Characters (especially villains) are considered "Big Bads", or the main/primary antagonist(s) of the story in which they appear; that is to say the most prominent, influential and powerful of all, the one at the center of the conflict, whose importance in the plot outshines all. They are the evil counterparts of the Big Good of a story. Even though most Big Bads are the main antagonists of their stories, it is possible for Big Bads to be protagonists (e.g. Light Yagami).
To put it simple, a "Big Bad" ONLY appears in long-running stories with numerous story arcs and antagonists. Villains of a single movie/book/game/whatever or villains of a story without enough antagonists DO NOT COUNT. The Big Bad stands at the top of the villain's hierarchy: being almost always the leader of all the villains, or at least a very strong influence. The "Big Bad" always has a much larger significance in the story than any other villain, including possible "Bigger Bads," being the direct or indirect cause of all the troubles for most of the story if not the story as a whole. The Big Bad is usually also "The Heavy" though this position is often filled by the Big Bad's "Right-Hand" or Enforcer in stories that keep the Big Bad mysterious.
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