Created By: Dedars1 on September 10, 2011

Adaptational Heel Face Turn

When a villain becames one of the heroes (or the other way round) in an adaption of the original work.

Name Space:
Page Type:
Examples of villains in the original work becoming heroes in adaptations:

Reverse examples:

  • Psylocke, Callisto and Multiple Man in X-Men: The Last Stand
  • Shiyu Kusanagi in the X/1999 movie
Community Feedback Replies: 26
  • September 10, 2011
    Callisto was a Morlock and an enemy of the X-Men in the comics. I haven't read comics in a number of years. Did Callisto actually become a full hero in the comics at some point?
  • September 10, 2011
    In Tarnsman of Gor the powerful warrior Marlenus is the War Chieftan of Ar, a city at war with Ko-Ro-Ba, the city protagonist Tarl is from. In the film Gor - very loosely based on Tarnsman - feeble old man Marlenus is the King of the tiny village Koroba and the Big Bad is Sarm, who styles himself as a priest-king - which in the books is an insectoid alien race.
  • September 11, 2011
    • In The Three Musketeers, Milady de Winter is irredeemable villain and the Duke of Buckingham, though technically an enemy of France, is an honourable man who is more an ally than an enemy to the protagonists. In the 1993 film, Buckingham is one of the bad guys and Milady, though still a villain, has a backstory about having been forced into villainy by circumstances and gets a Redemption Equals Death.
  • September 11, 2011
    Callisto had a Heel Face Turn in the late 1980s comics following the Morlock Massacre crossover and has been treated as an unambiguous hero ever since; indeed, even eviller new Morlocks were introduced thereafter for her to oppose as an ally of the X-Men. In any case, her film coutnerpart wa spretty much an In Name Only adaptation.

    This also happens sometimes in same-media quasi-adaptations like Marvel's Ultimate Universe, which aren't otherwise intended to be Mirror Universe stories.

    Comic Books
    • Unlike their mainstream counterparts, Marvel's Ultimate Universe versions of the Hulk, Hank Pym, and the Black Widow are essentially villains in The Ultimates. Well, at least in the issues that Mark Millar wrote.
      • Similarly, the Ultimate counterparts of Madrox, Longshot, Forge, and several other generally heroic X-Men and X-Men associates are minor member's of Magneto's terrorist Brotherhood in Millar's Ultimate X-Men.
      • And then there's the Ultimate version of Jean De Wolff.

  • September 12, 2011
    ^ @Omar Karindu: According to our Handling Spoilers policy, you shouldn't spoiler the titles of works, because it makes it impossible for the reader to know if they should avoid reading the spoiled text.
  • September 12, 2011
    Not sure if this counts since the characters are different people in the adaptation, but:

    • In The Spectacular Spiderman, Silver Sable, who is a hero in the comics, is a more villainous character, on account of being made a Composite Character with the gangster Silvermane's daughter. Word Of God is that had the show not been canceled, she would have become closer to the comic character.
      • While in the comics Ricochet was an alternate identity used by Spiderman and later on the identity of another super-hero, in the series, this is the identity taken by Fancy Dan of The Enforcers.

    Another example:
  • September 12, 2011
    Not sure if you could call him a villain, but in the novel Jaws, Matt Hooper is a jerkwad.
  • September 12, 2011
    So, this is not Perspective Flip, it's an adaptation where only some of the characters change?
  • September 19, 2011
    The animated " Howl's Moving Castle" turned the (very evil) Witch of the Waste into a mostly harmless , very old, childlike woman, about a quarter into the movie.
  • September 19, 2011
    Ultimate Fantastic Four: This eventually happens to Reed Richards.
  • September 19, 2011
    Many villains in the Sailor Moon manga had their fates changed in the anime. Most notably, the Dark Kingdom generals turned out to be good in the manga, but bad in the anime (with the exception of Nephlite), while most members of the Dark Moon Clan turned out bad in the manga, but good in the anime.
  • September 19, 2011
    Mega Man's brother Proto Man. In the games he is a loyal friend and hero. In the Ruby Spears cartoon he became a villain and something of a Jerk Ass. One episode even went so far as to have him working alongside Dark Man. In the games Dark Man was the evil imposter who framed Proto Man for his crimes.
  • September 19, 2011
    Faramir in the film adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings starts out this way and is essentially Frodo and Sam's adversary for the latter half of the second movie before a heel face turn near the end. Also his dad Denethor has far fewer redeeming qualities in part three than he did in the book.
  • September 20, 2011
    As an alternative title what about Canon Defector (to go with Canon Immigrant, Canon Foreigner, etc)? Since that pattern tends to be used for changes to characters.
  • September 20, 2011
    How about Elphaba from Wicked? And wasn't The Scrappy himself a villain in the Scooby Doo movie?
  • September 20, 2011
    Kaa from The Jungle Book. Good guy in the novel, villain in the movie.
  • September 20, 2011
    I think Elphaba would fall under Perspective Flip, which is when the whole story is turned upside down, instead of just one or two characters being on different sides.
  • October 12, 2011
    In the Super Gran novels by Forest Wilson, there's a character called Tub, who is the reluctant henchman of Campbell (the Big Bad) in the first book, and then undergoes a Heel Face Turn, appearing as a hero in later books. In the Super Gran TV series, Tub is Campbell's nephew, and a pre-teen Card Carrying Villain.
  • March 13, 2014
  • March 13, 2014
  • March 13, 2014
    @Bisected8: No, those tropes are about characters who don't exist in the main-line continuity (and in the former case, eventually get imported into it). Adaptational Alignment Shift is a bit unwieldy, but I think it sums up this trope much better.

  • March 13, 2014
    This is going to be really heavy in comics if we compare different comic story lines to each other due to how much Depending On The Writer there is. May I suggest restricting comic characters to those mostly regarded one way in the comics but presented differently in other media.

    ex. Mystique in X Men is generally considered a villain but is a member of the X-men in X Men First Class.
  • March 13, 2014
    Was there some reason for reviving this 2-and-a-half-year-old discussion that I missed? Because we now have both Adaptational Heroism and Adaptational Villainy to thoroughly cover the idea.
  • March 13, 2014
    ^ Yeah, this is covered already. Motion To Discard.
  • March 13, 2014
    ^^ Exactly. However, a potential subtrope for Adaptational Heroism and/or Adaptational Villainy is that if the character starts with the same alignment as in the original story, but does a Heel Face Turn over the course of the adaptation, unlike in the original story.
  • March 13, 2014
    Well, that's an entirely different YKTTW from this one. I'm going to discard this, as there's nothing here to salvage. If you want to make that YKTTW, feel free.