When you think of fondly of James Bond movies, it’s because you don’t remember the duds. And, when you look at them, you can see they were often bad because the villain’s plan was bad. Judge for yourself how the changing ambitions of Bond films affect the quality of the films and reflect the times in which these films were made.

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Doctor No, Doctor No.

Plans to disrupt the Project Mercury space launch from Cape Canaveral with his atomic-powered radio beam. Because why? Because Spectre!

From Russia with Love

Various, From Russia With Love

Spectre devises a plot to steal a Lektor cryptographic device from the Soviets and sell it back to them while exacting revenge on Bond for killing their agent Dr. No. Because revenge and money. (Two great tastes that taste great together)

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Goldfinger

Irradiate all the gold in Fort Knox, destroying the world financial system and greatly increasing the value of his own gold. Because Money. See also, his soul is cold.

Adolfo Celi (Emilio Largo)

Emlio Largo, Thunderball

Emilio Largo hijacks two atomic bombs and demands a ransom. Because money.

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Blofeld, You Only Live Twice (1967)

Blofeld hijacks spacecraft to start a war between the USSR and the USA. Because… uh… Because!

From Wikipedia:

Dahl said the original novel was "Ian Fleming’s worst book, with no plot in it which would even make a movie", and compared it to a travelogue, and said he had to create a new plot "though I could retain only four or five of the original story's ideas."

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Blofeld, On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Use unwitting patients from a medical institute to distribute bacteriological warfare agents around the globe, holding world governments to ransom by threatening to destroy life on earth. Because Money. Made the complicated way.

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Blofeld, Diamonds are Forever.

Blofeld captures a satellite (giant laser in space) with the ability to blow up nuclear missiles and intends to make money by auctioning it off to the highest bidder. Because Money. See also, Star Wars. (The Reagan kind, not the “Let-the-Wookie-Win” kind)

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Dr. Kananga, Live and Let Die

Distribute Heroin through a chain of restaurants to build a base of addicts. (It’s free the first time)

If it seems a little pedestrian to be a Bond villain scheme, it is. But the movie more than made up for it with style

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sir Paul McCartney

Also, The Witch Doctor

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Scaramanga, The Man with the Golden Gun

Threatening to assassinate James Bond as a distraction to stealing the Solex, a key component to a solar reactor that can solve the Energy Crisis. Because, well, I got nothing.

This is not a high point. A contemporary reviewer wrote of the film: "This series, which has been scraping the bottom of the barrel for some time, is now through the bottom … with depressing borrowings from Hong Kong kung fu movies, not to mention even more depressing echoes of the 'Carry On' smut."He summed up the film by saying it was "sadly lacking in wit or imagination."

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Stromberg, The Spy Who Loved Me.

Destroy Moscow and New York, triggering nuclear war, so that he can then establish a new civilization among the glowing ruins of the old. Because Meglomania.

While there’s a lot to hate about a plan that involves destroying the world (Q: If you blow up everything, what do you win? A: Nothing) But you have to give it to Stromberg. He’s got a pretty clear idea of what he wants and how to get it.

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Drax, Moonraker

Destroy all human life by launching fifty globes containing the toxin into the Earth's atmosphere, KILLING EVERYBODY. Then, repopulate the Earth with a handful of genetically perfect people creating a master race. Because f—-ing crazy.

And you gotta love a guy with metal teeth.

Someday, Germany is going to declare war on the Jones Boys

Someday, Germany is going to declare war on the Jones Boys

Kristatos, For Your Eyes Only

Steal the ATAC (Automatic Targeting Attack Macguffin — I mean computer) because it grants the power to launch nuclear warheads from Polaris missile subs. Because, being able to whistle up a missile launch whenever you want one is pretty handy if you are evil.

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General Orlov, Octopussy

Explode at a nuclear warhead at a U.S. Air Force base in West Germany in the belief that this accident would force Europe into seeking disarmament, leaving the West's borders open to Soviet invasion. Because that domino effect wasn’t quite working out like the General had hoped.

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Zorin, A View to a Kill

Destroy silicon valley so he can have a monopoly in the world market for microchips. Because, uh, he was angry at Moore’s Law? Because uh, you can’t build chips anywhere else?

I got nothing here.

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Koskov, The Living Daylights.

Fake a defection to embezzle KGB funds to purchase diamonds to then purchase drugs to make money which you had in the first place because you embezzled money. Because undeniable mercantile interests.

When you have this many movies in a series, you’re bound to have some low points.

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Sanchez, License to Kill

Make money by selling drugs and killing anybody who gets in his way. Because it was 1989, this is the sixteenth film already and I’d like to see you keep coming up with original ideas.

To be fair, even though it looks flat on the page here, a Drug Lord is a hell of villain. Pablo Escobar was a real-life Bond Villain. When this movie came out, he was worth $30 billion and had assassinated a good chunk of Colombia’s Supreme Court to avoid trial. They should have cast him.

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Trevelyan, GoldenEye

Gain control of the GoldenEye electromagnetic pulse weapon so that he can steal all of the money in the Bank of England and cover your tracks with an EMP. Because money.

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Elliot Carver, Tomorrow Never Dies

Tries to use a GPS encoder to provoke war between China and the United Kingdom, hoping to replace the current Chinese government with one more supportive to Carver's plans of exclusive broadcast rights in their country. Because ratings and money.

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Elektra, The World is Not Enough

Blow up a rival pipeline with a nuclear explosion to increase the value of her own. Because Money. And couldn’t find funding for a hostile takeover?

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Colonel Tan-Sun Moon/Gustav Graves, Die Another Day

Use a Icarus (a giant laser in space) to cut a path through the Korean Demilitarized Zone with concentrated sunlight, allowing North Korean troops to invade South Korea and thus reuniting the countries through force. Because Power and Patriotism.

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Le Chiffre, Casino Royale

Short-selling stock in successful companies using his clients' money, and then engineering terrorist attacks to sink their share prices, creating huge profits for himself. Because Money.

Joaquin Cosio as General Medrano in Quantum of Solace

General Medrano, Quantum of Solace

Dam Bolivia's entire supply of fresh water to create a monopoly. Because Money and Power.

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Raoul Silva, Skyfall

Sell a list of Nato agents to the highest bidder(s). Revenge himself upon M for an improbably cyanide capsule accident. Because Vengenance?

The Axes of Evil

The working title of the book is currently “The Field Guide to Villains.” And as I outline it, I realize that the topic covers a lot of ground. How do I make sense of all these bad guys? How do I compare one to another? How can I organize and describe, not just the Joker or Darth Vader, but rather, make sense of the entire field?

I channeled the World’s Most Dangerous Consultant, Edwin Windsor, and developed a quadrant diagram. I could have filled it in with famous characters, but I thought it might be more beneficial to identify the edge cases and see if my scheme made sense to anybody else. So, commenters, what do you have to say?

The Axes of Evil

I’m going to interview the smartest, most interesting people I can find about ‘Evil. These interviews and other bits of merriment are going into the podcast feed. I’ll also write a bunch of posts. Let’s say at least three podcasts (target length 15 minutes, let’s not be rediculous) and three posts a month.

Then, after about a year of cranking out this content, I’m going to release a non-fiction book entitled How to Succeed in Evil. What exactly is that book going to be? I’m not entirely sure. I have to write it to find out. Here are the kind of parts I have on the shop floor right now

* Interviews
* Essays about fiction and bad guys
* Villain profiles
* Scheme outlines and descriptions
* Consultations and conversations with my fictional characters from How to Succeed in Evil.

Yes, this is made a little more confusing because I have already written three books in a series called How to Succeed in Evil. Which itself is confused because the first book was the middle and I’ve written one prequel and one sequel. Which is made even more confusing because I started off with series of Parsec award-winning podcast episodes.

But never mind all of that. Subscribe by email and I’ll give you everything as it happens.