Adaptational Heroism

Yup, the comic and movie are pretty much identical — as long as you cut out all the "I make this look good"s and "It just be rainin' black people in New York!"s and replace them with a whole bunch of murder.

The flip side to Adaptational Villainy. While some adaptations make a character Take a Level in Jerkass, this is the opposite. A character is villainous or just not very nice in their original medium, but when the time comes for the adaptation, things change. Perhaps many scenes in which they Kick the Dog are cut. Perhaps they are a Composite Character with someone who was nice in the original. Perhaps the original suffers from Values Dissonance and is portrayed more sympathetically to match the values of a modern audience. Maybe a Generic Doomsday Villain gains a motive and comes across as an Anti-Villain or a Jerkass Woobie. Another common route is to expand the character's backstory, giving them Hidden Depths and Character Development.

A subtrope of Adaptation Personality Change. Contrast Adaptational Villainy. Doing this to a historical person in a work is Historical Hero Upgrade. Fandom doing this to a canon villlain is Draco in Leather Pants.

Note that despite the title, the character need not become an actual hero, just nicer than they were in the original.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yugi's Superpowered Alter Ego is generally played as a noble hero; in the original manga, especially early on, he's somewhere between a Sociopathic Hero and a barely-controllable Superpowered Evil Side.
    • The manga version of Seto Kaiba is a cold individual who, during the Death-T arc, is revealed to have acquired his Blue-Eyes White Dragons through less than honorable means and climbed the ladder at Kaiba Corp rapidly which resulted in his adoptive father Gozaburo being Driven to Suicide; and treats Yugi and his friends with his utmost bitterness (he even outright says he's disgusted by their friendship). In the anime, Kaiba initially displays the characteristics of his manga counterpart, but eventually softens by the Battle City arc and even helps Yugi and his friends in key moments.
    • Shadi in the manga and first anime is a Manipulative Bastard who has absolutely zero problem using innocent people as pawns. The version in the second anime has much more of a sense of honor and helps Yugi and his friends out more often. Not to mention that the two Millennium Items he had - the Key and the Scales - had the potential to be the most dangerous of them all. The Key allowed him to enter a person's mind and reconfigure the victim's personality any way he desired (making the victim his slave if he had to) while the Scales seemed to be a representation of the Scales of Maat, and could judge a sinner and not only kill him if his guilt was confirmed, but possibly condemn his soul. (Indeed, it's likely a good thing he held onto both of them.)
    • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga, Ryo/Zane is far less of an Aloof Big Brother to Sho/Syrus, and doesn't view him as untalented as much as being too concerned with his opponents' feelings to win (for example, throwing a duel because his opponent was getting upset). He also never becomes Hell Kaiser, and is on the heroes' side the entire time.
  • In Sonic X Dr Eggman starts off an Affably Evil villain similar to the games, before becoming more and more harmless, his scruples and respect for Sonic coming into play often, and spends most of the Third Season in Anti-Villain territory. This is even more prominant in the comic adaptation.
  • In the Ranma ½ manga, Shampoo was a cold, Manipulative Bitch who had no problem toying with Ranma, and even less so with wanting to kill Akane (though she's far from the only one in that regard). She still has a few shades of her manga counterpart in the anime, but she also shows much more genuine feelings for Ranma and goes out of her way to save Akane's life at one point.
  • Getter Robo:
    • In the manga, Anti-Hero Hayato Jin is homicidal and a teenage terrorist, who in his debut violently murders a pair of classmates after the boys speak out against his plot to kill Japan's prime minister. In the 70s anime, he's a loner and kind of a dick, but is mostly just a moody schoolboy.
    • Ryouma is less of a Hot-Blooded sociopath. While he's still competitive and arrogant, he's got nothing on his manga counterpart, who is known to beat the shit out of people with little provocation and at one point kills a dog.
  • In the Soul Eater manga, it turns out Justin Law was The Mole, working for Asura. The anime diverges from the manga shortly before this plotline comes up, thus such a revelation never happened.
  • Beelzebumon is one of the Seven Demon Lords in the Digimon mythology. In Digimon Tamers, he (as Impmon) starts out as a Wild Card, before receiving a powerup from the villains to evolve into Beelzebumon. He initially opposes the heroes, but has a Heel-Face Turn later, becoming The Atoner. In Digimon Xros Wars a different Beelzebumon, under the alias "Baalmon", also starts off working for the baddies, but it's really just so he can investigate who drove him to kill his comrades. He gets killed once he found out, but upon reincarnating, becomes a major player in the Xros Heart army.
  • The 1992 anime version of Sailor Moon compared to the manga has lots of these.
    • Unique to the anime, the first season villain Nephrite (one of Queen Beryl's four generals) falls in love with Sailor Moon's friend Naru and dies trying to protect her from his fellow generals.
    • Also in the first season, the Brainwashed and Crazy Endymion acts as a Noble Demon who often comes into conflict with Kunzite's questionable tactics, so much that he teams up with the Sailor Senshi almost as much as he did before his brainwashing, whereas in the manga, Endymion became a full blown Card-Carrying Villain.
    • Sailor Moon R has Quirky Miniboss Squad the Four Phantom Sisters (whose roles are expanded with sympathetic backstory) performing a Face-Heel Turn against the Black Moon Clan and committing to normal human lives. Youngest Phantom Sister Koan, the first to turn good, was a Love Martyr to her boss and soon convinced it wasn't worth it. The manga version posed as a fortune teller, and convinced people they were about to die to get them to join the Black Moon Clan, only to cause converts to spontaneously combust. She was killed and forgotten like any other Monster of the Week.
    • Sailor Moon SuperS has Quirky Miniboss Squad the Amazon Trio, who instead of being one shot Monsters of the Week, have existential crises over their lack of dream mirrors and animal natures and befriend the heroes before reverting to animal shapes and being taken to a magical sanctuary.
    • Sailor Moon Crystal revealed that the Shitennou were Good All Along and merely Brainwashed and Crazy, and while the Sailor Senshi do break them free, they end up getting unceremoniously offed by the Big Bad one scene later.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon: In Best Wishes 2: Episode N, N is far more heroic than he is in the games, going from a rival that was manipulated by Ghetsis who has his own agenda alongside Team Plasma to an ally of Ash and his friends and actively trying to stop Team Plasma.
    • Pokemon Special does this in adapting Silver for the Gold and Silver arc. While both versions are a rival, Silver in Pokemon Gold And Silver is an all around nasty piece of work that steals his starter Pokémon and treats everyone he meets with animosity. In the manga, Silver initially displays these characteristics, but is forced to work together with Gold especially when they're captured by the Masked Man later on, and while both versions of the character stole their starter, the games' Silver did it for his own selfish purposes, whereas his Special counterpart did it so that it would help him in his mission to stop Masked Man. Giovanni in the Red and Blue arc also acts in a polite manner towards Red that would be completely alien to his video game counterpart.
    • In the anime, Damian is an Jerkass trainer who abuses and abandons his Charmander, which Ash adopts. However, in several adaptations he is more sympathetic. In The Electric Tale of Pikachu he actually meant to return to get Charmander and shows concern for it, but was injured in an accident, going to look for Charmander later himself, before he completely recovered, and is later happily reunited with it. In Pokemon Yellow, he admits that he is a poor trainer and gives Charmander to the player in hopes that they can do a better job than him.
    • Also in the anime, Sabrina started out as a cold psychic with a Creepy Child Literal Split Personality. In The Electric Tale of Pikachu, she's a kindhearted and compassionate miko.
  • Haiyore! Nyarko-san, a Lighter and Softer take on the Cthulhu Mythos, has its title character, Nyarlathotep the Crawling Chaos. The original Nyarlathotep is the only outright evil Elder God, driving people into madness and self-destruction purely out of malice, spite, and For the Evulz (the others simply have Blue and Orange Morality). As for Nyarko, she does have her bad pointsnote , but on the whole she's a silly but good-hearted person who makes friends easily due to her open and cheerful nature and is utterly devoted to the story's male lead Mahiro because she's hopelessly in love with him. The main cast also includes Cthuguha the Living Flame and Hastur the King in Yellow, here imagined as an Emotionless Gamer Chick and an Adorably Precocious Child respectively.
  • In the Aku no Hana anime, Saeki seems to accept Takao's decision to break up with her with quiet dignity, and then leaves him alone. In the original manga, this instead causes her to become a full-on Yandere and eventually rape him.
  • Death Note:
    • In the original manga and anime, L is a rather ruthless Anti-Hero who the author describes as being "a little bit evil." In his movie L: Change The World, L is a lonely, misunderstood Woobie Action Hero guy who cares for sick orphans.
    • In the live-action films of Death Note, Light Yagami himself falls into this to a degree. According to Word of God, in the original anime and manga, Light is a perfectionist who couldn't deal with the fact that he accidentally killed someone (thus, he reasons that it was okay, since the dude was an asshole, and that it's okay to kill criminals). In the films, his Start of Darkness is in part because he held the law on a Broken Pedestal.
  • Mai-HiME:
    • Nao in the manga starts out as an enemy of the main heroes as a member of the Ori-Hime unit, then switches sides to becoming a reluctant ally, instead of starting out as a rival, then becoming a reluctant ally, then becoming a villain and only joining the heroes at the end like she does in the anime.
    • Shizuru in the manga never goes Psycho Lesbian like she does in the anime.
  • In the Mai-Otome manga, this can be applied to the entire nation of Artai. While Nagi, the archduke, is quite the Jerkass, he never becomes the enemy of the main characters and dies saving Mashiro from the real Big Bad. As a result of this, and Sergay being a completely different character here (which means she doesn't have her feelings for him come into play), Nina also stays on the heroes' side for the entire story.
  • Ghost Talkers Daydream: Mitsuru's portrayal changes depending on whether you're reading the manga, or watching the anime adaptation:
  • Variable Geo has Chiho acting on orders from her grandfather to go undercover at the tournament, in order to spy on The Jahana Group's activities. Whereas in the Advanced V.G. series itself, Chiho doesn't get along with her grandfather and wants nothing to do with their clan. So she runs away to make a new life for herself.
  • In the Danganronpa anime, Byakuya Togami is still quite a jerk who is callous and doesn't think much of cooperation, as he was in the visual novel. In the anime, however, he doesn't openly profess that he's planning to eventually murder someone and get away with it.
  • In the Bokurano manga, Chizu, while tying to get revenge on the men who gang-raped her, fires Zearth's lasers at them and feels no remorse for the many innocent people who are caught in the blasts and killed. She just barely is talked down from killing Hatagai by her sister, who tells her to kill her as well, and her family, after learning what she did and what was done to her, considers her actions all but unforgivable. In the anime, she doesn't kill anyone prior to her aborted attempt on Hatagai's life, which she stops the moment that she sees her sister try to protect him. On a more debatable sense, in the manga, she kills Kako, while he's beating up Kirie, but in the anime, she pushes him away when he tries to rape her, causing him to fall down the stairs and die when the building he's in collapses.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Anzu, in the first episode of the anime, tells Miho that if she doesn't do tankery, she and her friends will not be attending Oarai Academy for long. It's not completely what it seems like, and Anzu does have her reasons for doing this, but the other characters aren't happy with this. In the manga, the scene never happens, making Anzu's recruitment of Miho seem less morally questionable.
  • Akise Aru in Future Diary is never portrayed as a villain in either the anime or the manga, but gets a small, but extremely important change between the two. In the anime, when Yukiteru snaps and guns down his remaining friends, Akise tries to stop him. In the manga, the scene is almost the same, except Akise hangs out off panel and just watches him do it.
  • In the Wedding Peach manga, Pluie was a loyal demon to the end and died when he tried to take Momoko with him by tackling her into a demon vortex. In the anime, he was nice enough to throw Momoko her ring back as he fell in, and didn't actively try to make her fall in.
  • In Cyborg 009, Ivan's father turns his baby into a cyborg via experiments on the brain (we later find out it was to save him from an illness, but it was still irresponsible), kills his wife when she tries to go to the police about it, and joins Black Ghost partially to escape from the law and partially to continue his experiments. In the graphic novel retelling, he is portrayed as a Reluctant Mad Scientist who focused on saving his son's life and was very uncomfortable with Black Ghost's plans. 001 Even acknowledges that his father did everything to save him and is able to talk his father out of capturing the cyborgs at which point his father performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save them.
  • In the anime adaptation of The Familiar of Zero, Julio Chesaré and his master Pope Vittorio Serevare are good guys, with the former aiding the protagonists at various points, and the latter pulling a Heroic Sacrifice in the fourth season. In the light novels, Pope Vittorio is the surviving villain of a Big Bad Ensemble, and Julio is his Dragon. He manipulates others (including Queen Henrietta), is willing to employ assassination, and played a role in instigating Gallia's wars (which was led by the other Big Bad). He is also plotting to start a war against the elves reclaim the Holy Land, even to the point of wiping them out. There are apparently good motives to his actions, as he claims that he is trying to save humanity, and that it ultimately comes down to "us or them" with the elves. Sadly, Noboru Yamaguchi, author of the light novels, passed away, so we'll probably never know Vittorio's complete plan and motivations. Interestingly, Yamaguchi was involved heavily in the fourth season, so Vittorio and Julio's adaptational shift was something that he at least okayed, if not planned out himself.
  • Kaibutsu-kun portrays famous Hollywood monsters Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster as friendly, comical characters helping the titular shapeshifting young prince live out in the human world.

    Comicbooks 
  • New 52:
    • The villianess Silver Banshee was turned into a troubled but clearly heroic young woman in the Supergirl stories, whose first appearance has her jumping in front of Kara to stop soldiers shooting her. Later issues have hinted that she's having trouble keeping her superpowers (inherited from her evil father) under control but even here the implication is she is heading towards being a Tragic Villain rather than the totally unsympathetic character she used to be.
    • Terra, who had been previously a Sixth Ranger Traitor, and dead, has been a heroine and standing member of the Ravagers.
    • Arthur Light, better known as Dr. Light, was a third-string baddie and punching bag of the Teen Titans (who had a rape retconned into his backstory in an attempt to make him more evil) pre-New 52. Now he's a supporting member of the Justice League of America and he died a hero.
    • Batman: Zero Year follows the The Dark Knight Saga portray of Commissioner Loeb as incompetent but well-meaning, rather than corrupt.
  • In Noob, Gaea negotiated for her guildmate's (except Omega Zell) immunity from Tenshirock's "attacks" as part of her frequent cooperation with him. The webseries and novel storylines have that immunity be Tenshirock's personal initiative while the nicest things Gaea ever said or did fell into Jerk with a Heart of Jerk.
  • The Transformers IDW comics has several. The Decepticons downplay this, as they were formed as a protest group against the corrupt government, before devolving past He Who Fights Monsters and becoming even worse (even the government thugs got hired into their group). Cyclonus, while usually a Noble Demon actually pulls a Heel-Face Turn in Transformers: More than Meets the Eye and becomes a hero. In Transformers: Robots in Disguise Swindle, Squawkbox and Tankor all pull Heel Face Turns, though only Swindle and Squawkbox count as Tankor/Octane befriended an autobot and became good in the original cartoon. After Dark Cybertron Megatron of all bots joins those who have switched sides, taking up the Autobot badge.
  • Circe (as in the evil sorceress who turned Odysseus' men into swine in The Odyssey) is the heroine Sersi, one of the Eternals of Earth and occasionally one of The Avengers. (In her backstory, it was clear that Homer distorted the facts quite a bit; yeah, she turned them into pigs, but to make a long story short, they started it.)
  • In Ultimate X-Men, Pyro was a Morlock who supported Xavier's dream and later joined Bishop's X-Men, rather than a member of the Brotherhood. However, this was undone in one of the many and more disturbing flaws in The Ultimates 3, as he did a very severe Face-Heel Turn, joining the Brotherhood and even implying to Mastermind that they rape Valkyrie.
  • The Archie Mega Man comics do this with the Robot Masters from the original game, with Mega Man's attempts to talk them out of following Wily's orders convinces them to help him, and later join and serve his supporting cast when Wily's programing to them is undone, though this is more because they were already Dr. Light's robots to begin with. This trope rings much more truer when half of the Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 3 Robot Masters pull a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Mad Madame Mim from Disney's The Sword in the Stone was a genuinely villainous character who tried to kill Arthur because, as she made no effort in hiding, she's evil. In the Disney comics that later featured her, she was more of a harmless witch or occasionally even a heroic one.
  • In the classic Legion of Super Heroes, Mano of the Fatal Five had a bit of a Freudian Excuse in that he was subjected to prejudice on his home planet, before he destroyed it. In the Reboot Legion, he destroys his planet after everyone on it was killed by weapons sold by MacCauley Industries, and then seeks revenge on Leyland MacCauley. When he realises the rest of the Five are a bunch of psychos who like destroying planets, he turns against them. He later rejoins the group, but still tries to avoid harming innocents.
  • In Teen Titans Earth One, Tara Markov is depicted as a normal (if slightly angsty) teenager before her powers awaken, compare that with the pre-Flashpoint Tara Markov of the main universe who was a Manipulative Sociopath and a contract killer.
  • In Batman: Earth One, Killer Croc is a man who hid in the sewers after escaping the circus and ends up joining Batman's inner circle after helping stop the Riddler, a far cry from the Dumb Muscle of the mainstream comics.

    Fan Works 
  • Up for debate if this is true with Godzilla in the Godzilla and My Little Pony:Friendship Is Magic crossover, The Bridge. While in most of the Toho and Legendary continuities he's more often just territorial animal lashing out rather than an intentional villain, he was only fully benign in the late Showa series back in the 60s and 70s. So far and according to Word of God, this Godzilla will be heroic after some misunderstandings are straighten out. Bears mentioning that this incarnation is the grown up Godzilla jr. from the Heisei series, who was hatched by and was generally amicable towards humans, and thus was a gentler soul smaller sentient creatures than his adoptive father.
  • The Calvin and Hobbes: The Series finale episode "Black Rain" does this to the Slender Man, who takes out the Big Bad and secretly waves goodbye to the main heroes as they leave implying that he had been on their side the whole time.
  • Used in Mass Effect Clash Of Civilizations to highlight how much the timeline has been altered. Saren is a Politically Incorrect Villain and Knight Templar traitor in the games, but due to the altered timeline the Freudian Excuse and Reaper-contact that caused him to be that way never happened. Thus he's still a jerk, but now he's a Noble Bigot with a Badge at his worst and a Reasonable Authority Figure at his best.
  • Harry Potter story Cruciamentum Eternus has Lucius Malfoy - canonically known to be a Smug Snake, invoked-Karma Houdini, Screw the Rules, I Have Money!, racist Death Eater - systematically murdering Death Eaters and intending on assassinating Voldemort himself after Draco is murdered.
  • Jason Todd in Young Justice: Darkness Falls. Remember how the original Jason Todd went Jumping Off the Slippery Slope after his resurrection? Well in this fic, Jason, while still not a good guy in the same way The Team and the League are, still stands to fight The Light and use his gang to fight criminals. The fact that he was injured disarming a bomb of Two-Face's rather than getting beaten to death by The Joker might have also helped. In fact, this fic actually has Jason and Bruce reconcile and come to an understanding at least.
  • Evangelion 303:
    • Gendo...barely. He's still up to something and probably gunning for revenge against SEELE, but here, at least he's working to knowingly save lives instead of turning everyone into orange juice.
    • Kaworu and Rei are a bit straighter of an example. Instead of being Angels, they're all flesh-and-blood humans and genuinely desire to use the Evangelion project for good.
  • In Freeze On The Stones, Regina's canon role is given to her mother, Cora. Instead of being the first Big Bad, Regina's now a hero who loves Snow White and wants to protect her and her family.
  • Gilda in the Harmony's Warriors, who in canon is a jerk, but in this setting is the counterpart to Wolverine and an Anti-Hero.
  • In Kingdom Crossovers, Zim is now The Atoner, having reformed two years before the start of the fic.
  • The Kirita Chronicles:
    • While Kayaba Akihiko remains the Big Bad of this story, his more humane side is explored. He saves the lives of a few players and seems to have a soft spot for some of them, especially Kirita.
    • Neither Johnny Black or XaXa have been introduced as members of the Laughing Coffin, and they appear to be relatively decent people.
    • Unlike Kuradeel's somewhat psychotic canon version, this version was willing to save people's lives during his introduction. He has been going through Sanity Slippage and Took a Level in Jerkass due to the death of his best friend, however he still seems to care about the people he considers friends.
    • Akio the genderbent version of Asuna, is a downplayed example because while Asuna was a good person in canon, Akio is much nicer than Asuna was from the start.
  • Some characters in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox get a complete personality makeover in contrast to their original personalities in Naruto. Specific examples include Kabuto, who in this story is the benevolent retainer to the Hyuga family and a Shipper on Deck for Naruto and Hinata (in canon, he's The Dragon to Orochimaru and definitely not a trustworthy person); Uchiha Fugaku, the head of the Uchiha Zaibatsu and a caring father to Sasuke as well as a decent guy in general (canon Fugaku was emotionally distant from Sasuke and was planning to start a coup together with the rest of the Uchiha clan); and even Orochimaru, who's simply doing his job as a defense attorney in getting Mizuki's goons out on bail but is otherwise not shown to be malicious (canon Orochimaru, besides being a major antagonist for most of the series, is a Mad Scientist and Bad Boss to his own henchmen).
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, ProtoMan is a more heroic character than his Ruby-Spears self.
  • Mega Man Recut has several of the Robot Masters, but Enker, Galaxy Man, and Ra Thor are probably the most notable.
  • Hans in the first installment of the MRA Trilogy, for a given value of "heroic": he was an MRA agent out to rape and enslave Queen Elsa and Anna, his failure treated with sympathy by the cast. The second installment has a more weird example: while the Reapers are on the same side as the organic alien races, conspiring with the Asari to make a "femnazi empire". Though the story treats them as evil, the worst they do is shout "CHECK YOUR FUCKING PRIVILEGE", so they'd have been fully redeemed in just about any other fanfic.
  • In Harry Potter Marge Dursley is Vernon's sister, and acts even more nasty to Harry than the Dursleys. In the fanfic My Nephew Harry, gives her more understandable motives for her nastiness. She is portrayed as having been hardened by her own upbringing into being a woman who supports Tough Love. She thus mistreats Harry based off the lies told by Petunia and Vernon. When she learns the truth, she hits the wall, and starts giving Harry the love he deserves.
  • Mysterious Encounter makes Lovrina an unwilling accomplice to Cipher's plans and also makes her a traitor to them. In the game it is based on, Lovrina is a Cute and Psycho willing member.
  • Necessary To Win does this with Black Forest from Girls und Panzer. It's suggested that Erika and those who also criticized Miho's decision to save her teammate are not necessarily the majority in Black Forest, but the most vocal group. There are several others who support Miho's decision, even if they're not entirely vocal about it. Maho is a minor case, as her more benevolent motivations are more openly touched upon here.
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, the story diverges from canon around the time the Himes are manipulated into attacking Nao. As such, Nao and Shizuru do not undergo their Face Heel Turns as in canon, until one of the SUEs alters their personalities, resulting in Natsuki having to fight each of them. Nao ends up as an Anti-Hero who ultimately ends up questioning herself and taking a level in kindness, and while Shizuru finds herself doubting herself over her feelings for Natsuki, she ultimately comes to terms with them.
  • In The Prayer Warriors, Luke Castellan from Percy Jackson and the Olympians is inexplicably on the heroes' side, despite being the canonical traitor in Camp Half Blood, and Draco Malfoy is a "secret Christian" at Hogwarts. This is odd, as most of the other villains from canon are also the Prayer Warriors' enemies.
  • Quickstrike in Predacons Rising. The original was a Dumb Muscle Psycho for Hire. The version in Predacons Rising is a Noble Demon with a sense of honour and compassion towards his comrades and, in the end, gets a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Quite a few Soul Eater fics prefer to have Crona and Ragnarok remain in Shibusen like in the anime as opposed to going back to Medusa as antagonists like in the manga. Breaking Point and Soul Eater: Troubled Souls are two such examples that take advantage of that.
  • Stallions Of Harmony Verse: Sunset Shimmer who in canon was Princess Celestia's evil former student and the Big Bad of Equestria Girls is instead Twilight's best friend and fierce academic rival.
  • Sunset Of Time stars Sunset Shimmer. While her canon counterpart was an arrogant and power-hungry Alpha Bitch, this Sunset is kind, noble, and a loyal student to her mentor Twilight. Reversed into Adaptational Villainy with Sunset's past self, Vesper Radiance — she's a murderous and insane psychopath looking to kill Celestia (and anyone else who gets in her way), conquer Equestria, and rule it as a Physical God.
  • Kin in Teenage Jinchuriki Shinobi starts off as a minor villainess like her canon counterpart, but was given a shot at redeeming herself after having a small talk with Splinter of how Orochimaru basically used her her entire life, while she dies in canon.
  • Touhou Ibunshu does this to about half the cast, presumably to balance out the Adaptational Villainy of the other half. Reimu and Marisa go from selfish violent jerks to instead being genuinely heroic, Yuyuko, Suika, and the entire Eientei Cast Herd are not antagonists (Yuyuko in particular almost reaches Purity Sue levels), and minor characters like Keine, Alice, Chen, and Ran assist the protagonists instead of fighting them.
  • Most of the recurring villains in the Breath of Fire fanfic War of the Dragons, where the added personalities they get present most of them as either a Noble Demon, Affably Evil, Punch Clock Villain, Brainwashed and Crazy, while also suffering from a vision given to them by Myria that compels them to carry it out if even they feel it's morally wrong. The one exception is Myria herself, she's portrayed as being '''FAR''' more evil than in the game.
  • While Teth Adom still initially suffered from Deliberate Values Dissonance, he's less violent and more open-minded in With This Ring than his comics counterpart. He was a Kahdaqi pharaoh who proved himself worthy of Shazam through his actions as a Warrior Prince and ruled as a beloved monarch for 80 years. He also pretty legitimate reasons to hate the wizard Shazam. He was trying to form an ancient equivalent of the Justice League with other monarchs to deal with rising threats and Shazam believed that he was trying to become a conquering despot.
  • In Zeus' Godly Goodtime, Zeus wants to improve his relationship with Kratos and bears no ill will towards him. Kratos considers Zeus to be very embarrassing.

    Films — Animated 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Pinocchio was still the hero in the original, but was altered from a Bratty Half-Pint to a more innocent and merely easily misguided Cheerful Child. Similarly, Aladdin is a great deal more ruthless and unscrupulous in the original tale.
    • The Enchantress from Beauty and the Beast is a curious example. In the original tale, she was a wicked fairy who cursed the prince for no good reason. The film has her curse the prince after he refuses her shelter and shows himself to be selfish. While not presented as a heroic character, her spell served to teach the prince about love rather than anything malicious.
    • Hercules:
      • Hera is presented as Hercules's loving mother. In the myths, she was not his mother and did not like him one bit - it was her that made Herc go mad and murder his wife. The film omits that plot entirely and gives Adaptational Villainy to Hades.
      • Anyone who knows their Greek myth knows that Zeus is kind of a womanizing jerk that puts such a high standards to everyone, but never once applying it to himself, making him a self-righteous prick. Here, he's pretty much a cross between Grandpa God and Bumbling Dad who certainly loves Hercules and stays loyal with Hera, making his status as a Top God of Mt. Olympus and Big Good of the series a lot more plausible.
    • Rapunzel's parents in Tangled. The father steals lettuce from a witch's garden in the original tale, simply because his pregnant wife had a craving for them. They also disappear from the story and never seem to bother about the whereabouts of the daughter they gave up. In the film, the mother is dying. And rather than knowingly stealing from the witch, they find a golden flower that the witch had been using to make herself young. And the witch kidnaps the baby. Rapunzel is also reunited with her parents at the end - and they're implied to have been searching for her all her life.
    • Elsa the Snow Queen from Frozen is Not Evil, Just Misunderstood, instead of the Designated Villain from the original tale.
    • Big Hero 6 has GoGo Tomago. Her comic counterpart was a criminal who was forced into the team to avoid imprisonment. In the film, she is a noble and kind Action Girl who willingly joined the team.
    • Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh went from a melancholic and self-centered Jerkass in the books to a forlorn sweetheart who just needs a hug in the Disney films and associated media.
  • Same case in Barbie as Rapunzel. This time the witch stole Rapunzel and kept her locked up because her father didn't love her.
  • In The Ultimates, Black Widow turned out to be The Mole in the team and a murderous traitor. In the Ultimate Avengers movies, she's not only a legitimate hero, but much kinder to boot. She even ends up hooking up with Captain America at the end of the second film.
  • In the animated version of the Astérix story The Mansions of the Gods, the Roman couple that gets coaxed into taking residence in the title mansion ends up befriending and helping the Gauls (the husband is crucial in rescuing Getafix and the wife is briefly seen bashing Romans soldiers along with the Gauls), while in the comic they were mainly used as comic relief and overall Butt Monkey.
  • Justice League: Gods And Monsters:
    • While this version of Lex Luthor still didn't like Superman, he doesn't appear to have the usual Green-Eyed Monster side of his mainstream self, and he proves a hero by the end of the movie.
    • Dr. Sivana, a Card-Carrying Villain in the mainstream universe, is working for the government here. However, this version is a Knight Templar Jerk Ass, so he's still pretty unlikable.
    • The tie-in miniseries, Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, does this to Brainiac. He's typically depicted in the mainstream universe as a shining representation of Aliens Are Bastards. This one, on the other hand, is a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who can't control his power.
  • While in both The True Meaning of Smekday and Home, the Gorg was the only one left of the his species, in the former, his species wiped themselves out and the Gorg were characterized by invading planets for no good reason and were Jerkasses to the point where they started a long civil war over a parking space. Here, the Gorg only attacks the Boov to repopulate his species with the children taken by Smek.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ant-Man, Hope Van Dyne helps the heroes in their plan to save the world. In the MC2 comics, Hope is a villainess known as the Red Queen.
  • The sultan in Arabian Nights goes through over 1000 wives before Scheherezade comes forward to get the story going. The Hallmark adaptation has Scheherezade as the first new wife he takes, thus stopping one of our protagonists from being responsible for over 1000 executions. Additionally in the original story, he had his first wife executed for betraying him. In this adaptation, he killed her accidentally with a blow intended for his evil brother.
  • Battle Royale:
    • Kinpatsu Sakamochi was a sadistic rapist who often cracked jokes at the expense of the students that died in the Program. Kitano, his counterpart from the film, while still no saint, is shown to be more sympathetic. He often dealt with students that disrespected him and a daughter that wanted nothing to do with him. He even tried to make sure Noriko won because she was the only student that showed respect for him.
    • Hirono Shimizu, while not evil in the novel, she wasn't very nice either. In the manga, she was open to the idea of joining Shuya's rebellion, and it was taken even further in the film where she called Mitsuko out for killing Megumi, the latter of whom she bullied in the novel.
  • Judah Ben Hur from Ben Hur. In the novel, the plot is kicked off when Judah accidentally knocks a roof tile on the head of a Roman centurion and gets arrested. In the movie, Judah's sister is the one who dislodges the roof tile, but Judah deliberately takes the blame in an attempt to spare his sister. In the novel, when Judah is on a sinking slave ship, and finds himself unchained, he gets the hell off the ship. In the movie, Judah takes the opportunity to punch out a guard, steal his keys, and free all the other slaves on the ship, before escaping himself.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: In one scene of Steve trying to join the army, Steve claimed his parents both served until they died. In the comics, Steve's Dad was an unemployed drunkard. Then again, Steve was already lying about his home town to have another chance to join the army. In the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier there's a flashback to pre-serum Steve after his mother's funeral where Bucky tries to console him and Steve says it's alright since she's "now with dad".
  • Cinderella (2015):
    • In contrast to his portrayal in the animated film, the King is much more friendly to his subjects.
    • Tremaine is given a more sympathetic, deeper personality, as opposed to her flat portrayal in earlier adaptations. Of course, she can hardly be considered anything but the villain, just one with a better argument. In something the original Lady Tremaine would never do, this Wicked Stepmother is perfectly willing to let Cinderella marry her beloved prince... however, even then she has ulterior motives for doing so.
    • Anastasia and Drisella are also far less heinous than in the animated Disney movie, making mean remarks to Cinderella at times but otherwise leaving her alone, and sometimes they are even civil and semi-friendly to her when in a good mood, with Lady Tremaine doing the majority of the actual bullying toward her. However, this is actually closer to the depiction of the stepsisters in the classic Charles Perrault version of the tale, complete with them apologizing to and being forgiven by Cinderella in the end.
  • Cloud Atlas:
    • The Union is portrayed as an actual rebellion. Contrast to the book in which it's just staged by Unanimity so that they can distract the people from the actual problems going on in the government.
    • Timothy Cavendish is given this too, seeing how his more racist and misogynistic aspects of his personality aren't even brought up in the film.
  • In the novel Congo, Karen Ross is a Jerk Ass Corrupt Corporate Executive who only wants to get to Zinj to get ahold of its diamond mines and causes the destruction of the site when she makes a controlled detonation during a geological survey that triggers a volcanic eruption. In the movie, she travels to Zinj in search of her Canon Foreigner boyfriend who works for the same company and disappeared during a previous expedition there, and the volcanic eruption is a coincidence.
  • The 1990 film version of Cyrano de Bergerac made Christian, the Unknown Rival to the titular character in love, more heroic and sympathetic than in the original play (though he was already an alright guy) by having him rescue his love Roxane when her attempt to charm her way through enemy lines doesn't work, unlike the play.
  • In Daredevil, Elektra wants to avenge her father's death by killing Daredevil, whom she faslely believes to be his killer, and the worst thing she does is to attack Daredevil under false pretenses. In the comics, she's a contract assassin who killed people for kicks while in college, and once belonged to an evil cult of ninjas known as the Hand.
  • The Dark Knight Saga:
  • In the film version of The Devil Wears Prada, Miranda Priestly is portrayed more sympathetically then in the book. In the original novel, she is a horrible person, and Andy hates her. In the film, she is portrayed more sympathetically, and Andy at times comes to respect her. Interestingly, the sequel novel makes clear that, no, Miranda is just an absolutely horrible human being altogether, and anyone who allows themselves to be fooled into thinking otherwise is delusional.
  • In the 1982 film of Evil Under the Sun, Mrs Castle, originally nothing more than the rather strict hotel owner, is given the name Daphne and combined with the character of Rosamund, becoming Kenneth's love interest and Hercule Poirot's main assistant during the investigation. She also helps him trap the killer at the end by taking his signature.
  • Future Cops is basically a comedic parody film of the Street Fighter where they got the alignment of some characters reversed. One of the heroes, Ti Man, played by Andy Lau, is based on Vega, who in the game proper is actually a sadistic, dangerous The Fighting Narcissist and one of the game's villains.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla (2014), unlike most versions of Godzilla who are usually antagonistic (and a huge case with his original incarnation, a Tragic Monster), but not as much as his Showa incarnation from Godzilla Raids Again through Destroy All Monsters who had a hefty dose of Characterization Marches On. Despite his actions in Hawaii (where he swamps Waikiki beach, the most densely populated area that time of night), he avoids attacking humans as he can and most of his rampages is due to the Mutos posing a threat while maintaining his Destructive Hero status per his previous incarnations.
    • Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack!. King Ghidorah is known throughout the films as Godzilla's archenemy. The Showa Era depicted him a complete villain who gleefully destroyed planets while the Heisei Era was a living weapon of conquerors from the future. However, the version seen in this Millenium Era film is an ancient dragon who served as one of the guardian monsters of Japan, awakening to fight Godzilla to save the world, not to destroy it.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy has the secondary character Nova Corps Dennerian Garthaan Saal. In the Movie he's a cynical jerk, but heroic for the most part. In the comics he became insane and went on to oppose Nova and the Avengers as the villain, Supernova.
  • The Harry Potter film adaptations:
    • Happens inadvertently to Narcissa Malfoy. The films keep her worrying for her son's life and betraying Voldemort at the end but leave out scenes showing her haughty racism and general Rich Bitch attitude before her Heel-Face Turn.
    • Although Rufus Scrimgeour was never a villain, in books six and seven he's treated as something of an opportunistic antagonist who really only wants to work with Harry to make himself look good. In the film series he's introduced briefly in the seventh movie, where he cryptically tells Harry and the gang that he doesn't know what they're up to, but that they can't fight Voldemort alone. And then he dies off-screen.
    • In the books, Severus Snape is a Jerkass whose true loyalties and motives remain ambiguous until the final novel. In the movies, he's still unpleasant, but has a few Pet the Dog moments, such as shielding Harry, Ron and Hermione, the 3 students he despises from werewolf!Lupin, putting his own life at risk in the process. The films also omit the fact (it's implied, but not outright stated like in the books) that Snape was the one who set the Potters up to die by telling Voldemort about the Prophecy. Once he realizes Lily could be endangered by this, he immediately regrets his actions and goes to Dumbledore to protect her and, later, protect her son from Voldemort.
    • Barty Crouch Sr. in the books is a Knight Templar implied to have a bad case of He Who Fights Monsters that developed after his fall from grace about fifteen years prior. He and Harry barely interact, and his neglect of his son is highly implied to be one of the reasons Barty Jr. joins Voldemort; Barty Sr.'s cold reaction to the news at Barty Jr.'s trial despite his wife's hysterics is noted as the point where the public started to turn on him. In the film, he and Harry share a pleasant conversation shortly before his death, and in a flashback scene he is visibly distraught about having to send his son to Azkaban.
  • In the novel version of the The Help, Skeeter Phelan is a segregationist who finds the thought of an interracial romance to be "horrific, disastrous." She's still a sympathetic protagonist, but she's nevertheless a somewhat ambiguous character. In the movie, by contrast, there is much less moral complexity, and Skeeter is never portrayed as a segregationist.
  • In the film version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, the title character gets a sympathetic backstory for his hatred of Christmas thanks to the feature-length film needing to indulge in a lot of Adaptation Expansion. Interestingly, his sympathetic backstory results in a bit of Adaptational Villainy on the part of the Whos of Whoville.
  • Several film adaptions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, most blatantly the Disney movie, apply this trope to the principal characters (Quasimodo, Esmerelda, and sometimes Phoebus) and invert it with Claude Frollo (omitting his capacity for compassion and creating selfish motives for his initial actions). In the 1923 version, however, this trope is played straight with Claude, whose evil side is given instead to his brother Jehan.
  • In almost every version of The Iliad ever put to film, the Greeks (the heroes of the poem) become the villains, and the Trojans (the villains of the poem) become the heroes. This is particularly galling in the case of Paris, who in the epic, was a sniveling, backstabbing coward, who hid inside the city and let his brother do all the fighting. But Hollywood wants a love story, and Paris' promotion to romantic lead inevitably includes a batch of good qualities that weren't present in the epic poem, and the quiet ignoring of the fact that his "love interest" was essentially roofied by a goddess. To a lesser degree it also applies to his brother Hector, who, while more conventionally heroic in the poem, was still a) willing to dismember a man's body and hang it from the walls, and b) too afraid to face Achilles in direct combat. The 2004 version, Troy, also gives Achilles something of a hero upgrade, turning him from a nihilistic narcissist into a troubled, but genuine, hero.
  • Into the Woods:
    • Rapunzel's Prince, contrasting his brother's Adaptational Villainy. It's clear that he truly loves Rapunzel, and he stays faithful to her for the entire film (unlike his stage show counterpart, who tosses her aside during their marriage to pursue Snow White). He's even willing to go out and search for Rapunzel while blind.
    • A small case for the steward. In the stage show he kills Jack's mother by clubbing her over the head. In this, he only pushes her to the ground and she hits her head off a log. He's shown to instantly regret it as well.
    • One moment for the Witch. In most productions when Rapunzel chooses to stay with her prince, the Witch tries to attack both of them. In the film, she only goes for the prince and even pulls Rapunzel back.
  • Iron Man 3: The Iron Patriot armor gets adapted into the new suit that Lt. Col. James Rhodes gets to use. In the comics, the armor is best known as the one used by Norman Osborn during the Dark Reign storyline.
  • In the 1982 film adaptation of Ivanhoe, Sir Brian died heroically. Though he could easily have defeated Ivanhoe, who was fighting as Rebecca's champion, he let himself be struck down for Rebecca's sake.
  • Jason and the Argonauts has Jason as a Designated Hero who travels all the way to Colchis to rob Aeetes's Golden Fleece because he wants his kingdom back. The Hallmark version of the film changes this as Jason must get the Fleece or else Pelias will kill his mother. Medea gets this as well in both film versions. In the original she was a Manipulative Bitch who made Jason promise to marry her in exchange for her help and she killed Pelias herself when Jason decided not to accept the kingdom. In the Hallmark film she is shown to genuinely love Jason and grieve for the deaths of her brother and father.
  • In Jurassic Park novel, Hammond was a typical Jerkass with plenty of Never My Fault moments and he suffers a Karmic Death. His movie incarnation is a relatively decent man and gets to survive too.
    • Normally in Jurassic Park, the Velociraptors are seen as villains of sorts. But as seen in the trailer for Jurassic World, they now team up with the male lead Owen Grady to hunt down the super dinosaur hybrid. Unfortunately, said super hybrid turned out to be part-raptor and convinced the other raptors to turn against the humans. Eventually, Owen gets the raptors back to his side again just in time to fight the hybrid.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • The film version makes both Big Daddy and Red Mist much more sympathetic than in the original comic. Film Big Daddy is profoundly messed up but very much a Tragic Hero, whereas in the source material his apparent backstory was just a lie and he's actually a vigilante in it for kicks. The film version of Red Mist strips him of his Dirty Coward personality from the comic and plays up his loneliness.
    • Kick-Ass' Love Interest Katie is a kind, compassionate young woman, whereas her comic counterpart is an absolute bitch. At least in the first film. When the sequel rolled, she Took a Level in Jerkass, closely matching her comic counterpart's personality. She jumps to conclusions over a misunderstanding and dumps him, after revealing she had been cheating on him from the start.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • In The Secret Service, Professor James Arnold was the Big Bad. Here, he was kidnapped by the villains, although he does agree to join them afterwards, seeing as how he had a chip in his head.
    • Merlin remains loyal to the Kingsman, unlike Rupert Greaves, his equivalent character in the comics, who joins forces with the villain and attempts to poison the protagonist. This element of his character is given to Arthur in the film.
  • The Land That Time Forgot:
    • Captain von Schoenvorts is a thoughtful U-Boat officer who treats his men fairly, forbids the killing of survivors after sinking the British ship, and works loyally and faithfully alongside Tyler and Bradley in Caprona, and who ultimately dies tragically thanks to the betrayal of his treacherous second in command Dietz. This is in direct contrast to the novel where Baron von Schoenvorts whips his own men for minor offenses, intentionally has the U-Boat fire on survivors of the ship they sank, betrays the British crew in Caprona and uses them as slave labor, and dies as a result of some severe Laser-Guided Karma.
    • A more minor example is Benson. In the film, he's just one of the British crew and a definite good guy who gets killed in a fight with some Sto-Lu warriors. In the novel, he is a traitor helping the Germans, and dies aboard the U-Boat long before the characters even get to Caprona.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:
    • Cleverly subverted in with Griffin the Invisible Man. In both the comic and source material he was a sociopathic rapist and murderer. Since the movie was going for a Lighter and Softer approach, they made this into a twist; the Invisible Man in the film is revealed to actually be Skinner, a thief who stole some of Griffin's invisibility serum and was turned transparent like him. Thus the original character is left intact while the audience doesn't have to stomach having a rapist on the same team as the heroes.
    • Played straight with Captain Nemo, Mr. Hyde, and the British Intelligence in general. In the comics they were morally ambiguous at best, but the film presents them as more conventional heroes since, again, they were going for a more light-hearted style.
  • Maleficent provides a previously unseen tragic origin for the title character, causing her to come off as much more sympathetic than she did in the original Sleeping Beauty film. Same goes for her Dragon, Diaval, who in the original was petty and cruel. Here, his loyalty to Maleficent is highlighted and he's given more character traits and screentime, causing him to come across as a far better person.
  • The Mask:
    • The Mask itself. In the comicbooks it is deliberately malevolent and corrupting and compels its wearers to commit atrocity after atrocity with the immense power it gives them, before they die and it goes to its next "master". In the film it makes them harmless tricksters for the most part (though Stanley does rob the bank he works in) and only amplifies the wicked nature of already evil wearers.
    • Stanley Ipkiss in the film is a loveable loser with a lot of nevertheless redeeming qualities who ultimately learns to stop relying on The Mask to solve his problems, rises to the occasion, and gets the girl. In the comics he's a right-wing lunatic who uses The Mask as his personal hitman to kill those who wronged him for increasingly trivial reasons (such as suffocating his elementary school teacher), goes on a violent rampage against the police, and is ultimately shot and killed by his girlfriend.
  • In the novel of Matilda Hortensia bullies Matilda and Lavender. In the film she is friendly and protective of them.
  • In the Men In Black films, Agents Jay, Kay, and Zed are heroes. In the obscure comic book the movies are based on, the organization is downright sinister, K basically made J An Offer You Can't Refuse to get him to join and considers him a very disposable pawn, and J is pretty much the only 'good guy' in the bunch.
  • Les Misérables (2012):
    • Inspector Javert gets an added Pet the Dog moment and is presented him as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who seemingly believes locking up anyone considered a criminal is best for them, struggles with his beliefs, and zealously enforces the law out of duty, and without malice. In the original novel, Javert is a Knight Templar and the narration describes his incorruptibility and devotion to his work as a kind of evil, due to his lack of empathy for/borderline sadistic glee in punishing people driven to crime by their circumstances. The musical the film adapts focuses more on Javert's obsession with catching Valjean specifically than criminals generally, but still (depending on the production) presents him as a fairly malevolent character.
    • Eponine in the novel bullied Cosette along with her rotten parents, in the film she is only briefly seen as a child and doesn't interact with Cosette. As an adult in the novel she is incredibly bitter over her situation and jealous over Marius's love for Cosette, in the film she comes across as merely broken-hearted that Marius does not love her. Hiding Cosette's letter to him comes across as a heat of the moment act of despair rather than an actual attempt to sabotage their relationship. Also in the film she screams to alert Cosette and Valjean that her parents are outside the house while in the novel she only threatened to do so, making her come across more heroic. Marius and Eponine's friendship is emphasized and given importance while in the book Eponine was a bit of a Stalker with a Crush; while Marius loves and cares for her to some extent (though it is largely pity), it's only as a friend, which makes Eponine's sadness that he doesn't love her the same way she loves him all the more poignant.
  • The 1991 remake of The Night of the Hunter has the kids' father murdered in his cell by the Big Bad rather than hanged for a bank robbery gone wrong, making it possible that it didn't go as wrong as in the original book and movie (i.e., that the father has no blood on his hands).
  • Mr. Curry from Paddington Bear is less mean and just more grumpy in the film adaptation Paddington.
  • Pride and Prejudice:
    • In the novel Mary Bennett is a bookworm and a bit of a Shrinking Violet - but she is also very ignorant, rude and loves to lecture people. A lot of films file off the unlikeable parts of Mary which leaves her looking more sympathetic. The 2005 film is a notable example, especially the scene where she cries into her father's arms that she practised the piano all day but couldn't perform at the ball. Mrs Bennett too in the 2005 film, who gets a couple of Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments with her husband.
    • Bride and Prejudice does similar things with Mrs Bennett's Expy Mrs Bakshi. While still presented as pushy and over-the-top, she gets a few Pet the Dog moments. Mr Bingley's (or Balraj now) sister also becomes much less snobby and more friendly.
  • In Prince Caspian, Queen Prunaprismia is stated to have disliked Caspian and wholeheartedly supports her evil husband Miraz. In the film, however, Prunaprismia is portrayed in a more positive light. She shows sympathy for Caspian, and she expresses horror at the fact that Miraz murdered his brother. (The BBC adaptation, on the other hand, increases her villainy by depicting her as a harpy who shows open hostility towards Caspian.)
  • Resident Evil:
  • The original story of The Scarlet Pimpernel has Marguarite denounce the Marquis, accidentally sending him and his family to their deaths in revenge for his attack on her brother; the 1982 film adaption has her innocent of this action, framed by Chauvelin instead (for whom this trope is inverted).
  • Many of Frederick Chilton's Kick the Dog moments in The Silence of the Lambs were cut out of the movie.
  • In Silent Hill, Dahlia Gillespie, who was one of the major villains in the first game, plays a minor role as a member of the religious cult led by Christabella, who, unlike Dahlia in the original game, genuinelly loved Alessa and felt guilty for her suffering.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy:
    • In Spider-Man 2, Doctor Octopus is rewritten a good man turned into a monster by an accident, and he earns redemption in the films' climax. The Green Goblin is less sympathetic, but gets a dying moment of decency that would be utterly foreign to the comic-book version of Norman Osborn. Though at the very least prior to being the Green Goblin Norman was shown to be a good man if a bit of an aloof father and stressed businessman, the Goblin formula drove him insane and created a split personality. In the comics, as Peter pointed out, "He was a bad man turned worse".
    • The Sandman is similarly softened in Spider-Man 3, but this may simply be an adaptation of his heroic, reformed characterization in the 1980s and 1990s. In the comics he makes a Heel-Face Turn, but in the movie, he only ever stole to get the money needed to save his Ill Girl daughter, and departs on good terms with the hero after telling his story. This is... not how their early encounters went in the comics.
  • In the first film version of The Stepford Wives, Walter was all too happy to replace his real wife with a robot. In the remake, Walter is portrayed as frustrated by his marriage but goes against the plot which in this movie, is brainwashing his wife into obedience, and helps Joanna save the other wives from their husband's control.
  • In Alfred Hitchcock's film version of Strangers on a Train, Guy changed from a tragic demoralized anti-hero to an unambiguous hero, who did not succumb to Bruno's pressure to murder his father.
  • Street Fighter: Balrog, one of the villains in Street Fighter II, is a hero and a friend of Chun Li and E. Honda.
  • The movie Switch! is an unofficial remake of Goodbye Charlie. In both an unapologeticly sexist male The Casanova is shot dead and reincarnated as a beautiful woman but in the older film he/she is firmly in Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist territory. In the newer film the reincarnated hero/ine is a much more likable character, actually learns a lesson or two and ends the film on a someone happy note.
  • In The Talented Mr Ripley, although Tom Ripley commits the same murders as he does in the book, he is presented as much more emotional and caring, with his sociopathy significantly toned down. As a particular example, Ripley in the books is introduced pretending to be an official with the electric company/other creditor organizations, and calls random people up to pressure them about (nonexistent) bills, partly so he can support himself on their money and partly for his own amusement. In contrast, Ripley in the film works as a waiter and engages in relatively innocent deceptions in which he lies about his background. He also benefits from he fact that Dickie, his first victim, gets a considerable dose of Adaptational Villainy, going from an Upper-Class Twit in the book to a caddish borderline sociopath in the film.
  • The Tekken film changes Heihachi Mishima from a Corrupt Corporate Executive to a much more sympathetic character who is revealed to have saved Jun Kazama from Kazuya.
  • In Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line Witt is a wise, kind character and a Messianic Archetype; in the book the film is based on, he's racist, volatile and no better or worse than the rest of C-for-Charlie.
  • Happens in the film adaptation of Eclipse. Remember the infamous Forceful Kiss between Jacob and Bella? In the book, Bella's boyfriend Edward doesn't make much of a fuss over it, her dad Charlie approves of Jacob's actions, and Jacob himself is a Jerkass over the whole thing. In the adaptation, Edward is furious with Jacob, Charlie is shocked when he finds out about it and Jacob acknowledges that what he did was wrong.
  • In the original Village of the Damned David was the ringleader of the "cuckoos" that apathetically murdered people of the village. In the 1995 remake this role is instead given to female child Mara. David gains a sub plot revolved around his lack of a counterpart, leaving him vulnerable to human empathy and ultimately pulling a Face-Heel Turn.
  • X-Men:
    • Iceman is much sweeter and more mature than his comic book counterpart's Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Man Child persona.
    • The Wolverine:
      • Harada, sort of. In addition to pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Logan, he's far less of a Jerkass than his comic counterpart, who is a foreigner-hating bigot.
      • Yukio was much more morally ambiguous in the comics (especially in earlier appearances, where she was a mercenary/assassin/thief) than in the movie.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Mystique is given a very realistic and sympathetic motivation for her Start of Darkness moment, in contrast to her depiction in the comics. In fact, this movie goes so far as to establish that prior to killing Bolivar Trask, she'd never taken a single life during any of her crimes. And additionally, she pulls a Heel-Face Turn and not only spares Trask, but rescues the president from Magneto during the climax. Presumably this negates her role as a villain in the original X-Men trilogy via Cosmic Retcon.
      • In the comics, Quicksilver is often an outright jerk (often intentionally). In this film, he's more of a merry mischief-maker. Overall, he is still more heroic than most adaptations portray him, and while he can easily make it out on his own once the breakout goes bust, he instead goes out of his way to save Logan, Charles and Magneto, even though he already broke the latter out of his prison by technicality. He is also clearly not impressed, if amused, by the idea that he helped free the person suspected of killing JFK once he finds out, and is especially shown to be stunned (either in amazement or horror) by Magneto's "demonstration" in the climax.
  • Ironically two of Julie Andrews' most famous roles were the result of this:
  • While the MCU version of Nick Fury is no stranger to keeping secrets and manipulating events to fit a desired outcome, he doesn't go nearly as far with it as the character he's based on (Ultimate Nick Fury), whose a borderline Villain Protagonist at times.

    Literature 
  • In Myth-O-Mania, mostly with the help of Hades, encounters with famous monsters from Classical Mythology tend to be resolved peacefully, and many of them are friendly and misunderstood rather than evil. The Hydra becomes one of Hercules's True Companions, and killed humans with her poisonous breath by accident rather than malice. The Minotaur is a perfectly decent vegetarian whose human "sacrifices" are found alive and well, intended as wrestling partners instead of food, while the Calydonian Boar is a down-on-his-luck wrestler who just wants his job back.
  • Transformers The Covenant Of Primus sees this happen to the Fallen, as his incarnation Transformers Aligned Universe is a far more sympathetic character than previous portrayals have had him, where he was straight-up evil from the get go. This version is heroic and noble, if misguided, before his eventual fall and seeks to atone for his actions It's ultimately subverted as his appearances in Transformers: Robots in Disguise presents him more in line with his Dreamwave and Revenge of the Fallen incarnations.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Indian adaptation of the American series 24, the Nina Myers character (Nikita Rai) is loyal, stays by the cause of the show's CTU (named ATU) and does not kill this show's version of Teri (Trisha).
  • TV adaptations of Agatha Christie's works:
    • Cards on the Table played this straight for Anne and inverted it for Rhoda.
    • The Body in the Library played it straight for Mark and inverted it for Adelaide.
    • The Big Four played it straight for Li Chang Yen, Régine Olivier and Abe Ryland, three of the titular characters of the so-called "Big Four", who have been turned from megalomaniacal leaders bent on world domination in the novel into pacifists and members of the Peace Party who have been framed for a string of murders by Number Four (who here has been named Albert Whalley, a.k.a. Claud Darrell, a.k.a. Dr. Quentin), whose usage of the title "Big Four" into scaring the world is all just a figment of Whalley's imagination.
  • Arrow:
    • Shado in the original comics was a Japanese assassin who raped Green Arrow. In the show, she's a lawyer and one of Ollie's allies on the island.
    • Anatoli Knyazev aka KGBeast. In the comics, he was usually a Psycho for Hire, while on the show he's a sympathetic mobster who helps Ollie during his trip to Russia.
    • Merlyn, to an extent. In the comics, Merlyn is a Psycho for Hire and has opposed the JLA as a member of the League of Assasins and the Injustice League, while on the show Malcolm Merlyn is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to destroy the Glades to avenge his murdered wife. He's still the Big Bad and a pretty horrible human being, but is at least given somewhat sympathetic motivations.
    • Slade Wilson (the comics Deathstroke) in the island flashbacks completes the Power Trio with Ollie and Shado. Too bad it couldn't last.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In the books Bianca is a high-ranking villainous vampire. In the show, she's much more sympathetic and she and Harry end up on the same side more often than not.
    • Morgan in the books, while a good guy, was a Lawful Stupid Inspector Javert who watched Harry like a hawk waiting for the slightest excuse to chop off his head. This version doesn't trust Harry but wants to help the innocent too, which leaves them begrudgingly on the same side more often than not, while having a problem with how visible he makes himself, and the amount of kablooey his larger battles cause. Also, the not trusting him bit isn't purely because he killed Justin in self defense like in the books, but also because he was taught by Justin in the first place. This Morgan is far from Harry's biggest fan, but we go from "he broke a law, forget why he did it, Off with His Head!!" to "yeah, he mostly does what's right, but he's got no regard for The Masquerade, he was the student and relative of a Big Bad, and ye gods, the property damage! Keep an eye on this one."
  • The Huang parents in the TV adaptation of Fresh Off The Boat, in comparison to the original memoir. Jessica in particular is greatly toned down from the her portrayal as a borderline abusive Tiger Mom, since a more faithful depiction likely would've veered into Dude, Not Funny! territory.
  • In From Dusk Till Dawn Richie Gecko is still a creepy psycho, but unlike his Ax-Crazy movie counterpart, he has the excuse that supernatural forces are actively messing with his head.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Cersei Lannister gets several scenes in season 1 that underlines her miserable marriage to Robert, her sympathy for Bran Stark's injury (that she caused), and scenes showing her main virtue (love for her children). Two of her biggest Kick the Dog moments from the second book are done by Joffrey instead. She also recognizes Joffrey's madness and regrets what he's become, while in the books, she defends all of his actions. Her relationship with Tyrion is also considerably less antagonistic.
    • Renly Baratheon is changed from a prideful Sleazy Politician with entitlement issues to a serious and thoughtful young man who rebels against Joffrey out of a genuine sense that he'd be better at the job. The TV character is more intelligent and better read than his book counterpart, who dismisses books because he believes they should only be read by maesters. His main Kick the Dog moment (mocking Brienne of Tarth behind her back) is changed to sincerely respecting her abilities and service.
    • Shae goes from a hired prostitute who is Only in It for the Money to a snarky Action Girl Hooker with a Heart of Gold. She truly loves Tyrion (and gets jealous at the prospect of anyone else taking him from her) and serves as a Cool Big Sister to Sansa.
    • The show makes Tyrion him into a more traditional hero by either removing his more questionable decisions (i.e. the murders he arranges) or changing the situation to make them appear more necessary (most notably his killing of Shae, which in the books is presented as a crime of passion, while the show makes it an act of self defense), and his actions seem to be fueled by a genuine desire to help the realm's people.
    • While much of Margaery Tyrell's apparent kindness is still an act to gain her favor with the people and the other characters, on the show she seems to be genuinely fond of Sansa Stark. In the books, she only befriended Sansa as part of a ploy to marry her to one of her brothers, thereby gaining House Tyrell control of the north through her children, and shunned her when this plan fell through. While the Tyrells still attempt this in the show, Margaery remains supportive and comforting to Sansa even after she is instead married to Tyrion Lannister. This is because Garlan Tyrell, the character who played this role in the books, was Adapted Out. In the show she was also explicitly ignorant of her grandmother's plot to kill Joffrey, of which Sansa and Tyrion were blamed, while the book is more ambiguous but implied that she knew.
    • Tywin in the books is a Jerkass Magnificent Bastard and The Chessmaster who has little regard for his children except for what they can do to further his agenda, and is willing to do whatever it takes to secure the Lannisters' power base. In the series, he's still stern and at times cold, but is more of a Pragmatic Villain who believes he's doing what must be done instead of the complete asshole he comes across as in the books. He also has a different role in Season 2 compared to "A Clash of Kings" that casts him into the role of Arya's master instead of Weese and Roose Bolton, making her a Morality Pet that brings out a softer and more obviously paternal side before he leaves her.
    • Theon's motivations (his feelings of rejection, his desire to belong to at least one of his families, and belated realization that he wanted to be a Stark) as well as his horror at his own actions are shown much more clearly and earlier than in the books.
    • In the novels Sandor Clegane goes to Sansa's room during the Battle of Blackwater with the apparent intention of raping her, throwing Sansa onto the bed with a knife at her throat. The show has their confrontation be much less frightening.
    • In both book and show, the final reason Jon gives for switching sides and joining the Wildlings is implied to be at least partially honest. In the books, he says that he's rebelling against the treatment he received for being a bastard, while in the show he says he wants to join the side fighting against the White Walkers. The change paints him in a more heroic light.
    • Varys the Spider. In the books, we see only fleeting glimpses of the sober, thoughtful and well-intentioned person beneath the obsequious schemer facade. In the show he has more opportunities to speak frankly and honestly, giving Tyrion his due respect and making more of an effort to help him.
    • Ser Alliser Thorne. In the books he's a Small Name, Big Ego Jerkass who needlessly bullies recruits he dislikes. The show gives Thorne a Jerkass Has a Point moment where he defends his brutal methods by stating that lives depend on his recruits being tough enough. During the Battle of Castle Black, the show also gives Thorne a heart-to-heart moment with Jon, a rallying speech, and a heroic charge into combat, while in the books he's not even there.
  • Journey to the West:
    • In his original portrayal Sun Wukong kills wantonly as soon as he is not within the presence of his master. This happens throughout almost the entire journey. The popular 1996 and 2002 HK adaptations had him portrayed as a more merciful character from the start. As a result, his actions of killing the robbers, hunters, and oppressors were often omitted.
    • Tang Sanzang's original portrayal was worse. Acts hypocritically or at best inconsistently, and seemed to treat his disciples as tools most of the time. He also wept fearfully when threatened by demons, while popular adaptations such as the HK versions (1996 and 2002) had him face death with dignity and showed genuine care and concern for his disciples.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Fourze's movie pulls both this trope and its opposite with characters based on Space Ironmen Kyodain, another Shotaro Ishinomori creation. Inga Blink (inspired by the villainous Goblin Queen) and her bodyguard Black Knight become heroes who help Fourze, while the Kyodain are the main antagonists of the film.
    • In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, some Riders are considerably nicer than their original Kamen Rider Ryuki counterparts. Ryuki is basically Highlander as a Toku, so the main hero is the only one at first who is not just out for himself. In Dragon Knight, a lot of them remain just out for themselves, but Wing Knight (Knight) and Siren (Femme) are true heroes. When Len is training Kit early on, that's taken from a scene where Ren was trying to kill Shinji because he'd be trouble down the road. Kase fighting JTC is still Kase fighting JTC, but in Ryuki, the reason is different: Miho just wanted revenge on Asakura. Also, Mirror Kit is Adam, downgraded from evil like mirror Shinji to merely selfish and eventually making a Heel-Face Turn. But perhaps the biggest case of all is Alternative. In Ryuki, he was highly antagonistic to all the Riders and was willing to kill an innocent woman if it meant ending the Rider War. His Dragon Knight counterpart Eubulon on the other hand is the Big Good.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, Richard's brother, Michael, is a villain of the first book, who's willingly in league with Darken Rahl, and executed after his treachery is found out. In Legend of the Seeker, he is instead fooled into serving Rahl and when push comes to shove, he sides with his brother, dying in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Lost in Austen has George Wickham as a good guy, or at least a Jerk with a Heart of Gold or Loveable Rogue.
  • Max Headroom: In the original TV film, Bryce Lynch hires thugs to kill the hero, Edison Carter. Lynch's boss reacts angrily when he hears the news, saying "I run a television network, not a goddamn hit squad!" but Lynch defends his brutal tactics as rational. In the show, Lynch's boss is the one who tries to have Carter killed. Lynch is a morally neutral character who will occasionally work with Carter, rather than the clear villain he is in the film.
  • The 1990 miniseries of The Phantom of the Opera featured Charles Dance as a gentler, kinder and more sympathetic Phantom than his counterpart in the original novel.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Samurai does this in adapting Samurai Sentai Shinkenger's Fuwa Juzo into Deker. Both of them are Blood Knights, but while Juzo is a remorseless killer, Deker was made into an Anti-Villain by making his battle-lust a curse placed on him that he hates. Basically, Deker is what Juzo led us to think he was before The Reveal that he wasn't misunderstood, just evil. However, this makes Deker's death in a manner similar to Juzo's ever so tragic.
    • Dayu is made more sympathetic, especially back during her human days, even if in the end she does just as much bad stuff in both versions.
    • In Tensou Sentai Goseiger, Gosei Knight is largely indifferent to helping humans, only incidentally helping them because of his mission protecting the planet itself, and often doesn't care if they get hurt in fights. In Power Rangers Megaforce, Robo Knight is exactly the same, but stops short of destroying a factory to stop its pollution as a way of protecting the environment.
    • Sanbash, the first general in Seijuu Sentai Gingaman, was a violent, dirty thug. His counterpart in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, Villamax, was the polar opposite. However, he's a partial example: Sanbash's role in the story was held by Furio, who didn't look like Sanbash 'cause (it is said) the costume hadn't arrived yet. The costume did finally show up and so was used later, becoming Villamax, a character whose role in the story didn't exist in Gingaman. Furio is not a sympathetic Noble Demon.
      • Bookrates in Gingaman, while not quite as evil as the other Barban, is still a villain. His Lost Galaxy counterpart Kegler is a friend of Villamax who's just kind of along for the ride (and never gets Bookrate's Evil Makeover).
    • Alex in Power Rangers Time Force. While he is still a massive Jerkass, he's ultimately well meaning and trying to save the world. His counterpart in Mirai Sentai Time Ranger, on the other hand was downright evil, having been responsible for the events of the series occurring in the first place, and despite making efforts to save the future, he was willing to allow mass destruction to be wrought in the present.
  • RoboCop: The Series does this with the Old Man's counterpart, the Chairman. Whereas, even barring his Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome in RoboCop 2, the Old Man was apathetic towards people in the first movie (his anger at the ED-209 screw up was more about the product malfunctioning, not the fact that the malfunction got an employee killed), the Chairman, while still greedy, does indeed care about people, willing to help them out and make things right when he finds out his company did something bad.
  • Sherlock exploits this in the form of Dr. Stapleton, who shares the name of the villain of the novel "The Hound of the Baskervilles''. The culprit turns out to be a completely different character.
  • Supernatural features a twist on the Biblical story of Cain and Abel that paints Cain in a much better light: Cain killed Abel because Abel believed he was talking to God, but was actually talking to Lucifer, who intended to trick Abel into giving up his soul. Cain offered his own soul in exchange for Abel going to Heaven, and Lucifer accepted on the condition that Cain kill Abel himself.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Caroline goes from a vicious bitch who tries her utmost to ruin Elena's life to a sympathetic character. She becomes outright heroic after becoming a vampire.
  • The Worst Witch did this with a lot of characters who mostly made one or two appearances in the books but had their roles expanded on the series.
    • Miss Drill was a strict Drill Sergeant Nasty who becomes the teacher the girls can confide in the most.
    • Miss Bat similarly was your average strict teacher as well but got changed to a quirky and lovable Cloudcuckoolander that was always friendly to the girls.
    • Drucilla was simply a friend to Alpha Bitch Ethel but gets a few Hidden Depths moments and even makes a Heel-Face Turn towards the end.
    • Ethel herself gets a few Hidden Depths and becomes a sort of friend to Mildred in the spin-off Weirdsister College.
    • Miss Hardbroom was a Sadist Teacher that got maybe one Pet the Dog moment in the books. She is still a bit of a Sadist Teacher in the series but is much more sympathetic and is shown to genuinely care for the girls and the welfare of the school.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Characters who start out as villains but undergo a Heel-Face Turn include The Evil Queen from Snow White, Captain Hook and The Snow Queen.
    • The Wicked Witch of the East in the original Oz books was...well wicked. In her brief appearance, she is one of three good witches - and Zelena is the only Wicked Witch there.
    • Ursula from The Little Mermaid is reimagined as an ancient sea goddess, who was implied to be benevolent (granting mermaids the power to walk on land once a year). An evil seawitch called Ursula appears in Season 4 - but this one is named after the goddess and also pulls off a Heel-Face Turn. This is slightly more in line with the original story, where the seawitch wasn't evil.
    • The Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood in a sense as Red herself is really the wolf.
    • The Knave of Hearts is one of Robin Hood's Merry Men who was manipulated into serving the Queen of Hearts.

     Music 
  • In the Discworld novel Wintersmith, the Summer Lady is callous and uncaring, and it's made very clear that eternal summer would have been just as bad as eternal winter; it's just not what happened. The song "The Summer Lady" in the Steeleye Span Concept Album Wintersmith is about how wonderful she is for ending the cold. (Although the earlier "Fire and Ice" correctly portrays both the Summer Lady and the wintersmith as neither good nor evil, just balanced.)

    Radio 

    Theatre 
  • Agatha Christie's theatrical adaption of her novel And Then There Were None has two of the ten characters innocent of the crimes of which they were accused, survive, and fall in love. Most film adaptations use this revised ending, although for adaptations where Lombard is replaced by Charles Morley, this trope only applies to Vera, as Lombard was still guilty and committed suicide before the start of the story.
  • Quite a few characters in Wicked, due to the musical's Lighter and Softer nature compared to the book. Book!Elphaba was a very bitter and cynical person even before her Face-Heel Turn, while the play version is a nice but misunderstood girl who never becomes truly evil. Fiyero gets upgraded to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who genuinely cares for Elphaba, while in the book he just used her for sex. And the Wizard is now a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is being manipulated by Madam Morrible.
  • Herbert West in Reanimator? A dangerous Mad Scientist obsessed with reanimating dead bodies. Herbert West in Shoggoth on the Roof? A dangerous Mad Scientist obsessed with reanimating dead bodies... to provide humanity with the necessary immortality to combat Eldritch Abominations, with his devoted young wife by his side. He actually winds up the hero of the whole musical because of this.
  • Les Misérables: Like in its film adaptation (see above), Eponine is considerably more sympathetic (and saner) than she is in the original novel.
  • Jean Racine's play Phèdre has Phaedra being a love martyr and trying to fight her forbidden love for her stepson Hippolytus. Unlike the antic myth and previous adaptations, she doesn't accuse Hippolyte of having raped her to her husband Theseus but her nurse does to save her reputation. She kills herself after Hyppolyte's death and reveals his innocence in her last breath.
  • Two different adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — the 2005 stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the 2010 opera The Golden Ticket — do this to Willy Wonka. In the book, he's a cheerful Jerk with a Heart of Gold Trickster recluse who isn't one to go out of his way to be nice most of the time. In both of these adaptations, he becomes a Composite Character with the friendly sweetshop owner by way of the latter becoming the former's King Incognito disguise (this is telegraphed so clearly to the audience that there's no reveal of it. Many productions of the former just cast two actors, thus dropping this trope). In this disguise, he gets to know Charlie Bucket and, taking pity on the worthy-but-poor boy, arranges things so that he gets the Wonka Bar that contains the last of the Golden Tickets, whereas in the book Charlie finding his ticket is just a Million-to-One Chance paying off. The 2013 West End stage musical applies this to Mr. Wonka as well, but his masquerade and hand in Charlie's fortune is hidden until the very last moment. And with his greater generosity and sensitive artist's soul also come a darker attitude towards the unworthy, resulting in a complex example of this trope.
  • In the original Heathers Veronica is an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist Anti-Hero, while J.D. is an Ax-Crazy sociopathic Serial Killer. In the musical, Veronica comes off more as a generally nice (if snarky) girl who got in way over her head, and is too easily manipulated, and while J.D. is still a serial killer he's much less of a sociopath, and more of a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds that does genuinely care for Veronica. The musical also takes more time exploring the fact that J.D. isn't evil, exactly.

     Video Games 
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • In Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, Fonse Kagatie manipulates Queen Maria and decides to build the Angel Halo to subjugate mankind. During a Space Route scenario of Shin Super Robot Wars, Londo Bell rescues Fonse from imprisonment. He relates how the alien attack and Tassilo Vago's treachery brought about the end of the Zanscare Empire (just as Lupe Cineau had said), ending in Tassilo bringing him here a prisoner. When the party tells him that Zanscare is still active, Fonse realizes that Char Aznable must have taken control. Increasingly panicked, he tells the party they must stop Char before he achieves his misguided goal of robbing all mankind of its emotions, creating obedient soldiers as the aliens want.
    • In Super Robot Wars Destiny, much of Char's Neo Zeon and Gundam Wing's antagonists play the part of heroes, fighting against Zanscare and various alien threats. The most notable example is probably Treize Khushrenda, who at the end of the game sacrifices himself to seal away the Eldritch Abomination Big Bad. Many other games allow you to recruit antagonists of all shapes and sizes to your cause. UX includes Ryofu Tallgeese and Master Therion, to name a pair of standouts.
    • Axel Almar, one of the Schrodingers Player Characters from Super Robot Wars Advance, zig-zags this one. In Advance, he's a cheerful goofball if you choose him as your player character, or a cold enemy commander if you choose Lamia Loveless instead. In Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, Lamia is the good guy in the story's plot, so Axel is the villain... only he's even worse than he was as an enemy in Advance. Then the Updated Re-release Original Generations Ret Conned Axel to make him more of a Noble Demon, swinging him back in this direction as well as setting him up to appear in Endless Frontier, Original Generations the 2nd, and The Inspector (the Animated Adaptation of Original Generation 2's plotline), where he pulls a full-on Heel-Face Turn.
    • Super Robot Wars GC: Zeon deploys the Apsalus III during its second attempt to capture Jaburo. Aina is piloting it but Ginias soon assumes control over it after removing a half-hearted Aina from the cockpit. Ginias asked Norris to take Aina to safety while he pilots the Apsalas III himself in spite of his poor health, vowing victory for Zeon. In essence, Banpresto treated Ginias a lot better in GC than in the original series.
  • In the Dead Rising 2 spin-off Off the Record, Raymond Sullivan goes from the Big Bad (one of two, at least) to a genuinely heroic person. Conversely, Stacey takes his position as the Big Bad instead.
  • In the Mega Man Battle Network series as a whole, most Navi counterparts of the Classic Robot Masters are mostly neutral at worst, but some actually do start out as villains (at first). Most prominent of these is Dex and his Navi GutsMan.EXE, who starts out as a bully, but becomes part of the True Companions.
  • The Battle of Olympus, which is based on Classical Mythology, turns Circe from a seductress who turned visitors to her island into animals to an ally who will sell you a useful shield.
  • In Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Count Dracula is revealed to be this.
  • Yoshiya "Joshua" Kiryuu is a smug, manipulative jerk in The World Ends with You that drives the protagonist up the wall, kills the protagonist twice, and the entire plot of the game is kicked off by his desire to erase Shibuya. When he shows up Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, he's significantly nicer and much more helpful to Sora. It's almost bizarre, considering that the other TWEWY characters still have the same personality, more or less.
  • Joshua Graham from Fallout: New Vegas was originally supposed to be pure evil (this was in the scrapped Van Buren edition). In New Vegas, however, he is one of the Big Goods of the DLC Honest Hearts, although he still has some Blood Knight tendencies.
  • The Final Fantasy Adventure remake Sword of Mana changes Mr. Lee's character drastically - in the first game he is a boss who apparently delighted keeping girls in a box so he could drain their blood. In Sword of Mana his actions are merely misundertood by the heroes, and survives.
  • In the NES version of Double Dragon III, Yagyu Ranzou (the Mission 3 boss) joins forces with the Lee brothers and Chin after being defeated in combat. In the arcade version of the game, he was simply a non-playable boss.

    Web Original 
  • In the The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lydia Bennet is developed into a much more rounded and sympathetic character than she was in the original book. Whereas the Lydia from the book was a shallow, self-absorbed Bratty Hormone Addled Teenage Daughter who never even realized how much grief she had put her family through, the Lydia in this web series is shown to have a Freudian Excuse for her attention-seeking behavior, genuinely love her sisters, and be consoled by them after George Wickham takes advantage of her trust in him.
  • In Vaguely Recalling JoJo, J. Geil genuinely cares for Enya and Dio is a good father for Giorno. Also, Dio cares about his minions, as they're alive in later episodes.
  • We Are Our Avatars: Although Tim Langdon was seen in a few scenes so far, he's much nicer than both Hiromu, his Sentai counterpart criticized for his serious characterization, and reboot!Dante. For the latter, arcadiarika states that she's trying to make him nothing like him and attempt to be closer personality-wise to classic!Dante.
  • Gigan in Monster Island Buddies is still one of the villains, but rather than being a Psycho for Hire who chops opponents For the Evulz he is an Adorkable nerdy Punch Clock Villain who even wants to be friends with Godzilla, his supposed enemy.
  • The fan-made series Nightwing: The Series gives this to Deathstroke. While he initially appears to be as brutal as his comic book counterpart that keeps the Never Hurt an Innocent ideas, it turns out that most of his high-profile victims were responsible for the military experiments that turned him into the proficient killer he is, and are implied to have made him kill children, causing a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. When Slade confronts the last of his victims, he looks like he's about to break down into tears over this. He also favourably compares Nightwing to his son Grant during their last conversation, although we never find out why he views them as alike, since he gets shot in the head by Jason Todd.
  • Hellsing Ultimate Abridged has Enrico Maxwell—rather than gleefully admitting the Vatican's past involvement with Millennium like in canon, here it's the Major who reveals it to Maxwell's embarrassment. He also seemed disgusted to find out that Millennium's Mole was also a Pedophile Priest. For the most part, he's played up as being Not So Different than Integra as the two are forced to deal with Anderson and Alucard, respectively.
  • Carmilla The Series does this to Carmilla herself, taking the unrepentant murderer from the original and making her a Jerk with a Heart of Gold Tragic Villain who performs a Heel-Face Turn.
  • RWBY: The Abridged Series portrays “The Creatures of Grimm” as more quirky intelligent animals and less the murderous psychopaths bent on the destruction of humanity they were in the original show. The avian Grimm Ruby kills was just enjoying his day. The Beowolves are surprisingly polite, even though Weiss started a fight with them and Ruby attacked one of their pack mates with her scythe. They even ask Ruby and Weiss if they need a minute alone after they start arguing with each other and one of them even playfully tells them to get a room. The black head of the dual-headed King Tajitu Ren gets into a fight with was just trying to be nice when questioning whether or not he was lost in the woods and the other head only attacked Ren after he stabbed his friend. As of Episode Four, the Dark Stalker Pyrrha and Jaune run into is the only really bad Grimm and the worst it does is molest Jaune and ignore his safety by tossing him into the forest and in this version, Pyrrha already does stuff like this to Jaune anyway.

     Web Video 
  • The version of Bi-Han (AKA Sub-Zero) in Mortal Kombat Legacy is shown to be a genuinely heroic figure in stark contrast to him being an outright Jerkass in the game. He is so dedicated to preserving the peace between his clan and the Rhirai Ryu that he forgives Hanzo Hasashi (AKA Scorpion) the death of his younger brother Kuai Liang (admittedly, Kuai Liang attacked Hanzo, who was merely protecting his wife and son). When Bi-Han finds out that the Rhirai Ryu have been wiped out, presumably by his own people, he is ready to execute them, and only stops when his adviser tells him that something supernatural is afoot (in fact, some of his people were involved, but they thought they were following his orders, when, in fact, it was the sorcerer Quan Chi impersonating him). He joins the tournament specifically to try to get through to Scorpion that they've both been played and is reluctant to fight his old friend. Unfortunately, the undead Scorpion is not in the mood to listen and ends up killing Bi-Han in a gruesome fashion.

    Western Animation 
  • While not an "adaptation" of The Jungle Book per se, TaleSpin does this to some of its reinvented characters from the Disney film. In the latter Shere Khan, while Affably Evil, was a genuine force of evil and took sadistic pleasure in the idea of killing a man cub. In Tale Spin he is still sinister, but a business man of neutral alliance, interested only in power and having a strong moral code (even siding with Baloo if someone risks offending it). Meanwhile King Louie is altered from a wily troublemaker to Baloo's best friend.
  • Similarly, Thomas the Tank Engine in The Railway Series, while still sympathetic, was much more of a self absorbed Bratty Half-Pint. While the show kept up this depiction for most episodes adapted from the books, its turn to original stories slowly made Thomas more altruistic and innocent. Some other engines such as Henry and Sir Handel took a similar direction.
    • Bulgy in the original novels was a racist Jerk Ass who met his karmic fate by being turned into a chicken coop. While this plot is adapted into the show, he is later restored for vehicle purposes and becomes more benevolent.
  • DCAU:
    • Batman: The Animated Series:
      • Several villains whose comics incarnations were essentially doing things For the Evulz gained sympathetic motives or personalities. The Mad Hatter originally had no backstory in the comics, but was introduced in the series as a victim of Love Makes You Evil; minor gimmick crook Mister Freeze's reimagining as an Anti-Villain was so successful it was later imported into the comics, albeit with Darker and Edgier elements.
      • The Crime Doctor was introduced in Detective Comics #77 as an outright villainous character. The B:TAS episode of the same name turns the character into a sympathetic figure, a good-intentioned doctor who helped his brother (crime boss Rupert Thorne) in the hopes that the latter would use his influence to restore his medical license.
      • Harvey Bullock used to take bribes in the comics, the animated Bullock claims he would never do that. Bullock is a pure good guy, a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist who really wants to make Gotham a better place and just doesn't realize as yet that that's what Bats is doing too.
      • Gotham's Mayor Hill was also not corrupt like his comics counterpart (whom Bullock used to work for).
    • Justice League Unlimited:
      • Huntress is a more heroic figure after she resolves her issues with Mandragora.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures:
    • Andros Stark (the future Iron Man) was depicted as a futuristic superhero, and only battled Tony Stark in order to save the timeline, and knew if he succeeded, he himself would most likely vanish with the Bad Future he came from. In the comics, Andros is a psychotic supervillain who made a mockery of Tony's legacy.
    • Ghost is portrayed in this show as a Professional Killer and a Punch Clock Villain who only cares about being paid. He still isn't exactly a nice guy, but that's definitely better than his Ax-Crazy comic book counterpart who had a severe Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
    • Obadiah Stane, while still a villain and Jerkass that's willing to work with criminals, frequently shows he still has standards while his comic book incarnation was a straight up villain.
    • The Mandarin in the comic is an Evil Overlord motivated by megalomania, as well as an Abusive Parent. This one is on the receiving end of the abuse, has redeeming qualities and genuinely believes he can make the world a better place by ruling it. That said, some of this is probably in part because this Mandarin is a Composite Character between the comics Mandarin and his son, Temugin.
    • The Living Laser has more sympathetic motives for his actions and even does a Heel-Face Turn; the one in the comics would eventually get some sympathy, but never completed his turn.
  • The 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series actually rewrote Kraven the Hunter and Calypso entirely, with both becoming heroes once Spider-Man resolved the issues with their Psycho Serum-derived powers. (Kraven softens some and eventually makes a Heel-Face Turn, but Calypso is totally overhauled; from an evil sorceress to a friendly scientist who is only villainous in one Psycho Serum-involving episode.) Similarly, minor villain the Spot was recast as a Punch Clock Villain whose episode shows him going through a Heel-Face Turn after committing a few ill-advised bank robberies. The comics version, by contrast, is an unrepentant petty criminal with a sideline in contract killing.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man:
    • In the comics Frederick Foswell was the crime boss known as The Big Man and after his release tried returning to crime before going up against the Kingpin, making a Heel-Face Turn, and ultimately sacrificing himself to save J. Jonah Jameson. In the show he's a journalist on the up and up from the beginning.
  • X-Men:
    • Magneto has always been a complex character, doing acts others consider villainy or heroism as needed to protect mutants, so the sight of him helping the X-Men and meaning it is not too surprising in any continuity. However, when he's bad, look out. His list of villainous exploits is impressive, and everyone's leery of him even when he's been playing nice for a while because they know that "what must be done to protect mutants" being helping old ladies cross the street now doesn't mean it won't be "showdown that could well start World War III" someday. In this series, he's only properly villainous in his introductory two-parter, and every appearance after that has him alongside the X-Men against common foes, and the one time he does fight them again he's being manipulated by Apocalypse.
    • Cable's son Tyler. In the comics he was an Antagonistic Offspring and eventually became a supervillain going so far as trying to follow in Apocalypse's steps. Here Tyler is a straight-up hero and he and Cable are very close. Probably Justified via Stryfe, whose actions caused their relationship to go sour in the original comics, being Adapted Out.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • The titular turtles are a lot more noble in the cartoons than the original comic. The original Mirage Turtles were assembled by Splinter purely to avenge Hamato Yoshi by killing the Shredder. Not that the Shredder isn't bad, but the Turtles were originally trained for the purpose of a revenge killing, whereas in the shows they are mostly fighting him because they're the good guys and he's actively doing something bad today. This even goes for the Darker and Edgier 2003 series where the backstory is taken practically word for word from the comics.
    • Leatherhead played the Trope very straight. In the 1987 version, he was a villain and a bully. He was completely changed in the 2003 version, where he was a friend of the Utroms, and a Genius Bruiser, far more benevolent. But one thing both versions had in common was his rotten temper.
    • Downplayed with the 2012 incarnation of the Shredder, where his love for his daughter, Karai, is very genuine. The problem is that he has rooted himself so deep in his hatred toward the Hamato Clan, even his love for his daughter doesn't seem to matter, culminating in her mutation, which he still blames on the Hamato Clan despite him being the one using her as bait for the trap that did it.
  • Garfield, while remaining largely the same character in all medias, is hit with this to some extent. The comic strips usually revolve around quick gags involving Garfield's snarkiness or cruel sense of humor. The Animated Adaptations however, likely due to their longer more depthful stories, keep most of Garfield's nastier qualities but also more frequently show his redeeming side, leaning him more into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. This is especially prominant in The Garfield Show where he is occasionally toned down to the point of being outright altruistic.
  • While Pete has traditionally been a truly evil villain, in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and, to a lesser extent, Goof Troop, he was played differently. In Goof Troop at least, he was a Jerkass, a Manipulative Bastard, and (as a result of the premise) an Abusive Parent, but he was also shown to have standards, fight against greater evils from time to time, and have a few Pet the Dog moments, making him more of an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist or Anti-Hero. In Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, he is played much more sympathetically due to the target audience being younger to the point where he's not even very mean and actually gets along with the other characters. One episode of DuckTales had a gruff but outright heroic Pete who was only positioned as a potential villain as a Red Herring.
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • In the Marvel Comics universe, Berzerker was a minor villain and member of the Morlocks. In Evolution, he's a teenager and member of the X-Men.
    • The Morlocks in general. In the comics, they're in the Heel-Face Revolving Door; their suffering from their odd appearances or Blessed with Suck powers is real, but attacking random humans to punish them for it is Not Cool. Sometimes they get better, and sometimes they get Aesop Amnesia. The Evolution version is not known to attack humans unprovoked, and the 90s 'toon version starts out villainous but cuts it out when Storm takes over, and there's no revolving door.
    • Avalanche is a much more sympathetic character, as well as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He acts as Kitty Pryde's major love interest and even has a brief stint as a member of the X-Men before returning to the Brotherhood of Mutants.
    • Arcade, in the comics, is an assassin who entraps victims in game-like deathtraps he calls "Murderworld". In Evolution, he is an ordinary high school gamer kid. He is manipulated by Mystique into hacking into the danger room computer in the belief that it's a sophisticated videogame. He endangers the X-Men, whom he believes are game characters. Once he realized what he was doing, he regretted his actions and was forgiven by the X-Men.
  • Young Justice:
    • Artemis Crock in the comics is the child of Paula and Lawrence Crock, all three being unrepentant supervillains. In the show Artemis is ashamed of her criminal lineage and Paula does a Heel-Face Turn after being crippled and spending six years in prison. Cheshire, who is Artemis' sister on the show (but not the comics), is introduced as a villain and member of the League of Shadows, but evolves into an Anti-Villain or Anti-Hero by season two. In the comics she once nuked a country For the Evulz.
    • Neutron is a Psycho for Hire in the comics, but turned out to be Brainwashed and Crazy here.
    • The tie-in comic does this both to Gorilla Grodd and King Sha'ark. Both are borderline Token Evil Teammates for their respective groups but are set up as adversaries of greater villains.
    • In the comics, Mongul is an Evil Overlord with no real motivation other than being a sadistic bully and general douchebag. In the show, he's still definitely a dick, but his extreme hatred of the Reach and desire to eradicate them makes him a fair bit more sympathetic.
    • In Superboy comics Dr Amanda Spence is an Evilutionary Biologist who created Match, and killed Conner's girlfriend Tanya Moon For the Evulz. In the series, Conner accuses her of creating Match but it turns out this is unfounded, and she later helps create the anti-Starro technology.
    • The Aquaman villain Black Manta is reimagined as a sophisticated and somewhat noble villain who has numerous Pet the Dog moments with his subordinates, particularly his son. In the comics, he was utterly heartless.
    • Vandal Savage in the comics is probably the single most thoroughly vile individual in The DCU with many thousands of years worth of absolutely horrific crimes to his name. In the show, he's still definitely not a nice guy, but he's a Knight Templar visionary whose acts are motivated by a desire to drive humanity to advance and make Earth a major universal power.
    • Rumaan Harjavti is depicted as a benevolent figure and the democratically elected president of Qurac. In the comics, he was the Bialyan Queen Bee's predecessor as the ruler of Bialya and like her was a foe of the Justice League, though he was less intelligent.
    • Major Force is implied to be a subversion. In the comics he's a violently sociopathic and blood-thirsty villain. In the comic tie-in to the show he's a hero sponsored by the government, whom the Justice League want to recruit. The reason he's not on the league is because Captain Atom shoots his suggestion down because of history he has with Force, his dialogue implying that Force isn't as heroic as he seems.
  • Teen Titans:
    • In the comics, Terra horrified even Slade with her ruthlessness and manipulative sociopathy. This Terra, however, is a Broken Bird who was Driven to Villainy by a desperate need to live a normal life and performs a Heel-Face Turn after some convincing by Beast Boy.
    • Plasmus can't control his transformations into a mindless monster and willingly submits to being kept in stasis for most of his life. In the comics, he is in full control of himself and likes melting people.
  • Wolverine and the X-Men:
    • Nitro releases giant explosions of energy whenever he's stressed, or just when enough energy is stored up. Like Plasmus above, he submits to confinement so he doesn't harm others, and is used by the villains as a blunt instrument against his will. In the comics, he's a killer for hire, and caused both the death of the Kree Captain Marvel and the Stamford Incident that killed about 700-ish people. (Interestingly, there was a one-shot child character in Uncanny X-Men who was like the animated Nitro but more adorable.)
    • Shows like Wolverine and the X-Men and the 2011 series portray Emma Frost in a more sympathetic light, completely turning her into a straight hero rather than a byronic one. Basically, if it was written before her comicverse Heel-Face Turn, she'll be completely evil with no sign she could ever be good; if it was written after, she'll be completely good with no sign she could ever be evil. That said, the Wolverine and the X-Men version of Frost also has Adaptational Villainy, as she's The Mole and still the White Queen of the Inner Circle (and even kicks off the events of the series as it's revealed she's the one who attacked Jean and Professor Xavier, which in turn ended up destroying the mansion—albeit with the intention of taking out the Phoenix before she could be a threat).
  • Beware the Batman:
    • While the comic version of Professor Pyg murders and mutilates people at random (with Mr. Toad being simply his lackey), the cartoon reinvents him as a dapper, sophisticated villain with a Victorian-era flair. Instead of being a serial killer or performing medical experiments on people, he and Toad are eco-terrorists who specifically target rich businessmen whose careless activities have harmed animals or the environment. That said, what they do with said businessmen is still pretty sick (hunting them down and killing them like animals), and Pyg himself still wields surgical equipment that he's all too eager to use. He ends up experimenting with innocent people in "Doopelganger", and he completely has fun terrorizing and punishing his victims.
    • Man-Bat is a full-fledged ally of Batman instead of an occasional foe. It helps that Kirk Langstrom can control himself as Man-Bat, and was only forced to attack Batman when he was drugged by Pyg. Guess who's a founding member of the Outsiders?
  • The four ghosts from Pac-Man become allies of his in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.
  • Many villainous characters from TUGS became friends with the Star Tugs ather than enemies in the Cut-and-Paste Translation, Salty's Lighthouse. The Z-Stacks are a prime example.
  • The The Super Hero Squad Show did this with Songbird. In the comics, Melissa Gold started out as a criminal called "Screaming Mimi" and was a member on the Master of Evil. During the Masters' scheme to pretend to be a hero team called the Thunderbolts, she's changed her codename to "Songbird" and found that she liked being a heroine and performed a Heel-Face Turn. After a few appearances in earlier episodes, "Deadly Is The Black Widow's Bite!" revealed that Songbird was The Mole for S.H.I.E.L.D., spying on the Lethal Legion, and was a heroine from the start.
  • The animated adaptation of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer is a strange case where this Trope is used on a character usually thought of as a hero anyway - in this case, Santa Claus - but was a victim of Adaptational Villainy in the original work. In the original song, it's implied that Santa ran over grandma on purpose; in this version, it was a Frame-Up, where he manages to help grandma recover.
  • Avengers Assemble:
    • Princess Python starts off as a former member of the Circus of Crime, but reforms and joins S.H.I.E.L.D. by the end of the episode.
    • Both men to have operated under the name "Radioactive Man" were super villains in the comics, but this version of Igor Stancheck is a member of the Winter Guard and helps to destabilized a facility that falling towards a village to save said village. Similarly, despite being based on Ivan Vanko from Iron Man 2, the Crimson Dynamo is hero a member of the Winter Guard and only stole a capsule because it contained Radioactive Man.