The first and least despicable trope in the unholy trinity of villainous objectives, Utopia Justifies the Means is where the goal of the Big Bad is the creation of a Utopia in the long run, a better world for everyone as a whole (or at least "better" for them in the villain's eyes), no matter what the cost.
It's a place built out of dreams and starlight; the name "Utopia" is a somewhat poignant pun by its author, blending the Greek words for "Good Place" (eutopia) and "No Place" (outopia), and despite (or perhaps because of) its unattainable nature, it has endured in myth and dreams since. While dreaming about what it would be like is harmless (like how topless glamour model volleyball would be the national sport, bureaucrats would work recycling paper, there's No Poverty, and ice cream is just as delicious with none of the calories... mmmm...), it's just a dream based on nothing more solid than wishful thinking.
For the Fallen Hero, Dark Messiah, Totalitarian Utilitarian, Well-Intentioned Extremist, He Who Fights Monsters, and other visionary villains, however, that's not the case. Obsession with the idea of Utopia will convince them that it is possible, and almost guarantees a FaceHeel Turn as they become willing to do anything to obtain their Ambition of Paradise.
They will plan to Take Over the World, use the heart of an orphan or an Artifact of Doom, steal the Cosmic Keystone, commit mass brainwashing, sell themself to higher powers or unleash the Apocalypse so that they can destroy all resistance and usher in their own ideals for Utopia. They will operate under the assumption that this wonderful new world has them at the top, free to exert a benevolent or iron-fisted regime as they will. Using logic that would make Machiavelli blush, they reason that every sacrifice and atrocity is worth The Greater Good, putting the Well Intentioned in Well-Intentioned Extremist. The Knight Templar often claims this to himself before succumbing to the decidedly less benevolent Despotism Justifies the Means.
A great deal of drama can be derived from this — are they willing to kill a friend for it? Will they put their vision where their mouths are and kill themselves if need be, or is there a line even they will never cross? Will they even admit that some of the things they do are Dirty Business? Some are able to inspire incredible devotion in their followers precisely because their vision and conviction includes that they know they won't live to see the paradise they plan to bring about, or don't deserve to. One final terrible sucker punch is for their vision to be revealed as a Tragic Dream— even if it went off without a hitch, the resulting world is worse off, not better.
Heroes and the audience will be faced with the philosophical conundrum that maybe The Extremist Was Right and the world is in truth a Crapsack World that needs a total renovation like what the villain says, but is the renovation worth sacrificing billions? In more morally ambiguous situations, the "means" might not be catastrophically destructive, all it takes is a "small", inconsequential sacrifice when The Needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the few. Say, selling forsaken little girls to alien slavers in exchange for technological advancements for mankind as a whole, or the daily ritual slaughter of criminals to appease the gods and ensure prosperity, or the ever popular The Singularity Lotus-Eater Machine Assimilation Plot where suffering does not exist. If his ideals guarantee the happiness, survival, civilization, and/or progress of the human race, isn't it worth it? The Heroes may decide that total demolition is not the answer, and it's better to make the most out of what you have while allowing humanity to decide for itself.
Curiously, the first example of a Utopia in recorded literature — Plato's The Republic — is an example of this trope (possibly) played absolutely straight and not as means for the opposite Aesop. Plato argues that the establishment and survival of the perfect state requires autocratic rule by philosopher-kings bred from a system of eugenics and there should be a "noble lie" that the citizens must be taught to induce them to love the state unconditionally.
Contrast Dystopia Justifies the Means, when the villain actively seeks to create a Crapsack World. See also Despotism Justifies the Means, where they will create or maintain either simply to remain in power.
- Kaede Kunikida, Momiji's twin sister, from Blue Seed. Okay, returning Japan to its natural -- green and unpolluted -- state sounds like a good idea. Getting rid of wars and hatred is even better. The way to achieve these goals? Turning people into plants. Thankfully, Momiji manages to convince Kaede that hope still exists in this world, and that it's something worth sacrificing one's life for.
- This is the justification Makima gives for her actions in Chainsaw Man, as she believes the Chainsaw Man himself could be used to erase concepts such as war, hunger or even death.
- In a World
where protagonists and antagonists alike are well-intentioned, and the stakes are national or global-scale, Code Geass is all about this trope. Ultimately, each sought a noble cause and decided that it was worth the lives and deaths of many.
- First and foremost: the lying, backstabbing, mass murdering, terrorist bastard himself: Lelouch vi Britannia, the protagonist and "hero" of our story. His ultimate aim (at first) is to create a 'kinder world' for his little sister by toppling the Social Darwinistic Britannian Empire that wages wars for conquest as a matter of course.
- Second: Lelouch's best friend and primary antagonist, Suzaku Kururugi, who — in his quest to change the despotic and discriminatory Britannian Empire from within — earns the affectionate nicknames White Grim Reaper and 'The Knight of Betrayal', and also the title 'Kishin' for killing a lot of people as he helps his bosses Take Over the World on the side.
- Third, fourth and fifth: Emperor Charles, V.V., and Marianne turn out to have been working together towards an Assimilation Plot, which is this trope all by itself, though there is so much more besides to justify...
- Sixth: Prince Schneizel el Britannia, who planned to bring about world peace by first thinning out the population on a global scale and nuking anyone who misbehaves.
- Seventh: Nunnally vi Britannia, who decided to save the world from tyrants and nuclear annihilation while working with Schneizel to bring about world peace at the same time. We're not told much before Lelouch takes the matter out of her hands, but the plan was to provide a focus for the world's hatred that even sworn enemies would unite against. The focus in question was an Ominous Floating Castle full of nukes.
- Light Yagami, aka "Kira", in Death Note, who wants to create a world without crime or sin, with him as its god. Notable in that he's actually the main character. As the story goes on and Light becomes more and more unhinged, however, it becomes increasingly clear that underneath all the rhetoric, Light is an immature egomaniac out who's willing to do anything to get what he wants, from murdering his 'girlfriend' in horrible ways possible (Shiori in the live-action movies, Takeda in the manga and anime) to toying with the idea of killing people for being lazy, to goading his own father into giving up half his lifespan only to die hours later because of Light's plot, he becomes just a crazy Serial Killer, just as Near says.
- You could make a drinking game out of how many times Lucemon from Digimon Frontier states that he wishes to create a utopia through the destruction of both the digital and the real worlds.
- Yggdrasil has a similar mindset in aiming to destroy the human world.
- In Dragon Ball Super, Goku Black and Zamasu believe mortals are scum and the universe would be better off without them. To reach these goals, Black proceeded to destroy Future Trunks's time far more than the Androids ever did. They even resort to killing the remain Kais and Supreme Kai of the future multiverse with the Gods of Destruction dying as a result of their universe Supreme Kais being killed (save for Universe 7 who had perished previously during that timeline's Majin Buu conflict) leaving Goku Black, Zamasu, and the almighty Future Zeno the only remaining gods in that timeline allowing Black and his partner to eliminate mortals as they see fit (at least until Goku Black and Zamasu fused and their fusion was erased along with the future multiverse by Future Zeno).
- Director Kakuzawa from Elfen Lied wants to destroy the human race and produce more Diclonii using Lucy, the only fertile female Diclonus, to replace them. He doesn't want to do this for any moral reason, though, but only so that in 100 or 200 years, he can be worshiped as the god of the new species.
- Ergo Proxy: in the beginning, it's the oppression of the AutoReivs, Vincent, and the people who live outside the dome. In the end, it's The Proxy Project: The Creators' plan to have the Proxies clean up Earth's atmosphere, kill the "humans" left on Earth, and destroy the domes, while they die in Earth's cleaned up atmosphere so The Creators can have a healthy Earth all to themselves.
- Fairy Tail:
- Jellal (subverted in that he was being manipulated) and the Kingdom of Edolas who used magic to suck up lands made up of innocent people from an alternate universe and turn them into crystallized magic. Just so his kingdom could continue using magic. The king, Faust, takes it a step further by being willing to sacrifice even his own subordinates just to achieve his goal.
- Mystogan as well, in case you didn't believe he really was Jellal's Edolas counterpart.
- Up until the Grail War in Fate/Zero, Kiritsugu Emiya had made a life out of preserving the greatest number of lives at any cost. He saw the Grail as the means to put an end to all war forever, and any methods in obtaining it were justifiable. Knowing that his ethics would be at odds with Saber's, he left his wife Iris as Saber's de facto Master while he operated independently, but Saber did get an opportunity to witness and call him out on it.
- Raoh in Fist of the North Star goes by this trope, so much so that he and Kenshiro stop fighting when it looks like both of them will die, acknowledging that the world is better off if either of them live than both of them die. This doesn't stop them from fighting to the death later, though.
- Raoh is a special case though, as he is actually kinda liked by the people for the fact that he conquers, but doesn't destroy. The fact that he actually loves and protects subjects loyal to him like a father would his children really helps.
- Case in point: at one point, Raoh comes across his men massacring helpless villagers. He has them all line up and kneel before him...and then crushes them all beneath the hooves of his monster horse.
- Shin outright states that he plans to achieve utopia through slave labor and murderous henchmen.
- Raoh is a special case though, as he is actually kinda liked by the people for the fact that he conquers, but doesn't destroy. The fact that he actually loves and protects subjects loyal to him like a father would his children really helps.
- Food Wars!: Azami Nakiri's "Perfect Gourmet" plan has the end goal of creating a culinary world where chefs are recognized by their talents and don't have to suffer the pressures that caused his idol, Joichiro Saiba, to hit a burnout. However, to do so his means include taking over Tootsuki Academy as the new dean (ousting his father-in-law in the process) and reform the school policies so that everyone has to conform to his and only his way of thinking, vetoing and discouraging any deviation from the norm that could lead to new and creative ways to make dishes. And that's not going into how he submitted his own daughter to a Training from Hell to refine her God Tongue, isolating her from the rest of their family and leaving her without any close friends. Even on the verge of defeat, he's convinced that chefs can only be happy in his "paradise" until Soma gives him a Shut Up, Hannibal!.
- The Z-Master from GaoGaiGar wanted to save people from the despair and sadness of reality by mechanizing the universe, eliminating negative emotion (and every other emotion at the same time).
- The Ultimate Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam wanted to kill all of humanity. Its ultimate goal? Fixing the damage caused to the Earth by all the Gundam Fights, which, incidentally, was caused by humans.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Gilbert Durandal's plan was to create a society completely ruled by genetic determinism, where everyone would be forced to the endeavors for which he/she was genetically apt at. And if someone has to be sacrificed and some countries have to be destroyed with a Wave-Motion Gun...well, it's sad but necessary to create a world without war and without pain. The Chairman's Dragon, Rey Za Burrel, has this same mindset, and follows the Chairman because he believes that he will usher in the utopia. In the end, Rey has second thoughts about this after Kira convinces him that he is his own man and not just a clone. Rey chooses Kira's hope for a future with freedom over the Destiny Plan and guns down Durandal to save Kira.
- The ultimate goal of the Claw in GUN×SWORD is the "Time of Happiness", where he will use Saudade to overwrite the minds of all living creatures with copies of his own; with all of humanity in utter agreement, war and strife will vanish. The process will kill him, but as he's dying of a terminal disease anyway, he sees it as a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Jormungand's namesake plan, initiated by the main character. A feasible, unbelievable, genocidal plan that would "separate humans from war".
- This is Enrico Pucci's motivation in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 6, Stone Ocean. Once he achieves the Made in Heaven ability, he speeds up time to the point where the universe is destroyed and remade, and everyone who lived in the past universe would cross over to the new universe with their old memories intact — Pucci's theory being that, since all of mankind has experienced the entirety of history, there will no longer be any reason for war or suffering. While he succeeds in killing off the main heroes and retconning the entire series, he isn't quite able to fully realize his vision, as he stopped the universal cycle just short of a full revolution in order to try and finish off Emporio Alnino. He fails spectacularly.
- The villains of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Vagan, can have their motivation summed up as this. They seek to seize Earth for themselves and turn it into an Eden...by massacring the current Earth Federation.
- In Medaka Box, this is the official goal of the Flask Plan, the educational project driven to "complete" human beings. By studying super-human geniuses called "Abnormals" of Class 13, they hope to create a means to make everyone elite, thereby creating a "perfect" world where no one would need to ask help for anything. The catch is, the folks in charge of the Flask Plan aren't particularly picky about sacrificing people for this plan, leading Kurokami Medaka's Student Council to oppose and stop them before their experiments involve the general student body of Hakoniwa Academy. Then, when Class -13 is implemented as a backup plan, its leader Kumagawa Misogi proposes an alternate means of creating a utopia, one that ironically goes against the very foundation of the Flask Plan; rather than try to make everyone elite, it'd be far more efficient to simply get RID of the elite. Later in the story, a shocking twist is revealed, however; Ajimu Najimi, the impartial non-human who concieved the Flask Plan to begin with, did so expecting its goal to be impossible. In truth, the point of the Flask Plan was to fail all along.
- Generation 3 expands on this. Lord Ezelcant believes that the war will kill off the worst of humanity, making the human race as a whole more peaceful.
- Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam 00: the actions of Celestial Being result in the formation of a One World Order, just as they'd hoped... but the Earth Sphere Federations armed forces the A-Laws abuse their rule and are even more violent and oppressive than its predecessors. Plus they had support of the real Big Bad.
- Moriarty the Patriot: Oh, William and his ridiculous plan to rid the world of monsters so the world will be better, even if hates what he's doing and knows it's wrong, evil, and can never be atoned for.
- SEARRS in My-HiME was willing to level down Fuka Academy and kill all the HiME to win the HiME carnival and achieve the "Golden Millennium". All right, it's one lousy school, who cares about that? (And Alyssa was "Valkyrie No. 143" and the only success in what was presumably a long series of People Jars. What happened to her failed predecessors is left to the viewers' imagination.)
- Naruto has many examples of this trope.
- In Naruto the Movie: Legend of the Stone of Gelel, Master Haido frequently speaks of creating a Utopia without war. In facts, he speaks of it frequently enough to make the audience suspicious; in the end, it turns out that Haido is a power hungry Big Bad, and his talk of peace was just a smokescreen.
- In the actual manga, Pain's plan to end all war turns out to be a subversion. First, he claimed that he wants to achieve utopias by harnessing the power of the tailed beasts to make a weapon of mass destruction that could destroy a country. If a war was started with one side lacking ninja, they would turn to Akatsuki, who would wipe out the entire opposing nation. After this, most countries would be too scared to start a war. However, he then reveals an even more cynical expectation that brings it toward Dystopia Justifies the Means: Pain knows that people will eventually forget about all that and just go back to fighting. Planning to leave it for future generations, Pain believes that the weapon will allow future civilizations to experience the terror of destruction themselves and revert to peace for a time before doing it all over again.
- Zig-Zagged with "The Moon's Eye Plan" whose aim is to plunge all people in an eternal Genjutsu in order to reach peace in the world. Madara and Obito really want to bring peace to the world and think that their plan is the only way it can happen. But at the same time, they want to bring peace they are also doing it for their own selfish purposes: Madara is more concerned in implementing the plan independently since he thinks that only he is worthy of guiding all people in the infinite illusion. At the same time, Obito wants to create his ideal world where Rin and his other teammates are alive so that he could escape from reality. Later, it's revealed that the true purpose of the "Eye in the Moon Plan" was to resurrect Kaguya Otsutsuki and turn a vast majority of the human population into White Zetsus in order to cement her rule over the world and defend it from her own clan.
- Danzo believes in peace through power and, in the interest of his ideal world, is willing to kill anyone who represents a threat to his goals, though he is unusually reasonable about who to kill, avoiding threatening major rivals to his power (the Third Hokage, Tsunade, Kakashi) if their deaths would turn the public against him.
- SEELE's ultimate goal in Neon Genesis Evangelion is the Instrumentality Project, which will destroy the distinction between individual humans, but leave humanity around, so no one will ever be hurt and alone again. And if some kids need to be tortured, a few cities destroyed, and a lot of soldiers die to make it happen, well it's just people's lives, not anything important.
- Subverted in One Piece, where Sir Crocodile stages a massive coup against the throne of Alabasta to seemingly create a utopia for him and Baroque Works; however, the only reason he wants anything to do with the sand kingdom is because of a massive battleship called Pluton with the power to wipe out an island, so he can establish the greatest military force the world has ever known, which could even rival the World Government.
- Overlord (2012): Ainz accidentally causes his minions to think he wants them to Take Over the World. Once he realizes this, it's too late to go back, so he establishes himself as the ruler of a necrocracy where all species can live together in peace. Of course, in order to do that he had to use a spell that murderer several thousand people and summoned Lovecraftian monsters from their corpses but it seems to have worked, in the sense that absolutely no one who knows what he's capable of will try to fuck with his country.
- In the Yellow arc of Pokémon Adventures, Lance wants to Kill All Humans to create the perfect world for Pokémon.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Kyubey, who states that its goal is to prolong the lifespan of the universe by collecting the thermodynamic energy-defying power of emotions from humans. And by humans, it means young girls in their early to mid-teens (who are generally, as a group, the most dramatic little wellsprings of emotion the human race has to offer). This process collects excess energy, which is somehow contributed toward the entire universe in order to stave off its eventual heat death, allowing more time for different alien races to meet one another among the stars. (Actual thermodynamics theory makes this goal seem very poorly thought out, but then again, this is a show about Magical Girls so we weren't expecting a whole lot of realism anyway.)
- How does it do this, you ask? It fools girls into making a contract and becoming magical girls, ripping their souls out to place them into a Soul Gem for easy keeping. Kyubey actively encourages vulnerable girls to make stupid wishes they'll regret later, and once they're magical girls he continues to manipulate them into making choices that pull them further and further into despair, until their Soul Gems corrupt under the weight of all the grief and the magical girl becomes a Witch. Once another magical girl comes along, defeats the Witch and transfers her Soul Gem's corruption to it, he "disposes" of the Grief Seed, harvesting the concentrated despair inside and converting it into energy. Naturally, negative emotions are the most energy-efficient.
- The Rebellion movie presents this again, this time with Homura as the Well-Intentioned Extremist, remaking the universe again where she can personally care for Madoka's comfort, as well as everyone else's (except Kyubey). This at the cost of turning herself into the devil, hijacking Madoka's goddess powers, giving everyone Laser-Guided Amnesia, and setting herself up as the Final Boss, something which is suggested she seems resigned to the prospect of.
- The real Big Bad of R.O.D the TV - namely, Joker and the British Library. Which is kind of stupid when you consider that their plan is to resurrect their leader, who hadn't been able to (and can't even be proven to have seriously even tried to) create a peaceful world in his first lifetime, so why did they think he'd do better the second time around?
- In Saint Beast, Zeus intends for heaven to have no sin and he wants to be worshipped by humans and angels alike, so he uses murder and assassination to achieve this ideal.
- Homura Taishi, the Tragic Villain of the second half of the Saiyuki anime version, planned to create a new utopia at the cost of destroying both Heaven and Earth.
- Knives, the Big Bad of Trigun, might as well be the textbook example of this. His motto in the anime was "kill the spiders to save the butterflies". Oh, and all human beings are spiders; only he and his brother count as butterflies. Lampshaded in his vociferations of "WE WILL HAVE. OUR. EDEN!".
- He gets much more backstory and Character Development in the manga and he has more interesting and 'altruistic' motivations - namely, freeing his whole species. It's just a bit unfortunate that he does so by attempting genocide on the whole human race, which makes him both a kind of Spartacus figure on steroids and a crystal-clear Hitler figure with much more Aryanism and sociopathy than the original...which serves to remind us that human conflicts get polarized more often than not and that one side's 'terrorists' are often the other side's 'freedom fighters'. In the anime, he doesn't seem to have second thoughts about getting the plant on Sensei's ship killed (by his human evil minions!!), while in the manga, he is tormented by guilt at killing many plants, as well in the Big Fall.
- UFO Robo Grendizer: Although King Vega started to conquer planets because the Vegan homeworld was dying and its inhabitants needed another world to settle on, some of his generals wanted to take over Earth because they thought that Earth people is uncapable to govern themselves peacefully and efficiently, and their lives would improve if a Vegan government ran the show.
- The Dragons in X1999.
- A few cult leaders in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- First, there was Dartz in the original series: an immortal king from Atlantis powered by the Orichalcos God (Great Leviathan in the English dub), who required souls stolen in a children's card game in order to gain enough power to cleanse the world of evil. He gained his three primary followers by manipulating their lives in order to orchestrate tragedies that would drive them toward the same vengeful misanthropy as himself and sign up with his cause.
- Second, there was Takuma Saiou (Sartorius in the dub) in GX, a partial Expy of Dartz. Saiou was a psychic who was visited by an alien entity called the Light of Ruin (Light of Destruction in the dub), that caused his personality to split in two, one a Dark Messiah bent on creating a utopia by combining the Light's innate power with an orbital laser cannon in order to reshape the planet...the other, somehow, a remnant of the idealistic person he used to be before the Light of Ruin visited him and set him on the path of laser forged utopia. Saiou would recruit his followers either by himself or by a cultist defeating someone in a card game, which would cause them to "see the light" and sign up.
- Amon Garam also attempts this in GX, willingly sacrificing his girlfriend to wield the power of Exodia and to create a utopia. This doesn't work out.
- And Rex Godwin from 5D's has arguably achieved this goal already by forcing all uncouth individuals to live in a slum under Domino City.
- We are The Authority. Behave.
- In Astro City, members of the Nebulous Evil Organization Pyramid are brainwashed to believe this.
"The world is bad! The world is foul! Only Pyramid can fix it! Only the strong hand of the Scarab Throne!"
- Ra's al Ghul and the Order of St. Dumas in the various Batman series.
- The Myth Arc of Joe Kelly's Deadpool run involved the main character — a trolling Anti-Hero — finding out that he was the "Mithras", prophesised to protect a being called "The Messiah", who would bring peace and prosperity to the world, from "Tiamat", who would destroy it. However, when said Messiah showed up, it turned out to be a being that froze everyone in the world in blissful mindlessness. Deadpool had to decide whether or not to fulfil his destiny and prevent all suffering at the price of free will. In the end, he decided to Screw Destiny and destroy the Messiah himself.
- Deadpool writers seem to like this trope, with the added implication that Deadpool himself isn't automatically opposed to it depending on the methods used. One story parodied the concept with a non-violent cult that was trying to eradicate racial discrimination... by unleashing a virus that turned everyone blue, and Deadpool even almost sided with them. Another one saw Cable free himself of his cybernetic virus and achieve his full godlike potential, and decide then to try and force a utopia on the world until the Silver Surfer was brought in to stop him - again, Deadpool actually sympathised with Cable on this one (though matters were complicated by the fact that it turned out that this was Cable combining an attempt to martyr himself with a Genghis Gambit). The "merc with a mouth" might be a murderous and chaotic son of a gun, but he apparently has a utopian streak of his own.
- In The '90s, The Defenders were cursed to come together to save the world when it needed saving, even though they didn't want to. So, naturally, they decided to Take Over the World and run it right so it wouldn't need saving.
- Fantastic Four: Some comics suggest (and, in at least one case, demonstrate) that allowing Doctor Doom (illustration pictured) to conquer the Earth will result in a utopia. Doom's a despot and a tyrant at the best of times, and another consequence of Dr. Doom taking over the Earth is the complete eradication of any kind of free will and immediate and total subservience to Doom's wishes, so this may not be as great as it seems. There's also the problem that he tends to get bored with utopia, as he's the sort that would rather be conquering than reigning over what he has.
"Millions died as I carved out my empire. Millions more were delivered into dire bondage, where they certainly didn't survive long. But that resulted in a life of peace and security for untold billions that spanned many centuries."
- The animals of the Farm overthrow the human administration in order to govern the farm themselves, the way that will be 'right' for them. Right in the middle and egging them on is Goldilocks. She doesn't care about how right or wrong the animals' grievances might be; what she sees is that by assisting, she'll be in a position to grab power, lots of it.
- The Adversary is all about this.
- Rasputin in Hellboy. Mike Mignola even said that, as a writer, he can't fathom writing someone inherently evil, so he gave Rasputin an ultimately good goal that would nonetheless bring about the end of the world.
- The Reality Warper Alfie O'Meagan from Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja uses this to justify his actions — which include stomping on a battalion of soldiers, casually tormenting or killing anyone who opposes him, and unleashing a mutagenic virus on the planet.
- In Uncanny X-Men (2018), Nate Grey returns with his Reality Warper level Psychic Powers at full strength and this mentality after crossing the Despair Event Horizon, bluntly declaring himself to be "the second coming you have all been waiting for." While a lot of his Messianic Archetype guise and A God Am I rhetoric is revealed to be him playing a part, his ambitions to change Earth-616 to a utopia, no matter the cost are very real.
"Utopia comes at a price." note
- The immediate follow-up to the above, Age of X-Man, is another example, being Nate's attempt to create a peaceful paradise for the X-Men - the only reason there's any conflict is because they apparently can't exist without it. The resultant reality is portrayed as perfect for mutants, with all able to fulfil their highest potential in ways they couldn't in the real world (e.g. Nightcrawler becomes an Errol Flynn-type swashbuckling actor)... but at the cost of a ban on all familial and romantic relationships, enforced by Mind Control and disturbingly chirpy secret police, with offenders Mind-Raped into being happy whether they like it or not, then if they repeatedly offend, get erased from everyone's memories and imprisoned. The flaws in this approach are pointed out, with Nate admitting that he's Not So Above It All, but its positive aspects are also discussed, with Magneto in particular thanking him for showing him a world completely unlike the one he grew up in, and the concept is considered good enough that Nate sets about reforming it (no ban on relationships and no secret police) with the help of a copy of the AOX version of Magneto.
- In Runaways, the Knight Templar Parents are trying to achieve paradise for their children. Not children as in the entire next generation of humanity — they'll kill everyone to achieve paradise for the six children they have between them.
- The Squadron Supreme limited series was based on this trope. The heroes decide to use their powers to bring about utopia, and disregard minor inconveniences like civil rights and individual freedoms along the way.
- They were fully prepared to return those freedoms once they implemented their programs, but as former member Nighthawk told Hyperion during the climactic final battle, the whole system depended on people as powerful and moral as the Squadron to enforce it.
- Superman's -and sometimes Supergirl's- enemy Mongul thinks a good ruler must govern with an iron hand to keep peace and prosperity, even if he is called a tyrant by short-sighted fools. He expounds on it in War World story arc.
- Lex Luthor zig zags this trope. He is almost always portrayed as being intelligent enough to solve most of the world's problems if given the chance and being perfectly happy to do so... so long as he gets his fair share of recognition and profit for it. Unlike similar villains like Doctor Doom, while Lex fully believes he has the right to Take Over the World and turn it into a utopia under his iron will, he is much more shamelessly selfish about it and doesn't mind making humanity wait a few years until he is good and ready to do so- namely, only after Superman is dead at his feet. He is also perfectly willing to sabotage utopia if he thinks it is in his own interests to do so, such as finding cures for deadly diseases but holding off on releasing them so he can profit off selling less effective treatments.
- The Transformers (IDW): The Decepticons' original motive was to overthrow the corrupt Senate and the even worse Functionist Council, then remake Cybertron into a "shining utopia". By the modern day, they've suffered a major case of Motive Decay, and these goals have been forgotten completely.
- The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Tarn, leader of the Decepticon Justice Division, believes in this whole-heartedly. Until the war is over, every Decepticon must do what is expected of them, and any who defy Megatron's will, or even just get captured, must be found, beaten, tortured and (eventually) violently killed, and so long as that terrifies even one Decepticon into line with Megatron's promised utopia, it's worth it. As the series goes on, it becomes increasingly clear Tarn's just using this as justification for his acts.
- Ultimate Marvel
- Ultimate Fantastic Four: Revka Temerlune Edifex Scyros III ("Psycho-Man"), enslaved an entire world by making them unable to feel anything but happiness, and did the same thing with the human-race after the populace of his home-world were brought out of his mind-control and their first encounter with negative emotions caused them to kill themselves and each other.
- In Ultimate Enemy, Reed Richards decides that blowing up buildings with tentacle monsters is a good way to stop people from using science for the wrong reasons.
- Ultimate Vision: Tarleton plans on creating a technological utopia on earth. Of course, those unfit for it will be killed... in a painless manner.
- Subverted in V for Vendetta. V has no expectations of creating a Utopia, just to destroy the fascist regime, allowing the people to decide for themselves how the country will be run from then on.
- In Watchmen, Ozymandias averts a world-ending nuclear war by staging an "invasion from another dimension", frightening the nations into working together against this common foe. To that end, he manufactures a convincing otherworldly monster and teleports it into the middle of New York. It kills half the city's population, but he actually succeeds! However, whether it stays that way will depend on whether anyone reads and decides to seriously examine Rorschach's evidence against him...
- If you look at the former illustration of this page, Ozymandias is celebrating the beginning of the Utopia, the means are lampshaded by the picture of Alexander the Great 'solving' the Gordian Knot by destroying it with a spade. The genius of violence!
- Wonder Woman:
- Wonder Woman (1942): While it does not seem to have been the authorial intent the original Paradise Island maintains it status as a "Paradise" by having dissenters forcibly locked into Venus Girdles, which force them to submit to every order with a smile and find happiness in it, until their minds have been reshaped to Aphrodite's liking.
- Wonder Woman (2006): Zeus decides to end all war on earth, by slaughtering armies, governments and anyone else who opposes him while stealing or destroying their weaponry. Should his plan have worked it would have the added benefit of allowing him to subjugate humanity and forcing them to worship him, which would grant him power and prevent his slow demise while theoretically stripping Ares' of his own source of power causing his most hated son to die.
- The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Zeus presents himself as the Big Good, but Diana finds him difficult to trust. Diana's caution of him is proven right when he espouses his idea for a utopia; slaughter at least 90% of humanity and subjugate the rest, forcing them to worship him at sword point. Zeus is furious Diana refuses to aid him, as he sees it as a bit of unpleasantness to achieve utopia, seeimingly incapable of realizing this "utopia" would be hell for everyone but himself.
- A prime candidate for this trope: Magneto from the X-Men comics, animated series, and movies, who is bent on creating a society where mutankind can live without fear of persecution or annihilation as they will be the ones in charge, and in many storylines where he achieves this it is shown that his world is actually quite advanced and peaceful, albeit usually with him as the unquestioned ruler and sometimes delegating tasks to other Supervillians as well, and with humans occasionally treated as second-class citizens. His methods for achieving this range from creating his own mutant haven (Asteroid X, Genosha), to attempting to Take Over the World, to genocidal attempts to outright Kill All Humans and leave the mutants as the dominant species on the planet- which Magneto the reader gets is usually a case of Depending on the Writer.
- In a 1999 special Magneto's former Dragon Exodus experienced a Heel Realization and decided to become The Atoner, with his first act of penance being to bring peace to the war-torn island nation of Genosha. By kidnapping Forge and forcing him to build a Super Empowering device, Exodus was able to do what no one else before him could and end the mutant-human hostilities... by using his Psychic Powers to effect something More Than Mind Control on every mutant and human on the island.
- A few X-Men villains have tried to resolve the humans vs. mutants debate once and for all by either forcibly removing mutant powers altogether and making everyone a baseline human, or by forcibly imbuing everyone with mutant powers and turning everyone into mutants. Neither the mutants nor the baseline humans who would be affected tend to be given any say in the matter.
- Also being used as the reasoning by the Phoenix Five in Avengers vs. X-Men, deciding that using their god-like power to eradicate war, hunger and strife is a perfect excuse to bring about peace to the world.
- For awhile, Cyclops subscribed to this philosophy literally, given the name of the mutant enclave he was running. Expanded globally during the time he and some of his teammates were vessels for the Phoenix Force. Also, the simple fact that he was willing to put his faith in the Phoenix providing salvation for mutantkind, despite the fact that it had previously and was currently destroying inhabited worlds.
- In DC Comics's Zero Hour: Crisis in Time!, ex-Green Lantern Hal Jordan (embarking upon his Dork Age) tried to remake all of space and time to his liking.
- In Invincible, Robot decides that the best and only way to establish peace and prosperity on Earth is to kill everyone who might oppose him — preemptively. Which includes most of his own fellow superheroes. The worst part is that he succeeds, and everyone else more or less goes along with him after he wins since fighting him would just cause even more senseless death and destruction.
- As befitting much of Robert Kirkman's work in the Invincible comic series, it turns out that Robot's 'behind the curtain' takeover has actually yielded many positive results for the world. Including, but not limited to: eliminating various wars and conflicts around the globe, creating positive government re-organizations and progressions, practically ending crime on street and super-criminal levels, ending drug trade and wars, liberating North Korea from it's previous dictatorship and bringing necessary resources to its people, and expanding space programs. Even Mark admits, based on the results, that it's hard to argue that Robot has made a positive effect on the planet since his seizing control.
- In most incarnations of The Conversion Bureau, this is the general belief of Celestia and the ponies. Humanity is often in decline, and the magic coming out of Equestria is harmful to humans, so they get around this issue by issuing them a ponification potion... which often has the result of Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul. The ponies also fully believe in The Right of a Superior Species, and some will forcibly ponify you, and very few will actually see the genocide being committed as a bad thing. In the stories that sympathize with the ponies, any human resisting the loss of their free will, their home, and all things that are precious to them, will be portrayed as being in the wrong.
- Subverted in The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum. The "utopia" the Solar Empire is trying to create is nothing but a farce, as Equestria is clearly falling into disorder, and the converted humans (newfoals) are little more than brainwashed robots, but the subversion is TCB!Celestia doesn't really believe in her goals, and has been brainwashed into carrying out these heinous acts by the Bag of Tirek, in its quest to destroy humanity. One particular villain known only as "Weaver" however, fully believes in this, and she has killed a lot of people in her pursuit of this goal.
- In the Mass Effect fanfic story The Council Era, the defining motivation of the Villain Protagonist Tyrin Lieph to bring the galaxy closer to total sanctity and peace, but he also believes that the ends ultimately justify the means, resulting in many controversial actions on his part, notwithstanding the utter genocide of the dezban race, because he perceives them as a threat to the Citadel.
- Executing the falsely accused, genocide of the Seireitei, bloody war with the Gotei, raids into the human world, kidnapping Orihime. All necessary to achieve a better world in Downfall. And Unohana just might be right, too.
- Red Eye of Fallout: Equestria believes ponies destroyed themselves in the apocalypse because they were cruel, venal and selfish, and that they have failed to build a new world because they are still cruel, venal and selfish. As a result he seeks to enslave the entire adult population of the wasteland and work them to death in his factories in order to build a new world for their children, recruiting a vast hoard of brutal raiders (who he will most likely all have killed at some point) to do so.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover fanfiction 'The Fandom Wars', the world has fallen into universal war over what were trivial 'fandoms' before the Rifts opened. The My Little Pony faction originally intended to stay out of the fighting and act only to aid refugees, but poor communication between the dimensions allowed a small group of extremists to manipulate Equestria into winning the war.
- In A Gem in the Rough, the "Mr. 5 Pair" and Miss Goldenweek have joined Baroque Works in the hopes of forming a utopia of their own (as with the canon version of One Piece). However, their belief in creating a perfect military state is shaken due to their meeting Steven Universe, who explains to them just why it is a terrible idea and sets them up for a FaceHeel Turn against Crocodile and their former organization.
Steven Universe: "Why do you listen to him?! Is your utopia really going to matter if you got it through violence and death?! You are better than that!"
- In With Strings Attached, Brox and Grunnel are perfectly willing to betray and enslave the four (whom Grunnel had befriended) in order to bring about the return of the skahs utopia, i.e., lots of monsters for the skahs to fight. All skahs would love this, and it really would result in skahs utopia. But the four strenuously object to the idea of creating monsters only to kill them, and they're not at all happy about being forced to provide part of the means to achieve this utopia.
- An unfortunately common portrayal of Sailors Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in a lot of Sailor Moon Fanfiction often makes them out as this in their motivations.
- The crossover No Chance for Fate brutally deconstructs this from Sailor Pluto's perspective in the first chapter.
- This plays a large role with Twilight Sparkle in Pages Of Harmony, as she extracts the essence of the Elements of Harmony from her friends by torturing, altering, and killing them, to preserve harmony and order. Her utopia? She intends to calculate the precise genetic signatures of all the Elements and commit genocide on any living thing that doesn't have that capacity, thus making sure no chaotic being can ever disrupt harmony again.
- Mercury of Phoenix-fire genuinely believes that taking over the world, killing, blackmailing, manipulating and otherwise coercing anyone that stands in his way, along with pitting his own forces against each other to prevent a Coup against his government, is justified as long as the ends are worth it. He also believes that there is no place in the new world for him, though it is left ambigious whether this was truly the case. In the end, the world did improve, but a lot of unforeseen consequences to his methods and choices proved that Dystopia is Hard.
- Callidus Dominus from Cynical Classicist's "Doctor Who" fanfics does a lot of morally ambiguous things to make sure the Malphan Empire takes control of the Eighth Galaxy, believing a benevolent dictatorship is the best form of government. This is lampshaded in "Devotee of Augustus".
- In the Ben 10 fic Hero High: Earth Style the Big Bad Alexander Sovereign reveals his plan to fix the world is to wipe out all but one million people via creating World War III and using it to hide secret genocides during a Forever War. He does this because he believes that overpopulation makes it impossible for any long lasting change. However unusual for a Big Bad he admits that this is a horrible plan and debates this multiple times with himself throughout the sequel Hero High: Sphinx Academy, and even tries other methods to avoid this plan but keeps coming to the same conclusion that it is the only way for a permanent fix.
- In Disney's War A Crossover Story, this trope is invoked by the Master of Worlds when he kidnaps Rapunzel, Ray, the Spring Sprite and a few more magical beings from many Disney worlds to achieve his supposedly not-so-evil Plan, claiming that merging all the Disney worlds into one, removing all the troubles caused in the past by travels unbalancing the various worlds, would be a greater good for which the death of the magical beings is a lesser, necessary evil. However, The Reveal that a much more nefarious force controls the Master of Worlds since the beginning pretty much proves that the Master of Worlds was not so well-intentioned.
- From the Pony POV Series, Princess Gaia/Nightmare Whisper is an interesting example of this. She wants everyone to be happy (what with being Fluttershy), and while she's not as extreme as many other examples of the trope, she does think that anyone who isn't happy must be FORCED to be happy, and that in order to achieve this goal, magically turning ponies into foals in both body and mind is a-ok! In an even straighter example of this trope, her Knight Cherilee actually attempts to KILL the Mane Six because they were disrupting Gaia's Lotus-Eater Machine.
- The Secret Return of Alex Mack: Alex is puzzled by the motivations of "The Collective", which seems to be investing billions of dollars and years of research into mere wanton destruction. Eventually it turns out that they want to cut down Earth's population to leave more resources for themselves and build a paradise from what's left.
- Son of the Sannin: Both played straight and deconstructed. For the most part of the story, Obito is fully onboard with Madara Uchiha's plan to bring "peace" to the shinobi world. However, when he learns that Madara engineered the events that resulted in Rin's death (and him witnessing it), he finally realizes that how easy is to think of "sacrificing a few for the good of many", until you or your loved ones are the ones chosen to be sacrificed.
- In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Sephiroth claims that his new goal is to use the thoughts of those who died from geostigma to take control of the lifestream and send the planet on a journey through space to find a new planet, where he'll build a "bright and shining future". This gets streamlined in the videogame sequel Dirge of Cerberus, in which the main villain wishes to go off into space with the lifestream itself to rule over a restarted world.
- Franco Maccalusso in the Apocalypse film series claims that he is responsible for getting rid of those who were Caught Up in the Rapture because they were obstacles to the world achieving world peace. He later uses an Assimilation Plot consisting of the Day of Wonders virtual reality program to force the people of the world to either accept the Mark of the Beast or die.
- In the Holocaust film Conspiracy (2001), this is used by one villain to another villain when Heydrich has a personal talk with Major Lange about the duties of soldiering. Heydrich seems to view himself as some sort of impromptu mentor figure to Lange, as he tries to convince Lange that all the death they're causing (including annihilating an entire people) is for a "better future". Given Heydrich's sociopathic qualities it's doubtful that he actually believes it himself and was instead just turning up the charm, but Lange takes the message at face value.
- In Constantine, the Big Bad Gabriel plans to release Mammon (the son of the Devil) onto the Earth to bring pain and horror, in order to purify mankind and make it worthy of God's love.
- Dr. Cocteau in Demolition Man is a "mild" version of this. He actually helps rebuild a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles into a beautiful, prosperous, violence-neutered Utopia. Though he did work a miracle, he exiled thousands who refused to conform to his "Perfect Pearl" vision and wanted to live unhealthy, violent, free lives. Ultimately, his homogeneous city is exposed to violence and change due to his own stupidity. Simon Phoenix sums it up when he calls Cocteau an "evil Mr. Rogers"; he himself has much loftier ideals of the perfect society.
- More or less the idea in Dogtooth (Kynodontas): the parents isolate their three children from the outside world and give them a bizarrely warped idea of society and language in order to protect them from the evils of the world, except their life inside the house is disturbing and occasionally violent anyway, so it's not a very good plan.
- The setting of Equilibrium is a utopian future society created by suppressing all human emotion and anything that may stir it up — through propaganda, chemicals, and Gun Kata-practicing badass longcoats. This removes all hate, jealousy, and anger but also removes humanity's capacity for art and creativity. It all crumbles when one of the highest-ranking members of the state police stops taking his drugs and becomes disillusioned.
- This is the crux of Project Mayhem.
- The Chief Elder from The Giver firmly believes in this. Especially with her conversation to the Giver at the end:
Chief Elder: You have seen children starve, seen people stand on each other's necks, just for the view. You know what it feels like when men blow each other up over a simple line in the sand, and yet, and yet, you and Jonas want to open that door again, bring all that back.
Giver: But, if you could only see the possibility of love, of love, with love comes faith, comes hope.
Chief Elder (scoffing with contempt): Love is just passion. Passion that can turn, turn into contempt and murder.
Giver (pleading): We could choose better.
Chief Elder: People are weak, people are selfish, when people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong. Every single time.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): The Eco-Terrorists, particularly Emma Russell, believe (correctly, it turns out) that if all the dormant Titans are active, the humans who don't die in the collateral of their awakening will be able to coexist with the Titans in natural harmony as Advanced Ancient Humans did, with Emma believing they can use the ORCA to mould and enforce that coexistence (here is where a flaw comes into the plan, as described under Fridge Horror). And Emma is willing to sacrifice millions or even billions of lives including their colleagues' and friends' in order to reach that goal, convincing theirself it's for the greater good; to the disgust of Monarch and Emma's own daughter.
- The first Chinese emperor in the Wuxia movie Hero (2002) uses this as a motive to conquer China. One of the few movies where it is arguably shown as justified.
- The goal of the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance in Hot Fuzz on a small scale, in their quest to win the Best Village Award at all costs. For the greater good.
- Livia from I, Claudius murders her way through the show's cast, and in a candid moment with Claudius freely admits that she was a terrible criminal. She fully expects to suffer for her sins in the afterlife. Despite this, she considers it all worth it in the name of staving off another round of civil war.
- James Bond
- Blofeld in Diamonds Are Forever: or at least he claims it is: he is using a super-weapon to threaten both the capitalist and communist countries into nuclear disarmament and bring about world peace. But one has to wonder what he plans to do after this, considering all his previous acts in the last six films
- Hugo Drax in Moonraker.
- Also, Karl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me.
- In Man of Steel, General Zod believes that by increasing Earth's gravitational pull, filling the atmosphere with toxic particulates, and thus killing off humanity, as well as all native life on earth, is the only way for Krypton to live again.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, HYDRA plans to rule by eliminating any opposition and allegedly establishing peace.
- In The Avengers (2012), Loki states his plans to rule these petty humans and thereby alleviate war and suffering.
- Then there's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when we discover that HYDRA is still operating and plans to establish peace and order by eliminating potential threats. This is pretty much Alexander Pierce's word for word explanation to the Winter Soldier as to why it was okay to destroy Bucky Barnes' life and use him to destabilize democracy around the globe for nearly a century.
- In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos intends to kill out half the universe to solve the problem of limited resources and overpopulation. He succeeds horribly.
- In Avengers: Endgame, after seeing his Life's Work Ruined in the future, a past version of Thanos comes to the present planning to destroy the universe instead and remake it in his image, with nobody from the old universe alive to remember it.
- In Napoléon, Saint-Just makes an impassioned speech to this effect in his defence when the National Convention calls for his and Robespierre's deaths. It receives thunderous applause, but they both end up sentenced to death anyway.
- Played for laughs in Ninotchka (see quotes page).
- Our Man Flint. Galaxy orders the nations of the worlds to destroy their armaments and threatens to wipe out humanity with its control of weather, earthquakes and volcanoes if they don't comply. If their demands are agreed to they promise a perfect world under their control.
- Darryl Revok of Scanners thinks that a scanner-run government would be the coolest thing ever. Played with in that he has no illusions that it would be anything but a supremacist society where the "utopia" is only for the powerful psychics and that all normal humans would be reduced to slaves. Reportedly, some of the characterization for Magneto was based on this.
"We'll create an empire so brilliant, so glorious, it'll be the envy of the world."
- The Operative in Serenity calmly commits atrocity after atrocity because he believes that he's helping to create "a better world". Perhaps a semi-subversion, in that he does not intend to be a leader in his new world — he knows that what he does is evil, and that there will be no place for him in the better world.
- Also, it is discovered that the Alliance government attempted to develop a drug to dampen people's violent impulses. It didn't work: most of the population they tested it on became so apathetic they basically just laid down and died, and the few that didn't instead had their violent impulses clocked Up to Eleven and became the psychotic Reavers. Even if it had worked as desired, there would still be the issue of the Alliance's apparent plan to involuntarily dose people with the stuff....
- The Alliance has been kidnapping and Mind Raping children in order to turn them into psychic assassin soldiers, all in the name of their vision of a "better world."
- In Sherlock Holmes (2009), Blackwood's ultimate goal is to seize control of the British Empire and rule it through fear. Lord Coward, one of the politicians who supports his coup, claims that Blackwood will be a strong shepherd for the weak masses.
- Blackwood also voices his plan to bring the United States "back into the fold" of the Empire. However, this is likely only done to piss off the American ambassador, one of his original supporters, in order to get him to turn against him.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). Dr Totenkopf gathers samples of every animal on Earth in order to seed life on another planet. The hero suggests just letting him go, until it's revealed that the engines of his rocket ship will incinerate the entire world.
Totenkopf: "I have been witness to a world consumed by hatred and bent on self-destruction. Watched as we have taken what was to be a paradise and failed in our responsibilities as its steward. I know now that the course the human race has set for itself cannot be changed. I am the last, desperate chance for a doomed planet."
- Ultimately subverted when they find his body in his study in the heart of his secret base. And the note he left when he realized he was wrong, and found he could not stop what he had started. It turns out that he's been dead for years, and the machinery just kept on with the plan he couldn't stop before he died.
- Sneakers: Cosmo's motivation for acquiring the box by kidnapping and almost killing Marty.
- Star Wars:
- In Revenge of the Sith, Sith Lord Palpatine states that once he rules the galaxy, there will be peace. Ultimately subverted with Palpatine however, he only uses the promise of peace and stability as a way to control people with an iron first. He really is just a sociopath who wants power. They don't call it the dark side for nothing.
- Darth Vader's words to Luke on Bespin about bringing peace and order to the galaxy (as well as a similar exchange of words to Padme in Revenge of the Sith) suggests that he is following this trope.
- Played straight with Count Dooku of Attack of the Clones, who was so tired of what he felt was a corrupt Republic and an ineffective Jedi Order that he defected and joined the Sith. He is convinced that the best way to save the galaxy is to destroy the Republic and the Jedi by any means necessary, and then simply start over. That Dooku was willing to ally himself with Palpatine, fully aware that he was responsible for a lot of what he hated about the Republic (and that he trained the man that killed Dooku's beloved apprentice), is testament not only to Dooku's dedication but to Palpatine's persuasive abilities.
- World peace through dictatorship was Bison's motivation in Street Fighter.
"The pax Bisonica..."
- In TRON: Legacy, CLU's goal is ridding the real world of its "imperfections," and ordering the genocide of the ISO programs was him just getting started. This was mostly due to a Zeroth Law Rebellion: CLU was created with the guideline to create the "perfect" system, and the ISO programs are not perfect specifically because they are flawed and don't operate within defined parameters.
- In United 93, this is the hijackers' motive. Also serves as a Tear Jerker since the whole film is a Foregone Conclusion based on the Real Life September 11 attacks, which resulted in the deaths of over 3000 people at the hands of al-Qaeda and their utopian ideals.
- The Village is ostensibly a period drama about a primitive town's struggle with dark magical forces. In actuality, the town is on a modern nature preserve. Its adult inhabitants have fled there to set up a simple way of life which they hope will be free from senseless violence. Like most Utopian experiments, this one fails miserably (at least in principle) when one of the town's children tries to murder another in a fit of jealousy. One could reasonably argue that the fear-based "conditioning" the children were put through was more traumatising to them than growing up in a modern society would have been. Also, most of the children, instead of being killed by criminals, end up dying of disease or lack of medical care.
- In Watchmen, similar to the original story above, Ozymandias decides to establish world peace by force through a Genghis Gambit. However, rather than summoning a Giant Space Squid from Nowhere in the middle of New York, he detonates multiple Doomsday Devices made using Dr. Manhattan's powers across the planet and kills ~15 million people for a Frame-Up, which Manhattan goes along with after seeing The Extremist Was Right.
- In Wonder Woman (2017), Ares, God of War believes that humanity is too corrupt to inhabit earth, and thus by giving them an inspiration for a new weapon, or excuse for war, humanity will willingly wage a destructive war that will result in them wiping each other out, and paving the way for the Greek gods to once again inhabit earth.
- The World's End: The Network believes so, pointing out that the sacrifice of a few of the more unruly, disruptive inhabitants of the town are necessary for the betterment of all. The heroes, however, point out that the Network has sacrificed and replaced all but two of the townspeople, and that helping humanity by replacing 99% of it isn't exactly a good plan. The Network can't help but agree with their logic, which makes it despondent and depressed.
- 12 Monkeys eventually reveals that unleashing The Plague on the world was just a stepping stone in the Army of the Twelve Monkeys' overall Evil Plan. It was simply to ensure that time travel would be created to try and counter it, which the Messengers — the Army's Super Soldiers — could then hijack it to go back and kill the Primaries (humans who act as Cosmic Keystones maintaining time itself) with paradoxes in order to create a Time Crash. All because their leader, the Witness, has convinced them that a world without time would be a paradise, as it would also be a world without death.
- In the later seasons of The 4400, the faction led by Jordan Collier has a plan to inject every human being on Earth with promycin, the drug that has a 50/50 chance of giving a person a supernatural ability or killing them. Collier's goal is to create a new paradise of super-humans, despite the fact that this also means roughly 50% of the world's population will die. The future humans who sent back the original 4400 (with all the death and chaos many of them led to) and did everything in their power to keep Collier around and, presumably, devise his plan, also apply given their stated goal of saving the world, no matter the bastardy things they have to do to achieve it. According to them, the alternative is worse than 50% dead, but it depends whether you believe them or not.
- Jasmine in Angel used her godhood to engineer her return to Earth as a beatific, mind-numbingly beautiful goddess. Though she unified all who saw her (or heard her voice) and ended conflict, that much power required "volunteers" to be eaten by draining their life force on a daily basis. This is in addition to the thousands of people she'd already murdered through the Beast (the Rain of Fire, blotting out of the sun, etc.) which were apparently "birthing pains"-going from her higher plane to the mortal one requires a lot of death apparently. If successful, she would have essentially made everyone into peaceful, Jasmine-loving followers, destroying all evil in the world; but also have eaten thousands of people per year (but fewer people than would have died from wars and starvation she would have prevented). Something she summarizes/justifies as "I slaughtered thousands, to save billions." She was shown to be a very vain being, possibly more concerned with being worshiped than with helping people. In support of this, once her forced utopia is prevented, she decides to destory the world out of spite. We also get to see the last world Jasmine visited. It's...not a very nice place, since she had abandoned it. She said she "did all she could" for that world and abandoned it due to its limitations, although some interpret it as her just getting bored.
- The fifth season used this trope throughout the entire season, putting the heroes in charge of the villain's organization and having them try to use it as a weapon for good. But what happens when that means getting villains acquitted in court, or playing murky demon politics, or playing nice to a Demon Lord? It was eventually revealed, by their nemesis Lindsey no less, that doing this was crippling their effectiveness against the malevolent Senior Partners. "What you've been doing here every day is learning to compromise and accept the world the way it is. Newsflash - heroes don't do that!" (paraphrased)
- The PsiCop Alfred Bester from Babylon 5, who grew up as a orphan baby in the Psi Corps and is willing to kill or mind-control any non-telepath in his way if it furthers his goal of saving human telepaths and other psychics from hate-crimes and discrimination, and ultimately achieving his dream of giving the telepathic "homo superior" dominance over the non-mutants. On the other hand, he is extremely hesitant to kill a telepath even if said telepath opposes him (instead, he tries to persuade them to change their views, or, if that doesn't work, tries to capture them and ship them to Psi Corps "re-education" camps). Considering that, during the series, telepaths are abused and enslaved both by the Psi Corps and the Shadows, and Garibaldi uncovers a conspiracy by an anti-mutant group to infect all human telepaths with a deadly virus so that they would either have to take daily injections of medication (also manufactured by the same corporation) and be easily controllable that way, or die in agony, Bester's paranoia can be seen as simple pre-emptive self-defense.
- Except for the gleeful delight he takes in tormenting Mundanes, and the casualness with which he kills them.
- The aforementioned conspiracy discovered by Garibaldi is also a case of this.
- The Shadows and Vorlons from the same series believe that their views of society create "perfection" and are well worth blowing up planets for. As these views are diametrically opposed, the rest of the galaxy is in trouble.
- In Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, Big Bad Lord Dread is convinced he is justified in converting everyone into robots and/or digitally converting them into data, because he believes he is making them immortal. When called out on his atrocities, he defends his actions: "It will be worth it!"
- The Avatars in Charmed wanted to create a world without conflict. In the episode "Charmageddon", it turned out that maintaining it involved the deletion of anyone whose violent tendencies survived their spell.
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Savages", the Elders drain the Life Energy of the Savages who live outside their city to improve themselves.
- The Cybermen. When they invaded this Earth through a parallel universe, they declared that they will take over and change society by removing fear, hatred, and classism... by converting the human race into them.
- Most notable of all is Tobias Vaughn, the CEO of an electronics company who sought to ally with and manipulate the Cybermen into taking over the world for him, so he could then doublecross them and create a utopia where all ideological disputes cease and unity is attained. Unfortunately for Vaughn, the Cybermen were one step ahead and doublecrossed him first, leading him to ally with the Doctor to take down the threat that he himself had led to the Earth in the first place.
- In "The Tomb of the Cybermen", Klieg and the rest of the Brotherhood of Logicians intended to take over the world with the aid of the Cybermen. Bit of a logical fallacy there Of course, the Doctor eventually manages to goad Klieg into revealing that, for him, at least, logic and utopia are just excuses; at the end of it all, he's just a power-mad nutcase.
- The Scientific Reform Society in "Robot" planned to trigger a worldwide nuclear holocaust unless the nations agreed to yield power to them.
- In "Invasion of the Dinosaurs", a group of Well Intentioned Extremists, believing that the environment could not be saved, sent a shipload of volunteers on a Fauxtastic Voyage to "another world", to disembark after time had been reversed back to the Mesozoic and the rest of humanity (as well as all the Silurians) written out of history.
- "School Reunion": Mr. Finch exploits the trope when he tries to talk the Doctor into joining him — how many more people could he save if he was a Reality Warper?
- In Farscape, the Nebari are ruled by a force known as "The Establishment", who advocate a rigid system of order where the individual sacrifices his freedom and conforms for the greater good. Those who refuse are mentally modified into happy slaves, blissfully serving the order. Oh, and they also have a lovely plan to make the entire universe this way.
- They also claim not to have warships. They have transport ships, which have enough firepower to take out a legendary Peacekeeper command carrier which was thought to be indestructible. They are strongly implied to be a Higher-Tech Species on par with the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans. This is further indicated when they are the only party outside those two to bid on Crichton's wormhole knowledge.
- Game of Thrones: After edging toward this trope in the latter half of season 8 and following years of trying to spare innocent lives, Daenerys Targaryen does a FaceHeel Turn and massacres an entire city full of civilians after that city already surrendered to her. She believes that she is "liberating" these thousands of people from a tyrant by killing them all and declares she will continue to do the same all over the world. Daenerys truly believes she is justified in this course of action, won't let her former mercy be used against her, is certain that purging the world is the only way she can build her new one—and is convinced she is doing good. Tyrion lampshades this:
Tyrion: [...] And she grows more powerful and more sure that she is good and right. She believes her destiny is to build a better world for everyone. If you believed that, if you truly believed it, wouldn't you kill whoever stood between you and paradise?
- Linderman, on Heroes, wants to allow New York City to be destroyed by an atomic explosion, ostensibly to unite the world and grant it hope... However, it is never explained exactly why he expects this as an outcome. This may be a Shout-Out to Watchmen.
- It's more or less spelled out that he intended Nathan to become a leader of men, to unite people and guide a world horrified by the destruction (with Linderman as the power behind the throne). Sylar, DL, and Nikki, and Nathan himself, proved more unpredictable than Linderman thought. When we actually see the Bad Future in which Linderman's plan succeeded, it turns out this Utopia never came to pass / was more dystopian than he claimed- Nathan did become President, but Sylar pulled a Kill and Replace on him and threw other supers into camps; Sylar also claims that he is only doing this because that's what Nathan was already doing.
- Adam Monroe wants to "fix" the world by releasing a virus that will kill over 90% of the population. Apparently, he thinks this will end wars and discrimination and...well, anything. When the dust settles and the survivors look around, he, the immortal Adam Monroe, will be there to lead them and become emperor over all. Or something.
- There's an obvious shout out to Ras Al Ghul/Apocalypse in that he believes that only the strongest and smartest will be able to survive the virus (possibly through his intervention) with those he deems unworthy being eradicated.
- In season 3 of Kyle XY, the upper echelons of the Latnok Society appear to be like this.
- The Outpost: Yavalla decides to create a promised paradise the Blackblood religion prophesied with her kinj, through brainwashing everyone into being peaceful.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: The Original Series:
- In the backstory of "The Return of the Archons" and "The Apple", mind control/brainwashing was used to make the population docile and happy.
- ''I, Mudd": a group of androids decided to conquer the galaxy and impose peace on everyone by force. They were simply applying Asimov's Zeroth Law of Robotics. One of the first applications shown.
- ''What Are Little Girls Made Of": an android decided to Kill and Replace all humans with androids in order to eliminate negative emotions like jealousy, greed, and hate. It would also get rid of positive emotions like love and tenderness.
- Also, consider the concept of genetic augmentation. The scientific breakthroughs that would make humanity stronger, faster, and smarter also bred egomaniacs like Khan Noonien Singh. This so traumatised the Earth that genetic engineering was banned into the 24th century.
- Colonel Green strongly believed this. After the Third World War, he organised the forced sterilisation and euthanasia of all those suffering radiation damage, in order to prevent them from passing on their mutations, deformities and health problems to the next generation. According to Enterprise, the morality and ramifications of what he did are still being heavily debated well into the 22nd century, with some considering him simply a despotic murderer, while others view him as an Well-Intentioned Extremist whose actions ultimately spared future generations from undue suffering.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- The Borg are an extremely delusional example of this trope. They are a Hive Mind cybernetic collective who forcibly assimilate entire races into their ranks in order to improve themselves by taking their unique biological and technological distinctiveness into their own whether the races want it or not, and they see this as both benefitting the races in question (who are now part of an ever-Higher-Tech Species) as well as improving themselves, with the ultimate goal of attaining perfection for the entire Borg Collective and everyone in it. In practice this means the total elimination of The Evils of Free Will, the sacrifice of any number of expendable drones (i.e. the people they assimilated and are supposedly "helping") in the pursuit of their goals, and the annihilation of races deemed inferior or threatening, and those few who get de-assimilated are shown to be extremely traumatised by the experience and have trouble re-adjusting to normal life, if they even remember who they were in the first place.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- The Dominion, as they want to unite everyone and bring "order" to the galaxy. As the Great Link has no concept of internal conflict, they think conquering and bringing everyone else under their control will bring peace to the galaxy.
- The rogue Starfleet agency Section 31 could also apply. Their utopia already exists in the form of The Federation, but they're willing to do all the underhanded things the Federation itself would never do in order to preserve it.
- In the episode "Paradise," Sisko and O'Brien run across a settlement of the survivors of a damaged ship on a planet where a dampening field makes technology useless. The leader of village is a fanatic Luddite who is convinced that they can create paradise on this world, and she enforces it by giving out torturous punishments for everything from stealing a candle to trying to figure out how to thwart the dampening field (which "wastes time" that could have been used for serving the community). It turns out the dampening field is an artificial creation, under her control, and she refuses to turn it off, even when one of the villagers is dying from an infection that Sisko and O'Brien could easily cure if they could get to their shuttle and its medkits. When she's called on her actions, she says that she does feel guilty about some things, but it's all worth it because of the wonderful community that her actions allowed them to create. The episode implies she may be right, too; when given the chance, none of the villagers choose to leave and suggest they might even choose to turn the anti-technology field back on.
- The Star Trek: Voyager episode "Unity" features a colony of former Borg that has fractured into different groups, some of whom live peacefully together, others of whom have turned to raiding and attacking the first group. Some of the leaders wish to activate the link that used to exist between them as Borg in order to stop the attacks. When Janeway refuses to help them, they take over Chakotay and force him to help them against his will. The end of the episode hints that the "unity" that the leaders created may turn out to be as evil as the Borg in time.
- Star Trek: The Original Series:
- At the end of the fourth season of Supernatural, Zachariah reveals that the senior angels (he claimed the 'grunts' would have revolted had they known beforehand) allowed most of the seals to be broken, and they want Sam to kill Lilith and break the final seal, so Lucifer will walk free. Why? Because after the Apocalypse, which they are sure they will win, there will be paradise on Earth. And if billions of humans have to die to ensure this paradise? Well, they aren't particularly concerned about that.
- Another character even comments that while yes, many good/innocent people will die during this ordeal, they will just go to heaven when they do. So is it really that bad?
- Metatron, also an angel, has a claim to this status as well, with his goal of making the world into the perfect example of what makes stories so great.
- The aptly-named Utopia is a Conspiracy Thriller detailing a clandestine plot to sterilise 90% of the UK and, eventually, the world in order to avert societal breakdown, war, famine and genocide.
- Season 3 of The Wire features a notable example that's both wholly realistic and morally ambiguous enough that it could be considered justified. When faced with an escalating gang war in Baltimore in the months before a mayoral election, BPD Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin is essentially given carte blanche to lower the skyrocketing murder rate and save the mayor's public safety record. His answer? He goes behind his superiors' backs and designates a small area of the city as a "free zone" where drug dealers can peddle their product under police supervision without punishment. The plan succeeds in drastically improving public safety, but it relies on police looking the other way while heroin addicts buy drugs in broad daylight, as well as brutally punishing dealers who refuse to move (we see police macing handcuffed dealers, stealing their shoes at gunpoint, and even driving them off in paddy wagons and leaving them stranded in the woods). In the end, Colvin's superiors find out about it, and he's demoted and forced to retire in disgrace.
- The Outer Limits (1995):
- In "The Grid", the computer tells Scott Bowman that it intends to take over the world in order to bring order to chaos and eliminate the problems in human society.
- In "Family Values", the household robot Gideon tells Jerry Miller that Gideon Robotics has come to the conclusion that the increase in social problems among the general population in North America is directly attributable to fathers becoming negligent and failing in their duties towards their families. The Gideon 4000 series intends to restore order and social cohesion. In the final scene, Gideon is sitting at the head of the table at dinnertime and chastises Jerry for not wearing a tie before leading the Millers in saying grace. The episode ends with shots of other Gideons doing the same thing with their families.
- In "The Tipping Point", the Quanitron CEO Evan Cole created the artificial intelligence Prometheus in order to link and control every electronic device in the world. Evan's intention is not to rule the world as Zach Bennett suspects but to create a better world where humanity will live in harmony and peace and eventually merge with computers.
- Brave New World: New London is meant to be a utopia where no one is unhappy or goes without. However, they do this by genetically engineering everyone, conditioning them from birth to fit into their castes, using euphoric drugs and having everyone engage in mindless recreation (especially constant casual sex). Family, privacy and religion have all been abolished to reach this end.
- Utopia Falls: Gerald tells Aliyah lying that no one else was alive beyond the city had to be done, since it has made those in New Babyl help each other as equals without regard to race, sexuality etc, making an amazing place as a result. Aliyah rejects this, since it has really created a conformist police state beneath this happy egalitarian veneer.
- The song "Bloody Revolutions" by Crass criticizes this attitude, as part of a deconstruction of armed revolutions:"That's the kind of self-deception that killed ten million Jews, just the same false logic that all powermongers use."
- Mock-villainous musician Doctor Steel wanted to take over the world to bring about a utopian playland (basically remodeling the Earth into a giant Disneyland). He wasn't subtle that this change would largely benefit himself.
One fine day when I've got my army made
My flying saucers and toys invade
Every city and every town
And then I'll plaster my face up all over the place
See, I'm gonna win the human race
See, I'm gonna make the world a better place
- Ska band Five Iron Frenzy mocked this attitude in their song "My Evil Plan to Save the World."
- In the storyline mothy's Evillious Chronicles songs, the awakened Sin Vessels believe that if all the Vessels are gathered and awoken, utopia will be created. To achieve their goal, they're perfectly willing to kill anybody that interferes (or accidentally stumbles near their hideout, for that matter). It's also implied that the "utopia" they'd create would result in The End of the World as We Know It.
- BattleTech gives us both the Crusader faction of the Clans, who want to conquer the Inner Sphere their ancestors left behind to recreate the golden age of the Star League — with themselves as the overlords, never mind the fact that their warrior culture has diverged wildly from even their rose-colored view of the past — and (pre-schism) ComStar, an ostensibly neutral, pseudo-religious organization hoarding technological knowledge, also has an eye towards one day creating an utopia under their benevolent rule...after watching and, if necessarily, helping the Successor States, whose interstellar communications they're incidentally in charge of, bomb each other back into the Stone Age, that is.
- The Jammers from Feng Shui, that madcap band of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists, Maniac Monkeys, and Mad Bombers, are doing it all for the sake of the dream of their leader, Battlechimp Potemkin. The Battlechimp's dream is a world without chi, a world where humanity can finally be free to make their own decisions without being influenced by whoever has the most feng shui at his or her command. In order to do this, Potemkin wants every Feng Shui site in all the major junctures and the Netherworld blown sky high, no matter what form the site takes or how many innocent people will be killed in the process, or, indeed, what the long term consequences will be if he should actually succeed in destroying the world's chi.
- Ironically, the world of 2056 - where Potemkin and the Jammers have their roots - is itself an example of this trope. Well-Intentioned Extremist Johann Bonengel, the "Buropresident," originally entered politics with the dream of creating a world free of "war, ethnic crimes, and personal violence." He achieved these things by creating a worldwide police state whose citizens have few rights and all dissent is ruthlessly suppressed, and he willingly allied himself with the Architects of the Flesh to do it.
- In Mage: The Ascension, some parts of the Technocracy fill this role. The individual Technocrats are generally no better or worse than other mages, and often work towards what they see as a better, brighter future. If that requires crushing anything in their path, stifling dissension, and purging the world of wonder and the supernatural...Well, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few heads.
- Cynically speaking, the Traditions could be said to be the same. Their predecessors had control once. It was called the Dark Ages. The modern Traditions are much tamer though.
- You can even make the argument that the Traditions are far worse than the Technocracy. The Technocracy's main goal is to have all magic be repeatable and safe for the Masses to use (ie, science and technology), rather than limiting its use to a few tyrants wielding godlike power (the Traditions want to give magic to normal people to but have other, less sane methods of going about it). Sure, they need to murder reality warpers who decide that their views should take precedence over what the Masses have decided they want through their collective consciousness, but at least they keep the horrors from beyond at bay, sometimes to great sacrifice of their own. They even took out the Ravnos Antediluvian, with significant cost to themselves, with neutron bombs and orbital mirrors when all the other groups failed (though they did weaken it enough for the Technocracy to do so).
- On the flip side, it should be noted the Technocracy are the antagonists of the game because their willing to do literally anything to preserve the power of technology in contrast to the Traditions who have standards and rules they follow. Genocide? Murdering and purging their own minions (to the point they lost two Conventions to the Traditions because they were treated so horribly)? Concentration camps for mages? Founding Pentex? Working with the Axis (at first)? Brainwashing? Torture? Mind-control? Kidnapping sleepers? Global conspiracies? Banning the theory of the Ether? The Technocracy has done it all and more.
- Cynically speaking, the Traditions could be said to be the same. Their predecessors had control once. It was called the Dark Ages. The modern Traditions are much tamer though.
- This was what Yawgmoth in Magic: The Gathering thought he was doing when he created Phyrexia. The net result was much, much worse. Or, if you are a Phyrexian, it was a success.
- Planescape has the Harmonium faction. All factions qualify to some degree, but the Harmonium are the most clear-cut ones: they seek to create Harmony...by bashing the heads of anyone who disagrees. The standard tactics (brainwashing, executions, etc.) are used. Their plans tend to backfire spectacularly, like their idea of sticking anyone not Lawful or Good enough into re-education camps...that caused the entire layer of a plane to slide into the Lawful Neutral plane of Mechanus...
- Warhammer 40,000:
- Once Upon a Time, The Imperium of Man believed that humanity's manifest destiny was to rule over the entire galaxy and to exterminate any xenos or humans that stood in their way. They came close under the leadership of the Emperor, but then the Horus Heresy occurred and the Imperium degenerated into what it is now.
- The Emperor himself used to promote state atheism, as he misunderstood the way Chaos works and thought destroying all religion would end it. Instead, all he did was deprive himself of a useful weapon against daemons and set off his religious son Lorgar down the path that would lead to the Heresy and his being worshipped as the God-Emperor of Mankind.
- The only race that isn't fighting for survival or isn't in it For the Evulz is The Tau, who ask any xenos they encounter to join their empire, become their ally or get blown to smithereens if they believe you aren't compatible with the Greater Good. They are rumored to practice Brainwashing for the Greater Good, keep their populace in the dark about a lot of things (such as the existence of Chaos or just how tiny their empire is compared to the Imperium).
- A lot of Chaos cults of all people get their start like this: organizations that genuinely try to achieve some kind of social reform are either infiltrated by Chaos agents or start getting more desperate to achieve results.
- Warhammer Fantasy has much the same. Archaon believes that the triumph of Chaos will save the world from corruption, and some of The Undead commanders are trying to turn the entire world into undead because Chaos can't feed off of them like they do the living. The von Carstein plan for defeating Chaos once and for all is to zombify everyone on the planet, thus starving the Chaos Gods of their victims, believers and sustenance. And the Lizardmen want to restore the world to the layout of the Old Ones, regardless of the population migration or continental drift that's occurred since they disappeared.
- Rocket Age's Henry Ford is convinced his Venus colony Newfordlandia is a utopia. The workers, who are essentially well-cared-for wage slaves disagree, with no real money, only store credit, only company Courtesans for company and no chance of escaping the colony. The company's Julandri Courtesans were apparently purchased by Ford to ensure the men weren't distracted by romance and no-one seems to be certain how happy they are with this arrangement either.
- In the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Wonka Factory is a positively-portrayed Crapsaccharine World / False Utopia: A beautiful, wondrous place far lovelier than the cold outside world that nevertheless proves dangerous to the hedonistic brats in the Golden Ticket tour group when they disregard its creator's rules and warnings and wind up affected by bizarre fates. In the 2013 stage musical adaptation, it hits this trope by sending three of the bratty kids and one of their fathers to Uncertain Dooms that at worst will result in offstage deaths (whereas in the novel everyone is confirmed to survive); effectively the factory and its workers take out those who would interfere with its productivity! Mr. Willy Wonka isn't kidding when (in his Welcoming Song) he sings "Beyond this waltz/Is a world without faults" — any faults are permanently eliminated! But given that it's an Ambiguously Evil Anti-Hero in charge and jerks as the victims, it's hard to feel that bad, and the whole business is Played for Laughs (albeit black laughs) throughout.
- Virtue's Last Reward has Free the Soul, a religious cult who wants to wipe out humanity in order to build their ideal world. This is fueled by the murder of the organization's leader's brother, Left, a tragedy that made him realize how horrible humans are. To fulfill their Utopia, Free the Soul released prior to the game's events a virus named Radical-6 that makes its victims commit suicide. 6 billion people (75% of world population) died as a result.
However, in the next installment, Free the Soul's reason to annihilate humanity is retconned, and turns out the real motive to do so is to prevent a religious fanatic from killing off the entirety of world population with nuclear weapons. The reasoning behind the release of Radical-6 is that it has a 75% chance of killing the fanatic. The subject about Left's death is dropped in this game, and it calls into question the real designs of Free the Soul.
- The Big Bad in the online Flash series Broken Saints tricks the US government and military into creating the instruments which they think will allow them to set up their version of Utopia. Instead, said instruments will actually trigger the Government Conspiracy's own destruction and set up the Big Bad's version of Utopia (the heroes somehow manage to step in at the last minute, stop both factions, and use the living Empathic Weapon the Big Bad created to set up their own version of Utopia).
- RWBY: Starting with Volume 7, this applies to General James Ironwood. When he was first introduced, Ironwood was presented as self-righteous, but still open-minded and respectful of his comrades. However, after Salem's forces hijacked his military technology and sent it aiming for innocent civilians, the Kingdom of Atlas' reputation was tarnished, and Ironwood became desperate to rebuild Atlas' legacy as the greatest kingdom in all of Remnant. By doing so, however, he ends up causing more harm than good. He starts by instating an embargo on Dust shipments, followed by closing off Atlas' borders to other kingdoms. This is merely small potatoes to what he does later, as he plans on opening Atlas' Vault and use the Staff of Creation to raise Atlas into the atmosphere, leaving the below country of Mantle to die at the hands of Salem's forces. When Team RWBY goes against his idea and oppose his martial law instatement, he orders to have them placed under arrest, but they escape and do their hardest to protect Mantle at any and all costs. Ironwood is so caught up in his idea of glorifying Atlas, that to make Team RWBY "see reason", he plans on bombing Mantle to retrieve the new Winter Maiden from them.
- In Angel Down, Ward comes to belive this after his FaceHeel Turn. They wish to end social injustice by turning the Seraphem order into a ruling world force, rather than they secretive demon hunters they currently are. However, their plan to do this is by publicly killing those that they belive to be evil.
- In Dominic Deegan, Celesto Morgan — a seer who has become the Champion of Chaos — fiercely believes in this. Having been on the rough end of humanity a bit too often, he believes that "When an infection is too deep... amputation is the only solution."
- Fans! is definitely going into that territory as a group of mystics called the Order of the Dragon plan to overthrow the world's governments in a "bloodless coup" by murdering the Aleph, the personification of the very first written language, thus destroying the concept of the written word itself. When Donna, arguably the least evil of this group of Knights Templar, is informed that roughly 6.5 billion people will die as a result of their actions, her response is "Some will survive." To make matters worse, they recruited Keith Feddyg, who's motivated by his own needs, which involve inflicting as much pain as possible on as many people as possible. Oh, and revenge against Ally. The remaining members range from vengeful psychopaths to pathetic losers. Whatta way to run Utopia!
- The Order of the Stick:
- Redcloak, the Goblin cleric has the goal of creating a world where goblins and goblinoids are not simply farms for XP. He's got two ways of doing this. The first is that he and Xykon establish control over the gate and the snarl, ruling the world and allowing the Dark One (the god of the goblins) to blackmail the other gods into doing what it wants. The second involves the snarl being released and destroying the entire multiverse, eating the souls of everyone and anyone in any of the planes, including the afterlife. The gods will be forced to recreate the world, but the Dark One will now have a say in how the world is made. As revealed to Durkon by Thor, the second option is actually required for reality to survive the Snarl.
- General Tarquin plans to bring the southern part of the Western Continent under his control by skillfully manipulating the three most powerful empires that rule it. Elan isn't comfortable with the deception involved, but Tarquin justifies it to himself by reasoning that he can end the wars which plague the area, killing tens of thousands each year. Subverted. Half of his motivation is he wants is to rule and "live like a god" for the rest of his life, the other half is providing an effective Evil Overlord for his son Elan to fight, based on what he thinks his son's story is. The well-being of the Western Continent's people is irrelevant to Tarquin, all he cares about ensuring his brand of order is enforced. That's not even getting into what he's going to let Malack do with the place when he's dead.
Malack: We've discussed it at length. [Tarquin]'s thrilled that what he builds will endure past his death. I did have to promise him an even bigger statue, though.
- The Varn Gene Mage from Terinu wants to restore the Varn Dominion. All that involves is the capture of the titular character and the persuasion of all the races that the Dominion had once enslaved to join up again. By force, if necessary.
- One Shortpacked! arc involves Robin and Ultra-Car going to an alternate universe where the Drama Tag was never pulled, meaning that the comic's Cerebus Syndrome and subsequent Character Development never took place. Everyone is cheery but a bit off, and every strip ends with a joke. Among other changes, Galasso's dead wife Pamela is still alive. It turns out that she created the Drama Tag to stay with her family, and argues that everyone is happier with this reality than they would be if the Tag was pulled. Rachel, who is also stuck there, pulls it anyway to finally get back to the normal universe.
- In Genocide Man, the Genocide Project and the Global Union of States reined in decades of devastating biological warfare to produce a global society that was peaceful and productive, if not quite free. The cost: illicit dabbling in genetic manipulation, as well as any resulting Transhumans or Uplifted Animals, are dealt with by an aptly named Genocide Man. The Project also modified the entire human race to be more peaceful — with the temporary side effect of the Guayaquil Plague, which killed 1.3 billion people.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Summed up in Dr. Horrible's statement, "The world is a mess and I just... need to rule it." Summed up less cogently when he tries to explain his worldview to Penny:
Billy: The fish rots from the head, they say, so my thinking is, why not cut off the head—
Penny: Of the human race?
Billy: It's not a perfect metaphor...
- Doctor Steel wants to remake the world into a Utopian Playland — by force with the aid of giant robots, if necessary.
- Worm's protagonist eventually arrived at this view, deciding to join up with other villains since the heroes have failed to impress her.
- Ironically, Cauldron and the world's greatest heroes feel the same about their crimes against humanity.
- Coil believed he could rebuild Brockton Bay and establish a new paradigm in the balance of villain and heroes. To do so he took many unsavory actions, especially kidnapping and drugging Dinah.
- All Hail King Julien gives us Julien's predecessor, his uncle King Julien XII, who keeps his kingdom safe from predators by demanding they spend their lives hiding in fear, punishing anyone who dares object.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- The city of Ba Sing Se, when at last it is reached, is a stronghold that has withstood the Fire Nation for one hundred years, a haven for thousands of refugees. However, the price for this is the censorship, even from the king, that there is a war that has been waging for the past 100 years and that the Earth Kingdom is losing. Also, anyone who insists that there is a war is promptly and quietly kidnapped, brainwashed, and enslaved by the Dai Li.
- Fire Lord Sozin started the century-long war with the aim of "sharing Fire Nation prosperity" with the other nations, in spite of warnings from his closest friend, Avatar Roku. Eventually, he realized that Roku was right and it wasn't worth committing genocide, betraying his best friend, and the countless other deaths. Unfortunately, he realized this on his deathbed when it was far too late to stop it. And his successors turned out to be far worse, and tended towards Despotism Justifies the Means.
- The comics after the show reveal Zuko seeking to avert this; but he's put into too many violent confrontations with those who would've preferred Ozai's rule, even if Zuko's being a better Fire Lord than him. This also pits him against Azula, who has taken to regressing to the same mentality she had before she went insane (she ultimately wants Zuko to rule like she and by extent previous lords would have ruled by) which puts stress on Zuko to not succumb to tyranny like his predecessors.
- Big Hero 6: The Series: Obake's master plan involves destroying San Fransokyo in a replica of the Great Disaster in order to wipe the slate clean for his envisioned 'perfect city'. As a teenager, Obake was taught that nothing should limit genius, and was then robbed of his ability to empathize with others by a lab accident. So it's no surprise he feels this way.
- The Legend of Korra:
- Amon believes that bending is a source of pain and misery in the world, and is abused to no end. Ridding the world of it would bring equality to the world and the human race. Not such a bad idea, except that his plans of firebombing arenas full of thousands of people and taking away bending against the will of the benders are more than a little sick.
- Pretty much all of the Korra major antagonists onwards: Unalaq wanted a world where the boundaries between humans and spirits (and, according to one tidbit, between worldly nations as well) would be obliterated, Zaheer wanted an anarchist world where everyone would be free to do as they wished, and Kuvira wanted a peaceful, strong Earth Empire. Pity they tried to accomplish this via fusing with the God of Evil (which would lean more towards Dystopia Justifies the Means), mass terrorism and murder and complete and utter totalitarianism, respectively. Toph herself says that all of them had good intentions to try to fix things; but they all lose sight of their ideals and fall out of balance.
- Justice League:
- The Justice League's Alternate Universe equivalents, the Justice Lords, did this to their world, taking over and imposing a metahuman-run utopia/dystopia. Some of the ends seem well worth the means, especially violating Lex Luthor's Joker Immunity and lobotomizing omnicidal maniacs, but the group quickly leapt off the slippery slope by getting rid of the right to vote or speak freely while arresting individuals for so much as threatening to not pay for food. On the other hand, their world has no rape, murder, arson, or even litter. Unusually, this is one of the more even-handed examples, with both "Utopia" and "the means to it" being shown in fair measure. Fans of the show were left to wonder if, in a world where every prison's a Cardboard Prison, the Justice Lords might have had a point, and the Batmen even debate on it in the middle of the episode.note
- The very same episode also featured another version of this at the very beginning. Lex Luthor—who was the President at the time in the alternate universe—apparently did something that he justified with this belief. The episode never tells us what he specifically did, but whatever it was, apparently it backfired horribly and was about to start World War III before Superman kills President Luthor. When Superman walks into the Oval Office he exposits "Even this wasn't enough for you, Lex. You had to have it all. Now we're on the brink of a war that could destroy the whole planet." Lex—who appears to still be in a state of shock about his mysterious plans backfiring—ignores Superman and babbles to himself "Could have been so perfect! Paradise!" Then the conversation spirals out of control, and the scenario described in the above two paragraphs comes into fruition.
- Motorcity: Detroit Deluxe is supposedly "The City of the Future" where everyone is clean and happy, but everyone must dress the same, KaneCo soldiers and bots constantly pilot the area as well as occasionally terrorize Motorcity. Mike states that they've had their freedom taken away, but their citizens are unaware.
- Nerissa of W.I.T.C.H. wants to make the multiverse a safe place for all, ridding the universes of evil. To that end, she's hunting down powers equal to that of a god, manipulating everyone from teenagers to adults to the friggin' dead, trying to kill a cat to gain its power and essentially turning everyone against each other and destroying them just to reach that goal.
- The Powerpuff Girls RULE! special showed that this was Mojo Jojo's goal all along. After successfully gaining control of the world, he turns it into a paradise. Then he gets bored...
- Pinky and the Brain features this as one of The Brain's biggest motives for his nightly world-domination plots. A time travel episode of Freakazoid! showed a version of the world run by Brain, and to his credit, seemed to be a legitimately great world.