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Contrasting Sequel Antagonist

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"You can't go brawler because Tai Lung was brawler. You can't go smarter because Shen was smarter. Where can you go? You have to go supernatural, bigger, and even more intimidating."
Kung Fu Panda 3 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson describing Kai
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Just as a sequel needs a contrast of heroes with a Contrasting Sequel Main Character, so do its villains. After all, do we want to see the same battle over again? If the previous villain was a Non-Action Big Bad, make this one a fighter. A Punch-Clock Villain to a personal rival. A man with a troupe to a king in his kingdom. Or an extremist to an opportunist. Even changing genders and upping the Foe Romance Subtext are examples of this trope. At times, it is a case of Avenging the Villain, where the one seeking revenge is more emotional and personal than the cold and calculating original villain.

In cases where the universe becomes more expanded and fleshed out, they may reveal ways in which the previous antagonist's actions affected their lives at times going as far as getting involved into offscreen Evil vs. Evil. This last one is even more likely if there is an ever-present conflict between two different communities/countries/classes and the villains represent rivaling (and perhaps extremistic) factions of the war, unlike the heroes who wish to bring balance and peace to all sides.

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Examples:

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    Comic Books 

  • The Big Bad of every event in the Cosmic Marvel saga from the 2000's contrast one another
    • Annihilation has Annihilus, an interdimensional Omnicidal Maniac who leads an endless horde of bug-like monsters against the whole Universe, who slaughters or imprisons for power harvesting various heroes and villains and destroys whole planets on his goal to kill all life except for himself.
    • Annihilation: Conquest has Ultron, who has come from Earth and took over Phalanx, a techno-organic Hive Mind and made them isolate the Kree Empire from the rest of the Universe for the purpose of conquest and assimilation, having many heroes and villains unlucky to be caught in enslaved and rest desperately fighting for survival. His goal is the creation of perfect lifeforms mixing organic and inorganic life, which he can rule over. Annihilus was beaten via a chain of events and the aid of various characters weakening him enough for Richard Rider to take him down. Ultron in the final battle goes One-Winged Angel and is beaten by combined forces of all heroes we followed in the event working together.
    • War of Kings has Vulcan, who, like Ultron, is a villain from Earth who has taken over a cosmic faction, the Shi'Ar Empire. But unlike Ultron, he's The Caligula who starts a war with Kree Empire for petty reasons and revels in slaughter. While Ultron was trying to conquer and Annihilus was actively trying to destroy the Universe, Vulcan is simply too much of a petty madman to care that his war may tear the very fabric of reality. He's defeated in a one-on-one duel with Black Bolt that claims both of their lives.
    • While all three villains were a Rogues Gallery Transplant from Earth-based big-name superhero team (Fantastic Four, The Avengers, X-Men respectively), Lord Mar-Vell from The Thanos Imperative is an alternate universe evil version of Captain Mar-Vell, a cosmic hero who never got very famous. Lord Mar-Vell has sold his Universe to Many-Angled Ones in favor of ruling it, killing Death herself and creating a nightmarish world where nothing ever dies and has manipulated the events to get make the main Universe share its fate, the opposite of Annihilus' goal. His Fallen Hero origins mirror Vulcan's but he is a calm and composed manipulator, while Vulcan was a Psychopathic Manchild. His plans of conquest are rooted in Cosmic Horror as opposed to Ultron's technological means. His defeat comes from being Out-Gambitted by Thanos, which lets Death enter Cancerverse and kill Mar-Vell and severely damage his masters.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm
    • The first book has Lucius Malfoy as The Heavy (albeit unwittingly) and de facto Big Bad of the first book, a Manipulative Bastard who controls a coalition of villains including HYDRA, Gravemoss, and the Death Eaters to conquer the world through intimidation and terror tactics, seeking institutional power rather than personal power-ups to avoid making himself a bigger target, and largely ignores Harry in favour of threats like the Avengers. The sequel has Voldemort in the same role. Unlike Lucius, he largely operates alone, and while he's a competent manipulator, every alliance he forms is transparently temporary with no pretensions otherwise, usually with a more powerful villain while he takes a submissive position as The Dragon, and he's entirely focused on Harry and personal empowerment.
    • It also applies to the actual Big Bads. The first book has Chthon, the Elder God of Chaos and Black Magic, a Card-Carrying Villain whose sole intention is to destroy everything and reduce it to primal chaos. The second book has Surtur, the original Dark Phoenix, who also intends to destroy everything, but only because he's a Visionary Villain he genuinely believes the universe is irredeemably flawed and that he must destroy it so he can build a better one. It's also hinted that while Chthon was lying to Harry when he offered him the chance to use Powers via Possession to 'make everything right', Surtur's similar open offer of tutelage and persuasion was actually genuine.
  • In Old West, a continuation fic of Rango, Dufayel is this to Tortoise John. Tortoise John was the mayor of Dirt's desert town who was good at hiding his villainous nature with charisma. Dufayel is a wealthy city slicker who, despite his politeness, never really hides his motivations or condescending nature in-story. They both intend to wipe out the town of Dirt (renamed as Mud), but for different reasons; Tortoise John was a Visionary Villain who wanted to create a modern city, while Dufayel's entire motivation is to claim from underneath the town the gold he was promised and needs to avoid becoming broke. Tortoise John turned Rango into his pawn by making him Dirt's sheriff and hired the services of Rattlesnake Jake, pitting them against each other until he tried to kill Jake. Dufayel in turn quickly makes himself an enemy to both Rango and Jake who work together against him right from the start.
  • Due to the Serial Escalation of how destructive the antagonists of Ruby and Nora get, this trope is to be expected.
    • The Big Bads of Ruby's Birthday and Weiss and Pyrrha are an explicit example of this. Abigail Lemon is a very different antagonist from Admah Keter. He kills for no reason other than his enjoyment, and she does it for the higher purpose of thinking that it makes her a goddess. Keter openly admits that he is a monster, while Abby doesn't even think she is crazy at all. While Keter doesn't put any effort into hiding his true nature, Abby's continued sprees hinged on her hiding who she truly is to avoid suspicion.
    • In following with the Serial Escalation, Father Tiresias Scorch from Field Trip contrasts the first three Arc Villains since he is the first major antagonist to not be working independently. He has the White Fang backing him rather than just being one person carrying out their deeds on their own. Keter was the only one who could be said was a collaborator and he forced Hector into working for him under the threat of killing his family. The other thing is that he's the first Faunus villain. The other three Big Bads were humans. In addition, Scorch is the first successful Hero Killer by killing both Ilia and Ren.
  • Due to Canon Welding, the villains in Halo and Mass Effect become this to each other in The Last Spartan. The Prophet of Truth and Saren both lead armies of religious fanatics against The Master Chief, but Truth was a Non-Action Big Bad who never interacted with the Chief personally, whereas Saren is capable of fighting the Chief as an equal, and both have a grudge against each other. Likewise, both universes have their own Eldritch Abomination with an Assimilation Plot on hand, but The Flood were organic, with a leader, the Gravemind, who was loud, bombastic and spoke floridly, whereas Sovereign and the other Reapers are cybernetic beings who are fairly blunt and plainspoken.
  • The traitor of Where Talent Goes on Vacation is this to the mastermind of Where Talent Goes To Die. Both of them made deals of varying sorts with Talent High School, but for different reasons; the mastermind was blackmailed into attending Talent High School so they could study his talent, while the traitor arranged to have her daughter attend Talent High School in exchange for keeping quiet about Chiyuri being the illegitimate child of the school's chairman's son. While the mastermind cooperated with Junko to get revenge on Talent High School, despite not sharing her beliefs, the traitor was brainwashed into becoming a member of Ultimate Despair. The mastermind kept his identity a secret for the entire killing game, while the traitor was genuinely unaware of her status as such. In the end, the mastermind submitted to execution rather than face justice, while the traitor was arrested, but those responsible held out hope for her being spared and rehabilitated.

    Theatre 
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    Toys 
  • Starting with Series 3, The Grossery Gang started giving antagonistic teams to pit against the main Grosseries in their lines, with each team having a different personality and motive against the Grosseries:
    • Series 3 had Clean Team, led by Vac Attack. Unlike the gross and organic Grosseries, the Clean Team were sterilized robots focused on keeping Cheap Town clean, to the risk of the Grosseries, who depend on filth to survive.
    • Series 4 had the Bug Strike, led by Gen. Arak Attack. This time, the antagonists actually liked the filth that the Grosseries had created, as it gave the bugs an environment they could live in as well. Unfortunately for the Grosseries, the Bug Strike were there to take the town by force, casting out the Grosseries from their own home.
    • Series 5 had the Rotbots, led by Cyber-Slop Pizza. A twisted version of Putrid Pizza, the leader of the Grosseries, Cyber-Slop Pizza came from a future that was sterilized, too sanitary for the cyborg Grosseries to thrive in. The goal of the Rotbots is to take the filth from the present to help save the future, at the detriment of the current Grosseries.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney likes to mix it up with the prosecutors the defense faces. To start with, in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix goes against prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, who is calm, dignified, and often condescending towards Phoenix.
    • Justice for All has Franziska von Karma, who is younger, female, and more emotional than her adopted half-brother Miles.
    • Trials and Tribulations has Godot, who is older than Edgeworth, as well as significantly more bitter. Unlike prosecuting prodigies Franziska and Miles, Godot is explicitly a rookie prosecutor, albeit one who turns out to be a veteran defense attorney.
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney's Klavier Gavin is this to all three of the above, all of whom were tetchy, condescending, and obstructive towards Phoenix, with Franziska and Godot having personal grudges against him. Klavier, on the other hand, is an outgoing, flirtatious rock star who happily partakes in the insanity around him as well as sometimes adds his own to the mix for the fun of it and who, save for a teasing nickname of "Herr Forehead", doesn't treat Apollo badly at all and is fine with getting a not guilty verdict so long as the truth is exposed. The real Big Bad however, is his brother Kristoph Gavin, who's a sociopathic narcissistic defense attorney.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: Simon is this to Klavier, being set up as an irredeemable convict to Klavier's friendly rock star. Design-wise, Klavier is a Bishōnen with a warm color palette while Simon is tall, has a Face of a Thug, and is dressed in black and white to make him look harsher.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: Nahyuta is this to Simon, as the holier-than-thou monk to Simon's evil criminal. Design-wise, he's dressed in white and pastels with an ethereal look to contrast Simon.
    • In terms of the Big Bad, the first game's is a terrifying and Obviously Evil prosecutor who gets revenge by proxy by drawing the son of the man he hates into a corrupt version of the legal world. Main villains of later games tend towards being bitches in sheep's clothing.
    • The villains of the Ace Attorney Investigations games. Querus Alba from the first game is a respected ambassador who uses his position to create a massive smuggling ring and has endless resources to achieve his goals. Simon Keyes is a literal circus clown who has none of the resources Alba did but is extremely skilled at manipulating people, and uses this skill to achieve his revenge against the four people who had wronged him, two of whom had powerful positions in law enforcement and another of whom was the president of a foreign country (technically an impostor who killed and replaced the real one, but he still had all of the power), therefore making them as legally untouchable as Alba was. He even managed to turn Miles Edgeworth into his Unwitting Pawn by manipulating three out of the four targets of his revenge into committing murder, and watching as Edgeworth not only solves the murders, but exposes their other crimes too, and has them arrested. And he didn't even plan to do that originally! He came up with that idea on the spot after meeting Edgeworth! Edgeworth had no idea until the end of the game when he finally puts all the pieces together.
  • Zero Escape:
    • In both Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward, one person in the group is the Big Bad actively trying to kill off the rest of the party. In the first game, that person is an old man who puts on a good act as a kindly person who cares about the group and who kills out of his own self-interest, to protect himself. In the second game, the killer is a young man who is...not very good at hiding what a bastard he is and who kills not to protect himself, but to help a group he belongs to so they can achieve their goal. In the third game, the Wild Card is not the Big Bad but The Dragon, the female Mira, and the only one to achieve some measure of redemption by turning herself in.
    • In Zero Time Dilemma, series Big Bad Delta is an old man who reads information about the future from other peoples' minds and owns a dangerous religion; Akane before him is a young woman who witnesses the future from other people's minds and is superstitious. Delta tries to justify his actions as having "complex motives" despite them involving lots of unnecessary murder, something the characters do not buy, while Akane, while also somewhat unnecessary in her plans, still had understandable motivations that the characters accepted more than they did Delta's.
  • Danganronpa:
    • The second game's rival is Nagito, the Ultimate Lucky Student. He's the Evil Counterpart of the previous protagonist Naegi. He genuinely believes that he is doing good, but he does so by forcing the game to keep going for his own plans, since he wants the others to develop into greater amounts of hope. Unlike Togami's jerkass behaviour, Nagito is somewhat affable, but infinitely more deranged.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Oma, the Ultimate Supreme Leader. A short and adorable little boy, he is a Wild Card that takes pleasure in playing the game and goes along with it because it amuses him, having no clear endgame plan, neither his survival nor anyone else's. Unlike Nagito and Togami, he is a complicated case of Good All Along and, although like Nagito he plans his own death, Oma's plan was made with the intent of throwing a monkey wrench in the game by creating a case that not even Monokuma can solve and force the game to end.
      • The fourth chapter has Gonta Gokuhara. He shares traits with Sakura and Gundham, the chapter four killers of the previous games; a Gentle Giant like Sakura and a talent involving animals like Gundham; but the difference between them is that while Sakura and Gundham's deaths could be considered Heroic Sacrifice so the others could live, Gonta instead intended to Mercy Kill the rest of the group by winning the game.

    Web Original 
  • Retropokon introduces a new villain in every anniversary special, radically different to the previous ones:
  • Each of the Big Bads of Red vs. Blue contrast with each other.
    • O'Malley/Omega , the villain of The Blood Gulch Chronicles, is an AI literally made out of rage obsessed with destruction. He’s extremely goofy, hammy, and prone to causing random and pointless acts of destruction just for the sake of it. He also tends to manipulate or force others to work with him, tending to use pawns to accomplish his goals (or try to, anyway).
    • The Meta, the main villain of The Recollection, is a silent and menacing Knight of Cerebus who has an actual plan; collecting all of the fragments of the Alpha so that Sigma can attain metastability. The Meta was himself a pawn to Sigma, who had completely broken his mind and turned him into an obedient slave, and the Meta worked alone, often employing subtler tactics to accomplish his goals.
    • The Director, the main villain of Season 9 and 10, is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who employed insanely ruthless and cruel means to both safeguard humanity and try to revive his wife. Unlike the more physical O'Malley and Meta, the Director was a Non-Action Big Bad who worked on the sidelines, but he was far more manipulative and cruel than either of them could ever hope to be, psychologically abusing his men and torturing the Alpha into insanity to accomplish his goals. Unlike O'Malley and the Meta, he lives to see his goals fail rather than be killed while trying to attain them, and he ends up a broken and suicidal wreck of his former self.
    • The Chorus Trilogy had three main antagonists; Felix and Locus and Malcolm Hargrove.
      • Felix is highly intelligent and manipulative, highly skilled in combat, and Laughably Evil and unhinged. However, he is also highly arrogant and underestimates his opponents, leading to several defeats that drive him further into madness and causing him to increasingly worse.
      • Locus is a Shell-Shocked Veteran so broken by his military service he now thinks of himself as nothing more than a weapon and no longer appears to have any free will. He never thinks for himself and always follows orders, but also refuses to engage in pointless sadism or petty vendettas, preferring to simply just get his missions over with. He also pulls a Heel–Face Turn after realizing he has become a monster.
      • Malcolm Hargrove is a powerful politician and Corrupt Corporate Executive who only cares about gaining more power. He had previously been set up as a Reasonable Authority Figure and utilizes smoke and mirror tactics, trying to keep his identity and actions a secret. He stays out of the action and, unlike most of the cast, never uses armor, and is always polite and civil towards his enemies, unlike previous villains, who were either assholes or didn't care about formalities, and keeps a stoic persona, but is willing to sacrifice countless lives to advance his power base and attempts to annihilate the entire population of Chorus in an act of spite. Unlike previous villains, his defeat is also never seen onscreen.
    • Temple, the main villain of Season 15, is an unhinged terrorist dedicated to getting revenge on the UNSC for using him as Cannon Fodder. Unlike previous villains, he was never well-regarded by the military, and was in fact considered bottom of the barrel, which led to his turn to villainy. Like several previous villains, he is motivated by a personal loss, but he has become a total madman who just wants to watch the world burn and make people suffer, wanting to plunge the galaxy into anarchy without any goal beyond that. He also does not automatically believe himself to be superior to his opponents, and relies on putting up an affable goofball facade, numbers, and sneaky tactics to get the advantage on his opponents.
    • The Shisno Paradox and Singularity have Genkins and Chrovos.
    • Chrovos is an ancient AI with the ability to alter time. Chrovos initially puts up a front as a serious, Faux Affably Evil villain, only to reveal themself as a condescending Deadpan Snarker. They initially seem to have a concise plan like other villains, to remake reality in their image, only to later be revealed to have gone completely insane and their motivations quickly become unclear and shift from moment to moment.
    • Genkins is a sarcastic Troll who fashions himself as a trickster prone to goofy actions, belying his true, power-hungry nature. He is prone to delusions of grandeur and desires to become a genuine god rather than an AI using a God Guise, and is willing to betray anyone to accomplish this, holding no allegiance to anyone and betraying all of his allies, unlike previous villains. Unlike all previous villains, he actually manages to accomplish his goal (sort of), only for it to backfire and result in him experiencing a Death of Personality and becoming Chrovos thanks to time travel.


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