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Cosmopolitan Council

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"As soon as the Indian Chief gets here, we can begin."

"We then pan up to get a clear shot of the big shots on the catwalk, and here's what we find: 1) a guy wearing an American army general's uniform, 2) an obviously Russian woman wearing a big Cossack hat, 3) a Yasser Arafat-type with a kaffiyeh on his head, 4) a dead ringer for Fidel Castro, 5) a black guy in a dashiki, and finally, 6) a Japanese guy in a business suit. Nope, not one single stereotype in the whole bunch."
The Agony Booth, describing the trope picture for their Batman & Robin recap

The Omniscient Council of Vagueness is in session! And what's this?! The shadowy faces are actually lit!

Well what do you know? It's the employers of the Equal-Opportunity Evil Mooks and the patrons behind the Five-Token Band! These people can be any kind of congregation, whether to play poker or plot the downfall of western civilization, but are nonetheless very heterogeneous.

Options include both sexes (but usually just one woman), ethnically, religiously and geographically distinct people, always in the regional chic rather than western business attire (except maybe one). A comedy can even highlight this by using ridiculously cliché or period dress, such as the Mexican delegate dressing like a 1910 bandito/revolutionary, the Russian contingent in Cossack dress or a military greatcoat and ushanka in the summer, or an American in a cowboy suit. If they aren't outlandish/foreign enough, expect them to layer their English with lots of gratuitous phrases or accents.


The one trait that ties everyone together is that they are all in possession of skill, authority or money, and in excessive amounts. The members will probably be heavily accessorized with gaudy jewelry or a scar to prove their moral alignment. In short, the implication is that each and every member has a varied and storied past... which we very likely won't learn.

Aside for positions of leadership, they also often appear as a group of prospective customers for a Mad Scientist or Corrupt Corporate Executive to sell his newest project/invention/acquisition to.

Related to Gang of Hats: especially when dealing with meeting the heads of groups. Also related to the "How different" aspect of Conservation of Ninjutsu.

Common members of the council include but are not limited to: a Lady in a Power Suit (often with corresponding Power Hair), an Inscrutable Oriental (albeit usually in a suit these days, instead of in more old-school East Asian garb), an Arab Oil Sheikh, a Fake Russian, and The Generalissimo.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruto: The Akatsuki, originally just fuzzy, indistinct holograms in a dark cave, are eventually revealed to have unique appearances (there's one guy with fish-like skin, one who's a living puppet, one with mouths on the palms of his hands, and let's not even get into the Venus flytrap guy), and with only a couple of exceptions all hail from different ninja villages.
  • The Ancient Conspiracy SEELE from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The five members who are seen on-screen are from France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia, with the leader Keel Lorenz from Germany. The organisation's council which shows up in the latter episodes, though they hide their faces by using monoliths for avatars during their conferences, are implied to be include an even wider range of nationalities.
  • One Piece does this quite a bit because its mangaka likes making everyone distinct.
  • In the second episode of the Space Battleship Yamato 2199, the multinational leadership of the United Nations briefing Captain Okida prior to the Yamato's launch; visible are the United States leader, the European Union's leader, as well as those for the Middle East and China, along with a UN Secretary General very clearly inspired by Ghanaian Koffi Annan.
  • Tsuritama: The leadership of the DUCK organization is quite diverse, with the top brass depicted as having black, Arabic and Asian members.
  • Steamboy has a gathering of military representatives from various countries that are going to buy steam-powered weaponry. David says there are "America, Prussia, France and Russia", despite the fact that many of these representatives are dressed as stereotypical Arabs and Hindu.

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics
    • The Quintessence, formed by Zeus, Highfather, Ganthet, The Phantom Stranger and Shazam!. Zeus is depowered, Ganthet took a demotion to join the Green Lanterns, and Highfather is dead. But it used to qualify.
    • The Endless in The Sandman are all distinct though they all share the same pasty complexion except Destruction
    • The heads of Gotham's multicultural criminal underground will meet up and work together from time to time, generally against Batman or a super-powered threat to their grip on the city. When these alliances inevitably fall apart there's usually a bloodbath across the city as they turn on each other.
    • A segment diverse gang leaders from Gotham's north end teamed up together in Robin in response to a pair of corrupt cops murdering small time gangsters to try and give the criminals they liked working with more control. None of them really liked working together though and their alliance did not last.
  • Sojourn: a council of Troll governors of conquered territories: They were all Trolls, but each one was dressed in the ethnic garb of the area they governed. There was even a token She-Troll.
  • Marvel Comics
  • In Camelot 3000, the world leaders who gather to conspire against Arthur include a bulky, dour-faced Russian in a wide-shouldered suit, a prim Chinese matron in conservative skirt and jacket, an Idi Amin-inspired African dictator in overly-bemedaled military uniform, and an American president dressed like a Wild West cowboy in "Uncle Sam" colors.
  • In Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh, the klanesque council contains an Arab, a Japanese, a married couple with an English surname, and two Indians in turbans.
  • The Council of Nike in Astro City is an all-female version of this, although we only see their heads. Powerful, successful women from around the world, linked to empower the superhero Winged Victory.
  • Christian comics artist Jack Chick likes this one. For one example, his comic "Fairy Tales?" has an anti-God council with an ayatollah, a pentagram-tattooed Satanist, a Red Chinese general, a Wicked Witch, a stereotypical feminist and a Creation-denying palaeontologist in a pith helmet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers:
    • Dr Evil's Evil Panel contains a group of the "world's deadliest assassins" of many different nationalities, varieties, etc. Then he kills most of them for failing him in the first scene. The ones that survive are a Russian woman and a Turkish man.
    • The first film had the Good Counterpart in the United Nations Secret Security Council Meeting Room when Dr. Evil gives his blackmail threat - for instance, there were a pair of sumo wrestlers in the room.
  • James Bond:
    • SPECTRE, mainly in the film series, tended to have multinational representation when they were shown meeting (e.g. Thunderball, Spectre).
    • In the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale (2006), there is a very important poker game with a diverse set of players.
    • Quantum in Quantum of Solace. Its members include corrupt French, Japanese, Russian and Israeli businessmen, a British adviser to the Prime Minister, and other unidentified diverse evil people.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the Pirates Council has all the greatest pirate captains from nine distinct geographic regions on it— Caribbean (Jack Sparrow), Indochina (Elizabeth Swann), China, northwest Europe, North Africa (Corsairs). This is accurate because each of the areas they used actually were known for their large populations of pirates. Several of the pirates in the council were based on real life pirates (although they did not all live at the same time, obviously). Mistress Ching, for example, was most likely based on the Chinese pirate Ching Shih.
  • Batman & Robin: The page image is of the potential buyers of Bane. All you have to do is look at how each one of them is wearing a different costume to see how global Bane has gone.
  • In Zoolander, there is a group of high-profile fashion industry leaders that comprise this role.
  • Wild Wild West has a Cosmopolitan Council comprising the South, the Native Americans, the British, the Mexicans and anyone else with a grudge against 1860s America.
  • The Naked Gun parodies this. It starts with Frank Drebin barging into a meeting of an "anti-American" council consisting of (the film was made in The '80s): Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasser Arafat, Muammar Gaddafi, Idi Amin, Fidel Castro and Mikhail Gorbachev (who comments on how he fooled the Americans into thinking he's "a nice guy"). Several of these people detested each other in reality, with Khomeini being the most incompatible (the USSR backed Iraq in the Iran–Iraq War). As a bonus, they're meeting in Beirut, which was controlled by a pro-American government at the time. Amin was actually out of power at the time however, unlike the rest (and, thanks to Drebin, out the window, too).
  • The Matrix: The Council of Zion is extremely diverse. Of its 18 members, 12 are women, and the majority of councillors are non-white. Hamman is the only white male.
  • Star Wars: The Jedi Council in the prequels is a species potpourri (Mace Windu starts out as the Token Human), and three of its twelve members are female.
  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes: The President's Committee of Inquiry "consisting of leading experts in all fields relevant to a situation whose implications - whether zoological, biological, psychological, medical, mathematical, historical, physical or even spiritual - are numberless."
  • Meteor Man: The group of drug lords working for Mr. Byers and who were behind the Golden Lords' included a female and an Arab sheik.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Avengers: The World Security Council is justified in that they are implied to be representing the permanent members of the UN Security Council and they are all dressed in suits. Their members changed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In the previous film the representatives were American, Chinese, Russian, and British. In the latter film only the British woman is still on the council, the US and China have changed their member, and the Russian member has been replaced with an Indian one.
    • HYDRA's 21st century ruling council is made up of several ethnics and both genders. This is meant to show that they are truly Equal-Opportunity Evil and have moved beyond their Nazi origins.
      • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. eventually revealed that HYDRA was an Ancient Conspiracy that long-predated the Nazis and while it might not always have been equal-opportunity when it came to sex, race wasn't that important.

  • The Dresden Files: The Senior Council has The Merlin (who looks like The Merlin and is British), a Scottish wizard who lives in Missouri (Ebenezar McCoy), a small Asian witch (Ancient Mai), an older black witch (Martha Liberty), a hooded Arab wizard (Rashid, the Gatekeeper), an American Indian shaman (Joseph "Injun Joe" Listens-to-Wind) and a French wizard (Aleron LaFortier). They also used to have a Russian wizard (Simon Petrovich), and after LaFortier dies he's replaced by a Greek wizard (Gregori Cristos).
  • Illuminati: The leaders depicted in Dumas's Ancien Regime novels are collected from all leading societies of the time, including Emanuel Swedenborg, Rousseau, and John Paul Jones. But they are duly humiliated when Cagliostro does the revelation of "I am The One, bow to me!"... and we find later that his Master Plan has already plotted the entire course of the French Revolution and Empire.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Council of Elrond is made up of people who just happened to be in Rivendell at the time. The council members end up representing all the "free peoples," including Elves, Dwarves, Men and Hobbits.
  • In Illuminatus!, the Erisian Liberation Front is represented by a council of people in really bizarre costumes, including a cavewoman. (Being Discordians, they might just be playing dress-up for the fun of it.) And in subversion, while the Illuminati Primi are for a while implied to follow this trope, in fact apart from one exception they are all siblings.
  • The Seven in the Babylon Rising series is made up of two British men (one apparently a Roman Catholic priest), a Spanish man, a communist Chinese general, a German woman, a Romanian woman, and an Indian man.
  • Agatha Christie's The Big Four features the titular group, a council of villains who orchestrate murders and schemes all over the world. The Four consists of Li Chang Yen, the leader from China who is never seen, Abe Ryland, an American Corrupt Corporate Executive said to be richer than Rockefeller, Madame Olivier, an Evil Genius and Omnidisciplinary Scientist from France, and "The Destroyer" Claude Darrell, an English actor who uses his skills as an Implacable Man to masterfully disguise himself to commit personal murders.
  • Journey to Chaos: The Mana Mutation Summit that meets in Mana Mutation Menace features world leaders from hundreds of countries, "the sum total of the world". Being a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, these are not ethnics but species: humans, orcs, mermaids, dragons, Talking Animals, etc. The fact that the elf is a only present as an observer is a plot point.
  • In The Saga of the Bordenlands, by the argentine Liliana Bodoc, due to a prophecy that announces the arrival of a grave danger from the other side of the sea, the Zitzahay decide to organize a council in the hidden city of Beleram. It is attended by a representative of each of the peoples of The Fertile Lands, Dulkancellin of the Husihuilkes, Molitzmos of The Lords of the Sun, Nakin of The Clan of Owl, Illán-che-ñe of the desert shepherds, etc.
  • Shadows of the Empire: Black Sun's Vigo's (lieutenants of its leader Prince Xizor, who's himself Falleen) are from different species.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: The Circle of the Black Thorn are a varied group, incorporating demon royalty, vampires (once Angel joins), sorcerors, and even a few humans.
  • Dirty Sexy Money has a poker game similar to the one in Casino Royale.
  • Stargate SG-1: The System Lords each choose to inhabit an ethnically distinct host and formed the basis for the ancient gods and cultures of every ancient religion except the vikings. Previous councils have included Egyptian, Mesopotamian and even Japanese and Chinese gods.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: The Xindi were five different alien races from the same planet who were in a council. A Five-Token Band for the bad guys, basically. They would've had six, if the Xindi-Avians weren't all killed when their planet was destroyed.
  • On The 4400, this was parodied in in a returnee's low budget black and white home film that purported to expose "The Marked", a cabal of Body Snatchers from the future out to kill the 4400. The film showed a round table meeting with a geisha and a Catholic bishop, among others but the only confirmed member at the time was a powerful software magnate. The actual hosts of the Marked were exclusively white men save for one token black female.
  • Royal Pains: The business meeting in S4E08 has an Arab Oil Sheikh in appropriate garb and a black man, plus a Russian and the ambiguously European-American Boris. This makes sense, given that it's about oil.
  • In John Cleese's The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It, the Best Minds of the Police of Five Continents, embodying blatant ethnic cliches. The Australian is killed and replaced. Also displays characteristics of the Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering.

  • Our Miss Brooks: In the episode "Foreign Teachers", educational officials from France, Ireland and Sweden visit Madison High School. They turn out to be so insulting that Miss Brooks, Mr. Boynton and Mr. Conklin throw them out. Unfortunately, this gets Miss Brooks and company in trouble with the head of the National Board of Education.

    Video Games 
  • Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising: The evil Cabal fits this trope to perfection: there's a sinister American radicalist who thinks that "Without control, we may as well end all life on this planet and see if the cockroaches can get it right", a Russian who remembers "de old days", a German chick that wants to "take major urban areas back to the Stone Age", plus an assortment of guys who look like gangsters, ganglords and corrupt politicians. Oh and the obligatory cigar-smoking El Presidente lookalike. See the whole thing here.
  • Kingdom Hearts.: The Disney villain alliance may be evil but you can't call them exclusive. After all, you can't really call yourself diverse unless your council includes a giant talking sack filled with bugs. It even has the Arab tyrant covered. No word on whether there's oil in Agrabah. To their credit they had two women in the group of 6, Ursula and Maleficent, the latter of whom was The Leader of the group. The successors as antagonists, Organization XIII, only had the one girl and much less diversity in background... except for the Anime Hair.
  • Baldur's Gate: The Athkatlan Twisted Rune cell from the second game features diversity of the Heroic Fantasy setting. They consist of a lich, a vampire, a beholder, a male fighter with no armour, and a woman mage with her pet devil.
  • Mass Effect: The Citadel Council consists of three members (four from the end of the first game onwards), each of different species.
  • In Evil Genius one of the tasks is to assemble a meeting with the crime lords from all around the world and announce your ascension to world domination.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2: A brief downplayed version appears in the introductory briefing of the 5th Allied mission - the Non-Entity General sits in on a call between US President Dugan, General Carville, Tanya, and the leaders of Britain, France, and Germany. The latter three are somewhat stereotyped in terms of appearence - the British Prime Minister is a clear expy of Margaret Thatcher, the French President looks a lot like Charles de Gaulle and stands in front of a picture of the Eiffel Tower, and the German Chancellor looks much like Helmut Kohl.

  • The Order of the Stick: The Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission is one of these for the three evil outsider races. It only has three members, and they all dress identically. The only way to tell them apart is the color of their eyes.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons
    • The show parodies this with the group that gets together in The War Room to discuss Sideshow Bob's demands to abolish all of television, which included the Fourth Doctor and Steve Urkel.
    • The Republican Party in Springfield is depicted similarly, consisting of Dr. Hibbert, Rainier Wolfcastle, Count Chocula, Mr. Burns, Krusty, Rich Texan, Birch Barlow (a No Celebrities Were Harmed Rush Limbaugh), and Lindsay Neagle. Mr. Burns greets them by performing an elaborate hand gesture while chanting in Enochian, and Bob Dole reads to them from the Necronomicon.
    • In another scene, Mr. Burns calls for advice from his "League of Evil" - a mad scientist, a samurai, a Nazi colonel, a Wild West outlaw, and an Arab warlord with turban and scimitar. Unfortunately, however, they've all been sealed in the space behind his bookcase for decades and all that's left of them is their costumed skeletons.
    Smithers: Even monsters need air, sir.
    • There's also the Stonecutters' supreme council. Any group that includes both Orville Redenbacher and Mr. T has definitely met its diversity quota.
  • In "Doug's a Big Fat Liar", Doug imagines being on trial by the "Sub-Committe to Uncover Big Fat Liars", which consists of: his parents, Mr. Bone (presumably the chairperson), Mrs. Wingo, Mayor White, Roger and his cat Stinky.
  • South Park's Imaginationland trilogy has a council composed by the nine most important fictional characters: Aslan, Luke Skywalker, Zeus, Wonder Woman, Popeye, Morpheus, Gandalf, Glinda the Good Witch... and Jesus.
  • On Young Justice, the members of The Light turn out to be Vandal Savage (Ambiguously Brown immortal caveman), Lex Luthor (white American), R'as Al Ghul (Arabic), Queen Bee (a Quraci female dictator), Ocean Master (Atlantean), the Brain (French Brain in a Jar), and Klarion (Creepy Child Humanoid Abomination). Ocean Master is later replaced by Black Manta (African-American pirate captain).
    • By the end of the third season, The Brain and Black Manta had been taken into custody, and were replaced by Deathstroke (white American) and the Ultra-Humanite (a human brain in the body of an albino gorilla; indeterminate origin). Ocean Master was executed by Lady Shiva for attempting to carry out the Nuclear Option on the families of the Justice League, and was replaced by Gretchen Goode (Apokoliptian, though appearing as an elderly Caucasian lady), and subsequently Zviad Baazovi (Markovian).
  • Castlevania (2017) features a Council of Vampires (plus two token humans) in Season 2 lead by Dracula (Romanian) and composed of Carmilla (Austrian), Godbrand (Scandinavian), Isaac (from somewhere in Africa) and Hector (implied to be either Greek or Turkish). There are also other unnamed members, but two of them look distinctly European, while another two appear to originate from India and the fifth one looks Chinese/Japanese.
  • Carmen Sandiego: The V.I.L.E. head council is composed by five people all from different parts of the world. The show proper only reveals that Brunt is American, Shadow-san is Japanese, and Maelstrom is Swedish with the other two members being less clear. The novelization reveals that Countess Cleo is Egyptian and Dr. Bellum is Indian. Shadow-san's replacement, Roundabout, is British.

    Real Life 
  • International organizations involving groups of countries make this Truth in Television. Big examples include:
    • The UN Security Council. There are five permanent members: One American (the US, obviously), two Europeans (UK, France), one Eurasian (Russia), one East Asian (China), and a smattering of ten elected others, which have to be from different regions: They split into 3 from Africa, 2 from Asia, 2 Latin America and Caribbean, 2 Western Europe and Other and 1 Eastern Europe. This has to be maintained (not by word of UN charter but in the interests of political/diplomatic expediency), and there also has to be at least 1 Arab country (it alternates whether the Arab country is in Africa or Asia each cycle). They dress universally Western business attire, and it can't do much since the Permanent Five are at each others' throats (politely and diplomatically, of course) and can veto each and every decision.
    • The BRICS (an acronym of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) fit the bill perfectly. At their annual summits national leaders Jair Bolsonaro, Vladimr Putin, Narendra Modi, Xi Jinping, and Cyril Ramaphosa make up a remarkably diverse bunch, and even had a token woman during Dilma Rousseff's term as President of Brazil (2010-2016).
    • CHOGM, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which is more or less exactly what it say. A meeting of the government heads from the Commonwealth of Nations, most being former British colonies and now independent nations, from a broad group of nations across Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas (mostly Caribbean nations, but also Canada and Belize in North America and Guyana in South America). See the full make up here.
    • The G20 (a now-annual meeting of 19 countries plus the EU that together make up 2/3 of the world's population and 80% of its trade and economy) can be considered a product of this trope. Originally, it was the G7 (the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan) that drew political and economic attention, as they were the premiere free-market economies when they first met in the mid-1970s.note  Russia joined the group (making it the G8) after the Cold War, but the rise of several developing economies, most notably China, made the need for a more diverse group evident politically. Downplayed insofar as it's not really that organized and its legitimacy is questioned at times due to its exclusivity.
    • Regional organizations can put up a downplayed verison of this - a good example is APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), with Anglo-Americans,note  non-Anglo-Americans (i.e., Latin-Americannote ), Anglo-non-Americans,note  and non-Anglo-non-Americans (i.e., East Asian,note  Southeast Asian,note  and Russia.) For several years their summits would even end with all the state leaders dressing up in some fashion iconic of whatever country was hosting for a photo op (i.e., everyone wore hanboks when South Korea hosted in 2005), though the past couple appears to have done away with this.


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