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"You bested me in many worlds, child, but I always return."
The Lich to Finn, Adventure Time, "Whispers"

As Arc Villain is to Story Arc, Overarching Villain is to Myth Arc. This is a villain who sticks around for the entire series or at least the majority of it, overlapping any story arcs. Because of that, they usually have a big role in the Myth Arc. The villain doesn't have to stick around for the whole series, but they must be around for a significant portion of it.

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Sometimes, an Overarching Villain will be behind an Arc Villain or Monster of the Week if that villain is working for/being manipulated by them. This can result in the story being Hijacked by Ganon if the Overarching Villain has been introduced previously.

Not to be confused with Big Bad. The Big Bad is the villain who directly causes the bad things that the heroes are in conflict with. This is merely a villain who has a role for the entire series or at least a significant portion. While the Overarching Villain is often the Big Bad of an entire Myth Arc, they could simply be a frequently recurring villain.

May overlap with Arch-Enemy, the hero's most personal and recurring enemy. Compare/contrast Arc Villain, a villain who is around for a single story arc. Contrast Monster of the Week, a villain who is around for one episode. If the Overarching Villain is only indirectly involved, but is a greater threat than the current Big Bad, then they are a Greater-Scope Villain (again, not all Myth Villains are GSV).

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Freeza. In the original story, he was not this, being just another Arc Villain. The franchise's revival in the 2010s has turned him into this via Dragon Ball Super and associated movies. He is now the Big Bad of two story arcs (the Namek arc in Z and the Golden Freeza arc in Super) and two movies (Dragon Ball Super: Broly and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’), his direct expies with the same appearance/personality/voice actor (Frost and Chilled) are side villains in another arc (the Champa arc in Super) and an OVA (Episode of Bardock) respectively, and he's a Villain Protagonist in yet another arc (the Universe Survival arc in Super). Anime filler also had him recurring quite a bit in the original adaptation (though only as a joke).
    • Vegeta is this for the post-Piccolo portion of the story up until the end of the original manga (or the Z anime).
      • He's the direct Arc Villain of the Saiyan arc. Raditz, Nappa, and the Saibamen are his minions and the entire plot is kicked off by his gang trying to recruit Goku for their next planetary conquest. He's the first villain to be genocidal on an interstellar scale, and the first one who possesses the ability and the willingness to outright blow up the Earth.
      • In the Namek arc, he serves as a side villain in the Mêlée à Trois of the early portions. The heroes are as scared of him as they are of Frieza's goons and constantly have to play a cat and mouse game with him; he also is just as villainous as Frieza's group as shown when he slaughters a Namekian village. Even when he does agree to team up with them against Frieza towards the end, it's purely out of self-interest and they still try to actively screw each other over (e.g. Vegeta abandons Goku to the Ginyus after being healed and hopes they'll weaken each other so he can take out the survivor while he's looking for the dragon balls). You never really doubt that he'll kill them all the moment Frieza is out of the picture.
      • In the Cell arc, he's a Villain Protagonist, emphasis on the villain. He shows Pragmatic Villainy in not messing with the heroes anymore when Frieza is gone and he has a free bed and training room, but at the same time, he is still 100% evil as he notes himself. When the goals of the heroes diverge from his, he flat-out threatens to murder them (as seen when Bulma proposes stopping the release of the androids), as shown when he almost blows up Krillin at Gero's lab or when he states he'll kill anyone who tries to stop the androids from being created. He ultimately becomes responsible for the final conflict when he outright attacks Trunks and 18 in order to help Cell absorb her and ascend to his perfect form.
      • In the Buu arc, he has seemingly mellowed out, building off the end of the Cell Games. This is quickly reversed when Babidi offers Vegeta great power in return for abandoning his morals. He agrees without hesitation and then blows up an entire stadium full of people just to force Goku into fighting him. They then engage in a battle to the death, despite Vegeta fully knowing that doing so will release Majin Buu. Directly because of Vegeta's actions, Buu gets released and the titular arc ensues. He doesn't cement his Heel–Face Turn until the end of the arc, whereupon he loses the role of the Overarching Villain going into Super.
  • Death Note: The Shinigami are by far the most recurring villains in the entire franchise. While they have a bizarre morality, they are a race of extra-dimensional beings who survive by killing humans to extend their own lives. They are gods of death who are the reason why the Kiras are rampant in the Death Note universe, the last of them being C-Kira from the Death Note One-Shot Special; why the notebooks titled Death Note exists, and why Light Yagami is, well... Kira. Their influence is so powerful that even Beyond Birthday, the Big Bad of the prequel novel Death Note: Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Case, owns the eyes of these creatures.
  • Inuyasha has Naraku, a half-demon who is responsible for the protagonist's plight, making him the most personal foe. While he's committed to his evil plan to gather the shards of the Sacred Jewel and corrupt it, his For the Evulz tendencies make him responsible for almost every bad thing Inuyasha, Kagome, and their companions face.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica has the Incubators, with the most well-known one being the cute, but manipulative Kyubey (though they’re technically all the same). They are the cause of the Magical Girl's strife, making them responsible for the appearance of Witches. Even if they aren't the direct cause of the conflict in the story, an Incubator will still make an appearance and be involved in some way.
  • One Piece:
    • Blackbeard is one. He spent several arcs (most of the time offscreen) planning to become a Pirate King, which involves recruiting powerful people to his pirate crew and, with his power, he obtains Whitebeard's Fruit power and then takes over Whitebeard's position as one of the Four Emperors. And after the Time Skip it’s implied that he has gained more Devil Fruit powers, and he has expanded his pirate crew into fleets.
    • Doflamingo is also this as well. Aside from being introduced as one of the 7 Warlords of the Sea many volumes before he gets directly involved with the Straw Hats, Doflamingo is the one who inspired the main antagonist of the Jaya arc, he's the owner of the slave house which causes all the issues in the Sabaody arc, goes in action in the Marineford arc although he remains a bystander for most of the time, and during the Punk Hazard arc Doflamingo is the one behind the production of SMILE. Then Doflamingo becomes the main threat during the Dressrosa arc.
    • The Marines as a group are the most consistent threat the Straw Hats face in their adventures, usually as Mooks and Mini Bosses. They act as direct enforcers of the World Government, the story's Greater Scope Villains.
  • This is the role of Dark Bakura from Yu-Gi-Oh!. Though, in the manga at least, he doesn't appear until the third story arc (this was before Duelist Kingdom, when the story arcs were short), he sticks around for the rest of the series, working out his mysterious plan. Because of this, Dark Bakura is considered to be the Big Bad of the series.
  • Naruto: Tobi aka Obito Uchiha. He was the Big Bad throughout nine arcs, note  but his actions spread to other arcs as well. Almost every antagonist in the series were either the result of his actions (Zabuza and Haku) or his pawns (all members of The Akatsuki) or were with him in ensemble (Orochimaru and Danzo) or duumvirate (Kabuto and Madara). He lost his Big Bad status only in the final arc, but even then, he is still around for most of the arc.
  • Assassination Classroom has Shiro, aka Kotaro Yanagisawa, who is pretty much the Big Bad of the Myth Arc, being responsible for Koro-sensei's transformation into what he is, the reason he will explode in a year, the explosion that destroyed most of the moon, and the death of Aguri Yukimura.
  • Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. He's the Big Bad of Part 1 and 3, and while he's killed off at the end of Part 3, his actions while alive still indirectly influences the following parts in various ways. Especially in Part 6, where the Big Bad is one of his followers who wanted to realize his goals. May not apply anymore, as the series experienced a Continuity Reboot from Part 7 onwards. His counterpart is a borderline Anti-Hero, albeit with a case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, but at the end of the day more The Rival and an arguable tritagonist than anything, though an alternate universe counterpart introduced after his death as the Final Boss is a much more straightforward Expy of Part 3's DIO, and even he's a case of Dragon Their Feet. He doesn't have much impact on Part 8, set over a century later, either.
  • Team Rocket from Pokémon always chase after Ash to get his Pikachu. They have been around since the second episode, and they are still pursuing Ash. Even when more competent villains upstage them, they still stick around. Their boss and the organization they serve counts as well.
  • Vicious from Cowboy Bebop. Vicious is heavily involved in Spike's past, which itself is a big part of the otherwise episodic show's Myth Arc. Whenever Vicious shows up, the episode is always bound to be very deep and personal for the hero and he stays around from his introduction in episode five to the very end, where he and Spike seem to kill one-another.
  • Bleach: Sosuke Aizen, the Big Bad of the pre-timeskip half. While he didn't debut until the Soul Society arc, it is gradually revealed throughout the following arcs that he has masterminded all the events prior to that, deliberately manipulating everyone to achieve his own ends — the final arc goes as far to show that Ichigo wouldn't have been conceived if not for Aizen. Though he was defeated at the series' halfway-point, he remains a driving force to the end, and plays a pivotal role in the Final Battle.
  • Tokyo Ghoul has three:
    • The One-Eyed Owl is the leader of the ghoul supremacist Aogiri Tree- as such, many of the ghoul villains are working for him, and the CCG villains are working against him. Even after being defeated at the end of the third part, her influence remains.
    • The mysterious Kichimura Wasshu is responsible for the incident that turned protagonist Kaneki into a ghoul, works for/manipulates pretty much every faction in the series, and winds up being the Final Boss.
    • Chairman Tsuneyoshi Wasshu is the Greater-Scope Villain who is responsible for everything in the series, as he works with Ancient Conspiracy V to keep the status quo of humans vs ghouls, which puts him in direct conflict with the Owl/Eto, and Kichimura/Furuta is his Bastard Bastard son who sook revenge for what he did to him and Rize.
  • Date A Live has Sir Issac Ray Peram Westcott. While he doesn't appear until Volume 5, Westcott is basically the catalyst of the entire series. He send Mana Takamiya to the AST in Volume 3, send the White Licorice to Japan in Volume 4, and it is confirmed in Volume 17 that he summoned the First Spirit and caused dozens of Spirits to appear on Earth, making him responsible for the creation of AST, Ratatoskr, and the Spacequakes.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has Father in the manga and it's Brotherhood adaptation. Everything that happens in the series is directly caused by him since he is the leader and creator of the Homunculi. Although he doesn't do much himself for most of the series, relying on his Homunculi children to drive the action for him. Father is also the founder and the secret leader of the country of Amestris, with one of his Homonculi, Wrath, acting as it's public leader under the name King Bradley. Additionally, many of the top brass in the Amestris military are aware of Father's existance, and are willingly complicit in his schemes. Father also is also responsible of orchestrating the Ishvalan War, which resulted in the deaths of Scar's family, which put him on the path of vengeance. The Ishvalan genocide served Father's plan to turn the entire country of Amestris into a giant tramsutation circle and absorb Truth, which he gradually completes over the course of the series. Father ends up serving as the Final Boss of the series.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Zeref Dragneel. The Lullaby, Deliora, and most of the members of the Dark Guild Tartaros were demons created by Zeref. Zeref also designed the R-System, which was enventually constructed by Zeref fanatics. Zeref also created the Eclipse Gate, which Future Rogue tried to use in an attempt to Take Over the World. Zeref also created the Alvarez Empire under the alias of Emperor Spriggan. During the first half of the series, Zeref had no interest in intervening in worldly affairs, although many of his creations still caused great deal of suffering and conflict regardlessn. During the second half of the series, however, Zeref actively attempted to wipe out humanity by altering history so that Zeref never became a Dark Wizard.
    • Before Zeref embraced the Big Bad role and Acnologia serving as the Greater-Scope Villain, Hades is the most dangerous, active threat in Earth-land for the first half of Fairy Tail, and can be linked to many of the conflicts before the series' first Time Skip; whenever Ultear is involved, it's under his orders to further his Evil Plan to find the keys to Zeref's "awakening".
  • My Hero Academia:
    • The villain behind most of the series' events is All For One, who actually gets defeated and imprisoned relatively early on in the series. The next arcs then detail his disciple Tomura Shigaraki's rise to power, utilizing the resources and people All For One left for him so he could attain Big Bad status.
    • Tomura Shigaraki himself counts since most arcs tend to involve him or his organization somehow, even the ones where he's not the main threat like the Overhaul Arc.
  • Hunter × Hunter has Hisoka Morow. While most of the antagonists are one-and-done in their respective arcs, Hisoka appears in multiple arcs throughout the course of the series, even when he's not filling the Arc Villain role.
  • Sailor Moon has Chaos in the manga. In the manga, Queen Metalia, Death Phantom, Pharaoh 90 and Queen Nehellenia were all embodiements of Chaos, and Chaos itself was the final Big Bad in the series.
  • Sword Art Online has Vassago Casals, also known as PoH, the founder and leader of the infamous player-killing guild Laughing Coffin. PoH is arguably the most recurring and influential villain in the series, being part of the Big Bad Duumvirate in the Aincrad and Progressive arcs, becoming the Greater-Scope Villain in Phantom Bullet through his influence on XaXa and Johnny Black, and becoming The Dragon for Gabriel Miller, the second Big Bad of the Alicization Arc. It's even implied that he somehow escapes his Fate Worse than Death at Kirito's hands in the Underworld with not even the GDS knowing where he is, implying a possible return in the future.

    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Amongst their Rogues Gallery, Dr. Eggman is the one villain Sonic and the Freedom Fighters can never truly shake. Other villains may steal his thunder, he may be forced into Enemy Mine scenarios, but even a Villainous Breakdown that reduces him to an insane, babbling mess won't stop him from reclaiming the Big Bad title eventually. In issue 197, Zonic the Zone Cop even states outright he and the other Zone Cops haven't done anything about Eggman because the Prime Zone needs him; Sonic was never supposed to decisively defeat the original Robotnik, and despite Eggman coming from a different Zone and wreaking havoc on the Prime one, he shares a near-identical past with Robotnik Prime and is thus the best candidate to fill in for him.
    Zonic: Sonic-Prime has to fight a Robotnik.
  • Grant Morrison 's run on X-Men had Sublime, a body-hopping sentient bacteria colony responsible for spreading anti-mutant prejudice in humanity since the dawn of civilization.
  • Hellboy:
    • The Ogdru Jahad, a group of Eldritch Abominations Hellboy was initially placed on Earth to summon, and spends the series stopping cultists of theirs from finishing the job.
    • Grigori Rasputin is the most prominent of the Ogdru Jahad's acolytes, and Hellboy's most personal foe, as the one who summoned him to Earth in the first place. While he's killed in The Conqueror Worm, his acolytes remain a thorn in the BPRD's side.

    Films — Animation 
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
  • In the X-Men Film Series, Magneto appears in almost every film and is a major enemy, but is only the Big Bad in X-Men and to a lesser extent X-Men: The Last Stand (he shares bad guy duties with Phoenix). The other films that feature the character all have different main villains, with Magneto often helping the X-Men while plotting a way to manipulate the situation to his advantage. That's when he isn't simply acting as an Anti-Hero.
  • Transformers Film Series: Megatron is a major villain in each film, but is only the Big Bad in the first film and in a Big Bad Duumvirate with Sentinel Prime in Dark of the Moon. Even when the Autobots are confronting another enemy, Megatron is always plotting to turn the situation to his advantage. To hammer the point home, his death in Dark of the Moon is only temporary and he returns as Galvatron.
  • Blofeld was the Greater-Scope Villain for most of the first batch of Bond films (with the exception of Goldfinger), but an enduring legal battle that started between Ian Fleming and Kevin McClorynote  extended to the production team behind the Bond films, Eon Productions (Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, then Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson), and prevented them from using both Blofeld and SPECTRE after Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, forcing them to rely on Blofeld Expies and various other one-shot villains for more than 40 years.
    • The legal troubles ended once and for all in 2013, when Eon bought the rights to McClory's estate, which directly led to the official return of Spectrenote  and Blofeld in the aptly named Spectre in 2015, with a new backstory, as they are now part of the Daniel Craig continuity.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thanos, with his plan to gather the Infinity Stones overarching all of the movies in Phases 1-3. He serves as the Greater-Scope Villain in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, then as the Big Bad in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
    • HYDRA also acts as this on a global scale, whenever Thanos or another villain isn't the Big Bad. They are most recurring villains faced by the good guys throughout the movies and shows.
    • Loki has this role in the Thor sub-franchise of films. In Thor, he is the main villain after the Decoy Antagonist Laufey takes a backseat. In Thor: The Dark World, Malekith and the Dark Elves are the villains and Loki is mostly helping Thor until the very end when he is revealed to have faked his death in order to seize the throne of Asgard. His story also extended into The Avengers. His actions in The Dark World also cause the plot of Thor: Ragnarok to happen, since they led to Odin's death, releasing Hela, who conquers Asgard in under an hour.
  • Pazuzu is this for the Exorcist franchise, serving as the Big Bad of the first two films and both prequels, as well as having an active role in the TV series. He is also implied to be the Greater-Scope Villain of The Exorcist III, although Director and author of the original books William Peter Blatty has hinted that the events of the movie may actually be the work of Satan himself. The only installment he definitely does not play a direct role in is The Ninth Configuration, although that film is only tangentially connected to the rest of the series anyway.
  • Freddy Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street films. He is the consistent Big Bad of the series, except for Wes Craven's New Nightmare, which is set in a different canon and features an entity impersonating Freddy Krueger as the main villain. Even in the crossover film Freddy vs. Jason, where he shares the villain spotlight with Jason Voorhees, Freddy is still the mastermind of the film's events.
  • Michael Myers is this for the Halloween films, being both the face of the franchise and the main threat of almost every installment, with the exception of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, where the role of Big Bad is instead fulfilled by Conal Cochran. One could also make the case that the Man in Black serves as the true villain of the Jamie Lloyd arc, although Michael at least still serves an active role in those installments.
  • Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th. Starting with Part 2 and onwards, he served as the Big Bad in every film except Part V and in Freddy vs. Jason. In A New Beginning, Roy Burns uses his persona to become a copycat to avenge his son's death. In Freddy vs. Jason, Jason is an Unwitting Pawn of Freddy Krueger, although Jason is still a major threat in the film, both to the protagonists, and to Freddy himself once Freddy loses control of Jason. In the original film, the Big Bad is not Jason himself, but his mother, Pamela Voorhees, who is killed at the end of the film. Jason's rage over Pamela's death at the end of the first film is the driving force for Jason's actions throughout the rest of the series.
  • The Hellraiser movies have Pinhead. In the first film, he was more of a supporting villain, while Frank and Julia Cotton serve as the main threats. He wasn't even given an actual name in the film, instead being credited as simply "Lead Cenobite". However, his memorable design and Doug Bradley's awesomely creepy performance led to him reappearance in the film's sequel. Even then, however, the role of Big Bad belonged to Channard, with Leviathan acting as the Greater-Scope Villain and even Frank and Julia getting in on the action. Pinhead was once more relegated to a comparatively minor role, although he was still given a decent character arc that ended with him performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save Kirsty. Nevertheless, the character continued to grow in popularity, and starting with the third film, became the default villain of the series. This is actually considered by fans to be where the series jumped the shark, as it meant undoing his Character Development from the second film and resulted in him becoming a significantly less interesting villain.
  • Johan Falk: Seth Rydell is the most recurring villain of the series while other villain usually only appears in one film as a main threat before being killed off. Seth, however, has appeared as an antagonist most times and have had at least some connections to many (but not all) criminal activites that the police are fighting. By the third season of the film-series though, he becomes more of an Anti-Hero.
  • The Saw films have Jigsaw. An interesting example in that he was killed off at the end of the third movie. From Saw IV through Saw 3D, the role of Big Bad was actually fulfilled by Detective Hoffman, while Jigsaw reveals Logan Nelson to be Jigsaw's latest successor. Even in those films, however, Jigsaw continues to appear in flashbacks, and it is made clear that the events of each film are all according to his increasingly elaborate plans.
  • The Strangers series revolves around the Strangers themselves, terrorizing various people for no apparent reason.
  • Terminator has Skynet, which is resposible for causing the conflict in every film of the series except Dark Fate. Skynet is he ultimate villain of the franchise and leading a genocidal war on humanity in the future. Although Skynet is The Ghost until Terminator Salvation, it is responsible for sending the T-800 in The Terminator to kill Sarah Connor in order to prevent the birth of John Connor, the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day after John Connor directly, and the T-X in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines after John again. Terminator Salvation takes place during the time period where it is openly waging war against humanity. In Terminator Genisys, it forcibly converts John Connor into the T-3000. However, in the Terminator: Dark Fate timeline, Skynet is erased from existence due to the events of Terminator 2, but Legion takes it's place. However, even though Skynet no longer exists in the Dark Fate timeline, it still has some influence in the plot, since it sends the Terminator that successfully kills John Connor at the beginning of the film, although the action doesn't save Skynet.
  • The Matrix: Agent Smith. He starts as The Heavy for the machines in The Matrix, before going rogue and forming a Big Bad Ensemble with his former masters throughout The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, eventually becoming Neo's final and most dengerous enemy in Revolutions.
  • Austin Powers has Doctor Evil. He is the Arch-Enemy of Austin Powers, the Big Bad of International Man of Mystery and The Spy Who Shagged Me, and part of a Big Bad Duumvirate with Goldmember in Goldmember.
  • The Christopher Reeve Superman films have Lex Luthor. He is the Big Bad of Superman: The Movie, and ally to General Zod in Superman II, and the Big Bad again in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. He's also the main villain in Superman Returns, which is in the same continuity as the first two Christopher Reeve movies, but ignores the events of Superman III and IV.
  • The Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films have Professor James Moriarty. In the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film, He's not the Big Bad, but he is the brains behind most of Irene's actions, specifically finding one of Blackwood's henchmen, and he orchestrated the theft of Lord Blackwood's radio device. In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Moriarty is the direct Big Bad.
  • The Dexter Reilly films have A.J. Arno, who was the Big Bad in The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and Now You See Him, Now You Don't. However, Arno was Demoted to Dragon in The Strongest Man In The Universe, where Arno was hired by Harry Crumply on belalf of Kirwood Krinkle to rob a formula from a rival company of Krinkle's.
  • The Kill Bill duology has Bill, the former leader of the Deadly Viper Assasination Squad. Bill led the wedding chapel massacre that triggered the Bride's Roaring Rampage of Revenge across both films. Bill also assisted O-Ren Ishii's rise to become a powerful crime boss. Bill himself became the Bride's final enemy.
  • The Kick-Ass films have Chris D'Amico. In the first Kick-Ass film, Chris served as The Mole for his father, Frank D'Amico, where he pretended to be a superhero under the alias "Red Mist", in order to track down Kick-Ass for his father, leading to the Death of Big Daddy. In Kick-Ass 2'', Chris is the main villain, under the supervillain identity of "the Motherfucker".
  • The Poltergeist trilogy has the Beast, whose true indentity was Revealed to by Reverand Henry Kane in the second film.
  • The Phantasm films have the Tall Man, who is the main antagonist of the entire series.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer has the Fisherman/Ben Willis, who is the Big Bad of all three films.
  • The American The Ring films have Samara Morgan, who commits multiple murders over the course of the series.
  • The Eastrail 177 trilogy has Elijah Prince / Mr. Glass. Price is the Big Bad of Unbreakable. The Eastrail 177 crash caused the death of Kevin Wendall Crumb's father, leaving Kevin in the custody of his abusive mother, which led Kevin developing multiple personalities, with Kevin's more malevolent personalities, especially the Beast, serving as the main antagonists of Split, effectively making Prince the Greater-Scope Villain of that film. In ''Glass, Elijah Price / Mr. Glass forms a Villain Team-Up with the Horde / The Beast.
  • Paranormal Activity has The Demon / "Toby", the Big Bad of the franchise.
  • Final Destination has Death. For the entire series, Death is the main antagonist and the one the characters are tying to avoid. Instead of being merely a consequence of a certain action, Death is presented here as an active, personified, malevolent entity.
  • The Fantastic Beasts film series has the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald as the series' main antagonist. The first film, however, depicts him as being a Villain of Another Story, with his actions being present but only in Europe. It is eventually revealed at the end of the first film that the film's Big Bad, Percival Graves, was actually Gellert Grindelwald in disguise. The sequel downright places him as the main antagonist.

    Literature 
  • Anno Dracula: Dracula himself barely appears in the series, but he casts a long shadow. He is directly or indirectly responsible for most of the main threats in each book, as well as the progenitor of most of the more evil vampires in the series.
  • Animorphs has Esplin 9466/Visser Three, the Yeerk enemy the Animorphs encounter the most. There's two Vissers and the Council of Thirteen above him in the Yeerk hierarchy, but Visser Three is the leader of the Earth invasion, the Arch-Enemy of the Animorphs and the primary antagonist of the series. Roughly halfway through the series, he is assigned full control over the invasion of Earth when his rival/superior, Edriss 562/Visser One is reassigned to another planet. Late in the series, Esplin 9466 is ultimately promoted to Visser One and becomes commander-in-chief of the entire Yeerk forces.
  • Artemis Fowl has Opal Koboi from the second book onwards to the very last book. The fourth book, The Opal Deception, is named after her.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events has Count Olaf. No matter where the Baudelaires go, Olaf will be there to try and take them so as to get their fortune. Even when he loses everything, from his henchman to his benefactors, Olaf still plagues the Bauldelaires until his death.
  • Duncton Wood: Rune, possibly. He returns in its sequel Duncton Quest through his leadership as Master of the cruel cult of the Word, led by his daughter Henbane in his conquest to destroy all believers in the Stone, which serves as the main conflict in the two sequel books. After his death in Quest, his legacy continues through his grandson Lucerne in the final book Duncton Found, and provided with flashbacks and quotes through the words of his followers about wanting to become divine through his family line, he seems to be the closest to the ultimate villain in the Duncton Chronicles.
  • Harry Potter: Voldemort. He appears in person in only five of the seven books (pulling a Hijacked by Ganon in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) but he's behind the events of the other two (specifically, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) as well.
  • Tigerstar in Warrior Cats. He dies toward the end of the first arc, but shows up in the Warriors equivalent of hell and remains a major villain until his spirit is killed and he is gone forever at the end of the fourth arc, which was originally intended to be the last arc following the main storyline. He also has a role in several of the side works, including Bluestar's Prophecy, the Tigerstar and Sasha, and The Rise of Scourge mangas, and a POV novella titled Tigerclaw's Fury.
  • The New Jedi Order series has Nom Anor. Introduced in the first book working alongside Starter Villain Prefect Da'Gara, he survives Da'Gara's downfall and becomes the single most recurring antagonist throughout the series, continuing to plague the heroes at numerous points, and even becoming a pseudo-Starscream later on. He even ends up outliving both the Big Bad and The Man Behind the Man, albeit just barely.
  • Luke Castellan and Kronos in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The latter only has a big role in the last two books, but the Big Bads of the first three are his servants.
  • President Snow in The Hunger Games. He's not really a direct antagonist in the first, but he's still at the head of the tyrannical government that created the Games to begin with. He's the outright Big Bad in the second, and a Disc-One Final Boss to Alma Coin in the third. Snow even became the Villain Protagonist of the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes which chronicles his Start of Darkness.
  • Octavia au Lune and The Jackal in Red Rising. Octavia is a Greater-Scope Villain in her series' first book, Big Bad in the second, and Disc-One Final Boss in the third. The Jackal, by contrast, is the Big Bad of Red Rising, an ally to the heroes in Golden Son, and Dragon Ascendant in Morning Star.
  • The Alex Rider books have the Nebulous Evil Organisation Scorpia (which is an acronym for Sabotage, Corruption, Intelligence and Assassination). They were introduced in the fifth book of the original nine-story run (having been briefly mentioned in the ending of the fourth), but were revealed to have played a major part in the series' backstory (which is carried over to the Prequel Russian Roulette), as well as also turning out to be The Man Behind the Man in the first book. They recur in the seventh book, Snakehead, and the originally intended final volume, Scorpia Rising. The organisation disbands following its third and final defeat at Alex's hands, and this was meant to be one of the big indications that the series was now over. A few years later, author Anthony Horowitz decided to revive the series, and the first new book involves Alex tracking down the final members of the organisation's executive board who are still at large.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium has Morgoth and Sauron.
    • Melkor/Morgoth Bauglir is Arda's own Satanic Archetype, even after his defeat his residual energy remains suffused into the world. His servants live on, and all evil things that occur can be linked back to him. The Valar continue to fear Mandos' prophecy that at some point Melkor will break from his confines and rise up in great wrath, bringing terror unto the world in a final, apocalyptic battle.
    • Sauron was this during the 2nd and 3rd Age, becoming the most powerful force of evil in Middle-Earth after Morgoth's imprisonment at the end of the First Age. Under his identity of the Necromancer, he is the Greater-Scope Villain of The Hobbit, serving as a device to give Gandalf a reason to leave the group for chapters at a time to go get information on him. Sauron was the Big Bad of The Lord of the Rings, which revolved aroound the Free Peoples of Middle-Earth attempts to destroy the One Ring, and therefore neutralize Sauron as a threat once and for all, before Sauron could regain his power and conquer Middle-Earth. Even during the portion of Middle-Earth's history where Morgoth was the Big Bad, Sauron still held signicifance as one of Morgoth's Co-Dragons.
  • Sword of Truth has Emperor Jagang, who was the Big Bad for the majority of the series.
  • The Chronicles of Prydain has Arawn Death-Lord. Even though there are other villains vying for the position of Big Bad, Arawn's machinations are the primary driving force of the series' conflict.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24 has Charles Logan in the second half of the series. He isn't introduced until Season 4 and only serves as the main antagonist for two seasons, the fifth and eighth, but several of his actions still result in fallout in later seasons even if he is personally absent. Notably, Tony's entire revenge crusade during the seventh season stems from the fallout of the Sentox conspiracy that he was a part of, and Jack's entire tiff with Cheng Zhi in Season 6 and Live Another Day comes from an incident late in the fourth season, one that would never have occured had Logan not screwed up Jack's attempt to finally capture that season's main villain a few episodes prior.
  • American Horror Story:
    • Satan himself is one for the entire series excluding Coven, Freak Show and Roanoke. He is the Big Bad of Asylum and the Greater-Scope Villain of Murder House, Hotel and Apocalypse. He has corrupted and seduced the owners and denizens of the Murder House and Hotel Cortez for decades, making them give into their sins and commit heinous acts (Which could also include corrupting Tate considering he was born and died in that house). He possesses Tate in order to impregnate Vivian with The Anti-Christ who grows up to be the Big Bad of Apocalypse Michael who starts the apocalypse in Satan's name. However given that Michael is killed and the timeline is reset, it's uknown whether or not the Devil is even still a player in the story anymore.
  • Arrowverse
    • Arrow:
      • Malcolm Merlyn. He's the one villain who's always around. He started off as the Big Bad of Season 1 where he antagonized Oliver Queen as The Hood and earned the title of being his Arch-Enemy. He makes a return in Season 2 where he lurks around after discovering Thea is his daughter and gets hunted by Ra's al-Ghul. He returns to the position of Big Bad in Season 3 where he brings Team Arrow into his conflict with Ra's Al-Ghul by making a mind controlled Thea kill Sara Lance. He then becomes Ra's al-Ghul himself where he is a sometimes ally of Team Arrow before he gets dethroned causing him to run to the safety of new Big Bad Damien Darhk before abandoning him when Darkh goes nuts. Then in Legends of Tomorrow season 2 (occurring alongside Arrow season 5), he goes on to join the Legion of Doom where the Legends have to deal with him. After the Legion is defeated and he's sent back, he gets involved with the final quarter of season 5 during the war against Prometheus. Even with his apparent death in Season 5's finale, his influence still lingers, with Season 6's reveal that he recruited loyalists from the defunct League to form a new group, the Thanatos Guild.
      • The League of Assassins. With the exception of Slade Wilson, every single major villain on the show has had some link with the League. Season 1 Big Bad Malcolm fled to Nanda Parbat after the death of his wife, joining the League and rising through the ranks to become The Dragon (known as "horseman") to Ra's al Ghul before departing to commence his plans for the Undertaking. Season 4's Damien Darhk was a former friend and rival to Ra's al Ghul and started his own organization in H.I.V.E., and Ra's himself was the main villain for Season 3. Even after Ra's was killed at the end of Season 3 and the League itself was permanently disbanded in Season 4, their impact is still felt. Talia Al-Ghul, Oliver's former mentor, has created her own pseudo-League, and aligned herself and taught fellow Season 5 villain Prometheus to get revenge on Oliver for the deaths of their respective fathers. And then there's the above-mentioned Thanatos Guild.
    • The Flash (2014): Eobard Thawne, Barry's first Arch-Enemy and the Big Bad of Season 1, whose impact on Barry's life has influenced his actions both directly and indirectly. Eobard grew up idolizing the Flash, eventually driving him to recreate the events that gave Barry his powers, only to be driven insane by the revelation that he was meant to become his idol's Arch-Enemy. He thus began his career as a supervillain by attacking Barry late into his career as a superhero. Then, fifteen years before the start of the series, Eobard traveled back in time and changed the timeline by killing Nora Allen, ensuring that her son Barry never became the Flash (he was originally there to kill Barry himself, but Future Barry, who was chasing after him, managed to get his younger self out of the line of fire). However, doing so ensured that a younger Eobard was never inspired to imitate the circumstances that gave the Flash his Super Speed in order to get his own, causing the current one to lose his own powers and leaving him stranded in the past (it's also implied the Speed Force did this deliberately to punish him for murdering Nora). In order to get back home, Eobard would have to ensure Barry would become his childhood hero and future Arch-Enemy. As their timelines are reverses of each other, and forever intertwined thanks to Eobard's actions, Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne can never be truly free of each other, a fact that only causes them to hate each other more.
    • Black Lightning has Tobias Whale. The chief crime boss in Freeland and the man who killed Jefferson Pierce's father when he was a child, he's the reason Jeff became Black Lightning in the first place. Their enmity drives most of the plot in the first two seasons, even as the ASA and Markovia also make their presence felt. By Season 3 he's been defeated and locked up in an ASA black site, but does his best Hannibal Lector impression in order to manipulate everyone around him, until he eventually manages to escape; by the end of the season, he's free and scheming again.
  • Babylon 5 has The Shadows, the main villains of three of the show's five seasons (from halfway through season 1 to halfway through season 4) and driving the plot forward. Even after directly disappearing, their allies and servants (the Clarke administration and the Drakh) serve as villains for the remainder of the show.
  • Breaking Bad:
    • Walter White. As the undisputed Villain Protagonist of the entire series, he has been a recurring threat since the beginning of the series, causing a lot of problems both direct and indirect by his own actions. Basically, Walt managed to be the Villain Protagonist, the Dragon with an Agenda between Seasons 3 and 4, and part of the Big Bad Ensemble in Season 5.
    • Gustavo "Gus" Fring as well. He is one of the few antagonists of the show who stayed alive for more than one season. Even after his departure in Season 5, his name remains relevant after the revelation of him being part of a complex corrupt operation where various criminals and white-collar criminals were involved, from minor criminals who were in jail to corrupt corporate executives.
  • Covert Affairs: Lena is this in season three, Henry Wilcox in season four.
  • In Deadly Games, the hero, Gus, designs a video game that comes to life. Each episode was basically playing one level and defeating one boss, but there was also a boss-like Big Bad named Jackal (played by Christopher Lloyd) who also was in every episode, and was supposed to be the ultimate boss.
  • The overarching villain of Dexter is the titular Dexter Morgan, though most seasons have him opposing an Arc Villain who is more evil than he is.
  • The closest that Doctor Who has to a Myth Arc is that the Doctor is a Time Lord and he time travels and fights enemies. That said, the Master would count as an Overarching Villain because he is also a Time Lord, and pretty much the Doctor's Evil Counterpart throughout the series. The Daleks and the Cybermen would also count as they are two of the Doctor's Arch Enemies, and are recurring threats throughout the series.
  • Game of Thrones
    • The series has slowly revealed resident backstabber Petyr Baelish as the driving force behind most of the series' non-supernatural events, including the War of the Five Kings. He has thus served as an antagonist for the entirety of the show's run (so far). Until Sansa has him executed at the end of Season Seven, by which point Cersei Lannister and the Night King have taken over the role of antagonist.
    • Cersei Lannister begins the series as the de facto Big Bad for the first season before being hastily pushed into Big Bad Wannabe for most of the series after Joffrey proves utterly uncontrollable and far more effective masterminds such as Tywin, Olenna Tyrell and the High Sparrow leave her grasping at thin air. After a drawn-out Villainous Breakdown through Season 5 and 6 she goes off the deep end and wipes out everyone to usurp the Iron Throne. Towards the end of Season 8 she's finally brought down by Daenerys, the last villain standing.
    • The Night King is the leader of the White Walkers. Although he doesn't make his first onscreen appearance until Season 4, the threat his forces pose to Westeros has been built up since the very first scene of the series, up until his demise halfway through Season 8. The threat of the White Walkers drove the Free Folk, under the leadership of Mance Rayder, to invade the land south of the Wall in an attempt to escape the White Walkers. The Night King led an invasion on Hardhome, and he is personally responsible for the deaths of the Three-Eyed Raven and Viserion, the latter of which reanimated as one of his undead minions, and used to destroy a piece of the Wall, allowing his forces to invade the second season. During the latter half of the series, Jon Snow spends much of his efforts on attempting to unite enough of humanity to stand a fighting chance against the Night King.
  • Gotham:
    • The first season introduces several villains, including a seemingly dweeby Oswald Cobblepot (later to become iconic Batman villain "The Penguin"). Because of his looks and awkward, creepy behavior, most of the dons and gangsters (as well as policemen) in the show dismiss him as a nobody, a third-rate character not worth their notice, but it is revealed in the episode "Penguin's Umbrella" that he has really been the Diabolical Mastermind behind most of the goings-on of the season. And at the end of the season, he engineers a Mob War, creating an Evil Power Vacuum that he's then able to step in and fill as the new leader of Gotham's underworld. From then on, his power waxes and wanes depending on the threat level of the parade roster of new Big Bads, but while they come and go, he stays on.
    • There's also the matter of the conspiracy controlling Wayne Enterprises. Aside from killing Bruce's parents (creating the instability that enabled Penguin's actions above), they're also involved in a number of other criminal activities throughout the series, including the chemical experiments in Wellzyn and backing Hugo Strange's experiments in Arkham in Season 2. The end of that season reveals that they are the Court of Owls, who take center stage as villains through Season 3, until the end of the season reveals they were ultimately just puppets of Ra's Al-Ghul. He then becomes the Big Bad for Season 4, and while he dies in the finale, his influence is still felt the next season because of having completed his Evil Plan anyway.
  • Once Upon a Time: Rumpelstiltskin. He found and modified the Dark Curse (ensuring that the person he chose would be the one to break it) that sent all the fairy tale characters to Earth to begin with and saw to it that Regina got her hands on it, is responsible for helping to create most of the other Big Bads in the show, and unlike other mainstay foes Evil Queen Regina and Captain Hook, he has never made a stable Heel–Face Turn and continues to do terrible things that jeopardizes everyone's safety. Even in the last season, when his only real goal is to rid himself of his powers so he can finally die, his counterpart from an alternate timeline is the final threat to be overcome.
  • Sherlock: Jim Moriarty is Sherlock's Arch-Enemy and the Big Bad of the first two seasons, having a hand in the cases of almost every episode. Even after his apparent suicide, he still makes numerous appearances throughout season 3 in flashbacks and imaginary sequences and makes a surprise comeback at the end of the season that suggests he actually faked his death. He once again serves (more-or-less) as the Big Bad of the special episode "The Abominable Bride" that takes place between season 3 and 4, and he also has a major role in the events of season 4 even though he's long dead by this point.
  • Stargate SG-1 has Ba'al, a Goa'uld System Lord introduced among several one-offs in season 5's "Summit". Though he never became a primary antagonist until the Stargate Continuum movie, he is a recurring villain through the remainder of the series five seasons later, and even helps take down Anubis and the Replicators in "Reckoning".
  • Gul Dukat and Kai Winn from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine hold the distinction of being the only antagonists in the series to have consistent recurring appearances through the entire length of the show. Dukat in particular was introduced in the pilot and finally defeated for good in the finale. He was also the only antagonist to manage to kill one of the main characters, and the only character affiliated with both the Dominion and the Pah-wraiths, the two major villanous factions in the series.
  • Supernatural:
    • Crowley. While only introduced in Season 5, near the end of the original Myth Arc, he has since become the longest-running villain on the show, alternating between being a member of the Big Bad Ensemble and being in an Enemy Mine with the Winchesters, depending on the seasonal Story Arc.
    • The original Myth Arc had Lucifer. He initially only appeared in Season 5, but was nevertheless The Man Behind the Man to all the previous major villains. And even after his defeat, he continued to hold this role: The events of season 6 were caused by the angel Raphael wanting to free Lucifer once again (and Michael) and thus restart the Apocalypse. In season 7, an imprint of him tormented Sam (and later Castiel) for several episodes. In season 8, his crypts come into play, as it's revealed he had hidden powerful artifacts in them, and the existence of these artifacts (the angel tablet in particular) fuels the plot for the rest of the season. In addition, Abaddon is introduced, who is a Knight of Hell created by Lucifer himself, and trained by Cain, who himself had made a deal with Lucifer (and later became a demon) to save his brother. In season 9, we find out that Gadreel was tricked by Lucifer, allowing him into the Garden of Eden, causing Gadreel to be so filled with guilt that he's easily manipulated by one of season 9's main antagonists, Metatron. (The other antagonist being the previously mentioned Abaddon.) In season 10, it's revealed that Lucifer originally possessed the Mark of Cain, which caused him to become spiteful towards humanity, before giving the Mark to Cain as part of their deal. The Mark itself is the main driving force of the season. In season 11, he finally fully returns, manipulating Sam and Castiel into freeing him, leading to him possessing Castiel for half the season, in order to team up against the Darkness. And in season 12, he returns to his antagonist role, causing havoc for the fun of it and siring a Nephilhim. This continues into season 13, where he takes advantage of the pending threat of the Alternate Universe version of Michael invading the main reality to try and trick everyone into trusting and obeying him and in the finale goes full Omnicidal Maniac, planning to wipe out the universe, before Dean manages to finally kill him with Michael's help. In season 14, his influence is still felt as Lucifer's former vessel Nick (who somehow survived), wracked with Stockholm Syndrome from being possessed by Lucifer for so long, spends the entire season trying to bring the dead Lucifer back from the eternal void outside reality, only to be stopped at the last second by Jack. In season 15, Lucifer even returns one last time in the Grand Finale when he's resurrected by God himself, who by this point has been revealed to be just as evil as his son.
  • The Cigarette-Smoking Man from The X-Files is the closest the series has to a main villain. Though The Dragon to the Syndicate in the early seasons, he moves up through the ranks of The Conspiracy, and continues being the major villain even after the original conspiracy is obliterated by the aliens in season 6.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has HYDRA. Season 1's main antagonist force, Project Centipede, is revealed in the last quarter of the season (which coincides with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where they're also the villains) to be a HYDRA faction. Season 2's Big Bad Ensemble is composed of people who are either members of HYDRA or were Driven to Villainy by HYDRA's actions. In Season 3 they're the main villains again, with a major part of the season's Story Arc being the reveal that they're descended from a cult in service to an ancient Inhuman, who takes up the Big Bad mantle in the back half of the season. By Season 4, HYDRA itself is seemingly crushed for good, but many of their foot soldiers and resources are incorporated by the Watchdogs (whom HYDRA had established in Season 3); also, the last third of the season is set in the Framework, a virtual reality where HYDRA has successfully taken over the world. And one of the main antagonists in Season 5, General Hale, is revealed to be the leader of what appears to be HYDRA's last remnant.
    • Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk is the main villain for seasons 1 and 3, with a two episode arc in season 2 while he's in prison. Yet even when he's not around, his presence can be felt outside of Daredevil.
      • Luke Cage (2016): Harlem's crime circles include some figures who also are part of Fisk's syndicate. Fisk's crooked lawyer Benjamin Donovan also has Mariah Dillard for a client. And Turk Barrett has ties to the Harlem criminals in addition to his previous work with Fisk.
      • The Defenders (2017): The Hand's headquarters of Midland Circle, as well as their deep hole to obtain dragon bones, were built thanks to the Hand using their alliance with Fisk in Daredevil season 1 to buy up and then demolish Elena Cardenas' tenement building.
  • BOB is effectively this for Twin Peaks. Serving as a enigmatic and only occasionally seen entity in the first season, he is revealed in Season 2 to be responsible for the death of Laura Palmer, making him responsible for most of the events on the show. He is temporarily sidelined later in the season in favor of Jean Renault and Windom Earle, but he eventually returns by the end of the show's original run. He then goes on to act as the Big Bad of the show's prequel/sequel film, and both he and the Doppleganger serve as the Big Bad Duumvirate of The Return, although the two of them are implied to be small fries compared to the franchise's Greater-Scope Villain Judy.
  • iZombie has Blaine DeBeers. The Big Bad of Season 1, circumstances in Season 2 force him and the heroes into an Enemy Mine situation that evolves into a semi-Friendly Enemy state that lasts for the next several seasons. Come Season 5, however, he slides back into more outright antagonistic behavior, solidifying himself as Liv and company's enemy for the final stretch of the series.
  • Stranger Things has the Mind Flayer. It is the Greater-Scope Villain of Season 1 — the Demogorgon was basically its attack dog, and hardly the only one of its kind. It serves as the Big Bad in Season 2, as its control of Will and the Demodogs drive the plot, which are all part of its attempt at an Alien Invasion from the Upside Down. It also fills this role of Big Bad in Season 3, although it shares it with the Russians.
  • Justified has Boyd Crowder, who is the most constant opponent of series protagonist Raylan Givens, and serves as the default heavy whenever the seasonal villains aren't driving things.
  • Kamen Rider has The Great Leader of Shocker, especially in the Showa Era. He is The one leading Shocker and responsible for everything bad that happens in the series. He returns as the main antagonist of the movies OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders and Super Hero Taisen GP Kamen Rider 3, and can pretty much be considered the main antagonist for the Kamen Rider franchise as a whole. When the enemies of the Riders come together to team up, the Greater Leader's always the one on top.
  • Pretty Little Liars has CeCe Drake / Charlotte DiLaurentis / Big A. She is the Big Bad of Seasons 3, 4, 5, and 6A. Additionally, Alex Drake / "Uber A", the Big Bad after CeCe Drake's death, was initially driven by finding Charlotte's killer and continuing the Liars' harassment on Charlotte's behalf.
  • Heroes has Sylar. Even though each season has it's own Big Bad, Slyar is the overall villain of the series.
  • Lost has The Smoke Monster, a.k.a. The Man in Black. He spends several seasons manipulating everyone from behind-the-scenes, only showing up occasionally to terrorize people in his monster form or manipulate them in the form of dead characters, until he's finally revealed to be the series Big Bad towards the end of Season 5, and finally plays the role directly for the entirety of the final season. Even Ben Linus, once of the shows most prominent recurring villains, was a pawn to the Man in Black from an early age.

    Multiple Media 
  • BIONICLE has Makuta Teridax, whose role in forcing the Great Spirit Mata Nui into a deep sleep drives the main arc of waking the Great Spirit up/saving him from dying. Even when he's not confronting the heroes directly he acts as the Greater-Scope Villain as his minions, Unwitting Pawns, or co-conspirators in the Brotherhood of Makuta do his dirty work. The only two times he wasn't the Man Behind the Man to the Arc Villains were in the Mahri Nui arc, where they were actually old enemies he thought to be long-dead and was working with the heroes to stop them, and in the Bara Magna arc, as he had already won and Mata Nui was on a different planet solving the problems of the locals in an attempt to find a method of fighting back against him.
  • Star Wars Legends had the Dark Side- which is more of an abstract cosmic force that can't be dealt with directly- and The Sith, the Arch-Enemy of the Jedi and the Big Bad of almost every major conflict over a 5,000 year period of galactic history, building evil empires and instigating wars directly and indirectly. There have been various iterations of the Sith Order and they fight themselves as much as the Jedi, but they operate as part of the same overarching tradition and are considered such a threat that simply being a Sith is considered grounds for arrest and possible summary execution if resistance is met.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has the Shredder, leader of the Foot Clan. Ironically starting off as the Starter Villain and villain of the week, the Shredder has become the most traditional antagonist of the franchise, and is usually expected to be the Big Bad whenever he appears.
  • G.I. Joe has the Cobra Commander, who serves as the Big Bad, or at least a major villain, in most iterations of the series.
  • The Karate Kid: Has John Kreese. He is Cobra Kai Dojo has become such a band of bullies. He is the Big Bad of The Karate Kid (1984), as the leader of the Cobra Kai Dojo, with his student Johnny Lawrence serving as the film's Heavy. In The Karate Kid Part III, Kreese is part is a Big Bad Duumvirate his friend, Terry Silver. In Cobra Kai, Kreese is the Greater-Scope Villain of Season 1, since Johnny unwittingly channels Kreese's teachings when he accidentally corrupts his own students into the same type of bullies he used to be. In Season 2 of Cobra Kai, Kreese returns as the Big Bad, where he's responsible for encouraging the aggression of the Cobra Kai kids in season 2. After the school brawl, Kreese seizes control of the Cobra Kai dojo along with the loyalty of eight of its students (of which Hawk, Tory, Stingray, and Mitch are involved).
  • Evil Dead has the Evil Force that brings about the Deadites, posseses people and trees and even Ash's severed hand.

    Radio 

    Video Games 
  • The Templar Order and its corporate front Abstergo Industries are omnipresent in every installment of Assassin's Creed as the eternal Arch-Enemy to the Assassin Brotherhood.
  • Red Dead Redemption 1 and 2: Dutch van der Linde is the most important villain to both games even if whether or not he's actually evil is left open to interpretation. He manages to be the Deuteragonist and the Arc Villain of Chapter 6 in the second game, and part of the Big Bad Ensemble in the first game. In II the more direct villains are the Pinkertons and Micah Bell but it's ultimately Dutch's descent into madness that dooms pretty much everyone in his gang. Right before the start of the game, the gang steals $100,000 (worth a little over $4,000,000 today when adjusted for inflation) off a banking ferry as their One Last Job. All two dozen or so in his gang were going to use the money to go straight but Dutch gets goaded into killing a girl in cold blood on the ferry, which got the attention of the law. In their haste to escape the scene, he has to stash the money while the rest of the gang flees into the mountains. Dutch spends the rest of the game getting them into worse and worse straights in his attempt to replace the take even though the more logical decision would have been to do odd jobs for a year or so to live off of and then go back for the money once the trail's gone cold. They eventually find themselves in conflict with the Army as a means to escape. Needless to say by the end of the story, everyone realizes the money is , for all intents and purposes, gone for good and he doesn't actually want the money, he just wants to cause chaos. Arthur, the protagonist of II would have died eventually because he had TB but him losing favor to Micah makes Dutch see less and less reason. His actions lead to the deaths of himself, John, Uncle, Bill, and Javier in I as well as those of Jenny, the Callender brothers, Sean, Hosea, Lenny, Susan, Molly, and Micah in II. By the end of I , Charles and Sadie are the only active members of the gang at the beginning of II who aren't confirmed to have died by the end of I. In many ways, Dutch is an essential part of the major conflicts in the series.
  • Grand Theft Auto:
  • Super Mario Bros.: Bowser is always Mario’s Arch-Enemy and the Big Bad and the Final Boss in most games; more than any other video game villain, in fact. Even when he is not the Big Bad, he will either attempt to turn the situation to his advantage or be possessed by the Big Bad themselves, meaning he will always get involved.
    • Bowser is also this in the Yoshi's Island sub-series, either in his child or adult self. Even if Kamek is technically the Big Bad, Bowser is always the Final Boss.
    • The Luigi's Mansion series has King Boo, who has appeared in every game as the main antagonist, always coming up with a plan to eliminate Luigi after he has captured Mario. King Boo is the Arch-Enemy to Luigi as Bowser is to Mario.
  • The Legend of Zelda has Ganon/Ganondorf, who is the Trope Namer for Hijacked by Ganon, so it shouldn't come as a surprise for him to be this trope. Ganon is always Link's Archenemy and many times the Big Bad, even when other villains appear to be this. Even when he doesn't appear, he still has a presence of dread that extends throughout.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword reveals that this trope is encoded into the DNA of the series by way of Demise's curse haunting future generations of Link and Zelda. Ganondorf is but one incarnation that his hatred can take, although he's certainly the most prevalent.
  • The Mother series has Gigue/Giygas, who appears in the first installment and is finally defeated for good in the second, but his influence lingers on in the third, and Porky Minch, who appears in the second installment and becomes the main villain of the third.
  • Mega Man:
  • Compilation of Final Fantasy VII has Sephiroth and Professor Hojo.
    • Sephiroth is the most recurring antagonist in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series and in spin-off titles, even when he doesn’t take on the antagonistic role, he still appears in many VII games.
    • For Professor Hojo, almost every single other antagonist of the Compilation can be traced back to him and his actions — Sephiroth, Deepground, and Elfe were created by his experiments, and Hollander rebelled against Shinra with Genesis because he felt snubbed by Hojo. However, he's never an instigator of the central conflict until Dirge of Cerberus.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has two of them:
    • The Empire of Garlemald a.k.a. the Garlean Empire, who wants to take over Eorzea and rid it of its godlike beings. Even after their defeat the end of A Realm Reborn's initial storyline, they (primarily their emperor's death and the resulting Succession Crisis) caused some effects to the storyline (such as driving the Domans to take refuge in Erozea). Two characters from the empire also take part in a subplot each, one being the Token Evil Teammate to an exhibition of the Crystal Tower, and the other being dead and revived as Bahamut's servant. Patch 2.4 reveals that they have crowned a new emperor and are coming back in full force in the near future.
    • The Ascians, who remain an active force even after the end of A Realm Reborn, being the main reason why the Primals are summoned in the first place, as well as having an implied connection to The Echo, the same gift the Player Characters and Minfilia were given.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog has Doctor Eggman note , Sonic's Arch-Enemy and the most prominent and recurring antagonist. He usually serves as the Big Bad of the main series of games, or kickstarts the plot by attempting to use another villain. Even if he loses his status as Big Bad, he'll always find a way to take back the position.
  • Castlevania has Dracula. In most games, the main antagonist is either Dracula himself or one of his followers attempting to revive him, and Dracula is, with a few exceptions, usually the Final Boss either way. The vast majority of the series, which spans over hundreds of years, focuses on Dracula's efforts to wage war against both humanity and God himself as revenge for the death of his wives, and the efforts of various Vampire Hunters to defeat him. The Belmont Clan have dedicated their entire lineage to taking down Dracula, and in fact became a clan of vampire hunters in the first place as a direct result of Dracula's actions. Even after Dracula's final defeat in 1999, his influence on the plot persists in the Castlevania: Chronicles of Sorrow duology, where The Protagonist, Soma Cruz, is a heroic reincarnation of Dracula, and the antagonists in those two games attempted to either replace Dracula as the new Dark Lord, or to force Soma to revert to his previous villainy.
  • Albert Wesker of Resident Evil used to be a generic mole who died shortly after he was revealed to be the main villain of the original game, but Capcom ultimately decided to have him return by faking his death, double-crossing both the BSAA and Umbrella, and eventually becomes the Big Bad on his own in Resident Evil 5, albeit with a god complex.
  • Mannimarco, The King of Worms is a recurring villain of The Elder Scrolls franchise. As the first lich of Tamriel, he orchestrated various major events in Tamriel, including the Dark Anchor incident, the Warp of the West, the arranged marriage for the Wolf Queen, and numerous massacres of the Mages Guild members throughout two eras.
  • Batman: Arkham Series has The Joker, Batman's Arch-Enemy and the most recurring Big Bad throughout the series. He's the main antagonist of Batman: Arkham Asylum, appears in Batman: Arkham City, and the one who actually put a bounty on Batman's head while disguised as Black Mask in in Batman: Arkham Origins. Even after dying at the end of Arkham City, the Joker's legacy still plays a great role in Batman: Arkham Knight, and he even appears as a hallucination tormenting Batman as his personality tries to take over.
  • The "Dark Seeker Saga" note  of Kingdom Hearts has Master Xehanort. All the problems Sora and his friends face throughout the games can be traced back to Xehanort or one of his incarnations or pawns. note  While Xehanort's role as the Big Bad comes to an end after Kingdom Hearts III, fans have speculated his presence will continue to influence the greater cosmology of the series in future games, something that may have already been proven true in a way: one of his vessels, Braig/Xigbar, is revealed to be none other than Luxu from Kingdom Hearts χ and was secretly manipulating Master Xehanort the entire time, while the next arc of the series kicks off with the heroes searching for Sora after his Heroic Sacrifice in III, which only came about because Sora had to use the Power of Waking to save Kairi after she was offed by Master Xehanort in the final battle.
  • Shantae has Risky Boots, the pirate Arch-Enemy of the titular protagonist. With the exception of Shantae and the Pirate's Curse note , Risky acts as the Big Bad of every game she appears in, acting upon some scheme that Shantae has to stop.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's has the Purple Guy aka William Afton, a serial killer whose murder of six note  children end up causing the haunting of the animatronics that appear in the games. While he is only directly involved in Five Nights at Freddy's 3 and Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator as Springtrap and Scraptrap respectively, almost every bad thing that happens in the series can be traced back to him.
  • Arfoire, personification of piracy, is the Big Bad of Hyperdimension Neptunia and the Greater-Scope Villain in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. Played with in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory and its sequel; while she still appears villainous, she's not the one driving the events of that game, but is instead a minion of the real Big Bad of those respective games.
  • Genevieve Collins (Volumes 1 thru 13) and Firstborn (remainder) for Cause of Death.
  • Yuuki Terumi is the man responsible for pretty much every single fucked up thing that transpires in BlazBlue, be it by directly and actively making things as bad as he possibly can, like that time he burned down the church that Ragna and his orphaned siblings lived in, murdered Celica Mercury, the nun taking care of them, cut off Ragna's right arm, Mind Raped Ragna's little brother and kidnapped Ragna's little sister in order to use her as a template for Clones of Mass Destruction; or by manipulating events, like the time he taught Ayatsuki Shuuichirou and Relius Clover how to create the Black Beast in order to destroy the world, or that other time when he founded the Novus Orbis Librarium and Sector Seven and then played them against each other in order to create a Crapsack World.
  • The Trails Series has Ouroboros. From Colonel Richard's attempted coup to the Erebonian civil war, Ouroboros has been there, manipulating Zemuria from behind the scenes.
  • Ridley is the most recurring villain for the Metroid franchise. While he doesn't act as the one main antagonist of any of the individual games, he appears most out of all the antagonists, showing up in almost every game in the series as a boss Samus has to deal with. The only games he doesn't appear in are Metroid II: Return of Samus, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Metroid Prime: Hunters, and Metroid Prime: Federation Force, and when Metroid II was given the Video Game Remake treatment in the form of Metroid: Samus Returns, Ridley was included as the Final Boss in order to bridge the gap between his appearances in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and Super Metroid. The manga shows us why he is always chasing Samus and hates her so much, with Samus very much reciprocating that hatred. Along with returning from the dead every time he is seemingly killed, it's very likely that his pursuit of Samus isn't going to stop any time soon.
  • The Modern Warfare trilogy has Vladmir Makarov. His influence has shaped its events and was part of a Big Bad Ensemble with General Shepherd in Modern Warfare 2, the sole Big Bad of Modern Warfare 3, and the Greater-Scope Villain of the first installment, making a cameo in its remastered version.
  • Sega's Phantasy Star series has Dark Force (or Dark Falz), an Eldritch Abomination that manifests every 1,000 years in the Algo star system and is usually each game's Big Bad. Phantasy Star IV reveals that Dark Force is merely a fragment of an even worse entity called the Profound Darkness. When the Profound Darkness is destroyed at the end, supposedly this puts an end to the Dark Force cycle for good, although he still manages to show up in one form or another in the Online and Universe games.
  • Danganronpa: Monokuma, true name Junko Enoshima as the end of the first game reveals, is the host of the Deadly Game in each main installment, as well as the Evil Overlord of the Villain World- the heroes’ goal is to overthrow her and bring back hope to the world, and every other villain in the series has at least a connection to him. In Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, even though the game supposedly takes place in an Alternate Universe, the Big Bad Tsumugi is a Loony Fan of Junko who aims to continue her Villainous Legacy.
  • Zero Escape has Zero II/Brother/Q/Delta for the series as a whole, as he is the leader of Free The Soul, Akane's Arch-Enemy, and the one who manipulates the other characters and events of the series according to his plan—which, that being said, is to save humanity from a religious fanatic, whether that be through killing the Fanatic and six million through Radical-6, or engineering all the Deadly Games to get the participants to master their Time Travel powers. Akane's antagonism, including creating the two Nonary Games, was done to stop Delta—which unbeknownst to her was All According to Plan.
  • The Science Adventure Series has the Committee of 300, who plan to reduce humanity to a population of one billion and unite the remainder under a single totalitarian government. Every individual Big Bad in the series has some kind of connection to them, directly or not.
  • Ace Combat has two overarching villains:
    • The first is Belka. After their defeat in the Belkan War, Belka created an A.I. called the "Zone of Endless", and sent it to support the rebels in the Usean Uprising. Then a group of them called the Grey Men manipulated events behind the scenes to get Osea and Yuktobonia to go to war with one another in the Circum-Pacific War. They also gave technology to the Estovakians that allowed them to build the Aigaion, which they used to nearly conquer their neighoring country of Emmeria in the Anean Continental War. Then they give advanced drone technology to Erusea in the Lighthouse War, which leads to the second overarching villain.
    • The Zone of Endless, as mentioned above, was created during the Usean Uprising but was shot down by Scarface One. After it was secretly recovered, the Belkans would give the technology to the Eruseans to control their drone army. As the Lighthouse War dragged on, the Eruseans would gradually improve the A.I. with flight data from Mihaly, which eventually lead to the creation of Hugin and Munin. After they were shot down by Trigger, at some point after the Lighthouse War, Simon Orestes Cohen, would acquire the technology behind them, and use it to create Nemo, an A.I. that he intended to use to kill Abyssal Dision during the Inter-Corporate War, that a simulation that he created had predicted.
  • Bomberman has Buggler as the Bombermen's most prominent, dangerous, and vile adversary. While he's not the Big Bad of every game, and he has different affiliations throughout the series, he is definitely the villain most associated with the Bombermen and he is guaranteed to be the main antagonist whenever he appears.
  • Andross is by far the most recurring Star Fox villain. Even in games where he's not present, his family or forces tend to be involved somehow. Star Fox: Assault actually begins with his nephew Andrew leading the remnants of his armada into a Lylat System takeover, while Star Fox Command implies the Anglar menace was born of the experiments Andross conducted while exiled to Venom. In one of the endings to Command, it's also suggested that Andross's heroic grandson Dash will eventually turn out much like he did.
  • Kirby:
  • Crash Bandicoot has Doctor Neo Cortex and Uka Uka.
  • Mortal Kombat has Shao Kahn. He is the ruler of Outworld and a recurring villain throughout the series. He was the Greater-Scope Villain to Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat, was the Big Bad in Mortal Kombat II and Mortal Kombat 3, was the canonical winner of Mortal Kombat Armegeddon, was the Big Bad again in Mortal Kombat 9, and was an ally to Kronika in Mortal Kombat 11. In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Shao Kahn was one of the intended targets of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Shang Stung and Quan Chi, where the two apparently killed him, only for Mortal Kombat: Deception to reveal that the two only succeeded in killing a clone, and the real Shao Kahn was actually alive. Meanwhile, his actual death in Mortal Kombat 9 results in a power vacuum on Outworld that continues into Mortal Kombat X.
  • Street Fighter has M. Bison. He is the Big Bad of (chronologically speaking) Street Fighter Alpha, Street Fighter II, and Street Fighter V. Bison is also responsible for the creation of Seth, who is the main antagonist of Street Fighter IV.
  • Donkey Kong Country has King K. Rool. The leader of the Kremling Krew and Donkey Kong's answer to Bowser. He returns as the bad guy in the sequels with a new persona and gimmick (Kaptain K. Rool and Baron K. Roolstein), even hijacking the plot in Donkey Kong Country 3. He is supplanted by Tiki Tong in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Lord Frederick in Tropical Freeze, however.
  • Banjo-Kazooie has Gruntilda Winkybunion. She plotted the abduction of Tooty, leading to the events of the first game. Her defeat leads to a strong desire of revenge in all subsequent games.
  • Monkey Island has LeChuck. He is usually the big bad, Except in Escape where, in a surprise twist, he's revealed to be The Dragon to the game's real main villain, Ozzie Mandrill.
  • Borderlands has Handsome Jack. He is the Greater-Scope Villain in 'Borderlands 1, due to being behind the unsealing of the first Vault. He is the Big Bad of Borderlands 2. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! shows his slide into full-on lunatic supervillainy. Even though he dies at the end of Borderlands 2 he still manages to crop up as a digital ghost in Tales from the Borderlands.
  • Warcraft (and World of Warcraft by extension) has Sargeras, the founder and master of the Burning Legion. Sargeras recruited Kil'jaeden and Archimonde to be his lieutenants in the Burning Legion. Sargera's possessed Medivh and used him to influence the the Horde into invading Azaroth, which ultimately led to the Alliance being created to combat the Horde, resulting in the Alliance and the Horde having a longstanding conflict. One of Sargeras' lieutenants, Ki'jaeden, was the creator of the Lich King, The Man Behind the Man to Illidan Stormrage in The Frozen Throne, and the Big Bad of The Burning Crusade. Sargeras' other lieutenant, Archimonde, was the main antagonist of Warcraft III and the Final Boss of Warlords of Draenor. Sargeras himself was the direct Big Bad in Legion.
    • N'zoth is another one of the longest-running antagonists in World of Warcraft, having been working in the shadows for several expansions. He was the master of Deathwing, who was the main antagonist of Cataclysm. Legion heavily implied he'll be taking center stage soon, which came to pass in Battle for Azeroth. Suffice it to say, if Sargeras isn't behind something, N'zoth's the most likely culprit.
  • Halo has The Gravemind. His desire to assimilate everyone into the Flood contrasts the Prophet of Truth's desire to become a God by activating the Halo rings, so they remained the top pair of antagonists despite being diametrically opposed to one another for 2 and 3. His own willingness to assist with Master Chief and Thel Vadam in stopping Truth makes him a secondary antagonist, however, and he claims the rein as main threat after Truth is killed. However, subsequent supplement material slowly, but surely, establish Gravemind as the main villain for the entire series due to his true nature and direct hand in the state of the universe as it is now.
  • Mass Effect has the Reapers. The whole point of the Mass Effect Trilogy is to bring them down, and they're behind much of the villains in each game except for Andromeda, where they still play an indirect Greater-Scope Villain role.
  • LEGO Island has the Brickster. In LEGO Island and LEGO Island 2, he executes a plot to deconstruct LEGO Island. In Island Xtreme Stunts, he ups the ante and tries to deconstruct the entire world.
  • Dishonored has Delilah Copperspoon. She is one of the few characters to appear in both 1 and 2 and the only one that every Player Character (Corvo, Daud, Emily, Billie) have opposed and who even the Outsider turns against, making her the most recurrent and dangerous threat, second only to The Outsider.
  • Diablo, the Lord of Terror, is the Big Bad of the series that bears his name, with the exception of Diablo IIs and IIIs expansion packs. However, in Diablo II, Diablo shares this status with his two brothers, Mephisto and Baal, as the "Prime Evils."
  • Assassin's Creed has the Templars. They've been on this earth ever since Cain founded the earliest known Templar sect, and will always continue to plague the Assassins, no matter how many members they kill.
  • Half-Life has the Combine. In Half-Life, The Combine are the Greater Scope Villains, since that game's Big Bad, the Nihilinth, is invading Earth in order to flee from the Combine. They are the main antagonists of Half-Life 2 and subsequent episodes.
    • The Portal sub-series has GLaDOS, who serves as the main antagonist of the first Portal game, as well as the first half of Portal 2. In the second half of Portal 2, she is replaced by Wheatley, who was originally built as an intelligence inhibitor to limit the threat GLaDOS posed, only to become Drunk with Power when he took GLaDOS's place in the mainframe, forcing Chell to form an Enemy Mine with GLaDOS to defeat him.
  • The The Witcher video games have Eredin Bréacc Glas. Despite Salamandra and the Kingslayers forming the first two games' immediate threats, his conflict with Geralt forms the basis of the Myth Arc.
  • The System Shock games have SHODAN. For the first game, she is the Big Bad and the entire game is spent trying to stop her and her designs. In the second, she actually aids the player for most of the game against the Many, who were the initial Big Bads of the game. The Many were created by SHODAN, only to turn on on her and strike out on their own as villains. Once the Many are defeated, SHODAN makes her own grab for power at the very end, reasserting her status as the Big Bad.
  • Live A Live: Odio, who is the final boss and main antagonist in every hero's chapter, in one form or another. The exception is the eighth chapter, when the heroic knight Oersted suffers repeated betrayal and heartbreak and ultimately becomes Odio.
  • The Soul Series has the evil (and sentient) sword Soul Edge, whose main goals is the harvest of souls and creating unending chaos on the world. The sword acts through possessing its wielder, using Cervantes in the first game (Soul Edge/Blade) and Siegfried (under the Nightmare persona) in the first and second SoulCalibur games. In Soul Calibur III Soul Edge gains independence and assumes the Nightmare identity for itself, although it ends up serving as The Dragon to Zasalamel in that game. In Soul Calibur IV, despite the role of Final Boss going to Soul Edge's creator, Algol, Soul Edge/Nightmare is the game's actual Big Bad, as he is the one behind the whole conflict, the reason every character gathers at Osthreinsburg Castle and the one who opens the rift to the Astral Chaos (setting Algol free) is actually Soul Edge/Nightmare.
  • Ratchet & Clank has Doctor Nefarious. Nefarious has introduced as the Big Bad of Up Your Arsenal. At the end of Quest for Booty, it is revealed that the reason the Zoni kidnapped Clank in Tools of Destruction was because Dr. Nefarious told them that he could "fix" him, setting up A Crack In Time, where Nefarious reprised his role as the Big Bad. Nefarious later entered into an Enemy Mine with the heroes in All 4 One. Nefarious was reintroduced in the reboot game Ratchet & Clank (2016) as The Dragon to Chairman Drek, only for Nefarious to transform Drek into a sheep and take over as the true Big Bad.
  • Legacy of Kain has the Elder God. Though there are many antagonists in the series, the Elder God is the central one. Defiance reveals he's the one who convinced the Ancients to war with the Hylden, making him responsible for the creation of Hash'ak'gik and thus guilty of his deeds by proxy, and he's also the one who gave Moebius the power to exterminate the vampires and motivated him to overthrow them. All he does is to further his goal to conquer Nosgoth and spin all souls in his wheel without dissension.
  • MGCM: There's Mao, a Cat Girl demon who seems to be nice in the New Year 2020 event who becomes a recurring villain for some limited-time events in 2020, after the heroines failed to befriend her. In the extra episode of the Christmas 2020 event "It's a Wonderful Reincarnation!", she's escaped with fatal injuries, but then she gets Killed Off for Real by superior demon sisters for failing them.

    Webcomics 
  • While Homestuck has several villains acting individually, the ultimate villains of the entire story are The Felt, with its three leaders as the cause for almost everything bad that happens in the story. Among the three of them, Lord English is by far the most dangerous and is the last to be fully defeated.

    Web Original 
  • Every bad thing that happens in Llamas with Hats is Carl's fault, intentionally or otherwise.
  • Ask That Guy with the Glasses doesn't really have a plot, but the closest thing to a Big Bad is the main character, the titular Ask That Guy. He and the Narrator are the only characters in most episodes.
  • Kirby Adventure has Talzo and his gang, popping in every few segments to menace the Kirby Adventure Squad.
  • The Neverkind Saga has two, one for each part. Naturally, they regularly team up in crossover stories.
    • The Never Mythos: Lucia the Shadow's Consultant, a depraved being who seeks to wipe out all life and personally ruin Eliza Cortly's immortal existence for repeatedly thwarting her.
    • The Kindness of Devils: Nyarlathotep of Cthulhu Mythos infamy, who drives entire civilizations to ruin to feed his mindless "father" Azathoth, earning the personal enmity of Hardestadt Delac when he kills his wife during the Black Death.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Doctor Leonard Church aka the Director is the primary villain of the first ten seasons, being the cause behind every atrocity committed by Project Freelancer and every other villain connected in anyway to the Project. However, he's killed at the end of Season 10.
    • Malcolm Hargrove, the CEO of Charon Industries, introduced in Reconstruction is behind everything the Director isn't, and even the Director could only get as far as he could because Hargrove approved Project Freelancer getting their equipment. He is also far more evil than the sympathetic Director. He serves as the Big Bad of the Chorus Trilogy.

    Western Animation 
  • The Lion King: Scar is easily the most important villain of the entire franchise, since each antagonist of posthumous material was affiliated to him.
  • Adventure Time: The Lich, starting with the very fact that he's an Omnicidal Maniac played in the darkest way possible. He is also heavily implied to have been involved with the destruction of mankind and one of the reasons why the show takes place in a world After the End. It is important to emphasize that he is also the most recurrent Big Bad of the series.
  • Danny Phantom: Vlad Masters, aka Vlad Plasmius. He is the most recurring villain of Danny Phantom and his schemes get the most focus on the show as a whole.
  • The Secret Saturdays: V.V. Argost, as the most prominent adversary of the Saturday family, gets the most focus with his Evil Plan to use Kur to conquer the world.
  • Gravity Falls: Bill Cipher. He is the one who was behind the creation of the Portal, and was the one the Author was hiding his journals from. His ultimate plan is merging his home dimension, a Nightmare Realm full of other demons and abominations, with Earth, to try and rule both realms and cause the Apocalypse (or "Weirdmageddon", as Ford calls it). The end of "Dipper and Mabel vs. The Future" shows him finally having opened the gateway.
  • Samurai Jack: Aku, who is directly and indirectly responsible for most of the awful things that happen throughout the world. Basically, he is the catalyst for the whole series.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fire Lord Ozai is the Big Bad for the whole series. Despite the fact that Zhao and Azula are formidable opponents, they are ultimately working under Ozai, who is the ultimate antagonist of the show.
  • DC Animated Universe:
  • The Simpsons:
    • Sideshow Bob, starting with the very fact that he is Bart's most personal enemy whose attempts to want to kill him go back more than 20 years. He is also the most active threat to the Simpson family.
    • Mr. Burns as well, especially in the earlier seasons.
  • Ben 10: Vilgax, basically for the entire franchise. No matter how dangerous Ben's enemies get, the position of Big Bad will always default to Vilgax one way or another.
  • Code Lyoko: XANA, the Artificial Intelligence villain who serves as not only the Big Bad of the series, but as the series' only true villain. His antagonism is the focus of the series, and he is linked to the past of the super computer and its creator, Franz Hopper.
  • Dan Vs.: Dan himself acts as the primary conflict creator in every episode. Sometimes this is played with by having his opponent be equally or even more evil with Dan as the Nominal Hero, but just as often Dan is the outright Villain Protagonist.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Doctor Doofenshmirtz. Almost every episode has Perry attempting to foil some Evil Plan of his, though he's not always the main antagonist of the episode. For instance, the role of main antagonist in the movie was his 2nd Dimension counterpart.
  • Transformers: Robots in Disguise (2015) has Steeljaw, as he’s the series' most recurring villain, being present for most of the show's run.
  • The Powerpuff Girls has two of these in the form of Mojo Jojo and Him. The former is the girl's Arch-Enemy, their most recurring adversary, and also has the biggest ties to them due to his involvement in their creation, much to his horror. The latter is by far the most dangerous and powerful of the Rogues Gallery, having just as many appearances as Mojo, and is a more seriously taken major antagonist.
  • Kid vs. Kat: The family's pet Kat, an alien invader sent to Earth to Kill All Humans. Most episodes centre around Coop discovering and foiling an Evil Plan that Kat is hatching.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Lucius Heinous VII. While he's not always the main villain of the episode, he almost always makes an appearance, he's always trying to cause misery for others around him, and he's the main villain of the series as a whole.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: ShenduBig Bad of the first two seasons, Final Boss of Season 3, appears in a Bad Future episode of Season 4, is the father of Season 5 Big Bad Drago, and is released to fight him in the Grand Finale.
  • Total Drama: Chris Mclean. While every season has at least one Big Bad, Chris is the one that appears in the entire series, creates all the challenges that causes the contestants' suffering, and ultimately the contestants' hatred for one another pales in comparison to their hatred for Chris.
  • South Park:
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog: Katz. His appearances are much more recurrent than the rest of the villains of the series.
  • Teen Titans has Slade. Slade was the Big Bad for the first two seasons before being betrayed and killed by Terra, haunted Robin as a hallucination in season 3, came Back from the Dead in season 4 as The Dragon for Trigon, and in season 5 he came Back for the Finale giving some bittersweet closure to Beast Boy in regards to Terra. This guy is the one villain who never truly goes away.
  • The original continuity of the Masters of the Universe franchse had Skeletor. He was the Big Bad of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983). He was also a former student turned rival of Hordak, who was the Big Bad of She-Ra: Princess of Power, during which Skeletor himself made several appearances as an antagonist, often seeking revenge on Hordak, but also seeking to overthrow him and Horde Prime to take over the Universe. The New Adventures of He-Man has Skeletor becoming a Dragon-in-Chief to Flogg.
  • Inspector Gadget has Dr. Claw, leader of M.A.D., served as the commanding force behind the organization's plots in every episode of the original series and most of the rest of the franchise.

 
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Master Xehanort

Master Xehanort and his many incarnations have been the overarching antagonist of the series, from the first game all the way to Kingdom Hearts III.

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