Fandom’s 10 Most Searched Villains of 2022

Jess Bacon
TV Movies
TV Movies Games

It’s a tough job being the worst of the worst, but somebody’s got to do it. This year has brought us some major villains.

Horror has had a phenomenal year with Jordan Peele’s Nope and even Marvel dipped its toe into the genre with live-action and animated zombies in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and What If…? and the classic horror-soaked special Werewolf By Night as it seeks to pave the way for the likes of Blade, due to arrive with bite in 2024.

But it’s not just in horror where you’ll find bad guys and gals. Every hero needs an antagonist, after all. Whether it arrives in the form of a demon slayer, a super-strong ninja, or a corrupted child’s toy, these characters are the stuff of nightmares.

Read on to discover the most searched-for villains on Fandom in 2022.

10. Black Noir

Season 3 of the Amazon superhero series pushed The Boys to the max, as events got truly jaw-dropping and Black Noir stepped up in a bigger way.

Earlier in the year, fans saw the series regular played by Nathan Mitchell get more of a spotlight, after two seasons of causing havoc in the background and striking fear into the hearts of anyone who heard his name. In a skin-tight black costume and mask covering his entire face and mouth, Black Noir appears as threatening as his superhuman abilities.

With super strength and heightened senses, this ninja is proficient in Martial Arts and the perfect weapon for The Seven to utilize. It’s not surprising that fans sought out more information about the villain as very little had been known about the mute superhero. Without speech, Earving/Black Noir’s mannerisms are the only indication of his mindset and deadly intentions – though as it turned out, he had a more sympathetic side, cartoon animal friends included…

9. Strange Supreme

Marvel fans have encountered numerous variants of Doctor Steven Strange in 2022, yet many were still focused on Strange Supreme. Found on Earth-199999, Strange Supreme appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the animated series, What If…? which debuted on Disney+ in 2021.

The animated series saw alternate realities unfold as part of the MCU’s venture in the multiverse, including a world where Steven loses his partner Christine in the car accident we saw in the first Doctor Strange film, rather than damaging his hands.

Consumed by his grief, Steven absorbs other interdimensional beings’ abilities to alter the past and resurrect his love.

He is warned by The Ancient One and another variant of himself that this paradox would destroy the universe, but he ignores their warning and ends up thrown out into the void alone.

He appears again in two later episodes, but this deep dive into different Doctor Strange personalities was only the beginning – and tantalising enough to send fans wiki-wards to find out more about this complex and conflicted villainous variant, and presumably also to understand more about the multiverse, which is set to dominate the next two phases of the MCU.

Later, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness saw more variants introduced (nefarious ones included) to fight each other, as well as pull together to try and save the multiverse from Wanda Maximoff’s wrath.

The end of Multiverse of Madness presented us with another altered Strange – one with a third eye — giving us more Strange fodder to stoke fan curiosities as the MCU continues apace in 2023.

8. Terry Silver

Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver, with Peyton List as Tory Nichols (far right) in Cobra Kai. Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

Netflix’s The Karate Kid spin-off, Cobra Kai, brings in one of the movie franchise’s original antagonists, Terry Silver. This wealthy giant a-hole was the main villain of Karate Kid III, and turned out to be even more loathsome than John Kreese.

As with so many great villains, fear is built through references to his name, as he is mentioned in the first and second season, before he finally appears in a flashback in season three.

Across the fourth and fifth series, Terry takes on a major role in the series as the ‘changed man’ starts teaching martial arts with his former partner, John Kreese.

However, his return to this competitive industry awakens Terry’s darker side and unleashes his repressed aggression and hatred, which fractures his relationship with his old ally, John.

In the most recent season that debuted in September, Terry leads Cobra Kai and continues on his path of destruction, until his students learn the truth about his brutal killings and attacks. His sheer odiousness and a desire to gen up on his backstory is likely to be what prompted a majority of fans to seek him out on the wiki.

With such a big gap in the continuation of his story, and with Cobra Kai continuing its practice of revisiting old characters, it makes sense that fans of the series old and new would be wanting to brush up on their Karate Kid history.

Silver is arrested by the end of the season on various charges, but something tells us this isn’t the end of Terry Silver, so stand by for more from this hateful man in a future season.

7. Jean Jacket

Jean Jacket is the human name for the UFO in Jordan Peele’s acclaimed 2022 horror film, Nope.

The giant jellyfish-shaped creature is not a ship piloted by aliens, but a living being with a square-shaped eye that lures in its prey by batting its green eyelashes. As the lashes move, animals and humans are attracted to look at Jean, which usually leads to being eaten whole by the deadly predator.

This unique alien is the main threat in the science-fiction horror western. The terrifying monster traps, suffocates, and digests its victims as it morphs from resembling a ship into a cloud-like appearance.

If you went in blind to the film, it’s no wonder you were taken aback by what the movie turned out to be. In typical Jordan Peele fashion, the outlandish plot unfolds slowly and is meant to surprise and unnerve. There are also things about Jean Jacket – such as how, precisely, the UFO eats its prey – that will have intrigued many viewers. So of course you’d seek to find answers about this peculiar antagonist, the likes of which you weren’t expecting.

6. Eren Yeager

Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan.
Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan.

Fallen hero, Eren Yeager has taken a darker path in later episodes of anime series, Attack on Titan.

The fourth and final season saw Eren descend into a more morally grey character, as he came to terms with the fight against the humans and his conflicting feelings about being an all-powerful Titan.

The series, based on the manga of the same name, sees Eren become an unstoppable force as he begins to explore his untapped potential as a person with the strength of three Titans.

It’s unclear if Eren will redeem himself in the last two parts of the final season that airs in 2023, but only time will tell. Fans were likely prompted to look up Eren Yeager on the wiki to track his evolution – and perhaps look for clues as to how his fate could unravel as the series approaches its finale.

5. William Afton

William Afton is the main antagonist of the survival horror video game series, Five Nights at Freddy’s. and last appeared in the main series’ ninth instalment, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach. It’s the first game that has free-roam gameplay, where players can discover a darker incarnation of this character in the Afton ending.

Afton becomes Burntrap in this version, who is a hybrid of his animatronic suit, while his flesh has been burnt off to reveal his endoskeleton and metallic black eyes underneath.

Afton plays a pivotal role throughout the series and mini games, as a serial killer responsible – sometimes indirectly ­– for all the murders and tragedies that occur. He is the co-founder of Fazbear Entertainment, which runs the restaurant that all the characters work at.

The game was digitally released in December 2021, before it landed in physical release for PlayStation 4 and 5 in April, while the Xbox version dropped in November. Releasing the game in this way ensured a steady stream of interest in the game, and consequently gamers heading to the Fandom wiki for gameplay tips and a better understanding of the character.

4. Gellert Grindelwald

Gellert Grindelwald
Mads Mikkelsen as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Earlier this year, Mads Mikkelsen took over as Gellert Grindelwald in the Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

The dark wizard has been the main villain of all three of the Fantastic Beasts movies, originally played by Johnny Depp, but more was revealed about the character’s history in the latest instalment including the nature of his relationship with Albus Dumbledore.

The arch-enemies used to be friends and Grindelwald was also the Hogwart’s headmaster’s lover, before Gellert began to succumb to his fascination with the dark arts. As their views diverged, the couple took a blood oath so they could never directly move against each other or kill the other.

Grindelwald is considered to be one of the most powerful and dangerous dark wizards of all time in Wizarding World lore, only being surpassed by Lord Voldemort.

Similar to Voldemort, Grindelwald also has his own followers, all of whom believe that witches and wizards should rule over the muggle world. With the Fantastic Beasts series originally meant to consist of five movies, and The Secrets of Dumbledore the third in that pentalogy, it’s likely that as well as looking up this complex wizard’s history, visitors to the wiki were also looking for clues on where the character goes from here. Amid upheaval at Warner Bros. and controversy attached to the entire Wizarding World, as of this moment in time, there are no plans to continue the series.

3. Superior Iron Man

Superior Iron Man is the villainous version of Tony Stark from the Marvel comic books. He is forged in the events of Axis, where Earth’s mightiest heroes lose all their morality in a magic spell and Tony personality is corrupted.

While the heroic Iron Man is a flawed character sometimes driven by his self-interest, Superior Iron Man possesses much more destructive qualities than seen in the other comics and live-action movies.

He is the titular villain of the comic book mini-series of the same name, that sees Superior Iron Man release the Extremis 3.0 virus to the public. He capitalises on the addictive nature of the formula to increase his own wealth and cause chaos in society. He also tries to restore order with his own personal police force of drones to enforce his legislation and maintain order.

There was a lot of speculation that Superior Iron Man would appear in the live-action movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as part of the illuminati, hence fans flocking to the wiki to learn more about the character. Increasing the fervour was the fan-casting of the role going to Mission Impossible actor Tom Cruise. This flurry of speculation was completely based on rumours and as it turned out, neither Superior Iron Man, nor Tom Cruise, have yet joined the MCU. But watch this space.

2. Twelve Kizuki

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba or Blade of Destruction is one of the most popular anime series based on the manga of the same name.

The second season Mugen Train Arc that aired in 2021 to 2022 follows the Twelve Kizuki, which is a collective name for the twelve strongest and most powerful demons who serve the Demon King, Muzan Kibutsuji.

Both the Upper Ranks and Lower Ranks of the 12 demons appear in both adventures, and utilise their supernatural powers to fight against others and themselves.

Each member of the Kizuki is marked with a digit to show their rank within the twelve, with the Upper Ranks often brutally murdering the Lower Ranks as they complete destructive tasks for the Muzan.

So far, so lore-heavy, with fans keen to dig into it via the wiki off the back of the release of Season Two. Fans are also desperate for the next instalment Demon Slayer Season 3: Swordsmith Village Arc that drops in April 2023, so interest sustains. 

1. Huggy Wuggy

Huggy Wuggy
Huggy Wuggy. Awww. Wait, no.

Huggy Wuggy also known as Experiment-1170 is the stuff of children’s (and adult’s nightmares) in the Poppy Playtime video game. Despite his cute name and huggable appearance, Huggy Wuggy is a dangerous predator after the Playtime Co. scientists’ sadistic experiments consequently mean the toy craves human flesh. What’s not to intriguing about that?

The creepy monster appears as the main villain in the first chapter of the game, A Tight Squeeze, before falling into the abyss at the end. Huggy Wuggy also made a brief, posthumous appearance in the second chapter, Fly in a Web, that was released earlier this year, which is what has sparked a huge spike in fans visiting his page.

The mascot of the company is expected to return to wreak havoc on humankind in the upcoming instalment, Project Playtime. Watch out!

Jess Bacon
Jess is freelance journalist who covers a wide-range of topics, but mainly loves to over-analyse her favourite films and TV shows.