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Villain Opening Scene

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A Villain Opening Scene begins the story with the villain. As it's an Establishing Character Moment, often the villain's first act will be a Kick the Dog or Moral Event Horizon crossing moment that serves to show how evil or badass he is, and often sets up the situation that the hero then has to resolve.

Common in stories in which the villain and the plot are essentially synonymous, and a simple way of implementing Villains Act, Heroes React.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A lot of Case Closed stories open this way as well.
  • The first episode of Dragon Ball Z opens with Raditz landing on Earth and killing a farmer.
  • Both the manga and the anime of Elfen Lied begin with the infamous scene of an emaciated naked young woman shuffling through the corridors of an Elaborate Underground Base butchering dozens of armed guards by deflecting their bullets and ripping them apart with her telekinetic powers. And then she casually pops the head of a secretary who just happens to come around the corner and uses her corpse as a shield, clearly removing any ideas that she is merely the victim of an evil organization.
  • The first scene in Fist of the North Star depicts Starter Villain Zeed and his biker gang attacking a truck and taking the cargo it had. While Zeed does not last long and is killed at the end of the episode, it still establishes that a good deal of the villains in this show are going to be some of the cruelest you'll ever see.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!:
    • In the North American version, the very first episode opens with an immense, evil crimson octopus Demon Beast/monster called Octacon attacking and eating a whole flock of sheep to a Cappy farmer's horror before flying back to King Dedede's castle. This scene actually switched places with the original Japanese opening scene where Kirby is flying through space asleep and eventually comes into orbit over Popstar in the dub.
    • Also, the episode "Masher 2.0" begins with Knuckle Joe in a battle against a newly-rebuilt Masher 2.0. And not doing too well against it. At least he does well against its helpers, some of Nightmare's kaiju-esque monsters seen in Meta Knight's flashbacks.
  • The first scene of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's involves Hayate and her Book of Darkness, though villain is used in the loosest sense of the word here.
  • One Piece:
    • The anime series begins with Alvida and her pirate crew attacking a cruise ship.
    • The tenth movie opens with hero antagonists Garp and Sengoku looking on grimly and expositing as movie Big Bad "Golden Lion" Shiki worfs an entire Buster Call-sized fleet of Navy battleships.
  • One Stormy Night begins with Giro and his pack of wolves attacking and killing Mei's mother, who tells her son to run away into a nearby forest for his own safety. Just right before she bids her son goodbye and is killed by the wolves, the mother goat attacks Giro and bites off one of his ears.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon: The First Movie begins with Mewtwo destroying the very laboratory he was created in, killing all of the scientists inside, and immediately escaping.
  • Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai begins with Palkia and Dialga fighting, and then ends with Palkia flying towards the main setting of the story, Alamos Town.
  • Tekkaman Blade: The American version begins with the Radam aliens attacking the Earth's Space Ring.
  • The Trigun movie begins with Gasback and his henchman robbing a bank.
  • Yatterman Night begins with Dokurobei apparently blowing up the moon and raining the pieces down on Earth. One of them lands in a volcano, which explodes. At the moment, this has nothing to do with the show's plot.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The Dark Prince Charming opens with the Joker with a knife in hand approaching a little girl.
  • Blake and Mortimer: In "The Secret of The Swordfish", Olrik is the first character to appear on stage.
  • Fantastic Four: The buildup to the arc leading into the 500th issue is a single issue dedicated to Doctor Doom.
  • The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire: The comic opens three months prior to the present day with Guan being informed by Doctor Sheng that Kuvira has surrendered to the Avatar and told the Earth Empire to stand down. He then declares that, while the Great Uniters time may be over, the Earth Empire will never die.
  • Superman:
    • Who is Superwoman? opens with the titular villain going over her instructions to cause mayhem and destroying the heroes.
    • The Unknown Supergirl: In the first issue, the main character experiences a sudden power loss for unknown reasons. The second issue opens with the Big Bad gloating, and the next pages show via flashbacks how and why Lesla-Lar was messing up with Kara, and which was her sinister endgame.

    Fan Works 
  • Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles: Wings of Unity begins with a prologue where Aurora Starlight, the Big Bad of the story, discusses a plan of invading Equestria and taking her revenge on Princess Celestia with her four most trusted servants, which form her elite Reaper squadron.
  • The prologue of The Dragon and the Butterfly: Whiteout is a Flashback to Drago Bludvist's Start of Darkness, specifically how he lost his arm to a Monstrous Nightmare and how his family died.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, in a similar vein to "Kindred Spirits" from the cartoon, one story begins with Vlad observing footage of Danny in an attempt to learn more about his True Ghost Form.
  • In Golden Dawn: Lost Sunrise, the prologue is about a villainous cat called "The Watcher", whose mysterious plan involves the murder of a kitten.

    Films — Animation 
  • Cars 2 begins with Professor Z and his henchcars discussing about their evil plan for world domination and killing an unsuspecting spy car by literally crushing him into a cube, only to run into Finn McMissile, who had just infiltrated their lair.
  • Coraline's opening credits scene shows The Beldam's hands remaking the doll until it resembles the protagonist of the movie, before sending it to a starry, black sky.
  • This has become a tradition with the Despicable Me movies.
    • The first one begins with Vector stealing the Pyramid of Giza (though Vector himself doesn't show his face just yet).
    • The second one begins with El Macho stealing an Antarctic base with a giant magnet (though El Macho himself doesn't show his face just yet either).
    • The third one begins with Balthazar Bratt's backstory, which is immediately followed by his first heist (and unlike the first two, we fully see Bratt and his face).
    • The first Minions movie breaks this tradition, but Minions: The Rise of Gru brings it back in full force, showing Belle Bottom of the Vicious Six evading the Anti-Villain League with the map to the Zodiac Stone in tow. Once she makes it back to headquarters, we then see Wild Knuckles breaking into the temple and stealing said stone. Unfortunately for him, this is also where the rest of the Vicious Six betray him, take the stone for themselves, and leave their leader for dead.
  • Many films in the Disney Animated Canon have such a scene, as Disney abuses this trope.
    • Aladdin. Okay, so it actually opens with the Merchant, but straight after it goes to Jafar and Iago's latest attempt to get the magic lamp from the Cave of Wonders.
    • Though technically not a villain, Atlantis: The Lost Empire was originally going to begin with the Leviathan sinking a Viking ship, and causing the Shepherd's Journal to be thrown into the Atlantic Ocean.
    • Dinosaur actually begins with the film's Big Bad, the Carnotaurus attacking the nest made by Aladar's mother, smashing all but one of the eggs (which was taken away by an Oviraptor, and later on a Pterodactyl, to Lemur Island) and presumably killing his mother.
    • The Great Mouse Detective begins with Ratigan's lackey Fidget attacking and kidnapping Olivia's father.
    • This is also true for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which opens with Clopin, the narrator, before switching to Judge Claude Frollo arresting some Gypsies. In both cases, the narrator of the story (a popular narrative device) was preceding the villain.
    • The Lion King: Scar is the first character to speak in the film, although the film does not start with him appearing- it starts, as many know, with the famous scene depicting the inhabitants of the Pride Lands gathering to see Simba for the first time.
    • Mulan opens with Shan-Yu and his army attacking the Great Wall of China. Mulan herself doesn't appear till scene three.
    • Sleeping Beauty: Due to the film beginning with the three good fairies bestowing gifts upon Aurora while she is a baby, she doesn't get a proper introduction until after Maleficent places the curse on her.
    • For Disney, this trope goes back to the very beginning. The first proper scene of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is of the Queen consulting her Magic Mirror.
    • Tangled begins with the villainess finding the magic flower used by Rapunzel's mother to heal her illness (and later transferring its magic to her daughter's hair), only to have it snatched away by the King to heal his aforementioned wife.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 opens with the backstory of Lord Shen and the opening credits come in over scenes of him and his army.
    • The opening scene for Kung Fu Panda 3 has Kai defeat Master Oogway and escape from the Spirit Realm using the chi he stole from the spirits of dead Kung Fu masters.
  • The LEGO Movie opens with Lord Business stealing the Kragle from Vitruvius while blinding him and dismissing his prophecy as a bunch of nonsense.
  • The LEGO Batman Movie opens with Joker and the rest of the rogues gallery plotting to bomb the Gotham Energy Facility and Batman himself doesn't show up until the 7-minute mark when he goes undercover as Mayor McCaskill.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks starts with the Dazzlings draining a restaurant full of people and noticing the ending battle of the first movie in the distance, thus setting off the plot for this movie.
  • Recess: School's Out opens with the villains stealing the weather-altering laser.
  • The 1986 Transformers: The Movie opens with Unicron eating an inhabited planet.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie opens with Bowser's army invading and conquering the Ice Kingdom and stealing the penguins' Super Star.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien: Covenant: The film opens with David first being activated by his "father" and designer, Peter Weyland. He's later revealed to be responsible for the genocide of the Engineers and has been experimenting on hapless humans to facilitate the perfection of the neomorphs into their Xenomorph forms.
  • Axeman starts with the Axeman killing some bank robbers hiding out in his cabin.
  • The Riddler scouting out the mayor's house in The Batman.
  • Blade opens with vampires having a rave (with a helpless human dude), which is crashed by the title hero.
  • Blade Runner: after some Scenery Porn, the first character we see is one of the replicants.
  • Blank Check: The main antagonist Quigley escapes from prison and takes out a suitcase full of one million dollars he hind in an abandoned warehouse before he got arrested.
  • Bloodsuckers from Outer Space starts with a farmer being possessed by the Lifeforce.
  • A Clockwork Orange opens with a close-up of a smiling Alex, planning a night of ultra-violence.
  • Creature with the Atom Brain opens with Frank Buchanan, vengeance-seeking crime boss, piloting one of the titular atomic zombies to murder his overambitious former underling Hennessy.
  • The first scene of Creed II shows Ivan and Viktor Drago in Ukraine, their lifestyle and Viktor fighting in underground arena matches.
  • The Dark Crystal opens with the Skeksis.
  • The Dark Knight puts a twist on this in that it initially appears to be following a group of Joker's mooks; only at the very end of the scene is it revealed that the last surviving mook is the Joker.
  • Bane's plane hijacking in The Dark Knight Rises.
  • The Departed opens with a monologue from Frank Castello. Any ambiguity about how we are to view him is quickly cleared up by the exercising of his assumed N-Word Privileges.
  • Dirty Harry begins with the first Scorpio murder. More accurately, it starts with a pretty girl taking a swim in a rooftop pool, then zooms out at length until we see the barrel of a sniper rifle...
    • The Enforcer begins with Miki posing as a hitchhiker who seduces two gas company men before Maxwell kills the two and steals their van and uniforms to use as part of his scheme.
    • In The Dead Pool, before we see Harry, we first see Rook in his apartment, watching the news and reading a Rolling Stone magazine before making the Dead Pool list. His face is obscured, however.
  • The Evil Dead (1981):The first scene of the movie shows the unseen force flying over a lake, sworving pass a run down car, and into the woods.
  • The kung-fu flick Finger of Doom opens with the main villainess, Madam Kung Sun, using the titular skill to excruciatingly kill four swordsmen intending to challenge her, before reviving the four as her zombified minions to join her ranks.
  • Flash Gordon opens with Ming the Merciless announcing that he's bored and deciding to amuse himself by destroying Earth.
  • For both Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason. The film opens with a monologue by Freddy Krueger. He explains how he came to be, and that the parents of Springwood have stopped him by erasing him from memory. He has found someone (Jason Voorhees) who he will use to instill fear in the town of Springwood once again, which will allow him to come back. This is followed by Jason stalking one of his victims in Camp Crystal Lake in his dreams before Freddy manipulates him in the guise of his mother to go to Springwood.
  • The prologue of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra shows "Destro" McCullen being arrested and sentenced for sedition against King Louis XIII. The first scene of the movie proper is of Mr. McCullen presenting his amazing nanomachine warheads to the military.
  • Several Godzilla films start off with either Godzilla or the monster he's going to fight in the films.
  • Halloween (1978) opens with a six-year-old Michael Myers murdering his sister Judith before the film flashes forward 15 years to Michael's escape from a sanatorium.
  • The first scene in Hard Target has Fouchon and Van Cleaf hunting down and killing a homeless veteran named Douglas Binder.
  • Hand of Death begins with the massacre of the Shaolin Temple by imperial soldiers, led by the main villain Shao-Fung, an ex-Shaolin disciple who defected for power. It culminates with Shao-Feng beating the temple's senior abbot to death with his bare hands; then cue opening titles.
  • Hellboy (2019) opens with Nimue's origin story rather than Hellboy's, which is instead told via flashback toward the end of the first act.
  • Hellraiser introduces Frank and the Cenobites before the good guys, unfortunate victims of their schemes.
  • Home Sweet Home begins with a man offering a beer to a random, stranded stranger. Said stranger is an escaped psychopath named Jay, who strangles the man to death, shoots up with PCP, steals the victim's car, and runs an old lady over. Jay will be our slasher for the rest of the film.
  • Inglourious Basterds starts up with a meeting between evil Nazi and Jew hunter Col. Hans Landa and a French dairy farmer who is hiding a family of Jews under the floorboards of his house. Moral Event Horizon, ahoy!
  • Jack Reacher opens with Charlie taking out a sniper rifle at a parking garage and shooting at five innocent victims.
  • Some of the James Bond opening sequences.
    • Dr. No, the first in the series, begins with the murder of secret service agent John Strangways.
    • From Russia with Love appears to begin with Bond, but it is actually a double, who is killed by Red Grant for a SPECTRE training mission.
    • You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker begin with spacecraft (or submarine)-hijacking before cutting to Bond.
    • Live and Let Die opens with people getting murdered (though the cause only appears after the credits).
    • The Man with the Golden Gun focuses on Scaramanga.
    • For Your Eyes Only also opens with a murder, following a sequence where a spy ship accidentally collides with a mine.
    • Licence to Kill blurs the two tropes, mainly focusing on Big Bad Franz Sanchez who, unfortunately for him, unintentionally interrupts the wedding of Felix Leiter, which means Bond gets involved.
    • Inverted in GoldenEye: Bond is on a mission with 006; about halfway through the film, it is revealed 006 is The Big Bad. The focus, however, is mostly on Bond. Likewise, in Die Another Day, Colonel Moon is the Big Bad Gustav Graves.
    • The first scene of No Time to Die is in a Flashback showing Safin invading Madeleine's home and shooting her mother.
  • Jurassic World: The very first scene in the film shows the Indominus rex and its sibling as they're just emerging from their eggs in the InGen genetics lab. We find out later that she ate her sibling.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist starts with a young Master Pain (before he took on the name Betty) killing The Chosen One's parents.
  • Leprechaun: The first scene of the film shows the titular leprechaun coming back to his lair to count his pot of gold.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man 2 opens with Ivan Vanko watching his father die and then preparing for his revenge against Tony Stark.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger begins with Red Skull finding and stealing the Tesseract.
    • The Avengers (2012) opens with a brief, ominous scene of The Other giving Loki his scepter and musing about how they will Take Over the World and "The humans? What can they do but burn?"
    • Captain America: Civil War opens with a flashback to 1991. Bucky, still in captivity, is unfrozen and electrocuted into his Winter Soldier mindset while his HYDRA handlers watch, then sent on an assassination mission.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 technically features this, opening with a flashback of Ego planting a piece of himself in the Earth. Even though the villain doesn't appear particularly menacing (at the moment).
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming opens with a flashback of Adrian Toomes and his crew being laid off by Tony Stark's Damage Control.
    • Avengers: Infinity War opens with Ebony Maw's and Thanos's speeches. Then in the first ten minutes, Thanos proves that he is a force to be reckoned with.
  • New Jack City, opens Villain Protagonist Nino Brown directing Duh-Duh-Duh Man to throw a corrupt business man over a bridge for not honoring his end of a deal gone bad.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) opens with Freddy Krueger constructing his iconic bladed glove when he was still a human serial killer before transitioning to Tina's first nightmare.
  • Extreme case: the first scene of Predator 2 is seen through the predator's point of view.
  • Queen of the Damned: Of a sort; Akasha, not Lestat, is the subject of the opening credits. However, she's still a lifeless statue before Lestat awakens her halfway through the film.
  • In Rambo IV, the first scene shown is the Tatmadaw playing a sick betting game involving civilians walking through a mine infested marsh. When the civilians make it across safely, the soldiers opt to shoot the civilians. In the Director's Cut, this scene was moved to a much later time in the movie.
  • Ride Along 2 opens with Antonio Pope holding a party on his yacht and his hacker A.J. telling him that his money had been stolen. Pope accuses Griffin of stealing the money, and has him killed in his apartment by a hitman.
  • The opening scene of Rocky Balboa shows Mason Dixon effortlessly defeating his opponent, with the press wondering if there will be a Worthy Opponent for him sometime in the future.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Reverse Whodunnit Rope opens with the two murderers.
  • In Scanners II: The New Order, long before David is introduced as the hero, the movie opens with Peter Drak walking the streets and screaming at the sky out of mental pain. Then he walks into an arcade hall and destroys it completely, causing a total panic before blowing it up. A nice contrast to the first Scanners where the vagrant psychic drifter accidentally does something bad before he's picked up by the organization that wants to recruit him. Except here it's a knowingly evil villain.
  • Shadow of a Doubt opens with Serial Killer Uncle Charlie on the run from police.
  • Silent Night (2012) opens with Santa electrocuting Deputy Jordan.
  • Spaceballs opens with the bad guys' ship and its infamous "We brake for nobody" plate.
  • Spiders II: Breeding Ground: The movie opens with the bad guys performing kidnappings on the high seas and feeding human corpses to the giant spiders they bred before it cuts to our heroes Alexandra and Jason.
  • Star Trek:
  • Seems to be a recurring thing in the Star Wars Saga.
    • A New Hope opens with a Star Destroyer note  chasing a Rebel Blockade Runner.
    • The Empire Strikes Back opens with a Star Destroyer deploying probe droids.
    • Return of the Jedi opens with a Star Destroyer dropping off a shuttle to deliver Darth Vader to the second Death Star.
    • The Force Awakens (Episode VII) opens with a First Order Star Destroyer note  deploying AAL-1971/9.1 Troop Transports containing bunches of stormtroopers to land on Jakku to raid a village for a map piece that contains Luke Skywalker's location. The affair features Kylo Ren displaying his powers by stopping a blaster bolt in midair and holding it, something no Jedi on either side of the Force had been shown doing up to that point.
  • Stargate (the film) opens with Ra abducting his future host and slaves. (We don't see Ra himself, but we do see the host and Ra's ship).
  • Stitches (2001) opens with Mrs. Albright making her skin suit.
  • Animated intro aside, Super Mario Bros. (1993) opens with Koopa chasing Daisy's mother through Brooklyn in an attempt to retrieve the meteorite piece.
  • The second and third Taken movies open with Murad Hoxha visiting the funeral of his son and his associates and vowing revenge, and with Oleg Malankov killing a man after finding an empty safe respectively.
  • Unbreakable opens with the origin story and birth of the later supervillain and David's evil mentor Elijah, showing why his fragility devastated his mother and ultimately caused him to became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, which is further fleshed out in a later scene between the two.
  • Uncle Sam: Sam killing the sergeant and major who find his crashed helicopter in Kuwait.
  • Universal Soldier: The Return: Before we cut to Van Damme, the Unisol body which SETH later uses for himself is shown in cold storage.
  • X-Men:
    • The first X-Men movie begins with a flashback sequence to Magneto's childhood in Auschwitz, where he first discovers his magnetic powers while struggling with a Nazi guard.
    • The Distant Prologue of X-Men: Apocalypse is a variant in that it's about the title villain, but he's a minor participant - Apocalypse is just changing bodies, while his Horsemen ensure he doesn't die when the servants riot and cause the pyramid to cave in.


By Author:

  • Ken Follett writes amazing books like The Key To Rebecca and Eye of the Needle where the villain starts out as the main character, with the readers' sympathies with him, and then the focus and sympathies begin to slowly shift to the hero.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt followed this trope in her first two novels. In Överenskommelser, the prologue is from Edvard's POV. In Betvingade, the prologue is from Roland's POV.

By Work:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle starts with Shift finding the inspiration for his Evil Plan.
  • The Coldfire Trilogy by C.S. Friedman begins with a scene with the villain (although it's from the viewpoint of his wife). Also somewhat subverted — Tarrant is undeniably evil, but he turns out not to be the main villain. That's Calesta, who isn't introduced until the middle of the book.
  • Many of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories begin with such a scene:
  • The Dead Zone begins with the then-unknown Greg Stillson as a salesman at some godforsaken town. He comes across a dog that takes a dislike to him, checks to make sure no-one else is around, and kicks the dog to death.
  • Discworld: Guards! Guards! begins with a scene involving dragons and the villain trying to summon one of them in a ploy to replace Lord Vetinari with a king. Once the dragon gets summoned, it proceeds to displace said villain's role as the villain.
  • Gods and Warriors: The penultimate part, The Crocodile Tomb, begins with a prologue in which Userref is brought before Telamon and Alekto by an Egyptian official. They offer to kill him painlessly and let him be buried in the proper Egyptian way in exchange for telling them where he has hidden the dagger of Koronos, but after he refuses to cooperate, they prepare to torture the information out of him. The following first chapter brings us to the main heroes who've just made their way to the coast of Egypt.
  • The Golden Demon: Tadatsugu Tomiyama is the first character to be introduced; the novel opens on his taking a carriage ride to a New Year party and gives glimpses into his unpleasantness.
  • Comes up frequently in Harry Potter:
    • Although the Dursleys aren't all-out villains like Voldemort and company, Philosopher's Stone opens with a whole chapter dedicated to Uncle Vernon's day at work, interspersed with occasional references to the magical world we now know and love.
    • Goblet of Fire opens with a chapter about Voldemort murdering people, albeit from the POV of one of the victims.
    • Half-Blood Prince opens with two Death Eaters visiting Snape.
    • And Deathly Hallows opens with Voldemort and his Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor.
    • Notably, other than the Prime Minister scene that opens "Half-Blood Prince", the mind-melds with Voldemort, and a few cases of Early-Installment Weirdness in "Philosopher's Stone", these are the only scenes in the series not shown from Harry's point of view.
  • Intensity by Dean Koontz opens with a scene about the villain, from the villain's point of view.
  • James Bond: From Russia with Love takes it a few steps further by devoting the entire first third of the book to SMERSH's machinations.
  • The Man in the Brown Suit starts with a third-person prologue in which Nadina the Russian dancer meets with a fake Russian count. They are both operatives who worked for the Colonel, and Nadina talks about how she is planning to blackmail the Colonel. The rest of the book is first person, either straight from Anne or from Sir Eustace's diary.
  • Old Kingdom: Lirael's prologue involves Hedge encountering Chlorr of the Mask by the Red Lake and getting her into the service of his master.
  • The prologue of the first book in A Song of Ice and Fire introduces the Others, the most obvious villains of the series, killing some Red Shirts.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Each book in The Thrawn Trilogy starts off with a scene on an Imperial Star Destroyer, in a Continuity Nod to the original trilogy's openings with shots of a Star Destroyer. Its primary function is to establish Thrawn's tactical genius.
    • The "Project Starscream" arc of Galaxy of Fear has each book start with a scene of the Big Bad being mysterious. Other books have similar happen with other villains.
  • The prologue of the sixth Warrior Cats book, The Darkest Hour, focuses on Big Bad Tigerstar enlisting the help of a cat called Scourge. Later books, such as Sunset and Fading Echoes, show the cats of the Dark Forest planning their revenge on the living Clan cats.
  • Harry Turtledove's World War opens with a scene of Lord Atvar and one of his subordinates watching a Western European knight on a screen with both thoroughly amused by how easily they'd conquer Earth... in 800 years.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:

By Series:

  • Battlestar Galactica opens with Number Six molesting the Armistice Officer and a Cylon Basestar destroying Armistice Station.
  • The third season of Boardwalk Empire opens with Big Bad Gyp Rosetti beating a mechanic to death with a tire iron for implying that Rosetti was ignorant of automotive terminology.
  • The very first scene of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured not Buffy, but Darla. It looks like the guy with her is a creepy predator, but then she eats him. Driving home the whole "helpless blondes in this show aren't actually helpless" thing.
  • Both story arcs of Dark Season have one of these as the Cold Opening of the first episode.
  • From Dusk Till Dawn: The very first scene shows the origin of the native girl who would become Santánico Pandemonium, as she's being subjected to a ritual that turned her into a vampire against her will.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The first scene of the pilot episode introduces the White Walkers, the series-spanning Big Bad.
    • Rather than the usual beginning of an episode with the credits, Season four began with a cold open of Tywin Lannister, the Big Bad of the show's first half, melting down the sword of Robb Stark.
  • The Good Detective: The first scene of the series shows the unknown killer dumping his victim's body in a river. Then the story jumps forward to the present (2020), in which the cops wind up re-investigating after figuring out the guy they put on death row for that killing is an innocent man.
  • NCIS generally opens with the crime they'll be investigating, villain generally included but not identified.
  • Power Rangers began with Rita Repulsa and her goons being accidentally released by two astronauts investigating the planetoid her space dumpster was hidden on. She hammily declared her intent to attack the first planet she saw, which happens to be Earth.
  • Stargate SG-1's first episodes features Red Shirt soldiers getting attacked by Jaffas. Apophis' face is seen before Teal'c (and Teal'c is the first main character we get to see).
  • Ultra Series:

    Puppet Shows 
  • The first episode of Thunderbirds opens with a scene of the Hood monologuing to himself.

  • Elisabeth: It's hard to tell who's the real villain, but the prologue starts with Lucheni on trial for assassinating Elisabeth and ends with Death singing about his love for Elisabeth.
  • The first scene of Das Rheingold begins in comedic fashion with the Rhinemaidens playing around and teasing Alberich, but ends with Alberich renouncing love so he can steal the Rhinegold to forge it into the Ring and become the Big Bad.
  • The prologue of the oratorio The Golden Legend shows Lucifer making an unsuccessful attempt to destroy Strasburg Cathedral.
  • The very first scene of Hamilton is a Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number, and about the titular character, but it's started off by Villain Deuteragonist Aaron Burr, he has by far the most solos in it, and by the end, he reveals himself as the man who shot Hamilton.
  • Othello begins with Iago convincing Roderigo to help him in his plan to ruin Othello's life, which drives the rest of the plot.
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street begins with the ensemble singing about the terrifying titular "demon barber" and his high body count before he rises out of his grave and concludes the number.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed III features the Templar Grand Master Haytham Kenway traveling to America and gathering his team of Templars.
  • Baldur's Gate I's intro begins with a sinister armoured figure choking and killing a defenceless man on a rooftop for unknown reasons. The same man then shows up at the end of the prologue, looking for you and killing your foster father and mentor in the process. You then don't see any of him for the next six chapters.
  • Brain Dead 13's intro starts at Dr. Neurosis' castle, where bats fly and Fritz is summoned by Neurosis to get Lance to fix his computer and then dispose of him so that the villain can succeed in Taking Over the World.
  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood begins with a Corrupt Church headed by Shaft resurrecting Dracula.
  • Destroy All Humans! 2 opens with the KGB talking about Crypto and Pox, and then they blow up the mothership and kill Pox.
  • Deus Ex's famous intro involves the Big Bad and The Dragon basically discussing the entire plot in a roundabout fashion and outlining the way they're pretty much running the world without actually giving away any direct spoilers about who they are or what they are planning.
  • Donkey Kong 64 begins with Donkey Kong's nemesis King K. Rool plotting the destruction of DK Island.
  • Dragon Quest II opens with a long sequence depicting Hargon's attack on Moonbrooke. The scene was added in the North American version. It became canon in the remakes, with new music. (The US NES version simply used the battle theme.)
  • Fable III opens with Logan giving a typical villain monologue over a map of Albion. In a subversion, he isn't threatening it at all; he's stating the facts of what will happen if Albion's people don't support him enough by the time an Eldtritch Abomination reaches their shores.
  • Freedom Planet opens with Lord Brevon and his Shade Troopers invading the Shuigang Palace, slaughtering several Shuigang soldiers, and then Brevon himself beheading the King of Shuigang right in front of Prince Dail and afterwards brainwashing Dail through Syntax. If that doesn’t prove just how vile Brevon is to the player, we're not sure what will.
  • Freedom Planet 2 starts right at the ending of the first game, showing the remnants of the Kingdom Stone forming a spiral above Avalice, before the camera moves to a crystal prison. The prison soon cracks open, releasing its occupant: Merga, the Water Dragon Centurion.
  • Fur Fighters opens with General Viggo giving a monologue about the group as the camera pans over their village. He then attacks the village and steals their children and spouses.
  • Horatio The Third Senior Manjensen With Knuckles opens with a cutscene of Doobie and his henchmen discussing their plan to take over the world.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby Super Star Ultra:
      • "Revenge of the King" opens with King Dedede within his castle atop Mt. Dedede, protected from the inside by Spear Waddle Dees and guarded from the outside by Kabula.
      • Also, "Revenge of Meta Knight" in both said game as well as the original Kirby Super Star opens with Meta Knight and his crew preparing to launch the Halberd, as Kirby speeds his way toward it on his Warpstar.
    • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards gets one as well; it begins with a cloud of Dark Matter attacking and taking over Ripple Star while Ribbon tries to get the fairies' crystal to safety and away from the Dark Matter... only for the Dark Matter scouts Dark Rimuru, Dark Rimura and Dark Rimuro to smash the crystal into dozens of pieces.
    • Kirby Star Allies opens with Lord Hyness performing a ritual on the Jamba Heart, which goes awry and shatters into countless pieces that spread across the cosmos.
  • Mass Effect 2 is the perfect example. To introduce the new main villains of the game, the game begins with them appearing from nowhere and shooting your trusty ship from the first game into a burning wreck with the first salvo. You just have enough time to watch your crew abandoning the ship and look out the giant hole in the hull that used to be the command center before they come round for the second attack that completely destroys your ship which disintegrates around you. Floating in the cloud of debris, your space suits starts to leak and you start your trip down to the planet several hundred kilometers below you. You get better, but after that opening, you just want to see those bastards dead, without even knowing their name or what they look like.
  • Mega Man:
    • Dr. Wily has one in Mega Man Powered Up where he appears on a TV Screen and announces his plans to the world.
    • In the opening cutscene for X's portion of Mega Man X4, a cloaked Sigma is having a discussion with the General about the Maverick Hunters, trying to convince him to fight against and destroy them.
    • Mega Man X5 has Sigma talking to Dynamo to await for his instructions as he heads to Earth to spread The Virus across the planet.
    • Mega Man X6 begins with Gate at the ruins of Eurasia, followed by him growing mad with power the next week after having picked up a piece of debris earlier.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption opens with Dark Samus resurrecting.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance opens with the title villains, Shang Tsung and Quan Chi, teaming up, and then killing the series' Big Bad, Shao Kahn, and Chosen One, Liu Kant, Deception opens with those two villains fighting the Big Good, Raiden, before all three of them fighting and getting defeated by the game's Big Bad, Onaga.
  • Pokey in Mother 3. If you played Earth Bound however, you likely knew he would appear here.
  • Ninja Gaiden II for the Nintendo Entertainment System starts with Ashtar, mastermind of the events of the first game and primary antagonist through most of the second game relaying orders to a subordinate.
  • Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny begins with Nobunaga razing Jubei Yagyu's home village.
  • In the Updated version of Panel de Pon in the Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Thantos's army is shown mind controlling everyone with a special song. He does this in the first as well, but he is revealed to be an illusion created by Cordelia.
  • The opening of Pokémon Black and White shows Ghetsis crowning the King of Team Plasma.
  • Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc opens with a scene of Andre creating an army of Black Lums.
  • Iris gets one in Rosenkreuz Stilette's alternate mode, Rosenkreuzstilette Grollschwert, where she kills an unidentified priest For the Evulz and has finished making her plans to have RKS fight against the Empire, also For the Evulz, just before being caught by Grolla. Not only does she attack Grolla with powerful magic, she even pulls a Wounded Gazelle Gambit on her by pretending she's threatened and crying out for Sichte's help! Realizing that lowering her guard on Sichte's orders could end up making her forfeit her life, she instead retreats to gather her thoughts and reassess the situation.
  • Shounen Kininden Tsumuji begins with the the villain gaining his demonic powers from a meteorite.
  • Skies of Arcadia in a homage to Star Wars has a Valuan battleship chasing down the game's Mysterious Waif. The game's first bit of dialogue goes to the admiral piloting said battleship.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • While the heroes' and villains' viewpoints are separated into their own stories, the earliest chronological scene in Sonic Adventure 2 is the start of the Dark story, with Eggman breaking into the GUN base and freeing Shadow.
    • Dr. Robotnik has one in the spinoff Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, in which he explains his latest plan to Scratch and Grounder.
  • Nearly every Super Solvers game (aside from the spinoffs) opens with Morty Maxwell telling his robot minions how his new Evil Plan will work.
  • Tales of Monkey Island starts out with LeChuck and his captive Elaine near the Rock of Gelato at the very beginning of Chapter 1, all on a dark and stormy night.
  • The first Tomb Raider opens with Natla's crash in the desert.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Original 
  • RWBY does this quite a few times:
    • After the opening narration in Volume 1, the first character to appear onscreen is Roman Torchwick, who becomes a prominent antagonist for the Beacon arc.
    • Volume 2's first episode opens with Emerald and Mercury as newly introduced villains, and sees them kill a would-be defector.
    • While Volume 3 doesn't open in this way, it ends with the revelation that the opening narrator was the Big Bad Salem, retroactively giving a version of this to the entire show.
    • Volume 4 then opens with Salem and her associates meeting and discussing their next course of action after Beacon Academy's fall.
  • The first chapter of Tails of the Bounty Hunter is devoted to showcasing how the five heads of the Quintuple Cartel operate.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Big City Greens: The episode "Reckoning Ball" opens with Chip Whistler at Wholesome Foods complaining on how population has decreased due to his actions toward the Green family resulting in people boycotting the stores.
  • In Central Park has the Season 1 finale "A Fish Called Snakehead". The episode opens up like a horror movie: when two joggers jog pass the Harlem Meer, the male jogger spots the snakehead crawling back into the water and decides to call the park staff about it.
  • A couple of Danny Phantom episodes open with Big Bad Vlad. The most devious one might be "Kindred Spirits" where the opening unfolds his plans to make a perfect clone.
  • Nearly every episode of The Dreamstone opened on the Land of Nightmares and the Urpneys. For example, the pilot opens upon Zordrak executing an Urpney and promoting Blob in his place.
  • Almost every episode of Extreme Ghostbusters opens with the ghost of the episode causing havoc and chaos before the opening credits are played.
  • A variant on Family Guy. The cold openings of the first and second seasons would feature Stewie plotting or committing a heinous act of some kind, though these actions would never actually oppose the other protagonists in any way.
  • The first episode of Freakazoid! begins with a news report on Cave Guy, a minor supervillain, wreaking havoc and confounding the police. The narrator then directs our attention to the one hero with a chance at stopping him, adds that he's owned by another network, and settles for a nerdy teenager named Dexter. Or is he...?
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "The Mean 6" opens with Chrysalis disguising herself as a pony mare, Crackle Cosette, to take pictures of the main cast (except Spike for some reason) and gather samples of their manes for her Evil Plan.
    • "Frenemies" and "The Summer Sun Setback" start with the villain trio of Chrysalis, Cozy Glow and Tirek in Grogar's lair.
    • Part 1 of the Grand Finale begins with Chrysalis as Crackle manipulating a unicorn to turn against the other kinds.
  • The Owl House:
    • "Hunting Palismen" begins with a scene at the Emperor's Castle as Belos summons the other coven leaders for a meeting prior to the upcoming Day of Unity.
    • "Eclipse Lake" also starts at the castle, where the Golden Guard, AKA Hunter, talks with Belos.
    • The last three episodes of season two all begin with The Collector, the latter two having them speaking with Belos.
  • The Perils of Penelope Pitstop opens immediately with the Hooded Claw's eyes and his evil laugh.
  • The four villains at the start of The Powerpuff Girls episode "Meet the Beat-Alls" each plot to destroy the girls before deciding to band together.
  • Samurai Jack: The pilot episode opens with Aku escaping from his imprisonment to terrorize the land once more. He even narrates the opening credits every week- until the continuation, that is.
  • A practice utilized with most every Scooby-Doo incarnation and film. What's New, Scooby-Doo?, for example, had a cold open depicting someone running into the monster for that episode, though it was a toss-up on if it would be shown before or after the theme song. (In one example, one of the people who encountered the monster was, in fact, the monster themselves!)
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: A few newer episodes start with Plankton, Karen and the Chum Bucket.
  • Nearly every episode of Challenge of the Super Friends opened with a meeting of the Legion of Doom.
  • In the opening of the first episode of Time Squad, we meet the evil nun Sister Thornley, who goes looking for one of the main characters, Otto Osworth, and finds him hiding in the closet reading. Promptly punishing him for this act, he is sent on a never ending chore run until finally being allowed go to bed, getting the chance to meet surprise guests by the names of Buck Tuddrussel and Larry 3000. Setting off the series.
  • Multiple episodes of Wander over Yonder open with Lord Hater, Commander Peepers and the Watchdogs. On a few occasions in Season 2, episodes tend to open with Lord Dominator.


"Hunting Palismen"

The episode begins with a scene at Belos' castle as he presides over a meeting about the upcoming Day of Unity.

How well does it match the trope?

4.55 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainOpeningScene

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