judea, even if that means sentencing an innocent man to death. This article discusses it in a detailed fashion.
- Star Wars: The Moffs of the Empire. In many works a local Moff is usually a source of trouble for the Rebels. The most notable one would be Tarkin, who was one of the main villains in A New Hope and ordered the destruction of Alderaan.
- Cutthroat Island: Governor Ainslee. He is a Smug Snake, and is a major player in the story in order to gain wealth and glory.
- Soylent Green: Governor Santini. A minor character. He is revealed to be in cahoots with the murder victim of the story, as they were once law partners. Santini orders the investigation closed, since further study would revealed the secret of Soylent Green.
- Zorro: The Governor of California. A rich and powerful tyrant that Zorro squares off with time and time again.
- Ciaphas Cain
- In For The Emperor, Governor Grice causes a lot of problems for Cain and the other Imperials because he's a genestealer hybrid.
- Averted in other Cain novels, where the governors are competent but hopelessly outmatched or a George W. Bush expy, none of them are actually ill-intentioned towards Cain (except for one after he ended up brainwashed by the villain). In one case, one even saves Cain from being married to a particularly pushy Girl of the Week).
- Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: The governor of Nevada is a jerk at first and prevents Hoover Dam from opening its spillways, increasing the danger from the incoming flood.
- In Victoria, protagonist John Rumford and his ex-military vigilantes face off against the Governor of Maine, who is blackmailed into supporting the gay rights agenda, ultimately kidnapping him for multiple years.
- After Tommy Carcetti (a Democrat) becomes Mayor of Baltimore in The Wire, he finds out just how deep the problems with Baltimore's finances are and needs help from the state to save the city from a huge budget hole. Unfortunately the governor (a Republican) views Carcetti solely as a potential political rival and sets up an endless and petty series of humiliations for Carcetti before offering his "help" in the form of a Leonine Contract. Carcetti angrily refuses, which not only does immense damage to the city's schools and police force in the final season, but marks the point where Carcetti starts transforming from an ambitious and narcissistic but basically well meaning guy into a Corrupt Politician who forgets all his principles for the sake of his ambition.
- During the final seasons of Law & Order, Governor Donald Shalvoy initially presented himself as a tough-minded reformer and ally of Jack McCoy. That was until McCoy refused to cover up evidence that Shalvoy had used an escort service (mirroring the scandal which brought down Elliot Spitzer), after which Shalvoy attempted a series of dirty tricks to remove McCoy from office.
- The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Legion of Death". An ambitious and dictatorial territorial governor has created a secret army in a plot to become President of the U.S.
- Sliders has a few examples.
- The early episode "Prince of Wails" has the sliders arrive in a world where Britain won the American Revolutionary War and America is still a colony, now having expanded to what would be all the western States as well. Professor Arturo's double in this world is the sinister Sheriff of San Francisco, who rules not only the city but apparently all the "western colonies" as well. He's oppressive towards the colonists, but he goes even further when he plots to have the heirless Crown Prince killed so he can take over as the new King, the previous King having died on the battlefields of France.
- A season 2 episode has a variation. The sliders arrive in a world where The Mafia has become too powerful. The sliders discover that an election candidate for California governor, who ironically was running on an anti-mafia platform, is really on their payroll and that they plan to have California and Nevada secede from the United States to form their own mob-controlled country, as the federal government is beginning to fight back against them.
- The season 4 episode "California Reich" has the heroes visit a world where Adolf Hitler apparently never came to power, and so the world here has not seen the evils of Nazism. This allows a Hitler-like man to seize control of the state of California, becoming its Governor. He's already planning a run for President when the sliders arrive.
- Subverted in another season 4 episode where the sliders come to a world where an economically weakened America has been invaded by Mexico, with mixed results. The Mexicans have been pushed out of Texas but occupy parts of southern California. To make matters even more complicated, UN troops are instate as well because the Governor of California in this world won't allow weapons inspectors in. He has local guerrilla fighters named after him, "B-1 Bobbies", and fights both the Mexican and UN forces. Since he doesn't actually appear, and the sliders are really just observers here, he doesn't really antagonize them. We also don't really hear his side of the story, his State is being invaded after all.
- Governor James Devlin of Oz. On a show wall-to-wall with scumbags (it's set in a prison, after all), one of the worst is the guy on the outside campaigning on a "law and order" platform.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Kodos the Executioner, who was governor of a human colony that was facing starvation because of an exotic fungus. He executed 4,000 citizens in order to see to it that the other 2,000 wouldn't starve. He later disappeared, presumed dead, but in reality, had changed his name and was living life as an actor.
- The Walking Dead: The Governor himself, the leader of Woodsbury. He is one of the most dangerous villains the group ever faces.
- Hawaii Five-0
- Governor Jameson at first seems to be the team's most significant ally, empowering them with their infamous "full immunity and means," but it turns out to be part of a classic attempt to keep one's enemies close.
- Governor Denning, the next holder of the title, is closer to Lawful Neutral in that his need to play politics and present a certain image to the public occasionally leads him to hinder McGarrett's task force, but as long as 5-0 keep getting the job done, he'll smooth over their more egregious abuses of their so-called "full immunity and means."
- Designated Survivor:
- Governor Royce of Michigan takes full advantage of the near-total destruction of the federal government to start legally acting on his personal anti-Muslim prejudice. He has the State Police round up Michigan's Muslim population on no charges other than "suspected terrorist connections". While President Kirkman is able to bluff him into ceasing for a while, he eventually goes right back, all but seceding in name from the Union, even convincing the National Guard to ignore an order to federalize and side with him instead. Kirkman eventually tricks him into meeting with him for negotiations, only to arrest him on the spot for treason.
- Governors Nichols of Arizona and Rivera of Florida lead a majority of the other governors in refusing to help assemble a new Congress unless Kirkman puts a halt to all immigration. They at least claim it's a temporary measure to try and bring calm and stability back to the country, but how honest they are about their motives is debatable.
- Frontier: Lord Benton assumes command of Fort James and the local fur trade after hanging the previous Governor on trumped-up charges. His sole interest is acquiring more wealth and power, and tries to engineer a war between his French Canadian rivals and the Lakewalker tribe in order to attain it. He also rules the town pretty tyrannically, even having a British contingent sent to depose him for his corruption sequestered and slowly starved to death.
- Lynyrd Skynyrd, defending the American Deep South against criticism from a Damned Yankee called Neil Young, agree in the ballad Sweet Home Alabama that not everything is idyllic in the South. But being Southerners, they argue N-Word Privileges apply and they have a right to criticise, where Neil Young doesn't. They were dismissive of old-time segrationalist state governor George Wallace and agreed he perhaps was not the right man to rule a Southern state in a Civil Rights era.
''In Birmingham they love the Governor (Boo, boo, boo!).
But we all did what we could do;
- According to the Gospels, Pontius Pilate was the prefect (lower ranking governor) of Judea who presided at Jesus's trial. He found Jesus to be innocent of the charges but then he bowed in to political pressure and after symbolically washing his hands, he had Jesus crucified anyway. Jewish writings from the time period accuse Pilate of being corrupt, inflexible, vindictive and possessing a furious temper. He was unpopular among the Jews for his constant mishandling of religious matters including a massacre he ordered.
- Warhammer 40,000
- Planetary governors come in all sorts. Some actually take their jobs seriously, some are the product of centuries of inbreeding, some turn to Chaos out of boredom or ambition...
- The governor in the Fire and Blood comic is actively working with the Tau against the Imperial Guard sent to protect his planet.
- In Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, the Imperial Guard faction's general is named military governor of the planet, playing the trope straight if you're not playing as them.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has an example in the final boss, a crazy US Senator.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag: Governor Laureano de Torres y Ayala and Governor Woodes Rogers. While the former isn't an outright villain, he is the Grand Master of the Templars, and believes only the exceptional should advance in the world. The latter isn't outright evil as well, but is still a Templar.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution: A very minor example. Governor Phillip Mead of Florida. While he is never encountered in any of the games, he is in cahoots with the Illuminati and later, Majestic 12. He is the president by the time the original game rolls around.
- Moff Kohl Seerdon is the main villain in Star Wars series Rogue Squadron.
- Brigardier-General Mudi Nemda in Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel is the appointed military governor of Heissgart and also a corrupt Smug Snake that turned the police into his own private army, went rogue and aims to establish his own kingdom.
- Ansem Retort
- Zexion was elected governor of Pennsylvania. So far, he's stolen tax dollars to finance his best friend's wedding (just to prove he can) and invaded New Jersey. (Granted, he's only a lesser office, not President. Yet.)
- In a more recent season, he sold New Mexico back to Mexico for the right of all US citizens to have sexy Latino names. His is Guillermo del Zexiero lo Marquis.
- In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Mandalorian governor Pre Viszla initially appears to be a Reasonable Authority Figure that is loyal to Duchess Satine, but it turns out that he's the leader of the Death Watch, a faction trying to depose her and return Mandalore to its Proud Warrior Race Guy status from years ago. He even takes his helmet off to defy her, before trying to kill her himself.
- Star Wars Rebels has the Imperial Governor Pryce of Lothal, who sold out her home planet to the Empire to advance her position and acts as a main antagonist for the Rebel heroes in Season 3, before her incompetence leads to Grand Admiral Thrawn calling the shots.