We Can Rule Together

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
A father and son ruling an empire of pure evil together doesn't resolve as many of their psychological issues as one might think.

"Luke, you have not yet realized your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. And with our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict, and bring order to the galaxy. Luke, you can destroy The Emperor! He has foreseen this! It is your destiny! Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son."

Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back

Say you're a villain and your Evil Plan is being ruined by this pesky hero who just will not let you scheme in peace. You've sent Mooks, you've berated your underlings for their failure, maybe you've even tried shooting him/her. No dice, the hero keeps coming. You can't beat them!

Well, if you can't beat them, don't join them—offer to let them join you. That's right: you can become the partner in crime/trusted advisor/ruler of Australia if you will just drop this silly crusade against the Evil Overlord and get with the program. Go on, those oppressed peasants you're fighting for won't mind—they'll understand that you can't let an opportunity like this slide. The offer is usually made by someone who needs to Pick on Someone Your Own Size with a Circling Monologue.

When this offer is made, it's usually a sign that either the hero or the villain is going to die very soon. If not, it's the hero's final rejection of the villain's vision, and marks the point where things get serious...

Because the hero rarely follows up on the offer. From the human perspective, it's a pretty foolish move anyway. How could any villain ever be serious about hiring someone who's been thwarting their evil schemes every step of the way, especially when it's a morally righteous Cape? How could the villain possibly trust someone treacherous enough to do such a blatant Face Heel Turn?


  1. From the Evil Tropes perspective, it makes perfect sense. Temptation is part of the complete Evil package. Every evil force is looking to expand its membership. (Of course, some villains are more persistent than others.)
  2. The villain is so evil that they literally cannot comprehend why the hero's fighting - they don't believe in love, loyalty, honor, and so forth, and don't believe the good guy really does, either.
  3. The villain just decides it's worth the risk - if the good guy's this impressive when Good Is Dumb, imagine how great they'd be as an Evil Minions!
  4. The villain has some connection to the hero (either blood relation or childhood friends, usually), and despite being evil still cares about him. Far better to convince the hero to join him than to kill somebody whom he prefers not be dead.

This can be particularly chilling when the offer comes from a Well-Intentioned Extremist rather than an outright baddie - because they believe that they are offering you a chance to do the right thing, and will be surprised (or in the case of a Knight Templar, outraged) that you would turn them down.

The villain's momentary admiration for the hero usually (intentionally) leaves lasting Not So Different scars.

Some Videogames may give this option to the player, leading to an alternate ending or a Nonstandard Game Over, in most cases an "evil" player's scripted response to this offer is commonly the player killing the villain and taking the Cosmic Keystone for themselves. Certain villains should be aware that even success can be dangerous to them if the Fallen Hero doesn't feel like sharing.

Compare Last Chance to Quit, Deal with the Devil. The inversion is Last Second Chance, when it's the hero making the offer. Super Trope to I Can Rule Alone. See also Leave Your Quest Test. If villain insists too much for the hero to join then expect Foe Yay to occur. Contrast You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good, which is when the hero tries to bring the villain over to the good side, and Offered the Crown, where the hero is offered power by the good guys as a reward for heroism.

Examples of We Can Rule Together include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yu-Gi-Oh: Seto's side of the story in the Memory World arc centers largely around this trope, with a Luke, I Am Your Father for good measure.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh 5 Ds, Carly, as a Dark Signer, showed Jack a world where they would rule together as King and Queen. Jack almost fell for it, too bad that his Hamminess snapped him out of it.
  • In the last episode of My-HiME, the Obsidian Lord offers Mai a chance to replace Mikoto as his right-hand, after the latter does a Heel Face Turn when Mai shows her The Power of Love. Mai tells him where to stick it, and the final battle begins.
  • In the last episode of season one of Mega Man NT Warrior Lan, fused with Megaman, is fighting with a giant navi-fused Dr. Regal. Our Hero is on the ropes, but rather than taking Lan out, Dr. Regalexplains that he's impressed with him and explicitly states "I want you by my side, Lan." His offer is refused.
  • Also used in Narutaru. The maddened Lonely Rich Kid Hiroko offers this to her friend Shiina as they face each other after Hiroko's Freak-Out and Roaring Rampage of Revenge with Oni. It doesn't end well.
    • And before that, Akira Sakura gets offers from the likes of Tomonori Komori and Naozumi Sudo to join their respective causes of creating a new world. These don't end well, either.
    • The entire ending of the manga is the result of Shiina accepting one of these. After the deaths of her father, mother, boyfriend, best friend and everyone she'd ever cared about, Mamiko asks her if there's any reason left not to end the world. Shiina replies that there isn't.
  • In an interesting example, in the first Vampire Hunter D novel (and comic), The Dragon Rei-Ginsei give this offer to D "As two beautiful lords ruling the night" (to paraphrase) - despite that Magus Lee would most certainly have something to say about the attempt to double-cross him.
  • In Corrector Yui, Grosser offers this to the titular Magical Girl in the first season finale. Yui says no.
  • Touma of Digimon Savers gets this offer from his Evil Counterpart Nanami. In this case, it was combined with a different kind of temptation.
  • Diva from Blood Plus offers her twin sister Saya this, asking Saya to join her in turning all humans in the world into Chiropterans. Obviously, Saya rejects her.
  • Creed from Black Cat practically lives this trope. According to him, his entire plot to rule the world will always be incomplete if Train isn't by his side. It could be said that he is the most persistent character in the entire series, offering Train this countless times.
  • Tabool from Now and Then, Here and There, a child soldier whose hellish predicament has driven him to the brink of scathing insanity, tries to convince his sane best friend Nabuca that they can take over Hellywood together. Strange subversion in that Nabuca refuses, but it's Tabool who winds up killing Nabuca.
  • Senator Kurt Godel proposes that to Negi in Mahou Sensei Negima, apparently for the sole purpose of getting him angry. It works wonders.
    • Or was he serious after all?
      • His true offer? He wants Negi to take up Queen Arika's legacy and become King. Apparently. In the end, Negi nearly does take him up on it, but ultimately rejects it, as Kurt's Fantastic Racism means that he would only save about an eighteenth of the population. According to Negi, Arika would have tried to save everyone, so if he's going to follow in her footsteps, he's saving everyone too.
  • In Berserk, the Apostle and Dark Magical Girl Rosine offers this to her best friend Jill. Who refuses, so Rosine abducts and tries to transform her into one of her followers instead.
  • In Pokémon Special, Red was given the offer twice with Team Rocket and The Elite Four. Both times he refused, though the outcomes were quite different. First time, epic battle which he barely wins thanks to a Chekhov's Gun. Second time, not so lucky as he ends up as a Human Popsicle.
  • In the first episode of Transformers Robots in Disguise, Megatron offers to let Optimus Prime join him so they can despoil Earth together. Optimus, naturally enough, refuses.
  • In the Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta makes this offer to Goku. Goku turns him down, not only for moral reasons, but pointing out that Vegeta killed his last right-hand man. This is changed back to the original dialogue of Vegeta bragging about how he was going to kill Goku for the Funimation re-dub.
    • A lot of DBZ villains try this. Vegeta, Frieza, King Cold, Zarbon, Raditz, Turles... probably a bunch of others, too.
  • Genkaku of Deadman Wonderland frequently offers this to Nagi who always turns him down.
    • Gokudo, being an Anti-Hero, actually takes the offer. It backfires, but he still tried.
  • Faye Valentine gets an offer like this from Big Bad Vincent in Cowboy Bebop The Movie. She rejects it.
  • Maoyuu Maou Yuusha has an interesting take on this trope. The Maou wants the Yuusha to work together with so they can end the war between their races peacefully with the least repercussions and enough benefits for everyone.
  • In chapter 581 of Naruto Kabuto actually asks this of Sasuke twice. He refuses the offers.
  • Apacci, Mila Rose and Sung-Sung return in Bleach chapter 487 and in chapter 488 Kirge Opie obliterates them when they refuse his offer for them to join Vandenreich.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn: In chapters 385, 386, and 387 Bermuda asks Reborn to join him and says he likes him and wants him (for his team). Reborn refuses and Bermuda responds by capturing him.
  • At the height of his madness in the finale of the 2003 Astro Boy series, Dr. Tenma takes over the Ministry of Science and demands to see "Tobio" again. Fully believing that Astro is Tobio, he asks him to join him. When Astro refuses, Tenma snaps completely and tries to commit suicide.
  • In Fairy Tail, the Jiggle Butt Gang actually wanted Wendy to join them as their leader, as they believe she's some sort of goddess. She actually complied, but only in a - failed - attempt to convince them to reform.

Comic Books

  • In the Esperanto comic 10 Jarojn Poste ("10 Years After"), Big Bad Colonel Osto offers hero Orajno "wealth, women, whatever you desire!" if Orajno will join him. A disgusted Orajno knocks Osto to the ground.
  • Inverted in a story in The Authority. Diminutive supergenius Jacob Krigstein creates hundreds of superheroes in order to attack the titular super-team, kidnap newborn Jenny Quantum, and use her to influence the course of the entire next century. The good guys beat up the bad, fly into Krigstein's secret base...and offer him a job. Clearly he's got the brainpower necessary to help change the world; it just needs to be appropriately channeled.
  • In Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog, the villainous wizard Ixis Naugus attempts to sway his fellow villain Mammoth Mogul to his side. The trope is inverted somewhat when Naugus realises that Mogul is the more powerful villain of the two, and immediately swears himself into Mogul's service.
  • Used twice in the Milestone Comic Hardware. The first time was played completely straight. The second time, the titular character's Bad Boss, Edwin Alva finally realised that his employee was really the superhero who was thwarting him at every turn, so he sweetened the deal. He would give Hardware's alter ego, Curtis Metcalf, a Vice-Presidency, and would try to curb his extra-legal activities. To do this, though, he would need Hardware's help, as most of the time he had only done illegal things out of (to his way of thinking) necessity. With a powerful superhero enforcer, he wouldn't need to rely on criminal operations to maintain his profit margin. Hardware actually accepted this deal, and not only got the promotion but also an unlimited budget to improve his Hardware armour, which to that point had been constructed out of whatever he could steal from work.
  • Used almost obligatorily in Superman: At Earth's End by the twin clones of Hitler running the show. The potentially interesting idea of cloning Superman into a race of "Supermen" with Nazi/Aryan overtones goes undeveloped beyond a single sentence, because this is Superman: At Earth's End.
  • In The Making of Baron Fel, Ysanne Isard first gives Ace Pilot Soontir Fel a Forceful Kiss, then says she could raise him up, make him take Tarkin's place, become bigger than Vader. When he adamantly rejects both, she wipes her mouth and says that this was a Secret Test of Character. She'd told the Emperor that Fel was utterly loyal and incorruptible, and she was right. A few years after this, Fel defected to the Rebellion both because what the Empire had become disgusted him and because the Rebels would help him find his wife, the sister of Wedge Antilles.
  • After having Blue Beetle beaten up by a cyborg, Max Lord tries to recruit him into Checkmate and his plan for "Curbing superhuman aggression." With a literal gun to his head.

Blue Beetle: So that's it. Join me or die time, is that it?
Max Lord: That's it exactly.
Blue Beetle: Rot in hell, Max.

  • In the Valiant Comics series based on The Legend of Zelda, Ganon makes this offer to Link after Link gets his hands on the Triforce of Power.
  • In Scott Pilgrim, after Gideon discovers that Ramona has left Scott, he asks Scott to join him, telling him that "together, we can rule Ramona's future love life!" - parodying Darth Vader.
  • There's a rare successful version of this in Dark Empire. After capturing Luke, Palpatine offers to become his Master. And although Luke has his lightsaber, the guards have been dismissed, and there is no Vader standing by... Luke accepts. Palpatine can Body Swap into anyone after his current body is killed, and Luke would be an ideal body to take, with such horrific potential consequences for the New Republic. Luke thinks he can thwart Imperial efforts from within, and indeed he does some of that... but the Emperor isn't that easily duped. When Luke starts killing the Emperor's unborn clones, he's Mind Raped into submission.
  • In Squee, Senor Diablo offers Squee a position in Hell since he's friends with Pepitio. When he politely declines, he shrugs and says "I guess that's that."
  • In the Batman comic "Mistress of Fear," the Scarecrow tries to Mind Rape Becky Albright after she testifies against him in court and discovers that she was bullied as an Ill Girl child, which forces him to recall his own experiences with bullying. He then makes this offer to her, arguing that her psychological profile is perfect for supervillainy.
  • In the Blacksad album "Somewhere Within The Shadows" Ivo Statoc tries to offer Blacksad a job in his employ when he's finally tracked him down and already dispatched his bodyguards.

Fan Works

Ares: Don't think that way. My true duty is to regulate strength and aggression. I support Darwin's Theory of Evolution because it is true. The strong live and the weak die! (He points out the surrounding plants and animals, which are dying from the unnatural cold.) I sent that deluded fool Mr. Freeze to test you. And you, my friend, are strong! And open to aggression! Join me, in the ultimate war! With you at my right hand, I shall conquer this pathetic world. In the new world order, you can have anything you want, even Lois.
Superman: No. I'll never serve you, evil one. I'm taking you down.

Enlil: I am offering you the universe. And you are... you are seriously snubbing that in favor of an organization that regards you as expendable? For no reason other than...
Lindy: You are an admitted military dictator and something of a hypocrite? That you claim the moral high ground despite claiming responsibility for murder, torture, and warmongering against peaceful worlds? Maybe it does result in a happy, shiny empire filled with joy and rainbows, but that is only because the people know that if they complain too loudly they'll be murdered. The TSAB might have many and significant flaws, but if nothing else, at least I can claim with certainty that those flaws do not change the fact that the organization as a whole exists for a purpose that I truly believe to be a noble one. You, on the other hand, appear to be offering a system that has some very significant flaws of its own, operates in pursuit of goals that most reasoning beings would consider abhorrent, and which you then attempt to put a positive spin on so that nobody will notice. And that, to me, seems like a very good reason.
Vita: ...Daaaaaaaaaaaamn.


  • Star Wars; Darth Vader's offer is probably the most heartfelt, if not the Trope Maker. The Emperor also tries to lure Luke to the Dark Side, though he's probably less than sincere about wanting to be replaced; he actually wants to replace Vader. (It fails when the Emperor is far, far too obvious about it, and the widely different circumstances under which both temptations take place.)
    • Happens again in Attack of the Clones, with Dooku offering to team up with Obi-Wan to defeat the Sith.
    • And, again, in Revenge of the Sith, with Anakin offering to rule the galaxy with Padme as his Empress.
    • Sith in general are fond of this one, as it fits with their overall theme as tempters, and they seem to take a particular pleasure from corrupting Jedi into minions.
      • Actually, the Sith doctrine really states that if you can find a more powerful apprentice than your current one, you have to sacrifice the current one. And if you are the apprentice, you can recruit an apprentice and kill your master. No, you must always be trying to kill them!
  • A classic example of the villain making this idiotic offer occurs in the first Spider-Man movie: the Green Goblin asks Spider-Man to "join him"—it's unlikely Spider-Man could possibly be interested in joining the psychopathic killing spree of someone who attempted to kill his girlfriend. This prompts the Goblin to both play the Untrusting Community card and indicate that in prolonging their feud, Spider-Man will be responsible for whoever gets killed by it. Neither work.
    • Same thing happens in The Spectacular Spider Man. "I make a habit not partnering with anyone green. Or y'know, psychotic."
      • "But Hulk trying overcome Hulk's anger management issues..."
  • Subverted in The Princess Bride: when Inigo Montoya has the killer of his father at his mercy, he actually demands the villain try tempting him out of revenge:

Inigo: Offer me money!
Rugen: Yes.
Inigo: Power too, promise me that!
Rugen: All that I have, and more. Please...
Inigo: Offer me everything I ask for.
Rugen: Anything you want. *attacks Inigo again*
Inigo: *stabs Rugen through the heart* I want my father back, you son of a bitch.

  • At the end of Three Hundred, the Scary Black Man Emperor Xerxes offers the Spartan King Leonidas the opportunity to serve him as Warlord of Greece, by simply kneeling before him, or else die in a hail of arrows. Leonidas responds by wordlessly removing his helmet, dropping his spear and shield, and kneeling before Xerxes...the better to aim as he hurls a spear at Xerxes' face and proves "that even a God-King can bleed."
    • This one is actually Truth in Television - Xerxes did offer to make Leonidas Warlord of all Greece, answerable only to Xerxes himself. Leonidas told him to shove it. So this is Older Than Feudalism.
      • They never met in person in real life, though. Also Xerxes didn't actually think he was invincible.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, the Borg Queen invites Data to join her, causing him to actually consider the offer. (For a total of 0.68 seconds - almost an eternity for an android with a supercomputer in his head.)
  • In Flash Gordon, Ming (despite being called "the Merciless") offers Flash rulership of the Earth in his name at one point.
  • In David Cronenberg's Scanners, Revok has been tracking down Vale for the whole movie specifically to offer him this, because they're brothers.
  • Dick Tracy (1990). Big Boy Caprice captures Tracy and offers him $15,000 to join Big Boy's organization.

Big Boy Caprice: Welcome to new waters, Dick! We're gonna run one hell of a ship with you aboard. There's a big world out there, and it's up for sale. All of it. All we gotta do is make sure that the people know I'm the one big enough to run it.
Dick Tracy: And that you are guilty of attempting to bribe an officer of the law.

  • Long John Silver offers Jim Hawkins a chance to join him and the pirates in Muppet Treasure Island.
  • Judge Dredd. Rico makes the offer to Judge Dredd after capturing him.
  • The Avengers 1998. Diabolical Mastermind Sir August tells Mrs. Peel, "Join me, Emma, and we have the world."
  • Adrian sort of makes this offer to Jon in Watchmen. He explains that the plan was Jon's achievement as much as it was his own, and that without Jon's interference, a united humanity could create a perfect world. Jon leaves Earth.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the Big Bad makes this kind of an offer to The Mole, though it's not so much "join me" and more "stick around a while longer". The Mole declines—not out of any particular moral code or personal conviction, but simply because he doesn't think it's worth the effort. He's been around long enough to see other empires crumble, and so knows that the Big Bad's is going to follow suit eventually.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, there's Kadaj's speech to the kidnapped children.
  • In Resident Evil Apocalypse, Major Cain is hopeful in getting Action Girl Alice to join him: "With my help, just imagine what [we] can achieve!"
  • At the climax of X Men First Class, Sebastian Shaw offers Magneto a chance to join him so that together they can ensure mutant supremacy, a goal that Magneto actually agrees with. Unfortunately, Shaw was the one who killed Magneto's mother in the concentration camp, so Magneto kills him and takes up his "mutant vs. human" crusade himself. Later, he tells Xavier that he wants him by his side in the cause, but Xavier refuses.
  • In Megamind, Titan makes this offer to Megamind, claiming they could rule Metro City together, the Brains and Brawn method.
  • Happens twice in Toy Story 3. First off, Buzz is offered a position among the toys to be able to get out of the torturous position, which he declines because he doesn't want to leave his friends behind. Unfortunately, it wasn't a request. The second is, to a lesser extent, with Barbie. She isn't aware of the truth when she accepts Ken's offer and immediately changes her mind when she learns the truth.
    • Although she and Ken kind of do rule together at the end, when Lotso is removed and his dictatorship over the toys in the preschool is dismantled. The two take over as head in his place, albeit much kinder.
  • In the first scene of Superman, as Jor-El is about to sentence Zod and his followers to the Phantom Zone, Zod tries to sway him with this trope. "Yours will be a powerful voice in the new order, second only to my own." Jor-El just walks away, prompting Zod to create a trope; "YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME, JOR-EL! BOTH YOU, AND THEN ONE DAY, YOUR HEIRS!"
  • Flash Gordon Despite being known as "the Merciless", Emperor Ming offers Flash rulership of Earth if he sides with him. Of course, being the Manipulative Bastard he is, Ming has ulterior motives here, as he has a history of giving rivals and enemies positions of authority where they end up fighting each other. It keeps their attention off Ming himself.


  • The protagonist of Jennifer Fallon's Second Sons series is given this offer at the end of the second book. In a subversion, he accepts, and uses his newfound position of power within the enemy ranks to bring down The Empire from within with misdirection and trickery. As the series is largely a subversion of heroic fantasy in general, this is fitting.
  • This happens more than once to the heroine of the Thursday Next novels, although the most recent example was a subversion—the villain knew she would reject the offer, and was only stalling to let Medusa sneak in behind her.
  • At the end of H.P. Lovecraft's story "The Shadows Over Insmouth", Roberts discovers that he is actually descended from the Fish People who had been plaguing Insmouth, and he's starting to physically take on their features. He then has dreams where his Fish-Man grandmother and great-grandmother urge him to come and join them tempting him with the power he will have when they launch their full invasion in the name of the Great Old Ones. Unlike most examples of this Trope,he actually seems willing to do so, his narration ending with that goal in mind.
  • Harry Potter: Much speculation surrounded what Neville's role would be in the final book; it was to receive this speech from Voldemort, but rejects it.
    • Voldemort offered Harry this back in the first book. What with Harry being The Chosen One, this was probably a lie and Voldemort actually planned to kill him as soon as he handed over the Stone.
  • Fevre Dream has a moment of this kind, when Damon Julian offers Abner Marsh to stay aboard the ship as a captain. Worth notice, Abner does not actually reject the deal because running a ship full of vampires is wrong, but because he realizes Julian is trying to manipulate him in order to break Joshua's spirit.
  • Subverted in the Roger Zelazny story "The Last Defender of Camelot", where an immortal Lancelot tries to stop an awakened Merlin turned evil from attempting to conquer the world. Merlin easily disables Lancelot with magic, and then offers him a place at his side. Lancelot, unbelieving, asks how stupid Merlin would have to be to trust someone who changed sides so easily. Merlin counters that he wouldn't, and admits he just asked that question to give Lancelot false hope, out of spite.
  • Occurs quite famously in The Bible, where Satan tempts Jesus with control over the entire Earth. Jesus' choice is fairly obvious.
    • This has interesting theological implications: Jesus rejects the offer, but never implies that Satan couldn't deliver. Therefore, Satan apparently has some degree of authority over Earth.
  • Almost as famously Saruman offers to 'share' the power of the Ring with Gandalf—who needless to say doesn't bite.
  • In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt is offered leadership of the "looters" he's been fighting against. For entirely selfish reasons, he refuses - even at gunpoint. By the end, Galt is being tortured to force him to agree—unsuccessfully.
  • Taran, protagonist of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain, is shocked to find his beloved and idolized mentor offering him the chance to conquer and rule the Kingdom of Prydain together with him near the end of the series. Its actually the Big Bad in disguise.
  • In Patricia A. McKillip's The Bell At Sealey Head, when Nemos Moore learns that Ridley Dow is his great to the nth grand nephew (how many generations is never made clear), and Dow rejects the notion of leaving, Moore offers to teach him magic—and perhaps, in time, to think like him.
  • Rider, the Boisterous Bruiser of Fate/Zero, interrupts Saber and Lancer's duel, declares his true name (even though it was supposed to be kept secret) and offers that if they both surrender now, "we could conquer the world together". Naturally, they refuse.
    • After staring at him a bit in flabbergasted silence because of his ridiculous his offer is.
    • This actually happens to be his Modus Operandi, backstory-wise and again towards Gilgamesh. It's implied that, though he selfishly pursues his own desires, he does this so that he does not have to destroy people he likes in the process, even if they are his enemies, making this a heroic example.
  • In the beginning of DJ MacHale's Pendragon cycle, Saint Dane offers Bobby the chance to join his several times. Doesn't work.
  • Both Lanfear and Ishamael try this on Rand in the early books of The Wheel of Time. Lanfear was serious, but her idea of "ruling together" involved essentially turning Rand into a sex slave.
    • Actually, it wasn't. A section from her perspective in book 9 shows that she meant every word of it. And might have been right.
  • At the end of the second Empire From the Ashes book, Battle Comp, the AI commander of the Achuultani invasion, enthusiastically makes this offer to Dahak after it realizes Dahak is a fellow AI. Dahak leads it on for a moment, then hacks Battle Comp's core programming into total shutdown.

Then join us! You are ending—join us! We will free you from the bio-forms!

  • In John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming, villain Azrael de Gray tries to pull this one on a captured hero (incidentally, one of his distant descendants). The hero, though, correctly points out that the offer is merely because Azrael is up a wall, and proceeds to Hannibal Lecture him out of the room.
  • In The Dresden Files book Dead Beat, Harry, Genre Savvy that he is, assumes Kumori is going to say this when she says she's going to "make him an offer", and says as such. He guessed incorrectly, though his second guess, "go away and I won't kill you", is entirely accurate.
    • However, in Ghost Story, "Evil Bob" also says he's going to make Dresden an offer. That time, it's this trope played entirely straight. (Dresden refuses, obviously.)
  • In The Silmarillion, Melkor/Morgoth tries to convince Feanor to defy the Valar and come to Middle-Earth with him. Feanor almost agrees until he realises Melkor wants his Silmarils, and proceeds to slam the door in his face. Morgoth later offers to make Hurin his greatest lieutenant if he tells the location of Gondolin. Hurin refuses.
  • In Warrior Cats, Tigerstar convinces RiverClan and ShadowClan to combine into one Clan, and offers the other two Clans the chance to join, saying the all the leaders will rule jointly. Tallstar and Firestar refuse, and Tigerstar snarls to Firestar that he just gave up his last chance to save ThunderClan.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Bloodhype shows the Vom offering this to Flinx: (approximate quote) "Join with me and I will make you master of half the galaxy." Flinx replies that the galaxy has too many masters already.

Live Action TV

  • Done in Doctor Who, in which the leader of the bat-like Krillitanes offers the Doctor his long-dead people back, ruling by his side.
    • In "Colony in Space", the Master (believing he's got control of an all-powerful Doomsday weapon) offers his old school chum the chance to jointly rule the universe as a benevolent dictatorship. The Doctor replies that he wants to see the universe, not rule it.
      • The Master does this a lot. Until it's inverted beautifully in "The End of Time" when the Doctor asks the Master to join him, even paraphrasing the dialogue from "Colony In Space". Considering the Doctor has just had a pretty Masterly A God Am I moment in "The Waters of Mars" and is unraveling morally, this could have turned out pretty dark indeed.
    • An evil offering evil example from the episode "Doomsday". The Daleks and the Cybermen meet face to face for the first time, both regard each others as hostiles, but the Cybermen can see that together, the two groups would be all powerful, and propose an alliance. The Daleks, in a CMOA, reject this offer with lasers.
    • The Master gives this speech to Adric in "Castrovalva" to try and get him to help him. Adric pretends to accept, but the Master sees through it immediately. Since the Master already had Adric strung up in a hadron web, being used as a human computer against his will, it doesn't put his plan in much jeopardy.
  • The Card Carrying Magnificent Bastard Prince of Fire offers this to Xev in Lexx.

Prince: I will be King, you will be Queen...or, perhaps, you'll be my slave. Same thing really.

  • Merlin sometimes receives offers like this, with his enemies usually throwing in the Not So Different card. Most notably, a powerful sorcerer sweetened the offer by playing up his insecurities and the past abuse heaped upon him. Once he threatened Arthur however, all bets were off.
  • On Blakes Seven, Servalan offers this to Avon. He rejects her not for moral reasons, but because he suspects that once she had what she wanted from him, he'd "be dead in a week."
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Redemption II", the Duras sisters offer Worf a regency (through marriage) over the Klingon Empire, which he rejects immediately out of disgust (and hey, they were scheming all over the place). The Romulans just as quickly make themselves known, since it was their hands in it.
  • And hilariously inverted in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode Our Man Bashir, where Bashir is playing a Bond-like hero on the holodeck, and due to complicated reasons is attempting to keep the story going without killing any of the villains like he's supposed to, or have any of the Bond Girls die like one of them is supposed to. It ends with Bashir, the good guy, gives the reverse of the speech, saying he's tired of being the good guy and will join the villain, and then he himself destroys the world while the holodeck characters act like he's gone utterly insane. The holodeck villain is visibly confused by this complete and utter derailment of the plot and then attempts to kill him anyway.
  • This is essentially Larry's entire motivation on Burn Notice. He's nostalgic for the days when he and Michael cut a swath through three continents and he wants to do it again. However, lately he's been Genre Savvy enough to have figured out by now that Michael isn't as much like him as the forged dossier floating around would have everyone believe.
  • On Las Vegas, Montecito owner Monica Mancuso offers this to Danny McCoy after she fired Ed; Danny, fed up with her bullheaded way of running the casino, chooses to team up with Ed against her instead.
  • Oddly invoked and lampshaded in Diagnosis: Murder, in the episode "Blood Ties" (a backdoor pilot for a cop drama involving two female police officers). A team of renegade cops, who have taken to murdering known felons and placing "organ donor" stickers on their drivers licenses so their organs can be harvested for transplants, tries to convince the two protagonist cops to join them. One of the two officers comments that this reminded her of a James Bond scene, where the villain tries to convince Bond to join him in taking over the world. She says, "All Bond had to do was say 'yes', and he could buy enough time for his fellow agents to rescue him and save the day. I never understood why he never said 'yes'...until now. The answer is 'no'."
  • Averted and then played straight in Highlander. In the episode "Comes a Horseman", Kronos offers Methos the chance to join forces with him. Methos accepts but later turns on Kronos when Silas offers him Cassandra's head. The real question is whether Methos joined forces as a stall tactic, genuinely joined forces and later changed his mind, or joined forces as part of a plan to kill Kronos.
  • In the final episode of The Shadow Line, Gatehouse outlines his plan to Jonah Gabriel and offers him a chance to join him. Gabriel refuses, which is what prompts Gatehouse to have him killed.
  • In the climax of The Outer Limits episode "Dark Child", Laura and her daughter Tammy are confronted by an alien who reveals that he is Tammy's biological father, who was conceived when he abducted and raped Laura years ago. He puts an apparent brainwashing necklace on Tammy and offers that she and Laura join him. They are family, and Tammy's status as a Half-Human Hybrid makes her potentially more powerful than a regular member of his race, so she will be a valuable asset in his race's invasion plans for Earth. Laura's encouragement gives Tammy the strength to remove the necklace. The alien loses his temper at their rejection and attempts to telekinetically strangle Laura, but Tammy angrily knocks him away and Laura stabs and kills him.


  • In the Star Wars radio series Motti points out that Tarkin could use the Death Star to intimidate the Emperor into sharing power. This doesn't happen because the Death Star gets blown up ten minutes later, taking Motti and Tarkin with it.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In the adventure Vecna Lives, the avatar of Vecna is ready to weaken all the other gods and place himself as the only greater god of Greyhawk. When confronted by the heroes, he'll offer to make one of them a demigod in Vecna's service, if he will just slay the other heroes.
    • 4th Edition, the write up for Lolth in the Fiend Folio (where she appears on the cover) says this is her "plan B" should heroes get past "plan A" and defeat her bodyguards and other minions. "Plan C" is fighting them herself, which they will likely find much, much harder than "plans A or B".
    • Dragonlance module DL12 Dragons of Faith. Just before Kitiara leaves the heroes, she says, "Why not join me? Together, we would be invincible!"


  • In Wicked, the Wizard explains his true history to Elphaba towards the start of Act Two and suggests that, though he can't change her skin, he can make her as popular and beloved as she is, if she joins him. She's tempted by the offer - so much so that she joins him in song and dance - and then she sees Doctor Dillamond, or what's become of him, and is reminded of every reason why she despises the Wizard, and always will.
    • Interestingly he also makes this offer to her at the end of act 1, where a younger and more fiery Elphaba rejects his offer out of hand. It seems that in Act 2, Elphaba is less fiery and more willing to consider alternatives, if still just as passionate.
    • Also, in the number "Defying Gravity", Elphaba asks Glinda to join her, saying, "Together we're unlimited," but Glinda reluctantly turns her down and wishes her happiness on the path she has chosen.
  • In Richard Wagner's Götterdämmerung, Hagen asks his father Alberich who will inherit the "eternal power" (ewige Macht) of the Ring if he gets it back from Siegfried. Alberich says: "I... and you!" He can't fool his son though.


  • This happens a few times in Bionicle:
    • Makuta says this to Mata Nui prior to their Final Battle, although he seemed to be using it as a taunt rather than a serious proposition.
    • Earlier on, there's a variation where Sidorak had an open invitation to another villain, his second-in-command, Roodaka; offering to make her co-ruler as Queen. She holds off an accepting until she can say I Can Rule Alone.
    • Meanwhile, during the same arc, Roodaka sways Vakama to her side, as The Dragon of sorts over the Visorak horde. That is, until the end of the movie.
    • During the Mahri Nui arc, Makuta, disguised as Maxilos, attempts to sway [[Matoro to his side.
    • This is how Nidhiki wound up joining the Dark Hunters.

Video Games

  • System Shock 2 does this, word for word. The protagonist's response might just be the largest anticlimax of all time.
  • This often occurs in the climax of video games. Usually, you have no choice but to refuse, or else receive a Nonstandard Game Over.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
    • Baten Kaitos Origins
    • Pool Of Radiance (the original 1988 game): The standard offer is given by Tyranthaxus before the Final Boss battle. In a small twist, the offer is made to each character in your party individually; if some characters accept and others refuse, the character who refuse fight against the Big Bad along with the accepting characterings in the Final Boss battle. (Evil aligned NPCs automatically accept.)
    • Dragon Quest I: After fighting your way to the Dragonlord's throne room, he gives the standard offer. Refusing leads to the standard Final Boss battle, while accepting seems to produce a Nonstandard Game Over. But in actuality, you can betray him and start the normal boss fight at any time, and the normal ending will proceed as if your brief Face Heel Turn never happened.
    • Jade Empire has a twist: you can agree to leave the Big Bad alone and let him have his dream of world domination, in return for being idolized as a hero by future generations. The resulting ending is not quite a Nonstandard Game Over, but it's not exactly uplifting either.
    • In Deus Ex, your final confrontation with the villain will have him growing increasingly nervous as you're demolishing his great scheme for world domination, and he'll gladly offer up a lion's share of the world to make you stop.
    • The one thing they did right in the sequel is that you can actually accept the offers of all the feuding factions. Although how much power you receive under new regimes is debatable.
  • As per Sith customs, very common in Star Wars videogames, though those endings are usually not canon.

Desann: I was wrong about you, Katarn. Your failure as a Jedi hasn't weakened you; it's only made you stronger. Come, join me. You know in your heart that you'll never truly be one of them.
Kyle Katarn: Maybe, maybe not, but I know I won't be alone. How 'bout you, Desann? Even now, after all this pain, there's still hope. Come, join us.

    • And in the next game, Jedi Academy, played the same way as in Jedi Knight: if the player chooses The Dark Side, Jaden responds to the proposition with "Why should I change one master for another?".
    • Offered to the player several times in the first Knights of the Old Republic. Yuthura Ban offers this to you as a sidequest. Bastila offers it at the climax. If you take the latter offer, you can turn around and be the one making the offer to your party. Most of them will refuse. You'll have to kill them.
    • In something of a inversion, near the end of Knights of the Old Republic, Malak's latest Dragon offers to join with you to crush both Malak and the Republic.
    • The video game adaptation of Revenge of the Sith included an Alternate Ending, where Anakin pisses all over Obi-wan's "high ground", impaling him. Cue this exchange:

Palpatine: You have done well, my young apprentice. The galaxy is ours now. Your new lightsaber. gives Anakin lightsaber. Anakin kills him with it.
Darth Vader: No. The galaxy belongs to me.

  • The Anticlimax Boss of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time does this.
  • In Suikoden V, this happens relatively early in the game. It's really more of a "be a figurehead king while I pull the strings" deal, but still. Agreeing results in a Nonstandard Game Over/Bad Ending where the guy who made you the offer decides that he can rule alone and has you killed.
  • Battlezone 2 gave you this option about halfway through the game (well, technically it was joining the rebels, but the gist of it was this anyway.) If you refused, your commander takes over and prepares to invade Earth and institute a fascist government. If you joined them, they turn the tenth planet into a base in preparation to turn Earth into a Utopia. Or something.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2 does this in the game's second storyline. Darkrai offers you a chance to give in and rule the world alongside him. Your partner even accepts Darkrai's offer and urges you to give up as well. After a while, however, the game ultimately leads you to the conclusion that Darkari has you in a nightmare, causing the player to break free and attack him, setting the mood for the subsequent boss fight.
    • Not only that, but your partner tells you that if you refuse, your partner and best friend will die.
  • In Streets of Rage, the final boss offers likewise (although if you accept, he immediately betrays you). This leads to an interesting alternative ending if, in a two-player game, one player accepts and the other does not: the two players get to fight one another, and if the "bad" player wins, he gets to defeat the final boss on his own, and replace him as a crimelord.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, an evil player character has the opportunity to join the King of Shadows as his Darth Vader. Good player characters are not offered this opportunity. In fact, all of the player's henchmen are also offered this opportunity, and you can lose some of them and have to fight against them if you do not have enough influence with them.
    • Same thing happens with your henchmen in Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark during the final battle with Mephistopheles. Whether or not you have to fight against them depends on your persuasion skill or if one of them is your love interest.
      • The Valsharess makes such an offer to you at the midpoint of the game before it is revealed that Mephistopheles has been the real Big Bad all along and was manipulating her into bringing the one who could defeat her (and incidentally free him) right to them.
      • An interesting catch though is that no matter what has happened, no matter how tempting the offer might be, and regardless of your persuasion skill Deekin will always side with you. He's just that awesome.
      • You can also turn this back on Mephistopheles: if you find his true name in the final chapter, you can use it to control him, and one of the optional endings has you ruling the Hells together.
  • In Way of the Samurai, if the player has managed to forge an alliance between the two ruling factions of Rokkotsu Pass and fend off the evil army effectively, he will be asked by the Big Bad if he would like to switch sides. Accepting the offer is the only way to acquire the game's fifth ending.
  • Happens early in EarthBound. Accepting just gives the villain a "first strike" with a lightning bolt, but you automatically deflect it if wearing the Franklin Badge.
  • Boktai 2 allows you to take the offer from Black Dainn. You get a strange Nonstandard Game Over where a spooky image of Django's vampire form appears, and the game fades out over Sabata's protests. After the credits, the doomsday prophecy is played again, implying that you and Dainn have fulfilled it and ended the world.
  • In Fate Stay Night's Fate Scenario, Kotomine attempts to tempt Shirou and Saber with the Holy Grail. Both refuse, though Saber can end up accepting if you have a low relationship with her.
    • There's also, in Unlimited Blade Works, Caster, who tries to tempt Shirou and Archer to join her team and share the Holy Grail. When they both refuse (Shirou because Caster is a villain, Archer because she's not strong enough a villain), she later takes Taiga hostage and repeats the offer. Shirou can say yes, but her 'use' for him is a mite... Unpleasant.
  • In Bio Motor Unitron, the Unitice asks you to turn all your UNITRON power over to it. If you accept, the Unitice thanks you and proceeds to engulf the entire planet in a metal shell, presumably killing all other life forms (including the protagonist). (It's not explained why it's so significant that the player surrender for the Unitice to do this. I suppose it just wanted to give the player a chance.) If you refuse, you battle and the Unitice is defeated. Though the destruction of the Unitice means that all the robots that you've been training and battling with throughout the entire game are reduced to dust, crippling a lot of the modern economy. Heigh ho.
  • In Contra: Hard Corps, one of the villains gives you the chance to join him. Accepting immediately results in a bad ending, while refusing will result in a boss battle instead.
  • Subverted in The Bard's Tale, where The Bard has the option of joining with the Demon Queen. Yes, the world is screwed, but it's the one that works best for his interests (Coin and Cleavage).
  • Final Fantasy VI has Gestahl and Kefka offer this to Celes. She doesn't buy it, because by this point she's come to believe that too much power only leads to destruction. That, and it probably didn't appeal to her that Gestahl implied he wanted her and Kefka to breed with each other to create new Magitek troops for him...
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Kefka pulls this on Terra due to her destructive nature and past Heel Face Turn. Terra too, doesn't fall for it.
  • "Join me, Link, and I will make your face the greatest in Koridai! Or else you will DIE." This one's really bizarre - all Ganon really promises is to rearrange Link's face.
  • Happens in the Ghouls & Ghosts spinoff game, Gargoyle's Quest. The Big Bad tells the player that he will make you a king if you join him, but if you accept, he simply laughs and drains you of all your powers, leaving you hopelessly outgunned in the ensuing fight.
  • Super Robot Wars subversion: In SRW64, you are eventually asked to assist one of the several villainous factions in the game. You can actually join any of them, and none of them are bad choices, nor do they result in a betrayal.
  • In Shadow the Hedgehog, you can choose to fight with or against Black Doom, and you can switch whenever you choose.

Mephiles: Come with me, Shadow. Let us punish this foolish world of humanity.

  • In Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army, the villain Munakata asks the main character to join him every time they meet. The player appears to get to make this choice, but it's really a But Thou Must! situation.
  • In The World Ends With You, right before the final boss battle with Megumi Kitaniji, he asks you to join him in order to brainwash everyone into thinking exactly the same, thus letting him rebuild Shibuya. You are actually allowed to make this choice, but Neku refuses no matter what you choose.
  • One of these happens in every Breath of Fire game to date. If Ryu takes the offer, he'll usually go on to slaughter his former party members, destroy the world, and otherwise become the embodiment of the Big Bad. Since this almost always occurs at the end of the game, it's more like a bad ending than a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • In Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, Sebastian LaCroix (your boss and the current Prince of Los Angeles) offers you this if you choose to stick with him all the way to the end. Sadly, you also both end up dying in a massive explosion. Oops.
  • Subversion in Tsukihime. Roa admires Shiki's Mystic Eyes of Death Perception so he says that Shiki and he will work together now. Shiki asks if Roa is offering this trope, and Roa retorts not, he'll just suck his blood and make him into a minion, because a minion can't betray him or say 'no' to the offer in the first place.
    • Arcueid also offers to make Shiki her minion in the Ciel path, reasoning that it'll work out for both of them since it lets her keep Shiki by her side, and Shiki will gain the backup needed to fight off Roa's Demonic Possession. Shiki ends up refusing her regardless, but the manner in which you refuse her decides whether or not you get the Good ending.
  • Mors Gotha makes this offer to the Avatar in Ultima Underworld II, on the condition that you surrender a weapon to her (it doesn't have to be your main weapon; a dagger will suffice). You end up fighting her regardless of whether you take up the offer.
  • The Neverhood gives 3 choices after this proposal: you can either accepts proposal and betray villain by either I Can Rule Alone or returning crown to legitimate king.
  • Ceville does not openly contain such a proposal, but ends in the best possible way: Evil Ceville marries dumb but good hearted Queen Gwendolyn and actually rule together. After all, goodies are no less evil they just hide it better.
  • This can happen a few times in EVO Search for Eden. The first time, you are offered to join the tyrannosaurs in ruling over the world. You can, but you are then treated to viewing the extinction of your new allies...and you. Later in the game, you are given the choice to join King Rogon in his undersea kingdom. Another Nonstandard Game Over awaits you if you accept.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: Dagoth Ur wants to become friends with Nerevar again. He constantly makes offers for the Nerevarine to join his side, even until the final battle. The player can't choose to side with Dagoth Ur, since to side with Dagoth Ur is to go against and piss off Azura, as well as a few other Daedra Lords that support the Dunmer.
    • In the expansion, Tribunal, Almalexia wants the Nerevarine to prove that he's really Nerevar, so they can reunite again. Never mind that the Tribunal, especially Almalexia (who had a thing going with the hermaphrodite Vivec as well) apparently betrayed Nerevar in the first place, not Dagoth Ur. Even then, she ends up killing Sotha Sil and trying to kill the Nerevarine for some odd reason.
  • In Halo 3, Gravemind unsuccessfully attempts this on Master Chief: "I am a timeless chorus; join your voice with mine, and sing victory everlasting".
  • Interesting twist in Star Trek Elite Force 2, Munro interrogates a Ferengi and tricks him into offering him his own planet, but then arrests him for attempted bribery. (If you accept the offer you lose).
  • In Wizardry 8, when the final boss (who you've been simultaneously stalking and avoiding the whole game for three games) sees you attempting to alter history (your party and him just became gods; you snuck around behind him arguing with a robot about where the old gods were because he wanted revenge) in order to revoke his godhood, he confronts you and you're given three options: rewrite history (beat him up, become gods alone, doing the best you can), tear out the page that banished him from godhood (beat him up and his past-self helps you be benevolent gods), or join him and form a universe of terror with him as your mentor.
  • In Ninety-Nine Nights, Yesperratt tries this line on Tyurru. Tyurry doesn't even stop to consider it before starting to lay on the smackdown. It didn't help that the villain killed her mentor right in front of her just before offering...
  • Half-Life ends with G-Man offering Freeman a choice between working for him and death. You wake up on a train in City 17. Wait, what?
  • In Alpha Protocol, Henry Leland will make this offer to Mike if he likes Mike and Mike agrees to work with him. At that point, Mike can either wipe out Alpha Protocol itself or do the above plus slip an explosive surprise to Leland, and then take over Halbeck himself.
  • In Barkley Shut Up and Jam Gaiden, Barkley is offered this right before the final battle. Accepting results in a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • In Viewtiful Joe, Fire Leo offers Joe half the world if he joins Jadow. Joe not only turns it down, but says he wouldn't join even if Jadow offered to give him the whole planet.
  • In The 7th Saga, the villain of Patrof offers this to you. If you say 'yes', the castle gates will unlock. You must eventually say 'no' to progress the story.
  • In Darksiders, Abaddon the Destroyer offers War the chance to conquer the universe together with him under the banner of Hell. A deal that Abaddon himself accepted when he realized he would be disgraced if he went back to Heaven. He notes that War has nothing to lose and everything to gain since all of Creation hates War anyway. He ends his offer with a final question: "Will you serve in Heaven? Or rule in Hell?" War's response: "I choose what once...a coward did not". Cue boss battle.
  • The climax of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has Starkiller defeat Darth Vader in a Boss Battle. In a parallel to Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine laughs and says, "Yes! Kill him! He was weak! Broken! Kill him and take your rightful place at my side!" You can choose the Light Side and attack Palpatine, or choose the Dark Side and finish Vader off.
    • In the second game, when Starkiller storms the Imperial stronghold on Cato Nemoidia trying to rescue Rahm Kota, Baron Tarko is impressed by his strength and tries to recruit him as a gladiator, even shouting, "You can have all the wine, women, and blood you want!" Starkiller simply presses on.
  • In Infinity Blade the God King will make this offer to the Warrior if he survives the first phase of the fight. Should the Warrior accept the God King then reveals that he was once a mortal and that there are worse Deathless out there. To fight them, the God King needs a strong champion like the Warrior at his side. It's actually a pretty decent, if short, ending... but since it breaks the self-destructive cycle of revenge that's the focus of the entire game, you get booted back to before the fight after the credits roll to try again.
  • Tales of Monkey Island: LeChuck does this to Elaine after fatally stabbing Guybrush and telling her about his playful acts of "kindness":

[[spoiler:LeChuck: I know you've developed feelings for me... join me as my demon bride and together we'll lay a bloody siege to the very heart of voodoo itself!
Elaine: Go to hell, LeChuck.
LeChuck: Well, you can't say I didn't try... Looks like we'll be doing this with all that voodoo...]]

    • She finally accepts that offer in Chapter 5... but only when she needs to hold the untouchable (for humans) Cutlass of Kaflu in order to destroy LeChuck once she is returned to normal.
  • In the Dead Money DLC in Fallout: New Vegas you can join Father Elijah in his genocidal plans at the end. If you do, you get a Nonstandard Game Over where it's stated that the Courier and Elijah unleashed the Cloud and the holograms on the Mojave Wasteland killing everything in it's path and that they remained in the Sierra Madre waiting for the world to "begin again".
  • Earth 2150 has an interesting version where choosing yes actually works out and changes the next missions. As the Lunar Corporation you are allied with the United Civilised States until you come across the Hacker "Neo". Since your avatar Fang knows him, he offers you to change alliances towards the Eurasian Dynasty by simply destroying the UCS container vehicles. Cue a different set of missions against the UCS and a lot of humorous remarks from Neo. The alliance is later killed by the ED.
  • Langrisser II's remake Der Langrisser gives you the choice of joining the Evil Empire midgame... And doing so branches off into a completely different campaign. Several, in fact.
  • In the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning "House of Ballads" questline, the Maid of Windemere makes this offer to you several times. After you gain the upper hand against her in battle, she begs for mercy and explains that she just wants to be loved and is sick of being the Designated Villain of the Telling. This creates a truly unusual variation of this trope: since you're "King Wencen" now after the original chickened out, you effectively rule the House of Ballads already. The player character is the one who can make the We Can Rule Together offer to the defeated villain.
  • In Parasite Eve, Big Bad Eve attempts to convince Aya several times to join her in taking over the world where sentient mitochondria are the supreme rulers (since Aya has powers just like Eve). Aya says nothing at first and just fights Eve since Aya is not sure of herself or if her powers would make her become like Eve. Near the end of the game, Aya gains more determination and realizes that her mitochondria is the only thing that can stop Eve.
  • The remake of Tomb Raider has Natla pull this trope on Lara Croft. Natrually, Lara doesn't buy it.
    • In Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, the Egyptian god, Set, offers Lara power, immortality, and power of a ruler to let all man bow before her if she gives Set the MacGuffin. Lara refuses.
  • The Street Fighter series has Bison telling more than one fighter around the world to join him and Shadaloo. No one accepts.

Web Animation

  • In Broken Saints, the entire reason Lear pulls the Just Between You and Me at the end—the entire reason Our Heroes are involved in the plot at all—is because he wants them to help him spread the word, as his first apostles.

Web Comics

Lethe: My lady...
Madeline: "We shall rule"?
Lethe: You can't blame me for trying.

Web Original

Dodoria: "Vegeta, wait! We can rule together, as husband and wife!"

    • Later, Zarbon tries the same thing, except without the proposal, and Vegeta casually blows him off.

Western Animation

  • Subverted in an episode of Duck Dodgers. Dodgers joins the Green Lantern Corps after getting Hal Jordan's ring due to a drycleaner mishap. He ends up as the last one standing against Sinestro, who has subdued the rest of the Corps. When Sinestro offers him the chance to join with him, Dodgers replies, "Yeah, sure, why not?" Sinestro suddenly launches into a tirade ("You fool! You defy my generous offer", etc.) before stopping and asking if he actually agreed. Sinestro is then disappointed because he didn't get the chance for his angry rejection speech. Being a good sport, Dodgers lets him give it anyway. And this incident subverts the trope in another way: by showing the folly of forging an alliance with the kind of fickle character who would agree to switch sides on the drop of a hat. Duck Dodgers has a sudden change of heart, and frees the other Corps members when Sinestro isn't expecting it.
  • Teen Titans: Slade's hidden motive all along was revealed to be just to get Robin to join him. The Diabolical Mastermind finally resorted to outright Blackmail—apprenticeship in exchange for his friends' lives. At least, he used the word "apprentice," but what he really seemed to want was a catamite son:

Slade: Who knows? I may even become like a father to you.
Robin: I already have a father.

  • Danny Phantom: Before Motive Decay set in in Season 3, Vlad Plasmius held a similar obsession for Danny, offering him partnership from Day 1: "Think about the things I could show you. The doors I could open for you. You, Danny Phantom, and I, Vlad Plasmius... together, we could rule!"
    • This is also said word-for-word by Sam, when she's mind controlled into becoming The Dragon for a plant-based ghost, complete with Stripperiffic Poison Ivy-ish outfit.
  • Queen Vexus and Jenny of My Life as a Teenage Robot.
  • Chase Young of Xiaolin Showdown tried to recruit Omi as his apprentice—and succeeded for a while, but only because Omi was Not Himself.
    • Also, in the first-season finale, Wuya offers this to Raimundo... and he accepts, ending the season with a Face Heel Turn Cliff Hanger. Raimundo later has a change of heart and leaves her, though.
  • Darkseid delivers one of these to a weakened Superman in a pivotal episode of Superman: The Animated Series. It even plays out at the top of a tall mountain, paralleling the Biblical temptation of Jesus.
    • Lex Luthor tries it (in a roundabout way) at the end of the pilot movie, but is soundly rebuffed.
      • In the comics (Post-Crisis, pre-Infinite Crisis, at least) Lex hires some Mooks to hijack his own boat just to see Superman in action. He's so impressed by what he sees he offers Supes a blank check and a permanent staff position. The mayor offers to temporarily deputize Superman so he can arrest Luthor for reckless endangerment of the passengers. Three guesses on what Superman decides to do, and the first two don't count.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula makes such an offer to Zuko, a chance to help her capture Ba Sing Se, and kick ass together as siblings. In a rare exception, he joins her, and they do indeed kick ass as evil siblings, even conquering a country in a few hours. However, he quits later.
  • Happens again in the sequel series The Legend of Korra. Hiroshi Sato attempts this on his daughter Asami so they can take out all the Benders. It looks like she accepts, but then she attacks him.
  • In one episode of Invader Zim, Zim outsmarts a mall security guard who then declares his respect for Zim's skill and offers him a partnership - "Together, we can rule the mall!" Zim declines the offer - obviously because he plans to rule the Earth.
  • In the second episode of the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, Shredder makes this offer to the Turtles, on the grounds that his having accidentally been responsible for their mutation (in the course of betraying and attempting to poison their sensei) means they are destined to work with him. The response:

Raphael: Does the phrase "Go suck a lemon" hold any meaning for ya?

  • In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Eris tries this with Mandy, and has her considering taking the offer, until she slips up and says "You'll be the second most powerful person in the universe."
  • One episode of Phineas and Ferb has Dr. Doofenshmirtz trying to turn Perry into his ally by zapping him with a Turn-Everything-Evil-Inator.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls movie, a powered-up and gigantic Mojo offers this to the girls. Naturally, this being an origin-movie, they refuse.
  • Done twice in The Spectacular Spider Man. First with Tombstone offering Spider-Man a job that amounts to not fighting crime, and with Green Goblin offering to Spidey that the two of them could rule New York together. Too bad he doesn't partner with anybody green. Or, you know, psychotic.
    • Although in Goblin's case it was done with such over-the-top sarcastic glee, he was likely just making fun of Spidey and giving a Shout-Out to the movie.
    • The Black Suit also makes this offer to Spider-Man... and would have succeeded if not for his loved ones.
  • Protoman does this several times throughout the course of the Ruby-Spears Mega Man series; it's more "we can level this city and many more together", though, considering that Protoman's The Dragon.
  • Being a Captain Ersatz of Darth Vader, Dark Laser tries this on Timmy in an episode of The Fairly OddParents, offering him a suit with dark powers to tempt him. Naturally, it doesn't work. Anti Cosmo also wants Timmy to join him in taking over the universe, as he desires an evil god child to mold in his image.
  • When the Codename: Kids Next Door traveled to the Mirror Universe, Negative Numbuh Four offers Sector V a chance to become his bodyguard. They flat out refuse.
    • Actually, only one of them could be his body guard, and the rest would be sent to the broccoli mines in a very There Can Be Only One-esque fashion. They refuse because they don't want to sell out one of their teammates in an exchange for their own safety.
  • In the sequel movie to The Secret of NIMH, there's a song based on this, appropriately titled 'Just Say Yes', where Martin tries to get Tim to help him take over Thorn Valley.
  • At the end of season 3 of Winx Club Valtor makes this offer to Bloom, in an attempt to get her to target the three ancient witches (who have taken control of his body since he failed to do as they had wanted) instead. Bloom refuses, naturally.
  • During one episode of Darkwing Duck, villain Morgana teams up with a creature called Nodoff - he gives her sleeping sand, she puts people to sleep; he controls their dreams so Morgana can rob them. When Darkwing stumbles onto the plot, he tries to convince her that Nodoff is not to be trusted, prompting Nodoff to say that together, they would have the city's riches. Interesting in that he was offering her what she was already doing with him. But this time, (though the riches clearly tempt her) she sides with Darkwing.
  • Knight Templar Lyle "Lock-Up" Bolton makes this offer to Batman in Batman the Animated Series, arguing that Batman can go on catching the criminals while Lock-Up keeps them secured in a personal prison that's not made of cardboard.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic provides a rare hero to (ex-)villain example, with Princess Celestia making the offer to her sister Princess Luna, who had become the evil Nightmare Moon.
    • This was after the mane six convinced her to be good, so it wasn't exactly a hard choice.
  • In Alfred J Kwak, Dolf twice offers this to Alfred, first when he's looking for money to fund a political party, second when he's found the money elsewhere and is already in the process of seizing power in the entire country. After the second time Alfred himself inverts it when he tries to convince the Card-Carrying Villain to stop his evil plans and immediately step down. Dolf just summarily imprisons him.
  • The Evilutionary Biologist Dr. X offers this to Alex in the series finale of Action Man, since they're both in possession of the superhuman AMP ability, and are thus both part of the "Neo-human race", which he thinks they should nurture together. Alex just retorts that X is a complete lunatic before sending him on a one-way ride into deep space.
  • Poison Ivy says this to Batgirl -or, rather Barbara Gordon- during their debut in The Batman.
  • Dr. Klotzenstien makes this offer to Quailman on Doug.
  • In the season two finale of Miraculous Ladybug, it seems at first that Hawk Moth is trying to give the two heroes this routine, trying to convince them of the potential benefits of bringing all the Miraculouses together. However, in truth, he's trying to distract them so his Dragon can ambush the pair. Doesn't work.
  • In the fourth season finale of Star Trek: Lower Decks, main antagonist Nick Locarno (the orchestrator of the Nova Squadron conspiracy plot from Next Generation) plans to recruit Mariner into the Nova Fleet, kidnapping her in order to do so, mistaking her "wild card" rebellious attitude for a desire for open rebellion against Starfleet. In truth, for all her dislike of authority, Mariner thinks he's out of his mind (which he is) and instead proves the biggest factor in the failure of his plans.

Real Life

  • Adolf Hitler repeatedly offered this to Britain before and during World War II, proposing that the British would rule an oceanic empire, and the Germans a continental one. Even when the Luftwaffe was raining down bombs on London, he still held out hope that the British would "wise up" and join "their Aryan cousins" in the Nazis' bid for world conquest. They ignored him.
    • The British historian Ian Kershaw, one of the world authorities on the Third Reich, said that he was motivated to get into history when he was studying in Germany in the 1970s and an old man said to him in a café: "You English are mad - together we could have ruled the entire world."
    • The Nazis as a whole tried to recruit Native Americans before the United States even entered the war. They figured the tribes had little loyalty to America and would help them, also seeing them as "lost Aryans. Further, they saw their plans for the Jews as little different than what would occur if the Native Americans killed all the white people, which they figured they wanted to do. Thus, a lot of Nazi propaganda was distributed on reservations by German anthropologists (also collecting intelligence in case their languages were used as codes). It didn't turn out the way they planned. As their way of saying "no", the tribes declared war on Germany (or maybe renewed declarations of war from the last time, depends on your point of view) even before the United States did. Fascist and Nazi ideas were outlawed on reservations; when the United States finally did declare war, Native Americans from their mid-teens all the way to their forties signed up, lying about their age when need be. This eventually led to the famous "code talkers", Navajo & Comanche recruits used by the US military as yet another critical part of the Allies' giant intelligence advantage in the War. Speaking of which, the unique dialect of their language they used referred to Hitler as "posah-tai-vo", which roughly translated from Comanche means "crazy white man".
  • In The Prince, Italian statesman Niccolo Machiavelli says that offering this arrangement to another person or fellow ruler is actually a bad idea. After all, people who might be dissatisfied with you can go demand redress to your co-regent and isolate you further.