Black Panther: Wakanda Forever features the newest villain on the MCU’s roster, Namor. However, comic book readers will note that Namor himself is very much a Marvel hero, and while he has many anti-hero tendencies, his story arcs often involve him teaming up with the Avengers, Fantastic Four and the X-Men.
Because of this, there is speculation that Namor will be revealed as a “good guy” in future MCU projects. If that comes to fruition, it won’t be the first time a villain has become a hero in a later film in a franchise. Some very well-known movie heroes started their screen appearances as some of the worst villains.
Hector Barbossa – Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise
Captain Barbossa played by Geoffrey Rush is arguably the second main character in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but his role in the first film, Curse of the Black Pearl, places him against Jack Sparrow as the film’s major antagonist. He is the undead pirate captain that the heroes fight and end up killing at the end of the movie.
So it’s a huge surprise in the sequel when Barbossa is revealed to be resurrected as the instrument the heroes will use to save Captain Jack. From The end of the world from there, Barbossa becomes an increasingly good character, eventually even working as a legal privateer. And in Dead men don’t tell taleshe sacrifices himself for the characters he was at one point trying to kill.
Norman Nordstrom – Don’t Breathe / Don’t Breathe 2
No one would have guessed that the 2016 don’t breathe would have a sequel after leaving most of the details up in the air. So when Don’t breathe 2 came out, it was a double surprise because, in the sequel, murderous rapist Norman Nordstrom, played by Stephen Lang, turns out to be the main protagonist.
The horror of his revenge crimes in the first film is not forgotten in the sequel, but he spends the film protecting a little girl from an even worse group of kidnappers. It’s a case of “the lesser of two evils” and audiences even end up rooting for Nordstrom by the end of the sequel.
Iago – Aladdin / The Return of Jafar
At Disney Aladdin, Iago is iconically voiced by Gilbert Gottfried. In the first movie, Iago is more than happy to go with Jafar and help cause trouble, and he even gets banished along with Jafar at the end. In the second movie, Jafar’s Returna hit direct-to-video VHS, Iago accidentally befriends the protagonist.
Much of the film involves Iago trying to convince everyone around him that he’s become good, which is difficult considering he’s retained his grumpy attitude. It’s not until the end of the film that he gains his redemption by nearly sacrificing himself to defeat the evil genius.
Loki – MCU
In one of Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios’ savviest moves, Loki went from being the main villain of the Marvel Universe to starring in one of his first TV series. In ThorLoki is a much more menacing villain than audiences learn later in the series, and was the main antagonist in this film and The Avengers.
It is only in phase II and Thor: Dark World that the more heroic side of the character began to emerge. And on time Thor: Ragnarok fate, he’s a hero in his own right, albeit with some villainous tendencies. Tom Hiddleston proved to be far too charismatic to make Loki a Villain of the Week character.
Deckard Shaw – Fast & Furious Franchise
The fast furious The franchise is known for turning villains into heroes and one of the most famous examples is Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham. In Furious 7, Deckard Shaw arrives on the scene to avenge his brother, defeated by Toretto’s team in the previous film. Of course, Shaw is defeated and that’s it.
But, in the very next film, Fate of the Furious, Deckard is enlisted to help Toretto’s crew, and even though he doesn’t get along well with the others, he still puts himself in danger to save Dom’s son. His heel-to-face turn continues in Hobbs & Shaw as he teams up with The Rock to save the world.
Mini-Me – Austin Powers Franchise
In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Fucked Me, Dr. Evil invents a tiny clone of himself dubbed Mini-Me. With a father like that, no doubt the character would be evil. Mini-Me even puts up a good fight against Austin Powers when they finally meet and kills a number of henchmen himself.
But in the next film in the franchise, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Mini-Me begins to feel unappreciated in the evil organization and leaves to team up with Austin. After some growing pains, and as Austin and Mini-Me get used to it, they quickly become friends. At the end of the movie, Mini-Me dresses up like a little Austin Powers and gets along with everyone.
Godzilla – Godzilla Franchise
Godzilla has gone through so many iterations over the years that it can be hard to tell if the kaiju is currently a hero or a villain. But it is clear that in the first film of the series, Godzilla (1954), the monster is clearly the antagonist. It has no other goal than to destroy and cannot be reasoned with. The film’s climax sees the scientists make the terrible decision to kill the monster.
But shortly after the original film, and more recently in the Legendary series, Godzilla is often portrayed as a savior of mankind. The Godzilla franchise is filled with kaiju battles and evil villains coming to Earth, and Godzilla is the only one powerful enough to stop them. His transformation into a righteous hero, while thrilling to watch, is a far cry from his monstrous origins.
The T-800 – Franchise Terminator
terminator and Terminator 2 are among the greatest action movies of all time and it’s partly thanks to the two different roles that Arnold Schwarzenegger plays in each. First terminator, the T-800 is an almost unstoppable killing machine looking to murder a child. His robotic form is that of a skeleton with red eyes and would fit well in any horror movie.
James Cameron makes good use of audience expectations in T2 changing things up and having the T-800 reprogrammed as a protector this time around. The killing machine remains deadly and stoic, but he’s the film’s undisputed hero. So much so that his sacrifice at the end is a heartbreaking moment.
Apollo Creed – Rocky Franchise
Rocky Balboa has fought a number of fighters in his career, but it all started in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania when Apollo Creed challenged a local to a fight at Rocky. The confident American boxer was easy to love and hate, and his overconfidence stood in direct contrast to Rocky’s quiet strength.
It’s not before Rocky III that the pair put their differences aside and decided to work together to defeat Clubber Lang. Apollo takes a depressed Rocky under his wing after the death of Rocky’s trainer, and they slowly begin to build a friendship based on their shared experiences. Their private fight at the end of the film is done out of a love of the sport rather than a dislike for each other.
Velociraptors – Jurassic Park Franchise
The velociraptors of jurassic world franchise seem to be of a completely different breed than those found in the first three jurassic park movies. These velociraptors are the boogeymen of the trilogy. They silently stalk their prey, set traps, and seem happy to kill anyone and anything. It is a terrifying force, impossible to reason with.
But in jurassic world, the raptors seem to have become so intelligent that Owen Grady can control them to some degree. They rarely attack the protagonists and one of them, Blue, ends up becoming a protagonist himself with his own story arc.
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