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Choosing Neutrality

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All heroes and villains alike are obviously dynamic, meaning they go through minor to major changes in terms of personality traits, abilities, and lastly, morality. It is possible for any kind of hero to commit a Face–Heel Turn, meaning they have turned to the dark side through various causes, such as corruption, persuasion from other villains, etc. Whereas villains perform a Heel–Face Turn, through other methods like purification, and again, persuasion from other heroes in order to win them over to the side of good. However, at least sometimes, a character will decide to join the side of neutrality instead, and because of that, the individual never joins sides, whether it would be factions, or various corporations alike through whatever reason may be.

Now granted, this is quite an unusual choice of action since it is quite rare for a malevolent as well as a benevolent character to join the forces of neutrality, even though neutrality usually avoids getting involved in conflicts and just wants to solve problems for the greater good, keeping things in balance, and as well as their utter capability to reform evil and pacifying good. Like all neutral characters, those that go through a Heel-Neutrality Turn, tend to be far more mature than ever, and they tend to focus on objectives of keeping everything in balance.

This trope mustn't be confused with the other trope, Heel–Face Revolving Door, which is where a character is constantly dynamic whenever it comes to their own very morality, whereas those that commit a Heel-Neutrality Turn, will remain roughly in the middle despite the fact that they don't join sides. It's also not to be confused with Retired Monster, since it talks about characters that have retired from being villains, whereas Heel-Neutrality Turn talks about either villains and heroes deciding to join the forces of neutrality.

This is in contrast with Adopt the Dog (which simply means the neutral character does something good and joins the benevolent side), and Neutral No Longer (which means that the neutral character finally chooses a side). Compare with Team Switzerland, which is when a third party refuses to join either side of a conflict.


Comic Books

  • During Black Moon Chronicles, at the end of the first series, Haazheel Thorn and Wismerhill are facing each other. Thorn's Dragon Greldinard remains on the sidelines, unwilling to participate in a battle he deems foolish (as both were allies up to then). After Wis succeeds, Greldinard shows up, asks if it was truly worth it and kneels, acknowledging him as his master.
  • In DC Comics, Blackfire has turned from being a villain into a neutral character ever since she finally got what she wanted, which is becoming the ruler of Tamaran and its forces. In consequence of that, apart from becoming more cooperative, she became less antagonistic and she avoids taking sides during conflicts.

Fan Works

  • All Mixed Up!: The Odd Squad chose to remain neutral during both of the World Wars, as they were made up of children who didn't see the point of fighting. As a consequence, their ability to remain in contact with all of the precincts in countries controlled by the Central Powers was severely curtailed, limited to highly coded messages.
  • In All That's Left, Vox the Quirk Healer makes a point of avoiding contact with heroes and villains alike. He only makes an exception for Aizawa when a mutual acquaintance vouches for him.
  • Brockton's Celestial Forge: Uppercrust creates shields that help protect cities from various disasters. His willingness to work with both heroes and villains gives him pull with both sides.
  • Daphne Greengrass and the Boy Who Lived:
    • The Greengrass family did this during the last Wizarding War. However, as their daughter becomes closer to Harry, her parents acknowledge that neutrality won't be an option if Voldemort returns, assuring Daphne that they're willing to face this.
    • Later on, Pansy Parkinson invokes this; she recognizes that Voldemort's return would be dangerous for everyone, but isn't willing to actively work with Daphne's group of Slytherin reformists.
  • Hegemony: Entrapta stays neutral during the war, as she feels that neither side fundamentally understands what she cares about and what would benefit her kingdom of Dryl the most.
  • Precipice: Dr. Naar turns down Ahsoka's offer to join the Rebellion mainly because he believes that he shouldn't choose sides, and that he should be willing to treat any sentient being that requires his aid regardless of their personal beliefs.
  • Played With in Truth and Consequences: After Chat Noir presents Alya with ample evidence that Ladybug has made a deal with Hawkmoth, she and the other Miraculous heroes decide to take this route. Namely because Ladybug is the one who chose all of them to be heroes in the first place, meaning she knows all of their Secret Identities... and has full control over their access to their Miraculouses, as they're all temporary heroes. Thus, their ability to remain active heroes relies upon their ability to retain Ladybug's favor. Naturally, Chat Noir doesn't see this as remaining neutral, especially since they demonstrate this by tackling him in a five-in-one battle.


  • One of Aesop's Fables is "The Dilemma of the Bat", about a bat that imposed neutrality upon himself to avoid making enemies. Briefly, war between the beasts of the earth and the birds of the sky seemed imminent. The beasts asked the bat to join their side, but the bat deferred, claiming to be a bird. Likewise, when the birds asked the bat to side with them, the bat claimed to be a beast. A last-minute truce between the lion and the eagle averted war, but left the bat with no allies and shunned as a distrusted pariah. "In seeking to make no enemies, I've succeeded in making no friends," the bat lamented.
  • Enforced in The Witcher series by the witchers themselves. Their general mindset is to avoid getting involved into any conflicts between civilized species and only focus on eliminating monsters. Given their Crapsack World, it is not always possible.
    • Then again, this does not add up with the "good versus evil" idea; this world runs on Grey-and-Gray Morality, and there are rarely conflicts where one party is good and one is evil (excluding more-or-less good protagonists engaging against obvious villains).
    • In practical terms, witchers sometimes do end up choosing a side in a conflict. For example, Coën ends up fighting and dying for the Northern Kingdoms at the Battle Of Brenna. Geralt himself ends up being forced to take a side in "The Lesser Evil" in the conflict between Stregobor and Renfri, due to Renfri threatening to slaughter the townsfolk of Blaviken.

Live-Action TV

  • In Farscape, Crais, the Starter Villain, comes to the conclusion at the end of the first season that his pursuit of vengeance on Crichton was unjustified and insane, and spends the next two seasons as a Wild Card and later Token Evil Teammate, making it quite clear to everyone else that his sole priority is his own survival and that of his beloved Living Ship Talyn.

Video Games

  • Knights of the Old Republic has Jolee Bindo, whose karma meter is permanently stuck in the Neutral line.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei games where the Law and Chaos factions come into play, going Neutral is usually considered an option where humanity doesn't choose a side between the angelic Law forces and demonic Chaos forces.

Western Animation

  • Futurama has The Neutral Planet, who has this as their hat.
    "All I know is my gut says maybe"
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Hekapoo eventually leaves the Magic High Commission; however, they choose not to actively oppose them, instead hiding out in The Tavern at the End of the Multiverse. That said, they do rescue several other characters and offer them the chance to stay with them.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: After being betrayed by Count Dooku and after the Nightsisters are killed, Asajj Ventress becomes a bounty hunter, working for both villains and heroes alike, including Obi Wan and Ashoka.
  • In Steven Universe, after spending several millennia damaged and sealed in a mirror because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, Lapis Lazuli prefers not to get involved with the Crystal Gems and their conflicts and only gradually comes to enjoy living on Earth. Her roommate Peridot, in contrast, embraces Earth after her Heel Face Turn and regularly assists and socializes with the Crystal Gems. As the threat of the Diamonds looms ever closer over the course of the story, rather than side with the Crystal Gems, Lapis flees Earth entirely to stay as far away from the crossfire as possible. With appropriate timing, she comes back, reasoning if Homeworld will punish her like a Crystal Gem, she may as well become one.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Starscream tries to defect from the Decepticons to the Autobots, but he makes the mistake of accidentally bragging that he killed Cliffjumper to Arcee. He is forced to flee when she tries to kill him for revenge. Realizing that his selfish goals and long history of antagonizing them makes any long-term alliance impossible, he tries his hand at being an independent player. That doesn't last: humiliating consequences of several failed schemes force Starscream admit that he simply doesn't have the resources or allies needed to take over Cybertron on his own. After some thought, he reasons that regaining his high position under Megatron's rule is much better than the nothing he could achieve on his own. So he swallows his pride and uses several of his stole artifacts to bribe his way back into the Decepticon ranks.