What's this? Frieza survived! And now he brings with him an even greater power! The Earth is now in the greatest pinch ever!
~ The Narrator for Dragon Ball Z on Frieza's return with King Cold.
You judge yourselves against the pitiful adversaries you've encountered so far: the Romulans, the Klingons... They're nothing compared to what's waiting.
~ Q.

In works of fictions starring many villains, there can be either a main antagonist for each story arc or a Big Bad standing at the top of the hierarchy. In the latter case, however, one (or sometimes more than one) villain even more powerful and influential than the Big Bad himself can be introduced: the aptly-named Bigger Bad, also known as a Greater Scope Villain or Overarching Antagonist. Exceptions aside, the Bigger Bad ultimately has a smaller role than the Big Bad in focus.

However, the Bigger Bad is pretty much the main reason for the circumstances in the story that usually wouldn't be (naturally) possible to occur (pollution, artifact of doom, evil ancient group to which the Big Bad used to belong/is acting as a leader, etc). They can also be the main supply of power for the Big Bad, and sometimes the very motivation for said Big Bad to act villainously. Should the story ultimately end up putting more focus on the Bigger Bad, it may over-cede the current antagonist as the Big Bad. This type of villain often serves as an unseen character or is revealed at the very end of the story.

HIGHLY IMPORTANT: a Bigger Bad can logically ONLY appear in stories with a Big Bad. A Big Bad CANNOT be a Bigger Bad at the same time, unless there is a spin-off series in which one of his servants serves as the Big Bad. Examples of Big Bads who are also Bigger Bads in spin-offs include Emperor Palpatine, Gihren Zabi, Alien Empera, Ozai, and the Great Leader of Shocker.

For a clear understanding of what a Bigger Bad is, here are some notable Bigger Bads:

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