If I Were The Evil Overlord… While it may be tempting to use an Ultimate Weapon or Spell with a rare, almost impossible to exploit tiny flaw to accomplish my goals, if many Penultimate Weapons or Spells with no such flaw can achieve the same effect, I will employ them instead.
The “If I Were The Evil Overload” list is an attempt to poke fun at film, television and literary tropes and make a list that the super-villain should follow but don’t leading to their eventual downfall. This blog is designed to debunk some of these rules as just as flawed…
Assuming that “penultimate weapon” is a jumbled way of saying the second best option the rule makes little sense. If there is an option that “can achieve the same effect” but without even “a rare, almost impossible to exploit tiny flaw” how can that possibly be the second best option? The rule seems to negate itself. However, on with the show…
- This is clearly talking about the villain’s “ultimate weapon” not a complex way to kill the hero rather than just shooting him in the head those are covered by other rules.
“If I come into possession of, or manage to assemble the Ultimate Weapon, I will immediately use it at full power in direct pursuit of my goal of world domination. No warning shots across the bow, No “This is only a fraction of my weapon’s potential!” grandstanding. I will also refrain from using the Ultimate Weapon for simply offing the Hero. If it’s really the Ultimate Weapon, the Hero’s efforts will come to naught anyway.”
Case Study #1:
The Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope.
This ultimate Ultimate Weapon. And is has a tiny almost impossible to exploit flaw.
- You need to know of the flaw to discount the weapon and it was clear that the Empire was unaware of the flaw until the last minute.
- The Death Star can destroy planets, there is no “Penultimate Weapon” that can do that.
- Certainly the use of the Death Star at Yavin was unnecessary to destroy the just the base, however, as seen during the attack on the Hoth base in The Empire Strikes Back other methods are just as unreliable.
- Whether the Empire used the Death Star was used at Yavin its weakness was already known by the Rebellion and its destruction already planned so no amount of not using it would have saved the device.
Case Study #2:
The Golden Eye Satellite in Golden Eye.
A pair of EMP firing Soviet Satellites which require a ground-based radar dish to activate it and time to get into position.
An alternative would be to use a smaller EMP bomb, possibly a suitcase sized device. While these may not exist in reality, they are feasible in the Bond-verse. A suitcase-EMP-bomb may not have the ability like Golden Eye to blackout all of London, but it may be able to take out “The City” which would, as was the plan, destroy world money markets (although probably not the near complete collapse of British society which a complete London black-out would achieve.)
- Action movies have proven time and time again that suitcase-sized bombs are easily stopped thus negating the “no flaw” benefit.
The rule is based on the assumption that a weapon just as go in effect and better in flawlessness exists but is not being used.
- Obviously there is nothing without an exploitable flaw and you’d be trying for the one with the less exploitable one, hence the clause in the law.
- The evil overlord has to be aware that the flaw exists to reject the plan and have an alternative option just as effective.
We generally do not see the evil overlord in the planning stage of evil scheme, so we really can say that there are better options that were rejected, so it is safe to assume that this is a pre-existing part of the planning process. Something Evil Overlords already do has no place on the list.
If anyone can think of examples of Evil Overlords using a flawed Ultimate Weapon instead of a real world or in-universe unflawed weapon that could achieve the same results, please note them in the comments.