Follow TV Tropes
(Oops, wrong thing.)
Seriously, I don't get it. I'm not mixing up Bigger Bad and The Man Behind the Man. Those tropes can overlap anyway. The Emperor is not involved in the events of Episodes IV and V outside of appearing as a hologram in V, but Werebazs insists that there is a mix-up. There is no mix-up. Palpatine is not involved for most of the Original Trilogy. Therefor, he's a Bigger Bad for most of the Original Trilogy. What's so hard to understand about that.
First of: I didn't address you specifically, but generally everyone, because this constantly comes up! Second: if you bring something to Discussion, don't add it/remove it until a concesus is reached on the matter!\
Now, to the question at hand: A Bigger Bad is a villain who's more powerful than the Big Bad, but can be removed from the conflict of the story and nothing would change! That's not the case with Palpatine in EP 4 and EP 5! Palpatine might not be present in person in them, but he's behind both Tarkin and Vader! Without him, there would be no Empire, no Death Star, no Vader, no Rebellion! He is an integral part of the conflict, overthrowing his regime is the main goal of the rebels! Therefore he's still the Big Bad, he's just hiding behind his underlings and let's them do the dirty work! Also we can't say that he's the Big Bad of the entire series, since he's unlikely to fullfill the role for the sequel trilogy, what with him being dead for 30 years!
Going by that logic, no wonder you think he's not a Bigger Bad. Bigger Bad is stated to be in the Laconic "Bigger than the Big Bad, but less directly involved," plain and simple, and Palpatine follows that rule in the Original Trilogy to a T, as he is bigger than Vader and Tarkin, but he doesn't have a big role compared to either of them (Small Role, Big Impact). The logic you are using is only a bit mentioned in the description that should be removed.
Besides, Palpatine is bigger than Vader and Tarkin but not a Bigger Bad, then what is he? The Man Behind the Man isn't a status like Big Bad and Bigger Bad, but a situation where there is a villain revealed to behind another one. There is no trope in between Big Bad and Bigger Bad. Both tropes should border each other, not be seperated by a gigantic gap.
Also, why all of the exclamation points?
"A Bigger Bad is a more threatening force of evil in the setting and overshadows it, but due to mindlessness, imprisonment, lack of interest, or other factors, it is disconnected on a personal level from the main plot, which is caused by the Big Bad. A being can be a Big Bad in one story and later be Kicked Upstairs to Bigger Bad (or the reverse).
Also not to be confused with The Man Behind the Man, where a villain directly tied into the story is revealed to be controlling or manipulating the apparent Big Bad. In this case, The Man Behind the Man is the actual hidden Big Bad (not a Bigger Bad), and the character previously assumed to be the Big Bad is stripped of their "Big Bad" status and demoted to The Dragon or even Disc One Final Boss status. Don't take this to mean that the Bigger Bad needs to be completely physically absent from the story. They can certainly appear or even be indirectly behind the Big Bad, but the important distinction is that unlike The Man Behind the Man, they are never in direct conflict with the heroes."
This is what plain and simple, and that Laconic is ridiculously non-informative. Also Bigger Bad is on TRS exactly because of this kind of misuse is going rampart on the wiki! Big Bad and Bigger Bad are not-related at all! The Big Bad is the villain who's the cause of the conflict. A Bigger Bad is a villainous presence that eclipses the Big Bad in terms of power and threat, but it has nothing to do with the conflict caused by the Big Bad.
And I played a major role in the repair shop. If you read the repair shop, I state several times that the tropes should border each other. Also, KJ Mackley says that the descriptions shouldn't always be followed as they aren't always edited by professionals, but by people who merely think that's what the trope is. Actually, we never did get that new proposed description inserted.
Look, there are some things wrong with the description that create this misuse. It needs to be fixed. The description merely describes the trope, not give out a set of rules. That's what the Laconic wiki is for; the most basic defintion to be followed. Palpatine's not a Plot Irrelevent Villain, but he ain't a Big Bad either. He's a Bigger Bad as he's not plot irrelevent, but is too big to be a Big Bad.
Thinking about it, Palpatine isn't an example of The Man Behind the Man in the Original Trilogy, as it is established from the outset that he's the emperor. Again, The Man Behind the Man is a situation where a villain is revealed to be behind another villain.
Here is the meaning, following Master Ghandalf in the discussion page: "I'm the trope launcher, and "villain not under the big bad" is not and never was what this is. "Greater evil not directly involved in the story" is what this is. Honestly, I wanted to call it "Ultimate Evil", but that, alas, was taken."
^ That's what Palpatine is, right? He's not directly involved for most of the Original Trilogy (except for the second half of Return of the Jedi), but he's greater than either Vader or Tarkin.
Following Master Ghandalf in the discussion page, "To whoever posted the Palpatine image, I must protest. Palpatine is very much the Big Bad, as all the other villains in the Star Wars Original Trilogy are ultimately taking their orders from him or take their orders from people who work for him (with the exception of Jabba). Were he a Bigger Bad, he would be a villain beyond the scope of the series, not the one you have to beat to end the story. Unless I hear some really good reasons not to, I'm taking it down tomorrow morning." and "Except... that's not what Bigger Bad is. The Bigger Bad is what you get when the most powerful villain in a given setting is beyond the scope of the story while a less powerful villain actually functions as Big Bad. Many Big Bads have nothing to do with their respective Bigger Bad, if one exists, or may only pay lip service to them. Vader is The Dragon to Palpatine's Big Bad."
^ Is that what you think? When a trope is launched, it's not the owned by its creator anymore. Besides, we never actually see Vader take orders from Palpatine except for that one scene in V, but even then, it seems at the same time, he only tells Vader to make sure Luke doesn't become a Jedi (it's Vader's decision to turn Luke to the Dark Side). And since Examples Are Not Arguable, we don't have much proof other than that that Palpatine is ordering Vader all of the time.
Overall, the description for Bigger Bad doesn't accurately describe the trope but just shows that Bigger Bad has suffered from Trope Decay
@Satoshi Bakura I did read the TRS but it was probably around september the last time I checked on it... My bad. So as I gather, current concesus is somewhere along these lines "A Bigger Bad is any villain who's more dangerous than the villain currently causing trouble, as long as the one causing trouble isn't taking direct orders from it."?
^ Pretty much. We still need to get that new description in though.
I don't know, isn't that way too broad? The original intention of the trope seems to be to cover cases like this (staying with Star Wars examples): * In the TCW episode "Bounty Hunters" Hondo Ohnaka's gang of pirates are threatening a peaceful village. The heroes of the episode help the villagers chase them away. Palpatine is there, lurking in the background, but he has nothing to do with Hondo's plans. Whereas this new base includes both the above situation, and that of Tarkin acting as the main antagonist in EP 4, eventhough he is very clearly subservient to Palpatine.
Tarkin is not shown taking orders from Palpatine. Again, Examples Are Not Arguable.
He's not shown taking orders, but the general set up makes it clear, that he's not independant from Palpatine either.
Palpatine is superior to Tarkin, but that doesn't mean that he directly orders Tarkin around. If we don't see or even know if he's directly taking orders, then Tarkin is effectively the Big Bad. You can't say that Tarkin might be taking direct orders as Examples Are Not Arguable.
Tarkin may be an Arc Villain in the part of the series that deals with him.
^ Though Arc Villain and Big Bad are not mutually exclusive (in my opinion, anyway).
I really don't get what Examples Are Not Arguable has to do with this...I'm just saying that to me there seem be to two separate tropes here: Bigger Bad is (or at least supposed to be, by original intention) when there are two villains completely independent from eachother, with entirely separate interests, and the more dangerous one isn't involved in the conflict caused by the other on any level (the example with Hondo). The other is when one of the villains is serving the interests of his/her superior, but is given a largely freehand in how he/she goes about doing that (which is what Tarkin and Vader are doing in Ep 4 and Ep 5).
Again, the two different definitions shows you how Bigger Bad has gone under Trope Decay. Ultimately, Bigger Bad isn't either of those (though they can fit under it). It's just when there is a villain on a greater scope than the current Big Bad. Also, just because Vader serves Palpatine's interests in V doesn't mean that Palpatine is causing the imminent plot of the film. Same thing with Tarkin serving someone else's interest doesn't make that someone else the Big Bad.
That seems such a broad definition, it's hardly even trope worthy. Based upon this any villain can be listed as Bigger Bad, because there will inevitably be a situation where the current Big Bad is below their scope.
Sorry. but that's what we ultimately came up with in the Trope Repair Shop. The conclusion was that the current description made the trope seem too narrow. We made a new description that followed the Laconic definiton without adding in rules, but rather explaining how the trope could be applied.
Besides, Bigger Bad can only be used in stories that have Big Bads, and not every story has a Big Bad (main antagonist=/=Big Bad).
Community Showcase More
How well does it match the trope?