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Villains Wiki
Maybe I don't want to be the bad guy anymore!
~ Megamind going through his redemption.
You don't have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe. And you are capable of amazing things. Because you are the Special. And so am I. And so is everyone. The prophecy is made up, but it's also true. It's about all of us. Right now, it's about you. And you... still... can change everything.
~ Emmet convincing Lord Business to reform himself.

This category is for villains who are no longer evil, which can entail joining their former heroic enemies or simply giving up on their evil cause (whatever it may be). Certain villains have died to achieve redemption, such as Billy Hargrove, Darth Vader, Doctor Octopus, King Olly, Hazel Rainart, Viggo Grimborn, or live on as good guys, they'll confess their actions to the heroes and their criminal records will be cleared. This is usually due to villains feeling sorry for their past actions or they never wanted to be villains.

In the best cases, a redeemed villain can even go on to become Pure Good, Good examples are Android 16 and AAARRRGGHH!!!. However, this very rarely happens as most villains often retain some of their more unpleasant character traits.

There are several ways a villain can redeem themselves including:

  • Snapping out of a possessed or brainwashed state, and deciding to aid the hero who freed them. The villain is a hypnotized, brainwashed or possessed pawn who does not know they are being controlled until they are freed. Grateful to whatever hero freed them, they ally with them. Baroness from the G.I. Joe Film Series, Count Bleck, Cyrax, and Pre-Reboot Sindel are great examples.
  • Being exposed to a messiah or pure good type of hero who helps them see their errors. Usually done with delusional villains, protective villains, tragic villains, honorable villains, insecure villains, in love villains or affable villains (the villain can also have all those traits) who believe they are doing right or just want to be loved. The hero reveals to them that their actions are actually causing harm, or tries to comfort them. The individual chooses their desire for righteousness over what they have done, and/or decides the hero had helped them see what they were doing was wrong, and becomes a hero. Mitsuaki Gamou, Count Bleck, Discord, Sunset Shimmer, Te Kā, Namaari, Monster Steven and Lord Business are examples.
    • Remorseful heroes: in this sub-scenario, usually in more light-hearted media, and if the villains are affable, in love and/or just plain jerks, the HEROES are the ones who apologize to the villain for provoking them into their evil ways, the villains forgive them and stop being evil. Example: Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny rush back to Harrods in London to apologize to Thomas McGregor for tormenting him ever since his arrival at the McGregor manor and framing him for blowing up their burrow. Thomas, in turned, forgave them while making amends for some of his actions against them.
  • Choosing honor before evil. A honorable villain decides that their own honor, or the honor of something or someone else, is more important than what they are doing and decide to abandon their evil actions. Often done with supporting antagonists who value the lives of lower-ranking people in an organization such as Romeo. Note: this does not count villains that betray others for selfish reasons or who lack any honor despite their claims.
  • Becoming friends with someone and decide to help them over being evil, such as Axel who had planned on betraying Organization XIII with Saïx, but over time built a friendship with two other members, Roxas and Xion, and decided he was happier being with them rather than plotting with Saïx, The latter himself having become remorseful of his past actions secretly helps bring back the former's friends with the help of Vexen, and Pupa after Justin and Ryan terrible interrogation on finding out what's in the crates from Mossi Kasic, it was revealed he hates Mossi and he'll tell the duo everything that he knows and helps them with their case. After Mossi's arrest and defeat, he becomes good friends with them and becomes their informant on patrol with them. Piccolo sacrificed his life for Gohan, realizing that Gohan was a outstanding student and a best friend towards him.
  • Choosing their family over evil. Done with villains who have families and care for them. They realize that their actions are actually hurting their spouses, children, siblings, or any other relatives in their family and decide to stop being evil for their sake. Examples are Darth Vader, Felonious Gru, Omni-Man, Xu Wenwu, Michael De Santa, Endeavor, Prowler and Maxwell Lord.
  • Being memory-wiped or brainwashed into becoming a hero and deciding that they like their new personality and life better than their old one when they inevitably learn the truth. This is the rarest and most controversial form of a villain redeeming themselves since they did not turn good by their own free will and essentially had to be programmed into being good. The audience or reader meets them as a hero first, not knowing they are brainwashed or have fake memories. The "hero" does not know this either and is just as horrified as the viewer when they learn the truth about the horrible things they have done or regain their real memories, but they have spent so much time as a hero and living with an artificial good personality that they choose their new life over their former one and become true heroes. This also includes individuals that happened to be robotic villains that were meant/programmed to be the Big Bad's trump card against the heroes, but due to a certain incident, it ended up being discovered and fixed by the heroes that he/she meant to destroy. The said individual even later befriended the said heroes without either of them or said individual being aware of his/her true goal. One famous example is Darth Revan. Another is Professor Pericles; although he did turn good, it was only in an alternate reality and he didn't do it out of the goodness of his own heart. Pride from Fullmetal Alchemist is also a good example of this as he was memory-wiped by Edward during their confrontation, then reborn and became a normal child in the process. The One-Eyed Wizard is also a good example, as he went from a jealous, bitter old man willing to murder children and his own brother to get what he wants to a good man not out of the goodness of his own heart, but because Roland impaled him with his sword, which had the power to turn bad people nice.
  • Betrayed by their fellow villainous allies/bosses, which made them choose to turn to the good side. After the said villain antagonizes the hero and their deed succeeds, their allies/bosses dump them or try to kill them straightaway; either way, the said villain escapes. Having seen the error of their ways (and in the worst case, hunted down by the Big Bad or their former ally which left them with no option but to join the heroes to survive), they choose to turn to the good side by joining forces with heroes. Bad Cop, Alain, Eret, and Janja are examples.
  • Retirement of being evil: These villains chose to retire from villainy because they realized that living as a good guy is better than their previous life as evildoers. Megamind and Professor Bedlam are good examples. The former, however, did mellow out even before his retirement.
  • Learning the lesson of being evil from another villain: Usually a Necessary Evil, a Monger or, in the worst of cases, a Purely Evil villain; in other words, they experience a case of "getting a taste of your own medicine", which leads them to understand that what they are doing is very bad and they feel horrified, disgusted and terribly bad for the actions of the latter villain and try to redeem himself/herself and fight against him/her (a similar but somewhat different case to Evil Vs. Evil). In the end of the battle (usually in the end of the very battle/episode/movie or in sequels), he or she will try to join the heroes and search for the pardon of everyone they had become enemies to. Shadow the Hedgehog, Kaede Manyuda, Jasper and Horace, LeFou, Lucy, and Selina are good examples.

Also, these kind of Villains are the polar opposite of Fallen Heroes (though sometimes they can be both, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren being examples).


  • HIGHLY IMPORTANT: Pure Evil villains have NO CHANCE OF ANY REDEMPTION, as they are completely irredeemable, no matter the circumstances UNLESS in the following cases:
    • A Possessed/Brainwashed Redeemed hero can be made to look Pure Evil in a flashback or remnants of their evil actions in order to make the audience and reader initially think they are different people, which can make the twist that they are the same person more shocking to both the audience and the Possessed/Brainwashed Redeemed hero when they learn the horrific things they've done, retconning their Pure Evil status away.
    • If a villain who was once considered Pure Evil does eventually redeem themselves, then that means that they were never Pure Evil in the first place as those type of villains are known for being irredeemable. Even then, such cases are very rare as most formerly Pure Evil villains merely become kinder, not good.
    • In addition, Pure Evil Villains who temporarily join the heroes' side out of PRAGMATIC and SELF-SERVING needs, but still retain their villainous way, can NEVER count as Redeemed, Remorseful or On & Off. It's highly possible that these kinds of villains WILL slip back into their evil ways once their needs are fulfilled. (e.g. Frieza, Slade, Sōsuke Aizen, Caesar Clown, Blood Stalk, Vilgax, Red Skull, Shang Tsung, Reed Richards (Ultimate Marvel), etc.). Likewise, certain villains who redeem themselves, but only do in non-canonical appearances should also not be added to this category (e.g. Randall Boggs, Vincent).
  • Additionally, if the villain is currently in an On & Off status, they are NOT redeemed unless they've stayed good right up to the very end of the story. Since the part of the story where the villain appears is not complete, it is best practice to wait until it is complete to consider adding the category to the villain.
  • Likewise, it is impossible for a Redeemed character to revert back to their evil ways unless they are Possessed/Brainwashed by another villain (or villains), but even so, the Redeemed villain STAYS Redeemed. That is unless they switch sides constantly.
  • Redeemed villains can't be Karma Houdinis since they've discovered redemption and no longer committed misdeeds regardless if their redemption seems forced.
  • A villain betraying another villain does not always make the villain redeemed. If a traitor is actually redeemed, they have to become heroes, apologize for their actions or stop being evil. If a villain betrays/attacks the other villain, and does not do anything else, they cannot be considered redeemed (e.g. Mr. Tweedy, Boss Wolf, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, the Hyena Clan, Hunch, Brutus & Nero, Dr. Applecheek, the Straycatchers, Nightmares, Paul "Dibs" Plutzker, Headless Horseman, the Friends on the Other Side, Helga Katrina Sinclair, Shredder and Rattlesnake Jake). They should go under Traitor, Evil vs. Evil, and/or Scapegoat instead of this category.
  • A villain defeating another villain (without being a traitor) does not automatically make the villain redeemed.

See Also

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