Feature: Top 5 Villains Who Became Good

There are countless heroes throughout popular culture, but everyone knows that villains are where it’s really at, right? Even better than a decent villain is baddie who turns over a new leaf to help the good guys out. Join us as we explore our Top 5  Villains Who Became Good.

Yes indeed, there is nothing quite like a dose of redemption and self sacrifice to make you connect with a character. It’s even more impressive when a writer takes a character so evil and despised for their wrong doings, then makes you love them, forsaking all the wicked stuff they’ve done in the past.

Regardless of their motivations, Villains who switch sides simply ooze greatness, and here are our Top 5…

5. Vegeta (Dragon BallZ)

Arrogant, sadistic and merciless. These are just a few words that describe Vegeta when he is first introduced to us in Dragon Ball Z. He is a proud Saiyan warrior whose sole motivation is the dominance of the Earth and the annihilation of protagonist, Goku. His evil deeds include the slaughter of many villages and attempting to destroy the world.

However, that all changes when Vegeta and Goku are forced to team up to defeat a common enemy, who poses a threat to the entire galaxy. After this, Vegeta decides to settle down on Earth and defend it from future threats. With his enormous ego in tact he turns his back on his evil deeds and starts a new life fighting alongside his former nemesis.

He is by far my favourite character from the Dragon Ball Z series and by far one of the most humorous. Despite his constant criticism and one-upmanship with Goku, you know that deep down, he really admires him as a fighter.

4. Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Spike is a sharp dressing Cockney Vampire who has been skulking around since the 1800s. He’s naturally keen on drinking the blood of innocents and as a result, soon becomes an item on Buffy’s “To Kill” list. He spends his time devising plans to get rid of the Vampire Slayer, kidnapping her friends and pursuing a romantic interest named Drusilla.

Unfortunately Drusilla is as mad as a box of Frogs, and the romance doesn’t work out, leaving Spike more bitter and evil than before. That is until he is captured by the military and has a microchip implanted in his brain, preventing him from doing harm to anything that’s not of the Vampire/Demon variety. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s almost exactly what happened to Monkey in Wu Ch’eng En’s, Journey to the West story. Still I digress!

Spike 2.0 is now pretty harmless and runs to Buffy for refuge from the military, resulting in him becoming a permanent member of the slaying-team, in exchange for money and pigs blood of course. Yummy!

3. The Arbiter (Halo Series)

The Arbiter, Arby, Arbmeister, The Arb. Whatever you call him, there is no denying that this guy is one of the coolest aliens that you’ve ever known. Originally a Commander in the Covenant Army, the Arbiter fails a key mission resulting in the loss of a war-ship and the destruction of the Halo-Ringworld (considered sacred by the Covenant). A royal cock-up I’m sure you’ll agree.

He is then stripped of his rank and given the title of Arbiter, a ceremonial title for an Elite who has disgraced himself and his race. He is then sent on a suicide mission to redeem himself, betrayed by his superiors and decides to join forces with the Humans, in order to eliminate the Brute race who are seemingly taking over.

These events lead to one of the most unconventional yet excellent bromance stories of our time. The story of Arby and The Chief (Arbiter and Master Chief). These two make an excellent double act throughout Halo 3 and The Arbiter proves himself to be one of the most fierce and loyal allies in gaming history. Oh and he also has excellent voice acting and a glowing sword.

2. The Terminator

T-800 or The Terminator is a psychotic robot from the future who spends most of his early life trying to exterminate Sarah Connor, the mother of John Connor. However, in the second film, he is re-programmed and sent back in time to protect John from a newer model, T-1000.

The Terminator retains all of his ass-kicking glory but starts to become educated by the young John Connor, who teaches him right from wrong and how to judge a situation, rather than simply adhering to his programming. As a result, we see the Terminator transformed into a likeable character, and no longer a simple machine. His final act is one of self sacrifice and you would have to made of metal to witness it and not shed a tear.

Of course, he returns in Terminator 3, but the less said about that, the better!

1. Darth Vader (Star Wars)

Lord Vader, of the Sith persuasion, is one of the most feared men in the galaxy far away. A twisted, augmented man who is well acquainted with the dark side of The Force. The kind of man that would force-choke his grandma for buying him the wrong socks, but he wasn’t always like this.

He was once one of the best pilots and most promising Jedis in existence, until he lost his wife and joined forces with The Emperor to destroy the Jedi and everything they stood for.  This resulted in him losing the majority of his limbs at the hands of his old master and requiring some extreme prosthesis in order to survive. A bit like Adam Jensen from Deus Ex.

All that remained was a bitter man intent on carrying out The Emperor’s will at any cost. That is until his dark master’s will involved him killing his only son. In that moment, whatever small amount of good that remains in old Darth comes racing to the surface and the most hated man in the Empire, is reduced to a parent protecting his child. A dramatic twist and one of the most powerful acts of sacrifice our generation has witnessed.

An emotional moment that even George Lucas failed to ruin. That is until the latest re-release, where Darth cries and wails like Wookie while while begging The Emperor to stop. Nice one George!

So there you have it, our Top 5 Villains Who Became Good. Can you think of any others? Let us know and we may credit you in a future feature.

Author: James Sterling

Associate Editor (Game) for PopBucket, avid gamer and educating folks about the Wilhelm Scream since '98. Show him some word-love.

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