Follow TV Tropes


Evil Former Friend

Go To

"Don't be a fool. The only one I ever loved was God. And that was a long time ago!"

So you have your Eccentric Mentor and with his backing you're facing off against the nefarious machinations of the local Evil Sorcerer, when suddenly you learn a shocking truth — in their youth, rather than being bitter enemies, these guys were best friends!

This trope occurs whenever a good aligned character (sometimes The Hero, but more commonly The Mentor, the Supporting Leader, or the Big Good) is revealed to have had a history as friend, ally, mentor, or even student with a major villain (commonly the Big Bad, but sometimes The Dragon or another high-ranking Evil Minion). Usually the friendship fell through simply because the future villain went power-mad and the other character didn't want any more to do with it, but more complex and unusual variations exist. Sometimes it will be known all along, but sometimes it will be the subject of a dramatic reveal that can lead The Hero and the audience to reevaluate what they know about both characters.


As the top of the page indicates, tends to happen a disproportionate amount of the time with the resident Wise Old Wizard and the Evil Sorcerer. Compare and contrast Big Bad Friend, where the revelation occurs during the story and the "Bad" character was Evil All Along (or at least had been for a while) and would rather remain friends despite this. Usually, either the evil character will be a Fallen Hero or the good one will be The Atoner (or both, if both started out more morally grey). The evil character will most likely be an Evil Counterpart and/or Shadow Archetype for the good one, and may also be their Arch-Enemy. If traces of the past friendship still exist, they might be Friendly Enemies or even have Foe Romance Subtext. Compare and contrast Rival Turned Evil, for where the friendship broke up over personal rivalry before one of the characters turned evil (though certain examples will overlap, not all will). A less extreme version of the falling-out is We Used to Be Friends.


Note that this is about friends who turned evil in the Backstory and are either introduced or established in their first appearance as villains. If the friend turns evil over the course of the work, see Face–Heel Turn. See We Used to Be Friends when characters are friends but then something breaks them apart. See False Friend when a character intentionally initiates a "friendship" for their own benefit from the start.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • AKIRA: Tetsuo is this to Kaneda. Both have been friends since their first meeting in an orphanage.
  • Berserk: Guts and Griffith. The two men had a bond bordering on brotherhood (or if you're that way inclined, more than that), only for Griffith to turn his back on him and everyone else he led during the events of the Eclipse and commit some truly horrible acts which would destroy this bond forever and leave Guts with an undying hatred for Griffith.
  • Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!: Kinshirou is this to Atsushi. They were very close up until middle school, and despite his yen for world domination, Kinshirou is still pining, throughout the closing titles, Episode 4, and most of the rest of the series. But all ends well.
  • Devilman: Ryo Asuka, protagonist Akira Fudo's best friend since childhood, turns out to be this. Near the end he is revealed to be the reincarnation of the Devil himself, responsible for throwing mankind into chaos and self-destruction with his reveal of the existence of demons among humans. The finale subverts this trope, however, in the aftermath of Akira and Ryo/Satan's final battle, ending with Ryo expressing remorse over murdering Akira, the only person he ever loved during his time while he was still human.
  • Dragon Ball: Master Roshi, Goku and Krillin's mentor, turns out to have been a fellow pupil of the Crane Hermit, mentor of Chiaotzu and Tien Shinhan, who are Goku, Krillin, and Yamcha's main rivals in the World Tournament (although both of them eventually make Heel Face Turns); most of the two hermits' interactions consist of them taking potshots at each other. The following story arc reveals that they trained under the same master, Master Mutaito, and that the Crane Hermit turned to evil after Mutatito died sealing away the Demon King Piccolo.
  • Fairy Tail: Jellal is this to Erza during his Brainwashed and Crazy state in the Tower of Heaven Arc, but had a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Fist of the North Star: Shin used to be Kenshiro's best friend up until he was manipulated by Kenshiro's evil brother Jagi into turning against him and taking Yuria, who both Kenshiro and Shin loved, for himself.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: Miaka and Yui are both best friends until the two are pitted against each other. The odd thing about this particular example is that Yui is deceived into thinking Miaka is the one who turned against her, and that she, not Yui, is the one who is turning evil.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Odin a.k.a. Ryuto Asamiya used to be friends with the titular character before a fight that led to him holding a years-long grudge. He's also a Forgotten Childhood Friend, as Kenichi initially didn't recognize him in the present day.
  • Little Witch Academia (2017): Chariot and Croix used to be close friends in their school days, but their relationship slowly began to fall apart after Chariot was picked to be The Chosen One over Croix, despite seeming far inferior in terms of magical skill. The bitterness of the incident, along with Chariot seemingly prioritizing her dream of becoming an entertainer over her responsibilities as the wielder of the Claoimh Solais, would slowly eat away at Croix until she completely broke off their friendship and spent the next ten years resorting to less savoury methods of accomplishing what Chariot could not. They do, however, set aside their personal conflicts to help save a country from being nuked into oblivion, and ultimately reconcile by the finale.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: Regius for Zest. The two used to be friends while serving together in the bureau, and wanted to ensure that the Bureau's ground forces were able to deal with criminals and other threats. Over time, Regius lost sight of his ideals as he fell under the sway of the High Council, and eventually Zest and nearly all his team were killed on a raid on a Combat Cyborg facility. Zest, after being cloned, sought out Regius for answers on why he changed, but Due killed Regius before he could give any.
  • Muhyo and Roji: Enchu was formerly close friends with Muhyo and Yoichi, but turned to evil after his mother died and Muhyo became an executor instead of him, and serves as the main antagonist for much of the story.
  • Naruto:
    • Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru were once on the same squad. Jiraiya was Orochimaru's closest friend, before Orochimaru abandoned the Leaf Village. Jiraiya chased him down and tried to talk him out of it, but Orochimaru laughed in his face.
    • Kazuma of the 12 Guardian Ninjas filler arc was one to Asuma, as they served together in the Guardian Ninjas until Kazuma betrayed the group with five of his comrades to pursue their extremist agenda of making the daimyo the sole authority of the nation.
    • Tobi has been revealed to be Obito Uchiha, Kakashi's best friend and role model. The pain of this revelation left Kakashi reeling in shock long enough to nearly be killed.
    • And of course there's Sasuke, who betrayed Konoha and Naruto to follow in Orochimaru's footsteps only to betray him, too, join the Akatsuki, and then betray them, all the while forming his own faction. A member of which he tried to kill after abandoning the others.
      • This hearkens back to his own relationship with Itachi. Sasuke absolutely adored his older brother, only for said brother to murder their entire clan. His conflicting love for his brother and hate for what he had done were eventually used by Tobi to manipulate him.
    • Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju were good friends despite the intense rivalry between their clans, enough that after years of war they were able to work together to found Konoha. Despite this, the mistrust of Hashirama's brother eventually convinced Madara to turn his back on Konoha and become the Big Bad.
  • Rave Master: Gale Raregroove, aka King the leader of Demon Card, and Gale Glory, Haru's father, used to be the best of friends. A huge helping of tragedy and poor decisions made them bitter enemies. The worst part is that it's implied near the end of the series that this was partly due to fate constantly screwing over the Raregroove bloodline.
  • Suite Pretty Cure ♪: Siren and Hummy used to be the best of friends until Hummy took Siren's title as singer of the annual "Melody of Happiness", causing the latter to defect to the villains' side. They almost made up early in the series before Mephisto forcefully won Siren's loyalty back. However, they do get a proper reconcilliation about nine episodes later, leading to Siren joining the team as Cure Beat.

    Comic Books 
  • Wolverine and Sabretooth. First X-Men actually shows us why the two went their separate ways. After forming a group of mutant rebels to fight the government, Victor wants to take off with his love interest and leave the fighting to someone else. However, Wolverine, by that point, had already convinced everyone that what they were doing was necessary, so she stayed. She is killed in the final conflict, but instead shows Victor a vision of her getting better, and the two having a family and living a happy life, before cutting the illusion and telling Creed that is what he should remember, and that it doesn't have to mean anything less. Creed took this to heart, blaming Logan for taking away his happy ending, and told Logan that he would ensure that he never find anything or anyone worth living for.
  • Superman and Lex Luthor, in some versions.
  • Harvey Dent is shown as a close friend of both Batman and Commissioner Gordon before turning into Two-Face, particularly in The Long Halloween.
    • Black Mask and Hush were both Bruce Wayne's childhood friends, having turned into supervillains in their adult lives.
  • Apparently Megatron and Optimus were this in the IDW continuity, the Movie prequel comics, and the Marvel UK annuals as well.
  • On Tatooine, Luke Skywalker only had two friends who shared his desire to go offworld, and both, being older than him, joined the Imperial military before A New Hope. Biggs Darklighter became a pilot, defected to the Rebellion, and died at Yavin. Luke's other friend, Janek "Tank" Sunber, was shown in the comics; he washed out of pilot training and became an infantry officer. Of course, he came into conflict with Luke.
  • In the New 52, Nightwing's newest foe Saiko is former friend and fellow former member of Haly's circus Raymond. Raymond was taken by the Court of Owls and put through Training from Hell to become a Talon, only to be washed out and left for dead with his eyes pecked out by birds. Saiko hates Dick Grayson because the Court only took Raymond because they couldn't get Dick, their original candidate, after Bruce Wayne adopted him in the wake of the Flying Graysons' deaths.
  • At first played straight but then subverted with the New 52 version of Cheetah. Wonder Woman tells the JLA that Barbara Minerva was her first true friend in Man's World, a scholar who helped Diana on various quests for mystical artifacts. Studying a dagger, Barbara was cut by it and transformed into the Cheetah. She and Diana fought numerous times, with Diana trying to help her friend and considering her a victim. However, meeting the cult who created the dagger, Wonder Woman learns that the Cheetah is meant to be a protecting spirit but the inner darkness within Barbara turned it into a beast. Batman then reveals that "Barbara Minerva" was the alias of a long-time thief, con artist and attempted murderer and Diana is rocked to realize that Barbara was never an innocent or her friend.
    Batman: The Cheetah never corrupted Barbara. Barbara corrupted the Cheetah.
    • The retconns imposed by DC Rebirth which did away with the drastically Darker and Edgier tone of the New 52's Wonder Woman ensured that in Wonder Woman (Rebirth) Barbara's friendship was genuine and it therefore plays the trope straight, and uses it to put Barbara and the reader's emotions through the wringer.
  • Reed Richards and Doctor Doom were college students who could only find intellectual debate and stimulation from each other, until Reed pointed out a mistake in Victor's schematics which was part of his last step in his Start of Darkness.
  • In The Flash:
    • There's Hunter Zolomon, formerly a close Friend on the Force to Wally West before Gorilla Grodd broke his back and set the stage for him to become Wally's Evil Counterpart Zoom. When Wally refused to go back in time to help Hunter, Hunter says it's because Wally never experienced personal tragedy before. Hunter tries to go back in time himself and accidentally attains faux superspeed, which he uses to torment Wally by trying to give him more tragedy. Wally for his part still regrets how things turned out with Hunter.
    • Eobard Thawne's Rebirth origin makes him one to Barry, albeit in a much more unhealthy friendship than Wally and Hunter. In the 25th century, Eobard was a Flash fan who recreated Barry's accident to become the Flash himsellf. When Barry travels into the future, the two worked alongside each other and bonded. Barry then found out Eobard had been causing many of the crimes he was stopping, and had to defeat him. After Eobard reformed, he travelled back in time to work alongside Barry again, only to find that Barry had taken on Wally West as his protege, Kid Flash. Eobard, incensed by this and feeling betrayed, then decided to expose the Flash "for the liar he is" and destroy his legacy.
  • Blaze of Glory: Reno Jones describes Kid Cassidy as growing more and more bitter over the course of their adventures together, and it came to a head when Cassidy threatened his life and forced Jones to shoot him and leave him for dead. Cassidy still lives and searches for Jones to settle the score for good. Marcel Fournier also counts as one for Two-Gun Kid, as they were once part of the Sunset Riders.
    Rawhide Kid: Leave him be, Colt. Man just killed what he thought was a friend. Turned out to be no friend at all.
  • In Conan the Barbarian Thoth Amon is revealed to have been Kalanthes's best friend at one point before he turned to Set worship and destroyed everything Kalanthes holds dear. Even before that was revealed there were hints that their hatred went deeper than religious differences.
  • My Friend Dahmer is all about the narrator being classmates and friends with Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer, though he states he always felt like something was off. He had no idea just how right he was, but it was enough to keep him at arm's length, hanging out with Dahmer at school but not wanting to get any closer than that.
  • Sinestro to Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. He was once Jordan's mentor and a close friend before he went Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Hal is still bitter and remorseful about it, while Sinestro still sees Hal as a friend and deeply respects him, even if they're now on opposing sides.
  • Lady Shiva was once a good friend of Richard Dragon and Bronze Tiger before her Blood Knight tendencies, ambition and her sister's death turned her already morally questionable search for a Worthy Opponent into her entire raison d'etre. When she runs into the two of them these days she still talks like a friend, while trying to force them into a one on one fight to the death. This includes kidnapping Dragon and being entirely unconcerned when Tiger is nearly killed in one of her plots.

    Fan Works 
  • Friendship Is Magical Girls: Lightning Dust is this to Rainbow Dash. They used to be close friends when they were younger, but after Lightning moved away, she fell into a life of crime, eventually becoming a member of the Shadowbolts by the time she and Rainbow re-encounter each other. And while Rainbow is currently unaware of this, she is aware that Lightning is thieving Jerkass, while Lightning knows perfectly well that Rainbow is one of heroes she's fighting, and doesn't seem to care.
  • Scoob and Shag: Scooby, one of the main protagonists, and Bugs Bunny, one of the main antagonists, were good friends, before they found themselves on opposite sides of a war.
  • Why Am I Crying?: Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara were best friends as foals. Diamond moved to Manehattan when she was four, and then moved back to Ponyville three years later after suffering from a series of hardships (like losing her mother and going through Tartarus at corrupt summer camp). When she did, she found that none of her old friends remembered her, not even Apple Bloom. It was Apple Bloom chewing her out for "bullying" her new friends (when in fact, they were the ones who started the fight) that proved to be the final straw for Diamond, who sought to ruin her life since.
  • Truth And Consequences makes Ladybug one to Chat Noir; after Marinette figured out that Hawk Moth and Gabriel were one and the same, she realized she couldn't turn him in without causing massive backlash on Adrien, so she opted for giving him what he wants instead - something Chat couldn't bring himself to agree with, and causing them to turn on each other. The irony that she is betraying Chat to help Adrien is lost on no one, once the truth comes out. By the end, she's become The Atoner, but by that point any relationship they might've had is up in flames - along with half of Paris.

    Films — Animation 
  • Coco: Hector and Ernesto de la Cruz used to be best friends and stage partners that would go on tour until Hector decided to quit show business and go back to his wife and daughter, which led to de la Cruz serving Hector a poisoned farewell drink, stealing Hector's song book and using it to become famous.
  • Toy Story 3: Lotso was this to Chuckles the Clown. Witnessing Lotso become a monster resulted in Chuckles becoming bitter and cynical.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • Darth Vader and Obi-Wan are a double-hitter, as Vader (as Anakin Skywalker) was both Obi-Wan's student and his closest friend.
    • Count Dooku was also once a respected Jedi Master who got on well with his former teacher Yoda and peer Mace Windu. In this case the revelation, especially to the characters, was the fact that he'd turned evil rather than that he had been someone's friend.
  • Alec Trevelyan to James Bond himself in GoldenEye.
  • It's a plot-point in Unbreakable, and the last spoken lines in the film are the evil former friend specifically talking about it as a trope in fiction.
  • The Dragon Maxim Horvath is this to Balthazar Blake in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Also a case of Love Makes You Evil, as he became evil after Veronica Gorloisen rejected him in favor of Balthazar.
  • Staci Blake from Sleepover is a less intense version of this. Julie talks about how she and Staci used to be friends before joining the popular clique. Despite her former friendship with Julie, Staci continuously insults Julie and her friends and even sabotages their chances of winning.
  • Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier in Captain America: The Winter Soldier although how 'evil' the latter can be considered is up for debate..
    • Also Nick Fury and Big Bad Alexander Pierce.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Naturally while Magneto remains on Friendly Enemy terms with Charles Xavier, the X-Men and Brotherhood are at great conflict in the majority of films regardless.
    • Pyro to Bobby.
  • Hector Barbossa is Jack Sparrow's Evil Former First Mate in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. In the third movie the fact they used to be friends is played up much more, and by the fourth they're Vitriolic Best Buds again.
  • Doctor Doom is presented as former friend of the Fantastic Four in most live-action film incarnations like Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four (2015).
  • Sneakers: The main villain turns out to be the main character's old college buddy, who took all the blame for the pair's hacking pranks. He's never forgiven the protagonist.

  • In A Brother's Price, there is Kij Porter, although she may never have had actual friendly feelings for Ren. After the evilness is exposed, Ren decides they aren't friends anymore, too.
  • Several times in Harry Potter — Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald were best friends (and a bit more, at least on Albus's end). Later on, Tom Riddle, the future Lord Voldemort, was Dumbledore's student, and at least one of the Sorting Hat's songs implies that Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin were once good friends as well.
    • Subverted with Sirius Black, who looks like the evil part of this in comparison to Harry's dad, but is revealed to have been framed. Played straight with Peter Pettigrew, another former friend who was guilty and did the framing.
    • As well as Lily Evans and Severus Snape, until the latter's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Gandalf and Saruman from The Lord of the Rings have elements of this, though their relationship doesn't shatter until early in the present storyline (though the books at least show that it had been fraying for a while before that because of Saruman's jealousy).
    • They had never been exactly good buddies; according to the Appendix Saruman had been jealous of Gandalf almost as soon as they stepped off the ship in the Gray Havens, but they had had mutual respect and a common purpose.
  • Akhlaur and King Zalathorm from Counselors and Kings were once best friends, until Akhlaur proved that With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Warbreaker has Vasher and Denth as an interesting variation because the friendship ended violently over something Vasher, the good guy of the two did. They were originally part of the same group of famous magic-users, and Vasher killed Denth's sister, another member, fearing that her knowledge of how to create Artifacts of Doom would spread. Denth went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to avenge her, gradually descending into evil in the process.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, Samah and Zifnab were at least cordial colleagues and possibly friends, at least until Samah went all Knight Templar and Zifnab dedicated himself to opposing him.
  • Though calling them "friends" would be a stretch (he was never a particularly nice guy), Zedar from The Belgariad was once a Disciple of Aldur along with the Eccentric Mentor Belgarath, and the two worked closely together and respected each other. Then Torak Mind Raped Zedar into becoming The Dragon, and it went rapidly downhill from there.
  • Darren and Steve from The Saga of Darren Shan are best friends until the two are pitted against each other thanks to the manipulations of Mr. Tiny. The odd thing about this particular example is that Steve is deceived into thinking Darren ruined his dream to become a vampire on purpose, never believing that he did it to save his life.
  • From The Elenium, comparatively rare example of the main hero having a prominent villain as one of these- Martel and Sparhawk were good friends who went through Magic Knight training together, until Martel got caught practicing Black Magic and was expelled from the order. Though now enemies, they're still very polite to each other and respect each other's abilities, and conduct their final duel in a most gentlemanly manner.
    • From The Tamuli, Sephrenia and Zalasta had been friends from childhood, and Styric lifespans are very long. It didn't end well. Unfortunately for everyone, Zalasta was driven by a very extreme case of Love Makes You Evil.
  • Alan Garner's The Weirdstone of Brisingamen ends with a fight between Cadellin and Grimnir, the evil wizard. When Cadellin kills Grimnir, he reveals that they were once friends and brothers.
  • In Memoirs of a Geisha, Sayuri and Pumpkin, who started out as friends, but once Mother adopted Sayuri instead of Pumpkin and she became a more popular geisha than Pumpkin, they became rivals (at least in Pumpkin's mind).
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Luke was this to Annabeth and Thalia.
  • De Quincey to Camille in The Infernal Devices. Apparently he still doesn't get the message that she doesn't see him as a friend - or anything else, for that matter - anymore, not after he killed her werewolf lover.
  • In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham were childhood friends until they grew up and the latter revealed his selfish, hedonistic, amoral character.
  • In Updraft, from Nat's perspective, the protagonist herself is this, due to seemingly aligning with the Singers despite knowing what they did to Nat's father. However, the two eventually accept that they were actually seeking the same basic thing by different routes, and reconcile.
  • In The Witchlands, Serrit Linday used to be Vivia's best friend before he decided to align himself with the Big Bad for his own profit.
  • Prior to the beginning of Worm, Emma Barnes was best friends with protagonist Taylor Hebert. By the beginning of the first book, Emma had been leading a brutal bullying campaign against Taylor for a full year and a half as part of the Terrible Trio, culminating in the locker incident.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Oliver and Slade Wilson/Deathstroke on Arrow.
  • Giles and Ethan from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    Ethan: Oh, so cross Ripper. We used to be friends. When did all that fall apart?
    Giles: About the same time you started to worship chaos.
    Ethan: Oh. Religious intolerance. Sad, that. I mean, just look at the Irish Troubles.
  • Burn Notice has Michael Westen's former partner-in-spying Larry Sizemore, who becomes a Psycho for Hire after he faked his death in Serbia. He shows up in Miami running a sort of freelance assassination business; he shows up in a few episodes, during which he forces Michael into Enemy Mine situations.
  • The Doctor and the Master, from Doctor Who, when it doesn't intensify even further into Psycho Ex Foe Romance Subtext. They're still sort of Friendly Enemies, but when they were schoolkids together, they weren't enemies at all, and the Doctor has some serious angst about this.
    "Do you remember my father’s land back home? Pastures of red grass, stretching far across the slopes of Mount Perdition. We used to run across those fields all day, calling up at the sky... Look at us now."
    • The Twelfth Doctor gives this beautiful summary in "Death In Heaven":
    I had a friend once. We ran together when I was little and I thought we were the same. When we grew up, we weren’t. And now she’s trying to tear the world apart and I can’t run fast enough to hold it together.
  • Game of Thrones: Theon Greyjoy to Robb Stark. After Eddard Stark's execution in King's Landing, Theon pledges his loyalty to Eddard's eldest son, Robb, in the subsequent War of the Five Kings, but ultimately betrays Robb and sides with his father in invading the North.
  • Inverted in the second season of The Good Place, when Contagious Heroism slowly makes the demon Michael care about Team Cockroach more than anything in the universe.
  • House of Anubis. For Sarah Frobisher-Smythe, both Victor Rodenmaar and Rufus Zeno fit this trope. Victor and Rufus, being the two major villains of season 1 and both major again in season 2, as well as both antagonizing Sarah for a secret she doesn't have, were both once Sarah's childhood friends and eventually business partners, until they both became corrupted with power and greed and turned on her, and each other as well.
  • On Justified US Marshal Raylan Givens and local criminal Boyd Crowder grew up in the same community and then 'dug coal together' in the local coal mine. The show starts when Raylan is forced to return to Kentucky and has to confront Boyd who in the meantime became the leader of a Neo-Nazi gang of bank robbers.
  • Dwayne Carter is this to Colby on NUMB3RS, though this is subverted later when it's revealed that Colby knew Dwayne was crooked, but played the trope because he was actually trying to figure out who Carter was working for and he needed to maintain his cover with Carter in order to avoid blowing the operation.
    • Colby also appears to become this to the other members of the team when he confesses to treason as part of the undercover operation.
  • Regina to Snow White on Once Upon a Time. It's played for a fair amount of tragedy too. There are a number of scenes devoted to showing how Regina changed from a kind, caring young girl to a vicious Evil Sorceress.
  • Played with a bit sideways in Stargate Atlantis. Lt. Ford starts out as a member of the team and friend to Col. Shepard, but in the 1st season finale he gets overdosed with a wrath drug and goes off the deep end. He doesn't see himself as evil, but his actions in the episodes where he makes his returns are... less than friendly. Including kidnapping Shepard's team and pumping them full of the same drug against their will.
  • The New Avengers: In "Dead Men Are Dangerous", Steed's life is threatened by a revenge campaign from Mark Crayford, a childhood friend (at least to Steed), who viewed Steed as a lifelong rival, and who Steed was forced to shoot when he revealed himself to be a double agent.
  • The Punisher (2017): Billy Russo to Frank Castle, being part of the conspiracy that killed Frank's family as part of covering up its illegal activities in Afghanistan.

  • The music of The Megas, being based on the "Mega Man (Classic)" series, retains this dynamic between Doctor Light and Doctor Wily, and it's made the war they've found themselves waging against each other deeply personal in a way that takes a heavy toll not only on the two of them, but on Mega Man and Proto Man as well.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Norse Mythology, Odin and Loki were once sworn brothers.
  • Many tellings of the Satan story will have pre-Fall Lucifer as God's favorite angel. In some, he was Archangel Micheal's closest friend.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In Progress Wrestling Jimmy Havoc is this to Zack Sabre Jr and Paul Robinson is this to Will Ospreay.

  • Delia Ketchum used to date Giovanni in the Pokémon Live! musical. In an original draft of the show, Giovanni was Ash's father.
  • Wicked has an interesting take on this (and this is true for the novel as well): although neither Elphaba nor Glinda is truly a villain in the novel at hand, its entire premise is that it functions as backstory to the original The Wizard of Oz. If one were to take Wicked as behind-the-scenes canon for Wizard, Elphaba's and Glinda's relationship — as friends in the former and on opposite sides of the conflict in the latter — would certainly qualify.

  • BIONICLE: Vakama's mentor, Toa Lhiikan, had not one but two of his teammates who went bad, both of whom later returned to menace later heroes:
    • Toa Nidhiki, not that you'd know it by his current insectoid appearance. He tried to sell out the Toa to the Dark Hunters in return for being put in charge of the conquered city, but Lhiikan overheard him making the plans and set a trap of his own, and forced Nidhiki to leave with the defeated Hunters. When he tried to betray them, The Shadowed One hired Roodaka to use her powers to transform him into his current state (the irony being that he's terrified of insects).
      Nidhiki: "This farewell will be forever, brother."
      Liikan: "You lost the right to call me brother long ago!"
    • Toa Tuyet, who was willing to murder several Matoran and pin it on the Dark Hunters just to cover up the fact that she was hiding a powerful aritfact, and tried to use said artifact to take over the city after she got caught. She was taken away by the Order of Mata Nui in secret, but later escaped.
  • In LEGO's Legends of Chima line, the main protagonist Laval of the lion tribe used to be friends with Cragger of the crocodile tribe before the latter got a taste of Chi and inadvertantly started the war that the story revolves around. Similarly, he was friends with Worriz of the wolf tribe before they allied themselves with the crocs under Cragger's leadership.

    Video Games 
  • Eternal Radiance: Valana and Kylia were once comrades in a mercenary team, but after the team got wiped out, Kylia ran off to join the Shadowborn criminal organization, believing that the organization would give her the power to never repeat her failure to save her friends.
  • Chell and Wheatley had more of a hero/sidekick relationship at the start of Portal 2, but they were still very close (or at least as close as a talkative robotic eyeball and a potentially braindamaged mute can be). This changes when Wheatley turns on Chell half-way through the game, taking the title of Big Bad from GLaDOS and serving as the Final Boss. Later dialogue confirms that Wheatley did see Chell as a friend before his Face–Heel Turn.
    Wheatley: Aw. Just thinking back to the old days, when we were friends. Good old friends. Not enemies. And I'd say something like 'come back', and you'd be like 'no problem!' And you'd come back. What happened to those days?
  • Athos and Nergal from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade were once good friends, until Nergal delved too deeply into the dark arts to save his wife and suffered The Dark Side Will Make You Forget.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright and Miles Edgeworth in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. They had a brief but close friendship as children, until Edgeworth's father was murdered and he was taken in and raised to be a ruthless prosecutor by Manfred von Karma. When Phoenix saw what his old friend was becoming, he studied to become a defense attorney just to face him in court. Their reunion was.... bitter, but ultimately Edgeworth turned himself around and became an honest prosecutor who didn't care if he 'won' as long as the truth came out — all because Phoenix refused to give up on their friendship.
    • Case 1-5 has this with Lana Skye and her old co-workers, Angel Starr and Jake Marshall. They all worked together to catch the serial killer Joe Darke, but then Lana grew cold and distant and rumors began to fly that she was using less-than-legitimate methods to catch criminals. As it turns out, she was being blackmailed. This is also implied to be the case between the Judge and Damon Gant.
    • Subverted in Dual Destinies, with Athena and Simon. While they had once been friends when Simon worked with Athena's mother, and apparently ended up killing her, it's revealed that not only was Simon not the murderer, Athena never believed he was and has spent her life trying to prove it.
  • Dr. Wily had this relationship with Dr. Light in Mega Man (Classic). They were once partners working on creating robots, and Wily came up with the Double Gear System that would turn a robot into a hero, but Dr. Light rejected it for being too dangerous for robots as it pushed their systems beyond their limits. When Light's idea to give robots free will was accepted instead, Wily became enraged at being passed over and tried to surpass Light, always failing, until he finally decided to Take Over the World and make humanity worship him over Light.
  • Porky and Ness in EarthBound were likely once close friends. Until things went horrendously out of control.
  • Revan and Malak in Knights of the Old Republic. Inverted in that it's common knowledge that they used to be friends; the twist is that Revan is still alive and back with the Jedi. During their final confrontation, a redeemed Revan can even apologise for leading their friend down the path to the Dark Side, but note that it was ultimately Malak's decision to continue down that path.
  • The lead signature characters of City of Heroes and City of Villains, Statesman and Lord Recluse, respectively, were best friends before Recluse joined Arachnos.
  • Kallen Kozuki and Louise Halevy in Super Robot Wars Z2. Louise calls out Kallen for working with ZEXIS, even though Louise works for the A-LAWS.
    Louise: Kallen! You deceived me!
  • Pigma Dengar was on the original Star Fox team before his betrayal.
  • In Transformers: War for Cybertron it's taken it Up to Eleven, with Optimus being swayed to help start Megatron's rebellion, and even successfully lobbying for the Council to grant the rebels an audience... where Optimus argued his understanding of Megatron's cause so well, the Council agreed and named Optimus the next Prime. Megatron saw this as a betrayal, and started the civil war, anyway. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!, indeed.
  • "Arthur," in the Sega Genesis version of Ghostbusters (1990), to the Weapons Shop owner.
    "Did Arthur die? Once he was my friend. After he found the stone tablet he changed, but a long time ago he was a good man. To restore his good name, I'll repay you for your costs."
  • Persona 3's backstory has strong shades of this. Nearly everyone in the know about the Dark Hour (outside of about half your party) used to work together for the Kirijo Group's "Ergo Division" that researched Personas and Shadows, or were involved in their initial researches. Not all of them may have been friends, as such (Strega has a very understandable grudge against Kirijo), but there are a lot of old professional relationships gone sour due to Mitsuru's grandfather's megalomania and the disasters it caused (and continues to cause).
  • Two examples from the Sly Cooper series:
  • In The Elder Scrolls series' backstory, seen most prominently in Morrowind, the Chimer and Dwemer people of Morrowind were ancient enemies. When Morrowind was invaded by the Nords, the Chimer and Dwemer formed an Enemy Mine to drive the invaders out. During this time, the Chimeri leader Lord Nerevar and the Dwemeri leader Dumac became Fire-Forged Friends. Their people prospered under this alliance, with Dumac attending Nerevar's wedding and the two of them even attending the coronation of Emperor Gorieus representing their combined nation (Resdayn). However, the Dwemer Chief Tonal Architect, Lord Kagrenac, had discovered the Heart of Lorkhan beneath Red Mountain, and planned to tap into its power. Nerevar's advisor, Voryn Dagoth, convinced Nerevar that Dumac had become evil. Nerevar confronted Dumac, who demanded that Nerevar leave or be killed for questioning the motives of the Dwemer. This led to the Battle of Red Mountain and, as with many details surrounding that event, the truth is likely lost to history.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV:
    • There's Ilberd. Once, he was Raubahn's best friend, both of whom longed to see Ala Mhigo freed from Garlean rule. When Raubahn soon became Nanamo's right hand man, he saw it as a terrible betrayal. He became one of the big leaders of the Crystal Braves when Alphinaud was forming the group and ultimately lead its betrayal, framing the Scions of the Seventh Dawn with Nanamo's supposed death. He would go on to do a LOT more horrible stuff later on.
    • Nero is this towards Cid. The two were excellent students at the academy, but Cid was the one that always got the praise. Even after Cid defected from The Empire, he was still seen as inspirational while Nero was left to fume in Cid's shadow. Nero stayed with the empire to further himself and to prove that he was the superior one over Cid. Nero flees after the events of the Ultima Weapon and reappears later without allegiance to his homeland; because Nero went AWOL, he can't return to his home country without being executed for treason. He decides pull a Heel–Face Turn and helps Cid during the Crystal Tower story and later the Omega storyline, but he still tries to outdo him.
  • Naufragar: Crimson: Hyo used to be a friend of several Anethan church members, including Athena, Deliaf, and Elbram. An experiment gone wrong turns him into a sociopath who is only concerned with extending his life, and now he only sees his friends as obstacles and pawns.
  • Yakuza Series:
    • The first game has Kazuma Kiryu and his blood brother Akira Nishikiyama. The prequel Yakuza 0 showed that the two were inseparable Bash Brothers, but after Kiryu took the fall for Nishiki's murder of Sohei Dojima in the first hour of Yakuza 1 Nishiki Jumped Off The Slippery Slope and became an ambitious cutthroat who will stop at nothing to get to the top of the Tojo Clan, even if it means killing his former friend Kiryu and destroying the life of their mutual Love Interest Yumi on the way there. Kiwami gives a lot more background to Nishiki's downfall; he finally achieved his dream of heading up his own family, but without Kiryu by his side, he was completely rudderless in guiding it, and it floundered in obscurity and money woes. Worse yet was that Kiryu's frame-up for Dojima's murder actually elevated his status as a legend in the Tojo Clan, even though it was actually Nishiki that did the deed. Finally, Nishiki completely snapped when his incompetence in keeping his family in line ended up getting his sister killed.
    • The seventh game has the Big Bad Ryo Aoki, who is actually Ichiban's childhood friend Masato Arakawa. After Ichiban was sent to jail for a murder Masato committed, Masato faked his death and went to America to further his education and get experimental surgery to cure his paraplegia. That task complete, Masato rechristened himself as Ryo and returned to Japan, becoming a politician hellbent on destroying not only the yakuza but any and all morally grey areas in Japan, a plan that would see hundreds if not thousands of innocents lose their jobs at best or be arrested and/or deported at worst. Of course, to achieve this he takes an approach not unlike the yakuza he fights, using blackmail and murder to eliminate his competition and make a living hell of Ichiban and his friends' lives.

    Web Original 
  • RWBY: Blake's former partner/mentor Adam Taurus, who she claims was a good man before Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. When they meet again, he is not happy with her for deserting the White Fang. Word of God confirmed that the relationship was abusive even before that however.
  • In one story in the Whateley Universe, Phase muses on how a lot of the time, villains started off as the hero's best friend, and wonders if one day he'll end up enemies with his friends Mal and Jadis, who are the children of supervillains (Mal wants to be a villain and Jadis hasn't said whether she wants to be a hero or not, though the answer is probably yes).
  • Anyone who has played Mortal Kombat will know of the rivalry between Hanzo Hasashi (Scorpion) and Bi-Han (Sub-Zero), stemming from Evil Sorcerer Quan Chi disguising himself as Bi-Han and murdering Hanzo's entire clan and family. However, in the second season of Mortal Kombat: Legacy, we find out that they were childhood friends, despite their parents forbidding them from playing together due to the rivalry between their ninja clans. In fact, after they become the leaders of their respective clans, they declare peace, and Bi-Han is even willing to keep the peace after Hanzo is forced to kill Bi-Han's brother while protecting his family. Shortly after that, Hanzo and the the entire Shirai Ryu clan are slaughtered, apparently by Bi-Han and his Lin Kuei ninja. When Bi-Han finds out, he is ready to execute his lieutenants on the spot for this until he finds out that they weren't responsible. After Hanzo becomes the undead Scorpion and joins the Mortal Kombat tournament on the side of the Netherrealm, he faces Bi-Han in combat. Bi-Han's attempts to reach his childhood friend fall on deaf ears, and Hanzo ends up killing him in a gruesome way.

    Western Animation 
  • Back to the Future: Walter Wisdom, a greedy and unscrupulous scientist who shows what Doc could be if he were selfish rather than merely a bit careless at times. In fact, according to "Put on Your Thinking Caps, Kids! It's Time for Mr. Wisdom!" the two were frat brothers and roommates in college in the late Fifties, and were close enough friends that Doc even told Walter about the concept for the flux capacitor. It wasn't until Walter stole and profited from Doc's perpetual motion hula hoop that he became evil and greedy. He appears to cause the Browns trouble more than once.
  • Happens in several branches of the DC Animated Universe:
  • Fire Lord Sozin, the guy who started the War and the tradition of Fire Lords being Evil Overlords, was once best friends with Avatar Roku on Avatar: The Last Airbender, though in a variation both characters are long dead by the time the viewer learns the details of their history.
  • Vlad Masters from Danny Phantom was Danny's parents' best friend in college, until a botched experiment dreamed up by Danny's dad Jack (temporarily) disfigured him (and gave him superpowers, but he didn't find that out until later). Vlad is now dedicated towards three goals- killing Jack, convincing Maddie (Danny's mom) to fall in love with him, and making Danny his apprentice. Ironically, Jack is the only one completely oblivious to all this. At least until the Grand Finale
    • In an episode where Danny tries to stop the accident that turned Vlad into a ghost, it was shown that Vlad was already jealous of Jack and his relationship with Maddie, and implies he would have still sought out Maddie even without ghost powers.
  • Downplayed in The Dragon Prince. Callum's childhood friends Soren and Claudia are not who anyone would call "evil," but they would be tasked by their father Viren, who they are very loyal to, to stop Callum and his brother Ezran (and their new elf friend Rayla) from returning the dragon egg to Xadia. When Callum learns that they are directly against him, his trust in them shatters, and even his past crush on Claudia ends up disappearing upon their betrayal. Soren manages to avert this trope by the end of season 3, seeing his father's actions as horrible and joining the good guys in the final battle, mending Callum's friendship in the process. On the other hand, Claudia may be on the path of playing this trope completely straight.
  • Plankton to Mr. Krabs in Spongebob Squarepants.
  • The Batman gives us Ethan Bennett, both a high-school friend of Bruce Wayne's and one of the only cops willing to give Batman a chance. Naturally, he's accidentally turned into Clayface in the Season 1 finale. He eventually becomes a good guy again after spending a while in the Heel–Face Revolving Door.
  • The Shredder had this relationship with the Ninja Tribunal in the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.
    • In one episode of the same series, Michelangelo ends up in a parallel universe where the Turtles are superheroes instead of ninjas. When he asks where their Splinter is, they say that they "lost him". The phrasing and their tone of voice causes Mikey to think that he's dead, but what they really meant was that they had lost him to evil, and he became their Big Bad.
  • In season 3 of Xiaolin Showdown, we discover that Chase Young is this to Master Monk Guan from before Chase was turned Heylin by Hannibal Bean. Technically, he is this to Grand Master Dashi as well, except that Dashi is assumedly dead in the present.
  • In the original Transformers cartoon, Starscream used to be Skyfire's best friend before the war.
    • Similar to Cy-Kill and Leader-1 below, Optimus and Megatron used to be close as brothers in Transformers: Prime.
  • Cy-Kill used to be Leader-1's closest comrade in Challenge Of The Go Bots. He defected out of jealousy over Leader-1's successes.
  • In M.A.S.K., Matt Trakker and Miles Mayhem were friends who formed MASK together, before Mayhem stole some of the masks and used them to set up VENOM.
  • Wheeljack in Transformers Armada was friends with Hot Shot before Hot Shot betrays him...or so Wheeljack thinks. Turns out Hot Shot tried to go back and save him, but failed.
  • In BIONICLE's 2004 line, Lhikan and Nidhiki use to be close friends as Toa, but Nidhiki betrayed his fellow Toa to the Dark Hunters. When his plan failed, Nidhiki was transformed into an insectoid monster.
  • In the Captain N: The Game Master episode "The Most Dangerous Game Master" Dr. Wily builds an android rival based on Kevin's memories of a school bully. Later we find out Kevin and the bully used to be friends, and since the bully was created from Kevin's memories he still retains his good traits and Kevin is able to befriend him again.
  • General Modula, the Big Bad of Sym-Bionic Titan, was this to the King of Galaluna prior to the series, also as seen in a flashback in "Shadows of Youth."
  • Nightmare Moon to Princess Celestia in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Prior to her Face–Heel Turn, she was Princess Luna, a co-ruler of Equestria alongside her sister. They eventually patch things up once Luna is purged of her Superpowered Evil Side and its influence.
  • In SheZow, Tara was the sidekick to Guy's aunt Agnes, the previous SheZow, but eventually faded into obscurity. When she first appears she wants to bury the hatchet, but Guy not knowing who she is causes her to snap and challenge him to a duel instead, namely "GLAMAGEDDON-GEDDON-GEDDON!"
  • In El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, White Pantera's ex-sidekick, the Titanium Titan, turns evil after White Pantera's son Manny was born and resents him for having his partner's attention. He becomes obsessed with getting rid of El Tigre so he can have White Pantera to himself again.
  • Penny to Bessie from The Mighty B!. She also conbined this with The Eeyore and Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds tropes.
  • Nester to Scaredy in Scaredy Squirrel.
  • Demona, one of the main villains in Gargoyles, was a member of the Gargoyles' clan and Goliath's lover before she became evil.
  • Not close friends, but Darkwing Duck and Megavolt went together to the same high school, and they were both bullied by the same crowd.
  • According to Gobbler, Stoic and Alvin use to be friends in Dragons: Riders of Berk, having a Love-Hate Relationship similar to that of Hiccup and Snotlout in the present.
  • Shimmer and Shine: In "Samira and Zeta", it's revealed that Samira and Zeta used to be friends until Zeta became resentful of Samira's progress as a genie-in-training.
  • The usual dynamic is flipped in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, as the series begins with best friends and bunkmates Adora and Catra being soldiers for the Horde. Adora later throws in her lot with the Princess Rebellion after realizing what the Horde actually does. Catra, having always been aware of their villain status, had hoped that the duo could eventually climb the ranks of command in hopes of being in charge themselves; when Adora leaves, she sticks to this plan and quickly becomes The Dragon.


Video Example(s):


Dr. M

Dr. M was once the brains of the previous Cooper Family. It is implied that M was not as close to Sly's father as Bentley is to Sly and thus remembers the Cooper Family with disgust and envy.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvilFormerFriend

Media sources:

Main / EvilFormerFriend