What Makes A Good Villain?

Oct 31 2012 @ 9:57am

Tauriq Moosa wonders:

It's time we take back the villain. It's time we destroy his boring, cackling face, his sharp teeth, his banal "evil for evil's sake", his consistent outlining of his plans to quivering minions or tied up heroes in shadowed fortresses. We're better than this, which means our villains can be, too.

He urges writers to give villains understandable motivations. In a follow-up post, he provides examples:

In the X-Men universe, Magneto does not want to be a slave, has experienced first-hand and witnessed loved ones die at the hand of wrathful, ignorant humans. Magneto, being more powerful, doesn’t see why he and his fellow mutants can’t protect themselves and dominate the very species that wishes to dominate them. Professor Xavier, much to his discredit, believes there is hope for reconciliation and fellowship. Both, however, are responding to a situation that is complex, difficult, and meaningful. Magneto is trying to defend himself, those like him, against an entire species that mostly wishes to enslave him. This is not some "dark force", like Sauron or other boring iterations, which simply want to do bad things for badness’ sake: it’s grounded in a very understandable feeling of being trapped, of being branded as "different", and trying simply to live in the world.