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Sequel Adaptation Iconic Villain

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In works adapted from TV shows, books, or other media, the first film/season is getting an unfamiliar audience aclimated to the world, getting them to like and root for the protagonist, and proving that the adaptation can be successful. For this aura of uncertainty, a creator may hold off on the hero facing his major villains right away, and pit him against more B-list or C-list fodder, or even an original character. Then, now that a sequel has been greenlit, bring in the iconic Arch-Enemy that everyone knows. Or, it may be that the presence of such an impactful character is its own sort of Sequel Escalation, so including them is a natural progression to step things up a notch.

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Note that this is not applicable for when the early villains are comparably iconic to the later villain, only when the second villain is considered more famous and iconic than the first.

May be a part of a Sequel Hook if the villain is set up in the first film, to tease the audience of what a sequel will bring. May be related to Saved for the Sequel or Refitted for Sequel. See also Superhero Movie Villains Die, in which the lesser-known villain would be killed off so that the more recognizable villain can take center stage for the sequel. Contrast and not to be confused with Iconic Sequel Character, when a character introduced in a sequel becomes iconic.


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Examples:

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    Comic Books 

    Film 

    Live-Action TV 
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    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • The first season of Transformers Animated focused on human villains and lesser-known Decepticons like Lockdown and Blitzwing. The season ended with the return of Starscream and Megatron getting his own body after spending the series as just a head, and they became the forefront antagonists of the rest of the series.
  • The Batman contains a non-villainous example. Season 3 introduced Batgirl as Batman’s sidekick, before his most iconic sidekick Robin debuts in season 4.

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