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Filler Villain

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"I'm a throwaway villain! Fear my generic motives!"
Anubis, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Movie trailer

A new, often one-off, Big Bad created just for a Filler arc. Not the most dignified place for the villain, because that means the villain will most likely have less effect on the actual canon than even the weakest Mooks in other storylines. As such, the writers are in an awkward position where they have to somehow convince the audience that this new villain is a credible threat to the heroes, yet at the same time explain that their existence and the danger they pose is so situational or region-contained that they will never be a problem again for the rest of the series. Or even worth mentioning. Especially problematic if the heroes are already facing the upper tiers of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil in canon — it can be pretty hard to justify why the characters still talk about that one villain who tried to take over a city, but never mention the one that was gunning for world domination.

Mostly common in Anime based on Manga, since the filler is used to help avoid overtaking the manga, or it could be in a Non-Serial Movie. Either way, the villain wasn't in the source material, so of course they would have no effect on the actual canon. Of course, this can also cost them their Joker Immunity, allowing the writers to just kill them off by the end.

It may appear in some Western media depending on what gets adapted and how, but it still does occur, especially in television series spin-offs from superhero movie franchises.

The main thing is that there has to be no canonical appearance, or even a mention of this villain after the arc. And the arc has to be filler, not just one that isn't mentioned (so Onslaught doesn't count).

If the villain gets a cameo or Flashback appearance afterward, they're probably not an example of this trope, as a Filler Villain, by and large, is a One-Shot Character.

They will probably be a Hate Sink, as their entire raison d'etre is to fill time while the real villains are elsewhere anyway. There is a 75% chance that most of them will be Generic Doomsday Villains as well. Not all are a Hate Sink though; some are just there to provide comedy and are a Harmless Villain in a Breather Episode, and their motives can be comical and ridiculous.

A Sub-Trope of Arc Villain, Canon Foreigner.

Compare Monster of the Week, Plot-Irrelevant Villain.

This is available in the Trope Co. catalog.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Almost all of the movies featured villains separate from the manga and TV series. However, they mostly consist of "re-imaginings" of previous foes/situations, some of which are more obvious than others, and unlike most examples, they are memorable and some like Broly (until he was finally canonized in the Dragon Ball Super: Broly film), Cooler, and Janemba are Ensemble Dark Horse characters for managing to almost kill Goku in a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
    • Garlic Jr is a unique case as the Z series rarely had any anime only arcs during its run and at best just expanded on used material. He was the only one to get a filler arc to himself. What's more he was a villain from a movie as well. Garlic Jr also had good reasons for being a credible threat. 1. He wasn't particularly that powerful, even Kami could hurt him, but he WAS immortal so he just couldn't be defeated and the heroes would exhaust themselves against him, and 2. In his filler arc both Goku (who was now so much more powerful than him it wasn't funny) and Vegeta were off planet, leaving the weaker characters to have to deal with him.
  • YuYu Hakusho has The Movie where the villain is this. Yu Yu Hakusho Abridged did that movie, and gave the name of the trope in the last part.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Sailor Moon R avoided overtaking the manga by using the aliens Ail and En and their energy-eating tree, Makaiju to fill 13 episodes. They are never referenced again, though the Sailor Moon R Non-Serial Movie seems to draw some inspiration from it with the flower-obsessed alien Fiore and his evil life-eating Xenian Flower. Fiore looks markedly similar to Ail and shares his voice actor (Hikaru Midorikawa) and the flower shares An's (Yumi Touma). The villains from the other two movies might also count, although it worth noting that the Sailor Moon S movie, as well as the Ami's First Love special, are actually adapted from the manga side stories (which tend to use a lot of unique villains).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Big Five served this role in the first Virtual World arc. Since the show had them collaborating with Pegasus, the Big Bad of the previous arc, it doesn't feel horribly out of place.
    • A later arc in the anime had Noah and Gozaburo Kaiba as its main villains, with the Big Five returning as their henchmen. In the manga, Gozaburo had been a Posthumous Character who played a major role in Seto Kaiba's backstory, so it again, worked fairly well although it was awkardly placed in the middle of the Battle City arc.
    • Then there was Dartz from the Waking the Dragons arc, and Siegfried von Schroeder from the KaibaCorp Grand Prix, neither of whom had any additional setup. That being said; Dartz averted the whole "unmemorable and generic villain" to some degree; aside from having a shown backstory, Dartz is ridiculously ancient (twice as old as Ancient Egypt itself, which is what the canon story's Myth Arc focused on) as well as ridiculously overpowered.
  • My Hero Academia has several as part of its Adaptation Expansion of the manga.
    • Innsmouth and siblings are a quartet of Cthulhumanoid smugglers that Tsuyu faces during her work-study week with the hero Selkie.
    • It isn't shown in the manga how Momo Yaoyorozu manages to pass the first stage of the Provisional License Exam, but in the anime, she and her team get there by facing off against Saiko Intelli, a student of an all-girls hero school whose quirk multiplies her intelligence whenever she drinks tea.
  • Naruto: Many, many, MANY filler villains during its season-long filler arcs so as not to overtake the manga. A few notable examples:
    • Aoi Rokusho of the Land of Tea arc, is notable for actually injuring a cast member, Sasuke. This is because they inserted the filler arc in between the return of Tsunade and Sasuke's defection. As a result, Sasuke had to be hospitalized again for the start of the next arc. Still, not many remember this filler villain's name. More importantly, he was actually a major figure in the background of canon character (albeit a minor one) Ibiki Morino; namely he's indirectly the cause of all of those scars.
    • All of the movie villains count as well, with the exceptions of Tobi in Road to Ninja (since he's already one of the main Big Bads in the manga), and Toneri Otsutsuki in The Last and Momoshiki and Kinshiki from Boruto (since their movies are the only two so far to be explicitly canon to the manga).
  • Bleach does its filler material as season-long arc stories. As a result, every filler arc has a filler villain.
    • The Bount Arc had the Bounts, led by Big Bad Kariya. The anime was so fond of this that it deliberately inserts a couple of filler scenes later on during Ichigo's Visored training just to bring back Kariya for a few random moments.
    • The Captain Amagai Arc also has a filler arc villain. Captain Amagai himself.
    • The Zanpakuto Unknown Tales Arc has a filler arc villain in the form of Muramasa and his master, insane shinigami Kouga Kuchiki.
    • The Invasion Arc's filler villain is Kageroza Inaba who is nothing more than a puppet for the real filler villain, Oko Yushima.
  • One Piece has a whole bunch of these, of widely varying quality and power level. Foxy, an actual canonical villain from the manga, seems to have been demoted to filler villain, showing up randomly in a couple of filler arcs and forming a Goldfish Poop Gang with subordinates Hamburg and Porche.
    • A filler villain, Don Achino had the amazing power of controlling heat. This allowed him to control the lava on his frozen volcano island. Given that a major villain of a later arc is made of lava, the implications are astounding...yet he will never actually have an effect on the plot due to his Filler Villain status. Though it's definitely worth noting that Eiichiro Oda wrote that particular filler arc, and the powers of Don Achino and the other lava-man are still completely different (Don controls heat and can move lava, but the other is a logia-type actually made of it.).
    • The movies, as well typically have villains that don't even amount to Goldfish Poop Gang status, aside from the movies that revisit/reimagine story arcs. There is an exception to this rule in the form of Shiki from One Piece Film: Strong World, considering that his movie is actually canon and he has been referenced in the manga (specifically, he was the only person prior to the Impel Down arc to escape Impel Down, and he was part of the Rocks Pirates alongside Whitebeard, Big Mom, and Kaido). Z, from One Piece Film: Z, would also count, as his movie was originally slated to be canon like Shiki's, but there were too many discrepancies between the movie and the manga to make it official.
  • A few villains in Wedding Peach. Wedding Peach Abridged even refers to them by this trope name.
  • In Fist of the North Star, we have:
    • Joker, Shin's right-hand man whose main purpose was to serve as an informant between Shin and many of the villains of the week that were sent out to get Kenshiro. He actually has a bigger screen-time than any of Shin's playing card-themed henchmen from the manga (along with the Godland Colonel and Jackal for that matter).
    • The renegade Gento Koken successors, Taiga and Boltz, are essentially stand-in for Jakoh's sons from the manga, Jask and Shieno, who were omitted from the anime version.
  • Majahal in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) is this (the conflict with him has little impact on the overall story arc), although he does receive a Call-Back later on.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • The Daphne Arc features Daphne, a crazy woman obsessed with creating an artificial dragon to get back at everyone who didn't believe her when she saw a dragon as a child.
    • Played with in the Key of the Starry Heavens Arc, where the villains first appear to be the Legion Platoon, a religious sect who's out to collect the pieces of a Doomsday Device while Fairy Tail tries to stop them. This group is mostly composed of Alternate Selves of the Quirky Miniboss Squad from Edolas, led by a tall and imposing version of chief of state Byro, with three original characters thrown in.note  Then it turns out they're being manipulated by the Neo-Oración Seis, returning villains from the manga's Nirvana Arc, this time led by Midnight, The Dragon to that arc's villain; this time a completely original member is added in the form of Michelle/Imitatia, who acts as The Mole and a central character of the arc.
    • Played with again during the Eclipse Celestial Spirit arc, in which the villains in question are actually the Superpowered Evil Sides of the existing canonical Celestial Spirits of the Zodiac, along with Ophiuchus and the Celestial Spirit King, all of whom get new designs and powers. They also have a canon reason for existing, namely getting exposed to the Eclipse Gate's evil magic while closing it near the end of the Grand Magic Games Arc.
    • The first movie features Prince Cream, a power-hungry prince who wishes to become immortal so he can preserve his beauty forever and conquer other lands without dying. He is one-upped by Dist, the leader of the Carbuncle guild hired by Cream who also desires immortality because—according to the tie-in prequel manga/OVA—he became afraid of dying after his pet weasel's death taught him that all things die eventually.
    • Averted in the second movie with Animus and his chief advisor Zash Caine, as the movie is considered to be in-canon to the manga: while Zash is merely The Heavy who wants to get back at his home kingdom for exiling him, Animus turns out to be a dragon that sealed himself within Sonya, whose supposed death at his hands is recalled by Acnologia during the Final Battle as one of the reasons he hates dragons so much.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Ceyderom in Les Légendaires; him and Anathos are the only Big Bads to appear each one in only one Story Arc; and while Anathos averts this trope due to his arc being much more important and having heavy repercussions on the story, Ceyderom is forgotten as soon as he is dealt with, all the damages he did being fixed. Justified in that his story arc involved Time Travel and ended with Jadina putting a Reset Button.
  • The Punisher: During Garth Ennis's 2001-2004 run on the series, there's Medallion from the three-part Taxi Cab Wars storyline, a cartoonishly obese nudist mob boss who took his name from the giant gold medallion he always wore. Both he and the storyline stuck out like sore thumbs compared to the rest of the series, and neither he nor anything else from the Taxi Wars arc was ever so much as referenced again, in that run or later ones.

    Fan Fiction 

  • Goldfinger, while memorable and well regarded is the only villain during Sean Connery’s (and George Lazenby’s) tenure with no connection to SPECTRE or Ernst Stavro Blofeld and only shows up in his titular film with no impact on any of the other canon.

  • Neo BloodClan in Warrior Cats, whose whole existence is to give Ravenpaw's Path villains. They are beaten easily, never mentioned again, and have zero impact on the plot. They don't even make sense in the overall canon. They're just... there.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Titans in Charmed (1998) are exactly this kind of Big Bad. Extremely powerful and destructive on a grand scale, their episode is a season finale and involves many big events including both the introduction of the major character Chris, and the Charmed Ones becoming goddesses. However, they're still only there for that one episode; no one had needed to think about them before some obscure demon cultist releases them from a block of ice, and there is no need to ever mention them again.
  • Chouseishin Gransazer: Kriminel is one of the few villains in the series to not be connected to the Warp Monarch, and the episode he appears in doesn't further the plot at all, apart from giving Jin A Day in the Limelight.
  • Although the show largely had No Antagonist, in Holby City, Kelly Yorke, the "Keller Killer" from 2003-2004 portrayed by Rachel Leskovac, was a zig-zagged example of this trope as she was a Filler Villain who got her own story arc and some motives making her beyond a generic villain. She got a Story Arc lasting for a few months, but despite the character being popular, she was never again mentioned after the arc, with not even a Continuity Nod, which is unusual for a show like this.

  • Although they are more accurately an ensemble of Elite Mooks than a single villain, the Bohrok-Kal from BIONICLE were created by LEGO to fill the space between the defeat of the Bahrag and the return of Makuta. The Morbuzakh plant in the first half of 2004 was also this, because the villain sets only got released during the summer. In fact, it didn't even have a toy, unless one counts that Morbuzakh sponge that came out in Germany as part of a magazine promo.

    Video Games 
  • The Radio Drama version of Metal Gear Solid featured a character named Sergei Ivanovich, a former SVR operative and old buddy of Revolver Ocelot who ends up capturing Campbell and eventually Snake and Meryl as well. Despite being a master of close quarter battle and torture, his only notable victim is another Canon Foreigner.
  • Many stages in the Fire Emblem will have each an unique villain with little importance to the overall plot who, upon defeat, won't be mentioned ever again. Most early-game bandit bosses fill this role. One notable example is Mannu, a Manakete king of a random island Marth's group visits. Unlike the game's other Manakete bosses, Mannu has no established or implied connection to Big Bad Medeus, and his chapter could be removed from the game without changing the story... which it was in Mystery of the Emblem.
  • The Fanatic in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. He appears for all of one mission in the middle of the New Rubinelle arc, and while that mission does have some important plot details, the Fanatic himself has zero lasting impact on the plot.
  • The Antlion from Final Fantasy V, whom you fight between Exdeath's presumed demise and eventual reemergence.

  • Daimyo Kubota in The Order of the Stick, as Roy points out. But then Vaarsuvius kills him off without even knowing who he WAS, starting the wizard's descent into madness. Amusingly the whole motive for V's summary execution was to avoid another long Filler Arc while they deal with the guy.

    Western Animation 
  • Teen Titans had Brother Blood in the third season. Counts since he's not even given a passing mention following the four episodes that he appears in. And he's basically just there to replace Slade as the Big Bad (who was dead at the time) and then in the next season Slade returns albeit not the major threat he was.
  • Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm had Quan Chi, an Evil Sorceror who appeared for one episode and used his magic to turn the heroes against each other, then was quickly dropped after his episode was over. However, after making a successful transition to the games, he became a major character who turned out to be behind many events in the backstory, including being the true murderer of Scorpion's family.
  • Paulie and Dan Duck from Scaredy Squirrel has no connections to Nester, his mom or Paddy.
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "The Duck Who Would Be King" has a villain named Mung Ho, but since the whole episode is a Filler within a five-episode story arch, and nothing that happens in it is ever mentioned again, he is forgotten about as soon as the heroes return home.


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Alternative Title(s): Fillain


The Shocker

The Shocker only briefly appears as another criminal in the game's story.

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