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Face/Heel Double-Turn

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The Face–Heel Turn and Heel–Face Turn, as well as every Sub-Trope that goes with them, are legendary tropes that are seen all the time. However, a Face/Heel Double-Turn is the occasion when one character does a Heel–Face Turn while another character does a Face–Heel Turn almost simultaneously.

This comes in many forms, particularly in a whodunnit mystery. For example, the Red Herring is revealed to be good all along while the real suspect is exposed. Or perhaps in a war the hardass Drill Sergeant Nasty isn't so nasty after all while a seemingly nice and innocent soldier turns out to be The Mole or the Big Bad. Of course, this trope isn't just restricted to finding out one character was good all along while the other was bad; it can refer to characters changing roles in a storyline.

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The Trope Namer comes from Professional Wrestling, where two wrestlers will switch face and heel roles during an actual angle or match. It should be noted that it doesn't count if there are two faces and one turns heel or vice versa — both have to switch roles. Also note that despite the name, it needn't be confined to just two characters. The "double" part refers to two roles switching around.

When the main protagonist and antagonist do this, it's an Hourglass Plot. Not to be confused with a single character making two (or more) Turns in quick succession; that character is going through the Heel–Face Revolving Door.

As a Betrayal Trope, there are unmarked spoilers below.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • At the beginning of Code Geass, Lelouch leads the Black Knights in the resistance against the Britannian Empire. In Episode 44, the Black Knights mutiny against him after learning his past as an exiled Britannian prince, leading him to seize control of the Britannian government two episodes later. Thus, the Britannians become the protagonists while the Black Knights become the antagonists.

    Fan Works 
  • In Total Drama fan-fiction Unbreakable Red Silken Thread Heather and Gwen. The two characters were rivals during Total Drama, especially in Total Drama Island. Heather was the typical Queen Bee bully while Gwen was the most emotionally compelling force opposing her. By the time they meet up years later in college, the roles have almost reversed; while not a bully, Gwen has for sure become the more antagonistic of the two while Heather has obtained greater emotional depth.

    Film 
  • In Witness for the Prosecution the third act reveals that Christine was actually protecting Leonard, who was guilty after all.
  • I, Robot has a robot suspected of murdering his master by the cop investigating the case only for The Reveal to show it was actually VIKI, the seemingly benevolent super computer in the man's office, and the robot was innocent all along.
  • Legends of the Fall has Tristen turn from heel to face and Susanna do the opposite.
  • The Prestige has Angier portrayed in a sympathetic light after Borden inadvertently murders his wife. In their ongoing rivalry we root with Angier initially until he frames Borden for his own murder and intends to raise his daughter after her father is hanged. Then comes the reveal that Borden and Fallon are identical twins.
  • Snow White: A Tale of Terror has Claudia start out as warm and affectionate towards her new stepdaughter, offering Lilli gifts and hoping to be friends. Lilli rebuffs her and acts like a spoiled brat. Then when Claudia miscarries, Lilli tries to comfort her and apologizes for everything she has done, but her stepmother doesn't forgive and she tries to have Lilli killed and we start (also) rooting for Lilli for the rest of the story as she slowly matures and tries to mend her way and be a better authority figure.
  • In Spy Kids, Floop is supposed to be the villain, but near the end of the film he for some reason actually turns to the side of Juni and Carmen Cortez, while at the same time, his minion, Alexander Minion, actually becomes the new Big Bad.
    • Actually, this is explained: Floop just wanted more money/ratings for his show, whereas Minion actually wanted to legitimately take over the world.
  • Faccia A Faccia provides a straight example: a meek history professor becomes a ruthless villain, whereas a bandit becomes... well, almost an honest man.
  • In Fast & Furious 6, Riley is revealed to be The Mole right around the time Letty pulls a Heel–Face Turn. This leads to Letty going two for two in their Heroic Rematch.
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    Literature 
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has the Red Herring version. Sirius Black is, for most of the book, presented as an evil mass murderer who betrayed Harry's parents and murdered his childhood friend Peter Pettigrew. Then comes The Reveal that Peter betrayed Harry's parents and framed Sirius, and that the latter was in fact trying to protect Harry.
    • Goblet Of Fire - Cornelius Fudge (and by extension, the Ministry of Magic) becomes the enemy while Snape is outright stated to be on Dumbledore's side at the end.
    • Half Blood Prince - Malfoy goes from heel to face and Snape goes from face to heel, though Snape is revealed to have been good all along in the next book.
  • Both Catherine (the elder) and Heathcliff go through the Face–Heel Revolving Door several times in Wuthering Heights that include bits where Catherine is a bitch for marrying Edgar and abandoning Heathcliff but then he's the bad guy for stirring up trouble and ruining her happy marriage while she's pregnant.
  • Depending on how you look at it, Shylock and Antonio from The Merchant of Venice.

    Live Action TV 
  • Coronation Street had an interesting case when Gail was mistakenly convicted for murdering her husband (he died naturally) and her son David was on her side (face) while her stepdaughter Tina believed Gail had actually killed her father (heel). After the story was over and she apologised to Gail, Tina began a relationship with Graeme (David's best friend) and became more sympathetic (face turn) while David opposed the relationship and tried to split them up (heel turn).
  • A variation happened with two entire dimensions in the Charmed season 6 finale where the sisters found an evil alternate dimension to their good one. They did too much good while in the evil dimension and that caused both dimensions to become extreme versions of their former selves. In the good dimension everyone was over cheery and smiling and people were shot for minor things such as using your phone at work. In the evil dimension it was the reverse where people got killed for saying "bless you" when someone sneezed.
  • Dark Willow in Buffy caused the previous big bads (Jonathan and Andrew) to become sympathetic as they were humans being punished by Willow for Tara being killed by their friend and Willow to become the new Big Bad.
    • Essentially happened with Angel and Drusilla before the show's continuity. Angel, as Angelus drove her mad and killed all her family before turning her into a vampire. However now he's good with a soul while she's evil and crazy.
    • This applies to Angel and Spike in the second season. For the first half of the season Spike is the main villain while Angel is on Buffy's side. Then come the halfway point and Spike is heavily injured and forced to sit on the sidelines while Angel loses his soul and reverts to Angelus, taking over as the main villain. Spike grows sick of being mistreated by Angelus and eventually betrays him, and after learning that he plans on destroying the entire world forms an Enemy Mine with Buffy.
  • The Angel episode "Inside Out" features a variation on the whole shoulder angel/devil thing when Darla (a villain for most of her time on the show) appeared in front of Connor when Cordelia (good but was possessed at the time) was trying to convince him to kill an innocent teenage girl. To make it more anvilicious, Darla was dressed in white while Cordelia was dressed completely in black.
  • The third season of Robin Hood has Isabella rejecting the Outlaws in favour of Prince John while Guy of Gisborne is gradually redeemed.
  • In the pilot episode of the MacGyver reboot, Nikki Carpenter fakes her death and betrays MacGyver and the entire Phoenix Foundation, and is portrayed as a fugitive on the run, while Patricia Thornton, the head of the Phoenix Foundation, states that Nikki's betrayal caused the DXS to become compromised. However, in the episode, "Screwdriver," Nikki turns face and reveals that she was actually in deep cover for the CIA, searching for the mole who had been working against Phoenix. Patricia turns heel and is revealed as the mole, and is later arrested by Nikki.
  • An episode of the Charmed reboot, "You're Dead to Me," has Macy Vaughn summoning Knansie (the Necromancer who resurrected her as an infant), with Knansie being hunted by Sid, a villainous and vengeful witch who blamed Knansie for her boyfriend's death. As it turned out, Sid was seeking out Knansie because she turned her boyfriend into a demon, as Knansie made a deal with a demon to create more of them in exchange for eternal youth. Sid had to kill her boyfriend when he became demonic and tried to kill her, and after Sid's reveal turned her face, Knansie turned heel to complete the swerve, attempting to kill Parker, only to die when she learned he was a half-demon—attacking a demon is against the pact.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Survivor Series 1988, where the Powers of Pain turned heel and Demolition turned face during their match because of the tactics they used, while Mr. Fuji, who stayed heel, jumped ship.
  • The most well known instance of this happening is the famous "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart match at WrestleMania 13 where Bret went in as the face and ended up turning heel after the match and vice versa with Stone Cold, due to the Heroic Willpower of the former and the brutality of the latter.
  • A lesser known example would involve The Dudley Boys, who were heels, and the team of Test and Albert (T&A) along with their manager Trish Stratus, who were faces, reversing roles during their feud, with fans being very supportive of Trish getting powerbombed through a table at Backlash 2000.
  • An example that happened with an angle instead of a match (pardon the pun; this is going to involve a certain Olympic gold medalist). After the end of the Invasion angle, Stone Cold was part of the Alliance while Kurt Angle was The Mole for the WWF. The Raw episode after the end of the story had Kurt turn heel by being cocky and claiming responsibility for the Alliance getting taken care of while Stone Cold turned back face the same night.
  • A downplayed example happened with Lita and Trish Stratus. During their famous rivalry, Trish was heel and Lita was face but they both went down with injuries in the same year. Lita was still appearing on TV a while before Trish returned and turned heel in an unrelated storyline. When Trish returned, she became a face though the two didn't interact much. They did reignite their feud the next year only this time Trish was the face and Lita the heel.
    • This actually began before Trish went down with her injury. The fans turned against Lita after her affair with Edge became public knowledge. If you watch their in-ring segment from Raw on 4/18/2005, the fans are unmercifully chanting "You screwed Matt!" and "We want Matt!" at Lita, who was supposed to be the face. Trish tried to take the heat on herself, but it didn't work.
  • In 2005 Christie Ricci wrestled a match for PGWA in her hometown, on her birthday, so she almost had to be the face but even more since it was against Lollipop of Team Blondage infamy. Two years later Lollipop had retired from pro wrestling but returned to PGWA again when told Ricci wanted another birthday match. So the fans were nice to Lollipop for the nice gesture, and then turned on Ricci as it became clear she had only made the request for a chance to injure Lollipop.
  • On Bound for Glory 10.10.10., Hulk Hogan, Jeff Jarrett, Jeff Hardy, and Eric Bischoff all turned heel together revealing themselves and Abyss to have conspired together to wrest control of TNA from Dixie Carter, naming their subsequent group Immortal. Suddenly the deception that Sting, Kevin Nash, and D'Angelo Dinero were talking about when they were rabble-rousing against Hogan and Bischoff made perfect sense.
  • At the SHIMMER Volume 43 tapings face Mercedes Martinez had a match with heel Athena that ended in a double count-out and Martinez refused to restart the match. At the next volume she turned heel officially by attacking Athena with a steel chair and breaking her leg. Athena appeared as a face at subsequent SHIMMER events.
  • Happened during WWE's Payback PPV in 2013. Dolph Ziggler was facing Alberto Del Rio, heel and face respectively, for the World Heavyweight Championship (ironically enough in the same arena as the Austin/Hart match mentioned above).note  In the lead up to the match, long-time Ensemble Dark Horse Ziggler became increasingly popular with fans, while Del Rio was bombing in the face role he had gone on for the last six months, During the match Del Rio repeatedly targeted Dolph's head. The fans started booing Del Rio and cheering for Dolph. In the end Del Rio won the World Heavyweight Championship. The next night on Raw the double turned was further implemented with Del Rio blaming the fans for not standing by his side, and after a match with CM Punk (who was undergoing his own Heel–Face Turn at the time), in which he intentionally got counted out, was attacked by Ziggler, who would subsequently part ways with his stablemates Big E. Langston and AJ Lee, who would stay together for a couple of more months as the latter returned to being a full-time wrestler in the women's Division, while Del Rio would shortly afterwards cut ties with his long-time personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez. By Friday, Del Rio was back to wrestling faces like Chris Jericho, John Cena, and his now-infamous rival Sheamus. Ziggler's very next match was against Antonio Cesaro, solidifying his turn. Del Rio never returned to the good side for the remainder of his WWE career, while Ziggler has stayed solidly face for the next three-and-a-half years (even though he still keeps the "#HEEL" shtick) until he turned on Kalisto in early 2017.
  • One WWE Superstars match in 2012 featured Alicia Fox taking on Natalya Neidhart. Alicia smiled and high fived fans during her entrance (and had been a face on TV prior to this). Natalya meanwhile had been a heel on TV but was admittedly a Designated Villain - since the match happened in Canada. However minutes into the match, Alicia turned heel which turned Natalya face. Both began to appear in their respective roles on TV in weeks to come.
  • CMLL set up a revelos suicidas between two teams of rivals at their 80th anniversary show, which lead to La Sombra and Volador Jr getting X-Pac Heat when they lost to Atlantis and Último Guerrero, as the latter had a longer, more heated feud and fans were more interested in seeing them in the resulting Lucha de Apuestas for their masks. However, Volador Jr was already a rudo, so booing hardly affected him and fans felt sympathy for him after he was forced to unmask, leading to him becoming a tecnico, while La Sombra became more violent and short tempered as a result of being booed at the biggest show of the year, becoming a rudo, (sort of).
  • Austin Aries and Bobby Roode sided with their corrupt boss Dixie Carter against TNA's new investor MVP, who was a much more reasonable authority figure. After MVP got rid of Dixie's involvement in wrestling relations though, he became a bad boss drunk with power after he saw Don Sterling lose his NBA franchise and decided his position wasn't secure enough. Aries and Roode kept opposing MVP, and became faces by default.
  • When Paige defeated AJ Lee for the Divas Championship, she was the face and AJ the heel. Two months later when AJ returned, she challenged Paige to a fair rematch and won. Paige seemingly respected AJ as a Worthy Opponent - but eventually turned heel on her, which turned AJ face.
  • Carlito Colón and Mighty Ursus in February 2015 when Ursus's manager El Magnate Juan Manuel Ortega abandoned his campaign against the Colón family and joined with Carlito and La Revolucion.
  • In April 2015, The New Day, a face tag team, began showing heelish tactics in their tag team matches like having Xavier Woods hide under the ring and cost opponents matches, while their opponents, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, began using high-risk exciting moves (such as the Cesaro Swing) while feuding with New Day. Kidd and Cesaro may have lost the tag team titles due to New Day's cheating, but they are gaining a fanbase.
  • Carmella and Nikki Bella in August 2016. At SummerSlam, Carmella (the face) was scheduled to compete in a 6-woman tag team match, teaming with Becky Lynch and Naomi and the opponents were Natalya, Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie. Then Eva got suspended for violating the Wellness Policy a few days prior to the event. Because of this, Nikki returned to action following career-threatening neck surgery to be Eva's replacement. However, Nikki was cheered wildly and Carmella had been getting mostly lukewarm reactions since her main roster call-up. So two nights later on SmackDown Nikki is interviewed and behaves like a face, and Carmella attacks her unprovoked. She does it again on the Network-exclusive followup talk show Talking Smack, confirming the double turn.
  • Played with, during the promotion of the Mixed Match Challenge, Becky Lynch and the recently-Face Heel Turned Sami Zayn. Various skits between the two of them involve Sami trying to corrupt Becky and Becky likewise trying to turn Sami good again.
  • A triple change with Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey. Initially, Becky turning heel at SummerSlam] 2018 and betraying Charlotte but due to Becky's popularity with the crowd and Charlotte'spoor portrayal as a Face as well as her status as a Creator's Pet, the fans refuses to boo Becky, no matter how vicious her actions her. By Survivor Series 2019, Becky returned being a Face while still keeping her antiheroic persona while Charlotte returned being the arrogant Heel she once was. Meanwhile, Ronda, who when first joined to company as a fan favourite, was booed during the feud due to poor booking and like with Charlotte, her poor potrayal as a Face. Because fans refused to turned against Becky, Ronda eventually lost her patience and turned heel at March.

    Video Games 
  • The Williams sisters in the Tekken series. Nina was always the nastier of the sisters as her endings show her stealing Anna's shoes, pointing a gun at her at their father's grave and taking a picture of Anna while she showered. In the fifth game Anna became a lot less sympathetic and Nina actually tried, but failed, to make peace with Anna.
    • Likewise, Kazuya and Heihachi zig zag through this all the time. In the first game Kazuya was the face as Heihachi had thrown him off the cliff as a child. At the end of the game he threw Heihachi off a cliff and took control of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Except he was a far worse leader than Heihachi was and the organisation became more corrupt, thus making Heihachi a face by default (at best an when he returned in Tekken 2. Though then he threw Kazuya into a volcano at the end of the game and became a heel again. In Tekken 3, Jin took over Kazuya's role as the main face, with the latter coming back as a tweener in 4. At the end of 5, Jin had taken over the Zaibatsu and became a corrupt military dictator and Heihachi, presumed to be dead, was part of the resistance trying to stop him (although more for self-serving purposes than anything else).
  • Played with in Final Fantasy X where the people following the Yevon religion were touted as good people while the Al Bhed race were "heathens". Then comes the reveal that the leaders of Yevon are corrupt people in charge of a Path of Inspiration and the Al Bhed come to help the protagonists.
    • A justified example in the sequel. Shuyin possesses Nooj before the game's story starts, making Nooj the one who shot Gippal, Baralai and Paine in the Den of Woe. During the middle of the game, Shuyin possessed Baralai instead and used his body to control the big bad machine underground, leaving Nooj free.
  • Depending on the player, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic can go this way, with Revan becoming increasingly Light while Bastila falls to the Dark Side.
  • In X-Wing Alliance, The Mole on your ship reveals himself in the same campaign that an Imperial Officer defects and joins that ship.
  • Throughout most of In FAMOUS 2, Kuo advocates heroic actions while Nix advocates villainous ones. During the climax, when they all learn that the Beast is sacrificing ordinary humans to save Conduits from a plague and that the only way to save humanity is to sacrifice all Conduits, Kuo turns against humanity out of cowardice while Nix sides with humanity.

     Western Animation 
  • Bojack Horseman: Due to the morally grey setting and examination of what it truly means to reject life's good opportunities, be it in Hollywoo or somewhere else, there are more complex examples.
    • "Old Acquaintance" – Princess Carolyn, our heroic swindler agent, is set up against Vanessa Gekko, her slimy Arch-Enemy, and Rutabaga Rabitowitz, her dodgy ex in a race against the clock to score The Ride of Pegasus for their clients. While Gekko and Rutabaga are normally despicable and underhanded, here they come off as slightly more sympathetic since it's PC and BoJack's (the protagonists!) past mistakes the ones that do them in. In this case, BJ's unwillingness to let someone down, even expecting his agent to Shoot the Dog and PC's blockage of her beloved assistant, Lora.
    • All through season 4, BoJack, reeling from burning so many bridges and losing so many people in his life, gradually finds peace in himself by helping his possible illegitimate daughter find her mother. Simultaneously, Beatrice's past is shown in flashbacks from her promising debutante days to her Start of Darkness that led her to mold BJ with brusque, poisonous fingers.
  • ParaNorman: Sort-of, and in both cases, it's posthumous. The whole tragedy began when merciless Puritan fanatics sentenced a little girl to hanging just because she had powers they didn't understand. Fast-forward three hundred years, and the zombies of those same Puritans have had a very long time to realize what they did, while Agatha, despite getting her revenge, has spent all those years clinging to her hatred and refusing to let go, even when it means innocent people are hurt in the process.
  • In Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, in life, Captain Moonscar and his crew were vicious pirates who had Simone and Lena's family and friends fed to alligators, and Simone and Lena cursed the pirates in revenge. Fast-forward two hundred years, and Simone and Lena have become murderous werecats who survive by sucking the life force out of innocent people to keep themselves alive, while the zombies turn out to be desperately trying to atone for their sins by chasing people away from the island so they won't fall victim to Simone and Lena, too.


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