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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, as well as a contrast of locations with a Contrasting Sequel Setting, 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 Versus 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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    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 Marvel, 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.
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong: In this MonsterVerse graphic novel which serves as a direct sequel to Kong: Skull Island, Riccio is a CSA to Preston Packard from the movie. Both men suffer Sanity Slippage after coming to the island which leads to them endangering all the other humans for their own selfish agenda; but whereas Packard was an unstable military man using vengeance and military duty to his country's people as a warped excuse for his obsession with killing Kong, Riccio instead is a mythographer who takes revering Kong as a holy deity to a thoroughly insane degree. Also, Packard was ultimately reliant on the support of his squad to pose as much of a threat to the island's balance and the remaining cast as he did, whereas Riccio causes a lot more damage after he strikes out on his own than before.
  • Shadows of the Empire: Evolution: In the original series, Prince Xizor prefers to direct things from his headquarters, punishes ambition and disloyalty among his lieutenants, uses his name and reputation to further his ends, is secretive about his plans, and attracts people with his pheromones. Here, his niece Savan ventures out in various disguises to conduct operations and leads her goons in the climax. She provokes dissent and disloyalty to weaken her rivals. She avoids using her name, reputation, and established position to persuade or intimidate people and relies on money and demonstrations of her skills to make allies and deter enemies. She also confides in some of her men and doesn’t use her pheromones while flirting with people.
  • Cheetah is one of Wonder Woman's three most famous adversaries, but Priscilla Rich would make a poor antagonist for the Post Crisis Wonder Woman without severely altering her character. So her role goes to two characters. Barbara Minerva takes up Rich's role of "Cheetah", but with explicit superpowers and a connection to the divine that make her a more thematically inline with the new Wonder Woman. Minverva is also a greedy archeologist, where Rich was a socialite with more money than she knew what to do with. The role of the wealthy woman with an unfounded grudge against Wonder Woman goes to Veronica Cale, but where Rich was a mentally ill heiress who resented literally being overshadowed at a charity event, Cale was a Rags to Riches entrepreneur hating that Wonder Woman is better known than she is. Where Rich demonstrates how society can pit women against each other, Cale did that on her own too.

    Fan Works 

    Theatre 
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    Toys 
  • The various antagonists from BIONICLE manages to create a significant amount of contrast from the previous storyline.
    • The Chronicles/Mata Nui arc: The original threat came from the Rahi, which were mere animals under the control of Makuta, who were followed by the Bohrok, insect like robots that destroyed anything in their path but were ultimately servants of Mata Nui. Following the Bohrok were the Rakshi, sons of Makuta, the first series of antagonists that were closer to the Toa than animals, wielding weapons and powers specifically in contradiction to the virtues of the Toa, not only physical threats but also spiritual ones.
    • The Adventures/Metru Nui arc: The Starter Villain is the Morbuzakh, a Botanical Abomination that was driven by a desire to destroy Metru Nui. Following it were the Vahki, purely mechanical enforcers who were Just Following Orders, and the Dark Hunters, agents of Murder, Inc. who were hired by Turaga Dume (actually Makuta in disguise). After that were the Visorak horde, whose leaders Sidorak and Roodaka contrast the planner Makuta by being a Miles Gloriosus and Opportunistic Bitch respectively.
    • The Legends arc: The Piraka contrast both the Rahkshi (their chronological predecessors) and the Visorak (the villains of the previous year's line) by actually having distinct personalities instead of being mooks. Rather than seeking blind destruction, they are driven by greed, seeking the Mask of Life simply as a means to become rich. All six also had a severe case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, all planning to kill each other to take the mask for themselves. The Barraki contrast greatly to the Piraka. While the latter were a gang of violent thugs and former Dark Hunters that would betray each other the millisecond they were able, seeking out the Mask of Life together simply so the others could be picked off first, the former were former war lords that united millennia ago, and they do not tolerate betrayal, with their plan being to share the mask in order to restore them to their former glory. Finally, the Toa Nuva, who came Back for the Finale, ended up facing members of the Brotherhood of Makuta, who were in Karda Nui to bring about the conclusion of their leader's plan - which, unlike their predecessors, they were all completely aware of (although they failed to note one detail, which cost them their lives in the end). All of the Brotherhood members seen were also far more powerful than any previous antagonist group, although they did have limitations on their abilities (half were blinded at the conclusion of the Mahri Nui arc and needed Shadow Matoran to see, the other half had a case of Shapeshifter Mode Lock and had some of their powers locked off) to keep some chance of the Toa winning.
  • 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 every entry of the series, one person in the group is the Big Bad actively trying to kill off the rest of the party. In the first game, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, 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, Virtue's Last Reward, 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, Zero Time Dilemma, 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 Rival of the first game is Byakuya Togami, the Ultimate Affluent Progeny. He plays the role of the lesser of two evils between him and Monokuma. Incredibly snob and arrogant, he has no problem with killing someone to escape for himself, but ultimately decides to spite Monokuma by refusing to play his game. From him however, the next rivals would heavily differ in motivation and demeanor.
    • The second game's rival is Nagito Komaeda, the Ultimate Lucky Student. He's the Evil Counterpart of the previous protagonist Makoto 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, Komaeda is somewhat affable, but infinitely more deranged.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Kokichi 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 Komaeda 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.
  • Kakuya of Spirit Hunter: NG contrasts a lot with Mary Kujou, the Big Bad and fellow talking doll from Spirit Hunter: Death Mark. Kakuya wears traditional Japanese garb and talks like a child, while Mary wears Elegant Gothic Lolita and speaks formally. Kakuya is openly presented as the Big Bad, while Mary provides guidance to the player throughout the game on the behalf of her deceased master, the Big Good, and is only revealed as evil in the last half-hour. Kakuya forces the protagonist to act by taking Ami hostage and personally naming spirits for him to take down, while Mary wipes the protagonist's memory and manipulates him with lies and half-truths. Both Kakuya and Mary Kujou have some form of love for their game's protagonist, but Kakuya's "love" is a childish, clingy jealousy and Mary's love is a monstrous, sadistic lust. Finally, Kakuya is fully capable of movement, while Mary can only move her head and arms and spends most of the game sitting on the same couch.

    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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