15 Villain Sidekicks Who Actually Do All The Work

List Rules
Vote up the sidekick villains who are even more dangerous than the big bad.

Every good hero needs a powerful villain to go up against, but sometimes that’s not the main bad guy. Occasionally, it’s the main villain’s sidekick or henchman who does all of the work and proves to be the real threat. These sidekick villains may be more intimidating, threatening, or dangerous than the ones thought to be running things, and often have ambitions of their own. Whether they are more intelligent or more powerful than the presumed head villain, these are the characters the hero truly must watch out for.

In the case of sidekick villains who do a majority of the heavy lifting, they may end up remembered over the bad guys giving the orders. These characters could just be continuing the plans set out by the villain in charge, or they could have an evil plot of their own. Either way, these villains are overachievers who often continue to present a threat even when the big bad has been dispatched.


  • The main villain of The Princess Bride is clearly Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon), who tries to force Buttercup (Robin Wright) into matrimony. However, it is Humperdinck’s six-fingered henchman Count Rugen who is responsible for the film’s most nefarious actions. 

    Rugen carries out the evil biddings of Humperdinck, torturing Buttercup’s true love, Westley (Cary Elwes), after he attempts to save her from the prince. Rugen is also the man Spanish fencing master Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) spends much of the film seeking revenge against for the murder of his father.

  • While investigating the death of his old war buddy’s daughter, LAPD detective Martin Riggs and his new partner Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) uncover a drug trafficking ring run by retired US General Peter McAllister (Mitchell Ryan). While McAllister oversees the operation, it is his right-hand man Mr. Joshua (Gary Busey) who does all of the dirty work.

    Mr. Joshua does away with the informant who confesses the plot to the detectives and nearly takes out Riggs in a drive-by shooting. The henchman also continues fighting the detectives, even after McAllister has been dispatched, leading to Lethal Weapon’s final showdown.

  • The main villain of GoldenEye is Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean), a secret agent who was 006 before staging his own demise and secretly establishing a crime syndicate. Among the members of the syndicate is Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), a Georgian fighter pilot and ruthless henchwoman notorious for asphyxiating her enemies between her thighs.

    Although Trevelyan fools James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) into thinking he is deceased, and is ultimately the one 007 takes on in the final showdown, Onatopp gets the upper hand on the secret agent more consistently. She is even able to steal a helicopter early in the film, despite Bond’s best efforts to stop her.

  • When King Richard is tricked into leaving his kingdom for the Crusades, the immature Prince John (voiced by Peter Ustinov) is left in charge. Robin Hood (Brian Bedford) robs the prince, who places a bounty on the thief’s head and taxes the citizens of Nottingham to retrieve his wealth.

    While it is the prince’s decree, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Pat Buttram) is the one who collects the taxes from the people. The prince is little more than a spoiled child, but the Sheriff serves as the real threat to Robin and his band of thieves.

  • 5
    7 VOTES

    Justin Pendleton, 'Murder by Numbers'

    Murder by Numbers involves the investigation of a murder committed by two extremely different high school students, with the narrative misdirecting the audience into making incorrect assumptions. Richard Haywood (Ryan Gosling) is wealthy, popular, and charming, which leads Detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock) to believe he was the one who committed the violent act.

    Because Justin Pendleton (Michael Pitt) is introverted and quieter than Richard, Mayweather assumes he was pressured into participating in the crime, until the evidence proves otherwise. Justin uses his intelligence to manipulate Richard, all while playing into Mayweather’s preconceptions.

  • 6
    7 VOTES

    Luv, 'Blade Runner 2049'

    When replicant and blade runner Officer K (Ryan Gosling) discovers the body of a replicant indicating that the bioengineered humans have the ability to reproduce, Wallace Corporation CEO Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) is determined to find out how this is possible. The CEO intends to use this new ability to expand his company, which makes the replicant slaves for interstellar colonization.

    Wallace sends his enforcer Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) to follow K and find the first replicant child. Luv ruthlessly dispatches K’s holographic girlfriend and mortally wounds him in a final battle, while Wallace stays in the background for most of the film.