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Big Bad Duumvirate

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Poison Ivy: My mutant plants have the strength of the deadliest animals. Once you have frozen mankind, these babies will overrun the globe. And we shall rule them, for we will be the only two people left in the world.
Mr. Freeze: Yes. Adam... and Evil.

What's worse than one Big Bad? Two Big Bads, possibly more, working in intentional collusion with each other. Sometimes, they will work together just fine, being all respectful and well-mannered, but more often than not, there will be rivalries between them, and they will tend to break out into a literal example of an Enemy Civil War.

A good rule of thumb for the health of the alliance is how well their Evil Plans mesh. If both of them want revenge on The Hero, then they will likely work well together. If both of them want to Take Over the World, then one of them may eventually say I Can Rule Alone. If one wants to rule the world and the other wants to destroy it, conflict between the two is inevitable. If their goals are entirely separate, then Screw This, I'm Outta Here is likely once one of them succeeds.

Not to be confused with The Dragon (a main villain clearly subordinate to the Big Bad), though if one of them becomes dominant he may reduce the other(s) to the position of Dragon with an Agenda, Dragon-in-Chief and/or The Starscream. May overlap with Unholy Matrimony. Contrast Big Bad Ensemble, where there are also two or more Big Bads operating simultaneously, but not necessarily working together or even interacting in any way, and Contrast Co-Dragons, where one Big Bad is directly served by two or more equally ranked Dragons. See also Villain Team-Up. See Evil Duo for cases where the villains fit two of the three roles (usually "superego" and "id") of a Freudian Trio. Can be a Sympathetic Villain, Despicable Villain duo. One of the big bads may be more sympathetic than the other, and may be capable of redemption, while the despicable party will try to keep them in line.


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Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill!: This is one way of looking at the relationship between Prime Minister Honest and General Esdeath. While Honest controls The Empire's political sphere through how he manipulates the boy emperor, his rule would not be possible without the cooperation of Esdeath, the Empire's best general and a One-Woman Army responsible for keeping Honest's regime in power even though the Empire is in a state of almost constant internal rebellion and war with its neighbors. Both are ultimately responsible for the corrupt and brutal state of the Empire, with Honest simply looking to feed his own hedonism and Esdeath seeking to create her ideal world where the weak are killed and the strong rule.
  • Dragon Ball Super:
    • The villain of the Future Trunks arc, Goku Black, is eventually revealed to be working alongside Future Zamasu to carry out the Zero-Mortals plan. It gets confusing, however, with The Reveal that Black and Future Zamasu are simply alternate versions of Zamasu.
    • In Dragon Ball Super: Broly, the main villains are Frieza and Paragus, with Broly serving as The Heavy. Frieza is far more powerful and personally dangerous than Paragus, but Paragus' grudge against Vegeta drives the movie's events while Frieza simply takes advantage.
  • Dark Bakura and Marik Ishtar are this in the Battle City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, teaming up so that they can kill Yugi, and Marik will give Dark Bakura his Millennium Rod. However, Dark Marik disposes of them both after he takes over as Big Bad for the rest of the arc.
    • In the manga, Dark Bakura and Akhenaden are this in the final arc. Though Dark Bakura is The Heavy and the one who set up the RPG, Akhenaden is also playing the RPG and corrupts his own figure in the game.
    • Placido, Jose, and Luciano in 5D's, although technically, they are three embodiments of the same person, Aporia.
  • Kotomine Kirei and Gilgamesh in Fate/stay night. Kotomine makes the plans, Gilgamesh calls people mongrels and swordspams them to death. Or doesn't. He helps if he feels like it, anyway.
  • Sailor Moon: Several incarnations of the true Big Bad, Chaos, is the true main villain for the Story Arc, while the person we believe is Big Bad is The Dragon. However, a few Big Bads have been equals, namely Queen Beryl and Queen Metallia of the first story arc.
  • V. V. and Charles of Code Geass until the latter kills the former for lying to him too many times.
  • Towards the end of Zeta Gundam, Paptimus Scirocco and Haman Kahn join forces. They trash Char doing it, too.
  • In Naruto, Tobi forms an alliance with Kabuto Yakushi.
    • And now, with Kabuto's defeat, Madara joins Obito on the battlefield against the Shinobi Alliance. Obito and Madara are, however, on equal standing as both have their own reasons for joining forces, and Obito isn't exactly acting like how a Dragon should.
  • Sword Art Online: "Death Gun" is revealed to be not one player with a supernatural ability to kill real-world players from the game, but three criminals working together to provide the illusion of such. Two of the people behind "Death Gun" are SAO survivors and former members of the player killing guild "Laughing Coffin", and the third is the younger brother of one of the conspirators. Said brothers' father works in a hospital, providing them ample access to the drugs used to commit the actual murders. All three worked together to find the addresses of their victims, with one breaking in to inject the lethal chemicals just when another in-game shoots the victim's avatar.
  • Bleach: Fade to Black: Homura and Shizuku are two siblings that Rukia adopted before becoming a Shinigami. The calm, rational and emotionally stable Shizuku is action-oriented and wields the memory-erasing Sinister Scythe while the paranoid, obsessive and temperamental Homura acts as support with her Mass Teleportation. Homura is the dominant sibling; even when Shizuku disagrees with Homura, he remains loyal and obedient.
  • In One Piece, two or more pirate crews form alliances between each other them for various purposes to achieving goals and ambitions while captains share equal partnership. There are two major villainous examples in the series:
    • The Fishman Island Arc has Vander Decken IX, captain of the Flying Pirates, teaming up with Hody Jones, captain of the New Fishman Pirates, to overthrow King Neptune. Jones wants control of the Island, Decken wants Princess Shirahoshi. Both men's insanity leads both to try and kill each other in the end. It's a subversion though in that the two were no honest threat to the protagonists apart or together. It's only when things went south in their partnership and Decken went nuts and tried to destroy Fishman Island via a Colony Drop did they become anything remotely resembling a threat.
    • Near the end of act 2 of the Wano Country Arc, the very powerful Animal Kingdom Pirates and Big Mom Pirates join forces for world domination after a clash between their captains and two of the Four Emperors, Kaido and Big Mom respectively, on Onigashima.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • In the end of the Meta Liberation Army Arc, aka My Villain Academia Arc, Tomura Shigaraki, leader of the League of Villains, defeats Re-Destro, the Grand Commander of the Meta Liberation Army, one-on-one, and the latter surrenders to the League of Villains. Re-Destro abdicates in favor of Shigaraki being the new Grand Commander. The merger between the League and the Meta Liberation Army is named the Paranormal Liberation Front, which seeks to declare war against the heroes.
    • Shigaraki was groomed from a very young age to take All For One's place as The Symbol of Evil, and after All For One was sent to prison, Shigaraki began to slowly but surely mature into a proper big bad. When Shigaraki finally became worthy of the mantle of "The Symbol of Evil", he underwent surgery to have All For One's Quirk implanted into his body. However, it turns out that a fragment of a person's consciousness is contained within their quirk. So, All For One pulls a Grand Theft Me on Shigaraki and resumes control of his criminal empire. However, because the surgery was interrupted, he doesn't have perfect control of Shigaraki, and to say Shigaraki is livid that his adopted father would stab him in the back like this is an understatement. When Shigaraki calls him out on it, All For One insists that he's not hijacking Shigaraki's mind and instead Shigaraki will become "the next All For One". What exactly that means remains to be seen, but regardless Shigaraki retains enough autonomy for the time being that this trope can be invoked.
  • Eyeshield 21's last arc has a de facto Big Bad Duumvirate on the American Pentagram. Elitist goliath Mr. Don is the team captain and the undisputed leader of the team, yet despite his Genius Bruiser status, he spends most of his time serving as the centre, which leaves his ability to lead the team somewhat handicapped. As such Evil Genius Clifford D. Louis makes and executes most of the plans; he's also the only player who isn't frightened of Mr. Don and whom the latter doesn't try to order around, making them an example of this trope.
  • In GaoGaiGar FINAL Palparepa is officially considered the leader of Eleven Masters of Sol and Palus Abel is considered to be his Dragon, but in reality they have divided the Big Bad duties between each other and she clearly acts like Palparepa's equal.
  • The Table of Contents and Noah in Soul Eater because the Index was the true mastermind behind Noah.
  • In After War Gundam X, the Frost Brothers consider themselves to be one of these, though in practise, Shagia is the Big Bad with Olba acting as The Dragon.
  • In El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, Queen Diva accepts Jinnai as The Chosen One and leader of the Bugrom Empire's military, and they are effectively co-rulers from that point on, though Jinnai is by far the more active of the two.
  • K: Return Of Kings has the Fifth and Green King, Hisui Nagare, and the Sixth and Grey King, believed to be dead, who had actually reinvented himself as the priest Iwafune, who until The Reveal in episode 6, seemed to be Nagare's dragon.
  • The Queen of Darkness and Dagger Morse in Show by Rock!!'s second season.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, it turns out that Bernkastel and Lambdadelta are somewhere between this and a Big Bad Ensemble; they are the true masterminds behind Beatrice's game, and "competing" with each other to keep their game going forever so they may be eternally entertained together.
    • From a mundane perspective: in EP7’s Tea Party, it’s revealed that Rudolf and Kyrie are the true culprits behind the Rokkenjima massacre.
  • Robotech has the Invid Regent and the Invid Regis. The Regent is also in a Big Bad Duumvirate with T.R. Edwards, a general in the United Earth Forces who seeks to displace Rick Hunter as leader of the Expeditionary Forces. This latter part is only serialized in "The Sentinels" books, while the Regent appears for a short time in the Sentinels animated special (terminated due to the rising cost of the yen vs. the dollar, and never restarted).
  • The final arc of the 2018 adaptation of GeGeGe no Kitarō has Nurarihyon and Backbeard forming the Great Yokai Alliance after the latter is resurrected by the former.
  • After the six month time skip in Black Clover, the new villains are the Dark Triad- Dante, Vanica, and Zenon Zogratis- the rulers of the Spade Kingdom and hosts of powerful devils, and their ally Morris Libardirt, the true ruler of the Diamond Kingdom. They lead their forces against the Clover Kingdom and Heart Kingdom to achieve their goal of bringing devils into the living world. Until their defeat, when they turn out to be pawns of the real Big Bad of the series, their oldest sibling Lucius Zogratis.

    Comic Books 
  • Carmine Falcone and Commissioner Loeb in Batman: Year One.
  • Berrybrook Middle School: For the first two books, Foster and Yanic are direct antagonists, working together as bullies, especially in the second story.
  • Alexander Luthor and Superboy-Prime in Infinite Crisis. Superboy-Prime starts out as The Dragon, but gets a power boost mid-story that makes him Alexander's equal.
  • Solaris and Vandal Savage in DC One Million.
  • The three lords of Hell in The Sandman and Hellblazer: Lucifer Morningstar, Azazel and Beelzebub. Somewhat subverted in that Lucifer is by far the most influential to storylines and Azazel is taken care of in The Sandman. Beelzebub has had little to no importance. The Kindly Ones also swerve back and forth with this, given that they only tenuously qualify as separate beings anyway and they only really qualify as antagonists starting with the second to last book; depending what you think of Morpheus' motives, not even then.
  • The Leader and M.O.D.O.K. in Fall of the Hulks.
  • Hank Henshaw and Mongul in The Death of Superman. Although by mid story it was fairly clear that Mongul was the underdog of the two.
  • The Bulats and Vera from The Punisher MAX story arc "The Slavers", the leaders of an eastern European human trafficking ring. Cristu Bulat and Vera get along well because they are both heartless business men, while Tiberiu, Cristu's father, is starting to annoy them and damage their business with his unnecessary cruelty and craziness. All of them barely qualify as human beings.
  • The Sin City story Hell and Back has the corrupt police chief and assassin guild leader working side-by-side along with The Don of the series, Herr Walenquist, who is revealed later.
  • The Transformers (Marvel): Megatron and Galvatron in the UK story Time Wars is an example of the big bad teaming up with his past/future self. Predictably a lot of other characters don't survive the story.
  • Les Légendaires: A lot of story arcs involve two villains working together, usually an actual villain and an Anti-Villain. Unsurprisingly, it often ends up with the actual Big Bad betraying his comrade and the Anti-Villain helping the heroes:
    • In Book 3 and 4, Anti-Villain General Rasga teamed up with Darkhell. Darkhell eventually betrayed him, and Rasga sided with the good guys for the end of the battle.
    • later, Book 5 and 6 involved Pirate Captain Ceyderom teaming up with Prince Halan. Ceyderom later betrays Halan by siding instead with past Darkhell (or at least trying; it seemed like Darkhell was merely tolerating his presence), and Halan redeemed himself by committing a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • The Anathos Cycle starts with Hero turned Anti-Villain Elysio being forced to team up with Darkhell under the Guardian's orders. Surprisingly enough, this case was the opposite of the usual schema : not only did Darkhell not betray Elysio, but both eventually redeemed themselves by helping the heroes against Greater-Scope Villain Anathos and committing a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Lex Luthor and The Joker have done this several times, though the former seriously despises doing so, while the latter often demands to be let in on the plan.
  • Original Big Bad Hari Vallalkozo and replacements Big Bad Douglas Zemeckis from ORPHANIMO!! briefly form one near the end of the second-last album.
  • The Crime Syndicate: an evil version of the Justice League from another universe in Forever Evil (2013). It's members are Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Power Ring, Deathstorm, Grid, Johnny Quick, and Atomica. They claim to have killed the Justice Leagues and round up super-villains to Take Over the World.
  • Crismus Bonus and Marcus Ginandtonicus in Asterix the Gaul seem to work this way, even though Crismus Bonus calls them a triumvirate. However, as shown in their thoughts at one point, when they succeed in rising against Caesar both of them plan to get rid of the other to, as Crismus said, "become a triumvirate all on his own".
    • As befits Asterix, this is a Historical In-Joke. The second Triumvirate was between Octavian, Marc Antony... and Marcus Lepidus who was practically ignored and left the command of his legions to the others. The second Triumvirate was indeed a duumvirate.
  • Wanted: Mr. Rictus and The Future, the supervillain leaders of respectively the Australian and European Fraternity chapters, team up to take over the Fraternity together.
  • Crimson had Lisseth and Victor Van Fleet. The former is the Monster Progenitor for vampirekind and the latter is a US senator and vampire lord aspiring to become President. While they work together to take over the world, Lisseth views him as The Dragon rather than an equal. And sure enough, when her plan is revealed to be destroying all of existence, Van Fleet promptly turns on her because he realizes that he wouldn't get to rule over anyone if she got her way.
  • Superlópez: It isn't rare to see Escariano Avieso collaborating with other villains such as Al Trapone or Giorgio Papino.
  • Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers has Jedah Domah and Gill teaming up to regain their lost powers after being defeated and take revenge against their enemies. Until Jedah is revealed to be a Manipulative Bastard and backstabs Gill, using him as a fuel for power.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • Amazing Fantasy has All For One and Mysterio teaming up. Mysterio would provide a steady stream of Marvel-level equipment far more advanced than anything available to the Heroes in Izuku's universe, while All For One would provide the manpower and supplies Mysterio needed to further their plans. However, All For One doesn't see Mysterio as an equal at all and is simply using him as a pawn in Shigaraki's ascension.
  • Cinders and Ashes: the Chronicles of Kamen Rider Dante plays this straight but also inverts it. The straight version involves Altair and Vega working together in order to take out Kamen Rider Dante while the inverted version has both Meteora and Kikuchihara acting as high command of the heroes.
  • CRISIS has Darkseid and the White Woman as the leaders of the Legion of Doom that's trying to conquer The Multiverse. Though it's unclear if Darkseid sees her as a partner or just his most powerful minion.
  • Danganronpa: Paradise Lost has two masterminds of the Killing Game, Junpei Ichikawa and Momiji Akamatsu, and both are confronted in the final chapter.
  • Dave Stdider Pokemon Traner has one of the more well-known examples of this in the form of Dave's main enemies, Team Bad, made up of Jack Noir and Karkat Vantas of Homestuck fame.
  • Dial has HYDRA and Baron Strucker ally with Samuel Sterns a.k.a. the Leader after being ousted from SHIELD by the Avengers, who helps them develop even more Gamma mutates.
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami: Alphel and Arachne team up while Nero serves as a distraction to the bulk of Mercury's forces. Mercury still manages to stomp them.
  • Gargoyles and Turtles: Unsung Defenders: David Xanatos and Demona have a more active partnership, while Oroku Saki/Shredder and Ch’rell have their own alliance.
  • I'm Nobody: After Saren's defeat, the pro-human terrorist organization Cerberus and Organization XIII (whose goals remain ambiguous but make up for it with their actions) decide to form an alliance. Then again, the reason they do this is because they fear that the Heartless will form a duumvirate with the Reapers, which could potentially spell the end of all worlds.
  • Justice League of Equestria: The second half of Mare of Steel features a Villain Team-Up of Alexander Silversmith and Brainiac. While Brainiac is The Heavy and the more potent threat, Silversmith's resources prove rather important towards setting up Brainiac's master plan. Technically speaking, Steel Wing was in on this too, but he was ultimately just Brainiac's Unwitting Pawn and disposed of well before the other two.
  • Legionnaires of Equestria has Chizirane and Ulragnok, although it's clear they're just using each other. In addition, it has Arugek and the Aranea Queen as Greater Scope Villains.
  • Low Light: L and Kira after L (under the influence of the Death Note and Love Makes You Evil) pulls a Face–Heel Turn and joins forces with Kira.
  • Mario and Sonic: Heroes Unite! brings us a Big Bad Duumvirate of Mario and Sonic's Arch-Enemies Dr. Eggman and Bowser Koopa.
  • Pony POV Series: In the Rumors Arc, there's one composed of Umbra Breeze/Nyarlathotrot and Discord.
  • Remnant's Bizarre Adventure has Cinder and Whitesnake working together...for now. Given their different loyalties, however, it's going to fall apart sooner or later.
  • Retro Chill: The main plot follows Rupert Chill and Earl teaming up with Retro and Bob to bring down Calvin.
  • Shadows Awakening is notable for having two Duumvirates (Daolon Wong and The Phantom, The Queen and Tarakudo) that are opposed to each other.
  • Sonic Generations: Friendship Is Timeless has Discord teaming up with Sonic's Arch-Enemy Dr. Eggman.
  • That Epic Plan: Light Yagami and Beyond Birthday — they've portioned it out so they can share power — Light is in charge of the Evil Plan and Beyond is in charge in bed.
  • The Dear Sweetie Belle Continuity: In The Changelings Have a King, the changeling monarchs Chrysalis and Carapace (a.k.a. the transformed Prince Blueblood) jointly oversee the hive and the invasion of Equestria, although Carapace seems to take the lead much more in forming and carrying out the plan, while Chrysalis is more concerned with her new brood, and Carapace is isolating and manipulating her while mainly using her and her offspring as tools for revenge on Rarity.
  • The Fall of the Fire Empire: Legacy of the Fire Empire has Li Shang and Aitan, both of whom has distinct agendas, but are willing to work together to achieve them.
  • The Hellbound Hearts: There are numerous Big Bads from previous Disney films all either teamed up or fighting against one another. Xanatos and Maleficent play this trope straight, with both in charge of their respective faction.
  • In Pure Light, Spyro has gone mad and freed Malefor, working with him to destroy the world.
  • The Return-Remixed has Trish Stratus and Lita as the co-leaders of DEAR.
  • The Will of the Empire: Following the Emperor and Vader's deaths at Endor, and with all the most prominent rivals to Luke's claim on the throne (Pestage, Isard, Lumiya, etc) having been purged, the surviving Imperial loyalists and Humanocentrists have banded together under the leadership of Grand Moff Kaine and Admirals Prittick & Harrsk.
  • Total Drama Infinite features two in DIO and Cinder Fall: both Big Bads in their respective series, they've formed an alliance to win the million dollars. They're responsible for orchestrating several eliminations throughout the series and have forced other contestants into their alliance only to eliminate them later.
  • TS!Underswap: Contrary to fans expecting Temmie to fill Flowey's role as a solo Big Bad, the end of the demo reveals that there are seven soulless, murderous Temmies taking his spot, all working together to kill Chara and steal their SOUL.
  • Underverse:
    • Cross and X-Chara are presented as the main threat in Season 1 that Undertale's Sans is trying to stop after they stole half his soul. The two have to share a body with X-Chara usually playing Spirit Advisor to Cross, and have the same goal of restoring their destroyed universe, through any means necessary. Nightmare forms an alliance with them later in the season, helping them get what they need from other worlds in exchange for them inflicting suffering on those worlds to provide him more negative emotions. Ultimately Cross and X-Chara get completely outclassed by other villains, and Nightmare replaces them with Killer-Sans. As of Season 2, Cross and X-Chara have gone their separate ways, but both seem poised for a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Season 2 sees the hints of a new Big Bad Duumvirate: X-Gaster and Ink Sans of all people! X-Tale shows that Ink and X-Gaster have been friends for years, with Ink encouraging X-Gaster's creativity as X-Gaster went further and further off the deep end trying to create a "perfect" world. The first episode of Season 2 has an Obliviously Evil Ink cheerfully laughing over how he tricked everyone and standing side-by-side with X-Gaster, eager to see what else he does.
  • Universe Falls has one between the Lawful Evil and very serious tyrant Yellow Diamond, who wants to have full control over the gems and Bill Cypher, a sadistic Reality Warper with a twisted sense of humor who enjoy toying with both his enemies and allies.
  • Vale's Underground: In the Big Bad Ensemble of mob bosses, Qrow and Raven Branwen are the only two who are directly working together. All the others head their organizations independently.
  • What Lies Beyond the Walls has, as of chapter 31, Krassak Ralfur and Log-a-Log Brugo.

    Films — Animation 
  • Legends of Valhalla: Thor: While Hel is clearly in charge, she had also allied herself with King Thrym of the Giants.
  • In The 3 Little Pigs: The Movie, Big Boss the wolf and Rublad the fox work together to get Wally and Beemo into their clutches, with the only thing keeping them from being a truly effective pair of villains, is that the two do not get along, and look out for the perfect opportunities to screw the other over in their dealings.
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy gives us Ruff and Stucky, an evil poacher couple who own a failing alligator museum in the swamp and opt to capture Arlo and use him as their newest attraction to make them rich.
  • Invoked at the climax of The Bad Guys (2022). It seems that all the Bad Guys have done a Heel–Face Turn except Mr. Snake, who joins forces with Marmalade. But surprise! Snake was a Fake Defector all along, and he tricks Marmalade into defeat.
  • In Disney's Dinosaur, the villains are a pair of Carnotaurus threatening to destroy the Herd and prevent them from returning to the Nesting Grounds.
  • The farmers known as Boggis, Bunce and Bean form a three-way example in Fantastic Mr. Fox. They destroy the homes of the woodland creatures, and later try to hunt them down, in relatiation of Foxy Fox stealing their produce.
  • Ice Age: The Meltdown has Maelstrom and Cretaceous, a mosasaur and a metriorhynchid who were frozen in ice until the titular glacier melting event sees them thaw out. These ancient reptiles explore their new domain as more melted ice spreads them along, and after one attack where the Herd fends them off, they return to attack Manny in the climax during his attempt to rescue Ellie.
  • Dr. Schadenfreude and Malbert team up to cause trouble in Igor, the former a fraud who steals other inventions and seeks to steal Eva from Igor, while also desiring to take the title of King from the latter, who is desperate to maintain his rule and had caused the dark clouds so he could manipulate everyone into being evil to survive.
  • "Bowler Hat Guy" and DOR-15 serve this function in Meet the Robinsons. "Bowler Hat Guy" steals the Robinson's time machine, stalks and tries to capture Lewis, and uses stolen technology to drastically alter history, in the process making DOR-15 clones take over the Earth. It turns out DOR-15 is The Man Behind the Man and Bowler Hat Guy, originally a vengeful future incarnation of Lewis' roomate Mike Yagoobian who was angry that Lewis' inventing made him fall asleep in a baseball game and cause his team to lose, was only someone she used as a human host.
  • In Monsters, Inc. Randall runs the Scream Extractor in collaboration with Mr. Waternoose. They are willing to kidnap children and forcefully extract their screams to stop the energy crisis (the former for personal recognition, and the latter out of desperation to save his company).
  • Dwayne LaFontant, Gladys Sharp and Vincent are the trio of troublemakers in Over the Hedge, with Vincent being especially active from this group. Vincent forces RJ to reclaim all the food for him, leading RJ to swindle the other main characters and eventually grow closer to them, while Gladys, as the head of the neighborhood, leads the strongest move to get rid of all the animals by hiring the exterminator Dwayne from VermTech to get rid of them.
  • Jack and Jill appear to be the main antagonists in Puss in Boots, as they guard the Magic Beans that Puss, Humpty, and Kitty are after, but they're really in cahoots with Humpty Dumpty, who was still angry at Puss for leaving him and planned to get him arrested while he came across as a hero. However, when he performs his Heel–Face Turn, they reveal that they were planning to betray him from the start, seeking to steal the Golden Goose, and end up being the real villains again before being crushed by the Great Terror.
  • Rio: When the movie's overall conflict begins, Marcel and his Dragon-in-Chief Nigel serve as the main threat in each of two sides of the story (Linda & Tulio's and Blu & Jewel's, respectively) that branch out in the beginning and fuse back together near the end. While Marcel is the one who started the conflict and drives his side to some degree, he never interacts with Linda and Tulio whatsoever. Meanwhile, Nigel constantly goes after Blu, Jewel and their allies, and thus drives the overall plot to a further degree.
  • In Thumbelina, the toad Grundel blackmails slimy showman Berkeley Beetle into helping him find Thumbelina so he can have her for himself.

  • American Gods: Mr. World aka Loki Lie-Smith and Mr. Wednesday. As Wednesday said, "It's a two man con".
  • Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident: Opal Koboi and Briar Cudgeon. It is revealed late in the book that Cudgeon plans to kill Opal once gaining power, a fact which proves critical in his downfall via Engineered Public Confession.
  • The three Lords of Zhev'Na from the Bridge of D'Arnath series are a trio of undead Evil Sorcerers who rule over Ce Uroth as equals, each filling their own niche - Notole is a scholar of the technical aspects of magic and mostly focuses on expanding the Lords' supernatural power, Parven is The Strategist and commanding general of the Lords' armies, and Ziddari is a Manipulative Bastard who weaves the long-term plans and sows dissent among the Lords' enemies. However, while the Three are emphatically equals in-universe, from a story perspective Ziddari gets the most direct focus.
  • Bulldog Drummond: The villainous conspiracy is led by Henry Lakington, "the most dangerous man in England", and Carl Peterson, "the most dangerous man in Europe". They have a division of labor; Peterson has the long-term vision and plan to take over the world, and the Gentleman Snarker wit to match the hero's, while Lakington is behind most of the immediate threats, such the thefts, kidnappings, death traps, and attempts to steal the hero's girlfriend.
  • Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: In book 3, Soul Eater, there are four Soul-Eaters working together to summon a horde of demons. The three that survive each serve as an Arc Villain for the next few books.
  • City of No End: The plot of book 1 revolves around Lord Kendar and Lord Djevak teaming up to starve the rest of the Realm into submission. It is an uneasy alliance and both plan to subvert each other.
  • Counselors and Kings: Probably the best way to sum up the…odd relationship main villains Kiva and Akhlaur have in this Forgotten Realms trilogy. They hate each other (or at least, Kiva hates Akhlaur personally—he holds her in contempt, but that's how he treats everyone) but work together to advance their own goals—power (for Akhlaur) and vengeance (for Kiva). As he treats her like a servant, it probably would count more as Dragon with an Agenda except that Kiva herself in no way sees herself as subordinate and has tons of plans apart from Akhlaur, and in fact tries her hardest to manipulate him (though it's made clear he knows what she's doing, and is playing along for his own entertainment). They're best summed up as two distinct Big Bads who for the moment happen to be going in the same direction.
  • The Enemy and the Network in Daniel Faust team up, despite their conflicting goals (The Enemy is an Eldritch Abomination that wants to destroy all existence, the Network is an occult criminal organization that wants to conquer it). Each of them are fully aware that the other will eventually stab them in the back and are simply resolved to be the one who does the backstabbing first.
  • The two primary villains of the Tais Teng book Dead Eyes are an immortal Evil Sorcerer and an evil Chinese Emperor whose lifespan has been extended for centuries by having the sorcerer transfer his soul into new host bodies. In the end, the protagonist manages to make them turn on each other and destroy each other.
  • Dragon Fate, the final Age of Fire novel, has Infamnia and Rayg. They work together behind the back of NiVomthe apparent villain of the last two books — making him think that they're his loyal servants, while manipulating him into aiding their plans to decimate and enslave the dragon race.
  • Dragons of Requiem has King Raem Seran and Angel from the Dawn of Dragons trilogy. Seran drives most of the plot forward, but it's Angel's demonic soldiers who fuel Seran's army, and Angel and her demons are the ones who Rape, Pillage, and Burn indiscriminately.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • For Harry Dresden, it's a good week if he only has two major enemies trying to kill him. Since the Black Council is now confirmed in-universe, technically every single book in the series has at least one obvious villain and the Black Council.
    • The necromancers Cowl, Grevane and Corpsetaker in Dead Beat. Though while they're all technically working together to find the Word of Kemmler, they all intend to betray the others and take the Word's power for themselves. Of the three, Grevane dies in Dead Beat, Corpsetaker loses her body but survives as a ghost until she's Killed Off for Real in, appropriately enough, Ghost Story, and Cowl is still out there as a recurring villain and possibly the series Big Bad (and almost certainly aligned with that person or group if he's not).
  • Dune Messiah: The conspiracy against Paul is comprised of the leaders of the factions opposing him. Edric, (representing the Spacing Guild), Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim (representing the Bene Gesserit), Scytale (representing the Bene Tleilax), and Irulan (representing the House Corrino). Scytale is the one carrying out their schemes, Edric uses his powers to protect the group from Paul's future sight, Mohaim hatches the long term plans, and Irulan is the group's spy within Paul's inner circle.
  • The bad guys of Each Little Universe arrange themselves into a couple of Duumvirates. Orion, the closest thing to a primary Big Bad, is a hunter of runaway stars, always appearing on Earth with her dog Keelut plus a representative from the constellation that's missing a star. As such, the initial arrangement seems to be Orion and Altair as a duumvirate, with Keelut as Orion's The Dragon; later, Altair is swapped out for Lyra. It's variable to what extent each of these is a true duumvirate rather than Altair/Lyra being The Dragon to Orion, but the official arrangement seems to be that the partnerships are equal.
  • In An Ember in the Ashes, it turns out the Commandant has been working with the Nightbringer to interfere with the Trials and to assassinate the current Emperor.
  • The Hand of Thrawn: Three people are working to create and maintain the illusion that Thrawn has returned, but of the three, Disra and Tierce are the ones at odds. Flim mostly serves as The Watson, and doesn't seem to have much ambition of his own beyond surviving and being handsomely rewarded. Flim, being a typical con artist, is interested in a short-term reward, claiming that people of his "profession" don't stick around long enough for the mark to take a closer look at them. As such, he knows that he has no prayer in actually running the Empire, especially since he doesn't have the political or the military skills for the job.
  • James Bond:
    • The Spangled Mob organization in Diamonds Are Forever is controlled by two brothers, Jack and Serrafimo Spang, whose operations are based on two different continents.
    • Sir John Charnage in the Young Bond novel Double or Die works together with Colonel Sedanova of the Soviet secret police to get Project Nemesis shipped overseas.
  • John Carter of Mars: A very tense one shows up in The Warlord of Mars, the third book in this series, consisting of Matai Shang (Priest King of the white Martians, or Therns) and Thurid (a warlord of the black Martians, or First Born). Later in the book it becomes a triumvirate when Salensus Oll (Evil Overlord of the yellow Martians, or Okar) joins up. Since these three have their own goals and ambitions, there's a fair bit of backstabbing all around. In particular, the white Martians and black Martians hate each other, they just hate John Carter more.
  • Legacy of the Force: While not exactly a Big Bad herself, Admiral Cha Niathal works with Jacen Solo in order to pull a Coup d'Etat on Galactic Alliance Chief of State Cal Omas. This alliance eventually does fall apart with Niathal forming her own faction of the Galactic Alliance opposed to Jacen.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Subverted. Saruman sees himself as Sauron's ally and has full plans of double-crossing him once he gets his hands on the Ring—but Sauron is both far more powerful and more intelligent, knows full well about Saruman's plans, and considers him varyingly a useful tool and a nuisance, but never an equal of any kind, making Saruman a Big Bad Wannabe.
    • Played more or less straight with Morgoth and Ungoliant in The Silmarillion: they team up to destroy the gold and silver trees, humiliating the Valar and setting off the War of the Silmarils, but it ends poorly when Morgoth tries to double-cross Ungoliant. Weakened by pouring his power into making his army, and with Ungoliant empowered by the light of the Two Trees, only a posse of Balrogs saves him from being devoured.
    • However, while Morgoth and Sauron did work together, they do not fit this trope. When Morgoth was still active, Sauron was his subordinate. Sauron became the Big Bad towards the end of The Silmarillion (and throughout The Lord of the Rings) as a result of moving into the power vacuum left when Morgoth was imprisoned behind the Walls of Night.
  • Cranberry and Fav in Magical Girl Raising Project are the antagonists of the first arc, Unmarked, and work together for their shared interests. Cranberry wants to fight death matches while Fav wants to witness them. Cranberry is Fav's master, but Fav is the mastermind behind the death matches and is partially responsible for Cranberry being who she is. Fav manipulates everyone and sets up the death matches while Cranberry is the strongest opponent.
    • The sixth arc gives us one between recurring Big Bad Pythie Fredricia and the First Lapis Lazuline. Pythie, as always, wants to take over the Land of Magic to reform it into her ideal world, while Old Blue wants to ensure that there will be no more Magical Girls. In the final book of the trilogy, Pythie and Old Blue fight, and Old Blue is killed, causing Pythie to become the final villain.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, an alliance between the Forkrul Assail and the Tiste Liosan, rooted in their common conviction of being the arbiters of justice, and joined by the K'Chain Nah'ruk, turns out to be behind most of the series' problems, and as it turns out this particular duumvirate is only one half of a Big Bad Ensemble.
  • Max & the Midknights: The villains of the book are Gastley and Fendra, the Sorceress of the North. They staged monster attacks to lure Conrad into the country so they could attack him. In Conrad's absence, Gastley returned to Byjovia and proclaimed himself king, and Fendra turned Conrad into a little boy and blanked his memory. Then she took him to a far-away tower where she could extract some of his blood each week to make a potion to turn the people of Byjovia into Jerkasses who wouldn't try to dethrone Gastley. The plan worked for five years until Max and Budrick returned to Byjovia.
  • Mordant's Need initially leaves much doubt about what villain or group of villains is really at work, but about halfway through the story it becomes clear that it's Master Eremis and High King Festten, with a few minor villains working for them. Eremis is treated as the Big Bad by the heroes, and it's generally assumed that if he and Festten wins, Eremis will find some way to remove or take control over Festten and proceed to rule alone, but during the course of the story they are technically equals. This is most obvious at one point when Terisa is witness to Gart, Festten's Dragon, coming to summon Eremis to Festten's side. Eremis first claims that he doesn't have to do what Festten says (and seasons that claim with a colourful description of Festten's sexual habits), but Gart deadpans that Festten has twenty thousand soldiers nearby who happen to think that Eremis does have to do what Festten says. Eremis grumbles but goes.
  • Oliver and the Seawigs has Stacey de Lacey and the Thurlstone. The Thurlstone wants to win the Seawig contest the living islands hold every seven years so he can rule over them and make them do whatever he wants. Stacey de Lacey wants to help him win so he can have an army of ruling islands to help him get back at everyone who bullied him.
  • Oliver Twisted: Alike to the original story, Oliver Twist, Fagin and Bill Sikes work together in the plan to corrupt Oliver, only this time, since Monks is out of the picture, the cult-like Brotherhood of Fenris takes the role in planning to tarnish the boy through these two.
  • In Purging of Kadillus, two Ork warbosses, Ghazghkull and Nazdreg, team up to take the eponymous planet.
  • Ravenor: In this Warhammer 40,000 series, the third book features a union of the two big villains, Zygmut Molotch and Orfeo Culzean. Either could qualify as a Magnificent Bastard, and the books hint on the friction that can develop when two MBs try to work together for extended periods.
  • Redwall: Happens several different times in this series, although one Big Bad is usually obviously the stronger one and the other doesn't live long. Tsarmina briefly formed one with Bane in Mossflower, Swartt Sixclaw formed one with Zigu in Outcast of Redwall, and for most of Martin the Warrior, Badrang and Clogg formed one.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: Happens between Belasco and Dahun in the Demonwar Saga, most recent subseries of this series. Each has his own goals and is manipulating the other to accomplish them. Both fail and are apparently destroyed, though Dahun comes a hair closer to succeeding.
  • The Sacrilege: This SPQR novel gives Historical Villain Upgrades to Marcus Licinius Crassus, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and Caius Julius Caesar, making them a Big Bad Triumvirate. When the protagonist Decius finds out, he speculates as to which of the first two will come out on top of the inevitable power struggle.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: In the last third of the series, the reader discovers that the Dark Side of VFD is run not by the series' main villain, Count Olaf, but by an exceptionally mysterious and absolutely terrifying couple referred to only as The Man With a Beard but No Hair and The Woman With Hair but No Beard. According to Lemony Snicket, their very names are too horrible to so much as print, and even Olaf is as afraid of them as anyone else.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: While Hannibal Lecter is the antagonist of the film, he informs Clarice on another serial killer named Buffalo Bill.
  • Space Voyages: Darby and Cornelius Cat, who are also brothers.
  • Star Wars ABC's: Gets a Lampshade Hanging in this children's book, where most of the major characters get an alphabetic poem written about them. In "Z is for Zuckuss," we read: "Uh-oh, here's that bad quartet/Of bounty hunters Boba Fett/Zuckuss, Bossk and '88...."
  • Star Wars: Crucible: Marvid Qreph and Craitheus Qreph, who are brothers.
  • Sundered Lands has Captain Grizzletusk and Millie Rose Thorne. Thorne is the one who hired Grizzletusk and is secretly plotting behind the scenes, while Grizzletusk acts as The Heavy and is the one causing most of the chaos and destruction with his vast crew of pirates.
  • Tales of Kolmar: For most of the trilogy the baddies are Marik of Gundar and Berys. Berys believes Marik's The Dragon, and he is the more powerful one, but Marik's more important than that and knows it. Ultimately Berys summons the Demonlord and forces him and Marik into Sharing a Body; the result is under his control but only barely.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy: Grand Admiral Thrawn and the insane Jedi Master Joruus C'baoth count as this - they have a mutually beneficial alliance, but each has schemes separate from the other and plans to dispose of the other after he's served his purpose. At the trilogy's climax, they are faced simultaneously by two different sets of heroes. While in the process of carrying out their plans to dispose of each other.
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: The Ilse Witch and her former mentor The Morgawr form one. They have an interesting dynamic, as she's his former Dragon, pupil, and Bastard Understudy, which causes him to treat her as the junior partner, something she deeply resents. When the inevitable breakdown occurs and they do go head to head, the results aren't very pretty.
  • The War of the Flowers: This series by Tad Williams makes this a Deconstructed Trope - it starts out with a triumvirate of main villains (fairy lords Hellebore, Thornapple, and Foxglove), with Hellebore dominant because he's the one with brains, but the other two still clearly his equals, rather than underlings. Then Foxglove gets cold feet and is demoted to hanger-on, while Thornapple is still close to Hellebore's equal and perhaps the closest thing he has to a friend. By the end, Foxglove is a complete nonentity and Thornapple is a clear minion, if an important one- Hellebore is now calling all the shots.
  • Unproduced Wonder Woman script: Arabella Callas, CEO of Spearhead, and Strife, the nephew of Ares the God of War, seem to use the Khimaera to kill millions and spark war across the globe.


  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • During the Strex Takeover arc, we have Kevin and Lauren Mallard. It's difficult to tell which one's in charge and which one isn't so it's probably safe to assume that they're both leading members of Strexcorp.
    • After the election in episode 49, Hiram McDaniels and the Faceless Old Woman team up to overthrow the new mayor.
  • Fallout Is Dragons plays with this trope in the form of the Executive. He'll partner up with other big bads as his modus operandi, but he'll just as easily dispose of them. So it's more of a rotating duumvirate than an actual duumvirate.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer: The Skaven take this up to thirteen with the Council of Thirteen.
  • The Pathfinder Adventure Path Wrath of the Righteous has the demon lords Deskari and Baphomet plotting to expand the abyssal rift in the Worldwound, sending their cultists and demons against the player characters to stop them from preventing the engineering of the catastrophe. Depending on their actions, the PCs may end up taking out either or both of them.

  • In Ebenezer Jacob Marley is a toxic influence on Scrooge and is directly responsible for heinous crimes. However, Scrooge is just as bad, and him knowing about Marley and not caring makes him even worse in some ways.
  • Starship has Pincer and Junior.

    Theme Parks 
  • For the "Sweet 16" year of Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, the event's four previous "Icons" (Jack the Clown, The Caretaker, The Director, and The Storyteller) came together as a group to "celebrate" the occasion.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: Downplayed. Junko and Mukuro set up the Killing School Life in the game's backstory, and Mukuro worked with Junko for the disguise, but Junko ends up being the only Final Boss because she executes Mukuro For the Evulz.
  • Aster de Wyverngarde and Eris Illmater are revealed to have been working together in the last case of Tyrion Cuthbert: Attorney of the Arcane, having separate yet overlapping goals; the former wants to take over Wyverngarde, while the latter wants to make Tyrion suffer.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue: The eighth season, Revelation has Agent Washington and the Meta, with The Chairman as the Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Tonin: Vilano-san and Pai-Meio work together during Season 3.
  • Gaming All-Stars:
    • A triumvirate forms between Eggman, G-Man, and Neo Cortex in The Ultimate Crossover, all coming together during the finale to trap the heroes inside the moon, not knowing they are being manipulated by Andross.
    • It seems like this would be the case in Remastered. However, Cortex’s blimp runs out of gas after he leaves the Battleship Halberd, leaving him exempt from the alliance this time. Plus, Radec (Who replaces G-Man) murders Eggman, leaving just himself by the time the heroes gather for the final confrontation.
    • Meanwhile, in 2, one begins much earlier in the plot between Zinyak and Crypto, since both have plans to torment the human race in some way.
  • The Wrath of Giga Bowser: The three characters responsible for creating Giga Bowser are Ganondorf, Mewtwo, and Dr. Mario, which the original thread on Smashboards refers to as "three evildoers attempting to create a monster".

  • Magus and Sirleck from El Goonish Shive.
  • From the The Order of the Stick Big Bad Ensemble, we have:
    • The Three Fiends, aka the Directors, from form a triumvirate. The three seem to be equal in every respect, which makes sense, since their goal is to bring an end to the fighting between their three races. They also might turn out to be the overall Big Bads, though they haven't got much screen time yet.
    • Xykon and Redcloak originally were a duumvirate (or triumvirate if you count Right-Eye), but this eventually changed as Xykon became more powerful and more completely depraved. Redcloak was eventually demoted to The Dragon (and possible Starscream). Or at least, that's what Redcloak is happy to let Xykon and the rest of the world believe.
  • Brian and Angelo from Our Little Adventure. In addition to that, they are also a married couple.
  • Ian and Anita in Errant Story. Both are Manipulative Bastards, and neither has any illusions about the other one's goals and objectives, but they find it convenient to work together. At least, until they don't, but by then it's too late.
  • Chase Brenton and Mrs. Caston (Emily Caston’s mother) from Rain (2010) are this in Emily’s story. Both are the cause for most of Emily’s struggles and trauma in the comic, with the former neglecting her and the latter raping and impregnating her. Downplayed, in that while latter is the one who forced her daughter to be in a relationship with former, Chase and Emily’s mother don’t really work together directly.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe example: The Bastard and The Necromancer.
  • Scrambled Egg has Sonya the dark mage and Trellorv the swamp troll, both of whom team up to try and destroy the world using an Egg MacGuffin.
  • Give Us Forever has Koschei and Baba Yaga for Shadow of the Dragon. Meanwhile, The Burden of Tomorrow has the masterminds behind Koschei and Baba Yaga, Malachor Archayus and Hardestadt's own mother, Aleviel.

    Web Videos 

Alternative Title(s): Big Bad Triumvirate


Catwoman and Penguin

The Catwoman propositions the Penguin in fighting their shared enemy - the Batman.

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