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Create Your Own Hero

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"I used to believe Batman was responsible for you people, but now I see nearly everyone here would have ended up exactly the same, Batman or not. Oh, the gimmicks might be different, but you'd all be out there in some form or another bringing misery to Gotham. The truth is, you created him."
Janet van Dorn to Batman's Rogues Gallery, Batman: The Animated Series "Trial"

The Big Bad's had it pretty good so far, steamrolling through any opposition in their path, taking over the world and generally being a complete and utter bastard with no one being able to stop them in any way.

Unfortunately for them, they end up killing the family of a child that grows up to be an utter badass with a vengeance, or cause an accident which gives someone superpowers, or through their actions force a Heroic Neutral to declare that It's Personal and be Neutral No Longer, usually with a Doomed Hometown. In other words they've created their own hero. Someone to be a beacon of hope in the world's Darkest Hour, someone to lead the token resistance against their rule and eventually overcome them, all because of an act they did on a random Tuesday that they can't even remember sometimes involving a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Now they have to deal with the possibility of being killed in a fight with their personally created nemesis, or (in some cases) killed by their partners when they realize whose fault it is that this do-gooder keeps ruining all their plots.

Subtrope of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain, and the ultimate expression of Villains Act, Heroes React. Opposite of Create Your Own Villain, and Superhero Paradox. Related to Genocide Backfire, Nice Job Breaking It, Herod, and I Need You Stronger (where the villain instead helps the hero to level grind). Supertrope to Phlebotinum Rebel and Faustian Rebellion (in that the villain literally and intentionally empowers the would-be hero who then rebels against them) and so examples of that kind fall into those tropes.

Not to be confused with Character Customization.


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    Films — Animated 
  • In Disney's Hercules, Hades failed attempt to kill Hercules as a baby to guarantee his future plans to usurp Olympus won't fail ends up causing Hercules to become the very hero that ultimately defeats Hades in the end.
  • Megamind tries to invoke this trope. After accidentally killing Metroman, he misses playing the bad guy and creates a new super-hero by giving powers to a random man named Hal. However, Hal actually uses his power to become a villain even worse than Megamind the moment that being good doesn't satisfy his selfish needs and ironically, is one of many people who unintentionally helps Megamind to become a hero.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: It's implied that the spider which bites Miles and gives him his powers is "radioactive" due to the Collider (either it came from another universe through the Collider or it was somehow contaminated by the Collider's energy). When a frightened Miles returns to the scene of the bite, he witnesses a battle between Kingpin and his universe's Spider-Man, and when the battle ends in Spider-Man's death, he vows to finish what Peter Parker started. Furthermore, the other five Spider-people — Peter B. Parker, Gwen Stacy, Peni Parker, Spider-Ham, and Spider-Man Noir — are pulled into Miles's universe by the same experimental tech.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Had King Candy not screwed with Vanellope's code, she would not have gained her glitching powers which would go on to make her a major factor to ruining his master plan in taking over the arcade. Whoops.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Greek Mythology: Done by accident several times. When a king hears a prophecy that their son/grandson will cause their death/be greater than them, the steps they take to avert this result in it happening:
    • Among the gods, Cronus was told a prophecy that his children would overthrow him as he did his own father Ouranos, so he swallowed his otherwise immortal progeny. His wife tricked him into eating a rock instead of the last child, Zeus, who grew up to trick Cronus into vomiting the children he ate back up. Naturally none of them were happy about it and they initiated a ten year war that saw Cronus and his allied Titans deposed.
    • A prophecy foretold that Priam's son Paris would be the downfall of Troy, so he was sent away to Mount Ida. Then he judged which of the three goddesses was most beautiful and promised the hand of Helen, and was recognized as Priam's son, who could not send away his newfound son but also had no wish to see all of Greece allied against him.
    • Oedipus' parents, the king and queen of Thebes, heard a prophecy that their son would kill his father and have children with his mother. Horrified, they had the child taken away to be killed, but he was saved and raised by a different couple. When Oedipus learned of the prophecy, he thought it applied to his (unknowingly adoptive) parents, and left, killing an older man and marrying the recently widowed queen of Thebes...
    • Perseus' grandfather Acrisius learned that his grandson would kill him, so he locked his daughter in a tower. This didn't stop Zeus from entering and impregnating her, and she and her son Perseus were cast out to sea. Perseus grew up to slay Medusa, and ended up accidentally killing his grandfather during a sports contest.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Ray González and his La Familia del Milenio probably would have successfully taken over WWC by sheer attrition if not for the fact González thought making his feud with Carlos Colón, one of the company founders and its top baby face, more personal by attacking his non wrestler son Carly after learning Carly was acting as a cameraman to help business along. Initially Carly had no interest in becoming a wrestler, but after being embarrassed by González he trained very hard, defeated most of La Familia and became a constant thorn in the side of González for decades to come.
  • This is very common in Dragon Gate. Even during the Toryumon Japan days, M2K turned perennial renegades Crazy Max into faces by default when they purposefully sabotaged El Numero Uno Tournament CIMA and Magnum Tokyo were favorites to win in order to make Masaaki Mochizuki look better. After losing a hair vs hair match to CIMA caused Masaaki Mochizuki to realize what a jerk he had been and clean up his act, Crazy Max ensured the now virtuous M2K would still oppose them by manipulating Darkness Dragon and Chocoball KOBE into betraying Mochizuki and M2K itself would make an unnecessary enemy out of one of it's own founders for that matter when Susumu Mochizuki rejected Masaaki's reforms and banished him from the group. Darkness Dragon ultimately brought one of the keys to ending his own Power Stable Do FIXER in his own protege Dragon Kid, who would go on to join the more facey Typhoon of CIMA.
  • Post Toryumon Japan, Muscle Outlaw'z hazed their own personal referee Kinta Tamaoka in an overly elaborate plot that ended with all the referees of Dragon Gate taking a stand against the power stable. Blood Warriors made Ronin from DG USA their enemies, perhaps unintentionally, when Austin Aries attacked Johnny Gargano, Rich Swann and Chuck Taylor to prove his dedication to CIMA. Shingo Takagi and YAMATO had no interest in forming a Power Stable, but changed their mind after witnessing Mad Blankey's unnecessary bullying of their rookie friend Tominaga and created akatsuki with Tominaga and Super Shenlong. Mad Blankey turned on Akira Tozawa, despite him successfully leading them to victory time and time again, for being too facey, which in turn only made him more facey, and then turned on Uhaa Nation for not destroying the banished Tozawa for them. This lead to Nation and Tozawa joining with the World 1 rejected Shachihoko BOY, Ricochet and Masato Yoshino to create Monster Express. VerserK basically created their sworn enemy MaxiMuM. The first step was when T-Hawk punished Naruki Doi for Kotoka's betrayal of the group, kicked Doi out of the stable, and VerserK then gave Doi a gang beating for asking to come back later. Second was when Takagi, T-Hawk, and Lindaman won the New Years Unit War 6 Man Tag Team Tournament and proved to be very unsporting winners by continuing to attack fellow finalists Masato Yoshino, Kotoka and Ben-K after the match, which inspired Naruki Doi to save them and propose an anti VerserK alliance. Despite being an explicitly anti VerserK alliance The Jimmyz quickly managed to end up at the top of MaxiMuM's hit list when the Jimmyz attacked them after a match so Genki Horiguchi could show everyone the difference between "professionals" and "amateurs".
  • VALkyrie, the first Power Stable of SHINE, brought about its own downfall when it recruited Ivelisse Vélez and Su Yung.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the villains in Crimestrikers is Roderick Norco, a Mad Scientist whose lifelong dream is to create Super Soldiers through genetic engineeering. His most successful creations, Nyx Marama and Arcana, both Turned Against Their Masters and joined the titular hero team.
  • Leviathan: The Tempest: This is how Ahabs are created. A person who the Leviathan has wronged in some way is exposed to the mind-shattering effects of the Wake, and instead of becoming a cultist obsessed with serving the Leviathan he becomes obsessed with destroying the Leviathan, able to draw on the Leviathan's own self-loathing for power.

    Visual Novels 
  • Done deliberately by Mercurius in Dies Irae. He specifically created the protagonist Ren with the explicit purpose of being the antagonist towards his close friend and the Big Bad Reinhard. All to give Reinhard the fight he has so longed for to allow him to go all out. Mercurius also has a secondary purpose to this. Namely to allow the soul within Ren to grow in order to be able to replace Mercurius as the God of the world.
  • Fate/stay night: Both Gilgamesh and Kotomine's role in the fire that killed Shirou's parents and his arrogant displays of power against him with the Gate of Babylon inspired the young man to form the basis of Unlimited Blade Works and the EMIYA persona who would go on to become their most persistent enemy in the franchise.

    Web Original 
  • The Evil Overlord List has advice on avoiding this kind of scenario.
    • "If an enemy I have just killed has a younger sibling or offspring anywhere, I will find them and have them killed immediately, instead of waiting for them to grow up harboring feelings of vengeance towards me in my old age."
    • "Orphans will be placed in foster-homes, not abandoned in the woods to be raised by creatures of the wild."
    • "Prior to kidnapping an older male scientist and forcing him to work for me, I will investigate his offspring and make sure that he has neither a beautiful but naive daughter who is willing to risk anything to get him back, nor an estranged son who works in the same field but had a falling-out with his father many years ago."
    • "If I know of any heroes in the land, I will not under any circumstance kill their mentors, teachers, and/or best friends."
    • "I will be an equal-opportunity despot and make sure that terror and oppression is distributed fairly, not just against one particular group that will form the core of a rebellion."
    • "I will have a staff of competent detectives handy. If I learn that someone in a certain village is plotting against me, I will have them find out who rather than wipe out the entire village in a preemptive strike."
  • TV Tropes Additional Evil Overlord Vows has a few more.
    • "If I ever have a child, I will keep them as happy as possible, as an unloved child would likely betray me and defect to my enemies."
    • "Whenever I take over another country, I won't force them to give up their culture and follow mine."


Video Example(s):


The Shredder's Mutagen

It turns out that the Shredder was the one who left mutagen in the sewers (provided for him by Krang), thinking that Yoshi would have always been a threat to him if he didn't do away with him once and for all. The fact that it turned him into a fully sapient mutant rat and provided him with four new ninjas in the long run wasn't the plan.

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