Villains

Analysis

Five Underpowered Antagonists

Loki on the ground after being beaten up by the Hulk.

While not all antagonists are full villains, they all provide opposition to the protagonists. It’s their job to drive the story’s conflict, and to do that job well, it must feel like they can defeat the heroes. One reason we remember the likes of Darth Vader and … read more »

Storytelling

Five Tropes That Make a Villain Look Incompetent

Villainy is a profession loaded with tropes. From the evil speech to the climactic duel against the hero, villainous behavior has been tweaked and refined through the ages. Unfortunately, some of these tropes make the villain look incompetent. They invoke eye-rolling from the audience and destroy tension in the … read more »

Storytelling

How to Realistically Depict Evil

Darth Vader and Luke from Empire Strikes Back

Evil is a difficult subject for storytellers. The over saturation of works like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, where evil celebrates itself with cartoonish glee, has caused many storytellers to eschew the idea of true evil in their work. Shades of grey* seem … read more »

Storytelling

Creating Your Villain’s Journey

The Operative from Serenity holding up his sword

Most character arcs are intended for protagonists, and viewpoint characters in particular. But a story can be greatly enhanced by giving arcs to other major characters – including the main villain. Unfortunately, villain arcs can be tricky. The audience rarely sympathizes with the big bad, … read more »