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Mook Carryover

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"I know what you've done. The Salamancas... they do not. Do you understand what I'm saying? Look at me. From now on: You. Are. Mine."
Gustavo Fring, Better Call Saul

Big Bads die. That is a fact of any story... most of the time. That being said, when the Big Bad dies too early in the story's narrative, when due to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, a Klingon Promotion, or being on the wrong end of Eviler than Thou, it quite expected that a new guy will somehow take his place, usually with his own Mooks to do his dirty work.

Except sometimes not.

Mook Carrryover is when Mooks of the previous Big Bad (The Dragon, The Evil Genius, The Dark Chick, or just the Gold Fish Poop Gang) end up working for the new guy. How they managed to avoid death by either the hand of The Hero or their new boss varies: they may have betrayed their own boss, or were only mostly killed by the hero, and pitched their resume to the new guy. Or they may have been always working for the new blood, and just pretending to be loyal to the other one. Whatever the case, they are a familiar face among a bunch of new villains. This trope can be considered the Inversion of Replacement Mooks.

Whether they are still effective or not depends on whether they remembered to keep their skills sharp, assuming they were very skilled in the first place.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Gamaran, after the Muhou Ryuu takes over Unbara, all the opposing Ryuu who weren't exterminated were hired instead. Specifically, the ninja disciples of the Tamagakushi Ryuu are hired as part of the Spear Carrier scores defending the castle.

    Comic Books 
  • The mooks of the Thunderbolts are just guys in cool armor with guns. When Swordsman bribes/hires a bunch of them for himself, while staging a coup against Norman Osborn, he spraypaints them in his colors. They don't last long, but they are mooks who get a palette swap and a new boss.
  • In Star Wars: Legacy, when Darth Krayt dies, the entire Sith Empire works for Darth Wyyrlok for a while until Krayt comes Back from the Dead.
  • Manute of Sin City goes to work for Wallenquist after Ava Lord's death.
  • Superior Spider-Man: After Spider-Man who is actually Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker's body kills members of his Rogues Gallery, their surviving mooks seek protection and employment from the Green Goblin.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Webwork: Attempted but subverted when Jade finds the Enforcer trio so she can recruit them, but before she can make her proposition, they realize what's likely to happen and run for it.
  • The J-WITCH Series:
    • After the Dark Hand is defeated in "J-WITCH Meets The J-Team!", Cedric and Daolon Wong take Finn, Ratso and Chow with them to Phobos, who forces them to work for him because he needs information on Earth. Later, after the original Dark Chi Warriors are imprisoned by Uncle, Wong transforms the Enforcers into their replacements.
    • In "A Shady Service", Wong starts using the Shadowkhan. And unlike in canon, he doesn't stop after one use, continuing to employ them as enforcers for Phobos' regime — at least until Tarakudo enters the story.
    • Hak Foo eventually quits the Dark Hand and ends up becoming a Dark Chi Warrior when he infiltrates Phobos' castle and impresses both the prince and Wong with his battle prowess.
    • As per canon, Season 2 sees several of Phobos' former minions recruited by Nerrisa and Drago to create the Knights of Vengeance.
    • The Ice Crew act as Valmont's Replacement Mooks in Season 1 after the Enforcers get snatched by Wong, but eventually quit after he can't afford to pay them anymore. They then later reappear in Season 2 and seek out the Knights to join them in order to get revenge on the J-WITCH team.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • James Bond:
    • Jaws somehow survives being dropped into a shark tank in the middle of the ocean at the end of The Spy Who Loved Me. When the original Dragon is killed in Moonraker, Jaws is hired as his replacement. Justified by the vague implication he was a freelance Professional Killer rather than a loyal minion of Stromberg's.
    • In No Time to Die, Primo (nicknamed "Cyclops" by Bond) finds employment in Safin's group after the demise of Spectre.
  • The character Ogre in Revenge of the Nerds shows up in the sequel in a different chapter of the Alpha Beta fraternity. The brothers he had in the original film are all gone, apparently defeated. Although later, they ditch Ogre after he's served his purpose as dumb muscle, leaving him to join the all-accepting nerds as their dumb muscle.
  • Lobo, the hulking henchman played by Tor Johnson in Bride of the Monster shows up again under a different Big Bad in Night of the Ghouls, heavily scarred and apparently undead.
  • Throughout the course of The Dark Knight, many of the mobsters' goons turn to The Joker (after some "auditions").
  • Star Wars has an interesting one. The clones were created by the Jedi, and they continued to serve the Empire, and one Jedi in particular. Also, pretty much all the Imperials in the Expanded Universe who don't fall under Defector from Decadence.
    • Star Wars Rebels revealed that by the time of the original trilogy the clones had all retired and been replaced by conventional soldiers with relatively poor training; the armor style is just similar. Star Wars: The Bad Batch goes into further detail, with Clones enforcing the peace Palpatine's Empire achieved by the end of war, while setting the ground for Stormtroopers to help out once the Clones themselves have aged out.
    • In The Force Awakens, the First Order also uses stormtroopers but they're specified not to be clones, though they fight like them without any of their genetic weaknesses such as accelerated aging.
  • A deleted scene in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, the robot duplicates were somehow able to send the same fear based nooks after Bill and Ted that The Devil used to torture them in Hell.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Magneto inherits Sebastian Shaw's henchmen after his Face–Heel Turn.
  • In Demolition Man, Associate Bob works for whoever's taking the lead at the moment: first Dr. Cocteau, then Simon Phoenix, then Edgar Friendly (an implicit Heel–Face Turn).

  • In the Lone Wolf books, the death of all the Darklords at the end of the Magnakai series sure throws their troops in complete disarray and makes them an easy pick for the forces of Good, but it doesn't lead to their complete destruction. Thus, in the Grand Master series, slews of Giaks, Drakkarim, Kraan, Zlanbeasts, Vordaks, Helghast, Nadziranim and other foul monsters still exist, although for the most part locked in civil wars in the Darklands. The aim of some of the new antagonists, like Archdruid Cadak or High Warlord Magnaarn, is precisely to regain control of these armies and resume conquest of Magnamund.

  • Sword of Truth:
    • After Darken Rahl, ruler of D'Hara, is killed in the first book, large portions of his armies end up working as the expeditionary forces for the Big Bad for the rest of the series.
    • Also semi-inverted, in that the rest of Rahl's armies pledge allegience to the hero, Richard, after Rahl is killed. Richard at first believes this is a simple case of You Kill It, You Bought It, but later finds out that it's because he's Rahl's rightful heir.
  • In Mistborn, after the Lord Ruler's death, many of his most powerful minions, notably Koloss and Inquisitors, start working for new Big Bad Ruin. Justified in this case because the Lord Ruler created these beings and built a psychic "back door" into them so that he could always control them; with him out of the way, the far more powerful Ruin was equally capable of exploiting said "door". His human minions are a much more mixed bag, with some joining the heroes and others various Big Bad Wannabe kings.
  • Across J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth, many of the same creatures that once served Morgoth transferred their loyalty to Sauron when he took over as Big Bad. In this case, that would be because Sauron was The Dragon to Morgoth, so most of these minions would have been used to taking orders from him anyway. Notably, however, the Elite Mooks such as the Balrog, the Dragons, the smarter Drakes, and possibly the mysterious Vampires that are mentioned exactly twice in the Silmarillion do not switch sides, something that Gandalf mentions Sauron finds irritating. Sauron makes up for this by breeding colossal armies of individually-weak Orcs, which are both far more pliant and far less like to assert independence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 after Erwich is killed by his superior, his remaining goons turn to him.
  • In the Arrowverse, Laurel Lance's Earth-2 doppelgäanger Black Siren has been The Dragon for a number of Big Bads — first Zoom on The Flash (2014) before she was transferred to Arrow where she served that same role for Prometheus, Cayden James, and Ricardo Diaz, before her Heel–Face Turn and becoming a semi-ally to Team Arrow.
  • At the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1, she kills The Master, but the Annointed One is still around to be the Big Bad of Season 2 — except early in Season 2, Spike comes along and kills him, taking over his operation.
  • Chousei Kantai Sazer X: The Space Pirates Descal make use of the Gig Fighters, the Mecha-Mooks originally used by the villains in Chouseishin Gransazer.
  • Officer Braca (later Lieutenant) in Farscape was second-in-command to most of the series' Big Bads, in order. He just kept trading up.
  • After Führer Geisel unseats Emperor Banba at the end of the original Inazuman series, many of Banba's Phantom Soldiers became soldiers in the new Despar Army, with those who stayed loyal to him being executed.
  • Kamen Rider
  • Discussed by the orc Adar in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. He informs Galadriel that after Morgoth's defeat, many Orcs chose to follow Sauron and travelled in Forodwaith to hide. There, Sauron started to make use the Orcs as lab rats for his own ambitions. Tired of seeing his children sacrificed and murdered, Adar kills Sauron (or so he thinks), and tries to treat the Orcs better than any of his predecessors. He is the only one the Orcs follow out of genuine respect and love, and not fear.
  • Power Rangers / Super Sentai:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has Lord Zedd usurp Rita Repulsa as the series villain, but he keeps all of Rita's old henchmen under his employ (they technically always worked for him anyway). He even upgrades the Putties to be tougher, provided nobody hit the obvious emblem target on their chests.
    • Mahou Sentai Magiranger has Vancuria, who was immortal and couldn't be killed anyway. So when a new villain took control of the Infershia army, she always stuck around. In fact, because of said immortality, and a Heel–Face Turn, she outlasts almost all of them. The other Dragon, Wolzard, was similar, though he did go rogue a few times, and the various Infershia leaders used the same army of Mooks. Power Rangers Mystic Force did the same thing.
    • The Bibi soldiers from Tensou Sentai Goseiger. Except here they are all actually underlings to the real Big Bad, who is working under all three of the show's baddies.
    • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger the Movie: The Flying Ghost Ship, nearly all the mooks from all over the Super Sentai franchise appear as a single army to fight the Gokaigers.
    • Power Rangers Dino Charge: After Sledge dies (off-screen) when his ship crashes, Heckyl/Snide takes over and claims all of Sledge's minions and prisoners as his own. Then Lord Arcanon shows up and usurps control from Heckyl and Snide. Then Sledge turns out to have been Faking the Dead, even to his minions, and takes them back.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • It's normal for a Goa'uld to calim the troops of a Goa'uld they killed or otherwise deposed. The soldiers see the Goa'uld as gods, and so wouldn't rebel against any of them. Apophis shows up with Sokar's "Red Guard" as well as his usual Serpent Guard after he makes the rival who'd captured him pay for not just shooting him, and Hathor's second appearance has some of Apophis' Serpent Guards along with the Horus Guards you'd expect her to have. (She's known to use Brainwashing, though.)
    • In Season 8 Ba'al turns up using Anubis' Kull warriors, although later on Anubis comes back from the dead and Ba'al pledges loyalty to him.
  • Van Helsing (2016): Scab starts out as Mook Lieutenant to Julius in Season 1, but after the latter's Heel–Face Turn (from becoming human again) in Season 2, he's recruited by Dmitri and becomes Co-Dragons with Ivory. Following Dmitri's death at the end of that season, the two of them become their own masters, and serve as a major threat in Season 3 after taking over the Daywalker horde. But come Season 4, they go back to being minions, press-ganged into service by the Brides.

    Professional Wrestling 

    • A lot of Tuma's Skrall soldiers leave him after he's been humiliatingly beaten. When Makuta arrives to wreak havoc, they join his army.
    • Roodaka actually attempted to set up such a scheme. She convinced Sidorak to put Vakama in charge of his Visorak horde, then betrayed her "king" and let Keetongu kill him. So now the horde belonged to Vakama, who has in secret been answering to her, not Sidorak. Except the Visorak stopped following Roodaka when they saw her abandoning their former leader, and Vakama also had a change of heart and returned to the good guys, promptly disbanding the Visorak horde and leaving Roodaka with no one to rule over.

    Video Games 
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future has the "worked for the true villain" kind.
  • Revolver Ocelot. Throughout the first three games (Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater), he is working for the Big Bad as The Dragon. And at the end, he reveals that he was really working for someone else, and the third game is a Prequel, so he's at this for a while. This changes in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, where he finally decides it's time to be the big bad himself. Except he's not. It's complicated because it's Ocelot.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy has mooks from the first two games appear in the third game as Akron's mooks.
  • In Overlord you're invoking this trope by taking control of the previous Overlord's tower and minions. The final level sees him turn up to reclaim them, forcing you to regain their loyalty the old fashioned way. In fact there have been a whole chain of Overlords over the years, but they all use the same sort of Minions and even a couple of the same individuals. In the second game they actively recruit a new Overlord as a child and raise him to be their new boss.
  • Final Fight and its SNES sequels has passed the Big Bad baton from Belger's Mad Gear Gang (the first game) to an international subsidiary of Mad Gear run by Belger's (previously unknown) Dragon Retu (2) to Black and his Skull Cross Gang (3). Regardless of the main villain, the Andore family is always under the employment of these gangs, and as such, are the only recurring enemies throughout the series.
  • In Digital Devil Saga, Bat is originally a mook working for a Tribe you are fighting to defeat in order to form an alliance with them, but then later joins another Tribe and then kinda sort of does his own thing (becoming a Big Bad in his own right).
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, Bowser encounters a few Monty moles who used to work for him. Turns out they've gone over to Fawful's side.
    • This is actually a pretty common trope in the Mario series. Oftentimes you'll notice mainstay mooks working for Big Bads that have deposed Bowser as the game's antagonist. In a variation, they may just be different versions of these same enemies themed for the new antagonist in question.
    • Super Paper Mario justifies Bowser’s minions working for Count Bleck via Bleck’s right hand woman, Nastasia, inflicting said minions with a dose of Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword does this retroactively, wherein Ganon's usual Moblins and Bokoblins serve as Demise and Ghirahim's minions instead. Given that Ganon the living incarnation of Demise's hatred, this makes sense.
  • Axel Gear is Sparkster's rival and Arch-Enemy in the Rocket Knight Adventures series but he was never the Big Bad, instead serving whichever army was attacking Zebulos in the game.
  • In Batman: Arkham City, after Batman defeats The Penguin, his henchmen will join Two-Face's gang. They even change their style to match Two-Face's by darkening half of their Penguin mercenary uniform. They are just as dangerous as before, since they kept their guns.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of War still uses the same example as Middle-Earth mentioned above, with the Balrog summoned by Zog the Eternal not following the will of him or his followers and almost immediately leaving to destroy the land for its own reasons. However, Blade of Galadriel features a direct aversion in the form of Ogg the Bow of Morgoth, who outright refused to serve Sauron and considers Morgoth the only true Dark Lord. Luckily, since Morgoth is Deader than Dead, he's perfectly fine with helping Eltariel fight Sauron.
  • By the third act of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Grado has been practically annihilated, its king and most of its top generals dead. But Grado troops still oppose the protagonists in a few chapters, due to their prince and one of their generals still surviving. Little to they know that both of them now serve the true Big Bad, the Demon King.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the Begnion Empire is a major antagonist for most of the game. Starting with Part 4, the war with Begnion is put on hold due to... circumstances (namely a Goddess being released and turning most of the world's population to stone), but the new enemy faction, the Disciples of Order, has its Mooks made up of former Begnion soldiers, thanks to their bosses the Senators now serving the new villain. As you find out later, Ashera can revive the Disciples of Order when they die and send them right back at you, and it's implied many of the enemies you've been fighting in Part 4 were already killed in Part 3's war.
  • The mooks from Spyro: Year of the Dragon, the Rhynocs, were used by unrelated villains in the three Spyro games for the GBA, Grendor for Spyro: Season of Ice and Ripto for Spyro 2: Season of Flame and Attack of the Rhynocs.
  • Kingdom Hearts: The first game ends with the heroes defeating the Big Bad Ansem, sealing the Door to Darkness, and restoring the worlds devoured by the Heartless. The next game, Chain of Memories, leaves it ambiguous as to whether the Heartless are still around (the Heartless that appear here are implied to have been created from memories), but Kingdom Hearts II definitively explains that 1) the Heartless exist As Long as There Is Evil and can still invade the Realm of Light and 2) that they instinctively obey whoever is the strongest, which in this case means the new villains.
  • Various RPGS like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy have some recurring Mooks such as Goblins and Slimes go from working for the Dragonlord, and Garland/Chaos to working for Emperor Mateus and Hargon/Malroth, whose Minions like Bubble Slimes, Hawk Men, Iron Giants, Lamias, and Malboros go on to work for other villains, such as Baramos and Zoma, Bishop Ladja and Nimzo, the Cloud of Darkness, Golbez and Zemus, and Exdeath.

  • The Order of the Stick: Tarquin and Malack are respectively the general and high priest of the Empire of Blood, but they have served these roles many times under previous countries and rulers. Secretly invoked and subverted: they and four others all work in shifting pairs to appoint puppet leaders that keep them out of the spotlight, kill them, find a new puppet, and change country names so people don't realize. By this method they are now the de facto rulers of a third of the continent. Only a few people have noticed that amid the general chaos of conquest increasingly large amounts of territory belong to three countries, and the same six people keep showing up as advisers to their rulers.

    Western Animation 
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • The Enforcers; Finn, Ratso, and Chow (and sometimes Hak Foo), who were always brought in by the current season's Big Bad. Valmont, Shendu (possessing Valmont), Daolon Wong, Tarakudo, and finally Shendu's son Drago all used their services. The latter ends up firing them not long after.
    • Inverted with the Shadowkhan, who are introduced as the Elite Mooks of Shendu, but are revealed to have originally served Tarakudo; Shendu basically stole them.
  • A flashback in an episode of The Venture Bros. reveals that Henchman 24 previously worked for Phantom Limb (the then henchmen 9, the future Monarch, promises to make him his Henchman #1 someday). As they all are part of the larger Guild of Calamitous Intent, it's implied that a henchman might switch villains during the course of their henching career.
  • W.I.T.C.H.:
    • At the end of season 1, a large number of Phobos' orcs defect to rebels, as Phobos didn't treat them terribly well, either. Come season 2, and the orcs now make up a major part of Elyon's army.
    • For a more villainous example, a number of Phobos' named minions decide to form a group called the Knights of Vengeance under the guidance of new Big Bad Nerissa. She continues to use them until she's powerful enough to create a Quirky Miniboss Squad that's entirely her own.
  • Transformers: Prime: Not a exactly a textbook example, but when Airachnid was put in stasis, Megatron and the Decepticons were quick to appropriate her Insecticon hive for their own use.


Video Example(s):


From Phantom to Despar

After the Despar Army launches a coup for control of the Neo-Human Race, the surviving Phantom Soldiers are given a choice between becoming Despar Soldiers, or being executed.

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Main / MookCarryover

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