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Generic Doomsday Villain

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GASP! He thinks Undertale is overrated? The fiend!

Yami: I'm having a little difficulty understanding your evil motives.
Marik: Silence! All you need to know is that I am evil, and I'm going to defeat you!


The Generic Doomsday Villain is an overpowering antagonist without a believable goal, motive or plan. They do not fancy themselves to be doing the right thing, they're not Driven by Envy, they have no personal vendetta against any of their victims, they are not in it for the money or power, they're not seeking Revenge for any real or imagined wrong done to them, they're not trying to satiate their excessive Pride, they're not even a sadist who enjoys hurting people. So, why are they spreading destruction and misery? Because... they're EVIL.

A story needs a Villain to drive the plot forward and to give the heroes something to foil. This villain needs to be powerful enough to stump the protagonists at least for a Story Arc. The Generic Doomsday Villain serves these purposes, but they're all power and no personality. You know you are dealing with a Generic Doomsday Villain when you can imagine them being replaced with a natural disaster and the plot would pretty much still work the same way.


It may be possible for a villain to start out as a Generic Doomsday Villain, to establish their threat early on so the hero(es) have a reason for fighting them. Sometimes, a writer will use this intentionally, making a villain who is literally like a force of nature or a natural disaster, or with motives beyond human comprehension — not really intended to be a character in their own right, just something that happens which the heroes have to deal with. A possible justification is to have the Generic Doomsday Villain be the creation of another villain with proper motives, who created them only to destroy and harm others. Turned Against Their Masters is very likely in this scenario.

A related concept is For the Evulz, where a villain does evil simply for the sake of it. This can be confused with a Generic Doomsday Villain, but For the Evulz as a motive more specifically emphasizes the villain as a sadistic asshole who gets off on their acts. A Generic Doomsday Villain will usually lack even that aspect to their personality, seeming to do evil for literally no reason because that's just what they do. Also don't confuse with Omnicidal Maniac. First, while a Generic Doomsday often can be an Omnicidal Maniac, this trope is by no means limited to villains who want to destroy the world. Second, a Maniac's plan might not strictly make sense (say, being portrayed more as a Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum, thus hampering their own survival), but their destructive end goal is often motivated by genuine Straw Nihilist and similar motives.


Also contrast the Complete Monster, who are purely evil characters and have a personality and motivation, while Generic Doomsday Villains don't get the characterization to say if this is the case.

Some bosses a player comes across in a video game are may be this, as they exist more as obstacles to the player than real characters. Bonus Bosses are susceptible, as them getting buildup aside from being a major challenge might result in vital story being wasted building up a fight many players will never even bother with.

See also Invincible Villain, who generally receive more characterization, but whose functional or actual invincibility causes them to also become defined more for the threat they pose to the hero. While similar, it should not be confused with Diabolus ex Nihilo, which is a powerful villain who comes out of nowhere to shake things up and promptly move off. The Outside-Context Problem may appear similarly powerful with as little motivation, but in their case the answers come before long, and it's established that their being unknown to the in-universe world at large is part of the threat. Contrast Visionary Villain.

Please be aware that this trope tends to get tossed around a lot, and any villain which doesn't have the clearest motivation established will often be accused of being one, even if they don't meet the other criteria. So, be careful when deciding who counts.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon:
    • Exclusive to the Japanese version is Demon (Daemon in English) from Digimon Adventure 02, who comes into the plot with no explanation, and is so powerful that the heroes can only seal him away. He has absolutely no personality, and his contribution to the plot is only as an "obstacle." For all its faults, the dub vastly improved on him, thanks to a delightfully hammy performance by Bob Papenbrook.
    • Mephistomon from a Digimon Tamers movie wanted to destroy the world for no particular reason. The closest thing to a motive we get for him is Omnimon stating he was spawned from an Apocalymon that also wanted to destroy the Earth, presumably for the same reason as the one in Adventure (if it wasn't the same one).
    • Belphemon from Digimon Savers due to him have almost no dialogue. Kurata's goal is revive and use him as a weapon to Take Over the World, and it's mentioned that Belpemon almost destroyed the Digital World in the past. But Belphemon himself only has dialogue when he briefly takes control from Kurata, which implies him to be nothing more than a villain who causes destruction for no reason.
    • Most of the villains in Digimon Adventure tri. never say a single word and what little word the few spoke reveal very little about them. Special mention to this trope has to be Yggdrasil whom despite being stated as the Big Bad of the series and is responsible for Meicoomon's corruption, he never appeared in the anime at all and is stated to be defeated off-screen by Homeostasis. All that we know of him is that he wants to destroy humanity, but we don't know why he wants do it particularly given that fact that the same humans saved the Digital World numerous times.
  • Naruto has Kaguya Otsusuki aka the final villain of Naruto after hijacking Madara who is merely characterized as the source of all Chakra, an "unstoppable" Physical God that even the sage fears, the one responsible for the Uchiha's corruption and being almost literally nothing more than an obstacle for Team 7 to defeat and seal. We don't even know the reason for her to invoke the Infinite Tsukuyomi and turn everyone into White Zetsu. We do, however, get the briefest glimpse of a lamenting mother buried somewhere in her mind, but she's a power-mad, raging psycho more than anything. This is one of the few instances where the anime's filler was seen as a necessity even by viewers, since it actually fleshed her out more as a character.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Bottom and Black Hole of the second and third Pretty Cure All Stars movie series. They were practically the same villains: monstrous ancient evils seeking to obtain the MacGuffin of that movie by resurrecting previous Quirky Miniboss Squad members and giving the girls a hard time so he could take over/destroy the world. They're also powerful enough to wipe out the collective teams (knocking them back into human form in the case of Black Hole) that they HAVE to use their movie-only Super Mode to defeat them. On the other hand, Fusion, the Big Bad from the first movie and New Stage, seems to have a bit more personality, isn't seeking any sort of MacGuffin, fights the girls on his own and just wants to unite the world as a Hive Mind.
    • Most of the villains in Futari wa Pretty Cure were this, with almost no characterization besides being evil.
  • The witches in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, beings that are The Speechless and Made of Evil. Especially the leader Walpurgisnacht, who just shows up one day to wreck the city and leaves just as suddenly; she doesn't even fight the magical girls if they don't attack her first. Her only purpose besides being the Big Bad is to provide the reason for Homura's endless time loops, and the real villain is Kyubey. It's a Justified Trope due to the mindless nature of Witches in general, and a Subverted Trope due to their backstories and Tragic Monster status.
  • The titular dragon from Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is much less of an actual villain and more of a force of nature enacting its apocalyptic rage, with no characterisation beyond the threat of its supreme power (read: nuking countries and deities without the need to move around).
  • Dragon Ball Z:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • Zorc Necrophades, the Greater-Scope Villain of Yu-Gi-Oh and the final villain of the series, is stated to be the dark god who desires to destroy the world and cover in darkness who was summoned to the world as a result of the creation of the Millenium Items. However, not much else is known of him and the narrative treats him as an evil force that the Pharaoh has to defeat and not much else, with his underling Bakura (in both his incarnations) showing far more of a personality and charm than him.
    • Anubis in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light. No reason is given for why he wants to destroy the world. The Abridged Series lampshades this. If there is a reason, it's just that a god of death is supposed to end life, and 4Kids wanted a quick buck.
  • First Squad: Baron von Wolf is a bloodthirsty knight who carries out campaigns of murder because... he's evil, we guess? We learn next to nothing about his character, just that he's some guy leading an army of undead warriors resurrected by the Nazis.

    Audio Plays 
  • In Evangelion: After the End, a Self-Parody of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, the cast discusses how to retool their show to appeal to a wider audience. It is then pointed out that the Angels, the show's monsters, could have alienated the audience since the show offered no clear answers to where they come from or what their goal is. They eventually come up with introducing the "Black Space God", an evil alien who's only motivation is to Kill All Humans, and having the Angels turning out to be his generic Mooks all along.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman gives us what could be the Trope Namer, Doomsday:
    • His sole reason for being was the eponymous event in The Death of Superman. While previous Superman villains were usually really smart guys or evil robots or alien warlords or some other intelligent type to contrast Supes' superstrength (along with the rest of his Superpower Lottery), Doomsday was just raw unstoppable rage on wheels with no agenda outside destruction and couldn't be reasoned with. Most of his depth comes from the backstory in later comics; Doomsday was established as a "guinea pig" that became both Nigh Invulnerable through adapting to withstand what defeated him and bloodthirsty for dying so many times to get that. In essence Doomsday is just a primitive, animalistic being - something which does not leave much space for personality. (In fact, the moment he gained a personality, he also inherited fear, which allowed Superman to defeat him almost effortlessly.)
    • In the DC Animated Universe, he could talk normally and his origins were changed considerably (he's a corrupted clone of Superman and not from space), but he's otherwise unchanged. He exists only to fight Superman and cannot be reasoned with, acting more as a plot device than a character.
    • Subverted in Smallville, which opted to balance out the mindless animal aspects of Doomsday by making him a Superpowered Evil Side rather than a standalone character. While this opened up some new storytelling avenues and made him deeper than his usual plot device threat, it appears to have been seen by the fandom as a form of Menace Decay and the idea has not been revisited, with later depictions (like the one below) sticking firmly to Doomsday's "roots", such as they are, instead.
    • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has Lex Luthor bringing Doomsday to life because he figured this "Kryptonian abomination" could defeat Superman - "If man won't kill God, the Devil will do it!". And all the beast does is try to destroy anything in his path, providing an excuse for Supes, Batman and Wonder Woman to join forces.note 
  • Supergirl's Xenon is pretty similar to Superman's Doomsday. He came out of nowhere, and nothing or almost nothing is known about his past or motivations. What is known, though, he hunts and kills "Supergirls". In Many Happy Returns he trapped, tortured and nearly killed the original Kara Zor-El, an Earth-One Kryptonian.
  • The best example from the Silver Age would be Mangog from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's classic run on The Mighty Thor, an extremely powerful and unstoppable monster who doesn't have a characterisation beyond having the hatred of a billion billion beings and that he wants all Asgardians dead. He was basically Doomsday before Doomsday was cool.
  • These pop up now and then in Invincible. Unusually, they are treated by the writer with all the gravity they deserve: very little. One notable one was vanquished by all the guest stars and supporting characters in the series working together while the series protagonist, Mark, was unavailable. It was a Crisis Crossover reduced to the B-plot of one or two issues of one title.
  • Onslaught was more powerful than anything in X-Men history, took nearly all the Marvel heroes to beat, had no overarching plan other than "blow shit up" and existed solely to set up Heroes Reborn, which was later retconned back anyway. Onslaught did have a backstory as a psychic entity born from the combined mentality of Professor X (mutants and humans should co-exist) and Magneto (humans will never accept mutants). So he wanted to turn everyone in the world (and later the universe) into a hive mind with himself in control. However, many of the details behind his character were scattered amongst various Marvel comics titles (requiring someone to read all the comics tied into the Onslaught saga for all the details), or crammed into a book released solely as a summary for the Onslaught saga, complete with notes and information on what was planned for the saga from the writers themselves. For some, Onslaught's Generic Doomsday Villain nature made the writers' attempts to focus on Onslaught's plan changing from "kill all the humans so mutants can prosper" to "kill everyone in the world for no reason" much less dramatic that it was intended to be.
  • Spider-Man's equivalent to Doomsday would probably be Morlun, a villain introduced by J. Michael Straczynski during his run, who had almost no real backstory to speak of, and his exact nature was never revealed. Morlun's personality was pretty bland as well, since he really only wanted to "eat" Spidey and stated that it wasn't personal. For some unfathomable reason, this was the first time a villain had ever made Spider-Man angry, even when guys like the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus had kidnapped, murdered or otherwise threatened his loved ones. It was not until Spider-Verse that his backstory, personality and motivation were established.
  • The Suicide Squad once had to face one of these in the form of Brimstone, an Apokoliptian behemoth that combined this trope with Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. An artificial monster created from a "techno-seed", Brimstone believed itself to be a fallen angel that had to cleanse the earth of "false gods" (read: superheroes) but aside from this delusion had no character at all to speak of. In its death throes the beast called for Darkseid, who callously dismissed it as unworthy before revealing to his henchman Desaad that the only reason he'd even created it in the first place was to "remind the humans they are never far from my thoughts".
  • The Transformers: Stormbringer series turns the Decepticon Thunderwing into the "force of nature" variation of this trope. After he creates his "polydermal shell", the grafting process goes awry, burning out all of Thunderwing's sapience and higher brain functions, which causes him to become ultra-powerful, and go on a rampage across war-torn Cybertron, forcing both Autobots and Decepticons to temporarily ally to try and halt its advance. In the end, Thunderwing is only stopped when Cybertron swallows it whole, a process which only hastens the planet's death (which Thunderwing himself saw coming and the polydermal grafting procedure was an ill-conceived attempt to try and weather the storm it would bring, ironically turning him into the final nail in Cybertron's coffin).
  • The 2013 run of Uncanny X-Men gives us Matthew Malloy, an all-powerful mutant and the main menace in the "Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier" story arc. Malloy's creator Brian Bendis was clearly trying to avoid this by giving him a sympathetic background, but said background was only revealed by other characters and Malloy himself had zero personality to speak of, making him fall into this anyway. One of the first things Bendis had him do was inflict The Worf Effect on Exodus, one of the most powerful mutants in the entire X-Pantheon, just to show the reader how badass he was. But his lack of any rational personality left the X-Men unable to reason with him, and the storyline ended with them dispatching Malloy via Ret Gone because that was literally the only option they had left.

    Fan Works 
  • The Evil Scintist from DIGIMON SAVEZ THE WROLD!!1111. He is only described to have created a machine that could destroy the world which is what Digimon, the main character, has to prevent. No motivation on why he wants to destroy the world has been given.
  • My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic: Titan. He has great power and wants to destroy Unicornicopia so he can spread chaos and destruction over reality, just because. His dialogue is dripping in clichés and there is nothing unique about his appearance at all. Being Stupid Evil and going with the first Saturday morning cartoon plot his minions come up with doesn't help matters.
    • Those villains that show up in the sequels are no better, following the same strategy of sending out a Monster of the Week so they can conquer the world for no real reason other than they want to. This is due to the Strictly Formula writing style of author Dakari King Mykan, who has said in author's notes that he hates creating complex villains and storylines.
  • Sben from Yognapped. He has no goal in the first installment other than completely tearing Minecraftia to the ground and framing Simon and Lewis for it. The Alpha Griefer, another Big Bad, calls him out on being nothing more than a murderous monster in a confrontation that ends with Sben taking a bullet to the back. When he comes back in the third installment with unmatched speed and strength, he becomes more of a tragic character.
  • The Black Tower in The Keys Stand Alone. No one knows who's in it or why it's having its evil minions (who are themselves pretty one-dimensional) try to kill the gods and take over C'hou. They just know they have to fight it.
  • In Equestria: Across the Multiverse, Metal Twilight is a justified and deconstructed example. One of several mechanical doubles of the heroes built to defeat them by the invading Flim Flam Brothers corporate empire (namely the one glimpsed in "The Cutie Remark"), she acts like a Smug Super and is very dedicated to defeating Twilight (or rather whatever Twilight is in front of her at the time) and being better than her..but when questioned by Twilight why she acts that way, genuinely can't come up with any actual motivation. Twilight then realizes Metal Twilight is essentially an unknowing slave to her creators, despite being the only one of her series to be sapient. Metal Twilight doesn't take this realization well.

    Films — Animation 
  • DC Universe Animated Original Movies:
    • The Justice League: War incarnation of Darkseid has all the power one would expect from one of DC's most charismatic and terrifying villains, but that's about it. Presumably, the writers were banking on people already knowing who he is, since he gets absolutely no explanation as to who he is or why he particularly wants to conquer Earth to begin with. He spends most of his screen time beating up the Justice League, until he gets sent back to his home dimension when it's time to end the movie.
    • Atomic Skull from Superman vs. the Elite has no motivation for his violence. Why is he killing people? To draw out Superman. Why does he want to fight Superman? Because it's what he does, apparently.
    • Green Lantern: Emerald Knights: Krona is a powerful Energy Being that tried to destroy the Universe in the past for no apparent reason, and is returning to do it again. He never speaks, he just exists to be an obstacle. The anthology format doesn't have time to make him anything else, but it's particularly noticeable since Kilowog's and Laira's stories were able to carry the emotional weight that Krona's lacks completely.
  • Unicron from Transformers: The Movie is a transforming-robot Planet Eater who consumes worlds that he comes across, wants to destroy the Autobot Matrix of Leadership as it's the only thing that can kill him, and that's pretty much it. He is an Outside-Context Problem as nothing about him is ever foreshadowed prior to the movie, and his connection to the Transformers, while hinted at times, is never explored. Later episodes and adaptations would elaborate more on his backstory and motivations, but the movie itself doesn't make him anything other than being the biggest threat the Autobots and Decepticons have ever faced.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blood Cult: The cult are committing murders to make a body for their god, who then do... Something. The only cultist with any more motive than that is Tina, who is mad at her father for neglecting her.
  • Blood Was Everywhere: The killer is never named, nor is his face shown. He just shows up, commits a series of gory murders, and vanishes without a trace.
  • Bloodsuckers from Outer Space: The Lifeforce just kinda shows up one day and starts turning people into vampires. It doesn't even get a corporeal form, much less a personality.
  • The Catcher: No real reason is ever given for why Johnny is killing people, we're simply left to assume that his father's abuse has made him hate baseball so much that he feels compelled to murder anyone who plays it.
  • The New Order in Cobra, run by the Night Slasher, is a murder cult that draws its membership from all walks of life. They are willing to do anything for the Night Slasher up to and including slaughtering a small town to help get rid of a witness and her protectors, yet they are not given a backstory or any kind of explanation as to why they are willing to work for a Serial Killer no matter how much of The Social Darwinist he is. For all we know, they seem to exist just to be an army of psychotic mooks for Cowboy Cop Lt. Cobretti to slay by the dozen before he can face off with the bad guy.
  • The Dark (1979): The Mangler is an alien who crash-lands to Earth and immediately starts killing one person a night and projecting visions to psychics for no apparent reason.
  • Dead Before Dawn: The Ash Demon is an incorporeal force that is freed format prison and immediately starts zombifying the populace with no rhyme or reason behind it.
  • Death Stop Holocaust: The masked killers are never identified or unmasked, nor is there any explanation for why they're doing this or how they have so much control over the town.
  • In Dracula Untold, the Elder Vampire gives almost no reasons for his stated goal of conquering the world (though he does suggest that part of it is to get revenge on the one who betrayed him and another is simply that he has very little else to do for all eternity). Mehmet, likewise, acts like a dick to Vlad for very little reason. He even states at one point that he sees very little value in Wallachia.
  • In Fantastic Four (2015), Doom's reasoning for going bad is... unclear, and his goal itself effectively amounts to "blowing up the world".
  • While even the most generic slasher movies give an explanation for their killers' motives to murder people, Final Exam has none of that. The killer in that film is just some guy with a knife who slaughters college students. He doesn't even have a name.
  • Frostbiter: Wrath of the Wendigo: The Wendigo is an Ancient Evil who shows up, wrecks things, eats people, and is defeated by The Chosen One. It never speaks or does anything but commit random acts of violence.
  • Gozer the Destroyer from Ghostbusters. He seems to be called "the Destroyer" because that's all humans really know about him: that he destroys things whenever he comes to Earth.
  • Simon Moon, the Brutish Serial Killer of the Chuck Norris thriller Hero and the Terror. The eponymous "Terror" barely appears onscreen, doesn't talk, and is never given a motive. They throw in a brief exposition scene where a psychologist speculates about a Freudian Excuse, but since Simon doesn't speak it's never clarified either way. It's also said that Simon is actually incapable of higher thinking, so presumably he doesn't even understand that what he's doing is wrong, but what's important is that he's "pure evil" and Norris has to stop him. He could essentially be replaced with a shark and the movie would have been no different for it.
  • The invading aliens in Independence Day only barely manage to avoid completely falling into this trope. Only one attempt at diplomacy is managed, which ends in failure and the revelation that they're simply a race of Always Chaotic Evil Planet Looters comparable to locusts.
  • It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To: Jacob Burkitt was a rich businessman who snapped one day for no reason, started abusing his kids, eventually murdered them and killed himself and now haunts his old house. His expression never changed, nor does he speak. He jut kills.
  • Jack-O: Jack-O is a justified example, as it is a demonic automaton controlled by an Evil Sorcerer and has no personality of its own. It just shows up and kills whomever its boss tells it to.
  • Jug Face: The Pit is an Eldritch Abomination who demands sacrifices in return for healing people and kills random people when it doesn't get them. It is rather picky, and will reject victims to be tormented ghosts for all eternity, but no explanation is given as to how it chooses its victims. It's never even really seen, only appearing in POV shots. However, Tropes Are Not Bad, as the film heavily employs Nothing Is Scarier.
  • Russel Van Pelt in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle pursues the protagonists to get the Jaguar's Eye for himself, but no reason is given what he wants to do with it. Justified since he's solely created to be a generic threat to inconvenience the heroes and make the video game the kids got sucked into challenging to win.
  • Lethal Weapon 4 opens with Riggs and Murtaugh having to stop an unnamed armored maniac from burning and shooting everything up. No reason is given for his behaviour, but it sure provides an exciting Action Prologue.
  • Kurt "Cobalt" Hendricks from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol has a generic doomsday agenda (provoke nuclear war, destroy planet) without a motivation deeper than being some sort of insane A-bomb mystic. His Motive Rant plus a deleted scene indicates he believes mankind will eventually keep building more and more powerful WMDs until it destroys itself completely, therefore he wishes to create a "survivable" nuclear conflict to scare the remains of mankind into never doing it again.
  • Ivan Drago from Rocky IV has a punch that could crumple metal, about five short lines, and no apparent motivation other than being Russian and wanting to be the best. Compared to Rocky III's Clubber Lang, who wasn't exactly deep but had a lot of personality, Drago kind of sticks out. Notably, we're told his punch strength (2000 psi) multiple times, but we know almost nothing about his backstory. It wasn't until Creed II that Drago gets more characterization, surprisingly transforming him into one of the most humanized and tragic characters in the Rocky franchise.
  • Scary or Die: No explanation is given as to where the were-clown that turned Emmett in Clowned came from; given the nature of Emmett's transformation, it might not even be sentient.
  • Russ Thorn in The Slumber Party Massacre has no personality, or backstory that would give him some sort of motivation for the things he does. He's just some psycho who killed people in the past, got locked up, escaped and is now killing again.
  • Shinzon from Star Trek: Nemesis. His reasoning seems to consist of "Well, I'm the villain of this movie, so I guess I better mentally rape Troi and destroy Earth." The extreme actions that actually relate to his supposedly well-intentioned goals occur entirely in the opening minutes of the movie: as he was raised by the Remans, he understandably doesn't like their status as the Warrior-Slave Race of the Romulan Empire. But when he assassinates the entire Romulan Senate and installs himself as the new dictator... he's already solved all the Remans' problems. At that point his only real explanation for wanting to destroy Earth is to prove the Remans' superiority over the Romulans and show the galaxy that their Romulan empire is not to be messed with which is somewhat unclear. For a poorly explained reason (to prove to everyone that the Remans are to be taken seriously), he has a super battleship way more advanced than every ship it comes up against. He also got a planet-destroying superweapon from... somewhere. Like a few other entries, Shinzon's backstory was fleshed out more in the (usually non-canon) novels that reveal his original reasoning, why he's trying to destroy Earth, where he got the snazzy ship and where that superweapon came from.
  • Star Wars: Darth Maul is a prime example of this trope, though he's thankfully just The Dragon to the more characterized Darth Sidious. He barely speaks throughout the entirety of The Phantom Menace, mostly existing to serve more as an obstacle than a character. As the lightsaber duel he took part in proved so memorable, this had fans complaining about his wasted potential and rejoiced when he returned in the animated series as a much more complex character.
  • The titular alien from The Thing (1982) is an example where the trope can enhance the film's horror atmosphere. Its motivations are never explained, nor are intentions. If it's hostile, or simply acting in self-defense, or has some other motive that doesn't even make sense to us is never made clear, since the film focuses on the people desperately trying to stop it, and it's all the more frightening for it.
  • Malekith the Accursed in Thor: The Dark World is out to destroy the universe and return everything to darkness. Why? Because light annoys him and he wishes it was gone. He's less a character and more a plot device to justify having Thor and Loki team up. Apparently they had intended to flesh out Malekith's character through additional scenes (according to Christopher Eccleston, his actor) but it was excised from the film proper.
  • Surtur in Thor: Ragnarok has no real motivation or characterization besides boasting about his purported destiny to destroy Asgard, something that he has no apparent reason for wanting to do aside from it being his destiny. This is entirely accurate to the original myths, as mentioned below. He's something of a parody of this trope, as Thor actively makes fun of his claims and makes no attempt to take him seriously. Surprisingly, he ends up being a major plot device later on, as destroying Asgard turns out to be necessary to defeat the actual main villain.
  • We Are Still Here: It's never explained where the Darkness came from or why it demands sacrifices. It's just an Eldritch Abomination that traps souls in an And I Must Scream state.
  • The Witches Hammer: The Souls of the Damned are a trio of spirits who empower a vampiric organization to open a portal to their realm and bring Hell on Earth for reasons that are never explained. They spend the movie discussing their plan and occasionally berating or killing a goon for failing.
  • Wrestlemaniac: El Mascarado is a justified example, being a Living Weapon created to wrestle. Being created for a combat sport, all he knows is violence, and he kills anybody he can get ahold of.
  • You like the destruction they cause, but don't much care about them? Sounds like a C-list Kaiju. The better ones have some motivation and / or are oddly sympathetic, but the ones that never appeared in more than one movie are pretty much this. Whether it's a bad trope, of course, depends on how cool the destruction is. The original Mecha Godzilla is a justified case: it's a robot built for destruction, and thus doesn't have a personality besides being programmed to follow orders and come up with the best plan to win a fight.

  • Rodney Casares from the Peter Clines book Ex-Heroes. He randomly turns up with the power to control the zombies, to survive the zombification with his own intelligence intact, and with enhanced physical abilities and stature he never had in life. The most that's ever explained about him is that he used to be a random gangbanger and that he was one of the first victims of the disease, but he is otherwise completely unique and exists for no reason other than to present a massive threat to the main cast.
  • The Severe Haircut Woman, or Carrie Johnstone, from Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Most of the antagonists of the book are blatant strawmen, but she takes the cake. She runs the Department of Homeland Security, puts San Francisco under heavy surveillance, detains Marcus's friend, and waterboards Marcus just For the Evulz.
  • A classic example would be Professor Moriarty of Sherlock Holmes. He's introduced in the last chapter of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and is talked up to be Holmes's Arch-Enemy who is supposedly his intellectual equal, even though we never see evidence of this. He was also said to be "the Napoleon of crime", and had a hand in many of Holmes' previous capers. In this particular case, he was behind a conspiracy bigger than anything Holmes had tackled before, and it ended up supposedly costing Holmes his life. And yet he had little page time and no personality to speak of, only defined by the threat he posed. Of course, he became the Breakout Villain and has since been more fleshed out in adaptations and spin-offs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The First Evil wants to spread evil all over the world, because it's Made of Evil and thus it likes evil. This gets bonus points for being an Informed Ability; we are told repeatedly it cannot be fought directly, and yet does damned little in the onscreen villainy department.
    • Earlier episodes of Buffy play with the trope quite a bit. In "The Zeppo", the generic villains are never given enough screen time to explain their motivations as that's part of the joke. In "Doomed", like most of the show's baddies, they're a metaphor for something else.
    • Ditto the Beast from Angel. His status as this becomes a plot point, when they realize he's not smart enough to have come up with his plan on his own, and is serving someone else.
    • The Judge is an ancient demon with the power to burn the humanity out of people, which is lucky as burning the humanity out of people is pretty much all he seems interested in doing. The rest of the time he just kinda sits around, waiting to destroy the world while more interesting villains hog the spotlight.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Arthur Petrelli from Heroes is a conscious attempt to avert this, with him stealing Peter's Physical God powers and not using them to cause wanton destruction. Though his lack of motivation or any real plan land him into this trope anyway. He existed to steal Peter's power and as soon as he did that he faded into the background and sat around waiting for Sylar to kill him.
  • The Replicators from Stargate SG-1. Since most of them are machines made out of Lego blocks, they have no personality whatsoever. All they do is multiply. And they just. Won't. Stay. Dead. Though this changed when the show introduced the Human Form Replicators (including the Asurans), which actually had personalities and in some cases became recurring characters. Some were even somewhat sympathetic.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Dai-Satan, the ultimate evil of Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger hasn't shown any motivation for his deeds. In fact, he doesn't even have lines to say and is only seen laughing menacingly in the background whenever he appears
    • Tokumei Sentai Go Busters has the villain of its second solo movie. Azazel is a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere with no connection to Messiah and just wants to destroy the world because... uh, because... we'll have to get back to you on that one. He basically exists to kick off a plot that isn't much about him, much like the Trope Namer. As tongue-in-cheek as the whole film was, you're probably supposed to laugh at this guy who comes out of nowhere calling himself "Azazel the Great Demon King" and trying to destroy the world because he's evil and that's what evil guys do.
    • It seems that dinosaur themed Sentai series really have a thing for this sort of villain, as Deboth from Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger also has no personality outside of wanting to make humanity go extinct. That is when he can speak, as he spends most of the time either dormant or in a bestial form that's unable to speak at all.
  • Power Rangers
    • Dark Spectre from Power Rangers in Space is one of the only examples of this trope in the Power Rangers franchise as he just shows up, wants to take over the galaxy and does not have a personality. Most other villains are given a personality and motivation, so it comes off as odd when even the Monster of the Week had a personality, while the Greater-Scope Villain did not.
    • Omni the Magnificence from Power Rangers S.P.D. spends the entire series offscreen and only shows up near the endgame, displaying no personality whatsoever.
  • Gamedeus from Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a justified example: he's the Final Boss of "Kamen Rider Chronicle" and once he spawns, begins attacking and causing a pandemic...and that's about it. Unlike the other Bugsters, he has no real motivation and his personality consists of 'generic Final Boss banter' and 'recycle sound clips from the previous Bugsters while using their powers'...because that's exactly how he's programmed. He was created to be the Final Boss and programmed to behave exactly as he does. Also, unlike his fellows both lacks any pre-existing character to get a personality from and has only existed for a very brief period of time, making him less a character and more a program being run. And then he just gets killed and made into a power-up for the previous Big Bad to reclaim his earlier status.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Surtr, the fire giant who is responsible for the end of the world in Norse Mythology, is probably the Ur-Example. He doesn't appear in any myths except the one that tells of Ragnarok, where he and his armies invade Asgard, he kills Freyr and engulfs the world in fire, and even that myth gives him little description or characterization. Still, while he may not appear, he is referred to in numerous other tales of both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. And he's hardly the only giant lacking character depth.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Prior to the Attitude Era/Monday Night Wars, the "generic doomsday villain"-type storyline was used heavily in the World Wrestling Federation to build up a heel wrestler toward a world title shot against Hulk Hogan. Villains such as King Kong Bundy, Big Bossman, Akeem/One Man Gang, Earthquake and others spent would spend several weeks on TV beating up jobbers and mid-card wrestlers before their big match against Hogan ... and invariably they would all lose. note  The outcomes of these matches became so predictable it was as though these fearsome bad guys were simply generic bad guys who, after screwing with Hogan, weren't so big and bad after all.
  • Between 2002-2006 in WWE, it was incredibly hard to sum up Triple H's character beyond "World Champion", "Stephanie McMahon's husband", and "sledgehammer aficionado". Oh, and "Complete Jerkass."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Delta Green has the Cult of Transcendence come close to this trope. Their basic goal is to 'uplift' humanity into a proper Mythos race, an existence without concern for order, compassion, pain or pleasure. They do this by subtly sabotaging human society and corrupting people anyway they can. They're oddly philosophical about it, too. Deconstruction or Reconstruction? Either way, their entry lampshades the fact that their basic lack of humanity means they act like this trope, and do not care if they win or lose, which is what makes them so dangerous.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Leviathan, from the supplement Elder Evils, is a serpent made of the leftover chaos of the world. If it wakes up, the world will cease to exist. Interestingly enough, it's Chaotic Neutral, not evil - destroying the world is simply what it does. The campaign layout provided has the "good ending" condition being putting it back to sleep, not killing it, as it's literally thousands of kilometres long and hence not capable of being fought by human-sized characters. Besides, killing it might cause it to destroy the world in its death throes. And if that didn't happen, its death might still irreparably damage the balance of order and chaos and destroy the world anyhow.
    • The Tarrasque. It's a gigantic, kaiju-like reptilian beast that wakes up, wrecks and/or eats everything, and then goes back to sleep. Wizards of the Coast have never committed any one backstory to canon, but most of them are variations of an extinct civilization conjuring a destroyer through forgotten magic.
    • Tharizdun is an odd case of this, in that he knows he's one. He's a god who is simply a Sealed Evil in a Can that wants to destroy all existence. Unfortunately for him, no other god wants this to happen, and so they work together to ensure he stays locked up, and even his worshippers are rare, secretive, and crazy; Straw Nihilists at best and Omnicidal Maniacs at worst. Because Tharizdun recognizes that nobody else wants to unmake the universe, the majority of his plans are actually carried out by various front organizations that try to Take Over the World while unknowingly advancing Tharizdun's own goals.
  • The Big Bad Ensemble of the Old World of Darkness tend to be treated similarly, but then again, the manifestation of any of them was explicitly a sign of the apocalypse.
  • Warhammer 40,000:

    Video Games 
  • All the Big Bads in the Aveyond series have rather vague motives for doing what they do. Why does Ahriman want to destroy the world? Why does the Snow Queen or rather, Heptitus, want to freeze the world? Why does Gyendal want to enslave the humans? Why does Qetesh wants a Mist Wraith sacrifice? Well, because reasons, and that's all you'd get from them.
  • Solomon of Battlefield 3 wants to nuke Paris and New York and start World War III because... ummm... he's evil?
  • The Final Boss and ultimate threat of Battle Moon Wars is a devil. Yeah, that's it. Doesn't help that it's quite the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere. They could have at least given it a name. Also, as the game is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, it also falls victim to "More powerful than anyone they've faced before!" Syndrome.
  • C-12: Final Resistance has the Alien Leader. He has five lines in the game, most of which are him telling Vaughn that the aliens can't be stopped. It's never revealed in the game why he invaded Earth, why he's turning humans into cyborgs, why he's exterminating humans, etc. He's just doing it because...plot. Contrast this with Major Dan Carter, who, despite having limited screentime, established himself as being a slimy, smug henchman who willingly and shamelessly sided with the aliens just to prolong his own life.
  • The Federation of The Americas from Call of Duty: Ghosts. Throughout the entirety of the campaign, they appear to have no overall goal other than destroying the US and murdering American civilians seemingly just to remind the players that they're the bad guys. The only named character on their side who has more than two lines is Gabriel Rorke, who isn't evil due to motivation.
  • The Greater-Scope Villain, True Final Boss aliens in the Nintendo 64's Chopper Attack note . At least the terrorists are given a Take Over the World motive; the aliens only seem to attack just for the hell of it.
  • Lavos from Chrono Trigger fits for only being a (mostly) non-sapient Planetary Parasite that Came from the Sky, and after millenia feeding, woke up and destroyed the planet. Despite driving the plot, it's only a "giant tick" Greater-Scope Villain the protagonists will face once they feel ready. Chrono Cross diverges by making the aftermath of Lavos' defeat enable him to become a full-on Eldritch Abomination bent on obliterating all of existence.
  • The GLA in Command & Conquer: Generals. While most villain factions in Command & Conquer has some fleshing out to explain their motives, even if said motives are being hungry for power, GLA's explanation, fighting back foreign imperialism, doesn't even make sense given that all they attempt to do in the story is cause destruction and don't show regard for human life in any shape or form. The fans didn't mind this much, given that China and America's characterization was almost as shallow, and the game have such a bare bones story meant the GLA's lack of characterization was more a result of how little effort was put into the story than anything else.
  • While most bosses in Devil May Cry have either at least a bit of personality, or engaged in banters with Dante, all of the bosses in the second game (sans Arius) have neither any personality nor speak any line whatsoever including the Final Boss Argosax. Essentially, they're just another enemy for Dante and Lucia to defeat.
  • The Archdemon and darkspawn of Dragon Age are a rampaging force of nature, but they frame a backdrop for more complex and nuanced character conflicts, and only after confronting the antagonists native to Fereldin can the player wrap up the overarching invasion-of-evil epic. The darkspawn are partly motivated by the need to eat (often people) and reproduce, by abducting women and transforming them into broodmothers. They gain more depth in Awakening; one faction of the "Awakened" wants to awaken the rest of the Darkspawn and create a place for themselves in the world, though they are hampered by Blue and Orange Morality. Another faction follows an insane Death Seeker who resents her new sapience because it cuts her off from the song of the Old Gods.
  • You play as one in Dungeon Keeper. You're an undefined evil entity with no backstory, characterisation or even features, other than a disembodied hand. You command hordes of monsters and invade the surface kingdom for no apparent reason other than that they're good and happy and you apparently hate that.
  • Final Fantasy's early installments tended to feature these, with Giant Space Flea from Nowhere final bosses with absolutely no characterisation beyond this appearing after you kill them. They got a lot less common after the appearance of Kefka from Final Fantasy VI and the popularity of the relatively well-developed Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, but still show up after that point, often because of Grandfather Clause nostalgia or Troubled Production problems.
    • Final Fantasy III features Xande, who has the motivation that he's angry with his own mortality. After killing him, Cloud of Darkness appears, who wants to destroy everything because she's dark.
  • The killer Mr William Afton from Five Nights at Freddy's. was one for a long time, as he was largely The Ghost, and even when he did appear, he didn't speak or show any significant characterization. Sisters Location and Pizzeria Simulator finally avert this by having him speak and delving into who he is. It was fully averted in the novels though, where he's given more focus.
  • The Shivans in FreeSpace seemingly exist just to be a nigh-unstoppable force for the Terran-Vasudan Alliance to repeatedly bash their heads against in a desperate attempt to defeat, with no reason yet given (and with the ultimate fate of the series, likely never will) for their actions (then again, the Shivans aren't exactly the talkative sort.)
  • Deathborn in F-Zero GX's Story Mode, who wants to possess both the F-Zero Champion belt and the Underworld Champion belt, using the immense power gained from owning both to destroy the galaxy because...? The Creators from Story Mode are even worse in this regard and more vague in both their motives and actual goals.
  • The Unbound in late Geneforge were designed to spread a wave of equal-opportunity devastation over the world, with the expectation that the Shapers would be caught off-guard and demolished while the Rebels bunkered down and waited it out. By the last game, they're everyone's problem.
  • Guild Wars:
    • Nightfall, Warmarshall Varesh wants to wake a dark god and its legion of demons, unleash Torment upon the world, and bring about eternal night and suffering because... hmm.
    • The elder dragons in the Guild Wars 2. They are gods that wreck destruction because, because...
  • Horizon Zero Dawn has HADES. Despite being described as fully sentient it has little in the way of personality, only existing to carry out its sole function of exterminating all life on Earth. What level of cunning and deceit he does display turn out to be on the advice of Sylens. If anything, this makes it more horrific; it can't be reasoned with, only bound or destroyed.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising features two: The Aurum, a Horde of Alien... uh, bees that "are created from, and return to, nothing." and The Chaos Kin, a pure manifestation of evil that takes control of a host and slowly devours its soul. Both are presented as serious threats; the former requiring all the warring factions to do an Enemy Mine and team up, and the latter being a major Knight of Cerebus that causes the game to take an unexpected plunge into Darker and Edgier territory.
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Shan Yu is portrayed as this. Unlike in Mulan, he's more Monster of the Week than Big Bad, gets very little screen time to establish a character, displays no notable personality traits beyond being a fearsome evil warrior, has no motivation for why he's invading China using the Heartless, and doesn't even have a ton of lines, only having two short lines of dialogue in cut scenes ("ATTACK!" and "Now you'll bow to me!"), with the rest of it being Boss Banter.
  • Several of the villains in the Kirby series, like Nightmare, Dark Matter, Zero, Drawcia, and Necrodeus are this, since they're presented as the villains for attacking Kirby's home planet with little revealed motivation or characterization to go with it.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Odio in Live A Live is a reincarnating force of destruction. At any point in time there would be a hero to rise up, Odio will manifest during that time, causing terror, death, and annihilation, and directly oppose the hero. Odio will always bear a similar-sounding name that fits with that time period (such as Ode Iou for feudal Japan or O. Dio for late 20th century America), making him easy to spot for the player, but the idea is that while the heroes may consistently defeat Odio, it will always rise up again in some other time. ... Except no, he isn't that at all-he's actually the mind of Fallen Hero Oersted, who has very well-defined motives. The reason he opposes the protagonists, as it turns out, is because he takes umbrage at their idealism and wants to prove a point to himself.
  • The Dark Star from Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. An odd example in that, although it shows the same traits as other generic doomsday villains, these very traits are played in a way that make it seem unknowable and eldritch. Nobody knows where it came from or how it came to be. Someone dug it up one day and instantly realized that whatever this... thing was, it was bad news. Things got bad enough that the nigh-omnipotent, wish-granting Star Sprites had to get involved to seal it back again. It desires the end of the entirety of existence and instantly made some major progress towards that goal the instant it regained its full power. It is so utterly, purely evil that Mario and Luigi almost choke to death just by being near it. An excellent example of Tropes Are Tools.
  • Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has the Megabug. A sapient virus created as a result of a dimensional rift created when the Rabbids' time travelling washing machine teleported to the Mushroom Kingdom, the Megabug appears to desire nothing more than to destroy both universes, absorbing the power of the Rabbids the heroes defeat to do so. It does not speak, nor does it clearly display any form of sapience, resulting in a terrifying creature with no clear motives.
  • Justified in the case of Omega of Mega Man Zero 3. He's a Reploid simply programmed to kill and cause nothing but destruction.
  • In Myth the ultimate Big Bad is the divinity called the Leveler. His modus operandi consists of, at regular intervals, take over the body of the hero who killed his last incarnation, resurrect and corrupt other heroes of ages past, and then try once again to destroy all life on the planet and rule over the dead lands. Why? It's not really explained.
  • NieR: Automata:
    • The plot is kicked off by an alien invasion that ends with humankind, overwhelmed by the aliens' machine armies, fleeing to the moon and using androids to fight a proxy war on their behalf that's lasted for millennia. What was the motivation for the invasion? Who knows! By the time you encounter the aliens, they've been dead for a long time, killed at the hands of their own machine lifeform creations after they Grew Beyond Their Programming, and whatever the motivation for the invasion was died with them. Adam says that the aliens were so simple that they had more in common with plants than humans, so it's quite possible they never had a real motivation in the first place.
    • Grun seems like this at first; a 1000 meter tall kaiju-sized machine lifeform that suddenly appears out of the ocean and threatens the lives of every android and machine lifeform nearby with its massive EMP blasts. In Route A, the only thing you learn about it is that it was submerged in the ocean by the machine lifeforms that created it because it attacked everything indiscriminately, but in Route B you learn that it's a good-natured machine who simply Does Not Know His Own Strength.
  • Paper Mario 64's Crystal King isn't even mentioned until nearly reached anyway and is never given a goal for serving Bowser (unlike with the other bosses' clear gains).
  • Erebus from Persona 3 fits this role, thanks to being the Anthropomorphic Personification of mankind's will to die, and thus his only purpose is to come into contact with Nyx and cause The End of the World as We Know It, and will never truly disappear as long as humans keep wishing for death.
  • Dark Force from the Phantasy Star series is an chaotic monster sealed within some sort of containers as the "Pandora's Box" which corrupts and attacks people who find it. Profound Darkness in Phantasy Star IV is a one-upped version of Dark Force, coming out of nowhere while being described as an origin of evil itself.
  • Phantom Brave has Sulphur who isn't so much a character as he is a plot device needed to move the story along. He has no backstory, no explained motivation, no personality, and doesn't even talk.
  • Ravensword: Shadowlands has Ul'Thok, the Big Bad. He never says anything when you fight him, and it's never even explained what exactly it is that he plans to do once he returns to Tyreas.
  • Resident Evil 6 features NEO Umbrella as the villains. Their ultimate goal is to unleash a massive B.O.W. called HAOS that will infect the entire planet with a deadly mutating virus, purely for the sake of "plunging the entire world into chaos".
  • Something series:
    • Ballser in Something. In fact, the scenario describing the game does not even mention his name at all.
    • The Evil Guy in Something Else. The introduction just shows his invasion of the Bears' world and his kidnapping of the Bear Elder.
  • The Sorcerer from Spyro: Shadow Legacy has nothing revealed about him and causes a Calamity that sends everyone to the Shadow Realm for no clear reason except possibly wanting to steal everyone's magic to add to his own.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Tabuu is the Big Bad of The Subspace Emissary campaign and offers zero personality quirks (in a world where the characters don't talk but express their personalties and plans through their actions) or motives behind his Evil Plan of turning the world into Subspace within the story mode itself. Subverted with supplementary material provided by both the trophies and the Dojo which elaborates on his character somewhat, explicitly stating him being the embodiment of the Subspace itself and thus unable to leave his dimension.
    • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Galeem is the biggest threat in the first arc of the game and offers little to no personality, and it's reason for trying to recreate the universe isn't known. Galeem also cannot speak, which makes it eerie when certain characters do in the opening cutscene. Dharkon follows Galeem with this, and shows that they have a hatred of each other for unknown reasons. Tropes Are Not Bad as World of Light is more about the fun then the story, and Galeem and Dharkon are both terrifying antagonists.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Malos wants to destroy the world. He never gives any explanation or justification; he just hates absolutely everything. Mythra theorizes that he doesn't actually have a reason, but he's just following some base instinct that he doesn't understand. This is because Malos inherited this desire from Amalthus, the man who originally awakened him. Amalthus hates everyone and everything because his mother was killed by soldiers and then he brutally murdered the men who killed her. The rest of Amalthus' life wasn't much better. Malos got the desire to destroy the world, but none of the reason behind it. It should be noted that by the time of the story, Amalthus himself has moved past this motivation (he still hates everything, but is content to manipulate the world politically and only goes ballistic when people try to climb the World Tree and meet the Architect, which he believes they are unworthy of). Rex tries to talk Malos down at the end with this reasoning, but Malos has lost too much to give up, no matter how little sense it makes.
    Rex: Malos. Is this really what you want?
    Malos: Huh?
    Rex: Is this what you want?
    Malos: I... don't understand the question.

    Web Animation 
  • In Dusk's Dawn the villain's motivation is never really explained. He's just doing… evil, well… because he's evil.

    Web Comics 
  • Almost all the villains in Axe Cop are evil and do evil things because they're bad guys, so just about any one of the powerful villains bent on taking over the world or whatever is automatically a Generic Doosmday Villain.
  • Homestuck's Jack Noir ends up becoming this. Starts out with a good bit of personality, but once he takes over as Big Bad he just starts wrecking things for no real reason. Word of God describes his personality as basically being buried beneath his power, and describes him as akin to a raging dragon. A later scene from Jack's perspective clarifies it further: once he's gained enough power to become the Big Bad, he's just become bored. Most of his evil acts have just been him trying to come up with something to do with his new power. It's justified, seeing that Jack's entire purpose is to be a game construct and give players of SBURB a questline to take down the Black Queen. And then his rampage across the trolls' session was out of Unstoppable Rage after Jade dies again.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Snarl seems to be this. Not a major player in the story, but ready to obliterate everything if it ever gets loose. At least that's the original story we heard about it — there are reasons to question whether this story is complete, or accurate.
    • The High Priest of Hel claimed to be this when Roy asked him why he wanted to destroy the world — he's Evil, therefore he wants to destroy the world. Roy didn't buy it, on the grounds that Tarquin, Belkar, and Xykon are all Evil characters who don't want the world destroyed. (His actual motivation is that he worships the goddess of inglorious death, and if the world is destroyed, she gets the souls of every living dwarf and a substantial powerboost as a result.)

    Web Original 
  • Atop the Fourth Wall:
  • Discussed by The Editing Room in X-Men: First Class: The Abridged Script. Robert Downey Jr. makes a cameo and points out in full Sarcasm Mode that supervillains would likely have something in their lives that would make them rethink blowing up Earth.
  • Parodied by How to Write Badly Well: Make Your Villain Genuinely Evil.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • The reason why the Foundation refuses to take Zalgo as SCP.
      "The Director": You're overpowered, you don't have a hook, and quite frankly, you're boring.
    • For a straighter example, there's SCP-682 from a different author, a reptilian monster whose sole defining characteristics are "Hates everything" and "Cannot be killed ever". Unusually for this trope, 682 has become an Ensemble Dark Horse despite his lack of motive.
  • Worm has the terrible wrath of the Endbringers, who are steadily destroying humanity for no apparent reason with regular, devastating attacks on population centers and stress points: Behemoth, Simurgh, and Leviathan.
    • Played with later, when it's heavily implied (though not outright stated) by Tattletale and Scion that Eidolon inadvertently created them out of a need for "worthy opponents." They exist for the same reason in-universe that many of the examples on this page exist out-of-universe: simply to pose a powerful challenge to the hero.

    Western Animation 
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
  • D.A.V.E in The Batman is a deconstruction. While he believes himself to be a human imprisoned inside a computer, he's actually a robot programmed by Dr. Hugo Strange with the memories and abilities of Batman's worst foes for the sole purpose of giving Batman a challenge; to this end, he proceeds to easily curbstomp Batman and steals all of Gotham's money just to commit the ultimate crime. He's defeated when Batman asks him about his origin, at which point he realizes that he has no actual motivation or purpose beyond fighting Batman, which distracts him long enough for Batman to (quite ruthlessly, actually) kill him.
  • Danny Phantom:
    • Pariah Dark, being an obscenely powerful ghost out for world domination, but without a terribly interesting personality. However, the Made-for-TV Movie he appeared in featured major roles from a lot of the more interesting Rogues Gallery members (such as Vlad, Valerie, Fright Knight, and Skulker), so it all evened out.
    • Nearly all of the third season villains were generic Take Over the World villains with little difference between them apart from appearances, voice, and powers (IE: Nocturne and Vortex).
  • Parodied with Evil the Cat in Earthworm Jim, who's master plan is to destroy the universe. When finally asked what he plans to do after that, he has to think about it for a moment before finally settling on "Gloat, I suppose. Cackle wickedly among the ashes, that sort of thing."
  • Justice League:
    • Doomsday basically keeps his role of catalyzing other characters' stories (despite speaking full sentences now!). He showed up for the sole purpose of starting a fight, and then getting lobotomized to show how dangerous the Justice Lords are. In the second appearance, to challenge the heroes' own morality (he's mightily destructive. He's totally unrepentant about it and pretty much told us pointblank he'll never stop. How do we stop him for good but observe our rules?) In the end he's banished to the Phantom Zone, which Batman treats as no different than a death sentence. In his second appearance he is retroactively given a backstory, albeit a retcon that ties him into the Cadmus myth arc.
      • The creative team basically gave Doomsday a backstory purely to lampshade this entire trope as hard as they possibly could. Doomsday is a cloned Superweapon designed by Camus specifically for killing Superman. That's it; he has no motivation or goals or desires other than killing Superman, and can't be reasoned with or made to stop. The show basically made the character exactly what he is in the comics to the point of criticism.
    • The show's version of Brimstone, a superweapon that went berserk for no identifiable reason other than to give Green Arrow a reason to join the league.
    • Most of the henchmen assembled in the third season, simply because there's way too many of them for them get much characterization.
    • In "Divided We Fall", Lex Luthor figuratively got under Brainiac's skin (after the latter literally got under his skin) by accusing him of being one of these. Luthor pointed out that Brainiac had no real plans of doing anything with its vast store of knowledge and that it had no real reason for destroying the universe. Brainiac realized Luthor had a point and agreed to a Fusion Dance so they could actually do something with all of that power and knowledge.
  • Imperiex from the second season of Legion of Super-Heroes, who launches a full scale invasion of the galaxy because... he's power hungry, we guess?
  • The second season of The Legend of Korra gives us Vaatu, the spirit of darkness and chaos. Every 10,000 years he and his Good Counterpart, Raava, fight to decide the fate of the uniworldverse; if he wins, he wipes out humanity. In the meantime, he goes around corrupting spirits. There's not much else to him.
  • Many of the one-shot villains on Megas XLR are like this. Ender, who existed to "end" things, and Gurrkek the Planet-Killer really fit the bill, however.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: King Sombra is built up as being a huge threat to the Crystal Empire, and is also revealed to have set up an intricate security system to prevent anypony from getting the Crystal Heart in the past, but other than that, his characterization is nonexistent, especially in comparison to the show's previous villains, and there is barely any backstory for him to speak of. This isn't helped by him speaking very little and not having any meaningful interaction with the other characters.
  • A few of the Sushi Pack villains fall into this, most notably the Titanium Chef, who wants to spread chaos throughout the world for no other reason than he has a book that tells him how.
  • In SWAT Kats, Volcanus, the fire demon, who never even spoke, just woke up and made a beeline for the nuclear power plant...
  • Teen Titans:
    • The Puppet King from early into Season 1 was one such villain. It is not explained how he came to be or why he wanted to control the Teen Titans' bodies as his personal army and destroy their souls. He basically just seems to be carrying out this plan for the sake of it so that the episode could have an antagonist, and he had no real personality aside from "creepy, high-and-mighty bad guy."
    • Most of the more mindless secondary villains (Cinderblock, Plasmus, Overload, the Chrysalis Eater, Cardiac and the like) in the show seemed to be wreaking havoc just 'cuz. It doesn't help that the show had a general aversion to origin stories.
  • The Juggernaut in his second appearance in X-Men: Evolution. In his first, his goal was to kill Xavier for putting him in prison. The second, Xavier is nowhere to be seen, and he just decides to wreck random destruction for no reason. His main purpose in the story is really just as a plot device to get the X-Men to fight out of genuine heroism despite people starting to discriminate against, even though their chances of beating him are slim.
  • Samurai Jack: In "The Birth of Evil Part 1" we see a gigantic black mass that the gods Odin, Ra, and Rama fought millions of years ago. It is nothing but a mindless force of destruction with no real intelligence, just an organism with the intent to consume everything in its path. Ironically, the Emperor's attempt to destroy said evil is what gave it intelligence and a name: Aku.