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If I were creating the world I wouldn't mess about with butterflies and daffodils. I would have started with lasers, 8:00, day one!
~ The Evil Genius

The Evil Genius, also known as simply "Evil", is the main antagonist of the 1981 live action British fantasy film Time Bandits. He is the self-proclaimed embodiment of evil who seeks to use modern technology to rule the universe.

He was portrayed by David Warner, who also played Ed Dillinger Sr., MCP, and Sark in Tron, and Ra's al Ghul in the DC Animated Universe.


The Evil Genius was created by the Supreme Being to be embodiment of all evil. He was sealed away inside the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness in the Time of Legends along with a number of his minions. Here he was trapped, and dreamed of one day escaping to overthrow his creator and remake all creation in his image.

To this end, he lured Kevin and the Time Bandits to the Fortress and took the map of creation (which the dwarfs stole from the Supreme Being) which showed were all of the holes in time were. It was Evil's hope that he could find such a hole inside his Fortress and use it to escape and wreak havoc upon the Earth. After taking the map, he imprisoned Kevin and the dwarfs in a hanging cage, and conspired with his minions Robert and Benson (mostly Robert) about how best to transform the world.

The Evil Genius angrily declaring he made himself.

The heroes escaped, though, and took the map from Evil's office while he was busy discussing the marvels of modern technology with Robert. He retaliated by turning Og into a pig and sending his skeletal sentinels after the group. Everyone except Kevin went to different time periods to recruit help. Kevin faced Evil and his minions alone. He threatened to burn the map unless the Evil Genius called his minions off, so he responded by blowing them all up, including Robert, Benson, and Horseflesh.

The Time Bandits returned with soldiers from different eras, as well as a Sherman tank and a futuristic spaceship equipped with lasers. Evil killed all of the soldiers and took control of the tank and spaceship, turning them against his enemies. A blast from one hit a pillar which fell onto Fidgit, killing him. As the Evil Genius prepared to finish them all off, the Supreme Being intervened and burned him to a blackened husk. He also revived Fidgit from the dead.

The burned Evil collapsed, and although most of it was collected by the dwarfs, a single piece ended up in Kevin's parents' microwave. Upon touching it, they exploded.


The Evil Genius arrogantly dismissing Kevin's threats.

The Evil Genius is portrayed as villainous, egotistical and manipulative. He is an extremely arrogant, tyrannical, power-hungry, vituperative, slanderous and passionate technophile who refuses to admit, he has been created, insisting he made himself. When one of his minions, Cartwright, attempted to correct him, he blew Cartwright up. He often killed his underlings for minor offenses, or just for his own amusement, or when he no longer needed them. However, they enjoyed this treatment. Robert and Benson in particular eagerly looked forward to the day their master would violently kill them.

He thought he had a much better understanding of how the world should work than the Supreme Being, insisting he wouldn't waste his time with things like plants and animals - only cold, hard efficiency and technology. His idea of pure paradise was a techno-industrial nightmare filled with machines. However, despite his technological obsession, he seems to have difficulty understanding it. He is also unintelligent and brainless, as he considered himself to be, and often needed Robert to explain things to him.

Powers and Abilities

As the living embodiment of evil, the Evil Genius possessed a wide variety of powers, both magical and derived from his own partially mechanical body - although he appeared like a normal human male, he was had a robotic interior from which a variety of different, whimsical devices could emerge. His fingers were hinged and he could pull them back to "shoot" magic.

He can change his form to look like other people in order to trick people. The Evil Genius turned himself into a game show host at one point. He can also use this ability on others. While disguised as the host, he changed Robert and Benson into Kevin's mother and father. He also turned Benson into a dog, and Og into a pig.

To protect himself against arrows and bullets he could swell himself up like a giant pin cushion to harmlessly absorb and deflect the projectiles. He could also spray a noxious cloud of poisonous gas from within the sleeves of his robe.

Though, his most widely used power was his ability blow them up entirely. He was fond of destroying his minions by making them explode, given the slightest excuse. It is also possible that he was a powerful necromancer, as he had total control over an army of undead, skeletal beasts with cow skulls for heads.

In addition to all this was the Evil Genius's self-proclaimed control over all mechanical things, especially weapons. Using his mind, he turned both a tank and a spaceship against their users. He also possessed the ability to control people's minds if it suited him. One of his grossest powers was a knife on the end of a robotic arm that was inside a hatch in the back of his head. This allowed him to cut rope should his arms are tied up.


  • Jonathan Pryce was offered for the role of Evil, but he was unavailable owing to his commitment to Loophole. Pryce got the lead role in Terry Gilliam's next film Brazil in 1985.