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How about a little wager?
~ Xibalba to La Muerte.
Manolo: One bite? Your snake! It bit me twice! You cheated! You will pay for this!
Xibalba: In all my years, no one, in any realm... has ever talked to me like that... and survived. So, I ask you... are you threatening me, boy?
Manolo: I will expose you to La Muerte. And then you and me can settle things!
Xibalba: You'll never reach her in her new realm. I should know. I rotted there for eons.
~ Xibalba getting exposed for intentionally killing Manolo by cheating on him.

Xibalba is the central antagonist and anti hero of the 2014 computer-animated film The Book of Life. He is the dark, ruthless and manipulative ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, who enters the plot upon making a wager with his estranged wife and fellow deity La Muerte.

He was voiced by Ron Perlman, who is best known for playing The Lich in Adventure Time, Dieter Reinhardt in Blade II, Mr. Lancer in Danny Phantom, Nino, Nicola in Bunraku, Warhok in Kim Possible, the High Mage in the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series, Fire Lord Sozin, Sheriff Collie Entragian, the Stabbington Brothers, in Tangled, Reman Viceroy Vkruk in Star Trek: Nemesis, numerous incarnations of Deathstroke (most notably Slade in Teen Titans) Armaggon in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bernado in Go Fish, Clayface in Batman: The Animated Series and Bular in Trollhunters.


Beth: And that is Xibalba. That charming rascal thinks mankind is not so pure, just like him.
Kid: He looks spooky.
Beth: Yes, he's made out of tar and everything icky in the whole world.
~ Xibalba's description.

Contrasting the lively colored and adorned La Muerte, Xibalba carries a grim and darker appearance befitting his role as the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten. True to the Day of the Dead iconography, Xibalba resembles a skeleton with wings and a crown. This connects with the origin of his name as the underworld of K'iche Maya mythology, roughly translated as "the land of fear". It also highlights his more blasphemous and sinister qualities, such as his determination to win his wager between himself and La Muerte through underhanded and manipulative methods. Xibalba understands humans as petty, assuming that María would be won over by Joaquín's use of the Medal. One condition of the wager noted that he loved to mess with the lives of mortals, as seen when he blows out the memorial candles and attempts to take the life of an old man. He also does not take lightly to anyone who challenges him, as seen with Manolo's angry and acrimonious declaration that he will expose him to La Muerte. This prompts Xibalba to respond that no one who talks to him in such a manner survives.


Xibalba is established as the tyrannical ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, a duty he has grown to hate due to the dreary conditions, especially contrasted with the festive nature of his former lover's domain, the Land of the Remembered. Prior to the events of the film, Xibalba had made a bet wherein he cheated, resulting in not only his ruling state, but also his estranged relationship with La Muerte, with whom he seeks to reconcile.

Determined to escape his role, Xibalba proposes another wager with La Muerte, this time concerning a budding love triangle between two friends, Manolo and Joaquín, and their mutual female friend, María. Xibalba bets that the latter will marry María in the future, with the condition that he shall rule The Land of the Remembered if he wins. So as to ensure a chance at victory, he, in the form of an old beggar, provides Joaquín with the Medal of Everlasting Life, which grants its wearer functional immortality by making them unable to be harmed or killed.

Years later, Manolo and Joaquín both unsuccessfully attempt to woo María when she returns to San Angel. Although, Manolo manages to make a heartfelt connection with her. Determined to not lose the wager, Xibalba summons a two-headed snake and sends it to bite Maria, putting her into a coma-like state, until she would conveniently reawaken once she was with Joaquín. With this, Xibalba, in the same old beggar form as before, takes advantage of Manolo's grief-stricken belief that Maria is dead to manipulate him into accepting his "help" to find María. He has the two-headed snake bite Manolo twice, which does kill him. With Manolo dead and María set to wed Joaquín to ensure the protection of their village, Xibalba declares a victory on the wager. When Manolo goes forth to find La Muerte so that he may find María anywhere, Xibalba is sitting in her stead, where he confesses to Manolo about the wager he made with La Muerte and the first bite that only put Maria into a deep sleep before she was awakened by Joaquin (with the usage of the Medal). It was then Manolo realized that Xibalba cheated on the wager and gets very furious at him for it.

Manolo angrily swears to head over to the Land of the Forgotten to find La Muerte and expose Xibalba to her for his cheating, but Xibalba brushes this off as he heads off to oversee Maria and Joaquin's wedding. In the meantime, the notorious bandit Chakal (who previously had the Medal of Everlasting Life until Xibalba stole it back) is alerted to its presence on Joaquín and declares that his forces will take the village on the Day of the Dead.

Seeing Manolo triumph in the wager, Xibalba is completely speechless and initially upset over his defeat, but decides to accept it and grants Manolo a return to life as promised, so that he may help defeat Chakal and be reunited with María. Seeing both the living and deceased reunited to take down Chakal and his forces, Xibalba abandons his cheating ways and successfully reconciles with La Muerte.

During the frame story, a museum tour guide named Mary Beth guides a group of children to the eponymous Book of Life to tell them the story along with an elderly security guard. In the end of the film, Mary Beth and the security guard are eventually revealed to be La Muerte and Xibalba in disguises, and as the children leave in their bus, La Muerte and Xibalba show out their true forms to share a tender moment with each other.


Xibalba: Really, my dear... you have no idea how cold and vile the Land of the Forgotten has become.
Muerte: Just like your heart, Xibalba. Just like your heart.
Xibalba: Why must I rule a bleak wasteland... while you enjoy the endless fiesta in the Land of the Remembered? It's simply unfair. [Almost touches an old man but Muerte stops him]
Muerte: Xibalba!
Xibalba: What? It's his time. More or less.
Muerte: Uh-uh. Not today, my love.
Xibalba: Come on, my dear. Trade lands with me. I beg you!
Muerte: Oh. You're so cute when you beg.
Xibalba: I'm serious. I hate it down there.
Muerte: Hey. You're there because you cheated! You made your bed with that wager. You're not the man I fell in love with... all those centuries ago.
Xibalba: Let's not dwell in the past, mi amor. Anyway, I was thinking... how about another little wager?
Muerte: You think you can calm the flames of my anger with another bet? What exactly did you have in mind?
Xibalba: Let's check out the menu for the evening. Ah, look there, my love. Classic mortal dilemma. Two boys. Best friends, no less.
Muerte: Oh, in love with the same girl.
~ Xibalba to La Muerte.
Oh, this is no ordinary medal, my boy. As long as you wear it, you cannot be hurt. And it will give you immeasurable courage.
~ A disguised Xibalba offers the magic medal to Joaquin.
Xibalba: So, then, if my boy marries the girl...I will finally rule the Land of the Remembered.
Muerte: And if my boy marries the girl, you will... You will stop interfering with the affairs of man!
Xibalba: What? I can't do that! Come on. It's the only fun I ever get!
Muerte: Then the bet is off.
Xibalba: Very well, my dear.
~ Xibalba and La Muerte begin their bet.
Muerte: XIBALBA!!!
Xibalba: Yes, my dear? [Sees Manolo, Carmen, Luis and Candle Maker] Oh.
Muerte: You misbegotten son of a leprous donkey! You cheated! Again!
Xibalba: I did no such thing. [Muerte takes the two-headed serpent] Oh, that. It has a mind of its own. Or two.
Muerte: That is unforgivable!
Xibalba: Oh, please! I never sent that snake to Maria, and I never gave that medal to Joaquin! [Realizes he has talked too much] Oh.
Muerte: What medal?
Xibalba: I never gave him. Ever. At all. Never.
~ Xibalba.


  • In Mayan mythology, "Xibalba" is the abode of the Mayan death gods. Xibalba was also mentioned in the 2000 DreamWorks animated film The Road to El Dorado.
  • He briefly appeared as a background character in the 2021 animated miniseries, Maya and the Three.
  • Xibalba, La muerte and Candle maker were the only gods who were not killed and had their divine hearts taken by Mitclan (from the Maya and the Three series), they are believed to be the only gods who didn't die
  • Jorge R. Gutierrez confirmed that he and his wife are the parents of Sartana of the Dead.


            El Tigre The Adventures of Manny Rivera logo.png & The book of life logo.png & Maya and the three logo.png Villains

El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera
Rivera Family
El Tigre - Puma Loco - El Tigre I - Mighty Cheetar - Dark Leopard - Plata Peligrosa

Reign of the Dead
Sartana of the Dead - Django of the Dead - El Machete - Skeleton Bandito Army - Forgotten Dead Monster

Señor Siniestro - Robotic Bandits - The Flock of Fury (Black Cuervo, Voltura & Lady Gobbler) - El Oso - El Osito - Dr. Chipotle Jr. - Dr. Chipotle Sr. - Dr. Chipotle Sr. Sr. - Guacamole Monster - El Mal Verde - Che - General Chapuza - Zombies - Cactus Kid - Cactus Monsters - Titanium Titan - Alebrije Monsters - Comrade Chaos - El Tarantula - Mano Negra - El Cucharon

Other Villains
Frida Suárez - Anita and Nikkita Suárez - Golden Eagle Twins - Dragon Worm - Ninja Monster Clan - Vice Principal Chakal - Mustache Mafia - The Bad Girls - Bear King - Monsterzuma

The Book of Life
Bandits (Chakal, Chato, Chela, Mofles, Cuchillo & Plomo) - Puma Loco

Magical Entities
Xibalba - Más y Menos - Toro Muerto - El Chamuco - Cave Guardian

Maya and the Three
Mictlan - Micte - Camazotz - Acat - Chivo - Bone and Skull - Xtabay - Vucub - Zatz - Fang - Stonehead Guardians - Conquistador Soldiers - Giant Skeletons

Jungle Lands King (Jungle Lands Warriors) - Scorpion Marauders - Bear Killah - Cabrakan - Cipactli - Haru and Can - Xibalba - Divine Gate´s Guardian

See Also
Nickelodeon Villains - 20th Century Studios Villains - Netflix Villains

           20thCenturyStudiosLogo.png Villains

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Live-Action TV
Ida Kenzel | Molly Merchants | Marv Merchants | Vera Murchins | Sinclair | Hughes | Jessica

See Also
24 Villains | Alien vs Predator Villains | Alvin and the Chipmunks Villains | Amblin Entertainment Villains | American Dad! Villains | American Horror Story Villains | Archer Villains | Blue Sky Villains | Buena Vista International Villains | Buffyverse Vilains | Casper the Friendly Ghost Villains | Daredevil Villains | Deadpool Villains | Die Hard Villains | Disney Villains | DreamWorks Villains | Dr. Seuss Villains | Elektra Villains | Family Guy Villains | Fantastic Four Villains | Futurama Villains | Garfield Villains | Home Alone Villains | Ice Age Villains | Jack London Villains | Kingsman Villains | Lucasfilm Villains | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Villains | Narnia Villains | New Mutants Villains | Night at the Museum Villains | Planet of the Apes Villains | Rick Riordan Villains | Rio Villains | Searchlight Pictures Villains | Silver Surfer Villains | Star Wars Villains | Syfy Villains | Taken Villains | Terminator Villains | The Cleveland Show Villains | The Simpsons Villains | Tim Burton Villains | Wolverine Villains | X-Files Villains | X-Men Movie Villains | X-Men Villains