1. MeadhbhMoryx
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    MeadhbhMoryx Member

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    Favorite Bad Guy?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MeadhbhMoryx, Mar 31, 2016.

    Hi Guys,

    It is said a great MC needs a worthy antagonist. So I am looking for some inspiration. Who are your favorite bad guys and why? What made them appeal to you as characters? What made them rich and complex?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me a great bad guy is one with a motivation which makes him think he is working for a greater good. A bad guy who is evil for the sake of being evil is often seen as the worst kind, but for example, a starship captain who kills aliens so he can power his engine and get his crew home safely is doing bad things for a "good" cause. He shouldn't be doing it, but he believes he is in the right.

    There are other examples. I think Darth Vader did what he did to bring peace and order to the galaxy.
     
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  3. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Either 1) The villain believes that s/he is doing the right thing

    and/or 2) The villain is doing something that no hero or villain has ever done before (even if it's just a tiny detail in an otherwise familiar whole).

    I don't need a villain to be both (Walter White is basically a middle-class drug-dealing MacBeth* and The Joker doesn't care about anything except his own amusement) but I definitely need at least one or the other.

    *At least he was when I stopped watching, but I still have about the last half of the last season to catch up on so no spoilers please!​
     
  4. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Loki from Avengers. Crazy cunning and at the more random moments absolutely hysterical. (Hulk & Loki.... lolololol). However, in Thor: The Dark World, even though you knew Loki was a bad guy you had a hard time disliking him. He is a creative mixture of good and bad motives.
     
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  5. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I like the so evil, that the evil they do is in their perception good. Even if it really is just evil at the end of the day. One mans heaven is another mans hell. A broken clock may be right twice a day, but at the end of the day you will always be running late.(Or early):D
     
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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Norman Bates - poor guy didn't even know what he'd become.
    Or
    Jack Torrance - same thing.
    Bob - Twin Peaks
    Baby Jane Hudson - Whatever happened to Baby Jane
    I see a theme emerging with my choices - weak people that have gone a bit loony due to circumstances beyond their control or they allowed something to build inside them.
     
  7. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    People who are actually in the right from their perspective. Opposing generals in war are good examples, they are fighting for their respective countries and honorable by their own society's standards. However, in the end they are still villains in the context of the story.
     
  8. Yoav
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    Yoav Member

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    I generally like most villians that aren't generic. For example, the wheel of time's dark lord is just one of thousands of cliche incarnation of the stereotypical figure. My favorite villians are those with interesting and creative stories/personalities, like Kilgrave who can control everyone by telling them to do something, and so he always got what he wanted, which gave him a strange angry manchild personality.
     
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  9. SadStories
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    I'm going to get very nerdy and pop-cultural with my examples now, but let's be fair: Jane Austen and Marcel Proust didn't know a good villain from a lamppost.

    Typically my favorites somehow challenge the protagonist's values. For example I loved The Joker in The Dark Knight because he was kind of a manifestation of chaos, challenging Batman's belief in order and justice every wicked way he could, no matter how unfairly. At the same time he made sense in a way, because he was severely traumatized by his abusive father and was thus probably motivated by a marrow-deep hatred for every kind of authority.

    Another classic, apropos superheroes, is of course the villain in Watchmen. There are reasons I dislike this story, for instance I think I remember finding the pacing completely bonkers, but the villain is just perfect. He murders thousands, but by doing so he saves millions in a "ends justify the means" kind of way. Arguably he is actually the good guy.

    Another element I appreciate a lot is if the villain has some kind of personal, emotional connection to the main character. For example I think part of what makes Sephiroth such a compelling villain in Final Fantasy VII is that the main character initially worships him. Only eventually do we learn what a tragic character he really is, wanting to brutally revenge a people while what is actually his heritage (unknown to him) is what destroyed the people he thinks he is honoring.

    That's another thing I love: Tragic villains with noble characteristics. "Metaphysical", inexplicable, inhumanely evil villains are just really boring to me. There is no such thing in the real world. Actually I would argue the attitude that there are such things in the world is often precisely what leads to evil in the first place.

    So to sum up, I personally think an excellent villain, 1) challenges the protagonist's values in some fundamental way, 2) is not a cardboard cut-out straw man, but has really really good reasons for challenging them, 3) has some kind of emotional, personal connection to the protagonist that raises the stakes, and 4) is in certain ways admirable and above all human.

    While saying all this though, a story doesn't need the best villain to be good. For example The Wheel of Time, as mentioned above, has the most generic villain imaginable, but makes up for it with scope and how detailed the world is.

    Also you probably rarely want to do everything cool with a villain. For example I think The Dark Knight would be worse if there was some kind of story about The Joker and Batman knowing each other before. And certainly someone like Joffrey hits just the right spot in Game of Thrones precisely because he is so simplistic. There's always the danger of over-encumbering a story, so that's always something to think about as well. I think it's always important to have a holistic view of your work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
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  10. Raven484
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    Raven484 Contributing Member

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    Skylar from the show "Heroes" was one of my favorites. Especially season one. Ramsay Bolton on GOT is up there also.
     
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  11. A man called Valance
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    A man called Valance Active Member

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    Injun Joe... now there's a character that frightened the life out of me as a kid.
     
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  12. Naaz
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    My absolute favourite type of bad guy is the bad guy who isn't expressly portrayed as 'bad'. While villains such as Darth Vader and Heath Ledger's Joker make great villains, they could be considered archetypal. Sometimes the best villains aren't archetypal. I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved the Joker, he was a great villain, and the way he was portrayed in Dark Knight was amazing - the comic versions are great as well.

    However, back to the whole 'archetypal' type thing, some villains are good because they aren't said to be villains. My favourite example of this is Tyler Durden, from Fight Club, my favourite book. Tyler isn't expressed as bad, but the things he does and how he acts tells that he isn't exactly good either. The best bit is that he is the narrator, which sounds really lame as a twist, but he's basically the alter-ego of the narrator (who turns out to be called Sebastian in the comic for those who wanted to know). Durden is like the Joker, full of chaos and anarchy, with the narrator believing him to be a separate person.

    Another great idea for a character is someone who doesn't consider themselves the villain, and may even be loved by some percentage of people. The villain in Watchmen for example; he wants to destroy the world to save it, or (if you're keeping up with this amazingly complicated plot-line) Maxis in Zombies: he wants to destroy the world so that he can return to Agartha to see his daughter. Both characters have ideals that may be considered noble, and are good villains because of it, even though Watchmen was a flop and only serious players actually read the Zombies story line.

    In short, I think the best villains are people who may not be considered villains. It can be fun to have your super-evil character, but unless they have some amazing role, such as the Joker stating that he exists purely to challenge Batman, they can be lame. Sometimes though, you may not even need a villain, just look at LOTR. While Sauron may be in the plot, it's literally just to have him craft the ring and give the uruks some purpose to get the ring, but the orcs could just have easily wanted the ring for their own, and the ring itself could have just been there in the first place, handed down and lost: Sauren isn't amazingly important to the plot.

    Anyway, hope I helped even a little bit, Naaz.
     
  13. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    The Watchmen movie is actually really good, IMO.
    Holy crap I just checked Rotten Tomatoes and the primary complaint from reviewers is that people might not understand the complex narrative structure. They even said it was faithful; not a bad representation as people I know claim it is. If being an intelligent, sophisticated movie is a criticism, I want to go to Mars.
     
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  14. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Oh, one of my favourite subjects; antagonists.
    Vaas Montenegro- Far Cry 3
    Hoyt Volker- Far Cry 3
    Pagan Min- Far Cry 4
    (The new Far Cry games have great villains)
    Ultron- Age of Ultron
    Loki- Marvel Universe
    Cavan Henderson- Supernormal Step
    Jim Black- Supernormal Step
    Mr Kite- Supernormal Step
    Coyote(complicated hero/villain status)- Gunnerkrigg Court
    Ysengrm(status also complicated)- Gunnerkrigg Court
    Wilson Fisk- Daredevil (Netflix)
    Kilgrave- Jessica Jones (Netflix)
    Trinica Draken- Retribution Falls
     
  15. JD Anders
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  16. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    I can't really say my favorite but I really liked 'the smoking man' from X-files. The point that he isn't necessarily bad but is doing what has to be done to protect the rest of the world and it comes off as harmful and bad, because not everyone can survive.
     
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  17. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Definitely Grant Ward from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D for me. Holey moley! I'm incredibly surprised, and eternally grateful, I haven't had nightmares with him in them.
     
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  18. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
    Toecutter (Mad Max)
     
  19. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good vs. good is always far more engaging. Each of the rivals, pro- and antagonist, believe they're doing right/good, but by switching the two, you still get to root for the 'good' guy because ultimately, no one is 100% good or evil. It depends on the theme stance you've adopted.

    During WWII, every German started out thinking he was on the side of right. He was helping his country recover from an unfair treaty and rebuilt itself.

    And every allied soldier believed he was fighting to save the world from German oppression.

    Thus: good vs. good.
     
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  20. Oscar Leigh
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    Yeah, it wasn't at all a simple moral situation, but Germany went further for it's cause and was motivated by a darker ideology. So I'd say they're overall the "bad guys" in that story.
     
  21. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Germany, yes, but not every German ;)

    "So many people forget that the first country the Nazis invaded was their own," Dr. Erskine, Captain America: The First Avenger
     
  22. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Oh my god, yes! Stanley Tucci! He was really good in that role.
     
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  23. Sack-a-Doo!
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    But... not from their point of view. Which is what makes a story good vs. good.
     
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  24. Lillian Nightingale
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    Lillian Nightingale New Member

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    Personally I think one of the things I like most in a villain or anti-hero is that they tend to be much more complex then your everyday heroes. I like most of the villains from the DC Comic book universe, because when you look into their origin stories or the reasons behind their crimes you can easily understand why most of them did what they did or why they are the way they are. I think that the villain that are more...liked by readers are the ones with a strong origin story and reasoning behind their crimes that isn't completely based on a delusion, selfishness or insanity.
     
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  25. Wexeldorf
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    Wexeldorf Member

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    They say history is written by the victors and who knows? If Germany had won the war, we could be sitting here now discussing the evils the allies committed during WWII rather than the atrocities of the Germans.
     
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