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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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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fist of the North Star had a bit of variety in the various villains it introduced:
    • Shin was Kenshiro's old rival who had an unhealthy obsession with Yuria. He was the only villain that Kenshiro faced primarily for revenge, and served as nothing more than a Token Motivational Nemesis.
    • The Colonel and Jackal were two very minor villains who seemed to serve as nothing more than filler in both the manga and the anime. The Colonel was the only villain to have motivations tying in with the nuclear war that served as the show's framing device, and Jackal was the only villain to be evil purely For the Evulz.
    • The Fang Clan were more animalistic and mafia-like than other villains, and their leader was the first villain whose special ability wasn't exactly believable, being able to turn his skin into steel.
    • Jagi was one of two villains who simply wanted revenge against Kenshiro, and was the first to have ties to Kenshiro's training in Hokuto Shinken long ago. His arrival also set forth the underlying plotline of Kenshiro's battle to maintain his right as the successor of Hokuto Shinken, particularly after revealing that Raoh and Toki are still alive.
    • Souther was a conqueror like Shin, but lacked any emotions and therefore did not have the sense of sentiment that preceding villains had. He was also the first villain to have some sort of defense against Hokuto Shinken, and the first to have a real Freudian Excuse.
    • Raoh was arguably both the Big Bad and Greater-Scope Villain of the series, both directly influencing the actions of numerous villains and providing the framing advice for the Shura arc. He also had the deepest personal connection to Kenshiro than any other villain, and was the only one who wasn't defeated in the same arc where he was introduced. Because of how long he lasted in the series, he also took his plans to a greater extent than any other villain, and is the only one to have come close to winning.
    • Jakoh was more toned down than other villains. While he was another emperor, he only got it through deposing a pre-existing one. He is also the only Non-Action Big Bad in the series, relying purely on his army and the forces of Gento Koken.
    • Kaioh is far less realistic than other villains, relying on Ki Attacks and his demonic aura than traditional punching and kicking. He and Hyo also serve as a connection to Kenshiro and Raoh's buried pasts, as well as that of Hokuto Shinken itself.
  • Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z did this between sagas.
    • Emperor Pilaf was a comically short-tempered imp who seeked nothing more than world domination (and avoiding getting Akira Toriyama pigeonholed by Dr. Slump), and relied entirely on a pair of cronies who, despite coming off as menacing when first introduced (at least in the manga), turned out to be nothing more than two bumbling idiots.
    • The Red Ribbon Army were, as the name implies, a whole army filled with different mooks and midbosses rather than three idiots. They were scarily competent (at least when they weren't fighting Goku) and had a cohesive plan to attain the Dragon Balls for world domination, being feared the world over. Meanwhile, their leader could best be described as Pilaf with an agenda, but turned out to greatly contrast the ideology of his army when he accidentally let loose that his true goal was to simply gain a few extra feet. Adjunct Black wound up killing him for this.
    • The Crane Hermit was a seedy rival to Master Roshi who wanted to simply humiliate him and his students at first, but then decided to outright kill them after learning that Goku "killed" his brother, Tao Pai Pai. He's also the first villain in the series to not be chasing after the dragon balls.
    • Demon King Piccolo, while being another villain who wanted to rule the world and was backed by mooks, was far more dangerous than any of the villains up to this point. He was the first villain with supernatural origins (though they would be retconned in Z to be part of a larger sci-fi backstory), being a manifestation of Kami's evil thoughts that he expelled in order to become God, and caused widespread devastation to an extent never before depicted in the manga. King Piccolo was also far savvier than previous villains, hunting down martial artists in case one of them could seal him with the Mafuba, and checking Goku's heartbeat after defeating him to ensure that he was dead. He was the first villain whose only did what he did For the Evulz, the first major villain to defeat Goku in battle (as well as the first to come close to killing him), the only one to successfully use the Dragon Balls for his own agenda, and was the only villain in the entire series to outright win.
    • Demon Prince Piccolo Junior was a bit less extreme than his father. Similarly to the Crane Hermit, he only wanted revenge on Goku for killing his father. However, he was the first villain to serve as a sequel to a previous one, the only villain fought during an official tournament (compared to Cell, whose tournament was more amateur and improvised than the Tenkaichi Budokai), and was one of the only two villains who Goku spared (the second being Vegeta). Carrying on into Z, Piccolo was also the first villain to successfully kill Goku, even if it was only an unintended consequence.
    • Raditz, Nappa, and Vegeta were a force from the stars who represented Goku's buried past, contrasting the more grounded enemies, where his powers were an anomaly.
    • Freeza led an entire army of which the Saiyans were only a small part. Freeza himself was a terror for the galaxy for decades and exterminated most of the Saiyans.
    • The Androids were a threat so new, the heroes had to wait for them to exist in contrast to Freeza and his long reign. The protagonists had an advantage over the entire planet trade organization, going back to the Saiyans, thanks to their ability to sense Ki; meanwhile, the Androids up to Cell didn't have any Ki to sense, giving the protagonists a taste of how unnerving even weaker enemies can be when they can find you much better than you can find them. Cell himself had to gain his power, whereas Freeza was born with his. Also, whereas Freeza feared the depths of power the Saiyans had, Cell actively sought it out, spending his final confrontation with the protagonists testing their full power.
    • Buu was largely purposeless and did things on a whim, contrasting Frieza and Cell, who had plans and schemes they worked to fulfill. He also broke the trend of Z villains being purely sci-fi in nature by being a demon who was magically created/summoned by Bibidi (though Bibidi himself was an alien), harking back to the origins of the Piccolo dynasty. Whereas Cell was patient enough to stand still for over a week before starting the Cell Games, Buu couldn't wait an hour to face the opponent Goku promised him. And while Frieza and Cell were Faux Affably Evil and Wicked Cultured, Buu was an ill-mannered Psychopathic Manchild.
    • Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!! to Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods was a more direct example. Both movies centered around the protagonists attending a party that was crashed by figures from Vegeta's past who were in search of a specific saiyan. What made the films different was that Abo and Kado were individually as strong as Freeza at a time when nine of the attendees were several times more powerful than that, to the point they played a game to determine just who would have the honor of showing them the door. Beerus, the sequel antagonist, was not only stronger than Freeza but stronger than every antagonist to appear in Dragon Ball up to that point, making efforts to placate him the focus of the plot.
    • Beerus himself deserves special mention. While most of the previous antagonists were all sadistic monsters who destroyed things on a whim, Beerus is more of an Affably Evil type of guy who destroys planets simply because it's his job (he serves as the counterpart to the Supreme Kais, whose job is to create new worlds). That said, he does have a Hair-Trigger Temper meaning that he can destroy even important planets for petty reasons and is also a Lazy Bum who often naps for ages, often letting Eldritch Abominations like Kid Buu run around causing havoc while napping. And that's not even getting into giving the aforementioned Frieza the go-ahead to destroy the saiyans simply because he didn't like them. He's also the only antagonist (well, other than Perfect Cell) to actually defeat Goku in the climax battle.
  • Dragon Ball Super gives the franchise Goku Black, who serves as the first antagonist in all of Dragon Ball whose origins are shrouded in complete mystery. He is a mass murderer with Goku's face who suddenly began massacring all life left in Future Trunks's timeline claiming it's for the sake of creating a paradise, and has access to items that are restricted to use by the Supreme Kai's. When he shows up, no one around is able to give any sort of exposition about him, not even the gods, and unlike Cell the efforts to get information out of him are ineffective. Because of this, a large part of the plot after his introduction is dedicated to trying to figure out who/what he is and where he came from. His motives also make him the first villain in Dragonball to technically be a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • His origins as the Fallen Angel Zamasu are likewise new to Dragon Ball, and some fans have pointed out that he wouldn't be out of place as the villain of a JRPG. But perhaps one of the largest differences Goku Black and Zamasu have to past villains is that they technically get exactly what they wanted, and it takes the Top God destroying the entire universe in Future Trunks's timeline to stop him, ending the saga with the biggest case of Pyrrhic Victory in the franchise thus far.
    • The next major saga, Universe Survival, has nearly every character Team Universe 7 goes up against as a Hero Antagonist, since every single member of the tournament is fighting so their entire universe doesn't get erased. In fact, the big threat of the arc and the final opponents in U7's way by its end are the three strongest members of the Pride Troopers, Universe 11's bona-fide Sentai style superhero team.
    • The sequel movie continues this trend. Where the strongest fighter faced, Jiren, had very little to do with Goku as a character, the villain of this movie is in every shape and form a dark reflection of Goku, which isn't terribly hard to see, as he is Broly.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, The Federation was at war with the fascist rebels of the Principality of Zeon. In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, the Federation has become just as brutal as the people they were fighting, anti-Federation rebels are the heroes, and the remnants of Zeon are courted by both sides as potential allies.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Precia Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and Hayate Yagami from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's have similar backstories (loss of loved ones and terminal illness) but they went the complete opposite directions to deal with their pain. Precia cursed the entire world for taking her daughter away from her, spent twenty years trying to bring her back to life via cloning, and used the clone as nothing more than a tool because she wasn't a perfect copy. Hayate, on the other hand, never complained about the hand she'd been dealt and her reaction to gaining four loyal servants was to treat them as her family. Precia ordered Fate to collect the Jewel Seeds regardless of who was hurt while Hayate told the Wolkenritter not to collect Linker Cores specifically because people would get hurt (in fact, she was entirely unaware of what was going on until episode 9). Finally, Precia was the Big Bad while Hayate only qualifies as an antagonist in the loosest sense due to her family's actions and would later go on to be the Big Good.
    • And then there's Jail Scaglietti from StrikerS, who is both similar to and the opposite of both of them. Like Precia (revealed to be his old accomplice), he is a Mad Scientist with expertise in human cloning, and like Hayate, he treats his female minions with familial affection. However, unlike both of them, who were both terminally ill female Persons of Mass Destruction and either in their mid-fifties or under ten, he's a healthy adult male Non-Action Big Bad, and lacks a sympathetic motive. Finally, he usually wears a white lab coat while the other two were associated with dark colors.
  • Not only are the heroes of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure contrasting with each other, but the villains do so as well.
    • Dio Brando is a Narcissist megalomaniac casanova with various Kick the Dog moments, notably literally kicking a dog as his Establishing Character Moment and later incinerating it alive, and is never seen without a smirk. He is also favorable to humans that are nice to him, though he will callously dispose of them once they serve no use.
    • Kars is a stoic super vampire with a single-minded goal of achieving perfection as the Ultimate Life Form, but notably cares more about wildlife than humans, and has no need for sex. He also cared more about his colleagues than Dio did. Also, while Dio often sought to bring misery to other people, particularly Jonathan, the Pillar Men see humans as so unimportant to them, they usually only hurt humans when they needed to feed or by accident (aside from the main characters who legitimately threatened them).
    • DIO contrasts with both Kars and his younger self. While Kars pursued his goal at all costs and Dio, in his youth, recklessly pursued his obsession with Jonathan, DIO learned from his mistakes and decided to bide his time. His goal is mainly to kill anyone who might try to stop him in the future, and uses assassins instead of jumping right into the fight himself. Even when the heroes finally do reach him, and even with his extremely useful new power, he keeps his anger in check and refuses to drop his guard until he is absolutely sure that his enemies are dead.
    • Kira, on the other hand, has significantly humbler ambitions than his predecessors, preferring to live a life without distractions and fixing his socks, and he's just a human serial killer, rather than a supernatural creature (even if his Stand helps to make up for that). He also has a hand fetish.
    • Diavolo is an apathetic man with no love for anyone but himself, and not even his own split personality's death brings any emotional response. He is obsessed with killing his own daughter, and has an even more extreme paranoia of being discovered by others than Kira.
    • Pucci has Undying Loyalty to DIO, with some questionable undertones for a priest, is manipulative, and is an "evil that didn't know he was evil" kind of villain. He's also the only villain to accomplish his primary goal, causing a universe-wide Reset Button with "Made in Heaven."
    • Finally, Funny Valentine is a well-intentioned patriot whose reasons for his actions are the love for his country and to honor the memory of his father, going so far as to commit morally-wrong acts to attain eternal happiness and prosperity for his country.
    • The villain of JoJolion, in part because we haven't conclusively identified them yet, already counts. It's the first time the identity of the Big Bad has been an outright mystery rather than simply an in-universe one, though by all indications their motives are less selfless than Valentine's. While Kira and Diavolo also hid from the heroes and took a long time to be properly introduced, Kira was an ordinary-seeming salaryman with modest aspirations and it was still pretty clear that Diavolo was the Big Bad from long before we had a name and face to the boss of Passione, and even before showing his face he had was deeply involved with the story and would occasionally directly intervene.
  • The central antagonists of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise have different goals and motivations.
    • Zorc Necrophades from Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters was born from the darkness of people in Ancient Egypt and he seeks the destruction of the world. He is also not a duelist.
    • The Light of Ruin from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is a virulent, extraterrestrial being that is almost as old as the universe itself. And its purpose throughout human existence has been to inhabit humans to cause destruction and has claims that destruction is the true destiny of universe. It is also indoctrinates people into becoming members of its cult by making them lose faith in themselves and convincing them life is meaningless. But unlike every other central antagonist, the Light of Ruin only appears in the second season and is not the Final Boss. The final boss is Darkness who is born from the idea of Dark Is Evil, making him similar to Zorc. But what makes Darkness different from Zorc and the Light of Ruin is that Darkness doesn't pursue destruction, instead he wants every human of the world fell into the world of darkness, where they would sleep for all eternity. Darkness's ambitions aren't driven because of his evil personality, but because he's acting as if he's a force of nature.
    • Z-One from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's wants to prevent the happening of the Bad Future. After several failures, his final option is destroying Neo-Domino City, so the future can be saved. Even though he's described as a god, unlike the other main antagonists, he's a human... well, a Cyborg now. Another big contrast is that his henchmen aren't just henchmen, but his best friends, well, actually android-copies of his best friends who inherited the will, memories and personalities of their original counterparts.
    • Don Thousand from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL was exiled from the Astral World due to of him using the power of the Chaos. He's goal is to find the Numeron Code to destroy the Astral World or else, the Astral World would use the code to destroy him and the Barian World.
    • Zarc from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V was just a regular human with the ability to hear monster spirits and a desire to entertain humans and monsters alike but due to a mistake he ended up becoming more and more violent to appease the crowds which made him bitter as he felt like he was a toy for humanity. He fused with his trusted dragons to gain the power of a god. Unlike the other villains, he has a very deep connection to his series' protagonist that they lack with their respective protagonist, he never directly fights his protagonist, is regularly called a demon by the cast compared to the other villains being called gods, has multiple duels compared to the others one or two duels and was redeemed at the end.
  • Rurouni Kenshin. Nobuhiro Watsuki has stated that whereas Shishio Makoto embodied aspects that he felt were positive in a way, Yukishiro Enishi in contrast was created to reflect aspects that he felt were destructive.
  • Psycho-Pass has both Shogo Makishima and Kirito Kamui. Both Makishima and Kamui are against the Sybil System, but their ways and the problems they pose for the system are quite different. Where Makishima and his methods was centered around a theme of individualistic anarchy, Kamui's running theme was the idea of collectivised crime. This is also neatly reflected in their character designs; where Makishima has highly distinctive looks, Kamui is a very generic looking person, even with his scars and Mismatched Eyes. Finally, unlike Makishima, who employs people so long as they keep on entertaining him, Kamui appears to be genuinely concerned for their well-being.
  • From Texhnolyze, Yoshii and Kano can be interpreted as one to the other. Both are fairly monstrous people with ideals separate from, and incomprehensible to the people of Lux, and both bring the people of Lux to their breaking point during their respective arcs. But where Yoshii causes chaos to bring out the passions and the wills of the people of Lux, or so he claims, Kano uses the chaos to wipe out the remnants of Lux and replace them with his "perfect" Shapes, essentially bringing about a World of Silence.
  • Digimon: The various series do this a lot. First the manga comics...Shinichiro Josaki, the antagonist of C'mon Digimon, is basically a bully with a lot of free time and disposable income who kidnaps children in order to torment them with holographic technology before destroying their property. Lord Demon, the main antagonist of Digimon V-Tamer 01, is a powerful mutant who is staging a war of aggression across the continent of Folder. His ultimate goal is to punish all lifeforms weaker than himself, wherever they may be, by forcing them to live short, brutal lives. MetalPhantomon, the principle antagonist of Digimon D-Cyber, is a minor player trying to build a power base through the kidnapping and brainwashing of human tamers, giving them delusions he will grant them great power while using that they already have for his own ends. Digimon Next antagonist Barbamon is a digimon who stumbled into Yggdrasil, the computer that runs the digital world, while Yggdrasil had sent out an avatar to examine the human world, and thus went insane as his mind became a part of and corrupted its programing. Barbamon thus decides the universe should be destroyed. Bagramon, the antagonist of the Xros Wars manga, also wants to destroy the universe, but he wants to do it because he believes if the universe gave him a brother who was literally born evil then it doesn't deserve to exist.
  • Now the Digimon Anime...
    • Digimon Adventure:
      • Devimon is a stock villain devil who uses Black Gears to make several Digimon become evil and his goal is to take control of File Island. And he heavily suffers from Orcus on His Throne.
      • Etemon is a Laughably Evil yet Not-So-Harmless Villain who is way more competent than Devimon and he has control over the entire Server Continent thanks to his Dark Network. All of his minions aren't brainwashed, but they are evil to begin with. Etemon is also a very active antagonist who does everything to pursuit the Chosen Children, and despite being much more powerful than their Digimon (until MetalGreymon's appearance), his bad luck prevents him from killing any of them.
      • Vamdemon's is a Wicked Cultured vampire who invades the real world to kill a single child and goes so far to kidnap an entire district to do so. His goal is to merge the real world with the Digital World to rule over them. His army is more competent than they let on and after Vamdemon's defeat, he is immediately resurrected as a vampiric, devlish Kaiju who lost his sanity.
      • The Dark Masters are quartet of Big Bads, albeit a Big-Bad Ensemble than a Big Bad Duumvirate. Each of them have their own different personalities and already existed long way back before the eight Chosen Children were...chosen. In fact, they are so old, they were fought by the original five Chosen Children many years ago. The four are comprised of a cyborg sea dragon, a wooden puppet boy with a hammer, a mix-match android dragon, and a humanoid Monster Clown. MetalSeadramon and Mugendramon are both No-Nonsense Nemesises, but the former has Benevolent Boss qualities in contrast to Mugendramon and Pinocchimon, while Mugendramon is a cold-hearted machine with almost no emotions and commands his army with efficiency. Pinocchimon is a really Bad Boss and has the personality of a Creepy Child and he doesn't really understand the concept of friendship and has an Inferiority Superiority Complex. Piemon prefers to wait for his enemies to arrive at the top of Spiral Mountain and he doesn't even attempt to send anyone to attack the children who are in his territory underneath the top. He acts like a Faux Affably Evil Ax-Crazy serial killer, except that he doesn't kill any of the children and has fun hunting them and turning them into keychains.
      • Apocalymon, the final villain, is the embodiment of dead Digimon who failed to evolve and he also has the powers of the Digimon killed by the Chosen Children. He envies the Digimon who live in the Digital World and he wants to destroy it because of his suffering.
    • Digimon Adventure 02:
      • The Digimon Kaiser is an evil-turned Chosen Child molded by the influence of three separate villains. Despite being manipulated by one of them, most of his actions do fall under his own responsibility. He created Dark Towers, enslaved Digimon with Evil Rings and Evil Spirals and he created an artificial Digimon by gathering data of ten different Digimon. However, the Digimon Kaiser is under the impression that everything in the Digital World is a game and doesn't realize the heaviness of his actions until he's defeated. He's The Heavy and even after his Heel–Face Turn he's connected to every single antagonist in 02.
      • BelialVamdemon is the mastermind behind the events in 02 (well, most of them), who inhabitates the body of a broken man, whose childhood dream is to enter the Digital World. After being reborn, BelialVamdemon is shown to be much more brutal than his previous form as Vamdemon, but this time he keeps his intelligence in his new form and he still pursues his original goal of merging both worlds together to rule over them.
    • Digimon Tamers:
      • Zhuqiaomon is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is racist against humans, but all of his actions are motivated to create a powerful army to fight the true enemy that is threatening the Digital World. He actually succeeds in that regard, and after Qinglongmon reminds him to focus on his original goal, Zhuqiaomon put his plans of invading the real world on-hold and eventually supports the Tamers who also fight the true enemy.
      • The true enemy is D-Reaper, a program with no will (at first) who deletes everything they think has to be deleted...including the real world. It's an Eldritch Abomination and it sends Agents who are actually part of D-Reaper, making the entire army a single entity.
    • Digimon Frontier:
      • Cherubimon is a Fallen Angel corrupted by another fallen angel, Lucemon. He original governed the Digital World along with the two other Great Angels Ophanimon and Seraphimon, but Cherubimon felt that the two were racist against Beast-tribe Digimon and let the darkness consume him. Him gathering DigiCodes from the Digital World is actually part of Lucemon's manipulation who needs DigiCodes to revive himself.
      • Lucemon is a fallen angel who once ended the war between the Human-tribe Digimon and the Beast-tribe Digimon, but he had a messiah complex and became a tyrant who believes that he has to rule over everyone and everything. He does love the Digital World and that's why he wants to destroy it and kill everyone, so he can recreate the world and resurrect everyone and rule over them. After evolving into Lucemon: Falldown Mode, he wants to do the same with the human world. Lucemon thinks it's all about him and that everything belongs to him because he's so great.
    • Digimon Savers:
      • Mercurymon (not Mercuremon) bears hatred towards resentment for killing hundreds of innocent Digimon, but he still has some respect for the good humans and doesn't blame everything on humanity as a whole. Unlike SaberLeomon, Mercurymon doesn't go so far to send an army to invade the real world. He also acts as a father figure for the human child Ikuto.
      • Kurata is a racist man who hates Digimon because of his cowardness and does everything in his power to kill them (and he's responsible of killing innocent Digimon mentioned above, as well as Mercurymon). He also has a big ego and abuses his power he got from the Japanese goverment to attack both, Digimon and humanity, by controlling and eventually fusing with Belphemon, a being feared even by other digimon, to prove how superior he is.
      • Yggdrasil is the god of the Digital World, and it wants to destroy humanity because of the actions of Kurata...by also sacrificing the life of the Digimon. Its logic is flawed due to malfunctioning.
    • Digimon Xros Wars
  • Berg-Katz, the main villain of Gatchaman Crowds, sees the worst in humanity, and wants to cause never-ending violence and chaos. Gelsadra and the Kuu-sama, main villains of Gatchaman Crowds Insight, see the best in humanity, and want to cause world peace and harmony... whether you want them to or not.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Aside from being a GMPC, Sugou Nobuyuki and Akihiko Kayaba are as different as night and day. While Kayaba was simply deluded, Sugou is unambiguously, unconditionally evil and revels in his villainy. While Kayaba actively participated in the game under the guise of Heathcliff, Sugou was an Orcus on His Throne who didn't take action until Kirito was literally at his door. Kayaba posed as a humble player and a noble commander to his guild, while Sugou declared himself to be God and treated everyone else like dirt while believing he was entitled to have Asuna. Kayaba was Strong and Skilled, and still a match for Kirito even after forfeiting his admin privileges, while Sugou is Unskilled, but Strong, has nothing going for him aside from his Game Master powers, and is curb-stomped by Kirito when he loses them. While Kayaba was a Graceful Loser who faced death with dignity, Sugou is a Dirty Coward who goes out whining, cursing, and crying both times Kirito beats him.
    • In contrast with the previous two, Death Gun is not a GMPC and used a code name different to his character name. His goals are also very different, whereas Kayaba was a Visionary Villain who wanted to make a Virtual World real, and Sugou wanted to rule a Virtual World as its God and have Asuna for himself, Death Gun's goal is merely to kill in cold blood. Thematically he averts the Light Is Not Good motif seen with Heathcliff and Oberon, instead embodying Dark Is Evil to contrast Kirito's Dark Is Not Evil. Finally, Death Gun is the first Big Bad who is roughly on even ground with Kirito in fighting ability, by virtue that he's not a Game Master with broken admin privileges, as his power comes from skill with a sword.
  • Bakugan Battle Brawlers does this with its 4 main antagonists:

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Lucius Malfoy as the de facto Big Bad of the first book, a Manipulative Bastard who controls a coalition of villains including HYDRA, Gravemoss, and the Death Eaters (though most of the latter are used as cannon fodder) to conquer the world through intimidation and terror tactics, seeking institutional power rather than personal power-ups (on the grounds that he's wary of making himself a bigger target), and largely ignores Harry in favour of threats like the Avengers - something which turns out to be a key part of his downfall. The sequel has Voldemort as the Big Bad. 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.
  • 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 inhabitant of cities 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 beginning.
  • Due to the Serial Escalation of how destructive the antagonists of Ruby and Nora get, this trope is to be expected.

    Films — Animation 
  • Jafar is the Big Bad of Aladdin and its sequel. He is a power-hungry Lean and Mean schemer who was the Grand Vizier of Agrabah, relying on hynosis and magical powers. He eventually used the Genie's lamp to become a Genie himself. Saluk is a Lower-Class Lout and a Badass Normal, making use of Batman Gambits and his own physical stength to find the Hand of Midas and satisfy his greed.
  • Toy Story:
    • The original Toy Story has Sid Phillips, a hyperactive young child who likes to perform sadistic experiments on his toys, disassembling and reassembling them into hideous mutations, and occasionally blowing them up with rockets for fun. Though the toys understandably fear Sid, he's ultimately just a very curious child with a destructive streak, since he's unaware that his toys are sentient creatures.
    • Toy Story 2 has Al McWhiggin, a slovenly, socially inept adult who likes to collect toys, and insists on keeping them in mint condition instead of playing with them. Sid became the antagonist because he wanted to destroy Buzz, while Al becomes the antagonist because he wants to keep Woody in a display case for his entire life, depriving him of human contact. Where Sid is curious and hyperactive, Al is materialistic and emotionally repressed.
    • Toy Story 3 has Lotso Huggin Bear, who contrasts both Sid and Al by being the first antagonist in the series who's another toy instead of a malicious human, and thus able to communicate his evil intentions to the toys. Where Sid and Al are Obliviously Evil, and have no idea that the toys are sentient, Lotso has no such excuses: he actively wants to hurt and manipulate them. But while Sid and Al are more or less antagonistic from the get-go, Lotso is a Tragic Villain who fell off the deep end when he was abandoned by his human owner and replaced with an identical toy—essentially making him a Shadow Archetype of Woody, showing us how he might have turned out if he hadn't successfully reunited with Andy in the first movie.
  • Kung Fu Panda has this with its villains, forming a Fighter, Mage, Thief contrast.
    • Tai Lung, villain of the first movie, was a martial arts master, and fought with kung fu and nerve strikes, using no weapons (although he does make good use of his surroundings).
    • Lord Shen, villain of the second movie, fights personally using throwing knives, and is more likely to fight from a distance using cannons (which he invented), or send his minions to fight for him.
    • Kai, the villain of the third movie, fought with chi, supernatural powers, and 'jombies' (constructs made from jade in the form of dead kung fu masters).
  • Cars does this mainly in regards to its various rival racers:
    • Cars had Chick Hicks, who was loud, boastful, completely full of himself, a cheater, and was generally an unpleasant jerkass.
    • Francesco Bernoulli from Cars 2 is more of a toned down version of Hicks, seeing as how, while he's still an arrogant jerk, Bernoulli doesn't fight dirty and actually appears to be horrified upon seeing his fellow racers all get into wrecks during the Grand Prix Race.
    • Jackson Storm from Cars 3 retains a calm and quiet demeanor throughout most of the film, which makes him very noticeably different from Hicks and Bernoulli, who are both pretty loud-mouthed and somewhat energetic.
  • Despicable Me films:
    • Victor "Vector" Perkins is a new, younger villain who seeks to overthrow Gru. He's immature and inexperienced, but makes up for it by being active and rather dangerous when pushed.
    • Despicable Me 2: El Macho is an older villain who faked his death and a father. Wanting to make a comeback, he hides his identity and ends up being a more physically active villain than Vector.
    • Despicable Me 3: Balthazar Bratt was originally a child actor who played a villain, but when he lost his fame he became an actual villain to get revenge. In terms of personality, he has more in common with Vector, but is almost as active in hand-to-hand as El Macho.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • The Red Death from the first movie is a dragon (a type of animal the Vikings regularly fight against) that is so massive that neither dragons (that it can control against their will so that they could feed it) nor vikings can fight alone, with Hiccup and Toothless (a human and a dragon working together) being the only ones that could fight it. In contrast, Drago Bludvist and his abused, subservient bewilderbeast in How to Train Your Dragon 2 are a human and dragon pair that try to enslave both mankind and dragon with the intention of conquering the world.
    • Alvin the Treacherous and Dagur the Deranged from Dreamworks Dragons are both chiefs of their own respective tribes (the Outcasts and the Berserkers) that have a vendetta against Berk (Alvin with Stoick, Dagur and Hiccup) who strive to humiliate those they have a grudge with and gain power by enslaving dragons using brute force and short-term plans. Eventually, Alvin is forced to ask Berk for their help when Dagur turns on him and takes his island and tribe, cementing peace with the Outcasts in the end. In contrast, Viggo Grimborn is a villain with no personal grudge against Hiccup and sees him as an obstacle for his enterprise. He uses deduction, psychology and careful, long-term plans to outwit Hiccup, nearly winning various times. Much like with Alvin, Viggo is betrayed and robbed of his position as chief (by his brother Ryker), but turns on Hiccup and the team after tricking them in "putting [his] brother back in his place" only to die later revealed to have survived by falling into a volcano.
    • Krogan is this trope to Viggo. While Viggo preferred using careful planning and diplomacy, Krogan prefers overpowering his foes, forcing dragons to fight for him against their will (much like Dagur tried doing with the Skrill). Unlike Alvin and Dagur though, Krogan has both the skill and resources to successfully gain the upper-hand, managing to chase the riders away twice and forcing Berk to get involved with their conflict with the Dragon Hunters.
  • Sarouch from The Hunchback of Notre Dame II is this to Claude Frollo from the first movie. While Frollo was a high-ranking public official with an army of soldiers at his disposal, Sarouch is the leader of a band of thieves posing as a traveling circus. Their motivations are also very different: Sarouch is motivated by greed and vanity while Frollo was a Knight Templar who sought to eradicate sin from the population of Paris, which led him to persecute people who lived like Sarouch did.
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea has Morgana strongly contrast with her sister Ursula. In regards to body types, Ursula was obese while Morgana is quite skinny and almost skeletal. Morgana was The Un-Favourite to their mother who doted on Ursula. Ursula got along very well with Flotsam and Jetsam, while Morgana is always butting heads with Undertow. Ursula was full of herself, unlike Morgana, who has a serious inferiority complex. Ursula had great skill with magic, but Morgana is an Inept Mage. Morgana is a good deal more erratic and emotional than the generally calm and collected Ursula. Ursula came off as more businesslike and ultimately pressured Ariel into signing a contract, while Morgana was more informal and convinced Melody that she was sympathetic to her plight. Finally, Ursula indirectly used Ariel to get King Triton's trident, but Morgana tricks Melody into stealing it for her.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride has Zira. While Scar was a suave and smooth individual who was skilled at hiding his true colors, motivated by ambition and having a Lack of Empathy, Zira is more overtly insane and malevolent, motivated by revenge, and shows that she is capable of empathy. In other words, Scar comes off like a psychopath, while Zira is more like a sociopath. There are other differences too. Scar commands the loyalty of his minions with promises of a better life, and is very reminiscent of a demagogue. Zira, on the other hand, instills a fervent devotion to "the cause" in her followers, coming off more like a cult leader. Scar avoided fighting as much as possible, while Zira personally leads her minions into battle and certainly isn't afraid to get her paws dirty. Also, while Scar sought to claim the throne for himself, Zira is Vicariously Ambitious, planning to make Kovu king after she overthrows Simba.
  • The Screenslaver from Incredibles 2 contrasts against the previous film's antagonist Syndrome in a number of ways. Where Syndrome wants to bring Supers back into the spotlight by means of empowering himself with his creations, Screenslaver actually Evelyn Devour, employing a hypnotised decoy aims to keep Supers illegal, believing that Supers hold humanity back. By that same measure, Screenslaver's soured opinion of Supers is contrasted by Syndrome's barely-contained excitement when geeking out over Mr. Incredible's abilities and his casual savviness with regards to common villain tropes ("You sly dog! You got me monologuing!"). Screenslaver is shown to be capable of empathy, in that she attempted to save her brother Winston from becoming a casualty in her schemes, while Syndrome sees no problem in gambling with Mirage's life when calling Mr. Incredible's bluff.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Superman both made the threat an ensemble and made them capable of physically standing up to Supes in Superman II.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe does this a lot.
    • Iron Monger was Tony Stark's former mentor and friend. Whiplash was the son of his father's co-worker, making them dark mirrors of each other. Also the Iron Monger had great ambitions and plans after getting rid of Tony. Ivan Vanko just wanted to destroy Tony, holding a vendetta against the Stark family and did not care about his own well-being. Aldrich Killian rose from nothing to just settle a grudge. Killian is also the only one of the three to never use Powered Armor, instead using the powers granted by the Extremis virus.
    • Red Skull stood for everything Captain America was fighting against and wanted to destroy. The Winter Soldier was his friend brainwashed and was his country's dark side and thus highly conflicted to battle. Colonel Helmut Zemo is a vengeance-driven schemer whose existence was unknown by Cap, and who contrasts both of the previous villains by working largely alone and independent of HYDRA's leadership.
    • Loki was Thor's brother turned to villainy, so they were close and conflicted. Malekith and the dark elves were from time thought legend and far less personal. Malekith doesn't even learn Thor's name. Hela is Odin's firstborn and is trying to conquer the Nine Realms, but treats Thor mostly as a nuisance instead of a genuine threat while being far more powerful and threatening than Loki and Malekith, as she is a one-woman army, therefore unlike them, she does not require a powerful weapon to be a real threat. She is also less of a personal threat when compared to Loki, but more so than Malekith.
    • For the Avengers movies: Loki wants to rob humanity of all freedoms in the name of security. In the sequel, Ultron wants to destroy all protections that the Avengers offer so that humanity can grow. At first, anyway. Meanwhile, Thanos wants to eliminate half of the life in the universe to keep it thriving. Ironically, this makes him more sympathetic compared to the previous two.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Ronan the Accuser was an Obviously Evil, deranged fanatic who set out to destroy Xandar out of his hatred for the Xandarian people and their culture, and was characterized as a rabid psychopath who never made any effort at being personable or even acting like it, and he had a very dark, grim style. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Ego seems benevolent at a glance, and even when his true nature comes out, he's driven by what he sees as his purpose in life rather than any actual hatred for the people who will die as a result. He is also gregarious and easy-going, although that serves as a cover for his moral bankruptcy, and he's surrounded by colour and light, with Meredith describing him as "an angel, composed out of pure light".
  • The DC Extended Universe so far:
    • Man of Steel: General Zod is a Kryptonian soldier who was bred to be Krypton's protector and was willing to destroy the Earth to restore his world.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Lex Luthor is a Psychopathic Manchild who despises Superman's very existence and uses people's mistrust and fear of him to either twist him to prove he isn't as good as he presents himself or have him killed.
    • Suicide Squad (2016): The Enchantress is an ancient sorceress who wants to destroy humanity for renouncing her and her brother for technology.
    • Wonder Woman (2017): Ares is indirectly influencing World War I with hopes of wiping out humanity completely because he thinks Humans Are Bastards and the world would be better off without them rather than them renouncing them as deities like they had with the Enchantress.
    • Justice League (2017): Steppenwolf is an alien conqueror who prefered being The Brute over manipulations. His primary goal, aside form conquering Earth, is to redeem himself to Darkseid, who banished him for his failure to conquer it the first time.
    • Aquaman (2018): Orm is an undersea tyrant who wants to wipe out humanity for polluting the seas. While he shares Ares' hatred of humanity, Orm is willing to get his hand dirty by personally fighting his enemies and leading the conquest of the surface world, whereas Ares prefers to manipulate others despite also being a capable fighter.
  • Batman:
    • In Batman Begins, Ra's al-Ghul and the League of Assassins are motivated by the greater good by ridding the world of chaos and destroying what they see as a hopelessly corrupt Gotham City. In The Dark Knight, The Joker is motivated to prove that Gotham and its people aren't nearly as good as they think they are becoming and to create chaos. In The Dark Knight Rises, Bane and Talia al-Ghul, despite claiming their goals are the same as Ra's al-Ghul, are ultimately doing it out of completely personal reasons, loyalty/love and revenge respectively.
    • The primary bad guys of The Dark Knight Trilogy are also vastly different in their physical appearance, personalities, and fighting styles. Ra's Al Ghul is a genteel, soft-spoken, Wicked Cultured but otherwise ordinary man who usually dresses in black, and frequently wears a classy suit. He leads an army of ninjas and fights primarily using Eastern martial arts. The Joker is a grubby, unpleasant-looking clown in greasy-looking makeup and a creepy rasping voice, who wears a dark purple suit, albeit one much less clean-looking than Ra's. He employs criminals, gangsters, and common thugs and is something of a Knife Nut. And finally, Bane is a hulking, scarily intelligent monster of a man with a Cool Mask, a military-looking trenchcoat and body armor and a booming voice, who controls an organization of fanatical terrorists and relies on his devastating size and power in combat.
    • Every major live-action portrayal of the Joker thus far has made a point of putting a different spin on the character than previous adaptations, generally emphasizing one aspect of his personality in the comics. Cesar Romero's Joker in Batman: The Movie is a goofball prankster whose antics are played for laughs. Jack Nicholson's Joker in Batman (1989) is a hardened thief and criminal who ends up slightly more insane after an accident with a vat of chemicals. Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight is a mysterious Mad Bomber who causes chaos for the sake of chaos, wanting to expose the hypocrisy of law and order. And Jared Leto's Joker in Suicide Squad (2016) is a manic psychopath who openly takes joy in gruesomely torturing and maiming his victims. In short, the Jokers are a goofy clown, a cutthroat gangster, an anarchist terrorist, and a sadistic serial killer—in that order.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens:
    • Kylo Ren initially seems like a Darth Vader Clone, but it's quickly revealed that he is an uncertain, emotionally unstable man-child who also turns out, despite his innate skill, to not be fully trained in Force combat, in contrast to Vader's coldly menacing, dark, brooding presence and expertly channeled rage (of course, Vader had a good 20+ years to develop into a hardened veteran). Also, their motivations are quite different: Anakin is a classic example of Love Makes You Evil, and his transformation into Darth Vader was caused by his desire to protect those closest to him. Even as a Sith Lord, most of his actions regarding Luke are born from his warped, twisted attempts to save him by luring him to the Dark Side. Ren, on the other hand, views love as a weakness, and even murders his own father in cold blood in order to cut off his emotional attachment to his old life. The Last Jedi takes this even further; Vader ultimately tried to preserve the past in his fall to darkness and even at his darkest was dedicated to maintaining the current status quo; Ren ultimately decides to destroy as much of the past as he can, Jedi or Sith, and unlike Vader after killing his master, doesn't turn from his path.
    • In contrast to Grand Moff Tarkin, who was an ice-cold seasoned veteran whom Darth Vader respected enough to actually listen to, General Hux is young, a lot more emotional, and butts heads with Kylo Ren repeatedly.
    • Rogue One: Orson Krennic is a grouchy Jerkass, extremely passionate about his work, dresses all in white, and speaks with Ben Mendelsohn's natural accent, whereas most of the other Imperial villains in the franchise, especially Tarkin, are Faux Affably Evil, borderline emotionless about their duty, dress in grey or black, and speak with recieved pronunciation accents. Fittingly, Krennic and Tarkin absolutely loathe one another.
  • In the Hannibal Lecter series, Mason Verger of Hannibal bears this relationship to Jame Gumb of The Silence of the Lambs. Gumb is a handsome raving lunatic from a lower-class background who kills on impulse, and has only the most tenuous personal connection to Hannibal Lecter; he also spends most of the movie as the target of a nationwide manhunt after kidnapping a US Senator's daughter. By contrast, Verger is a wealthy, cultured psychopath with gruesome facial mutilations who calmly plans his every move, and he's driven by his desire for revenge against Hannibal Lecter, being one of his previous victims; he's also a textbook Villain with Good Publicity who successfully manages to hide his depravities from most of the public, and gets off with community service the one time that he's discovered.
  • Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (2009) has Lord Henry Blackwood, who goes out of his way to be Obviously Evil, creating an image of himself as a black-magic-wielding Antichrist figure who everyone should be afraid of, and whose end goal is to seize control of the British Government and the Empire and rule it through fear. The sequel Game of Shadows has Professor Moriarty, who prefers the Villain with Good Publicity approach, he creates the persona of a jovial and respected Cambridge professor, is a trusted adviser to the Prime Minister, and his plans rely on keeping his criminal activities as discreet as possible and manipulating events from behind the scenes. And his plan is to cause enough chaos to basically kick World War 1 off early, which he will profit from.
  • In the first Hellboy film, Grigori Rasputin is a bald but bearded human mystic who wants to bring about the destruction of the world by summoning the Lovecraftian Ogdru Jahad, and who mostly relies on other people and monsters (Karl Kroenen, Ilsa Haupstein, Sammael) to do his bidding for him. In the second, Prince Nuada is a long-haired, clean-shaven elven prince who wants to destroy only mankind (so that the fair folk might live) by summoning the mechanical Golden Army, and is a skilled fighter who does pretty much all of his own dirty work.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), Gozer the Gozerian is an evil Sumerian God who travels to other universes and destroy them, taking on a new form in each world it visited before wiping entire populations. In Ghostbusters II, Vigo the Carpathian is the ghost of a 16th century warlord and sorcerer, wanting to possess the infant son of Dana so he could be reborn and aim for world domination. In the essential third movie, Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Ivo Shandor was a former philanthropist turned misanthropic servant of Gozer who grew disappointed at his master's defeat by the Ghostbusters, then decided "Why worship a god, when you can BECOME one?"; he decided to kidnap his current living relative to help take on his own Destructor form.
  • The Jurassic World sub-trilogy invokes this with its main dinosaur antagonists. Jurassic World's Indominus rex was an Evil Albino hybrid dinosaur that used a Tyrannosaurus rex base genome with Velociraptor elements, hunted primarily for sport, and killed indiscriminately. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom introduces the Indoraptor; a smaller Dark Is Evil hybrid that uses a Velociraptor base genome with T. rex elements that hunts primarily for hunger, appears to be targeting Maisie Lockwood quite specifically when it can, and has been reported to be male rather than female like most JP dinosaurs.
  • Staple of the Rocky movies. To wit:
    • Rocky features Apollo Creed, a dominant and charismatic boxing champion who fights the amateur Rocky for an easy, fun payday.
    • III gives us Clubber Lang, a fiery loudmouth brute. He's the no.1 contender for Rocky's title, and pulverizing the champ is all that matters to him.
    • IV introduces Ivan Drago, a stoic, taciturn Russian juggernaut out to prove Soviet superiority. He ups the ante by killing Apollo.
    • Tommy Gunn, from Rocky V is a troubled young street fighter who Rocky agrees to train. When he wins the title, Tommy, angry at being called a paper champion, repays Rocky by selling out to a Don King stand-in.
    • Finally, we meet Mason Dixon in Rocky Balboa. Like Creed, he's a dominant champ; unlike Creed, he's unassuming and the public hates him. He challenges the aged Rocky to a charity match to boost his cred with fans.
  • In Star Trek (2009), the Big Bad Nero is an angry working-class Badass Normal Romulan from the 24th century who winds up stuck in the past after falling through a vortex, and strikes off on a mission of revenge against the Federation for failing to prevent the destruction of his home planet. In Star Trek Into Darkness, the Big Bad John Harrison is the exact opposite: a stoic, Wicked Cultured genetically augmented human from the 21st century who attacks the Federation after being forcibly revived from cryogenic stasis, wants to complete a mission of world domination that he began centuries in the past, and turns out to be secretly in league with a rogue Starfleet admiral. Krull from Star Trek Beyond contrasts both of them, being a rogue Federation MACO with an artificially prolonged lifespan who twists himself into a semi-human alien monstrosity, and wants to destroy the Federation because he believes that they've abandoned their principles.
  • In The Librarian film trilogy (for the follow-up TV series, see the appropriate section below):
    • In Quest for Spear, the villain is a rogue Librarian, who wants to get his hands on the Spear of Destiny in order to rule the world.
    • In Return to King Solomon's Mines, the bad guy wants to rewrite history in order to marry the woman he has always loved but who chose another.
    • In Curse of the Judas Chalice, the true Big Bad is Dracula himself, who wishes to use an ancient artifact to restore his strength and become the dreaded vampire of myth he used to be. The decoy villain, meanwhile, wanted to resurrect Dracula in order to create an army of vampires to Make the Bear Angry Again.
  • Daredevil and Elektra:
    • Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin is the head of all crime in New York. Roshi is the head of The Hand. They are both a Corrupt Corporate Executive and The Man Behind the Man. Fisk has a personal feud he didn't know of with Daredevil having killed his father but did know he ordered Elektra's father to die, Roshi likely was the man who headed the death of Elektra's mother. Neither of them ever have one scene with Elektra, though Fisk was at least around her and fought Daredevil while Roshi never takes part in combat.
    • Bullseye and Kirigi were both assassins responsible for killing one of Elektra's parents, her father and mother respectively. Bullseye is a bald Irish man in black leather while Kirigi is Japanese man in white with a long mane. Bullseye embraced the evil he commits For the Evulz and didn't deny how attractive he found Elektra to be and wanted to kiss her. Kirigi is stoic and fixated only on his task, but didn't shy away from mocking Elektra for her dead parent.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle:
    • Valentine is an Affably Evil black man who shares a genuine Villainous Friendship with his henchwoman-in-chief and dislikes the sight of blood and gore. He's a Well-Intentioned Extremist motivated by concerns about overpopulation and the environment.
    • Poppy is a Faux Affably Evil white woman who treats most of her employees terribly and has no issue with seeing people who displease her thrown into meat grinders. Her villainous motivations are purely selfish.
  • Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class and Bolivar Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past:
    • Sebastian Shaw is a sociopathic, physically powerful mutant who leads a handful of mutants and tries to start World War III, so in the end he could seize power after humans eliminated themselves and emerge as the leader of the surviving mutants. He tries to manipulate people, but he usually resorts to intimidating them to do his biding. He worked for the Nazis, and also owns a seedy night club. The bad future is averted by killing him, even though it costs the relationship of Mystique, Charles Xavier and Magneto, who all become more disillusioned and cynical as a result.
    • Bolivar Trask is a brilliant Well-Intentioned Extremist human inventor, who creates mutant-hunting robots to achieve World Peace. He is a smooth-talking fearmonger who successfully manipulates people. He was voted for the man of year, made prostethics for children and creates weapons for the government of the United States. The bad future is averted by letting him live, and the events help to actually mend the relationship of the three mutants in the long-term, and helps them to move on to a better path (even if it is temporary in the case of Magneto).
  • Hans Gruber in Die Hard and William Stuart in Die Hard 2.
    • Gruber is a Gentleman Thief from Germany, with him and his crew robbing Nakatomi Plaza while posing as far-left Western Terrorists in order to deflect police attention from what they're actually up to. While he once was a leftist terrorist himself, he has long since abandoned any political ideals; his motive here is purely about getting rich.
    • Stuart is an American ex-Special Forces colonel who launches a genuine terrorist attack at Dulles International Airport, seeking to rescue Ramon Esperanza, the drug lord dictator of a Latin American Banana Republic. His motive is expressly political and anti-communist, seeing Esperanza as a key ally in the Cold War who the US recklessly removed from power.
  • Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner is a short-haired, clean-shaved old man who dresses in white, wears thick glasses, talks in a friendly, grandfatherly tone and treats people and Replicants alike respectfully, and is killed in the third act. Niander Wallace is a long-haired, bearded young man who dresses in black, is blind and can only see through camera drones, talks in a flatly sinister voice, has no empathy for anyone and survives the movie.
    • In addition, Wallace is a nigh-emotionless Cold Ham human villain who commands a vast corporation and never fights, in contrast to Roy Batty, a highly emotional Large Ham replicant villain who leads a tiny band of escaped replicants and personally hunts Deckard in his film's climax. Roy has spiky bleached-blond hair, believes in the value of life (human and replicant), seems visibly torn about the murders he commits, and saves Deckard's life in the final moments of his own, while Wallace has shaggy dark brown hair, has no respect for the value of life whatsoever, casually murders humans and replicants alike, and tries to tempt Deckard to his side with a copy of Rachael, then orders him brought offworld for torture when he won't cooperate.
    • Luv, as the main Replicant antagonist of the movie, also strongly contrasts with Roy. Physically, they're opposites, Roy is a bleached-blond man who usually dresses in black, while Luv is a brunette woman who usually wears white or grey. Roy Batty was very much his own man, even killing his own creator, albeit reluctantly, and is shown to have a deep respect for the value of life, gently holding a pigeon in his hand without harming it and famously saving Deckard in the climax. Luv is fanatically loyal to Wallace and a sadist to boot, who delights in hurting and killing things less powerful than she is, and is obsessed with proving how much superior she is to everyone else. Finally, while it's clear that Tyrell sees Roy as his greatest triumph, and assures Roy that no one has lived as fulfilling a life as he note , Wallace largely sees Luv as little more than an expendable tool, and subjects her to emotional abuse and condescending praise. note 
  • A remake rather than a sequel, but compare It (1990) to It (2017):
    • To contrast Tim Curry's famous performance, Bill Skarsgård goes the Cold Ham route, rarely raising his voice while remaining utterly creepy. He's also a lot more openly sadistic.
    • Tim Curry's Pennywise wore a brightly-coloured outfit, and could almost pass for someone you'd see at an actual kid's birthday party. Bill Skarsgard's version wears a primarily-white outfit that makes him look more like a Renaissance clown.
  • The closest thing to an antagonist in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is Ted's dad who threatens to send him to military school and arrests the historical figures that the boys need for their history report.
  • Dr Frank N. Further from The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an alien scientist whose main goal is to seduce Anything That Moves. Due to Tim Curry not wanting to reprise the roll, Shock Treatment replaces him with Farley Flavors, a billionaire who wants to steal the protagonist's wife and turns out to be his long lost twin brother.
  • The main and secondary antagonists of the Planet of the Apes reboot trilogy:
    • Rise of the Planet of the Apes:
      • Steven Jacobs of is a cold and corrupt businessman whose only goal in life is to make a profit off whatever scientific advancements his company GenSys makes, no matter what the worldwide repercussions are. He also shows absolute disregard towards the well-being of the apes, who he only sees as test subjects with no other value. Rather notably, he never directly interacts with Caesar, the protagonist, until near the end of his life; instead, all of his clashes are with Will Rodman, the film's Deuteragonist and Decoy Protagonist.
      • Dodge Landon, the main shelter caretaker is an abusive bully who takes pleasure in tormenting the apes all day and all night long.
    • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
      • Koba starts off as one of Caesar's most trusted advisers, but his evil tendencies emerge when the apes and humans attempt to coexist. Serving as a direct Foil to Caesar, he holds a bitter, long-seated hatred towards humans for his mistreatment at their hands in the past, and clashes with Caesar over their opinions of them. When he temporarily overthrows Caesar and becomes the new ape ruler, Koba proves to be The Caligula and has no qualms about killing apes as well if it meant satisfying his bloodlust.
      • Dreyfus, the leader of the survivor colony in Dawn, is an Anti-Villain who is desperate to preserve what is left of the human race and was paranoid and misinformed about the apes' intentions.
    • War for the Planet of the Apes:
      • Colonel McCullough is a Special Forces Colonel who has made it his mission to eradicate the apes and the Simian Flu virus from the face of the Earth and start human civilization anew. He has no qualms about killing human and ape alike, though it is out of a genuine (and possibly misguided) hope to eradicate all traces of the Simian Flu. He is another Foil to Caesar, but only in the sense of their messianic natures. He also holds a Nothing Personal attitude about his antagonistic actions throughout the course of the film.
      • Red, the main "Donkey" is a Category Traitor who sides with the humans in an attempt to save his own skin following Koba's failed mutiny. He ultimately undergoes a Heel–Face Turn and saves Caesar right before his death.
  • The alien villain of Species II is a male hybrid instead of a female one like in Species. Also, whereas Sil came across as emotionally immature and scared about being on a planet dominated by humans, Patrick's plan to feed the alien invasion is far more determined and calculating.
  • The Mummy Trilogy:
    • Imhotep in the first movie was an Egyptian priest whose main goal was to reunite with his lover, and he gained immortality and powers through the curse cast upon him as punishment.
    • The Scorpion King in the second movie was not an mummy, but an warlord turned into Humanoid Abomination for striking a deal with Anubis to gain victory over his enemies.
    • The Dragon Emperor in the third movie was Chinese warlord whose main goal has always been conquest, and he actively sought immortality and learned to control the five elements before he was tricked to receive a curse upon himself.
  • The Scorpion King series gives different Evil Overlord flavors:
    • Memnon was a Master Swordsman leading a massive horde that sought to conquer the known world that used the Sorceress' visions to predict his enemies' moves and defeat them. Otherwise, he was an completely ordinary and normal (albeit skilled) human. Mathayus is initially hired to kill him, but after his contractor is killed and Memnon murders his brother, he makes it personal.
    • Sargon, on the other hand, is both an brutish fighter and a sorcerer due to gaining his magical gifts from worshiping Astarte. His ambition is greater than just conquer the world but to become a god too, and not only he kills one of Mathayus' brother, he also killed his father too (making it extra personal).
    • Talus is an Evil Sorcerer that seeks the Book of the Dead to gain dominance over his neighbors. Besides his magical gift, he is a Non-Action Big Bad who isn't even killed by the protagonist, but lynched by an mob instead. Also unlike the previous two, he did not kill any of Mathayus' relatives to push him in search of revenge.
    • Draven is a prince at first and pretending to be Mathayus' sidekick before being revealed to be Evil All Along. Unlike his predecessors, he has no magical skill and is an average fighter who relies more on his mooks.
    • Nebserek is somewhat similar to Sargon (mighty fighter wielding unholy powers given by a evil deity and revered like God-Emperor), but what differs him from all antagonists that precede him is that he is driven by revenge against the titular character for the death of his tribesmen, making him the closest thing to a Evil Counterpart to Mathayus at least in regards to the first two movies.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter:
    • The series has Lord Voldemort as the consistent Big Bad, but each individual book also has its own secondary antagonist whose nature and motivations often say much about the themes and conflict at the heart of each installment. The Philosopher's Stone has Quirinus Quirrel, the frail and cowardly servant of the crippled Voldemort; The Chamber of Secrets has "Tom Riddle", the ghostly echo of Voldemort's former self; The Prisoner of Azkaban has Peter Pettigrew, the confidant of the Potters who betrayed his friends out of cowardice; The Goblet of Fire has Barty Crouch, Jr., the troubled young Death Eater initiate who remains faithful to Voldemort in the wake of his downfall; The Order of the Phoenix has Dolores Umbridge, the corrupt Ministry bureaucrat who denies Voldemort's return; and The Half-Blood Prince has Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape, who finally openly join Voldemort after six years of lurking in the background at Hogwarts.
    • The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise has Gellert Grindelwald, the world's most powerful Dark Wizard before Voldemort. Voldemort goes by an alias, while Grindelwald uses his real name. Voldemort was a model student at Hogwarts, and hid his true nature from most people, while Grindelwald was known as a troublemaker and expelled from Durmstrang. The Dark Arts twisted Voldemort's appearance, while Grindelwald looks like his actor. Voldemort kept his reign of terror focused on Britain, while Grindelwald expanded all across Europe, and into America. As a polar opposite of Voldemort, in this regard, Grindelwald studiously avoided attacking Britain out of fear of Dumbledore. Additionally, Grindelwald lacks Voldemort's Fantastic Racism, instead hating Muggles purely for forcing wizards into hiding.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Thrawn Trilogy notably frames Grand Admiral Thrawn and Joruus C'baoth as Foils of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, respectively, making it clear that the series wouldn't simply be a retread of the Original Trilogy. While Palpatine was an ominous black-cloaked card-carrying human villain known for his sadism and his mastery of the Dark Side, Thrawn is an impeccably cultured Officer and a Gentleman known for his tactical brilliance and his love of art, as well as a Human Alien who habitually dresses in well-tailored white military regalia. Likewise, while Vader was a tragically corrupted Dark Jedi known for his stoicism and physical discipline, and he ultimately turned against Palpatine in a Heel–Face Turn, C'baoth is the insane clone of a legendary Jedi Master who's brought down by his own mental instability, and Thrawn turns against him when it becomes clear that he can't be controlled.
    • The New Jedi Order series frames the Yuuzhan Vong as the antithesis of the Galactic Empire, since it was one of the first series that took place after the New Republic and the Empire signed a peace treaty. The Empire was a technologically advanced human supremacist military juggernaut that wanted to impose order on the Galaxy, but was largely staffed by Punch Clock Villains, despite being (initially) led by a powerful Sith Lord and his apprentice. By contrast, the Yuuzhan Vong are a race of violent, xenophobic aliens from outside the Galaxy who view technology as an abomination, preferring to use genetically engineered organic weapons of war; rather than wanting to impose order on the Galaxy, they actively want to slaughter all non-Vong lifeforms and terraform the Galaxy's planets to make new colonies. Rather than being aligned with the Dark Side, they're said to exist outside the Force entirely. And while the Imperials prided themselves on their stoicism and strict military discipline, the Vong are a species of wild-eyed religious fanatics who traditionally practice gruesome self-mutilation as an act of devotion.
      • The Vong's leader, Supreme Overlord Shimrra, also contrasts with Palpatine, as is explicitly pointed out by Luke when he and Shimrra meet. Palpatine is a withered old man, while Shimrra is a towering warrior in his physical prime; Palpatine has a darkness motif while Shimrra has a rainbow motif; Palpatine was the ruler of the Galaxy Far Far Away while Shimrra rules an outside force trying to take it over; Palpatine came to power by guile, while Shimrra came to power via military coup; Palpatine subverted the Republic to create the Empire, while Shimrra is merely the latest in a thousand-year dynasty of tyrannical Supreme Overlords; Palpatine chiefly relies on his cunning and the power of the Dark Side, while Shimrra is a physically powerful warrior whose enhanced powers come from Bio-Augmentation rather than the Force and has no problem getting his own hands dirty; Palpatine is well-known to the people of the galaxy as ruler of the Empire, while most non-Vong have barely heard of Shimrra until relatively late in the war; Palpatine spends most of his encounter with Luke trying to turn him to his side, while Shimrra and Luke just duel. Oh, and Palpatine's actually the Big Bad of the original trilogy, while Shimrra's just a decoy for the real Big Bad of the New Jedi Order.
    • In Legacy of the Force, Darth Caedus (formerly Jacen Solo) and the Galactic Alliance Guard are deliberately designed to contrast Darth Vader and the Imperial military in the Original Trilogy. Most obviously, Jacen is the hero's son rather than his father, and the final confrontation is between brother and sister instead of father and son. Caedus also falls to the Dark Side after a Civil War splits the Galactic Alliance in half, whereas Darth Vader declared war on the Rebels after he became a Sith Lord. Caedus' private military force, the GAG, are an elite Black Ops squad who do morally questionable work behind the scenes for an otherwise benevolent government; they're more akin to the American NSA than the Nazi military, which served as the Empire's primary inspiration. Unlike Emperor Palpatine, Caedus' Evil Mentor (Lumiya) is a lone Sith warrior who remains separate from the Galactic Alliance, and she is killed off midway through the series while Caedus' power continues to grow. And unlike in the Original Trilogy, Caedus' defeat signals the salvation—not the downfall—of the corrupted Galactic Alliance.
  • Near-future epic thriller Victoria's two major story arcs can be roughly divided into "Before the Apocalypse" and "After". The villains are quite different.
    • In the first, The heroes fight against the dystopian US federal government, which is immensely powerful in theory, but terminally crippled by corruption, mismanagement, Insane Troll Logic economic policies and every conceivable sort of Political Correctness Gone Mad. As far as the raw resources available go, they can easily crush the rebelling states on paper, but given how dysfunctional and increasingly fractured the country is becoming, they can only ever mobilize a fraction of their available forces against them, and often not make effective use even of those due to lack of will, political meddling or passive-aggressive sabotage from within.
    • Then, in the post-American chaos, the newly formed free Confederation faces various enemies, but the most serious threats are Leader von Braun's neo-Nazi Midwestern state, and then the West Coast's Democratic Republic of Azania, which becomes the ultimate "villain" faction. The former is basically the Confederation's own dark mirror image, which takes its Second-Amendment-and-Apple-Pie Right-Wing Militia Fanatic style much too far and straight into unambiguously evil (though efficient) extremes; the latter, meanwhile, is its ultimate ideological antithesis, a transhumanist Lady Land that spits on Americanism and Christianity. Whereas the Feds were (with some exceptions) usually either incompetent or corrupt, these enemies are rather leaner and meaner, more of the No-Nonsense Nemesis and Elite Army variety, though each in turn in its own way: the Nazis have a truly excellent old-school military establishment, with well-organized logistics, good officers and doctrine and first-rate troops, while Azania has the most advanced systems-integrated military technology in the setting, employing drones, guided missiles, AI assistance for the staff and various other gadgets.
  • Redwall:
    • Chronologically speaking, Martin the Warrior's first enemy was Badrang the Tyrant (Big Bad of Martin the Warrior) while his second was Tsarmina Greeneyes (Big Bad of Mossflower). They make a solid contrast with one another: where Badrang's a jumped-up corsair who wants to be treated like an aristocrat, and whose fearsome reputation as a fighter is belied by his actual record in combat, Tsarmina's a seemingly prissy princess who degenerates into a slavering berserker and gives Martin the fight of his life.
    • Mariel, Dandin, and her father Joseph faced, chronologically, Gabool the Wild and then Urgan Nagru the Foxwolf. Gabool was the rightful King of the Searats, was based out of Terramort, far to the northwest, and never left his island, spending his time killing his captains and losing his mind until the protagonists caught up with him. Foxwolf, conversely, was the usurper king of Southsward, and a far more proactive villain, constantly leading his rats on forays, and trying to put down revolts with his own paws.
    • Cluny the Scourge of Redwall was a conquering warlord who moved across the country like a pestilence, eventually attempting to besiege the titular Abbey and make it into his new fortress before being stopped by Matthias. Slagar the Cruel, of Mattimeo, was a thief and a slaver who stole into the Abbey, kidnapped several of their children, and then ran as fast as he could in the other direction, leaving Matthias to pursue him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Vandal:
    • Season 1: The Dick Drawer is a vandal that drew dicks on the teachers' cars, a one time crime. Although the real identity is never found out due to lack of concrete evidence, Peter's best theory is that it was Class Representative Christa, in an act of revenge against the school coach who would have said some terrible thing to her, possibly done something worse, causing her to make an official complaint that the school buried down. She plotted it together with her boyfriend and while he drew the dicks, she deleted the camera footage.
    • Season 2: The Turd Burglar, a vandal that made several pranks involving feces on the school and posted about them both before and after they happened in social media. Unlike before, he was in fact identified as Grayson, an expelled student from the school that became obsessed with social media and decided to take revenge on the school. He would catfish students and then blackmail them after acquiring compromising pictures and videos to pull the pranks on his behalf.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a diversity of contrasting Big Bads.
    • Season 1: The Master is an ancient and calculating vampire lord who has very traditional beliefs about prophecies.
    • Season 2: Drusilla, Spike and Angelus are younger, far more passionate and emotionally unstable vampires.
    • Season 3: Mayor Richard Wilkins is a pleasant and well-mannered human man who wants to become a monster.
    • Season 4: Adam is an ugly, unpleasant monster created by the Demon Research Initiative. He mutilates the bodies of innocent people, including a child, to see what's inside them.
    • Season 5: Glory is a hell goddess but she takes the form of a very glamorous, conceited, young woman. She is the most powerful enemy Buffy faced, but also the least intelligent.
    • Season 6: Warren Mears is the only human big bad who is not a physical challenge for Buffy to defeat. Instead he's a misogynist who hurts Buffy's gang by accidentally shooting Willow's girlfriend, Tara and indirectly making the witch into Dark Willow These villains are more vulnerable and insecure.
    • Series 7: The First Evil is a Satan-like being, but this one is literally not as personal, taking the form of ghosts and doing whatever it can to enter Earth in a corporeal form.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Series 1 introduces the big bad Tuco Salamanca, he is an emotionally unpredictable drug lord who is killed by the cop Hank Schrader when being too cocky.
    • Series 2 introduces Gustavo Fring, he's a king pin of drug manufacturing who has a uneasy alliance with the Salamanca family. This villain is more professional and is emotionally cool and collected. He proves more a psychological challenger to the rival and protagonist Walter White.
    • Series 5 Part 1 introduces one of Gus's main suppliers, Lydia Rodarte-Quayle. She is a more a hands-off villain and would rather let the drug rivals kill each other, rather than getting drawn into the conflict. The protagonists underestimate her because she's not as intimidating and acts nervous.
    • The final big bad introduced is the neo-nazi Jack Weller. This one is not as prominent or influential, only leading a small gang of outcasts yet they are the most damaging to the protagonists, Walter and his partner Jessie Pinkman. They plan to rob their profits. Jack kills Walt's brother in-law Hank, which leads to the downfall of Walter's empire and Jessie's lover, Andrea is killed by one of them.
  • The various incarnations of The Master in Doctor Who contrast each other in some way:
    • Roger Delgado's portrayal of the Master was a suave, Affably Evil character who wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty, fighting the Doctor from time to time.
    • Crispy Master (portrayed by Peter Pratt and Geoffrey Beavers) was vengeful and maniacal, actively trying to kill the Doctor through any means necessary.
    • Anthony Ainley's portrayal permanently relegated the character to a Non-Action Big Bad who would run like Hell at the first sign of trouble, while also adding his own spin to the Master by making him a hammy Manipulative Bastard.
    • Eric Roberts' version was, like Crispy Master, more vengeful and bloodthirsty, but had the catch of being in a rapidly-decaying human body. He also displayed the ability to spit weaponized bile and turn into a goo-snake that possesses others through an Orifice Invasion, which is how he got into the human body in the first place. These abilities were never brought up in the show again.
    • Derek Jacobi's portrayal took a unique twist on Roberts' version by having the Master become human through a Chameleon Circuit, which also gave him a false set of memories as the benevolent Professor Yana. From the minute amounts of screentime that Jacobi's Master held as the Master, he seemed far colder than previous incarnations.
    • John Simm's Master was a Psychopathic Manchild who wished nothing more than to torment the Doctor and his companions. He was also a bigot, something that Jacobi's Master shared when he returned to being the Master. This portrayal was also far more emotional, being overtaken by rage or sadness in the heat of the moment at times.
    • "Missy," Michelle Gomez's version of the Master, dropped the woman-child aspect while retaining the psychopathy, leaving us with an incredibly batty Violent Glaswegian who enjoys making pop-culture shout-outs.
    • The Daleks and the Cybermen contrast each other too. Both are cyborg aliens who believe themselves to be superior races but the way they deal with the "inferior" races is different. The Daleks hate and destroy them as a matter of principle while the Cybermen convert them into more Cybermen to become superior. Also the Daleks were deliberately created by a Mad Scientist while the Cybermen are the result of a race trying to survive.
  • The first two Netflix-exclusive shows set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe do this.
    • Daredevil (2015) has Wilson Fisk, a soft-spoken Villain with Good Publicity who plans on dramatically rebuilding New York after all the destruction caused by "The Incident", but underneath his technically noble plan is a foundation of murder, extortion, bribery, bid-rigging, drug distribution, and just about every other crime you think of, although Fisk is fully aware that his methods are evil and shows frequent regret at the extremes he feels he has to go to. He also has a genuine soft spot for his girlfriend Vanessa, his mother, and his best friend James Wesley.
    • In contrast, Jessica Jones (2015) gives us Kilgrave, a sociopathic mass murderer and serial rapist with the power of mind-control whose sense of morality is so broken he is incapable of admitting that he is in the wrong. Kilgrave has no love for anyone but himself, though he has an extremely unhealthy obsession with Jessica which he calls love, and he has no goals beyond manipulating Jessica into "loving" him back, but he'll torture, kill, and harm as many innocent people as it takes to push Jessica to her breaking point, in contrast to Fisk who makes it a point to only want an honest relationship with Vanessa, refusing to push when it initially appears that she's turning him down. Additionally, whereas Fisk is physically imposing and willing to do his own dirty work (and also willing to manipulate people through threats), Kilgrave is a small, averaged-sized guy who uses his power to force everyone around him to carry out his disgusting schemes. The two couldn't possibly be more different.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • In series 3, Tywin Lannister becomes Hand of the King to run the kingdom and is far more capable, experienced and calculating than the more emotionally unstable King Joffrey and his mother Cersei.
    • In series 5 and Series 6, compared to the controversial reign of Joffrey/Tywin, the humble High Sparrow and his cult are loved by the people, despite them being homophobic and misogynistic.
    • Overall the White Walkers provide the greatest contrast to the scheming politicians and flawed human leaders. They're essentially a walking blizzard, showing no signs of disunity among their ranks.
  • In Gotham, Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska serve as the show's two different takes on the Joker, although only one of the brothers survives long enough to actually become him. Jerome, much like the Joker in the Dark Knight, is a laughably evil, ax crazy agent of chaos, who is nonetheless often more calculating than he seems. Jeremiah starts out much more restrained than his brother, although after undergoing some serious sanity slippage sometime between seasons four and five, this starts to change. He also tends be a much more methodical and calculating planner than Jerome, and sometimes seems to believe that what he's doing is right even while he's crossing the moral event horizon. His brother, on the other hand, is aware that what he's doing is wrong and takes pleasure in it.
  • The Power Rangers franchise has always had to change up its main antagonists to keep things fresh. This was particularly evident in the early years, when the show's seasons were still part of an obvious Myth Arc, and several of the main characters actually stayed on from one season to the next. In particular, the villains often alternated back and forth between using magic and technology to fight the Rangers, and their family relationships often changed drastically from one season to the next. To elaborate:
    • Rita Repulsa of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was a malevolent alien sorceress who used Dark Magic to aid her schemes, and she was joined by her brother Rito Revolto, her father Master Vile, and her (eventual) husband Lord Zedd. In general, she and her minions came off as a very dysfunctional—but loving—family. Personality-wise, Rita was famous for her erratic emotions and fiery temper, and she could be immature to the point that she often came off as childlike.
    • The Machine Empire of Power Rangers Zeo were an aggressively imperialistic kingdom of mechanized aliens hell-bent on conquering Earth through their mastery of technology. They were anchored by the Happily Married King Mondo and Queen Machina and the Bratty Half-Pint Prince Sprocket, but their plans were regularly complicated by Mondo's disloyal firstborn son Prince Gasket and his lover Archerina; in general, they came off as a close-knit nuclear family that played at being respectable, but secretly loathed each other. Their ruthless efficiency was always their greatest asset, and they had enough of a grasp of tactics to beat Rita's magically animated Putty Patrollers with their rigidly regimented armies of Cogs.
    • Divatox of Power Rangers Turbo was a cutthroat space pirate who seemed to have few motivations beyond accumulating power and wealth. In contrast to Rita, who was apparently dangerous enough that she was forcibly sealed away in a space dumpster for 10,000 years, Divatox was so unabashedly self-centered that she had little interest in bending the universe to her will, but still wanted to crush the Rangers to prove that she could. Her closest family members in the show were her dimwitted nephew Eldar, who served her as a mindless lackey, and her abusive mother Mama D, who apparently raised her to choose a life of piracy. However, there were several hints dropped throughout the show that the Rangers' mentor figure Dimitria was actually her long-lost twin sister, and that Mama D actually abducted her and raised her as a daughter; though never officially confirmed, this would make Divatox the first villain in the series with family members that weren't evil, and the first who wasn't born evil.
    • Astronema of Power Rangers in Space was a cold, calculating warlord carrying out the will of the Eldritch Abomination Dark Specter. She stood out for being far more emotionally detached and occasionally manipulative than the previous villains in the series, and she had no close familial attachments other than her surrogate father figure Ecliptor. Or so it seemed. After the big reveal halfway through the season it turned out that she was actually Karone, the long-lost sister of the Rangers' leader Andros, and Andros made it his duty to prove that she could be redeemed. In a major first for the series, he actually succeeded, and Karone even went on to become a Ranger herself (the Pink Ranger, to be exact) in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.
    • Trakeena and her forces are an interesting contrast to the rest of the villains up to that point. Despite each still being a Card-Carrying Villain, they have a sense of honor and ethics in battle. Trakeena herself makes an interesting contrast to Astronema. While Astronema ultimately made a Heel–Face Turn, Trakeena never even considers the notion and ultimately becomes more and more evil to the point of turning her minions into suicide bombers and killing her mentor in cold blood.
    • While Trakeena and her forces were at least honorable warriors, Queen Bansheera and her army are a lot more treacherous, constantly backstab each other for more power. Queen Bansheera herself ultimately betrays all of her minions, even her own son. She also the first Big Bad of the series to have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. They’re also the first villains in the series to not be aliens but rather Demons.
    • Power Rangers Time Force’s Ransik maybe be the biggest departure in the entire series. Unlike the previous villains his motivation isn’t necessarily evil. he’s a mutant who grew to hate humanity for the way he was treated, but he's not necessarily sympathetic for it due to how he would sometimes spit in the face of kindness and generally acted for his own self interests. He also isn’t really a warlord or ancient sealed monster but a criminal who isn’t against doing smaller crimes to make a buck. He also has one the most unique defeats in the franchise where he gives up because he almost killed his daughter. He also ends up becoming human after an attempted Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Master Org has the opposite path of Ransik. Ransik was a hated monster whose love for his daughter and desire to atone turned him into a decent man, Master Org was a decent man who renounced his humanity to become a hated monster. Hamminess aside, he hated humanity for petty thoughts of feeling betrayed and showed no regret for lying to the Orgs and using them for his own purposes. While Ransik surrendered for Nadira, Master Org destroyed the Zords and the Rangers' powers and came close to conquering Earth.
      • Within PRWF, we have Master Org: ultimately doing everything out of personal vengeance, mostly content to hang out back at the Nexus and be Orcus on His Throne and rarely personally getting involved or having a plan beyond "the monster will use its inborn gimmick and hopefully take out the Rangers," but a No-Nonsense Nemesis when he could be bothered to be. Next came Mandilok, very much willing to come out into the light, very much willing to fight personally, wanting power rather than vengeance, but also having comic relief to him like his obsession with eating.
    • Lothor can be seen as a call back to the original Zordon era villains like Zed or Divatox. He is far more Tongue-in-cheek than the past few Big Bad villains who mostly played serious like Ransik and Master Org, constantly arguing with his subordinates and two nieces about his plans and day-to-day life. He can almost be seen as an Affectionate Parody of Power Ranger villain.
    • Mesogog is literally everything Lothor wasn't, to the point where he considered Lothor an idiot. He was a No-Nonsense Nemesis who frequently used Mind Rape on his minions for failing him and far more subdued in his demeanor. He also had a goal based more in Fantastic Racism rather than basic megalomania due to him wanting reptiles to rule the world again.
    • Emperor Gruumm is an interesting departure from other Power Rangers villains. For one thing he subverts the Orcus on His Throne mentality by being pretty active on the field and fights the rangers himself on occasion. He’s also by far one of the most successful villains. Even though a lot of his monsters are captured he still usually gets what he wants, including a Ranger team on his side. The rest of the villains like Broodwing are mostly motivated by Greed and generally work for Emperor Gruumm because he throws a paycheck their way, where as past villains it was either loyalty, power, or fear.
    • After the proactive villains of SPD, The Master of Power Rangers Mystic Force is perhaps the most inactive villain in the entire series. This mostly has to do with him being trapped for most of the series. Most the time he acts as a Greater-Scope Villain to his subordinates. It’s also the first series were the Leaders switch out over time.
      • And since the Dragon-in-Chief of each arc does Big Bad duty with the Master only getting unsealed in the final arc, let's look at the three true main villains of PRMF: Morticon is not much of a planner, being all about the smashing and wanting to get out and do personal combat. He even describes himself as the greatest warrior of all time when bragging, rather than anything a general would be expected to brag about. Full of rage and bluster and yelling every line at the top of his lungs, he was the strongest and wanted to be on the battlefield where he belonged. So he is followed by Imperious: A vain and flamboyant personality, a planner whose schemes maximize the amount of death and destruction inflicted on humankind, highly skilled in magic and clever and tricky with its use instead of just blasting away with his favorite attack, and The Starscream to The Master. Next comes Sculpin: As loyal as Imperious was treacherous, as devoted as Imperious was self-centered, yet still with more patience and care than Morticon, he has exactly one goal on his mind: Get the Master out of his can, no matter what.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive instead featured a Big-Bad Ensemble, though each differed from the other. Flurious was the least active of the villains, preferring to strike when conditions were perfect. His brother Moltor was hot-headed and the most active of the factions. Kamdor was the most likely to face the Rangers in person, lacking foot soldiers but made up for it his ability to create monsters. The Fearcats were aimless, caring only about destruction rather than conquests and fought the Rangers with giant robots instead of monsters.
    • Jarrod/Dai Shi is another interesting departure for this series. He’s two entities, one of the ancient demon Dai Shi who caused the war between humans and animals before being sealed away and the mortal human Jarrod, a former bully at the Pai Zhua Academy. Because of his darkened heart Dai Shi chose him as his vessel. He may be the most well-developed villain in the entire Franchise. Instead of starting off as a one-man army like most Big Bad, he starts off around the same level as the Rangers and grows more powerful. He also slowly starts to grow a conscience and start the question Dai Shi until he finally breaks free of of him and eventually earns his humanity back. Dai Shi meanwhile was a bit more generic in wanting to rule over animals and the world, but also powerful and able to be a Power Parasite to regain his most powerful form.
    • Venjix is a sentient computer virus, contrasting all of villains, who at least existed for more than 10 years. Unlike any before or after, Venjix actually succeeded in ruling the world as he and his army wiped out more the 99% of the human race (the series taking plan in an alternate timeline). Like Dai Shi, he didn't start as a one man army, but that's only because he was a computer virus with no physical body of his own. Like Lothor and Grumm, it turned out he was misleading the Rangers, building up to a master plan to take over Corinth City. He had no redeeming qualities and has probably the highest known body count in the franchise's history, making him the darkest villain for Power Rangers. He contrasts Jarrod by being the most inhuman of villains, coming right after one who slowly gained humanity over the course of his series.
    • Master Xandred is one of the more straightforward villain in the series. The leader of the Nighloks. and a heavy drinker of his “medicine.” He’s very inactive throughout the series which to be fair is at least justified seeing as he would dry up if he stayed on earth for too long. Overall he’s probably one of most generic villain of the series - he can be compared to Morticon, caring less about leading and only wanting to get out of the Netherworld and SMASH. Within the series, you have him and the more proactive Starscream who takes over the role of The Heavy for a while, Serrator, a complicated plotter and The Starscream to contrast the guy who's pure brute force (which was also how it went in Mystic Force, making him the new Imperious.) Yet, surprisingly, Serrator is actually less cautious than Xandred in the end: his plan to bring the Netherworld to the surface runs the risk of destroying both worlds. He's willing to risk it, Xandred is not.
    • Power Rangers Megaforce has by far the most villains in the series mostly because they combine two sentais together. To go down the list,
    • Similarly to Megaforce, Power Rangers Dino Charge has several main villains.
      • Sledge is a Bounty Hunter who is employed by Lord Arcanon to retrieve the Energems, but wanted them for himself. He employed outlaws he captured for Arcanon to bring back the Energems in exchange for their freedom. He also has a soft spot for his girlfriend Poissandra, and while harsh towards his minions, isn't above complimenting them if they do well.
      • Heckyl was one of Sledge's prisoners, taking over after Sledge's assumed death. He offered the prisoners to rule the universe alongside him if they retrieve an Energem. It would later reveal his true plan was to restore his destroyed homeworld with them. His approach is more careful, coming up with more complex plans than Sledge, and his relationship with his minions is far more professional than personal.
      • Lord Arcanon, wielder of the Dark Energem, was much like Master Xandred and Emperor Mavro, a powerful blunt instrument and Bad Boss, his arrival meaning things have officially gotten serious. He ends up a Generic Doomsday Villain as well, and this time he is dethroned from the Big Bad position by one of the previous villains we've grown to know and love/loathe through the series who gets to bring the endgame.
    • The trend of having multiple Big Bads in a single series continues with Power Rangers Ninja Steel.
      • Galvanax is a Gladiator Games champion who values strength above all else, as he seeks the Ninja Power Stars because he believes only a warrior as mighty as he is deserves them. Brutal and bad-tempered, he claims to be powerful enough to defeat the Rangers on his own, but he chooses to just send Galaxy Warriors contestants to take the Ninja Power Stars for him as he fears that if the Rangers defeat him, it will be a serious blow to his reputation.
      • Madame Odious, Galvanax's treacherous adviser (who takes over his Galaxy Warriors show after betraying him), is a far more cunning enemy. While she continues Galvanax's habit of sending wannabe Galaxy Warriors champions, she actually has long-term schemes in mind. These plans typically involve the manipulation of both the heroes and the Monsters of the Week as Unwitting Pawns to further her own goals. And unlike Galvanax, she does actually confront the Rangers, even using her own Zord at one point.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow is no slouch in it either.
      • Malcolm Merlyn was an Evil Counterpart to the Hood but had no real conflict with him, mostly operating from the shadows to achieve the Undertaking. Even when he does gain conflict with Oliver, Merlyn's pretty passive about it, only fighting the Hood when he comes to him. Merlyn also has no powers, relying on his training in Nanda Parbat.
      • Slade wants Oliver dead and wants to destroy his life before he does it. Slade is also empowered by the Mirakuru serum, and unlike Merlyn who has the set goal of the Undertaking, is constantly revising his plan as to whatever he thinks will hurt Oliver the most.
      • Ra's Al-Ghul is the first big bad to genuinely have no animosity with Oliver. Team Arrow only comes onto his radar because of League business. Unlike Slade, who got his powers from a Psycho Serum, Ra's power is strictly mystical, and he operates on a warped morality as opposed to Slade's Insane Troll Logic.
      • Damien Darhk runs HIVE, an Evil, Inc. organization all about cutting-edge technology as opposed to the League of Assassins' ancient traditions. Darhk is Faux Affably Evil with a sense of humor, as opposed to Ra's humorless stoicism. Ra's intended to take Oliver in as an apprentice, while Darhk wants him dead at the first opportunity. Ra's use of magic pretty much stopped at the Lazarus Pit, while Darhk actually suffers as a result of overrelying on his magic. Their appearances contrast as well: the dark-haired bearded, robed Ra's as opposed to the blond clean-shaven lives-in-a-suit Darhk.
      • Prometheus is established as a street-level villain, in contrast to Darhk's plans of ending the world. Prometheus is a One-Man Army who slaughters dozens of cops in seconds on his own, while Darhk was laid out in an instant the first time he had to fight without magic. Darhk's identity was revealed in the first episode, while Prometheus' identity (as of episode 5) has remained a secret. Their costumes are also in contrast: Darhk was a Badass in a Nice Suit, while Prometheus goes back to Merlyn's idea of wearing an Evil Counterpart of the Green Arrow costume, albeit raggedy enough that he could be mistaken for Ragman or even Alchemy over on The Flash (2014).
    • The Flash (2014): Each season's Big Bad differs.
      • Eobard Thawne, aka the Reverse Flash, was the Arch-Enemy of the Flash from the future who went back in time to murder an 11 year old Barry Allen, but murdered his mother out of spite. He murdered and stole the identity of Harrison Wells to ensure Barry becomes the Flash so that he can use him to return home. He caused the particle accelerator to happen sooner so Barry can become the Flash and have metahuman foes to fight to increase his power for Thawne to use. While he still hated Barry Allen, he did grow to like him and the rest of Team Flash, but it wasn't enough to not kill them if needed.
      • Hunter Zolomon, aka Zoom, is a speedster from another Earth who didn't hate The Flash until after getting to know him. While Reverse Flash wore a yellow costume, Zoom wore all black. Eobard Thawne wanted Barry's speed to return home, Hunter Zolomon wanted it to make himself faster and save himself from dying while growing bored with his world. While Thawne stole the identity of Harrison Wells to hide and make sure his plans worked, Zolomon stole the identity of Jay Garrick to amuse himself by pretending to be a hero so he could take people's hope away. He actually employed metas in his world, falsely promising to return them to Earth 2 if they killed The Flash when he really wanted them to fail so Barry's speed could increase. He murders Barry's father out of spite much like Thawne did to Barry's mother, only doing to Barry as an adult. Also, while Thawne did begrudgingly grow to like Team Flash, Zolomon grew to hate Barry and had no such love for anyone (save for Caitlin, for different reasons, but grew out of them when she refused to love him back).
      • Savitar has a Powered Armor instead of a speedster suit. He never poses as a kindly mentor, when he uses impersonations, they are more temporary. As a time remnant of Barry Allen, he was not Evil All Along but a genuine hero who became bad after all the misfortune he suffered before and after becoming a time remnant. He could use the Philosopher's Stone to produce Demonic Possession and Telepathy or granting memory and powers from an Alternate Timeline. While Eobard Thawne is the Reverse-Flash and Hunter Zolomon could be seen as a Reverse-Barry, Savitar being a time remnant from the future is a reverse of both sides of the hero.
      • Clifford DeVoe/The Thinker is the first major villain who isn't a speedster. He also breaks the trend of the Big Bad hiding a secret identity underneath a mask, as both his name and face have been shown off since the first episode of the season, while Team Flash track him down and confront him by Episode 7, "Therefore I Am". DeVoe never worked with Team Flash unlike the three previous Big Badsnote  He's also a contrast to Season 1 Thawne. Both use wheelchairs, but in Thawne's case it was Obfuscating Disability as he could walk. DeVoe on the other hand does need it due to his powers giving him a form of ALS and rather resents having to use a wheelchair. Unlike Thawne, Zoom, and Savitar but conversely very much like Barry, he happens to be in a healthy, loving relationship with someone who knows of and supports everything he does; by contrast, the previous three Big Bads were loners who didn't give a damn about anyone but themselves. Also worth noting, he's the only one of the antagonists who never got close to Caitlinnote . Much like Savitar, he is able to anticipate Team Flash's every move and develop an appropriate way to counter it. However, whereas Savitar could do that because his memories were constantly being rewritten by his past self and thus he could quickly develop a counter-measure, DeVoe really is just that good a planner, being the world's smartest man and all.
      • Orlin Dwyer/Cicada is the first villain of the series who isn't a scientist, but a factory worker prior to getting his powers. He was The Everyman who had a terrible tragedy dealt to him that caused him to vow to kill all metahumans. Furthermore, all of the previous villains were master manipulators who had grand evil schemes and were aware of who The Flash is prior to their first encounter, Cicada is Serial Killer who doesn't even know who Barry Allen is and has no scheme other than his goals of ridding the world of metahumans so that no one else can suffer because of them.
    • Legends of Tomorrow:
      • The Big Bad of Season 1 is Vandal Savage, an millennia-old immortal psychopath with the desire to Take Over the World. The main hero Rip Hunter has a personal score to settle with Savage for killing his wife and son. Two of the Legends (Hawkman and Hawkgirl) also wish to end Savage because he has killed them over 200 times to maintain his immortality and provide longevity to his followers. Later on, Savage gains access to Time Travel and decides to, instead, unravel all of time back to Ancient Egypt and rewrite his own history.
      • The second season borrows villains from The Flash (Eobard Thawne) and Arrow (Damien Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn), forming the so-called Legion of Doom. Unlike Savage, none of the members of the Legion (except, maybe, Darhk) wish for world domination. Thawne wants to survive, as the events of The Flash have left him as a Time Aberration, forcing him to constantly stay on the move lest the Black Flash catch him. He seeks to use the Spear of Destiny to rewrite his own fate and put himself back into the timeline. He recruits Darhk (1987) and Merlyn (2016) by promising to change their future (Darhk's death at the hands of Green Arrow) and past (Merlyn losing his hand and the leadership of the League of Assassins), respectively.
  • Legend of the Seeker:
  • The Librarians 2014 (for the film series villains, see the Film section):
    • Season 1 has the Librarians fighting the Serpent Brotherhood and their leader Dulaque (actually, Lancelot of the Arthurian myth), who wanted to return the world to the way it was in King Arthur's time: full of magic and under the firm rule of kings.
    • Season 2 has the Big Bad Prospero try to restore the world to the "idyllic" forest paradise he always imagined, while destroying modern civilization.
    • Season 3 has the Egyptian god Apep try to unleash Pure Evil onto the world in order to destroy it.
    • Season 4 features Nicole Noone as a villain. Unlike the others, she is a Fallen Hero planning to destroy the belief the Library is a force of good after she was never saved after getting trapped in the past. Also, while the Librarians knew the other three main antagonists were villains from their first appearance, Nicole tricked them into thinking she was innocent and it took until the final minutes of the penultimate episode before the Librarians realised she was a villain. She also got redeemed.
  • Once Upon a Time features a wide array of Big Bads.
    • The first season features a Big Bad Duumvirate of Regina,who is Obviously Evil and short sighted in her plans which generally involve keeping her son, and Rumpelstiltskin (aka Mr. Gold), who is running a centuries-long Batman Gambit to reunite with his son.
    • Season two features Cora, who does not love her daughter, Regina, (in contrast to Regina and Rumple who do love their children) and Captain Hook, who aims for a villain. After the former is killed and the latter begins a Heel–Face Turn, Greg and Tamara appear. They do not have magic or a magic ally and they turn out to be Unwitting Pawns to...
    • Peter Pan, whose plot to sacrifice Henry to secure his own immortality drives the first half of Season Three; he holds no value for love and will gladly give family up for power and he is the first villain with no redeeming characteristics at all. The second half features Zelena, the Wicked Witch of the West, who plans to change history and win Rumple's favour. Her plans also involve trying to get loved ones.
    • Season four contrasts the Large Ham of Regina and Zelena with Ingrid, a much more soft spoken antagonist trying to remake her family (albeit on her terms). Rumple is also a villain throughout this season, acting as a Well-Intentioned Extremist instead of having the more selfish desires of past villains. The second half features a Big Bad Shuffle with Rumpelstiltskin and the Queens of Darkness made from Cruella De Vil, Ursula and Maleficent. Cruella has no redeeming characteristics at all while Ursula and Maleficent are the standard Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds villains with more legitimate beefs with the heroes. We also have the egotistical Isaac who only thinks of himself and Zelena again (see above).
    • The fifth season initially presents Emma as the main villain, who is motivated entirely by love. The second half features the heroes getting into a conflict with Hades, who manipulates love and even fakes a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Season six opens with another Big Bad Duumvirate, the Ambiguously Evil Mr. Hyde (who is actually the good personality this time) and the Evil Queen. They are quickly overshadowed by Gideon, an incredible Tragic Villain who is a pawn of the Black Fairy, who is willing to destroy all the realms to gain ultimate power.
    • Season seven initially positions Lady Tremaine as the main villain. Like Regina, she creates a town with the Dark Curse where everyone is miserable. Unlike Regina, she lacks innate magic, needing magic items instead, and seeks to gentrify Hyperion Heights and drive the denizens of her realm away from each other instead of keeping them in one place but still separated. Her plans also contrast Peter Pan in that she wants to crush the belief of a young child while Pan wanted to use the strength of Henry's belief to gain power. Furthermore, it's revealed that Tremaine is driven by love for her daughter Anastasia, contrasting both Regina (whom she is very similar to) and the Black Fairy (her immediate predecessor). However, it's soon revealed that her daughter Drizella was responsible for casting the Dark Curse this time, as a way to make Tremaine suffer for abusing her. On top of that, she was working under the guidance Gothel, who leads a group called the Coven of Eight, contrasting most of the other villains, who either operated alone or with a few lackeys.
  • Stranger Things: Word of God says that the Mind Flayer was designed this way. While season one's Demogorgon which is a vaguely humanoid creature who was just acts on instinct to feed, the Mind Flayer which is an intelligent being that isn't the least bit human looking with a complex plan to take over our world.
  • Fargo
    • Lorne Malvo of Season 1 was an openly sadistic drifter with immense physical skill and a love of watching other people suffer. He spends the series as a solo character; disrupting the police and criminals when it suits him.
    • Ohanzee Dent of Season 2 was the odd-ball of the villains. Unlike the others, his role as the Big Bad wasn't immediately apparent and he only really comes into his role in the final episodes. Hanzee is easily the most sympathetic as he's given a Freudian Excuse and a few Pet the Dog moments. Notably Hanzee's an all around joyless individual in contrast to Malvo and Varga who both had their sadistic edges.
    • V.M. Varga of Season 3 was a Non-Action Big Bad. Unlike Hanzee or Lorne who executed their schemes solo, he relied on his criminal organization. Varga also was characterized by playing the long game, having an unethical financial scheme and a goal to make money; while Malvo just drifted about focusing on the short term and Hanzee made it up as he went along.
  • Farscape
    • Captain Crais, the Big Bad of Season 1 was a ruthless Peacekeeper captain driven to recapture the crew of Moya and take revenge on John Crichton for his role in the accidental death of his brother, Tauvo. Volatile, obsessive and unwilling to see reason, Crais spends the entire season hunting down Crichton, failing in just about every single encounter and taking progressively bigger and bigger risks in his attempts to achieve vengeance, including disobeying direct orders from Central Command. As such, he's eventually arrested by Scorpius when the truth gets out.
    • Scorpius of Seasons 2 and 3; a Sebacean-Scarran hybrid serving the Peacekeepers as a scientist, he's determined to capture the wormhole knowledge in Crichton's brain for the advantage it could give his adopted faction in a war against the Scarrans. In sharp contrast to Crais' explosive temper and blunt-instrument approach, Scorpius is quiet, calculating, and creepily polite; for good measure, he's usually one step ahead of Crichton and co - to the point that he actually ends Season 2 by achieving complete victory over Crichton.
    • Commandant Grayza of Season 4; a Smug Snake par excellence, she spends most of her time smirking over apparent victories - namely bending Crichton to her will, enslaving then executing Scorpius, and arranging a ceasefire/alliance with the Scarrans. However, everything goes wrong for her: Crichton is able to jerry-rig an antidote to the Heppel Oil, Scorpius survives the execution and joins Crichton, and her vaunted alliance ends with her being captured and nearly killed by the Scarran War Minister.
    • Finally, in the Peacekeeper Wars miniseries, the Big Bad mantle is claimed by Emperor Staleek of the Scarran Imperium. Ruthless and fiercely pragmatic, he wants nothing less than total supremacy over the galaxy; if there's a diplomatic means of seizing power, he'll take it, but if a threat presents itself - he'll do everything he can to obliterate it.

    Theater 

    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.

    Video Games 
  • Dishonored 2: The usurper queen Delilah Copperspoon is a supernatural entity compared to the corrupt politician, Hiram Burrows and General Farley Havelock from the first game who were realistic.
    • Lord Regent Hiram Burrows is strict, shrewd, and seeks to stamp out the Loyalists and thwart Corvo the entire game. In contrast, the Duke of Serkonos Luca Abele is mostly indifferent to events unfolding and spends most of time hosting orgies and lavish feasts at his palace. The Duke is also heavyset and wears light-colored clothing, in contrast to the Lord Regent who is thin and is quite fond of dark trenchcoats.
  • Fable:
    • In Fable I, the villain is a powerful monster called Jack of Blades who wants to conquer the world and the hero has two epic fights with him to the death.
    • In Fable II, Lucien Fairfax is the former mayor of Bowerstone who tries to use the dark power of The Tattered Spire to resurrect his murdered family but was corrupted by its construction and power. Lucien doesn't even get a proper boss as one of the heroes will just knock him down the spire.
    • And in Fable III, the final boss is a horde of eldritch monsters who force the king/queen to make desperate choices and kill infected friends. There's no ambition, no greater plan for Albion's enslavement, just an all-consuming hunger.
  • In all of The Legend of Zelda games that feature the same Link but follow a different villain, the new villain will contrast the previous in one way or another. (Often they inevitably end up being Hijacked by Ganon anyhow.)
    • The first game had Ganon, a feared leader of the monsters that ravaged Hyrule, and who is defined by his desire to possess the full Triforce. He evades Link with invisibility and fires magical bolts at him. The Final Boss of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link was Link's Shadow, a Doppelgänger of Link and a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. He is the final test that must be overcome before Link can obtain the Triforce of Courage, and he relies entirely on his sword to fight.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past features the return of Ganon, having used the alter ego of Agahnim as he sought to regain power. The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games also have this effect, as the two games are meant to be played one after the other: Onox is a large, armor-clad monster who relies on brute force and brings chaos to Holodrum by sending the seasons out of order. Come the final battle, he transforms into a dragon and revels in his newfound power; Veran is small, slight, relies on magic, and spends most of the game possessing other characters. She travels back in time, corrupting Queen Ambi and convincing her to force the people of Labrynna to build the Black Tower. Veran assumes her insect forms in the final battle, but only as a last resort. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening features the Nightmares, who differ from all other villains in that they want to save the world, as while they are a threat that keeps the Windfish asleep, defeating them and waking up the Windfish will cause Koholint Island and its inhabitants to disappear.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf is the king of the Gerudo who seeks to claim the Triforce to conquer the world of Hyrule out of his hunger for power. In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the demonic entity in the titular Artifact of Doom took control of the Skull Kid to destroy the world of Termina For the Evulz.
    • The sub-trilogy that started with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has this with its three main villains. In The Wind Waker, Ganondorf, after breaking free from the seal that contained him, had started to outgrow his original evil nature and become a more complex figure who wanted the Triforce to restore Hyrule despite still wanting to control it. In The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Bellum was a mindless beast who was trying to break free from its own seal and only seemed interested in consuming life force. Also unlike Ganondorf, Link does not know of Bellum's existence until midway in the game. Even their signature hideouts fit this. The island-based Forsaken Fortress was designed by Ganondorf to repel any intruders, and he abandons it partway through the game. Bellum's Ghost Ship is mobile and lasts the entire game, and it was designed to use rumors of treasure to lure people in to have their life force drained. They are followed by Cole in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, a small, leprechaun-like demon who at first pretends to be on the side of the royal family. While Ganondorf was an Affably Evil Magic Knight and Bellum was an Eldritch Abomination with powers derived from the Sands of Time, Cole is a Smug Snake who has to fall back on his dragon Bryne or his superior Malladus when faced with a threat.
    • Yuga and Lady Maud were both obsessed with beauty, but in different ways. Yuga was a vain painter while Lady Maud was a vain fashion designer. Yuga was The Sociopath who manipulated Princess Hilda by pretending to care for Lorule so he could claim the Triforce to remake the world in his image, Lady Maud cursed Princess Styla with an ugly dress as a "gift" because she hated her cute outfits and is offended that it is called a curse. Another departure from the series usual villains is that Lady Maud doesn't die when she's defeated.
    • Though The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a prequel to the franchise, Ghirahim was designed with this mindset as a contrast to Ganondorf. Ganondorf wears black armor while Ghirahim wore a white suit. Ganondorf was muscular and masculine, Ghirahim was slim and feminine. Both take on transformations, but while Ganon was a hulking pig monster, Ghirahim's transformation, his true form, was still the same body type.
    • In a strange case of a character being this to themselves, the Ganondorf in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was specifically designed to contrast his appearance in Wind Waker. In the Wind Waker timeline, Ganondorf is humbled by his defeat at the hands of the Hero of Time and the Goddesses' flooding of Hyrule, leading to an Older and Wiser Ganon who, while still evil, shows signs of being a Noble Demon and Well-Intentioned Extremist who seems to genuinely regret some of his past actions, or at least the way they turned out. In the Twilight Princess timeline, however, Ganondorf's initial plan to get the Triforce is thwarted before it even begins, only for him to later get the Triforce of Power anyway due to a "divine prank" that was the result of the Hero of Time's Time Travel. This turns Ganon into a manipulative, sadistic brute with a god complex and no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
  • Final Fantasy has done this from the beginning.
    • Chaos was The Man Behind the Man who entered a mutual agreement with the Fiends.
    • The Emperor made the fact he led his forces a fact and betrayed the Devil to go One-Winged Angel.
    • Cloud of Darkness is a natural force come to pass and made its appearance at the very end.
    • Zemus orchastrated the entire game from afar with mind control, and came back through sheer rage.
    • Exdeath is a centuries old clump of demons stuffed into a tree that is now trying to destroy the world with The Void.
    • Kefka broke a lot of ground for Final Fantasy baddies by not only being completely cuckoo-for-Chocobo-Puffs, but also starting off fairly weak. Midway through the game, you actually fail to stop him from playing his trump card and he gains godly power through manipulation.
    • Sephiroth used to be the hero to all. You also spend a lot of time doing things for him.
    • Ultimecia is a sorceress from the future who uses the present sorceresses as proxies. Her use of Seifer also foils Squall's relationship with Rinoa.
    • Kuja is a theatrical, misanthropic artificially made young man who goes mad when he finds out his true identity.
    • Final Fantasy X has a lot of villains, but the biggest foil is Jecht, Jerk Jock supreme who followed a path similar to his son's own and now regrets what he does. Seymour was driven insane by a combination of parental abandonment and an addiction to magical powers.
    • Vayne, like Kefka, isn't some great evil supernatural force, but a normal man. But unlike Kefka, he isn't completely insane. Instead, he is a brilliant politician and military tactician who decides to win the long war between two powerful empires by seizing control of the world's most important natural resource. He is calm, collected, and unlike most Final Fantasy villains, he comes the closest to winning in the end and in some ways, does get what he wants. Also unlike many Final Fantasy Villains, he isn't shown very often in game, but his decisions are immediately felt worldwide.
    • Final Fantasy XIII by contrast has Barthandelus, who is effectively one of the manipulating gods that Vayne would have opposed, and who seeks the destruction of those he is charged with protecting. And while his plan does eventually work, it doesn't occur the way he wanted and takes far longer to come to pass (around another 1000 years).
    • Caius Ballad from Final Fantasy XIII-2 rounds back around to being a man, albeit an enormously powerful one. In comparison to Barthandelus, who was a Well-Intentioned Extremist based on the world, Caius only cares about one person, Yuel, and is willing to destroy time to preserve her. And while, like Barthandelus, he gets what he wants...it's not in the manner that he hoped for.
    • The divinity phase is switched once again for the finale of the XIII trilogy, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII with Bhunivelze, who is presented as the Big Good initially and genuinely wishes to save everyone. Until it's revealed that while he does intend to do so, he also intends to filter humanity into soulless puppets, while Caius wanted to preserve Yuel.
    • Final Fantasy XV features Ardyn. In contrast to the previous villains, who either didn't have personal relationships with the heroes or did, Ardyn wants to kill Noctis from the get-go; in comparison to Sephiroth and Cloud, who had developed enmity in their backstory; Noctis barely even knew who Ardyn was initially. Rather than be embraced in a way by the gods like the fal'Cie and Bhunivelze would do with the heroes of the XIII trilogy, Ardyn was spurned and shunned by them, and while they ultimately intended to save existence to a degree, Ardyn makes no such claims; he only wants Noctis to survive so that he can kill him at his strongest, the world be damned. Finally, unlike most humanoid villains, he doesn't have a One-Winged Angel form and is fought specifically as a Duel Boss. And on top of all that, he has his own personal Guardian Force Ifrit, which he summons against a party that cannot control the appearance of their own Guardian Forces.
  • The final bosses of the Super Smash Bros.. games may be lacking in on-screen personality or depth, but they are very distinct from each other visually and thematically.
    • Master Hand is the final boss of the first game, and is traditionally the final opponent in the Classic Mode of subsequent games. It is vaguely implied that Master Hand is the creator of the Super Smash Bros. universe, and may be the representation of a child playing with his action figures. Later games imply further that Master Hand enjoys challenging the fighters to test their worth.
    • Melee introduces two new bosses; Crazy Hand and Giga Bowser. Crazy Hand is Master Hand's opposite number, being chaotic and destructive as opposed to careful and creative, but despite their differences the two hands make a pretty effective team. Giga Bowser is a powered-up transformation of Bowser unique to the Super Smash Bros. series who serves as the game's ultimate challenge, only appearing when certain conditions are met.
    • Brawl gives us Tabuu, the first villain with a clear motivation. He's explicitly a being from another dimension who aims to absorb the Super Smash Bros. universe into his domain of Subspace. He differs from previous bosses in being the most human-like villain of the series so far.
    • Master Core is the True Final Boss of 4, being a monstrous transformation of Master Hand which is implied to be his full strength unleashed. Master Core's battle consists of multiple distinct phases, which is a first for the series.
    • Galeem and Dharkon from Ultimate are the most distinctive villains so far. In terms of design, all of the previous villains looked vaguely anthropomorphic or creature-like; Galeen and Dharkon are utterly alien beings that look completely inhuman. In terms of motivation, Galeem seeks to control the universe whereas Dharkon seeks to obliterate it. This makes them a contrast to the Hands, who are ambiguously evil and don't seem interested in domination. Also unlike the Hands, who get along well and make a good team, Galeem and Dharkon absolutely hate each other; even when they're forced to team up, they actively fight amongst themselves.
  • BioShock
    • BioShock 2 was very blatant about this. The first game's antagonist, Andrew Ryan, was a hardened capitalist and atheist who believed that self-serving actions will ultimately lead mankind to create utopia, and had founded the secret city of Rapture to work toward that end. Sofia Lamb, who had taken over the city by the events of 2, was a psychologist who believed human nature to be ultimately evil and strove to use the genetic engineering serum Rapture's scientists had discovered to create a new race of utterly selfless humans — and, while not overtly religious herself, is not above using religion as a means to that end. This extends to how they're treated by the plot as well: In the first game, Ryan's plans had already come to fruition by the start of the game and proven to be a miserable failure, and your support character who strings you along to kill him is out for revenge; Lamb, meanwhile, has yet to carry out her plans, and your goal is to stop her.
    • In BioShock Infinite, you face off against Zachary Comstock, who is overtly religious and believes that his own (eventually) hidden city is destined to actively destroy the "Sodom below", in contrast to Ryan, who believed that the Cold War would ultimately lead mankind to destroy itself. Also while Ryan is a strict Athiest, Comstock is a born-again Christian who delivers sermons to his populace and justifies his less-than-Utopian society with what he claims is divine law. Ryan's dystopia was born from not caring about his own population and letting them exploit and poison each other with merciless capitalism, while Comstock's comes about from slavery and enforced mistreatment of "lesser" people. Finally while both men had a distaste for the way the United States was run in their age (Ryan with the New Deal under Roosevelt and Comstock with the freeing of the slaves by Lincoln), Ryan's intention was to cut off all ties with the United States and make a new Utopia of his own. Comstock desired to keep a "Pure" form of the country preserved, and eventually return to "correct" the decaying nation with force.
    • It's worth noting that despite wildly varying beliefs and philosophies, the antagonists of each game inevitably end up very similar. All three are Hypocrites who betray their ideals to pursue their own goals, all three use their world-views to justify the exploitation and suffering of others, and all three ultimately have their Utopias crumble all around them. They all work to illustrate the series overarching moral that extremism to any one viewpoint is bad.
  • In Clock Tower, both of the ScissorMen from both games have different characteristics from each other. Bobby, the first ScissorMan had a very ugly appearance who followed the orders of his mother, and didn't had the slightest bit of intellect. Dan, the Big Bad of the second game has a more handsome look, was a lot more intelligent than his brother, walked in his ScissorMan guise with a limped leg, and unlike how Bobby obeyed his mother, Dan is capable of corrupting and manipulating people into serving him. Also while Bobby kept his killings a secret, Dan makes his murders known to the public, as well that Dan kills people simply cause he desires too, Bobby killed following his mother's words.
  • In the first Halo trilogy, the main threat, aside from the Covenant, was the Flood, a biological Hive Minded parasite led by the Gravemind. In the second trilogy, their role is taken up by Forerunner Promethean constructs, led by the Didact in Halo 4 and Cortana and the Warden Eternal in Halo 5: Guardians. Notably, the Prometheans were deployed against the Flood during the last days of the Forerunner Ecumene. The Covenant themselves go from the dominant force in the Orion Arm in the first trilogy to a smaller but more fanatical terrorist group in the second one; in fact, the specific faction the player fights is only one of many Covenant remnants.
  • The main antagonists in Pokémon tend to do this, normally taking in account the respective legendary mascot Pokemon of every generation of games, which also normally counts as an antagonist in a primal way:
    • Generation I introduces Giovanni, a well-known mob leader who secretly holds the title of Gym Leader, and his Team Rocket, a mafia-like organization whose main motivations are profit. Though not faced in the main story, there is also the local "major" Olympus Mon Mewtwo, an extremely powerful clone of Mew, though Team Rocket has no connection with it (despite what the animé may say).
    • Generation II introduces Archer, Ariana, Proton and Petrel, the new commanders of Team Rocket, who unlike Giovanni, are quite weak on their own and only desire the comeback of their leader, their desperation being a main point of the plot. Lugia and Ho-Oh contrast Mewtwo in being a more benign (though hardly less dangerous) duo who are constantly at odds against each other, though they are (again) never mentioned by the villains and are completely optional encounters (not so much in the remakes).
    • Generation III introduces two different teams, as opposed to only Team Rocket in the previous two generations. Maxie (leader of Team Magma) and Archie (leader of Team Aqua), as well as being Foils to each other, are also radically different from the previously thuggish antagonists, being ecoterrorists who plan the best for humankind in their own distorted views; as well as Groudon, Kyogre, and Rayquaza, super-ancient masters of land, ocean, and sky, who unlike their previous counterparts are integral to the plot, and while not evil per se, are definitely more brutal and dangerous to the world than Lugia, Ho-Oh, and even Mewtwo.
    • Generation IV introduces Cyrus, a 27 year old Straw Nihilist who hopes to destroy all of existence, since he sees humans and reality as a whole as pointless, as opposed to Maxie and Archie's Well-Intentioned Extremist motivations. Team Galactic, unlike the previous teams, exists in the open and are constantly treated as a bunch of harmless weirdos (that is, until they start bombing places). Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina, along with Arceus, are each an Animalistic Abomination that embodies cosmic concepts, such as space, time, antimatter/otherness, and divinity, respectively, unlike their very Earth centered previous counterparts. Their threat comes less from natural brutality and more from sheer destructiveness and alienation, such as Giratina accidentally creating a world consuming black hole-like portal while trying to protect reality. Giratina also deserves mention for being a foil to Rayquaza, with both of them being the third members of their groups. While Rayquaza is the more benevolent of his trio, Giratina, while serving a similar function, is much more destructive and less noble.
    • The first games of Generation V introduce N, a boy raised by Pokémon with very strong convictions, but very little knowledge of the outside world, and Team Plasma, a PETA-esque Animal Wrongs Group who makes the the population of the Pokémon World question their beliefs. The sequels then cut to the real Big Bad, Ghetsis, N's megalomaniacal evil father, and the second incarnation of Team Plasma, who evolved to full blown terrorists interested in world-domination. Local legendaries Reshiram, Zekrom, and Kyurem are a group who use to be one single Pokémon, and unlike the cosmic-themed trio of Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina, they represent the very human concepts of truth and ying, ideals and yang, and emotional voidness. Kyurem also is a foil to Giratina and Rayquaza, seeing as it allies with Team Plasma due to its desperation to be complete once again.
    • Generation VI introduces Lysandre, a beauty-obsessed man, and Team Flare, a group of supremacists who believe that only themselves are allowed to live. Unlike the other villains, Lysandre is a Villain with Good Publicity, being respected across Kalos for his inventions such as the Holo Caster and for his philanthropy, and unlike the selfish Ghetsis, he sees his plan as doing the world he loves a service by protecting its resources from being used up. The trio of Xerneas, who represents life, Yvetal, representing death and destruction, and Zygarde, who represents equilibrium and potential, having a Nordic inspiration, as opposed to the eastern influenced Tao Trio of Reshiram, Zekrom and Kyurem.
    • Generation VII features Team Skull, a... rather inept equivalent of Team Rocket that is regarded by a good deal of the Alola region as a joke, but share similar motivations, led by Guzma, a violent man who turned to crime after failing to become a Trial Captain. The real antagonists, however, are the Aether Foundation, led by Lusamine, an abusive mother who is obsessed with things 'deserving of her love' and seeks to remain in Ultra Space with Nihilego, with which she has an intense obsession. For that matter, she contrasts all the previous Big Bads by being the first female one in the series. Contrasting Gen VI's Nordic inspirations, Solgaleo and Lunala are alchemy-themed, merely 'represent' the sun and moon rather than embody concepts like the previous legendaries, and are actually from Ultra Space, not to mention evolve from a Pokemon you've seen for most of the game — Nebby. The more antagonistic Ultra Beasts contrast with legendaries from previous games in that while they're on the same power level as legendaries, they're common Pokemon in their own dimension and are completely new to science. Design-wise, while legendaries have a passing resemblance to familiar animals, the Ultra Beasts are quite alien, often lacking anything in the way of a face.
      • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon's Big Bad is Necrozma — in a series first, it's the first one to be a Pokémon acting on its own as opposed to being controlled or influenced by a human. Unlike the benevolent Solgaleo and Lunala, however, Necrozma steals light rather than emits it, and it swiftly overpowers one of the two and absorbs it. And unlike Kyurem before it, it has a "true" form — Ultra Necrozma, which the player fights as the Climax Boss in Ultra Megalopolis. On a related note, in order to fit Necrozma into the plot the human villains of Gen VII become genuinely altruistic and hoping to stop Necrozma from destroying Alola. The problem is Lusamine is out of her depth and it is implied she is doing this because she is mad with grief over losing her husband and is terrified of losing anyone else. While past villains were often Well Intentioned Extremists, they were more selfish in their desires.
    • The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games contrast their villains too. The Explorers villains try to create a Bad Future to preserve their own survival while the villains of Gates of Infinity are a suicide cult who have grown so depressed at the state of the world and the uncaring attitudes of those in it that they are willing to let an Eldritch Abomination destroy it. Meanwhile the villains of Super Mystery Dungeon are Brainwashed and Crazy by the local Eldritch Abomination as opposed to the other villains who were willing participants in villainy. The Bittercold from Gates was also more of a force of nature than a character that was defeated by rejecting it while Super had the Dark Matter which was sentient and was defeated by accepting it.
  • World of Warcraft's expansion villains generally tend to contrast each other to some degree.
    • The main villains of Burning Crusade (Illidan Stormrage and Kael'thas Sunstrider) are egomaniacal, mana-addicted elves in extreme denial about their relatively small roles in the greater scope of things. They are ultimately manipulated by the overarching Big Bad, Kil'jaeden, whose summoning is the primary threat.
    • Wrath of the Lich King has the titular Lich King: Arthas Menethil, who was the original Arch-Enemy of the previous two and ultimately caused their conditions by defeating them. He came the closest of all the villains to total victory, contrasting Illidan and Kael'thas's inadequacy as threats. It was his remaining sanity that did him in while the last two's instability led them to betray their allies, leaving them easy pickings.
    • Deathwing of Cataclysm is a former Aspect driven insane by the Old Gods. Both were heroes before, but Deathwing's body burns with magma while Arthas is Evil Is Deathly Cold incarnate. Deathwing is fought primarily by the Shamans and Druids of Kalimdor, in contrast to the heavy focus on Paladins and Death Knights in Arthas'.
    • Garrosh Hellscream, Big Bad of Mists of Pandaria, more closely resembles Illidan and Kael'thas in that his own ego and pride drive him to villainy. Instead of being forcibly corrupted by the Old Gods like Deathwing, Garrosh was a Willing Channeler of Y'shaarj who never lost control of himself. He is also the only villain who used to be part of the new Horde, while prior villains had left their factions during or before the Third War.
    • Warlords of Draenor has this happen within the same expansion with Grommash Hellscream and Gul'dan. Grom is a Badass Normal who, with Garrosh's warnings, rejected the Burning Legion. Unlike his son, however, he went through a Heel–Face Turn later on. Gul'dan, meanwhile, becomes a follower of the Legion willingly, is the Squishy Wizard warlock to Grom's Badass Normal, and is the only villain with no redeeming traits whatsoever. Where Grom led the Iron Horde directly, Gul'dan is a manipulator who prefers being the Man Behind the Man.
    • The Big Bad of Legion, Sargeras, is the only one out of the expansion's main villains who is never fought directly. The Final Boss is instead his ace in the hole: Argus, a character never seen until his boss encounter and, unlike all the others in the series, is firmly in Tragic Monster territory.
  • Shenmue: The primary antagonist Chai is a skinny and bald lower ranking member of the Chi You Men who wishes to kill protagonist Ryo to prove himself.
    • Shenmue II: Dou Niu is the bald, fat and hulking leader of the Yellow Heads who is a gang war for the dominance of Hong Kong and has greater things to deal with than just hunting Ryo.
  • Knights of the Old Republic: Darth Malak is a physically towering villain, who strictly follows the Sith line of strength = power. He's not subtle and will destroy a whole planet for one Jedi and has a simple plan, use the Star Forge, build a lot of powerful weapons and conquer the galaxy. In his death scene, Malak admits that he deserves it because he wasn't strong enough to be the true Sith lord.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords: the third member of the Sith Triumvirate, Darth Traya is a anti-villain with Black And Gray Morality; she's also a physically weak, blind old woman who begins the series disgraced and exiled by the Sith, and actually spends most of the game as a main party-member known as Kreia. Hating the Force itself for dictating countless galactic struggles in pursuit of balance, she wants to destroy the Force through manipulation of her apprentice the Jedi Exile. Most of the time Traya doesn't kill her most dangerous, potential enemies, but breaks them into serving her, e.g. Anton, Hanharr, Darth Sion. The most 'violent' thing she does beyond self-defense is kill the Jedi Masters who planned to cut the Force from her apprentice.
  • Street Fighter villains vary when it comes to appearances, techniques, and goals:
    • The Final Boss of the original Street Fighter is the Muay Thai master Sagat, who arranged the tournament to test his abilities against the world's greatest fighters.
    • Street Fighter II has M. Bison, the ruthless, power-hungry leader of an evil organization bent on world domination.
    • Street Fighter III introduces Gill, a Messianic ubermensch who leads a secret society that performs unethical bio-engineering experiments; his tournament is his way of seeking out those strong enough to repopulate the planet after the end of the world.
  • Thief
    • The Big Bads of the first two game are representatives of two religions that have a strong Elves vs. Dwarves conflict with each other; the first game's villain, The Trickster, is associated with the Pagan religion, which worships the concepts of chaos, magic and nature, while Karras in the sequel is associated with the Hammerites, who worship order, technology and civilization. The former wants to destroy civilization using a magic ritual, the latter wants to destroy organic life by using machines to flood the city with poison gas. In both cases, Garret forms an Enemy Mine alliance with members of the opposing religion to bring them down.
    • The third game's villain, Gamal the Hag, is associated with a third faction, the Keepers, who believe in the balance between dangerous extremes. While the other two villains had clearly defined ideologies, and goals relating to them, this time the villain has no obvious motivation beyond selfishness and unnaturally extending their lifespan.
  • Mortal Kombat:
  • Resident Evil
    • Resident Evil 1: Albert Wesker is a emotionally collected and manipulating officer of the S.T.A.R.S special force who plans on betraying his team and let them be used as data for Bio Organic Weapons.
    • Resident Evil 2: William Birkin is a mad scientist who is killed by mercenaries. He injects himself with the G virus to become a monster. William is a more desperate and emotional villain, who tried to hunt his daughter Sherry.
    • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis: It goes full-on monster with the villain being the mysterious hunter known as the Nemesis.
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica: This game's villain is another human-turned-monster, Alexia Ashford, who wants to take over the world.
    • Resident Evil 4: The villain is not a genetically engineered monster but is an unearthed parasite queen of Las Plagas that has possessed a religious leader called Osmond Saddler.
    • Resident Evil 5 gives us Wesker again but this time he's injected himself with the Uroboros virus and declared being a god himself.
    • Resident Evil 7: biohazard has a family of backwoods rednecks transformed by The Corruption as the antagonists. And it's revealed that each one is a Tragic Monster who became the way they were because they wanted to help a sick little girl.
  • The villains of the Fallout series can vary greatly, though they all generally fall under Well-Intentioned Extremist in one way or another:
    • The original game had "The Master", an insane mutant, who sought to assimilate all of humanity into his Super Mutant Army.
    • The second and third games have The Enclave, one of the most advanced factions in the series, who saw most the Wasteland's inhabitants as impure, do to their exposure to radiation and sought to wipe them out. Though by the third game, most of them have decided to settle on just ruling over, other humans, as long they're not too soaked with radiation.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has Caesar's Legion, a fanatical slave army, that saw reliance on modern technology and medicine as a weakness, only begrudgingly using modern weaponry out necessity, led by a brilliant and charismatic, but delusional Roman wannabe.
    • Depending on the player's own personal views, The Institute and The Brotherhood of Steel from Fallout 4 can both be seen as this, both of which are technologically advanced Knight Templars. The Institute is one of the few factions continuing to pioneer science in the post-apocalypse, but they're homicidally short-sighted by lack of government and have their every physical whim granted by their personal machines and Artificial Humans. This utterly disgusts The Brotherhood of Steel into a desire for genocide against The Institute for playing God and sucking at it.
  • The Borderlands series features a heavy contrast between Handsome Jack of Borderlands 2 and Colonel Zarpedon of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!. Both of them try to wipe out their respective groups of Vault Hunters at the start of their games, but that's about where the similarities end. Jack is the egocentric CEO of the Hyperion corporation by way of a Klingon Promotion who maintains loyalty through a combination of fear and revisionist propaganda; he constantly mocks the Vault Hunters throughout the game and is convinced that he's actually the hero. In contrast, Zarpedon was a high-ranking military commander before Dahl abandoned her unit during the Crackening, and she was well-loved by her men throughout, to the point that they were willing to carry on her cause even after her death; she views the Vault Hunters as worthy opponents deserving of respect and is under no illusions about how horrible her intended actions are, only going through with it because the alternative is worse. Even their ultimate goals differ: Jack is looking for the Vault of the Warrior to help him conquer Pandora by wiping out anyone he sees as a bandit, while Zarpedon was trying to guard the Vault of Elpis to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands until she decided that the only way to guarantee its safety was to destroy the entirety of Elpis (and unfortunately everyone on it).
  • Though the Dreamers serve as a Greater-Scope Villain throughout The Secret World, the major story arcs and downloadable expansion packs all feature their own contrasting villains:
    • Freddy Beaumont, the villain of the Solomon Island arc, is a gloating, scheming trickster of an Evil Sorcerer with no interest in anyone but himself; despite supposedly leading the local Morninglight as a lieutenant to cult-leader Philip Marquard, he's just using them to further his own ends. Plus, he technically doesn't have an army and doesn't bother to fight until the final boss fight kicks off. He's later revealed to be Loki, out to seize ultimate power from the island's Gaia Engine via the sword Excalibur.
    • The Cult of the Aten from the Egypt Arc/Issue #6. In sharp contrast to Beaumont's oily selfishness, they're an individuality-obliterating religious movement devoted to the worship of the eponymous sun deity, and will do anything to ensure that their prophet Akhenaten rises from the grave and brings Aten to Earth - with apocalyptic consequences. Plus, where Beaumont made do with magical firepower and illusions, the cult substitutes with wave after wave of brainwashed mooks armed with mundane weaponry.
    • Her Majesty Mara of the Transylvania arc; quite apart from the fact that she has probably the most varied army in the entire setting - encompassing vampires, werewolves, ghouls and the super-soldiers from the Red Hand labs - she's every bit as spoiled and self-important as her name implies, preferring to hide away in the catacombs of the castle while the rest of the vampire army take over the area. It turns out that she's just a minion for a much more powerful villain, namely her mother Lilith.
    • Introduced in Issue #7, we have Lilith. An ancient entity known and feared throughout the setting for the huge range of atrocities under her belt, she prefers a subtle approach despite her Large Ham tendencies: directing pawns like Mara, Lidiya and Dr Schreber to act in her stead, she prefers to remain hidden while she gets up to Mad Scientist antics; if she has to confront her enemies directly, she presents herself as an ally - the Russian Agent to the players, a surrogate mother to Emma, and Chairwoman Lily Engel to the Orochi Group; and once she has what she wants, she stabs her allies in the back and leaves with her prize in tow.
    • The Black Signal AKA John, first introduced in Issue #9. In contrast to all the other villains, he doesn't spend most of his time attacking the player head-on or creeping around behind the scenes; in fact, he's in constant communication with the player via his own personalized lore entries, using the Bee's lore signal to try to convince the players to join him. While other villains seem to act with some kind of purpose in mind, he seems perfectly content to spend his days using his incredible powers to mess with unsuspecting bystanders and is actually procrastinating in order to avoid facing Lilith again. The biggest contrast of all lies in how young and unfamiliar the Black Signal is: every single villain up until now has been over five hundred years at the very least and usually have some kind of well-established position in the lore of the setting; by contrast, the Black Signal is a total unknown and can't be much older than twenty - and plays the Psychopathic Manchild more often than not.
    • The Bogeyman of The Park tie-in game. A monstrous, illusory presence haunting Atlantic Island Park, he has no overarching agenda, no ambition to rule the world, no desire to take revenge, no secret mission to complete: he just wants to feed on the joy and terror of anyone unlucky enough to stray into the park - and god help you if you're not suitable for feeding on. It's actually because he's already gotten what he wants: Nathaniel Winter's transformation into the Bogeyman has given him the magical power and immortality he desired, and now he wants to hang onto it by fueling his hunger.
  • Most main antagonists in the Fire Emblem series are either hulking Tin Tyrants or manipulative Evil Sorcerers who seek to Take Over the World or incomprehensible dragons or other god-like entities that seek to level it. They also tend to be the be-all end-all leaders of their factions and have their own unique classes. The Final Bosses of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, on the other hand, buck this trend.
    • In Thracia 776, Veld is certainly a major threat, but he is clearly subordinate to the main antagonists of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Manfroy and Julius. He is also a surprisingly weak Dark Bishop who is only separated from the random chapter bosses you mow down by his personal Stone tome.
    • In Fates: Conquest, Takumi is your own brother who seeks revenge on you for betraying him and getting his mother killed. He is never given the Big Bad position on his own, as he is either subordinate to Ryoma or a thrall of whatever corrupted Garon (revealed to be Anankos on the Revelation route). Finally, he is a mechanically unremarkable Sniper who relies on a very dangerous skillset and a stupidly powerful 1-4 range weapon to kick your ass.
  • Iron Marines makes a contrast with the villain factions of the game's three worlds/planets, with their motives, their nature and their weaponry/abilities.
  • The various endgame 'conspiracies' in Criminal Case vary from season to season.
    • The first season had the Crimson Order, an Ancient Conspiracy who ran the city of Grimsborough since the founding of the city, having seized control of a gold mine from the Aloki land. The player never heard or dealt with them until after the PC's commanding officer committed murder on their behalf, and they are quickly dismantled once the police are onto them.
    • Pacific Bay's final cases featured a much smaller and more recent faction that directly involved one of the player's partners. There is no official name to the group, and it basically consists of one Omnicidal Maniac trying to destroy Pacific Bay and the people it roped into helping him.
    • World Edition featured Sombra, the multinational criminal organization with plans to Take Over the World. Unlike the previous two seasons, the Bureau knows about the group from the beginning, and bringing down Sombra is their mission statement and the reason they were founded.
    • Mysteries of the Past had several groups, including the Irish and Italian criminal gangs, the Rochester family and the Justice Corps, all trying to gain control of Concordia through various schemes.
    • The Conspiracy features Ad Astra, a small group of young intellectuals who believe they are entitled to dominate the world because of their intellectual superiority. At the end of the storyline, they've become full-fledged supervillains - albeit ones on the run from their true founder.
  • Though Deltarune is not an outright sequel to Undertale, the King of Spades can be seen as this to Asgore. Though he does have a pretty tragic backstory, by the time you confront him he's clearly beyond redemption, and has no qualms about killing his own son.

    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.
    • 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 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.
    • 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 fairly low ranked employee at a circus who manipulates people to bring down a conspiracy generally by appealing to the inner insecurities of others.
  • 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 first game's rival is Togami, the Ultimate Heir. He openly states that he has no qualms about killing someone if it means he will win the game, can't comprehend how people can be selfless in their situation, but eventually comes around and befriends the main characters. After he goes through Character Development, he is Kyoko's second in command and a reliable source of help for the others. He is also the only rival character to survive.
    • The second game's rival is Nagito, the Ultimate Luck 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:
      • Ooma, 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 the previous two, he is a complicated case of Good All Along and, although like Nagito he plans his own death, Ooma'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 

    Western Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Obake is a different kind of villain than Yokai. Yokai was a silent, no-nonsense villain who worked alone, Obake is a talkative, overtly polite villain who employed others. Yokai wore a mask to conceal his identity, Obake simply hid in the shadows and wouldn't show his face to the team until he felt it was time to meet them. Finally, there's the reason they turned into villains and what their plans were: Yokai was Professor Callaghan, the head of San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, who wanted revenge for the daughter he thought died by Krei's experiment. Obake was Bob Aken, a student at SFIT who let his desire for knowledge go to his head and plotted to destroy the city to remake it as he saw fit.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Starlight Glimmer came on the heels of Lord Tirek, the latter being the apex of the series' increasingly blatantly menacing, powerful, vile villains, a trend Starlight breaks. Tirek was Obviously Evil, a Jerkass to all he had power over, inspired fear and loathing in everyone and sought power for his own sake. Starlight was a Villain with Good Publicity able to pass for benevolent, using her power to enact an "ideal" society and impose happiness on everyone. Tirek wound up as the most powerful villain in the shows history, while Starlight was the weakest - yet also one of the most dangerous. In addition, unlike the other villains in the show, she managed to escape capture and make background appearances throughout the season before returning as the Big Bad for the season five finale.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The original series featured a fairly straightforward good vs. evil plot. Zhao and Ozai were both completely lacking in sympathetic or redeeming qualities, and Azula, while somewhat pitiable by the end and arguably the result of Ozai's abuse, was still a sociopathic Manipulative Bitch who cared little for the suffering she caused and at times seemed to outright relish in it. Every villain who was somewhat ambiguous -Zuko, Jet, Mai and Ty Lee, etc.- all ended up turning good by the end. By contrast, The Legend of Korra tended to feature villains who were morally gray. While they were still clearly evil, they had motives and goals that seemed respectable, at least on the surface, such as bringing equality to non-benders or wanting to free the people from corrupt or incompetent leaders, and the narrative often acknowledged the villain's legetimate points. It's because of said points that the heroes' goals isn't simply to defeat the villains, but to also provide a balanced solution to the same problem such as democratizing the all-bender council in Republic City. Also, while both series featured Arc Villains, in The Last Airbender they were all part of a single, multi-season narrative and it was clear from the beginning that Ozai was the show's Big Bad, while Legend of Korra's villains were independent of each other, with their own (mostly) self-contained plots, and the series as a whole didn't have a single definitive Big Bad.
    • Another detail is that Aang's main antagonists were firebenders of high social standing from the Fire Nation - Ozai and Azula are Fire Nation royalty, while Zhao is an admiral and a noble (with the one semi-exception being Long Feng, an earthbender of middle-class Earth Kingdom origins). Except for Zaheer's lover, P'Li, and a relatively minor Republic City gangster, Korra's enemies are all non-firebenders from the other nations, with three of the four main Arc Villains having humble origins - Amon is the son of an exiled criminal, Zaheer seems to have had no social status outside of leading the Red Lotus, and Kuvira is an orphan who was deliberately abandoned by her parents, with all three rising to their status through their own actions (the one exception is Unalaq, who inherited his position as chief of the Water Tribes after removing his brother from the line of succession).
    • Yet another odd detail is that Korra's different enemies have goals that are so contrasting that they would likely have fought each other had they been active at the same time. Amon had an anti-bender stance while the other three were proud benders. Unalaq wanted to be a rival avatar, while Zaheer wanted to return to when the avatar did not exist. Zaheer was an anarchist, while Kuvira was a tyrant (Zaheer even mentions to Korra that he opposes her methods).
  • In Transformers Prime, Megatron was the supreme leader of all Decepticons and known for his ruthlessness and tenacity in combat, preferring to be active when possible. In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Steeljaw is trying to become the leader of all Decepticons and isn't stronger than an average Transformer, but more than makes up for it with his cunning and waiting for a good opportunity to make his move.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had 4 different villains in its 5 seasons:
    • Shendu, the Big Bad of the first two seasons, is an ancient demon dragon who once ruled China. He spent season one inactive due to being a statue and was unknown to the heroes until he regained all twelve talismans. He's a ghost in season two, forced to inhabit the body of his former ally Valmont to free his brothers and sisters. He displayed extreme hatred towards Jackie Chan as well as a tendency to lie to his allies for his own benefit.
    • Dao Long Wong is a Chi sorceror who defeated Uncle's master prior to meeting the heroes. While appearing as a recurring villain in season two, he stepped up to Big Bad in season three, tracking down the talisman powers after Jackie destroyed them. Unlike the other villains, he has no real connection to the powers/artifacts the season is built around, only wanting them to increase his power. Unlike Shendu, Wong was human and therefore still had human limits, such as needing to buy ingredients for his spells or requiring a car for transportation. Also unlike Shendu, due to being either a statue or a ghost, Wong was more present during the action and likely to be attacked.
    • Tarakudo is the lord of all Oni, making him a being of Japanese background instead of Chinese. While powerful, he lacked a body and was only a spirit head. This granted him an advantage over Wong in that he could not be harmed unless hit with an onion. Unlike his predecessors, he actually bothered to remember the Enforcers' names and didn't come as cruel to his minions, which is why neither they nor his generals ever try to double cross him. He was more prone to making snarky comments. Finally, he was tricking the heroes into doing his job for him, as collecting the Oni Masks was actually beneficial to him regardless of who found them.
    • Drago is Shendu's son and came from the future, unlike the past villains who were ancient. Drago was less wise and patient as his predecessors, being ill-tempered and immature, but made up for it by being more flexible. Like Tarakudo, he was snarky, although Drago was more up to date on modern terms. He was also the only villain to recognize the Enforcers' incompetence and fired them on their first mission. While their replacements weren't exactly improvements, he only kept them because he didn't want to go through the trouble of finding new help.
  • The villain of The Intruder and The Intruder II was a malevolent Blob Monster, Hero Killer, (among other things, it killed TOM's original body, nearly killed SARA, and killed TOM 4), and a sadist ( as it proceeded to gloat about what he did to SARA and TOM 4). The villains of The Intruder III were giant Sand Worms who turned out to really be Good All Along and were trying to warn TOM and SARA about the planet they've been on since the second Intruder dying.
  • Teen Titans: During Slade's absence in Season 3, Brother Blood took his place and was written to be a complete contrast. Slade was a Badass Normal in mostly black armor who made teenagers follow him through blackmail and manipulation, Brother Blood was a psychic introduced in white robes who controlled teens through his mind control. Slade was quiet, calm and collected; Brother Blood was bombastic and quick tempered. Slade tried to change Robin into somebody more like himself, while Brother Blood modified his body so he could be more like Cyborg.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) featured four characters who went by the moniker of The Shredder.
    • The first the Turtles fought was Ch'Rell, the Utrom Shredder who was their Arch-Enemy. Defying his people's peace-loving ways, Ch'Rell committed numerous atrocities in the galaxy before his arrest. Crashing on Earth, he stole the identity of the late Oroku Saki, aka The Shredder. His overall goal was to hunt his people down for revenge and continue his plans for galactic domination. He had no real beef with the Turtles, trying to get Leonardo to side with him. However, Shredder had murdered Splinter's master, Hamato Yoshi, warning his sons of his evil. As his battles with the Turtles continued, his resentment of them was enough that he almost destroyed The Multiverse to eradicate them. Shredder was a cruel but otherwise tactful enemy, showing he was just as intelligent as he was skilled in martial arts.
    • Karai took her father's place as Shredder in Season 4 after he was imprisoned for his crimes. Prior to this, she was an honorable ninja who debated over doing the right thing over her father's wishes. Despite her father's cruelty and outright attacking her for stopping him from killing the Turtles, she chose to avenge him. She became more dedicated to hunting the Turtles, destroying their lair and vehicles while keeping an eye on their allies. However, her hotheaded attitude costed her the respect of the Foot Mystics, as well as as gravely overestimate her skill against the Demon Shredder, resulting in the Foot's dissolution in Season 5.
    • The Demon Shredder, the original Oroku Saki, was a great warrior who saved Japan from a demon. However, unbeknownst to everyone at the time, he made a deal with the demon, let it enter his soul and he would be granted power. While Ch'Rell and Karai were fixated on revenge, he was more interested in random whims of chaos and destruction. He also lacked any animosity with the Turtles, which resulted in him underestimating them.
    • The Cyber Shredder was a digital engram of the Utrom Shredder brought to life after absorbing the digital-entity known as Viral. Retaining most of the Utrom Shredder's memories, his only goals were to revive the Foot and escape cyberspace. Outside of this, he had no character outside of Utrom Shredder's earlier personality, which is justified as he was that Shredder's digital copy.
  • Total Drama is filled with them:
    • Justin compared to Heather. Both started off as main antagonists of Island and Action respectively, but while Heather had hard time hiding her nature amongst most contestants because of her personality, Justin was able to hide his nature from everyone, save for a few contestants, by using his good looks. However, Heather made up for this by being strategically cunning and made it all the way 3rd place and kept her role as the villain of Island, while Justin didn't really have any smarts or competence beyond using his looks and only reached 7th place, while his role as a villain was replaced by Courtney.
    • Courtney. Unlike Heather and Justin who were already villainous prior to joining the show, Courtney started out alright (a tad overbearing and competitive) but thanks to Flanderization and the game progression became increasingly villainous to the point of becoming worse than either of them. Also, while Heather and Justin were Big Bads of the start of a season (Island and Action respectively), Courtney appeared in the middle of a season (Action) and takeover someone's position (Justin) as the Big Bad.
    • Alejandro. The first Big Bad to be both a chessmaster with strategic smarts, and being polite and charming with a good reputation among his fellow contestants. His predecessors were either strategic but disliked by others (Heather and Courtney), or well-liked by everyone but have little in the way of intelligence (Justin).
    • Scott distances himself from the Big Bads of the previous seasons with his strategy off throwing challenges to vote of his team mates. He's also the only Big Bad to date who never formed any sort of alliance in the season he was the main villain.
    • The biggest contrast from any Big Bad before him. At the time of his introduction, Mal was the darkest villain to ever appear on ''Total Drama'', being a sociopathic Split Personality, who does evil deeds for the fun of it. He's also the first villain to be truly evil, and not a Punch-Clock Villain like his predecessors who were being villainous as part of the reality show strategy.
    • Scarlett is the first and only Big Bad who stays hidden from the audience for the majority of the season, with only small hints being revealed of her true nature along the way, before The Reveal where she shows her true antagonists colors for one episode before she's gone.
    • Sugar's very unique when compared to the other villains in that she's portrayed more as a comic relief rather than a legit villain even in the episodes where she officially takes over as the Big Bad. While temperamental, she's also prone to being Affably Evil, in contrast to the others being Faux Affably Evil. That, and as mentioned above she ultimately feels more like an Arc Villain as the events triggered by her antagonism still would've transpired even without her being there.
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, a Spin-Off of the above, has a new host, Don. Given Word of God that Chris was always the true Big Bad of the parent show, Don is a noted contrast, being far less cruel and legitimately friendly most of the time. Also, while Chris is a firm believer in Screw the Rules, I Make Them!, Don is a Rules Lawyer.
  • Steven Universe's Arc Villains so far:
  • Angor Rot from Trollhunters fits this when compared to Bular. Bulgar was a hulking, Hot-Blooded fighter that simply preferred attacking his foes and overpowering them rather than planning and sticking to the shadows. Angor on the other hand is a hunter, relying more on cunning than strength, preferring to study his targets meticulously before setting elaborate traps and ambushes for them. Also unlike Bular, who relied on his strength and swords, Angor uses combat-based magic and spells to divide, disorient, disarm and distract.
  • W.I.T.C.H.. Season 1 gave us Phobos who up until the season finale, was the ruler of Meridian and had an entire army of soldiers and monsters at his beck and call. While he was a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, it was only in regards to Elyon. Season 2 gives us Nerissa the former Guardian of Quintessence. While Phobos was already ruler of Meridian and wanted to stay that way, Nerissa wanted to become the ruler of the entire universe and was a Visionary Villain of sorts to Phobos was just an Evil Overlord. Nerissa used disguises, manipulation and mind control to achieve her goals, while Phobos relied on brute force and fear mongering. Finally, while Phobos didn't care at all about anyone but himself, Nerissa did care somewhat about her son, Caleb.
  • South Park:
  • The three Sonic the Hedgehog cartoons of The '90s gave us different takes on Doctor Robotnik. In Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, he was a bombastic, theatrical buffoon whose schemes were doomed to failure by the incompetence of those around him. In Sonic Sat AM, he was a cold, sinister, calculating, sadistic tyrant who had already taken over Mobius. In Sonic Underground, he was somewhere between the previous two - a legitimate threat, but extremely pompous and prone to comical moments. His lackeys qualify as well: Scratch, Grounder and Cocoanuts were robots who were bumbling, incompetent idiots who Sonic could easily outwit. Snivelly was a physically non-threatening man, but posessed a cunnning, calculating nature behind Robotnik's back. Sleet and Dingo were a Mobian duo where the former was threatening and smart, while the latter was Dumb Muscle.

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