Tilda Swinton with an army of ninja cyborgs! Try our random movie villain generator

Graeme Virtue
·3 min read

Are the bad guys winning? For a hellish moment that felt like the situation in both reality and pop culture. Never mind a harried hero defusing a nuclear bomb at the last second; in the age of Mindhunter, audiences are apparently more interested in analysing what makes evil-doers tick. You see it in Angelina Jolie’s ravishingly wicked Maleficent movies, or TV deep dives into knotty psychologies like Hannibal, Ratched or the soon-to-be-revived Dexter. It has become so normalised that Lucifer – the actual devil! – gets to headline his own slick, self-satisfied procedural.

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In this morally complex landscape where we all seem to be reassessing what it means to be “good” or “evil”, reducing a villain to a random shopping list of character traits and cliches might feel like something of a step backwards. But until film and TV production is safely back up and running, this random bad guy generator is probably the best you are going to get.

Just select a random six-digit sequence of numbers from one to six, then run that personalised doomsday code through the generator to create a memorable foe. So if you scribbled down 111121 – which adds up to 007, incidentally – you would get in-demand rotter Ben Mendelsohn as a bald military blowhard threatening world governments with a giant satellite laser (with the help of a Google-style tech support team). His only weakness? Banging on about his own genius for too long.

Think of it as choosing your own misadventure: if it all works out, the results will be truly diabolical …

Dot, dot, dot … Andy Serkis doing his MoCap thing in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Dot, dot, dot … Andy Serkis doing his MoCap thing in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Photograph: Alamy

A. Vocation

1. Bloodthirsty military warmonger

2. Empathy-free zillionaire who wants it all

3. Rat-bag Machiavellian puppet master

4. Fastidious, polite cannibal and/or necrophile

5. Sentient AI murder bot

6. An almost exact mirror image of your hero but they broke bad, like a whole nature/nurture thing, yeah?

B. Loyal minions

1. Humourless black ops beefcakes with scraggly beards and sleeve tattoos

2. Efficient but surprisingly muscular tech support staff

3. Lone executioner with deceptively jolly codename (eg Mr Giggles)

4. Ninjas

5. Cyborgs

6. Ninja cyborgs

President evil … Ben Mendelsohn in Ready Player One.
President evil … Ben Mendelsohn in Ready Player One. Photograph: Jaap Buitendijk/AP

C. Evil masterplan

1. Acquire eye-popping ransom via orbital laser platform

2. Enslave humanity using 6G-powered hypno-rays

3. Detonate dirty bomb as part of short-selling stocks scam

4. Sabotage reputation of do-gooder nemesis to ultimately replace them

5. Open portal to hell by staging elaborate ceremonial sacrifice

6. Unite all nations as one, the better to apply a yoke of remorseless tyranny

D. Fatal flaw

1. Endless monologuing about the specifics of an evil scheme (otherwise known as “villainsplaining”)

2. Unconquerable childhood trauma

3. Insisting on the cheapest quote during lair construction

4. Physical cowardice

5. Snowballing addiction to volatile Mutant X compound

6. “A bit of a butterfingers”

Bad girl … Madonna.
Bad girl … Madonna. Photograph: Karwai Tang/WireImage

E. Sartorial style

1. Bald head, high-tech command headset, slimming black polo neck

2. Billowing cult robes

3. Leather coat, jackboots, red armband, the lot

4. Eight-foot-tall, nuclear-powered robotic exoskeleton

5. Creepy full-face mask to conceal scars both physical and emotional

6. Sparkly pearly king/queen suit (but with human teeth)

F. To be played by …

1. Ben Mendelsohn

2. Giancarlo Esposito

3. Tilda Swinton

4. Andy Serkis via non-negotiable, full-body motion-capture

5. Madonna (let’s at least ask!)

6. Johnny Depp Mads Mikkelsen