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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.

Examples of Villain Opening Scene include:

Anime and Manga

  • The first scene of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As involves Hayate and her Book of Darkness, though villain is used in the loosest sense of the word here.
  • A lot of Detective Conan stories open this way as well.
  • The first episode of Dragonball Z opens with Raditz landing on Earth and killing a farmer.
  • In the North American version of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, 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 tenth One Piece 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.
  • Arashi no Yoru ni 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: The First Movie begins with Mewtwo destroying the very laboratory he was created in, killing all of the scientists inside, and immediately escaping.

Films — Animated

  • Many films in the Disney Animated Canon have such a scene.
    • Aladdin. Okay, so it actually opens with the Merchant, but straight after it goes to Jafar. This is also true with The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    • Mulan opens with Shan-Yu and his army attacking the Great Wall of China. Mulan herself doesn't appear till scene three.
    • 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 the Magic Mirror.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The Lion King: Scar is the first character to speak in the film.
    • The Great Mouse Detective begins with Ratigan's lackey Fidget attacking and kidnapping Olivia's father.
    • The Rescuers Down Under begins with Percival McLeach successfully killing Marahute's mate and immediately pursuing the fleeing large bird.
    • 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.
    • Rare Pixar example: 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 Mc Missile, who had just infiltrated their lair.
  • Rasputin from Anastasia; he even gets his Villain Song for the cutscene.
  • The 1986 Transformers: The Movie opens with Unicron eating an inhabited planet.
  • Recess: School's Out opens with the villians stealing the weather-altering laser.

Films — Live-Action

  • Several Godzilla films start off with either Godzilla or the monster he's going to fight in the films.
  • The Joker's bank robbery in The Dark Knight.
  • Blade opens with vampires having a rave (with a helpless human dude), which is crashed by the titular hero.
  • Blade Runner: after some Scenery Porn, the first character we see is one of the replicants.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's Reverse Whodunnit Rope opens with the two murderers.
  • The Dark Crystal opens with the Skeksis.
  • Hellraiser introduces Frank and the Cenobites before the good guys, unfortunate victims of their schemes.
  • Extreme case: the first scene of Predator 2 is seen through the predator's point of view.
  • Spaceballs opens with the bad guys' ship and its infamous "We brake for nobody" plate.
  • 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 interuppts the wedding on Felix Leiter, which means Bond gets involved.
    • Inverted in Goldeneye: Bond is on a mission with 006; about halfway through the film, its 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.
  • Flash Gordon: "Klytus, I'm boooooored."
  • All three original Star Wars films open with a shot of one or more Imperial Star Destroyers (though the Rebel Blockade Runner is seen first in A New Hope). Return of the Jedi most closely fulfills this trope with its first scene featuring Darth Vader.
  • 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...
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist starts with a young Master Pain (before he took on the name Betty) killing The Chosen One's parents.
  • 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.
  • Clash of the Titans opens with a villain, King Acresius of Argos, crossing the Moral Event Horizon by sentencing his daughter and baby grandson Perseus to death by exposure in a sealed boat cast upon the waves. Of course, Acrisius dies only a few minutes later, so he's not the main villain of the film, but he is responsible for Perseus being raised as a commoner on an island rather than as a prince.
  • Star Trek the Motion Picture opened with V'Ger and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier opened with Sybok. (The status of both as true "villains" is somewhat debatable, though.)
    • Somewhat less ambiguously, Star Trek Nemesis opens with Shinzon (or, in any case, one of his co-conspirators) wiping-out the Romulan Senate.
  • Inglourious Basterds starts up with a meeting between Col. Hans Landa and a dairy farmer. Moral Event Horizon, ahoy!
  • 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).


  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, opens with Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the Malfoy Manor.
    • Although the Dursleys aren't all-out villains like Voldemort and company, Philosophers 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.
    • Half-Blood Prince opens with two Death Eaters visiting Snape.
    • And Goblet of Fire opens with a chapter about Voldemort murdering people, albeit from the POV of one of the victims.
  • 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.
  • Intensity by Dean Koontz opens with a scene about the villain, from the villain's point of view.
  • Ken Follett writes amazing books like The Key To Rebecca and The 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.
  • 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.
  • Many of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories begin with such a scene:
  • The Last Battle, the conclusion to The Chronicles of Narnia, starts with Shift finding the inspiration for his Evil Plan.
  • From Russia with Love takes it a few steps further by devoting the entire first third of the book to SMERSH's machinations.
  • 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 fuction is to establish Thrawn's tactical genius.

Live-Action TV

  • The very first scene of Buffy the Vampire Slayer featured not Buffy, but Darla. It looked like the guy with her was a creepy predator, but then she ate him. (Driving home the whole "helpless blondes in this show aren't actually helpless" thing).
  • Any number of detective shows, e.g. Columbo.
  • 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).
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined opens with Number Six molesting the Armistice Officer and a Cylon Basestar destroying Armistice Station.
  • Of course, the hundreds of episodes of shows with a Monster of the Week (e.g. The X-Files, Supernatural, Angel), where the entire The Teaser involves said monster killing or attacking someone, and we don't see any main characters until after the opening credits.
  • Many episodes of Ultraman Tiga have a Villain Opening Scene featuring the current Monster of the Week.
  • 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 happened to be Earth.
  • Both story arcs of Dark Season have one of these as the Cold Opening of the first episode.
  • NCIS generally opens with the crime they'll be investigating, villain generally included but not identified.


  • 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.


  • 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.
  • Many Ace Attorney cases start with the crime, some of them (mostly the early ones) clearly depicting the villain.
  • 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.
  • Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc opens with a scene of Andre creating an army of Black Lums.
  • Metroid Prime 3 opens with Dark Samus resurrecting.
  • The first Tomb Raider opens with Natla's crash in the desert.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance opens with the titular villains teaming up, and then killing the series' Big Bad and Chosen One. Deception opens with those two villains (and Raiden) apparently getting killed by an Eviler Than Thou Villain.
  • 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.
  • Donkey Kong 64 begins with Donkey Kong's nemesis King K. Rool plotting the destruction of DK Island.
  • Destroy All Humans!! 2 opens with the KGB talking about Crypto and Pox, and then they blow up the mothership and kill Pox.
  • Dr. Wily has one in Mega Man Powered Up where he appears on a TV Screen and announces his plans to the world.
  • Pokey in Mother 3, if you played Earthbound/Mother 2 however, you likely knew he would appear here.
  • Dr. Robotnik has one in the spinoff Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, in which he explains his latest plan to Scratch and Grounder.
  • 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.
  • Onimusha 2 begins with Nobunaga razing Jubei Yagyu's home village.
  • Baldurs Gate I begins with Sarevok chasing on of the Bhaalspawn to the top of a tower an killing him.
  • Deus Ex starts with Bob Page plotting while giving some exposition about how the Gray Death and Ambrosia work.
  • 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.
  • Dragon Quest II opens by depicting Hargon's assault on Moonbrooke Castle.
  • The opening of Pokémon Black and White shows Ghetsis crowning the King of Team Plasma.
  • 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.
  • Castlevania: Rondo of Blood begins with a Corrupt Church headed by Shaft resurrecting Dracula.
  • Iris gets one in Rosenkreuzstilette'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.
  • Kirby Super Star Ultra's 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 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.
  • 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 very first scene in Command & Conquer franchise, before the player chooses a side, is a news report on the latest of so many city bombings attributed to Brotherhood of Nod terrorists.


Western Animation

  • 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...?
  • The first episode of Samurai Jack begins with the reawakening of Aku, who celebrates in a monotone that he is finally free to smite the world as he did in days long past. Aku goes on to get the opening narration of every episode.
    • In the much later episode "The Birth of Evil", the first chronological event after the Big Bang appears to be just that: The "birth of evil" in the form of a colossal blob of darkness. (Aku doesn't come into being for a while.)
  • 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.
  • A couple of Danny Phantom episodes opened with Big Bad Vlad. The most devious one might be "Kindred Spirits" where the opening unfolded his plans to make a perfect clone.
  • The first episode of Thunderbirds opens with a scene of the Hood monologuing to himself.
  • 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.