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Create Your Own Villain

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Sometimes Turned Against Their Masters needs a little push.

"You IDIOT! You made me, remember? You dropped me into that vat of chemicals. That wasn't easy to get over, and don't think that I didn't try."
Joker, Batman (1989)

Superheroes try to rid the world of villains. Unfortunately, sometimes they have the opposite effect.

Maybe The Hero accidentally wronged some Innocent Bystander — say, they or their loved ones were casualties in the collateral damage from a super-battle — and said bystander decides to turn evil to settle the grudge. Alternatively, the character may already be evil, but the Hero's intervention results in the villain gaining superpowers, and a super-grudge to boot.

In a parody or deconstruction of this trope, it might go on to reveal that the actions of the hero were actually irrelevant in terms of the individual's true nature. They were ultimately a disturbed individual who was looking for the first excuse they could find to justify their evil behavior.

Naturally, this is common in comic books. In many cases, however, the villain's origin story isn't even hinted at in their first appearance—it's only after the villain becomes popular that they're given a personal tie to the Hero via Retroactive Continuity.

Opposite of Create Your Own Hero. One of the causes of the Superhero Paradox. May be caused by a Pacifism Backfire. See also Avenging the Villain, Disproportionate Retribution, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, Unwitting Instigator of Doom. Contrast with Weirdness Magnet, where the Hero doesn't create the villains, but seems to attract them all the same.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Film — Animation 
  • In The Amazing Maurice, the rat catchers reveal that they are responsible for the creation of the Rat King. They threw eight rats together in a bucket to take to the Pit. When they removed the top from the bucket, they discovered the rats had merged together into the Rat King, and they fell under its subjugation.
  • The Incredibles: As a boy, Buddy's hero-worship led him to try to become Mr. Incredible's sidekick "Incrediboy", but Mr Incredible brushed him off. Buddy then decided to get his recognition by becoming "Syndrome" and designing a robot to kill all supers, Mr. Incredible being the last. That's what Syndrome would want you to think. Actually, he was rejected for incompetence and his own safety; he interfered in a fight against Bomb Voyage, and as a result, Bomb Voyage destroyed a building floor, successfully stole what he wanted, escaped, almost killed Buddy, and even Mr. Incredible barely made it through the whole thing without a scratch. And in the process of Mr Incredible protecting Buddy, a train was derailed and many passengers injured, greatly contributing to the worldwide public relations backlash against superheroes. Syndrome didn't take it well.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Shifu's love for his adoptive son, Tai Lung, blinded him to both Lung's growing personal issues and the possibility that Lung wasn't cut out for being the Dragon Warrior. He filled Tai Lung's head with dreams and put him through decades of relentless training... then had no answers when Oogway frankly stated that Tai Lung was not the Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung's response to that was disastrous.
    Shifu I have always been proud of you... From the very first moment, I've been proud of you. And it was my pride that blinded me. I loved you too much to see what you were becoming. What... I was turning you into. I'm... I'm sorry.
  • Meet the Robinsons: Bowler Hat Guy is actually Lewis' roommate Goob who has grown up hating Lewis because he slept through a baseball game (thus failing to catch the ball where his team would have won if he did) thanks to his losing sleep from Lewis' late-night tinkerings in their room, while Doris has been considered as a failed invention by future-Lewis. The two then conspired to destroy Lewis' life.
  • Megamind: Double subverted. After defeating his old nemesis and realizing Victory Is Boring, Megamind tries to create a new hero to fight, but said person ends up becoming a worse villain than Megamind ever was. Also, Metro Man is partially responsible for turning Megamind into a villain. He knocked Megamind's ship into a prison, causing him to be raised by criminals. He also picked on Megamind in school. However, by refusing to come out of retirement to fight the new villain, he forced Megamind to take responsibility for his actions, which finally pushed him into his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Ne Zha: Both Ne Zha and Ao Bing genuinely want to be heroes and help people, but the fear, scorn and hatred they receive from humanity drives them both into resentment and anger and eventually into destructively lashing out against it.
  • In Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the Big Bad was the scientist working under the Kingpin who was responsible for the spider that bit Miles, and in turn ended up in a Freak Lab Accident triggered by Miles at the end of the first movie.

  • "The Lambton Worm": The young John Lambton skips church one Sunday to go fishing (which makes him quite the Delinquent in the medieval society in which he lives). However, all he catches is a hideous worm-like creature, which he throws down a nearby well in disgust. He eventually grows up into a good guy who regrets his past misbehavior, and goes off to fight in The Crusades. Unfortunately, while he's away, the worm grows into a gigantic monstrosity which emerges from the well and starts laying waste to the countryside in the area where his father is the local lord, so John has to return home and deal with the monster.

  • "Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)" by Run The Jewels indicts the prison system as being a cause of this.
    Killer Mike: My solitary condition's preventin' conjugal visits
    Though mainly missin' my missus, they keepin' me from my children
    Conditions create a villain, the villain is given vision
    The vision becomes a vow to seek vengeance on all the vicious
    Liars and politicians, profiteers of the prisons
    The forehead engravers enslavers of men and women
  • The spoken word piece "Rob Now, Pay Later" by Jello Biafra takes the privileged to task for perpetuating crime and poverty through their lack of investment in education for future generations.
    Jello Biafra: ...Uneducated time bombs are a very poor investment as a future work force. And if you go on teaching people that life is cheap, and leave them to rot in ghettos and jails, they may one day feel justified in coming back to rob and kill you. Duh!

  • Deadpool: A rather literal example, as one of the game's last modes opens with Deadpool's collection of prehistoric teeth (obtained by Deadpool traveling back in time and fighting a T-rex, a kraken, and a megalodon) is ultimately the catalyst for the Megakrakolodonus's existence.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • If John Zandig hadn't rejected, or at least hadn't drug his feet on a deal with Rob Feinstein, who wanted to distribute CZW shows after ECW went under, RF Video wouldn't have gone on to found Ring of Honor. However, CZW ended up being much more like the "villain" of the piece after a double booking lead to a venue favoring ROH and knocking a CZW evening show back to the afternoon, leading Chris Hero to rage against the upstart promotion and being allowed to lead the rest of the CZW roster against it. Zandig would also join his roster in torturing ROH wrestler BJ Whitmer on their own show while thrashing ROH's set, which lead to attempted retaliation at CZW's next event by Generation Next. While Kevin Steen was already a problem, he used Zandig's treatment of Whitmer as a justification for using the CZW Ironman Title belt as a bargaining chip to get back into ROH...yeah, the list goes on.
  • Want to know why Randy Orton became the psycho jerkass willing to blow up opponents with fireworks? Look no further than his mentor in Evolution, Triple H. Randy never got over their betrayal, and it became the defining moment of his career. It would haunt Hunter in the years to come, especially in 2009 when Randy assaulted the McMahon family, such as attacking Hunter's wife Stephanie and even punting Vince McMahon in the head. He even threatened to cancel WrestleMania that year, setting himself up as the Big Bad of the event.
  • Ultimately, Nanae Takahashi was able to prevent Mercedes Martinez from causing too much trouble in World Wonder Ring ST★RDOM. Of course Martinez was only there in the first place because Takahashi personally invited her, apparently unaware she hadn't gotten over Sumie Sakai coming into her home promotion and taking her first title belt back to STARDOM's Spiritual Predecessor. That invitation was made to demonstrate STARDOM was challenging any woman in the world to try their best at taking the "World Of", which inspired Kimura Monster Gun to recruit Alpha Female from Germany during their bid to takeover the promotion. But the biggest threat a "global" invite brought was it also being an invitation for all other joshi feds on the proverbial doorstep to barge in, which resulted in Meiko Satomura using the publicity from winning the belt to start expanding Sendai Girls Pro, depriving STARDOM of the World Of for their first international tour, leading them to risk the 'Wonder Of' usually restricted to their own locker room in the USA.
  • The man ultimately responsible for taking down S.C.U.M., who were dead set on destroying the wrestling industry as it was known, starting with Ring Of Honor, was Kevin Steen. The man who started S.C.U.M. in the first place was also Kevin Steen. Kevin Steen became bitter over being barred from returning to Ring Of Honor by Jim Cornette, but that barring was Steen's own doing when he tried to comeback through Truth Martini. Steen was barred in the first place after a Loser Leaves Town match with El Generico, which resulted from a feud Steen provoked. In the creation of S.C.U.M. Steen purposefully derailed the redemption quests of long time ROH trouble makers Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino. When Cornette and Generico were out of the picture, Steen's rage at ROH and the wrestling industry faded but by then Jacobs and Corino were too far gone. They ousted Steen from the group to continue on the path of destruction with Matt Hardy in his place. S.C.U.M. had Rhino injure Jay Briscoe, who had defeated Steen for the World Championship belt while he was coming back to his senses, convincing Steen he had to end what he had started.
  • While The Lovely Lacey and Radiant Rain were always fairly vain, they likely never would have become the alpha bitches known as The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew if it wasn't for them being ruthlessly bullied by The Experience, Lexie Fyfe and Malia Hosaka. That said, The Experience remained villains themselves, so this trope didn't come into play until Fyfe founded her own promotion, SHINE Wrestling, and Radiant Rain formed a Power Stable, Valkyrie, to undermine it.
  • The World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and Dominican Wrestling Entertainment were among the initial members of the World Wrestling League when it started in 2012 and thus directly responsible for the creation of their chief rival when they decided to breakaway from it. In the beginning there was no competition because the League was very similar to the National Wrestling Alliance, focusing more on collaborating events to give fans matches they would not otherwise be able to see as well as introducing wrestlers and styles to new markets. But two years into this arrangement, WWL started acting like a promotion in its own right, testing the local waters of Bayamon with the aptly titled "Insurrection" event, which put the spot light on very few wrestlers contracted by member promotions in favor of the talent from WWC's old rival, IWA Puerto Rico, that had remained free agents after its closure. WWC started to show particular resentment for WWL's more exclusive local shows in 2015 when El Patron Alberto took a booking for Guerrera de Reyes in January and became the WWL Heavyweight Champion after WWC had been trying and failing to get him booked for their Aniversario tour the prior year. WWL responded to the two leaving it by running even fewer collaborative shows in favor of more designed to directly compete with the local companies more often. The WWC rivalry is by far the most pronounced of the two, as WWC was taking potshots at WWL even when it was a member and the take thats between the two only escalated after business was off but WWL's promotion of their Dominican television deal in October of that same year suggested it was not just WWC they had in their sights.
  • While the Bullet Club were supposed to be villains, they became faces by default in Ring of Honor for two reasons. One was being credited for the returns of popular wrestlers The Young Bucks and AJ Styles. Two was opposing local Power Stable The Kingdom. So it should have been Bullet Club's members as much as anyone who should have known associating with Kingdom's most recent centerpiece Adam Cole was a bad idea. Styles and Karl Anderson did know, but after Kenny Omega's hostile takeover, he let Cole right in. The only surprising things were how long it took Cole to turn on Omega, that Cole was willing to throw the Young Bucks under the bus if it meant undermining Omega and that when Cole ultimately failed Bullet Club replaced him with an even more obvious villain known as Marty Scurll. Actually there were two other surprises. Bullet Club's next two internal conflicts came from seemingly nicer new recruit Cody, then Tongan members Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa and Bad Luck Fale, Tonga and Fale being originals sick of the post Omega/Cole disfunction. Scurll did prove relatively loyal, despite standing out as the Token Evil Teammate on an already evil team. Cody was also loyal when left alone. Omega turned Cody on him by making sexual advances towards Cody's wife!
  • Alex Shelley started Search And Destroy to bring Ring of Honor back to its roots, centered around young wrestlers pushing each other to new heights in honorable contests. The group was to serve as an alternative to The Kingdom, CHAOS, Bullet Club, etc to show the youth backstabbing, cheating, ambushes and the like were not necessary for success but the group he, Chris Sabin and first recruit Jay White defeated were The Cabinet. The Cabinet themselves were about taking ROH back to its roots, to "make wrestling great again", but they were fighting the increased family friendly nature and corporate structure of the company, as well as wrestlers perceived as unmanly. Shelley's mission statement after the victory reignited Kenny King, Rhett Titus and Caprice Coleman's resentment towards ROH's newer, younger wrestlers, with the possible exception of Shane Taylor, who they recruited to send all the others out of ROH with injuries as The Cabinet became The Rebellion. Among The Rebellion's victims were two more Search And Destroy recruits, 2015 and 2016 Top Prospects Donovan Dijak and Lio Rush. Search And Destroy would force The Rebellion to disband a Best In The World, but the damage done to them could not be undone.
  • It is strongly implied that the Face-Heel Turns of Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae were due to being tired of suffering for their kindness while people who betrayed them such as Tommaso Ciampa and Io Shirai prospered for their actions.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • The Onion: New Bomb Capable of Creating 1,500 terrorists in a single blast.
  • Fragments of the Tesseract Prophecy from Phaeton seems to indicate that Trayen is destined to turn at least one of his friends against him.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-1609 used to be a harmless wooden chair that would teleport to anyone nearby who needed a place to sit down. The Global Occult Coalition ran it through a woodchipper, causing it to become violent towards anyone it perceives as a threat, usually by teleporting into their lungs.

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Dr. Horrible was a Technical Pacifist and an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. So, Captain Hammer, the way to deal with him is to Bully The Dragon by dating Penny and then firing a broken Death Ray, accidentally killing her in an attempt to kill him. Nice job breaking It "hero". It is heavily implied (and outright stated in the prequel comics) that Captain Hammer's belief that anyone who is nerdy or uncool is a potential supervillain is why Dr. Horrible got to be the way he is. And because you read the above, you know what happens next. And then our hero (not Captain Hammer, who would barely register as a Nominal Hero) loses his humanity and everything we loved about him.
  • In Noob, Tenshirock and Judge Dead turn out to be the product of the escalation of a Poor Communication Kills situation between a "Well Done, Dad!" Guy and his son with Inferiority Superiority Complex. The last straw from the son's point of view was his father doing better than him at the MMORPG in which the story is set, while the father was hoping to gain respect by being good at something his son liked. That lead to the son cutting bridges while leaving the father wondering what the hell happened. The son managed to reach a status higher than his father in regards of the game and was willing to see his father online one last time for an occasion that would let him make sure he never played the game again. The father decided to change in-game identities and go Archnemesis Dad under the new one in hope that it would drive his son away from his new position and make him more open to his attempts to make up with him.
  • Actor/comedian Hal Sparks posted a self-described "rant" on his YouTube page about how he's tired of this trope, especially in superhero and spy movies. Watch it here.


Video Example(s):


Bowler Hat Guy's Identity

The Bowler Hat Guy who has been trying to steal Lewis' invention and ruin his past, is revealed to have been none other than his old roommate Mike Yagoobian aka Goop. Goop having lost his baseball game due to being kept up all night by his roommates' inventions, would forever resent Lewis, even more so when his obsession caused him never to get adopted, which would eventually result in a desire to get revenge on him, with the help of DOR-15.

How well does it match the trope?

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