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Yes. SG-1 went from "Fighting an evil advanced alien race who masquerade as gods and subjugate primitive humans" to "fighting an evil advanced alien race who masquerade as gods and subjugate primitive humans". Total change of direction...

This is what happens when old villains are replaced with new villains who nevertheless use a suspiciously similar modus operandi and have similar flaws.

The Trope Namer is The Who song "Won't Get Fooled Again" which uses this exact trope, though with political and revolution overtones.

Can be a result of a Post Script Season, a Retool, or Sequelitis.

Compare with Full-Circle Revolution, when this happens to La Résistance after a successful coup. See also He Who Fights Monsters for where the new boss didn't start out the same as the old boss, but became that way in the process of deposing him.

Examples of Meet the New Boss include:

Anime and Manga

  • The last three seasons of Sailor Moon each revolved around a different group of villains looking for a MacGuffin needed to achieve world domination. They did so by extracting different manifestations of a "soul" from random humans in the hope of getting the special one they were seeking, but most of the time ended up only getting blanks.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann went from fighting a corrupt village chief who repressed the villagers, supposedly for their own good, to fighting a deranged God-king who repressed humanity, supposedly for their own good, to fighting a deranged alien race who repressed sentient life in general, supposedly for their own good.
    • of course, the same events and themes reoccurring with escalation is part of the overlying "Spiral" theme of the show itself, so it's probably safe to assume that this was entirely deliberate.
  • The Dragon Ball universe: King Piccolo, Vegeta and Freeza. It all went like this: Big Bad wants Dragon Balls, Goku and company (including the previous arc's Big Bad) fight a series of mooks and various lieutenants until the Dragon Balls are no longer an issue and then they fight the Big Bad himself. Piccolo Jr. (who was fought between King Piccolo and Vegeta) is an exception because he never wanted the Dragon Balls and he never had any subordinates. He just simply wanted revenge on Goku.
  • Younger Toguro and Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho. Both Death Seekers who wanted Yusuke to defeat them. Both have existential crises based around What Measure Is a Non-Human?. Two diffeences: Toguro was looking for power, and Sensui had already found it, but had pretty much gone nuts doing so, and Sensui wanted to go somewhere before he was killed.
    • The main difference is, Toguro was a demon who wanted to be killed by a human, while Sensui was a human who wanted to be killed by a demon. Lucky for them, Yusuke is both.
  • Pokémon had Team Aqua/Magma in the 3rd games, and Galactic in the 4th. Both wanted to capture and control the version specific Legendary, the former two to expand the size of the ocean/land the latter because their leader wanted to become a god.
    • Not technically true in Emerald or Platinum, where the evil teams suceed in their plots and the version mascot shows up to save the day.
    • All three groups are stand-ins for the 1st game's Team Rocket, which wanted to capture any and all rare and/or powerful Pokemon, and in the anime created their own Legendary, Mewtwo, in order to rule the world.
  • Subverted in Death Note where the lines and appearances between good and evil are repeatedly blurred and questioned. Misa sort of fits this trope from L's perspective when she becomes the second Kira but operates less methodically and for different reasons from Kira so that L has to shift his focus in the investigation. From Light's perspective, pending L's death, Near and Mello.
  • The Principality of Zeon from Mobile Suit Gundam is a Nazi-esque military dictatorship that aims to rule the solar system while proclaiming the superiority of space-born humans over ones born on Earth. The Titans from Zeta Gundam are a Nazi-esque military dictatorship that aim to rule the solar system while proclaiming the superiority of Earth-born humans over ones born in space. What a huge change!
  • Deliberately invoked by Lelouch in Code Geass as part of a martyrdom Thanatos Gambit.

Comic Books

  • Micronauts spent the first 30-odd issues disposing the tyrant Baron Karza (the black-armored centauriod figure in the collection). Once they had finally deposed the Baron, leading hero Force-Commander (the white-armored centauriod) did a Face Heel Turn and became the new Big Bad.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, after spending 50+ issues fighting Dr. Robotnik, he's finally done in by a combination of a Duel to the Death with Sonic and his nephew Snively, who was acting as The Starscream. Twenty-Five issues and minor dealings with wanna-be Big Bad Ixis Naugus, the new villain shows up... Robo-Robotnik, a Robotnik from another universe, who takes over and takes up the name Dr. Eggman.
  • Tintin and the Picaros starts with two armed guards patrolling the slums of Tapiocapolis, the city named after the egomaniacal General Tapioca. At th end of the book, General Alcazar has kicked Tapioca out with Tintin's help... and we see two armed guards patrolling the slums of Alcazarpolis. Made even more depressing by the fact that it's the very last panel of the entire series.


  • In the James Bond franchise, there is some similarity between Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me) and Drax (Moonraker). Both have visions of a utopia, both intend to use mass genocide to create them, both use respectable business fronts, both of them employ Jaws... Moonraker was basically just The Spy Who Loved Me IN SPACE!. Also, Stromberg's plot in The Spy Who Loved Me is similar to Blofeld's plot in You Only Live Twice in the attempts to start an all-out war between the United States and Russia.
    • And all three were directed by the same director!


  • At the end of the Discworld novel Night Watch, Homicidal Lord Winder is replaced by the (soon to be known as) Mad Lord Snapcase, who immediately goes on to prove himself just as bad as his predecessor when he orders the main character's death. Mister Slant, the leader of the Guild of Lawyers, even lampshades this when he says the trope name in Canis Latinicus.
    • Hell, they just come right out and say it in English, too.
  • Napoleon in George Orwell's Animal Farm.
  • In the Belgariad, the people of Nyissa actively and ruthlessly engineer this: In order to ensure their Queen's Legacy Immortality, they train 20 girls into behaving, acting, and thinking like her. When the Queen dies (which means they killed her because her age started showing), they pick the best impersonator and kill the 19 others, starting the cycle anew.
  • In-universe in The Tommyknockers, when Gardener realizes the Havenites are becoming just like the governmental authority figures he didn't want to show the ship to. He even references the song several times.

Live Action TV

  • Stargate SG-1 has the Goa'uld and the Ori. Both pretent to be gods, both want to rule the universe.
    • The Ori might qualify as actual Jerkass Gods, though.
    • Before that, the horrific Sokar, a Goa'uld overlord banished by his kin for his great evil and now back for vengeance, was replaced by... the horrific Anubis, a Goa'uld overlord banished by his kin for his great evil and now back for vengeance. And they were even played by the same actor!
    • Especally egregious because the showrunner of SGA and later seasons of SG-1 was not fond of the Goa'uld. Yes, let's get rid of the "ridiculous Goa'uld," as he put it, and replace them with... an advanced evil alien race who masquerade as gods and subjugate primitive humans! And whose minions have staff-like weapons. We've never seen that before, right? Even the Wraith qualify - Goa'uld-ish voices and human servants being "worshipers" makes them more numerous Goa'uld with vampire flavoring. Yes, there are staff-style Wraith stunners in addition to the smaller ones. Oh, then we find out that different hives have different queens and they don't like each other but alliances can be made and... we basically re-introduce Goa'uld politics using Wraith Queens as System Lords.
  • Power Rangers was positively horrible about this while it was still set on Earth. It starts out with Rita Repulsa, whose motivation was to conquer Earth starting with Angel Grove, sticking to the tactic of sending the same squad of incompetent Putties and a single Monster of the Aesop in easily defeated waves. Once she got usurped by Lord Zedd, he pretty much just maintained the same status quo. They were then replaced with the Machine Empire, who pretty much did the exact same things. Turbo comes along and we meet the new threat, Divatox, who also quickly settles into doing the same things (often with a bomb thrown in somewhere for good measure.) She's followed by Astronema. The leader of the Legion of Doom chooses a newcomer to go after the Rangers, and she starts out by laying waste to NASADA and trying to take out the Rangers' shuttle... but soon settles into doing exactly the same things as the others, for at least the first half of the season.
    • After the Zordon era, taking on the Super Sentai formula in which a new season equals total overhaul, sometimes the Big Bad within a series will be defeated and a new one will come to power. It will be a momentous occasion... but the first episode after the transition will also consist of the new villain using the same methods as the first. Power Rangers Wild Force was a bit different, though, with Mandilok being much more proactive than Master Org.
    • Of course, we know by now that the formula isn't going anywhere. Oh, look, they're Samurai now! The Nighloks... send the same squad of incompetent Moogers and a Monster of the Aesop in easily defeated waves. Their boss Xandred is Orcus on His Throne and the more proactive Serrator comes in. He's the devil the Enigmatic Minions Dayu and Deker made a deal with in the past! And he's got his own cadre of monsters that Master Xandred has never heard of before! So of course he... sends them one at a time. Guess what happens? (Hint: It involves Humongous Mecha and kablooey.) But of course, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Video Games

  • The first Shadow Hearts game. In the first half of the game, you stop an ethnically stereotypical Chinese magus who wants to summon an incredibly powerful celestial being to remake/destroy the world. In the second half, you stop an ethnically stereotypical British magus who wants to summon an incredibly powerful celestial being to remake/destroy the world. The game itself notes this, as Albert Simon states outright he's doing what Dehuai tried to do - just correctly this time.
  • Early in the game's existence, City of Heroes had a Nazi group known as the 5th Column as one of the many different villain factions players could encounter. They would later be taken over by the Council, a group that, while adding a few new enemy types to its arsenal like the Galaxy division, was otherwise just a more generic Palette Swap of the Column with different names.
    • To the point where fans keep accusing the creators of censoring Nazis.
    • The 5th Column has been undergoing a resurgence, though, starting with their appearance in a few time-travel related Task Force arcs, to being revived under new leadership, and most recently, they have begun appearing in the streets again, usually beating up Council members.
  • The bosses in The King of Fighters games. There will always be a scheme that will somehow involve gathering energy from the fighters in the tournament- from using it to resurrect Orochi to destroy mankind to using the energy to fire a space cannon to fire laser beams to Southtown. Oh and they all have the SNK Boss Syndrome as well.
  • Near the end of Jade Empire, Sun Li the Glorious Strategist shows up, hijacks the previous villain's plan to lead the Empire to glory with the Water Dragon's power.
  • Every Devil May Cry game since the first features a human seeking to exploit the power of demons to become a demon himself.
  • The main villains in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II were Xehanort's Heartless and Xehanort's Nobody Xemnas, respectively. Both their plans involve collecting hearts, making you run around fixing different worlds that could be destroyed by their actions, causing some awfully similar enemies to attack people and even their appearance is the same although they are still individuals in their own right and work independently.
  • In Bio Shock 1, when Jack kills Andrew Ryan, Frank Fontaine takes over Ryan Industries.
    • And in Bio Shock 2, Sofia Lamb ends up being Not So Different from Ryan despite them having polar opposite ideologies: Ryan doesn't care about his underlings individually because "look out for number one" is his motto, while Lamb takes the "collective good" so far that to her, one person's life is meaningless.

Web Animation

  • In Red vs. Blue, Red and Blue teams find themselves talking to Vic Jr. Who's a Generation Xerox of the original Vic, and is equally a corrupt dick running both teams. However, it's implied that they're actually the same person.

Web Comics

  • Early in Kevin and Kell, Kell's boss was a wolf(?) seen only from the jaws forward, known only as L.D. After he died, a canid known as R.L. took his place. To this day, the only clear difference between them is in the initials.

Real Life

  • This is an example of the French Revolution, before Thermidor, Sydney Carton's final thoughts: "I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old"?
  • Many Eastern Europeans found Soviet rule under Stalin to be little different from Nazi occupation.
  • Castro under Cuba. Overthrew the corrupt Batista, introduced a totalitarian communist regime.
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