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Which villain will come out on top?
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The story features two or more Big Bads, each of whom has their own distinct agenda and resources. The result can be Evil vs. Evil, Eviler Than Thou, Enemy Mine, Villain Team-Up or Big Bad Duumvirate, but it may be the case that none of the villains have anything to do with each other, and may not even be aware of each other. Played straight, each Big Bad should be of a comparable threat level to prevent one from overshadowing the other(s).

Having multiple main villains can bring new dimensions to the story and make it more complex and less predictable. It can force The Hero to face a range of different challenges - for example, maybe one villain seeks to Take Over the World while another is a more personal enemy from his past, though it's possible for both Big Bads to have identical goals without making the story any less interesting.

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The success or failures of one Big Bad can affect the fortunes of another, as they may have to consider each other in their plans, or might try to profit from another's defeat. The hero might defeat one villain before fighting another, or might regard one as more dangerous or important than the others. The Sorting Algorithm of Evil may be either avoided — if all the Big Bads are equally powerful and dangerous — or inverted, if some are more powerful and/or more dangerous than others. .. Remember this must be simultaneous — if a new Big Bad arises only after another is defeated, then this does not count; that’s Arc Villain. See also Rogues Gallery, which is similar but usually forces established villains to act as Monster of the Week. When there are so many Big Bads involved that one needs a score card to keep them straight, this is The Big Bad Shuffle. See also Gambit Pileup; something that usually results from this trope when the big bads plot against each other for power in the same way they plot against the good guys, which can also sometimes result in a Mêlée à Trois between the heroes and the two big bads. Contrast with Villain Exclusivity Clause when only one villain is allowed and Villain of Another Story, where other villains appear but their conflicts are not in focus.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dark Bakura does this a lot in Yu-Gi-Oh! with Pegasus and Dark Marik, respectively.
  • Code Geass has Emperor Charles zi Britannia and his son, Prince Schneizel el Britannia. The former has an Assimilation Plot called the "Ragnarok", where all humans, living or dead, will become one being in an attempt to destroy all gods and unite all humans. The latter has an A God Am I mindset, with the plan to launch a Kill Sat called the Damocles that fires F.L.E.I.J.A. missiles, all to unite the world through fear.
  • Digimon V-Tamer 01 technically has three big bads, in Lord Demon, Parallelmon and Metamorphmon. In practice, Lord Demon is the big bad, while Parallelmon and Metamorphmon are both the Villain of Another Story that just so happened to have the misfortune of meeting Taichi and Zero. All the same, the latter two are still credible threats that have absolutely nothing to do with Demon.
  • Digimon Adventure features one of these in the Dark Masters, a quartet of Mega-level Digimon who serve as the Big Bads of final ten episodes. MetalSeadramon, Puppetmon, Machinedramon, and Piedmon each have their own armies and territories and only appear together once, when they're first introduced. Otherwise they appear to function as four separate Big Bads whose mutual goals seem to include ruling over the Digital World and killing the DigiDestined who are trying to stop them. Otherwise they don't lift a finger to help one another while the children clobber their way up their hierarchy, and in case of Piedmon, he actually seems to enjoy watching the other three get obliterated one-by-one. And that's not taking Myotismon, Etemon and Devimon into account.
  • In Naruto, Orochimaru serves as the Big Bad for Part 1, until he gets saddled with Villain Decay in Part 2, leaving The Akatsuki to take over. Partway through the second half, Danzo throws his conniving hat into the mix. It becomes The Big Bad Shuffle later on when Orochimaru is killed and replaced by Kabuto and Tobi is revealed to be the Akatsuki’s true leader. Tobi and Kabuto later form an unstable Big Bad Duumvirate during preparations for the Fourth Shinobi World War. The shuffle continues into the final parts of the manga; Danzo kills himself via a suicide technique and Sasuke helps his brother take Kabuto out of commission, and Tobi forms yet another duumvirate with his resurrected ancestor and Predecessor Villain Madara to summon the Ten-Tailed Beast. Then Sasuke revives Orochimaru and the two of them decide to help the good guys take down Tobi and Madara. And to make it even more confusing, after Tobi has a Heel–Face Turn and Madara was fully-revived and activates the Infinite Tsukuyomi, Black Zetsu (literally) backstab Madara and reveal that he isn't a manifestation of Madara's will, but Princess Kaguya's, the first chakra user and the mother of the Sage of the Six Paths, and the one ultimately responsible for the Ten-Tails' existence. This puts both Black Zetsu and her in the running as well.
  • In One Piece, most villains tend to survive their arcs and maintain possibility of returning.
    • The Four Emperors, with their respective crews, are the most powerful pirates in the world, ruling the second half of the Grand Line, the New World. Three out of the four that are the most villainous and antagonistic, as well as the ones with the highest resumes, are Marshall D. Teach (or Blackbeard), captain, later admiral, of the Blackbeard Pirates and former member of the Whitebeard Pirates under Ace's division and the Seven Warlords of the Sea (who caused the Whitebeard War in its entirety), Charlotte "Big Mom" Linlin, captain of the Big Mom Pirates, matriarch of the Charlotte Family and queen of Totto Land (whom Kid and Luffy have personally challenged), and Kaido "of the Beasts", Supreme Commander of the Animal Kingdom Pirates and ally to the shogun of Wano Country, Kurozumi Orochi; he scares the shit out of Doflamingo and is who Law and Luffy have declared war against.
      • This changes in the Wano Country Arc when Kaido and Big Mom fought in Onigashima. After their duel, the two decided that they and their crews should team up to take over the world, and become enemies again afterward.
    • Several pirates of the Worst Generation could easily turn up as antagonists in the future, but the biggest one is Eustass Kid, who is the most savage one by far. Some, however, have demoted themselves out of the Big Bad running by accepting roles as lieutenants of Big Mom or Kaido.
    • The Five Elder Stars, or Gorosei, are five elders that control the World Government, so they're solely responsible for all the reprehensible policies that the World Government operates with. However, they're more of a Greater-Scope Villain, since Fleet Admiral Sakazuki serves as The Heavy from the Marine side.
    • FormerlyAllied with the Marines are the Seven Warlords of the Sea. While their ranks have dwindled and some are on friendly terms with Luffy and his crew, Bartholomew Kuma, Edward Weevil, and Dracule Mihawk are bound to be dealt with at some point. Donquixote Doflamingo stayed as a side threat pre-timeskip (he had Bellamy as his subodinate and used to own the slave house in Sabaody) and finally served as the Big Bad for Dressrosa. Doflamingo has actually been confirmed for the mastermind behind the Punk Hazard, but he's actually operating alongside Kaido.
    • On the front of former Big Bads not affiliated with anybody yet, there are Sir Crocodile, who decided to head for the New World when he heard of Luffy's return, Buggy the Clown, another rival of Luffy for crown of the Pirate King, who's been gathering an army of loyal followers and also has been contacted by the World Government for joining the Warlords, and Doflamingo as well, who, although he was defeated at the end of the Dressrosa Arc and imprisoned in Impel Down, his knowledge of the Sacred Treasure of Mary Geoise hints at a possible return.
    • Then comes Chapter 908 with an even BIGGER Greater-Scope Villain than even the Five Elder Stars known as Imu, the true leader of the World Government who they bowed to as he's the true ruler of the whole world and the mastermind behind how the World Government runs as well.
  • The GeGeGe no Kitarō manga and its various adaptations have this with Nurarihyon, the "Yokai Supreme Commander" who (starting from the third anime) appears in various non-consecutive episodes and gets Yokai to work for him, and Backbeard, the leader of the Western Yokai, appearing most notably in several The Great Yokai War and Yokai Rally adaptations. Uniquely, the 2018 anime adds new villain Nanashi/Nameless as the most recurring threat from the very first episode until the end of the first half, while starting with the second half The Four Generals of Jigoku take center stage, and in the final arc it is revealed that Nurarihyon was behind their release, and he then proceeds to revive Backbeard to form a Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Whenever there's an Arc Villain in Soul Eater, like Arachne, Shaula or Noah (The Tables of Contents), Medusa and Asura are not too far behind, similar to Bakura from above.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. The series builds up to a battle between Muruta Azrael of Blue Cosmos and Chairman Patrick Zala of ZAFT, and Rau Le Creuset is manipulating both of them in an attempt to bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny: Most of the series is defined by a brawl between ZAFT Chairman Gilbert Durandal and Blue Cosmos leader Lord Djibril over control of the world. Interestingly, Durandal is much more competent than Djibril, a fact that is made clear from the start. However, despite his Stupid Evil status, Djibril's resources, combined with the fact that he's essentially pure evil and is a strong believer in There Is No Kill Like Overkill (complete with a Wave-Motion Gun and a penchant towards nuclear warfare), means that both of them absolutely have to be defeated in order for the story to end well.
  • The One Shadow Nine Fists in History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, consisting of several Evil Mentor martial artists, many of which verge into Anti-Villain on a handful of occasions, barring Silcardo Jenazad and the mysterious Greater-Scope Villain of the group, Miu's father, Saiga Furinji.
  • Kimba the White Lion did this with Viper Snakely and Claw.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has Diavolo and Risotto Nero for Part 5. They are both villainous gang leaders and are opposing threats to Team Bucciarati. Eventually Diavolo becomes the main threat in the second half of Part 5.
  • Transformers Cybertron did this in a way. Megatron was the obvious one, but Starscream later became a Big Bad in his own right after an attempt to backstab narrowly failed. Then there's Sideways and Soundwave, who seem to be avenging their homeworld. The comic adds in Unicron, Back from the Dead and going all Omnicidal Maniac once again.
  • Dragonball Z had the Namek Saga, where the Z warriors had to fight the last saga's Big Bad (Vegeta, not yet at his Heel–Face Turn) and the new Big Bad (Frieza).
  • D.Gray-Man: While the Millennium Earl has been the main villain since day one and is still the most prominent threat, recent chapters have The Fourteenth and Apocryphos challenging the Earl for the position of Biggest Bad (literally, in the Fourteenth's case). Also, due to the Black-and-Gray Morality of the series, one could also arguably stick Black Order leader Lveille on the list as well.
  • In My Hero Academia Shigaraki gains the Quirk All For One during the Paranormal Liberation War arc, which allows All For One himself the opportunity to try and manipulate and control Shigaraki’s body. Since by this point Shigaraki is too independent to be content with giving up his body to his master he resists All For One's control and the two proceed to fight over control of their shared body.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has Dr. Faker and Tron, who are opposed to both the protagonists and each other. Both were beaten by Yuma (through Dr. Faker was the final boss of the first arc), both reformed and both controlled by the bigger bads, the Barians
  • A Certain Magical Index and its spinoff A Certain Scientific Railgun have a lot of evil people who oppose each other or don't even know about each other, with complex plans that intersect and are hard to keep track of.
  • In the Getter Robo manga (but not the anime), the Hundred Demon Empire shows up before the Dinosaur Empire is defeated, leading them to clash both with the heroes and each other. The Dinosaur Empire is the underdog in this fight, to the point where the Getter Team swear to avenge the dinosaurs' leader after the demons give him a humiliating death.
  • FLCL has Medical Mechanica, who plans to iron out free thought all over the world, and Villain Protagonist Haruko Haruhara, who wants to steal the power of legendary Space Pirate Atomsk, which unfortunately involves freeing him from imprisonment by the former by helping them along with their plan (and she doesn't really care what happens afterwards). Though in practice, Medical Mechanica never makes a physical appearance, making them more of a Greater-Scope Villain (and it’s ambiguous if they even exist), while Haruko acts as the main Big Bad.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha FORCE has Curren Hückebein, the leader of the Hückebein Family, and her father Hades Vandein, the head of the Vandein Cooperation. Both of them are fighting the TSAB, especially Special Duty Section 6, but they also oppose each other. While the Hückebein are huge Jerkasses, they admit their actions, while Hades pretends to be a normal innocent guy despite being Obviously Evil, who is even more evil than any of the Hückebein.
  • In Fairy Tail, the endgame sets up two Big Bads in opposition with each other, and both of whom have served as Greater-Scope Villains before becoming active: Zeref, an immortal Person of Mass Destruction and Death Seeker who wants to put an end to his own evil in a manner that would wipe out all of humanity; and Acnologia, a dragon who Was Once a Man and is fueled by his hatred of dragons and his unquenchable thirst for destruction. A third candidate would be E.N.D., the master of the dark guild Tartaros and a demon created by Zeref for his own Suicide by Cop, with his guild attempting to unseal him from a book to wreak destruction on mankind. That is until he's revealed to be Natsu's Superpowered Evil Side that wasn't truly sealed to begin with, and is promptly done away with when Lucy figures out how to sever Natsu's connection to the book.
    • The sequel Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest sets up two new villains following the previous Big Bads' defeat: the White Mage, an unnamed Knight Templar who wishes to steal the Five Dragon Gods' magic and use it to reduce the world to a Blank White Void; and Georg Raizen, the master of the Dragon Eater guild Diabolos, who want to consume the dragons to gain their power. Both their goals clash with each other, as well as Fairy Tail's, who are out to seal the dragons before their power falls into the wrong hands. And that's to say nothing of the intentions of said Dragon Gods either, as Moon Dragon God Selene throws her hat into the ring later on as a third candidate, directly manipulating the White Mage into unsealing and awakening her fellow Dragon God Aldoron under the guise of taking his magic and intends to Take Over the World now that the threat of Acnologia is past. Aldoron has similar plans, but is killed by Natsu and Fairy Tail first and thus keeping him "merely" as an Arc Villain.
  • Death Note has a variation of this. In the second half of the series, Villain Protagonist Light Yagami has to contend with Near and Mello, both of whom are trying and using very different methods to uncover his identity of Kira, while also acting separately from each other. For all intents and purposes, this is the closest example of a Big Bad Ensemble that can be found in a series where the protagonist is the true Big Bad overall.
  • Baccano!'s "Grand Punk Railroad" (1931) arc has three major antagonists with mutually exclusive goals boarding a train — Ladd Russo, an Ax-Crazy hitman who intends to kill everyone on the train just for kicks; Goose Perkins, a cult leader who holds the train hostage and kidnaps a senator's family to cow said senator into letting his cult leader out of jail; and Claire Stanfield, one of the train's conductors who wants to kill both of the aforementioned villains for daring to cause trouble on his train, and will gladly take out anyone who either works with them or gets in his way...except of course, for Goose's silent female ally...
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V sets up two antagonists in it's end game, Leo Akaba, head of the Academia and Zarc, the demon duelist. Leo is driven to bring back the original dimension and his daughter Ray and has been declared on all of reality to do so. While Zarc is a duelist that turned god and is determined into destroying all of reality. In the end Zarc takes over as the Big Bad when he effortless defeats Leo.
  • Tokyo Ghoul has several major threats throughout the story that poor Ken Kaneki has to deal with. The two most prominent are the One-Eyed Owl, leader of Aogiri Tree who turns out to be Eto Yoshimura, and the Final Boss himself, Nimura Furuta, :re's main Big Bad who manipulates everyone to achieve his goal of Super Peace. In between them is Dr. Akihiro Kanou, a Mad Doctor who is the one who turned Kaneki into a one-eyed ghoul and freely switches allegiances between the two as long as it serves his own aspirations, and Rize Kamishiro, the Femme Fatale ghoul who attacked Kaneki at the beginning of the story and appears as his Enemy Within, trying to get him to give in to his violent urges, and is the Post-Final Boss. Above all of them is CCG Chairman Tsyneyoshi Wasshu, the head of a Government Conspiracy that aims to prolong the Forever War between humans and ghouls, but he is more of a Greater-Scope Villain as he never comes into direct conflict with Kaneki.
  • Vampire Knight: While he's more of a Byronic Hero than a straight-up villain, Kaname Kuran's more questionable actions and decisions end up driving much of the conflict of the series. He shares this distinction with Shizuka Hio (who became a Disc-One Final Boss) and Rido Kuran for the first arc, yet they're both defeated prior to the end, which leaves Kaname as the Final Boss.
  • In Elfen Lied, Lucy, Queen of the Diclonii, is a Villain Protagonist who hates humans and wants them all dead, and is the more personal villain that the heroes fight. However, she’s only like that because Humans Are Bastards to her; specifically Director Kakuzawa, who runs the institute that tormented her and her fellow diclonii to turn them into his personal Master Race. He is the embodiment of everything wrong with humans in this series. It’s eventually revealed that his rival is not Lucy, but the Diclonius DNA Voice that manipulates Lucy’s cruelty, and she kills him to become the Final Boss.
  • Hellsing Ultimate has the Iscariot Organization, a Vatican military denomination led by Enrico Maxwell, whose top enforcer, Alexander Anderson, is the only man capable of going toe-to-toe with Alucard and has an army of disciples, and Millenium, the remains of the Third Reich, led by The Major, who have an army of Nazi Vampires, a lineup of talented officers and mercenaries, and a Werewolf. They both end up invading (or, in Iscariot's case, crusading into) London at the end.

    Comic Books 
  • Almost every superhero worth his salt has his/her own Rogues Gallery, so this is played several times. However, most comic villains can only be counted as Big Bads within their own stories. The best examples exist when dealing with crossovers and prolonged story arcs, which can feature multiple villains and can last several months or even up to a year. Some examples from The DCU:
    • No Man's Land involves Gotham City being abandoned by the US and falling prey to the crazed villains of Gotham, who take over various parts and rule each as their own fiefdoms. The story climaxes with Lex Luthor and the Joker initiating their own unrelated schemes simultaneously and Batman and co. having to stop them, a takeover under the guise of Villain with Good Publicity and a plot to murder new-born infants to break Gotham's spirit, respectively.
    • 52: Chang Tzu, Lex Luthor, Lady Styx, Neron, and evil Skeets, courtesy of Mister Mind are all the Big Bad to a variety of heroes starring in a number of inter-connected stories.
    • Krona and an undead Swamp Thing, which believes itself to be Nekron, are the two biggest threats in Brightest Day, but Max Lord, Eclipso, Black Manta and Siren, the Queen of Hawkworld, D'kay Drazz, and Firestorm (who is actually serving the Anti-Monitor), are all causing all kinds of trouble.
    • The New Krypton arc in the Superman comics has Generals Zod and Lane opposing each other in Evil vs. Evil, though Lex Luthor and Brainiac have their own agendas as well.
    • Final Crisis has Darkseid and Mandrakk the Dark Monitor. They don't interact, one isn't manipulating the other, and it isn't clear whether Darkseid even knows Mandrakk exists, but Mandrakk is all too happy to piggyback onto Darkseid's schemes to further his own.
      • Mandrakk does it again in Dark Matter book The Unexpected, basically piggybacking on Onimar Synn's own evil plans and setting his return while the heroes are busy stoping Synn.
    • Grant Morrison's run on Batman has The Joker, Talia Al Ghul, and new character Doctor Simon Hurt.
    • Invoked in Justice League (2018) where series Big Bad Lex Luthor requires information only another dangerous villain can provide - recently imprisoned the Batman Who Laughs. He agrees to give them on specific terms - Lex will set him free, accept he has his own plans regarding the Multiverse and the heroes and they may not align with Lex's, stay out of his way and hope he keeps his word to not go after Lex. Luthor agrees
  • And from the Marvel Universe:
    • Dark Reign is about Norman Osborn accumulating substantial political and military power after he is placed in charge of all superhuman matters in the United States. During this he forms The Cabal with Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, Namor, Loki, and The Hood, while organizing and running a range of super-teams made up of anti-heroes and lower tiered supervillains. This was a year-long crossover arc that affected several titles, so many heroes in their own stories had to deal both the Monster of the Week and their own story arcs while also having to worry about Osborn or his minions.
    • The Messiah Myth Arc in X-Men, which covers a multitude of story arcs from Messiah Complex up to Second Coming over a number of years, has the X-Men dealing with anti-mutant activists eventually united under Bastion, traitor X-Man Bishop and Stryfe, Selene and her vampiric underling, and appearances by Apocalypse and Sinister amongst others, as well as the possibility that the child they are protecting will grow up to be a mutant Antichrist. All of these villains have their own agendas, most revolving around the girl, many of which impact on each other and affect the strength level of the X-Men. Some of this also takes place during Dark Reign, which means Osborn and co. factor in too, notably during the Utopia X story.
    • Infinity follows two plots simultaneously, so has one of these by default. Namely, a massive Enemy Mine alliance (including the bulk of the Avengers) going up against a universal invasion by the Builders, and the remaining heroes on Earth holding off another attempt by Thanos to regain the Infinity Gems (via an invasion of Earth). And then Shuma-Gorath shows up...
    • In Young Avengers vol.2 at first it looked like the Big Bad is going to be the Mother but then Speed got kidnapped by what is assumed to be completely different Eldritch Abomination posing as Patriot's impostor, who seems to happen some nefarious plans for the team, but completely unrelated to Mother's, even if they had one very short Villain Team-Up. And then adult version of Journey into Mystery character Leah, whose plans may, but don't have to be aligned with either of them, showed up.
    • From The Kree/Skrull War, we have Ronan the Accuser, usurper of the Kree throne, and the Skrull Emperor, opposing both the heroes and each other. H. Warren Craddock, the anti-alien McCarthy-esque American politician, initially looks like a third contender, but is eventually revealed to be a disguised Skrull agent.
    • Spider-Man: Life Story: Norman Osborn and Doctor Octopus are the series' most prominent antagonists but have shared the position with someone else throughout the story.
      • Issue #2 has Norman and Dr. Miles Warren.
      • Issue #5 has Tony Stark and Morlun.
      • The final issue has Doc Ock (possessing Miles) and Venom (infesting Kraven), with Doctor Doom as the Greater-Scope Villain.
    • In 2018 Venom series Knull the Symbiote God is established as the Greater-Scope Villain early on but remains a Sealed Evil in a Can. Carnage is working to unleash him, while the Maker, evil Reed Richards from Ultimate Universe has his own agenda concerning Venom.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Transformers:
    • Simon Furman's run on IDW's Transformers Ongoing comics set up a large number of potential villains from the Rogues Gallery. Nemesis Prime and the Dead Universe, The Machination, Shockwave, Doubledealer, The Decepticons, the Deathbringer and his Reapers and Galvatron all step up to the plate as the bad guys in the numerous plotlines Furman's run had. By the end of his run all of them except the Decepticons and Galvatron have been taken care of however.
    • This is cropping up again in the new, Post-War Transformers stories (The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, The Transformers: Robots in Disguise). Megatron, Shockwave, Tyrest, the Decepticon Justice Division, and possibly the Galactic Council, all have conflicting plans to control or destroy the Cybertronian race.
    • The post-Dark Cybertron comics see another realignment after Megatron's defection to the Autobots. Multiple, competing factions of Decepticons roam the galaxy. Starscream attempts to consolidate control over Cybertron and annex the lost Cybertronian colonies. Organic led galactic governments also threaten Cybertronian and mechanical life across the galaxy. And the Functionist Council, previously destroyed by the Great War, is given new life and free rein over a newly created parallel timeline. Galvatron leads the "main" Decepticon forces.
    • After the conclusion of Robots in Disguise and More Than Meets the Eye, we get another reshuffling. Megatron remains an Autobot, but Tarn and Galvatron are dead, with the latter's army now working together with the Autobots full-time under Soundwave's leadership. Getaway wrests control of the Lost Light away from Rodimus and sets himself up as the successor book's primary known antagonist. The Thirteen Primes, such as Sentinel and Liege Maximo, are approaching hostile threats. There are also wild cards like Overlord back in action and as well as the terrorist organization "Mayhem", and the conclusion of More Than Meets the Eye saw the Galactic Council quietly begin to move towards all-out hostilities towards Cybertronians. Threats from the Hasbro Comic Universe start coming into play, most notably Baron Karza, the Dire Wraiths, and Merklynn. And hidden threats, like the Grand Architect and Unicron, emerge from the shadows signalling the end of the line.
  • In the IDW Godzilla comic series, we have Space-Godzilla, Monster X, Gigan and Hedorah.
  • It is most fortunate for Lucky Luke that he is faster than his own shadow because he often has to deal with enough different villains simultaneously to keep his hands full for a while, as many of that feature the Daltons also have another evil and entirely separate group that often works in much more insidious ways and will at times even dethrone them from the primary antagonistic threat role. Examples include Justice Poindexter in The Treasure of the Daltons and the Pacific Railway representatives in Nitroglycerine. This happens even more often in the new adventures animated series and in at least one movie (see below).
  • Requiem Vampire Knight: Due to the Evil vs. Evil nature of the conflict, several factions are running for the position of Big Bad: Dracula seemingly serves this role for the entire setting, being a ruthless Evil Overlord that rules over a chaotic society, but other candidates include Mother Mitra, leader of the Ghoul pirates; Queen Perfidia of Dystopia, and the Hellfire Club, a group of vampires headed by a Lord of Limbo conspiring to overthrow Dracula and put a figurehead in his place. They are also backed by the Arch-Hierophant, who provides the technological firepower. All these factions assist each other for the common goal of the vampire king's downfall, but every single one has their own agenda to replace him as the dominant power in Résurrection. Even then, despite being surrounded by all sides, Dracula also has wicked plans of his own: To return to Earth and make his claim of world domination.
  • The Wild Storm is centered around two powerful secret organizations. IO, led by Miles Craven, secretly controlling the world and suppressing humanity's advancements. Skywatch, led by Henry Bendix, would gladly raze the world and enslave all survivors. The heroes race to stop the escalation of their growing conflict, but out of them, Jacob Marlowe is more A Lighter Shade of Black as he still wants Earth to be assimilated into Kheran Empire, just not as slave race. Then there are Daemons although it is unclear whether on they are evil. There is a handful of minor ones, like Christine Trelane or Mark Slayton. Michael Cray's spinoff adds twisted versions of several DC heroes out of whom Olivier Queen, Barry Allen and Arthur Curry are quickly dealt with but Diana Prince and John Constantine are a much bigger problem

    Films — Animation 
  • The Book of Life: Xibalba is the primary villain, while Chakal and his bandits pose a threat to the characters in the Land of the Living. Xibalba ultimately admits defeat once it's clear he's out of angles to work, leaving Chakal as the final boss of the story.
  • Lucky Luke has to deal with two major villainous factions in the movie Go West: the Dalton brothers and the crooked landowner and swindler James Crook who will do anything to prevent the settlers from reaching their destination in time to claim their land. Fittingly they are faced by Luke in two consecutive climaxes.
  • In a rarity for a Disney movie, Pinocchio has a large cast of villains: Honest John and Gideon, Stromboli, the Coachman, and Monstro the whale. Even rarer for a Disney movie, only the last one gets any sort of comeuppance, and the other villains just quietly fade from the movie once Monstro appears.
  • Toy Story 2 has Stinky Pete who wishes to use Woody's great value to ensure an antique's living regardless of his consent, Al McWhiggin the collector, who wishes to make a fortune by selling Woody and Zurg who is under the delusion that he is the real evil emperor Zurg and stalks Buzz.
  • Nigel and Big Boss serve as this in Rio 2, with Nigel being the primary threat to Blu and Big Boss to the entire rainforest.
  • Over the Hedge has Vincent operating on his own and Gladys Sharp and Dwayne LaFontant forming a Big Bad Duumvirate.
  • Although My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Legend of Everfree focuses on Gaea Everfree, the eponymous legend, since she's the most immediate threat, the story counts in fact three main villains. First Gaea Everfree/Gloriosa Daisy, who can be described as a Well-Intentioned Extremist; then Midnight Sparkle, who's roaming inside Twilight's mind and threatens to break free if she relies too much on magic (which would be infinitely more dangerous that whatever Gaea is doing, given the chaos she caused in the last movie); and finally Filthy Rich, who's the mundane threat to the camp, planning to turn it into a spa resort. All three have to be foiled before the protagonists can claim full victory.
  • Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox has the Evil Counterpart versions of Wonder Woman and Aquaman who are at war with each other and are fully willing to destroy the world to spite the other, as well as Zoom who is keeping the Bad Future ongoing by occupying the Speed Force and actively preventing Flash from returning to the old timeline.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp has Ghost and Sonny Burch as the main antagonists, both wanting Hank Pym's technology for their own personal reasons. The final showdown is in fact a Mêlée à Trois Chase Scene with our heroes having to deal with both of them.
  • Batman Returns is a chess duel between The Penguin, Catwoman, and Canon Foreigner Max Shreck. The Penguin is clearly the main villain and certainly the main threat as his plans increasingly escalate to mass murder and eventually destroying Gotham City itself, but the other two (especially Shreck) are formidable problems and all three engage in double-dealing, backstabbing and triple-crossing.
  • A Bay of Blood features an ensemble cast of slashers so large that most of the victims already have their own body count to their name by the time they are offed.
  • Bullet in the Head: There's the two factions of The Vietnam War, both of which are committing war crimes, Y.S. Leong, a crime boss Playing Both Sides, and Paul, whose greed ends up getting the trio in all kinds of trouble.
  • Cat's Eye has Dr. Vinnie Donatti (a Psycho Psychologist who'll do anything to end smoking), Mr. Cressner (a mob boss fond of Disproportionate Retribution) and an unnamed troll tormenting a little girl.
  • Chappie has Hippo, a gang leader who demands 20 million dollars in 7 days from Ninja's gang after a failed job, and Vincent Moore, a jealous engineer who wants to do away with Deon's scouts and replace them with his MOOSE robot.
  • Played with in Deadpool 2. While the movie makes Cable, Russell, Juggernaut and the Headmaster all out to be the possible main antagonist at different points, there really is no true villain except Deadpool's own inner struggle to try and do something decent. Russell and Cable both step back from the Moral Event Horizon thanks to Wade, while Juggernaut and the Headmaster are both dispatched in overly ridiculous ways that lessen their apparent threat.
  • Dear God No!: Jett—leader of a biker gang on a rape and murder rampage—clashes with Dr. Marco, a Mad Scientist who's willing to experiment on his own wife to find the missing link. Meanwhile, the bigfoot that seemed to be protecting Marco's kind daughter ends up ripping her head off, revealing that he's just a monster on a rampage too.
  • Escape from L.A.. The American President is a religious fascist who turned his country into a police state and is willing to destroy entire countries if necessary to maintain his supremacy. Meanwhile, Cuervo Jones runs the largest gang in Los Angeles and has united Latin America under the Shining Path to invade the United States to get that power himself.
  • The Foreigner (2017) doesn't have a dedicated central antagonist; the bombers are largely characterized as having the same level of authority, Hennessy set the plan in motion but didn't intend for people to die, and Mary acts on a combination of Let No Crisis Go to Waste and being a Manipulative Bastard. By the trope's definition as the one who instigates the plot, however, there's Hugh. Though it wasn't his plan, he's the one that contributed the explosives, he organizes the bombers, and he was the one who took the plan off track to suit his own agenda (thus making an enemy of Quan).
  • Frankenstein's Bloody Terror: Imre Wolfstein, the werewolf who turned Waldemar in the first place, and Dr. Janos Mikhelov, a vampire occultist taking advantage of the horrors to study lycanthropy, are operating completely independently and equally earn Waldemar's ire.
  • Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island: Dean Jones puts on a clown suit to kill the fraternity, while four ghosts try to get some of them to take their place in a horrific curse.
  • In Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed, we are introduced to a werewolf who is simply The Heavy of the story, but the Big Bad who comes out on top is Ghost.
  • The Franchise/Godzilla movies sometimes feature this, often with Godzilla sharing the center threat with either a human antagonist, another kaiju, or both.
    • Godzilla Raids Again has a new Godzilla returning to cause havoc, while also caught up in fighting Anguirus, with their conflict being the big drive for the story, until Godzilla kills Anguirus halfway through and becomes the sole Big Bad.
    • Mothra vs. Godzilla has Jiro Torahata and Kumayama attempt to exploit Mothra's egg for profit, uncaring that it belongs to her, while Godzilla shows up halfway through and rampages through Japan. Jiro and Kuayama's greed proceeds to be their undoing when the former is killed by the latter to keep all the money, only for Kuayama to end up as another one of Godzilla's victims, cementing the king of the monsters as the big threat of the movie.
    • Godzilla vs. Biollante at first has John Lee and SSS9 competing against each other to get ahold of Godzilla's cells, eventually leading to Lee planting bombs in the volcano Godzilla is trapped in and effectively holding Japan hostage in exchange for the cells. SSS 9 kills him before the bombs can be turned off, leading to Godzilla breaking out and the two being the active threats for the rest of the film.
    • Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth has Godzilla returning to wreck havoc once more, Battra, a kaiju whose objective is to protect Earth even if it means annihilating most of humanity, and Takeshi Tomokane, who causes many of the problems in the film due to his reckless destruction of the environment and later kidnapping the Cosmos.
    • Godzilla 2000 has Orga, a creature created from copying Godzilla's DNA that causes havoc across the globe, and Mitsuo Katagiri, whose determination to kill Godzilla causes quite a bit of destruction.
  • The Hobbit has Three Big Bads and one of them serves as the Greater-Scope Villain. The dragon Smaug serves as the overarching Big Bad for the entire trilogy and the ultimate obstacle for the protagonists attempting to retake Erebor. Azog the Defiler serves as a more "direct threat" villain, spending most of the films hounding the heroes. Finally, there's the Necromancer, responsible for the corruption of mirkwood and who is revealed to be Sauron preparing for his big comeback and rebuilding his armies. He's also Azog's boss, but Azog is still acting on his own. In the beginning of the third film, Smaug is killed by Bard and Sauron is forced to flee back to Mordor, leaving Azog as the main villain as he leads his army of Orcs against the Lonely Mountain.
  • Horror Express has the alien creature as its dominant threat and the reason of the horror part of the title but the Cossack officer Captain Kazan does manage to become something more than a mere Asshole Victim to the creature by menacing the passengers and expressing his desire for a scapegoat by good ol' Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, Balem is one of the three Abrasix siblings competing for Jupiter's inheritance and is the most evil of them as he's trying to harvest Earth after she gives him the planet while Titus is another one of those siblings and is also trying to kill Jupiter. The fact that they’re also at odds with each other is the only reason Jupiter has a chance in hell of staying alive.
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle has Poppy Adams and the President of the United States. The former has infected all drugs in the world and holds millions of people hostage in an effort to make all drugs legal and become the leader of the world drug market, while the latter is fully willing to let all of them die so he can finally "win" the war on drugs.
  • Layer Cake features a Serbian drug trafficker, Eddie Temple, and Jimmy Price. All three are leaders of prominent criminal organizations, with various motivations for inciting the plot. Eddie Temple is the most benevolent one, and X comes to work for him.
  • Lovers Lane features three distinct killers; Doctor Jack Grefe, his daughter Chloe, and sexual sadist Ray Hennessey. All three of them use hooks though.
  • Mallrats has Jared Svenning, a TV producer who hates TS Quint for unknowingly killing one of his game show contestants and plots to keep him apart from his daughter Brandi; and there's Shannon Hamilton, manager of a clothing shop which despises Brodie Bruce for "not having a shopping agenda" and schemes to steal his ex and have sex with her "in a fairly uncomfortable place" (no, not the back of a Volkswagen).
  • Mission: Impossible Film Series:
    • Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation has Solomon Lane and Attlee. The former is a rogue MI6 agent who's gone completely off the grid and took over an unsanctioned branch the agency and plans to secure funds from the prime minster as a means of expanding The Syndicate. The latter, meanwhile is responsible for creating it in the first place and is ruthless in his ways of trying to contain his mess.
    • In Mission: Impossible – Fallout, the remnants of the Syndicate, now named the Apostles, are looking to break their leader Solomon Lane out of custody, and are now on the payroll of mysterious anarchist John Lark, who is looking to use stolen plutonium to carry out a massive nuclear attack that only Ethan's team can stop. Further complicating matters are the White Widow, an arms dealer who's brokering the deal between Lark and the Apostles to break Lane out of custody in return for the plutonium, and August Walker, a CIA assassin assigned to oversee Ethan's mission and possibly kill him if he goes rogue. In the end, it is revealed that the White Widow was actually collaborating with the CIA from the start, and Walker is the actual identity of John Lark, with the real deal being framing Ethan in exchange for Lane providing him with nuclear bombs.
  • The Monster Club: The plots are driven by George, Angela's boyfriend who comes up with the scheme to con RavenPickering, committer of Van Helsing Hate Crimes, and the unnamed innkeeper who appears to be the acting leader of the ghouls.
  • MonsterVerse
    • Kong: Skull Island has Colonel Packard as the human antagonist, who develops an insane obsession for killing Kong at any cost, and Ramarak, the alpha Skullcrawler, who is Kong's Arch-Enemy that will lead the skullcrawlers in decimating Skull Island and possibly the rest of the world, if left unchecked.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Jonah Alan, Emma Russell and King Ghidorah serve as this. It's the first two who set Ghidorah free, so he could serve as their agent in bringing balance back to the world's ecosystem. But then Ghidorah turns out to have his own plans, and wakes all the Titans at once to wipe out humanity - by the end of the film he's the only active threat, with Emma having a Heel Realization and Jonah content to passively let Ghidorah annihilate everything without doing anything by himself. Out of the three, Jonah is the only one to survive the film, as Emma is killed by Ghidorah and Ghidorah is brutally incinerated to death by Godzilla.
  • As Pan's Labyrinth showcases both the horrors of war and the horrors of the fairy world, the abominable Pale Man is juxtaposed with Captain Vidal, a simply very abominable man.
  • The comedy-horror Psycho Sleepover has a mass breakout at a mental institution, so the main characters have to deal with dozens of different psychos.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides involves a three-way struggle between Blackbeard, Barbossa, and the Spaniard. All three want to get to the Fountain of Youth, albeit for different reasons, and all oppose each other- with Jack Sparrow and Gibs caught in the middle of this little war.
    • Before this there is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, where Davy Jones casts a considerable (with the help of the Kraken) shadow over the film, but Will, the Swans and most significantly Norrington know too well that in the background Lord Beckett is also waiting and pulling strings to reach the power of Jones.
  • The Pumpkin Karver: Ben Wicket is murdering everybody while Alec's vengeful ghost torments Jonathan.
  • The Purge: Election Year has Minister Edwidge Owens and Caleb Warrens, though they have a common goal and employ Earl Danzinger as muscle.
  • In Satans Playground we get the psychotic Leeds family, a group of Satanists, and The Jersey Devil.
  • Scary or Die has Buck (a Serial Killer targeting undocumented immigrants), Min-ah (a seductive vampire), Detective Franks (Dirty Cop turned Professional Killer), an unnamed were-clown and Romano (a Domestic Abuser who'll kill a woman for telling him to not cheat on her).
  • Spider-Man 3: The film, fittingly enough, has three villains: Harry taking on the mantle of the Green Goblin (dubbed here the "New Goblin"), Sandman, and Venom. By the time the final act starts, Venom wins the role as overall Big Bad, and he also takes the spot as Final Boss of the Spider-Man Trilogy.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: While the Klingon General Chang is the most prominent villainous leader, the conspiracy also includes a high-ranking Federation officer ( Admiral Cartwright) and the representative of a third country ( Romulan ambassador to the Federation Nanclus). None of them answer to the others, and their motives and resources are different — they only work together because they have a common goal for the moment.
    • Star Trek Into Darkness: Khan and Admiral Marcus. The former wants to revive his crew of superhumans and take over the Earth, while the latter plans to sacrifice the Enterprise so he can start a war with the Klingons.
  • Taken has the hero going after the man that has Taken his daughter, who you would think he would fight at the end. But no, he turns out to be just a Disc-One Final Boss, and old Brian must go after another villain, who is auctioning off the girls the leader of the kidnapping ring takes.. and then he has to face the guy who actual bought his daughter in the climax.
  • Tintin and the Blue Oranges has two villains who seek to use the blue oranges for their own benefits: Oranges Inc., who initially kidnap the professors, and the Emir of Sakali, who comes into play later in the movie and has them re-kidnapped just before Tintin and Haddock arrive to rescue them.
  • 2 Guns has the heroes going up against no less than three different villainous factions — a cartel boss, a corrupt Navy commander, and a dirty CIA operative. The final shootout is between all four groups.
  • The various conflicts in V/H/S are driven by Lily, Stephanie, her unnamed lover, the Glitch, a group of aliens, and a demon.
  • Without Warning (1980) has the alien who is hunting the protagonists and the psychotic Shell-Shocked Veteran who thinks that the said protagonists are in cahoots with the alien.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X2: X-Men United: Stryker and Magneto share the same role as they both want to use a machine called Dark Cerebro. The former wants to use the machine to kill all mutants, while the Latter wants to use it to kill all humans.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past has three villains who are acting largely independently and are often at cross-purposes, and their deeds lead to the Bad Future: Bolivar Trask, Mystique, and Magneto.

    Literature 
  • In Let the Right One In and its film adaptations, there is Conny/Kenny, the main character's bully. There is also Lacke who tries to kill the main vampiric character. In the American adaptation, Lacke is replaced by an unnamed police officer who is a Designated Villain at best. There is also Jimmy, who is the Final Boss and Conny/Kenny's Big Brother Bully, and he takes the role of the Big Bad by storm.
  • In Codex Alera there are numerous Big Bads active throughout the series, mostly independent of one another if prone to making and breaking alliances at whim — High Lord Aquitainenote , Invidia Aquitainenote , High Lord Kalarusnote , Sarlnote , and the Vord Queennote  are the biggies, and High Lord Rhodes is billed as one, despite very limited development and pagetime.
  • Masks of Aygrima: In Faces The Autarch and The Lady of Pain and Fire who both want to take over Mara's body and rule Aygrima forever.
  • In Everworld, there are several villainous characters (the majority of the gods actually fall under this), but the most prominent are Loki, Ka Anor, and Senna.
  • Robin Hobb did this in the Farseer trilogy with Prince Regal and the Red Ships.
  • Harry Potter: While the series as a whole has Voldemort as the Big Bad, a couple books have him sharing the central antagonistic role:
    • Unlike the previous school years, during the events of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Voldemort makes no attempt to seize power and remains the Greater-Scope Villain whose supporter lurks around Hogwarts and is a threat to Harry and co. Thing is this supporter is NOT the titular prisoner Sirius Black but rather Ron's pet rat Scabbers who is actually a man called Wormtail and whose crimes are revealed during a plot-changing chapter. As if the threat of a mass-murderer and the sudden light into the nebulous past isn't enough to darken this year, there is also the fact of the soul-sucking fiends, the Dementors, that are supposedly there to protect students from the criminal but actually only see tasty, tempting little souls and manage to present a gloomy threat instead of a comforting shadow. And apart from the strain of having them around, Harry, Ron and Hermione also spend a decent part of their spare time, trying to save Hagrid's pet hipogriff from the executioner's chopping block, which the Malfoys are ecstatic to set.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Big Bads are Lord Voldemort and Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge (with Dolores Umbridge as Fudge's Dragon-in-Chief, though she commits crimes she knows Fudge wouldn't approve of), though they have nothing to do with each other. For most of the book, Voldemort is willing to sit back and allow Fudge and Umbridge to discredit Dumbledore and Harry to weaken his opposition.
  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara. There's the Isle Witch and her former mentor The Morgawr, who form a Big Bad Duumvirate, and are plotting against both the heroes and one another in their race to claim the books of magic that the Jerle Shannara is voyaging to find. There's also Antrax, the Knight Templar computer system that guards the books against all comers, and operates completely independently of the other two. Between them, they manage to do a whole lot of damage to the heroes and one another.
  • In the first Myth Arc of Warrior Cats, Tigerclaw and Brokenstar were this for a while. Then they teamed up and Brokenstar died. In the Power of Three arc, both Sol and Tigerstar were vying for the spot of Big Bad, and the arc ends with Sol leaving. However, he has been confirmed to return in book five of the Omen of the Stars arc, and Tigerstar is still around. And then you've got the end of the Omen of the Stars arc, which brings all the Big Bads back to try and get revenge from beyond the grave.
  • Raven Quest has Grakk, Lord Groh and the humans. Grakk frames the main character for murder in an attempt to get him executed and Lord Groh simply wants to kill Tok. The humans destroy the wolves' habitat and destroy the crows' roosting tree.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has several major antagonists for each Story Arc:
    • The Lannisters, led by The Chessmaster Tywin, are the main opponents of the heroic Starks during the War of the Five Kings. Both Cersei Lannister and her son Joffrey try to be Big Bads in their own right, but aren't nearly as competent as Tywin.
    • King's Landing has the two resident Chessmasters Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish and the mysterious Varys, called "the Spider." Varys is revealed to be in league with Young Griff / Aegon, while Littlefinger is out only for himself.
    • At Storm's End you have Knight Templar Stannis Baratheon and his Well-Intentioned Extremist advisor Melisandre. Subverted in that he's effectively a Hero Antagonist for the Villain Protagonist, Tyrion. In book five he's more of the Big Good as the leader of the anti-Bolton coalition.
    • At the Iron Islands, you have Big Bad Wannabe Balon Greyjoy, fighting all on his own. He is later succeeded by his far more ruthless brother, pirate king Euron "Crow's Eye".
    • In Robb Stark's army you have Roose Bolton and Walder Frey, who betray and murder Robb in order to form an alliance with Tywin Lannister. Roose and Walder each have henchmen of their own, including Ramsay Snow, a Sadist, and Black Walder, a General Ripper, and Roose joins the two houses via marriage alliance. Roose is effectively the main villain of the whole Northern story line from book three onward (with Frey being more of an opportunistic lackey); while he's technically in service to the Lannister regime, his power base is completely independent and the two don't interact much besides giving each other customary recognition (the Lannisters grant him the title Warden of the North, and he in turn acknowledges Joffrey / Tommen as king).
    • Beyond the Wall you have the wildlings, lead by former Night's Watch ranger Mance Rayder, who are trying to invade Westeros in order to flee from The Others, a Greater-Scope Villain army who are reanimating the dead in order to cause a Zombie Apocalypse.
    • By the start of the sixth book, the only faction leaders in Westeros who are both unambiguously villainous and powerful enough to actually matter are Roose Bolton and Euron Greyjoy. Thus, they move from side villains in previous books to the main antagonists of A Feast for Crows, A Dance With Dragons, and The Winds of Winter. More specifically, Roose is the main antagonist for the North storyline, which involves the POV characters and attendant chapters of Davos, Asha, Theon, Jon Snow, and Melisandre.
    • Beyond Westeros you have yet another Chessmaster named Magister Illyrio, who is working with Varys. Viserys Targaryen and Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo are set up as major threats early on, but none of them lasts beyond the first book. Later antagonists of the Essos storyline include a warlock named Pryat Pree, who represents a group of Humanoid Abomination's called the Undying, a collective of slave masters ruling over the cities of Astapor, Yunkai and Meereen, and a mysterious terrorist leader called the Harpy.
  • Swedish writer Simona Ahrnstedt gives us three villains in her debut novel Överenskommelser. We have Wilhelm Löwenström, the abusive head of the household, his son Edvard, a serial abuser sadistic sociopath, and last but not least Carl-Jan Rosenschiöld. And what is their common goal? To use the female protagonist Beatrice for their own gain or pleasure! (Wilhelm and Edvard, her own uncle and her own cousin, want to marry her off to Rosenschiöld...)
  • For most of The Riddle Master Trilogy, Morgon and Raederle have to deal with the separate threats of Ghisteslwchlohm and the Earth-Masters, who are apparently led by Eriel... up until about the last third of the last book, when Eriel captures Ghisteslwchlohm and forcibly demotes him to her Dragon.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The initial antagonists of Star Wars: Kenobi are a tribe of Sand People a.k.a. Tusken Raiders led by A'Yark, Knight Templars who consider the settlers blasphemous and attack them every so often. In response, Orrin Gault set up the Settlers' Call Fund for organized defense. Later in the novel it turns out that Orrin has huge debts, most notably to Jabba the Hutt, represented by Mosep Binneed. Who's something of a decoy; it's a desperate Orrin who takes over as the antagonist. He has been Slowly Slipping Into Evil for years by embezzling funds and staging raids to keep them coming. At the climax, Orrin and his kids have become outright murderous towards anyone they perceive as a threat, leading to Enemy Mine between Ben and A'Yark.
    • The Courtship of Princess Leia: The villains in the main part of the novel are Warlord Zsinj and Gethzerion, leader of the Nightsisters; they form something of an alliance but don't trust each other at all. People who are partially responsible for why the heroes go to Dathomir in the first place and can be considered antagonists are Ta'a Chume, who sends assassins after Leia, inadvertently driving her into Isolder's arms, Threkin Horm, who apparently attempts to send Han on a long mission to separate him from Leia, and possibly Omogg, a previous "owner" of Dathomir, who according to a later sourcebook lets Han have it specifically to get back at Zsinj.
    • Razor's Edge: Imperial Commander Degoren is trying to capture or kill Leia, who's high on the Empire's Most Wanted list. Space Pirate leader Aral tukor Viest expects personal loyalty from Alderaanian Captain Metara in exchange for upgrading her ship, the Aegis, and doesn't want Leia interfering. Han and Leia must deal with each in turn in order to escape the situation they've found themselves in. The two are aware of each other (Viest has sold out opponents to the Empire in the past), but are not allies, and Degoren would rather keep Leia out of Viest's clutches so that he can nab her himself.
  • Dragon Avenger, the second Age of Fire novel, has two Evil Overlords who, between the two of them, are responsible for all the terrible things that happen to Wistala in the book — Gobold Fangbreaker of the Wheel of Fire dwarfs, who organized the attacks that killed Wistala's parents and sister and scattered her and her brothers, and Thane Hammar, the northern Hypatian warlord who kills her Parental Substitute. Wistala actually takes advantage of this trope to get her revenge, by playing the two of them against each other in order to engineer their downfalls.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen the Crippled God is built up to be the Big Bad, only to get his plans hijacked by a Big Bad Duumvirate of Forkrul Assail, K'Chain Nah'ruk and Tiste Liosan as well a gang of Elder Gods led by Errastas, each party planning The End of the World as We Know It in their own way.
  • The Commonwealth Saga has MorningLightMountain and the Starflyer, with one as the xenophobic alien invader and the other as the insidious infiltrator who clearly does not have humanity's interests in mind but would prefer humanity to remain alive until it can finish its own plans. The second is actually implied to be an incarnation of the first, but due to how the Primes work and how far they'd have diverged, that would have made them the direst of enemies if only MorningLightMountain had known about the Starflyer.
  • Beowulf: Beowulf battles Gtendel, the she-ogre and the dragon throughout the poem.
  • The Hunger Games: President Coriolanus Snow with President Alma Coin in Mockingjay.
  • Tigana has one of these owing to the fact that the peninsula in which the novel is set was conquered a generation ago by two rival Sorcerous Overlords, Brandin of Ygrath and Alberico of Barbadior. This set-up ends up being central to the plot; either of them by himself is too much for La Résistance to handle, and if they did manage to overthrow one it would only hand the entire peninsula to the other. Fortunately for everyone else, they hate each other, and so exiled prince Alessan decides the best way to solve the problem is to manipulate them into fighting it out for good.
  • The Dresden Files is pretty bad with this, mainly because Harry Dresden makes a lot of powerful enemies. Most of whom are also enemies with each other. To wit:
    • The Red Court of vampires wants him dead.
    • The Black Court of vampires wants him dead.
    • Both factions of Denarians want him either dead or turned.
    • Various Unseelie of the Winter Court think he's inconvenient.
    • The three Kemmlerites are very annoyed with him.
    • The Outsiders are continuously trying to invade reality.
    • The Chicago Mafia definitely has plans to have him killed.
    • And that's not even going into the various minor one-off villains who pop up every other book.
    • Later books feature the total destruction of the Red Court, the deaths of two Kemmlerites, and Harry sort-of allying with both the Winter Court and the Mafia, but balances this out with the Fomor and the Black Council emerging as new, recurring threats.
  • Les Misérables has two main antagonists: the misguided police officer Inspector Javert, who is out to nail Jean Valjean for a crime he's repented for dozens of times over, and the genuinely loathsome crime boss Monsieur Thenardier, who the main characters run into several times by sheer coincidence, each time working a despicable hustle in an attempt to either get rich or get revenge against someone who prevented him from getting rich.
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle, the heroes must simultaneously deal with the traitorous archmage Thorn and his army of Wild creatures, who seek to destroy Alba, and fanatically anti-magical Jean de Vrailly and his men, who want to take Alba over. Subverted when it turns out that both Thorn and de Vrailly are being manipulated by the true Big Bad, Ash.
  • Since Guardians of Ga'Hoole series is basically "World War II WITH OWLS", it makes sense that we'd get two groups of villains who directly oppose each other—the Pure Ones, a grouping of Tytoninae owls who preach Tyto superiority (representing Nazi Germany) and St. Aegolius, a greedy mixed group of owls who function like a reeducation camp (representing Communist Russia). Subverted later on, when the Pure Ones end up occupying St. Aegolius' base of operations and drive its surviving members out, reducing its leader to a Big Bad Wannabe who ends up being easily killed later in the story.
  • The Affix has about a dozen antagonists or near-antagonists, four of whom are at the top of the dogpile: Ruthless collector Sean Kilraen, his charming but much worse mentor "Professor" J. P. Wallace, drug baron "Bloody" Carlos Sanchez, and the supportive and friendly Henry Bartlett. This trope is a staple of the series.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • GAEA had Lioness Asuka, a veteran partner of the company's founder who was still bitter at being forced to retire from Zenjo, Mayumi Ozaki, the leader of a hostile invading force that passed through several enterprises before paying GAEA special attention and Akira Hokuto, who in turn was using GAEA as a base to establish her own hostile force to eventually invade elsewhere. Asuka eventually reconciled with Chigusa Nagayo and underwent a Heel–Face Turn to help deal with the other two.
  • Lucha Underground has a downplayed example in that Dario Cueto is the owner of the temple and thus the biggest bad, as he wanted things to go wrong for everyone else from the start. Still, not everything can be linked back to him, as Catrina may have had her own plans going on longer than his, definitely would have been up to something elsewhere if he hadn't drawn so many fighters to the temple. Going on, everything in the temple would have been as fine and orderly as a lucha libre/pro wrestling show could possibly be after Cueto departed if Catrina hadn't taken his place in a takeover that eventually resulted his return to oust her. That's where it breaks down as while she avoided Big Bad Wannabe by being fairly difficult for Cueto to completely be rid of, proving capable of surviving what until then had been a guaranteed death on Lucha Underground via Light-Flicker Teleportation, it's also where Evil vs. Evil really kicks in.

    Roleplay 
  • It seems the Big Bads in Pokémon: Rise of the Rockets only ever come in groups, with different ones coming and going as time goes on and plots are resolved:
    • The four Shadow Admins—Sleight, Joker, Ace, and Bounty—for the first arc, though they all eventually took a Heel–Face Turn (with the exception of Ace, who was Killed Off for Real early in the story.)
    • The Ancient Darkrai, a group of Darkrai so powerful that in ancient times they managed to almost usurp Arceus himself and have returned to take over the world for real this time. Later defeated along with his followers, after three years real-time of slowly taking over Hoenn and Sinnoh.
    • John Ford, a terrorist and mastermind who effectively organized his own takeover of Hoenn alongside countless attacks on various characters and groups. Along with his four Agents, he has effectively taken over as the main Big Bad of the story, though is certainly not the only one.
    • Gerald Hikari, who orchestrated a mass devastation in Unova at the same time that Ford's Agent, Maddison Hayes, was acting to make the Unovan government acknowledge the Rocket-Liberty War.
    • The Seven Deadly Sins, trainers who were somehow corrupted by the Ancients during their takeover of Hoenn and Sinnoh, although the Sins do not appear to bear any relation to the Ancients in terms of motives. While they act independently of each other and thus could be considered to share the status of Big Bad with each other (lower on the totem than Ford), Sloth appears to be the leader of the group itself, or at least the most powerful.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, many major antagonists are working for different goals separate from one another during the Godslayer era:
  • The commanding officers of the Army of Shadow in Rplegacy's Dark Clouds Gathering fantasy crossover RPG are comprised of various Big Bads and their Dragons from fiction, including Ganon, Morgoth, Absalom, and of course the Army's leader, the Phantom-lord Grogna.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, it's not a question of who's trying to destroy Creation — it's a question of who's pulling ahead in the race. The Deathlords want to feed the world into the great cosmic garbage disposal in the name of their eternally-dying-but-not-yet-dead god bosses, the Yozis want to make Creation indistinguishable from Hell on the very off chance that they might be allowed to move in then, and The Fair Folk view Creation the same way one would view a turd in the swimming pool and want it to stop ruining their beautiful chaos.
  • Warhammer being a supremely cheery place, has entire armies of this trope. The Chaos Gods and their Champions, the Dark Elf Lords (headed by Malekith the Witch King), the Skaven Warlords, the Orc Warbosses and the Vampire Counts (their founder, Nagash, would easily qualify if he was still around), and others.
  • Warhammer 40,000, had this as well, mostly inspired by those above: at the very top of the Sliding Scale of Villain Threat are the Chaos Gods and the Tyranid Hive Mind, and going down there are the Daemon Primarchs, Chaos Lords, C'tan shards (who were right up there with the Chaos Gods and Hive Mind when they were still whole), Ork Warbosses, Dark Eldar Archons and the various sundry madmen and psychopaths the galaxy breeds like mosquitoes. The most notable 'humanoid' antagonists would be Ezekyle Abaddon (leader of the Black Legion of the Chaos Space Marines and the figurehead of the thirteen Black Crusades that have tried to overthrow the Imperium), Asdrubael Vect (the leader of the most powerful kabal of the Dark Eldar and the de facto leader of the entire Dark Eldar race), and Ghazghkull Mag uruk Thraka (one of the most powerful Ork Warlords ever and the leader of the largest Waaagh! in history).
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Yawgmoth was the main villain before he got wiped from existence. Now the story has this trope between the remains of Phyrexia, the Eldrazi, and Nicol Bolas.

    Theatre 
  • Jesus Christ Superstar: Judas, Caiaphas and Annas, Pilate, and Herod all participate equally as villains toward Jesus, the protagonist. All are sympathetic to a degree except Herod (Caiaphas and Annas want to protect the Jewish people, Judas is concerned that Jesus is bigger than even he can handle, and Pilate only sentences Jesus to death because Jesus refuses to fight back), but all contribute to Jesus's crucifixion.
  • Hamilton, in an example that Word of God states was inspired by Jesus Christ Superstar, has Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and King George III, whose roles roughly correspond to Judas, Caiaphas, Annas, and Herod respectively. Even in comparison to their Superstar counterparts, however, Burr, Jefferson, and Madison are sympathetic, while King George is genuinely insane, as he was in Real Life.

    Web Animation 
  • After the Sheriff's demise and the activation of the Improbability Drive in "Madness Avenger", three villains emerge to oppose our protagonist in Madness Combat:
    • Jesus, originally The Dragon to the Sheriff, who seeks to kill the protagonist Hank to keep order in Nevada, though he later diverts his attention to opposing the other two Big Bads listed below.
    • Tricky, an assassin clown killed by Hank but revived as a zombie and given reality-warping powers by the energy of the Improbability Drive, who seeks to get revenge on Hank by killing and reviving him over and over.
    • The Auditor, the new leader of the AAHW who controls the Master Improbability Drive and only seems interested in ensuring that the madness and chaos continues on.
  • Gaming All Stars: Eggman, G-Man, and Cortex, (Though the latter doesn’t become involved until much later in the animation) in The Ultimate Crossover, before graduating into a Big Bad Duumvirate near the end. Remastered, contrarily, has Eggman and Radec, who don't form an alliance this time around.
    • 2 has Zinyak and Shinnok, neither one allied with the other but both having an undying hatred for humankind.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • The Whateley Universe has a ridiculous number of potential Big Bads. The most prominent is Hekate's Master, but there's also Lady Jettatura, The Palm, Necromancer, Dr. Emil Hammond, Dominus and whatever Bladedancer saw in her dream, plus dozens of smaller bads. The only reason the world didn't implode by now is because there's also a ridiculous amount of heroes and other elements to balance things out. In particular, in "Ayla and the Birthday Brawl", Hekate and The Necromancer team up to attack Team Kimba. Hekate is stuck hiding in a magical bunker, and The Necromancer is using her talents since it's his bunker: he owes Hekate's Master a huge favor. And this leads to another supervillain stepping in, during the big battles, and the Necromancer doesn't like him, so things get confusing.
  • Worm:
    • At the start, there are three Big Bads, all of them supervillains bent on control over the city of Brockton Bay. First there's Kaiser of Empire Eighty-Eight, a Neo-Nazi organization that, thanks to his prolific recruiting, is one of the single largest parahuman groups in the country. Second is Lung, an Asian gang-leader with the power to turn into a dragon, who relies upon this, a few parahuman underlings, and a small army of gang members to hold his own. Finally, there is Coil, a Diabolical Mastermind with a literal private army of mercenaries, who has declared war upon Kaiser and has even greater long term plans. All three hate each other.
    • As the story goes on, however, its perspective expands, and we are introduced to the world-scale Big Bads, of which there are also three. First are the Endbringers, a group of three Kaiju with ruinously powerful superpowers which are bent on destroying humanity for unknown reasons. Second is the Slaughterhouse 9, a group of psychopathic superpowered murderers who are predicted to be the ones to cause the end of the world. Finally, there is Cauldron, a Nebulous Evil Organisation with the ability to create a Super Serum which it has leveraged to gain control over the majority of the most powerful heroes in the world, and whose ends remain unknown.
  • Due to lack of concrete canon SCP Foundation managed to amass a large number of them. Varying from various SCP, especially of Keter and Apollyon class, to a number of Groups of Interest like Marshall, Carter and Dark Ltd., the Black Queen, Chaos Insurgency, Church of a Broken God, Sarkic Cults, Global Occult Coalition, the Factory or the Fifth Church, not to mention recurring greater-scope threats like the Fairies, the Scarlet King or the Hanged King.

    Web Videos 
  • Everyman HYBRID: The Slender Man, The Rake, and original character HABIT all menace the three-man team of the fitness and excersize blog.
  • Petscop: Marvin V. Mark is the primary, in-game threat, as he is Care and Belle's abusive father (and kidnapper in Care's case) who wants to "rebirth" Care, believing her to be he reincarnation of Lisa Lezkowitz, and all the mysterious happenings in the game tie back to him. In the real world, Aunt Jill, leader of The Family, took over the Petscop YouTube channel and is holding Paul hostage, forcing him to play the game for some reason.

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