Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome YKTTW Discussion

Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome
A good character does a Face Heel Turn within a sequel.
(permanent link) added: 2011-06-02 10:56:48 sponsor: KingZeal (last reply: 2011-07-13 19:14:09)

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So your story was a smash success, and you've gotten enough interest or capital to do a sequel. However, you fully explored all of the characters in the first story and have nowhere left to go with them, and you think it would stale your writing ability to retread the same characters and events from the first story. So you need a way to not only stretch your storytelling chops, but also hand out enough Shocking Swerves to keep the audience surprised. How do you do this?

Why, by turning one of the main good guys into a bad guy!

When done correctly, Face Heel Turns can be shocking, compelling and tragic. Few things tug at the heartstrings like when a cutie is broken or when The Paragon crosses the Despair Event Horizon and goes bonkers over the unfairness of it all. When done poorly, the turn comes out of absolutely nowhere or betrays the expectations that had been set by the character's portrayal up til then. Audiences tend to become attached to their heroes and some become moreso "icons" than characters, leading to the audience feeling betrayed by not only that character, but the writers themselves.

A subtrope of Face-Heel Turn. Separate from (but not mutually exclusive to) Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome.

Super Trope of Rogue Protagonist, Fallen Hero, and The Paragon Always Rebels.


  • Joker, the head of the British Library special foces in Read or Die. Between the OVA, where he's on the side of the good guys, and R.O.D The TV, the death of Gentleman (the Man Behind the Man of hundreds of years of British history who envisioned a sort of Utopia under the British Empire) shifts Joker into Well-Intentioned Extremist territory, working torward what he sees as Gentleman's dream by means ranging from ethically dubious to outright evil.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh Season 4 turned Mai Valentine, the gang's Cool Big Sis, into an angst-ridden member of a villainous biker gang. One reason among many that the season falls squarely into Dis Continuity for many fans.

  • Comics in general loves a Heel-Face Turn, but usually don't qualify for the trope unless the character gets Put on a Bus for a while and returns evil. A few notable examples include:

  • Jim Phelps in the Mission: Impossible film franchise.
  • Anakin Skywalker, from the point-of-view of anyone who watches the original Star Wars trilogy first.
  • In the first Robocop, the The CEO of Omni Consumer Products is merely an amoral old man who really doesn't do anything outright villainous, but shows little empathy for others. In the sequel, he's a flat-out Corrupt Corporate Executive.

Live-Action TV
  • Sikozu in Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.

  • The Masamune sword in Chrono Cross. In the Chrono Trigger, the Masamune is a coveted magical weapon which is said to be the only the only weapon capable of hurting the wicked sorceror, Magus. It's outright said many times that only the Legendary Hero can wield the sword and at one point, said Hero even goes through a Secret Test of Character which allows the sword to recognize him as its true owner and unlock its full potential. Then, in the sequel, the Masamune is explicitly stated to be an "evil" sword and anyone who wields it will immediately go insane. However, this is Hand Waved in that the Masamune is sentient and inhabited by two mischievous young spirits. When their big sister shows up and smacks some sense into them, the Masamune becomes good again.
  • Sigint, Para-Medic and Major Zero in Metal Gear Solid. It can be argued that their creation in the first place was to explain the Start of Darkness which lead to the creation of "The Patriots", but few it can argue that it's a shock to learn that the diabolical "Dr. Clark" we heard about in the first game was the sweet and flighty Para-Medic.
  • Diablo II: the protagonist of the original is now the Big Bad.
  • Lloyd Irving in Tales Of Symphonia Dawn of The New World. Well, sort of. It was an impostor and the real Lloyd was only hindering your goals because he was trying to set things right as well.
  • In the Wing Commander video game series, the game Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger had Col. Ralgha nar "Hobbes" Hhallas who was throughout game 2 a Proud Warrior Race Guy who was disgusted with his race's lack of honor suddenly do a Face-Heel Turn.
  • *This happens to heroine turned Action Mom, Sophitia Alexandra, in Soul Calibur IV; where she's made to defend Soul Edge in order to save her daughter's life.

Western Animation
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