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Big Bad Duumvirate
aka: Big Bad Triumvirate

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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.
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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, 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.

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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 several Big Bads operating simultaneously, but not necessarily working together or even interacting in any way.

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. Contrast Co-Dragons, where one Big Bad is directly served by two or more equally ranked lieutenants.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame ga Kill!: Prime Minister Honest and General Esdeath are the true rulers of The Empire. Honest manipulates the boy emperor to create a brutal and corrupt regime whose sole purpose is to preserve his power and pleasure. However, despite being more dangerous than he appears, his rule would not be possible without the cooperation of Esdeath, the Empire's best general and a One-Woman Army. She helps maintain Honest's rule because its sheer brutality places the Empire in a state of almost constant internal rebellion and war with its neighbors, creating 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.
  • The Innovades and A-Laws from the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
  • 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. Madara and Obito 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 Liberation Army is named Paranormal Liberation Front, which seeks to declare war against the heroes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • Carmine Falcone and Commissioner Loeb in Batman: Year One.
  • 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.
  • Megatron and Galvatron in the UK The Transformers comic 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.
  • A lot of story arcs in Les Légendaires involve two Big Bad 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.

    Fan Works 

    Fairy Tales 

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • In Monsters, Inc., though Randall is the one behind the scream extractor, he's in one with Waternoose if only because it's ambiguous if Randall is Waternoose's Dragon or if it's the reverse.
  • In Thumbelina, the toad Grundel blackmails slimy showman Berkeley Beetle into helping him find Thumbelina so he can have her for himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alone in the Dark (1982) has Frank Hawker, Ronald Elster and Byron the Preacher, a Terrible Trio with the same goal: Kill Dr. Potter, whom they believe to have killed the doctor who he replaced in the asylum they are being held in. They are initially a foursome with Skagg the Bleeder, but he leaves them during a looting caused by a blackout to pursue his own goals.
  • Andersonville: Wirz, the commandant of the Hellhole Prison, and Collins, leader of "the raiders" who rob, starve and murder the other prisoners so they can live in (relative) luxury.
  • Antichrist: The Three Beggars, Grief, Pain and Despair, three supernatural beings who haunt Eden and caused the plot by driving She insane.
  • Attack of the Giant Leeches: There are two giant leeches terrorizing the town.
  • In the third Austin Powers movie, Dr. Evil teams up with Goldmember against Austin Powers.
  • Batman:
  • Morris and Hazar in Big Game, although their cooperation is more along the lines of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork than anything else. They both want to hunt Moore down, although for somewhat different reasons.
  • Black Christmas (2006): Billy Lenz and his sister Agnes are tag teaming their murders.
  • Black Panther (2018) has Ulysses Klaue and Erik "Killmonger" Stevens serving as the film's Big Bads, as they are working together to steal vibranium weapons and sell them. About halfway through the film, Erik kills Klaue and becomes the sole Big Bad.
  • Bonnie and Clyde: Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the Outlaw Couple leaders of a bank robbing gang.
  • Ward Abbott and Yuri Gretkov in The Bourne Supremacy. True to form, Gretkov refuses to come to Abbott's assistance near the end of the movie, leading to Abbott's capture by Bourne and suicide by gun.
  • Cyrus "The Virus" Grissum and Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones in Con Air. Nathan is technically taking orders from Cyrus, but they both have equal authority and Nathan admits he is only doing so for the time being.
  • Constantine: The Anti-Christ Mammon and rogue archangel Gabriel are in an alliance to bring Hell on Earth.
  • The Creeping Terror reveals that there are two monsters on the ship.
  • Django Unchained has Calvin Candie and his head slave Stephen.
  • It's heavily implied that the crime syndicate in Drive is run jointly by Bernie and Nino, though both aren't always aware of the other's actions.
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers has the two unnamed leaders of the Alien Invasion.
  • Freaks has Hercules the strongman and Cleopatra the trapeze artist.
  • Deckard Shaw and Mose Jakande from Furious 7.
  • James McCullen a.k.a Destro and The Doctor a.k.a Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla vs. Gigan has both Gigan and King Ghidorah as the Kaiju villains. Gigan would return to team up with Megalon in Godzilla vs. Megalon.
    • The two MUTO monsters from Godzilla (2014) are more or less this, though the female is arguably the bigger threat (and literally the bigger monster) as she carries with her thousands of baby monsters and is the most protective of them.
  • Yuri and Irina Komarov are revealed to be this at the end of A Good Day to Die Hard.
  • Hardcore Henry: Akan and Estelle.
  • Hercules (2014): Cotys and Eurystheus are in an alliance to take over Greece.
  • Simon Skinner and Inspector Frank Butterman in Hot Fuzz.
  • In Hudson Hawk the main villains are Darwin and Minerva Mayflower, the world's richest, most evil, most obnoxious couple.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has Walter Donovan and Elsa Schneider. One may argue that Donovan is the true villain here but both he and Elsa manipulated the Joneses and Elsa was the last one standing out of the two.
  • The James Bond film series is fond of this trope:
  • Just Before Dawn: The murders are committed by two inbred Hicks only known as the Mountain Twins.
  • Eddie Arkadian and Sho'nuff the Shogun of Harlem in The Last Dragon.
  • Lockout: Alex and Hydell, the pair of prisoners who lead the riot and are brothers. Between the two, Alex takes center stage as the man with the plan much more often, but Hydell is so utterly psychotic that he's a much bigger threat because of his wanton murder and destruction. Hydell eventually murders Alex himself to become the main villain for the final minutes.
  • Torrez, Senator Mc Laughlin, and Von Jackson in Machete.
  • The Man from Nowhere: Man-seok and Jong-seok are two brothers who run a drug-and-irgan trafficking ring.
  • Meatball Machine has the unnamed duo of aliens that created the Necro Borgs.
  • Boris and his 1969 self (thanks to Time Travel) in Men in Black 3.
  • Jeff and the White Ninja in Miami Connection.
  • In Mission: Impossible – Fallout, once it's revealed that the White Widow is actually working with the IMF and the CIA, and that Walker and Lark are one and the same, the Big Bad group turns out to be two people: Solomon Lane and August Walker, who are not associated beyond their deal: Walker helping Lane inflict a Fate Worse than Death revenge on Ethan, in exchange for Lane helping Walker carry out his plan to irradiate 1/3 of the world's water supply, and neither is really taking orders from the other. Walker is The Heavy, driving the action by having hired the Apostles for his scheme, but he's also stuck following Lane's plans for Ethan to get what he wants. Both of them are also confronted at the same time in the climax. Benji and Ilsa have to fight off Lane to diffuse the bomb he's guarding (with Luther and Julia already working on diffusing the first bomb back at the medical camp) while Ethan tries to stop Walker from escaping with the detonator.
  • In Oz the Great and Powerful, Evanora, The Wicked Witch of the East, and her Ax-Crazy sister, Theodora, The Wicked Witch of the West join together to try and take over Oz, and kill Glinda the Good. They fail.
  • The People Under the Stairs: Mommy and Daddy Robeson, a duo of depraved child kidnappers.
  • Miraz, Glozelle, and Sopespian have elements of this in Prince Caspian- Miraz is dominant, but he is forced to (grudgingly) rely on the other two. When they've finally had enough of him, they kill him and become a full Big Bad Duumvirate for the remainder of the film. The three have elements of this dynamic in the book as well, though the movie gives all three more screen time and therefore emphasizes it more.
  • Clarence Boddicker and Dick Jones from RoboCop (1987). While Boddicker is technically working for Jones, his position and connections as a crime boss in Detroit put him on near equal footing in power with Jones as the vice-president of OCP. As well, Jones is a Non-Action Big Bad handling corporate politics while Boddicker serves as the main muscle with his gangs on the street.
  • Scream (1996) has the various main characters being stalked and killed by Ghostface, who turns out to be an alias shared by Billy and Stu. While this isn't the only time a film in the Scream franchise had more than one killer, it is the only one where the villains are on equal footing.note  In fact, the third film is the only one where the killer isn't actually two characters sharing the Ghostface costume. And in the original script, it was.
  • Peoples Hernandez and Walter Wade Jr. in Shaft (2000).
  • In Total Recall (1990) there's Vilos Cohaagen and Hauser, who formulated the plan to take down the Mars Resistance together.
  • Transformers Film Series:
    • Megatron and Sentinel Prime in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Though by the end of the move, it's clear that Sentinel is the one calling the shots; as Carly points out, Megatron is " Sentinel's bitch."
    • Lockdown and Harold Attinger in Transformers: Age of Extinction, both working together to fulfill their own separate agendas.
    • ''Transformers: The Last Knight has Megatron forming one once again, this time with Quintessa to restore Cybertron at the cost of destroying Earth.
    • Bumblebee has Shatter and Dropkick, two Decepticon hunters that are hunting scattered Autobots, eventually tracking Bumblebee to Earth where they manipulate Sector 7 into aiding them in his capture.
  • It is unclear if Darren "Wall Street" Bettencourt was The Dragon to Mr. Kwai in the first of The Transporter movies, or if it was an example of this, with Kwai as the more senior partner.
  • William Stranix and Commander Krill in Under Siege.
  • Venom (2018): The Life Foundation — led by Dr. Carlton Drake — discovered the symbiotes on an asteroid, brought them to Earth using a space probe, and is using them unlawfully on test subjects that could die as a result of the exposure. On the other side, there's Riot who's spearheading an invasion force of symbiotes to conquer Earth and eventually bonds with Drake to accomplish this.
  • The Virgin Spring has the two unnamed shepherds who raped and killed Karin.
  • Albert and Ray in A Walk Among the Tombstones.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • 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 its 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 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).
  • Duumvirate: It's right there in the title!
  • 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.
  • Hand of Thrawn: In this Duology, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 has done this a few times:
    • Andre and Alexis Drazen in Day 1, though they may have been acting under the orders of their father, Victor Drazen.
    • The German arms dealer Max, Alexander Trepkos and several other oilmen in Day 2, being the collective men behind Peter Kingsley.
    • Ramon Salazar and his brother Hector Salazar in Day 3. Ramon ends up killing Hector after Hector keeps interfering with his sale to Michael Amador. Amador himself and his partner-in-crime Marcus Alvers form a second duumvirate.
    • Debatably, President Charles Logan and Graem Bauer in Day 5.
    • Abu Fayed and Dimitri Gredenko in Day 6; later replaced by Cheng Zhi and Phillip Bauer. The former become a triumvirate if General Mohmar Habib is counted.
    • Jonas Hodges and General Benjamin Juma in Redemption and Day 7.
    • Briefly, Farhad Hassan and Sergei Bazhaev near the beginning of season 8.
    • Charles Logan and Yuri Suvarov later in Season 8.
  • The second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. starts with a Big-Bad Ensemble of Daniel Whitehall and Calvin Zabo, but in "A Hen in the Wolf House", they team up to weaponize the Obelisk and destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. Except that Calvin Zabo actually wants revenge on Whitehall for killing his wife, Jiaying years earlier, and the alliance falls apart halfway through the season.
  • Angel:
    • Angelus and the Beast in Season 4. He kills the Beast. Except both were subservient (reluctantly, in the case of Angelus) to Jasmine.
    • Drusilla with Darla.
  • In Arrow season 6, it's eventually revealed that Team Arrow is facing an alliance of Cayden James, Black Siren, Anatoly Knyazev, Vigilante, and Ricardo Diaz.
  • In Battlestar Galactica, Tom Zarek and Felix Gaeta briefly team up to attempt to launch a coup against the Roslin-Adama administration. It ends badly.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • At the start of Season 2 Drusilla and Spike filled this role, then when Angelus initially did his Face–Heel Turn, there was more or less an equal partnership going on between him, Spike, and Drusilla. But, with Drusilla becoming more and more enamored with him, and Angelus constantly belittling Spike for his crippled status, it soon becomes pretty clear who the alpha dog is.
    • Simone was this with Severin in Season 9.
    • Ethan Rayne was this with The First Evil in Chaos Bleeds; an odd example, as the Scoobies are technically working for him, as Ethan chose them to be his competitors in a contest he challenged The First Evil to. Ethan will become a Chaos Demon if he wins the contest.
  • Burn Notice has Brennan and Larry teaming up in one of the finales.
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Mary Wardwell/Madame Satan and Father Blackwood, who are both working for Satan and trying to secure Sabrina's soul for him, even if they don't like each other and have very different methods and ideas of how to do so.
  • Dark Oracle: Subverted Trope where the apparent Big Bad Duumvirate of Blaze and Violet are revealed to be Co-Dragons to the real Big Bad, The Puppet-Master.
  • Subverted in the Doctor Who "Army of Ghosts/Doomsday" two parter. While the Cybermen and Daleks don't team up, the Doctor still has to deal with both threats simultaneously.
  • The Flash (2014)
    • The third season of has Dr. Alchemy and Savitar, the heads of a cult focused on restoring the memories and powers of metahumans who lived in the Flashpoint timeline. Dr. Alchemy uses the Philosopher's Stone to summon his targets and turn them into minions, while Savitar provides the muscle. And then it's subverted with The Reveal that Dr. Alchemy is Savitar after all; the speedster had used the Philosopher's Stone to take over the mind of the hapless Julian Albert to help him with his scheme.
    • Season Four has Clifford and Marlize DeVoe, also known as the Thinker and Mechanic. While both scheme against Team Flash, Clifford makes strategies while Marlize builds the inventions they rely on to keep up with the protagonists. Marlize specifically refers to herself as Clifford's "partner" as opposed to "minion." It's subverted again when Clifford starts drugging Marlize and editing her memories, making her his brainwashed dragon.
  • Game of Thrones: Jaime with Cersei in Season 1. The two of them are the season's primary threats and antagonists.
  • In Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, several Olympian gods were dedicated to destroying Hercules. They normally worked alone, but at times, they teamed-up. In "Reunions," for example, Hera takes over Olympus with Apollo and Ares siding with her.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has one with Parado and Kuroto Dan. Parado is the one in charge of the Bugsters, monsters created from video game characters becoming self aware, who seeks to Kill All Humans by trapping them in Kamen Rider Chronicle as revenge for humanity killing them over and over in their respective video games, while Kuroto is the CEO of the video game developer Genm Corp who also seeks to trap everyone in Kamen Rider Chronicle as a testament to his genius, and because he believes himself to be God. They eventually start to split up, culminating in Parado finishing off Kuroto after he's been defeated by Ex-Aid and claiming the Big Bad mantle solely for himself.
  • Kamen Rider Build features one between Night Rogue, leader of the evil organization Faust, and Juzaburo Nanba, a war profiteer who provides Faust with the funds they need to conduct their underground experiments. Their alliance later falls through, and Juzaburo winds up teaming up with Night Rogue's traitorous Dragon with an Agenda Blood Stalk.
  • The second season of Legends of Tomorrow has Damian Darhk (the Big Bad of Arrow Season 4) and Eobard Thawne (the Big Bad of The Flash (2014) Season 1) creating a formal partnership, growing into a full Legion of Doom a little while later with Malcolm Merlyn (the Big Bad of Arrow Season 1). They then add Leonard Snart (from before his recruitment and Heel–Face Turn) and Mick Rory (pushed into a Face–Heel Turn by his team's mistrust and Snart's urging). And, and, for a while, they also have the Brainwashed and Crazy Rip Hunter.
  • In Leverage's fourth season, Victor Dubenich and Jack Latimer form one. Latimer needs Dubenich's brains, while Dubenich needs Latimer's resources. The Leverage crew are able to take them down by targeting the far dumber Latimer, leaving Dubenich, a penniless ex-convict, with no way of getting at them.
  • Mr. Robot features one between Phillip Price, Whiterose, and the titular Mr. Robot. By season 3, this is ultimately subverted; Whiterose is revealed to be the true Big Bad, while Price becomes her puppet and Mr. Robot undergoes a Heel–Face Turn after he is disillusioned by the massive death toll resulting from the Stage Two attacks.
  • Nikita: The Greater-Scope Villain Oversight is composed of a committee, whose members appear to be equal (though Madeleine gets the most screentime, so she's arguably the leader). It was revealed that Amanda is in a secret partnership/relationship with Ari Tasarov to jointly plot against their respective superiors.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Season 2: Tamara and Greg, until it's subverted and revealed that they were actually co-dragons under Peter Pan.
    • Season 4: Mr. Gold and Maleficent initially, and it remains so for most of the arc until the 3rd-to-last episode when she leaves his side after Cruella's death. After this, it becomes a new Big Bad Duumvirate with Gold and Isaac. We also have Zelena as well, who is in league with Gold but doesn't end up doing much for the overall plot.
  • Power Rangers rarely has more than one Big Bad, but when it does, this is expected to happen.
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd become this around the time of their marriage. They continue to be the main antagonists till the end of the Mighty Moprhin era.
    • Power Rangers Dino Thunder: In the crossover episode with the previous series ("Thunder Storm"), previous Big Bad Lothor teams up with current Big Bad Mesogog to attempt to destroy the rangers.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive: In "Follow the Ranger", brothers Flurious and Moltor team up. It doesn't last long due to how much they hate each other.
  • The first season of The Punisher (2017) has William Rawlins and Billy Russo. Rawlins is the CIA's Director Of Covert Affairs and the mastermind of the Blacksmith's drug operation, using the money to finance illegal CIA operations. This also makes him the Greater-Scope Villain for the Punisher arc of Daredevil's 2nd season. Russo is an associate who owns a private military company called Anvil and uses his men to help silence anyone who could expose the corruption Rawlins and Russo himself were a part of. While Rawlins' arrogance leads him to believe he is the sole Big Bad who makes the plans, Russo is The Dragon who gets his hands dirty, it's clear by now its a partnership, which is shown when Russo arranges Rawlins' demise upon realizing the latter won't hold up his end of the bargain.
  • In Resurrection Ertugrul, Karatoygar (Politician who leads the Seljuks) and Petruchio (Master of the Amanus Mountains Templars) have an alliance of some sort in the first handful of episodes of season 1 due to the Seljuks backing the Templars legally and threatening Ertugrul after Ertugrul rescues Halime and her family from a small group of Petruchio's knights. Later, Al Aziz (In charge of the Arabs in Aleppo) and Titus (The latter being The Dragon to Petruchio) are also shown to interact with each other and conspire against Ertugrul despite their differing affiliations.
    • Season 2 does this with Noyan and Sadettin Kopek once the latter arrives, working with one another to impede Ertugrul but neither man being truly subordinate to the other since they are associated with distinct entities.
    • Season 5 has quite an elaborate one: it starts with Emir Bahaddin and The Mongols (The former being backed up by the latter during his tenure in Konya), and later Albasti, who fills in the void after Bahaddin is dispatched. Then, Dragos becomes part of the villain network after Albasti makes an agreement with him to eliminate the Kayis.

  • Revolution: In the second half of the first season around episode 11, de facto Big Bad General Monroe allied with Randall Flynn, the apparent leader of the project that caused the Blackout, to secure control of the power-granting Lockets and take over the continent. Randall makes it clear that he's not subservient to Monroe, and Monroe's comments to Major Neville make it clear he's planning on turning on Randall as soon as he's no longer needed.
  • Scream follows the tradition of its franchise by having two killers during its first season (though this is only revealed during the second season, when the surviving killer goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the behalf of the slain one).
  • The Shadow Line has Commander Khokar, Commander Penney and Sir Richard Halton, the leaders of Counterpoint.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: During the Dominion War arc, Gul Dukat and Weyoun serve as commanders of the two halves of the Dominion fleet, and despise one another. Dukat is later replaced with his Dragon, Damar, who eventually leads Cardassia to break away from the Dominion.
    • Gul Dukat (and later, Damar) and Weyoun serve as Co-Dragons of the Changelings, represented by the Female Shapeshifter.
  • Supernatural:
    • Season 6: Crowley and Castiel have been working together to find a way to open Purgatory, and gain access to all the souls within it. Castiel backstabs Crowley at the end, though.
    • Season 10: Crowley and his mother, Rowena, are set up as being this throughout Season 10, but their alliance falls flat midway into the Season. The final episodes make it clear that the Big Bad of the season are Sam and Dean Winchester.
  • True Blood: A few seasons had these
    • Season 4: Marnie and Antonia, up until around episode 10 when Antonia has a Heel–Face Turn and Marnie becomes the Big Bad all by herself.
    • Season 5: Salome and Bill. Although, by the finale, they both take the backseat to Lilith, who is the one manipulating them and controlling it all.
    • Season 6: Sarah Newlin and Governor Burrell, until he's killed by Bill.
  • The Vampire Diaries: In season one, Richard Lockwood and Jonathan Gilbert. Lockwood is ultimately the leader, Gilbert comes close to the Dragon-in-Chief.
  • Wynonna Earp:
    • Season 1 has an alliance between Bobo Del Rey, the leader of the revenants, and Constance Clootie, the Stone Witch. The former wants to free his kind from their imprisonment inside the Ghost River Triangle, while the latter wants to find the remains of her demonic sons so that she can resurrect them, and they're willing to aid each other in achieving their own goals for the sake of reaching their own. When they turn on each other near the end of the season, Bobo comes out on top, leaving him the sole Big Bad.
    • Season 2 has the Widows, a pair of demonic sister-wives, working in concert to resurrect and free their husband Bulshar, the Greater-Scope Villain of the series. At the end of the season, they're also joined by a resurrected Bobo.

    Pinballs 

    Podcasts 
  • 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 P Cs may end up taking out either or both of them.

    Theatre 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • Jon Irenicus and his sister Bodhi form the duumvirate in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, although Irenicus is given much more spotlight, thanks to being a complex and somewhat sympathetic villain, while Bodhi is just your run-of-the-mill Chaotic Evil vampire.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • Batman: Arkham Knight has Scarecrow, Deathstroke and the titular Arkham Knight teaming up to take over Gotham City, albeit for different reasons. Scarecrow wants to show the city (especially Batman) the true meaning of fear, Deathstroke wants to assassinate Batman for money and the Arkham Knight just wants to kill Batman. The Joker hallucination can count too, making it a quadumvirate.
    • In Batman: Arkham City, most of Batman's Rogue's Gallery appears in the game with their own subplot, but the Joker and Hugo Strange are undoubtedly the primary antagonists of the game's main story with Ra's al Ghul as the Greater-Scope Villain to the latter.
  • Battle Realms: Zymeth and the Nightvol.
  • BlazBlue features Yuuki Terumi, Relius Clover, and Hades Izanami, the rulers of NOL who have been orchestrating every bad thing that's happened in the series' storyline from behind the scenes, for well over a hundred years, all in their mission to, essentially, kill God. Making matters worse is that the three of them are insanely brilliant, Relius being an amoral Mad Scientist (though a very calm and Wicked Cultured one), Terumi being a psychopathic tactician who delights in taunting people and ruining lives, and Izanami being the goddess of death. Oddly enough, the former two get along rather well with each other, and act as Red Oni, Blue Oni to one another. Then Chronophantasma subverts it as Hades ultimately abandons them to their fates, but Double Subverted as they continue their work in secret, and Terumi becomes the Final Boss once Izanami is beaten.
  • In Crusader Kings 2 the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, or the Seljukes and the Fathimids fit this role, depending on if you are Muslim or Christian. They are all huge Empires (well, the Seljuks and Fathimids are technically Kingdoms) with a huge amount of troops. Also, the Fathimids are the heads of Shia Islam, while the Holy Roman Empire and the Seljukes will usually be the main force of a Crusade or a Sunni Jihad respectively. The Byzantine Empire can't join Crusades normally (due to being Orthodox), but are in such a good position that they can be a dangerous threat to Islam with constant holy wars.
    • If you play as Christian the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire will fill the role of the Big Good Duumvirate and same goes for the Seljukes and Fathimids if you are Muslim. Be aware though that Good Is Not Always Nice. They will try to subjugate you and make you a vassal if given the opportunity.
    • If you play neither a Muslim, nor a Christian character prepare for a Big-Bad Ensemble.
  • DC Universe Online has Lex Luthor, The Joker, and Circe as the trio who are in control of the villain side.
  • TK and Sullivan in Dead Rising 2.
  • Bob Page and Walton Simons in Deus Ex.
  • Diablo, Mephisto, and Baal, the Three Prime Evils in the Diablo games. Diablo is the Big Bad in the first game and at least the Final Boss in the second, and Baal is the Big Bad in the expansion, while Mephisto is an intermediate boss in Diablo II, but for the plot as a whole they are equals. They seem to be loyal to each other too (well, they are brothers). The third installment makes it explicitly clear that the Prime Evils are willing to work together so long as it suits their individual agendas, but that Hell has never really posed a serious threat to Heaven before because the Prime Evils have never been able to resist the temptation to stab each other in the back a bit too soon.
  • Double Dragon IV has Casey and Shannon, the Okada twin sisters.
  • Fall from Heaven reverses the usual fantasy conventions: The good gods are individually powerful but tend not to get along well, while the evil ones are all trying to twist Creation together just to make a point to the original Creator. They even run their afterlives (hells) together as a well-oiled machine to create twisted daemons, unlike the good gods whose afterlives are all disconnected.
  • Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly has main antagonist Sae and the Kusabi. While the Kusabi is more dangerous, because he has a One-Hit Kill, Sae is creepier and plays a more active role in the game. They are even fought as a Dual Boss.
  • Final Fantasy XI had the Ace Cardians in the Windurst mission line.
  • Final Fantasy XII had Venat and Vayne, who together wish to free Ivalice from Occuria's control. Venat is more like a Well-Intentioned Extremist while Vayne more appropriately fits the Big Bad role but they do work together. Venat and Dr. Cid might also qualify.
  • Final Fantasy XIII has Barthandelus and Orphan, who collaborate to bring about the destruction of Cocoon; however, the former of the two is given much more focus in the game itself, while the latter serves as the game's final boss. Actually a unique example because Barthandelus and Orphan essentially fuse for the final boss.
  • Every Fire Emblem game in the Archanea canon features Medeus and Gharnef in such a duumvirate - Gharnef specifically revives Medeus from his centuries-long death for this purpose, but it's implied he has plans which transcend Medeus and will (try to) dispose of him once he's done; for his part, since he cannot leave his castle without losing his power or risking death, Medeus relies on Gharnef to actually execute their plans for dominating Archanea.
  • Commander Sith and Yomiel from Ghost Trick make a deal to wipe out all the people who know of Temsik. Each of them has a separate agenda, though, and it doesn't end good for one of them.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
  • Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 has the Criminal of the Free World who want to get rid of the CPU goddesses and spread out piracy, while it's sequel, Hyperdimension Neptunia V, has the Seven Sages, people who want to get rid of the CPU goddesses because they think that Gamindustri can move on its own without any CPUs to guide them. Of course, they're not exactly united in that regard.
  • Gol and Maia Acheron of Jak and Daxter.
  • In Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, the two Big Bads are a fallen Jedi named Desann and an Imperial officer named Galak Fyyar. Both appear to be working together, but privately have different goals. Specifically, Desann wants to use the power of the Valley of the Jedi to create an army of Force-sensitives with which to topple the New Republic and create an empire of his own. Fyyar has been heavily mining a rare mineral called cortosis capable of resisting lightsabers in order to be able to effectively counter Jedi and, when the time came, Desann and his Reborn soldiers, in order to restore the old Empire and rule it.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: The 7th Stand User has DIO like in the source material, but also adds Vins into the mix as a second antagonist for the new protagonist.
  • Kingdom Hearts III features all 13 Xehanorts working against Sora and co to wage a Keyblade war.
  • The eponymous characters in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords are often called the Sith Triumvirate, although only Darth Sion and Nihulus ever work together as equals; the first third member was the Big Bad and Sion and Nihilus were her Co-Dragons and the replacement third member was never an official member of their organization. Cut content shows that Sion and Nihilus' relationship is actually a subversion, as during a deleted scene from the game that was eventually restored by modders, Darth Sion confronts Darth Nihilus aboard the latter's ship to boast about his success in "killing" the player character. Nihilus responds by forcing Sion to the ground effortlessly, and then letting him walk away humiliated; Nihilus didn't care about Sion, to the point where he considered the Lord of Pain so weak that he wasn't worth killing.
  • Dr. Harlan Fontaine and Leland Monroe in L.A. Noire. While Monroe runs the Suburban Redevelopment Fund's syndicate, who is the one with the ambition of making money off the city, Fontaine the mastermind behind the plans as he is the one who masterminded Courtney Sheldon's drug deals which put him in conflict with Mickey Cohen, as well as Ira Hogeboom's arson crimes.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In the Oracle games, Koume and Kotake are the Big Bads, whose motive is to revive their surrogate son Ganon.
    • In Hyrule Warriors, Ganondorf manages to begin influencing and controlling Cia, causing her to behave very dangerously. As the story progresses, she clearly begins fighting against his influence while still actively trying to finish her villainous plan. What ends up happening is a small war, in which during one stage where you control Cia's forces, you must fight Ganondorf, and yet in another stage while playing as the Hylian Forces, you end up facing both Cia and Ganondorf, and have to complete objectives against and defeat both armies while they're actively trying to attack one another and you at the same time.
  • Joker and Lex Luthor in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
  • Marvel vs. Capcom:
  • Mega Man X8 might have used this trope. It's left ambiguous as to whether Sigma was the real mastermind behind Lumine, if it was the other way around, or if they were just like minds using each other to fulfill their goals (the former wanting to ensure that he and his ideals live on in the New Generation Reploids even if he were to finally die for good, and the latter wanting to purge old-gen Reploids to pave the way for the New Generation Reploids to take over.)
  • Each game of the Metroid Prime Trilogy has two primary enemies of their own story
  • Shang Tsung and Quan Chi in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance.
  • The Southern Urals region of the The New Order: Last Days of Europe has Oskar Dirlewanger and Trofim Lysenko in cases when they make an alliance against the militants of the Ural League and the free city of Orenburg. In spite of their mutual disdain for each other, they can find a use for cooperation because of their common interests, as Dirlewanger wants to pillage Orenburg for its numerous riches and Lysenko wants Dirlewanger to provide his laboratories in Magnitogorsk with captured residents of Orenburg for further use in human experimentation. Their alliance, due to Dirlewanger's numbers and Lysenko's technological advantage, presents a mortal danger for other states in the Urals.
  • A Big Bad triumvirate is found in Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. General Dripik of the Slig Barracks, Vice President Aslik of FeeCo Depot and Director Phleg of Necrum Mines and Bonewerkz, respectively. Until the previous game's Big Bad, Molluck, is revealed to have been their superior.
  • The Eerie Voice and Malevolent Entity in Persona 4: Arena. The Eerie Voice turns out to be an Unwitting Pawn to the Malevolent Entity though. Ultimax reveals the two to be Sho Minazuki and Hi-no-Kagutsuchi, respectively. Since Sho essentially has two personalities, this is more like a Triumvirate.
  • Gates and Tokugawa from Policenauts.
  • In Psychonauts, Dr. Loboto and Coach Oleander work together to conquer the world. The latter eventually undergoes a Heel–Face Turn, though, after Loboto falls out of the asylum.
  • Pulp Adventures has Shiwan Khan and John Sunlight, whose plan is to conquer the world (Khan would receive the eastern half and Sunlight the western half).
  • Radia Senki Reimeihen has Gadiss and Nova, two tyrants who conquered their homelands and united together to find and seize the power of Radia Tower.
  • Captains Romulus Slag and Angstrom Darkwater in Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty.
  • In Saya no Uta, this overlaps with Villain Protagonist, if Fuminori decides to stay with Saya; he decides to help her in her quest to assimilate humanity into her species.
  • Shin Megami Tensei II, despite being known as the game where God is the Big Bad, did not actually start with YHVH as the main villain. Instead, the villains directly responsible for most of the game's problems until YHVH gets involved are the Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Uriel forming a Triumvirate.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey has the Triumvirate of the Three Wise Men (who may or may not be the aforementioned Michael Raphael, and Uriel) directing the Law faction, and the Duumvirate of Lucifer and Mem Aleph helming Chaos.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • The eight season, Revelation has Agent Washington and the Meta, with The Chairman as the Greater-Scope Villain.
    • The Chorus Trilogy (seasons 11-13) of the same show has Locus and Felix taking their place, with Control (later revealed to be The Chairman again) as the Greater-Scope Villain.
  • Tonin: Vilano-san and Pai-Meio work together during Season 3.

    Web Comics 

    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 

    Western Animation 
  • The Quintessions from Transformers, being many villains that work together and being that each has multiple personalities. During G1's third season, the Autobots had to contend with the Decepticons and the Quintessions (who sometimes worked together to achieve their own mutually exclusive ends).
  • Moog Magister and Hector Sinestro in Monster Allergy.
  • Xanatos and Demona for the first season of Gargoyles and about 1/3 of the second season. At that point their goals and methods become too divergent, and Xanatos teams up with the heroes to stop Demona from turning the population of New York to stone.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward, the two main villains were invading alien Sh'Okanabo and corrupt C.E.O. Darius Dun. Despite different goals and storylines, they established a resource-sharing relationship, where Darius gave Sh'Okanabo the stolen plans for nephew Cody Jones' time window, in exchange for the assistance of the turtle clones Sh'Okanabo had created.
    • In the 1987 cartoon, the conventional opinion seems to be that Shredder is The Dragon and Krang is the Big Bad, but that could easily be just because The Dragon is a much better-known trope than Big Bad Duumvirate. There is no question that Shredder sees himself as a Big Bad in an equal partnership with Krang, and it usually seems as if most of the characters agree (Krang may be the only one who sees himself as Shredder's boss). And in an alternate history where the villains succeed in taking over the world, who is the natural choice for the position of Emperor? Hint: The episode isn't titled "Krangville."
  • In seasons 4 through 6 of The Fairly OddParents, Anti-Cosmo, the leader of the anti-fairies, and HP, the leader of the pixies, seemed to have equal claim to the title of Big Bad. This is especially notable in season 6, where the two never appeared without the other. Which is an odd pairing considering HP wants to impose order and is teaming with someone who obviously doesn't share that goal.
  • Kulipari: An Army of Frogs has Lord Marmoo and Queen Jarrah, the former of whom teams up with the latter so she can destroy the Veil, and he can take over the Amphibilands. Jarrah, despite her hatred of Marmoo, continues to work with him, as she needs him to kill the Turtle King and assist her army in terms of size and strength.
  • In season 2 of Metalocalypse, Metal Masked Assassin and Edgar Jomfru act as the season's Big Bads when they form the Revengencers, appearing in several episodes of the season. Could possibly be considered a triumvirate after they establish an alliance with Lavona Succoboso in the season finale. In a less blatant example, General Crozier and Cardinal Ravenwood could be considered the first season's Big Bad Duumvirate (with Metal Masked Assassin as their Dragon).
  • The Almighty Tallests of Invader Zim that the Villain Protagonist serves. Normally it'd just be a singular Evil Overlord, but since Red and Purple are the same height they're the joint rulers of The Empire (though Red seems to be a bit more competent).
  • Ben 10 did it several times in all three series:
    • Big Bads Vilgax and Kevin 11, respectively from season 1 and 2 of the original series, teamed up at the end of season 2 in an attempt to take the Omnitrix from Ben. Kevin's betrayal eventually caused the alliance to fail and led to both of them being trapped in the Null Void.
      • Later, the Forever King, Big Bad of season 4, assemble a team made of several of Ben's old enemies for the season finale while most of them weren't that much of Big Bads (guys like Clancy or Rojo had only appeared once before), the team still included Charmcaster (Gwen's Archrival) and Dr Animo (Ben's third most dangerous enemy back then).
    • Vilgax teamed up with Albedo in the Alien Force finale in a new attempt to take the Omnitrix. Though the alliance was successful, Vilgax then betrayed Albedo, and Ben was able to defeat him alone.
  • The Big Bad of the second season of Wakfu is initially set up to be Rushu, the king of Shushu until Qilby becomes another Big Bad of the season and the two team up.
  • Lex Luthor and Braniac during the Cadmus Arc of Justice League Unlimited.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In Book 1, Zuko's hunt for the Avatar is soon compounded by Admiral Zhao, who oppose each other from the beginning.
    • Book 2 also ends this way, with Princess Azula and Long Feng teaming up to perform a coup on the Earth City capital, Ba Sing Se. However, from the beginning, both were planning to betray the other with Azula planning to take it for the Fire Nation and Long Feng planning to take control from the Earth King and have a more iron-fisted ruler for the Earth Kingdom. When the coup is complete, Azula turns Long Feng's own men against him, having impressed and terrified them with her ruthlessness and cunning, ending it with a Breaking Speech to her defeated rival.
    • In Book 2 of The Legend of Korra, it is possible that Vaatu and Unalaq were this rather than Unalaq being The Dragon to Vaatu. While Vaatu was far more powerful than Unalaq, he was largely helpless for most of the season until Unalaq's machinations allowed him to escape, and Unalaq did so out of his own ambition rather than any loyalty to Vaatu. This comes across most strongly in the finale, where they merge into the Dark Avatar and are treated as a single threat, rather than Vaatu overriding Unalaq (or the other way around) like most similar situations.
  • In the 2006 revival of Biker Mice from Mars, the main antagonists are a race of cat-like aliens called the Catatonians, led by Hannibal T. Hairball and his Dragon-in-Chief Cataclysm, as well as a Corrupt Corporate Executive named Ronaldo Rump. The Catatonians are invading Mars and try to stop Vinnie, Throttle, and Modo from rescuing Stoker so he can make a new regenerator that can be used to end the drought on Mars, while Ronaldo Rump wants Stoker to build a new regenerator because the one he has that he uses for his land development schemes is running low on power.
  • In the second season of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Professor Pericles and Mr. E serve as this in a downplayed example. While the two appear to be equal in power, Pericles is actually the dominant force of evil. Mr. E ends up pulling a Heel–Face Turn as he realizes the evils he and his compatriots are sinking to, while Pericles stops treating Mr. E with any resemblance of respect and properly asserts his authority as the season draws to its' close.
  • In a case of What Could Have Been for the third season of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, if it had remained under Sunbow, the plan was for the Crimson Twins, Tomax and Xamot, to take over what was left of Cobra as "The Coil" and take what they saw as its best parts in a less military, more "criminal" direction.
  • In Steven Universe, the Homeworld Gems are ruled by a group called the Diamond Authority. So far it's known to consist of Blue Diamond, Yellow Diamond, and White Diamond, though White Diamond holds more authority than Blue and Yellow with both of them fearing her. Older versions of their Arc Symbol also included a Pink Diamond, but it's conspicuously absent from modern Gem Machines. We later discover that there was a Pink Diamond and Rose Quartz shattered her... Or so everyone thought, until Steven finds out while in Pearl's Gem, he sees that the Rose Quartz that shattered Pink Diamond was actually Pearl, and that the REAL Rose Quartz never shattered Pink Diamond; she WAS Pink Diamond. ALL ALONG.
  • LEGO Nexo Knights generally features an alliance between Monstrox and Jestro as its lead villains.
  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears in later seasons have Duke Igthorn and Lady Bane as the recurrent villains, often appearing in the same episode with Igthorn's crush on her as a Running Gag.
  • Carmen Sandiego has the five leaders of V.I.L.E. — Coach Brunt, Professor Maelstrom, Countess Cleo, Doctor Bellum, and Shadow-san — who run the organization by committee, with no one member appearing to have seniority over the others. After Shadow-san defects at the end of Season 1, the other four spend most of Season 2 trying to fill his vacant seat, ultimately settling on Roundabout, their Double Agent in British intelligence.
  • South Park:
    • Eric Cartman manages to form one with Cthulhu in the "Coon & Friends" trilogy where the two proceed to destroy everything the former doesn't like.
    • Cartman forms another one with the Record Producer in Season 18's two part finale, which leads to Cartman becoming the Final Boss of that season.
  • The final season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Grogar recruit all of the non-reformed big bads from previous seasons — Queen Chrysalis from seasons 2 and 6, King Sombra from season 3, Tirek from season 4, and Cozy Glow from season 8. Chrysalis and the latter two stab him in the back and become the true final antagonists of the series as a united force.
  • A couple from OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes:
    • Lord Boxman—who's arguably the Big Bad of the series (certainly of Season 1, and is the most consistent antagonist the heroes face)—teams up with his client, Professor Venomous, midway through Season 2 in a permanent alliance to co-run Boxmore and antagonize the Bodega heroes together. Even working together, they're still not the only major threat to the heroes, making them a Duumvirate that's also part of a Big-Bad Ensemble.
    • In the series climax, T.K.O. and Shadowy Figure each perform a Split-Personality Takeover on their respective hosts, K.O. and Professor Venomousnote , and "Shadowy Venomous" convinces T.K.O. to team up with him, ousting Boxman when he protests their actions. It lasts for a couple of episodes until Shadowy Figure makes it clear that, despite them technically being father and son due to the relationship between their hosts, he didn't really care about T.K.O. and was just using him to get more power; T.K.O. subsequently beats Shadowy out of Venomous and destroys him for good.
  • Season 3 of Castlevania reveals that Carmilla, The Starscream of Season 2, rules over her fiefdom jointly with her sisters Morana, Striga, and Lenore. While Carmilla herself is recognized as the nominal leader of the group, each of them as their own area of expertise and run things by committee.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Big Bad Triumvirate

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Catwoman and Penguin

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

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