ByDavid Opie, writer at Creators.co
The day someone green-lights a Marvel Zombies Ghibli film directed by Xavier Dolan is the day I will be happy. Any day now...
David Opie

George R. R. Martin may have been talking about the violent yet loveable gang from Game of Thrones here, but isn't this observation true of most characters? Regardless of whether these 'villains' are hanging out in Westeros, a zombie apocalypse or the far reaches of space, the majority of bad guys are often more misunderstood than we give them credit for.

Marvel movies aside, the generic, moustache-twirling stereotypes from yesteryear are mostly long gone. In their place stand widely drawn characters who fully believe that what they're doing is right and just. The likes of Negan, Darth Vader and even The Joker don't see themselves as evil necessarily, and perhaps, neither should we. (Although they certainly don't do themselves any favors when they bash the skulls of beloved characters into paste.)

[Via AMC]
[Via AMC]

Whether you think these iconic characters are tragic heroes or are truly just evil to their core, let's take a walk in their shoes for once and see if there's any humanity left in these seemingly wicked villains.

Negan (The Walking Dead)

Why They're Bad:

  • Tortured Daryl with catchy ditties.
  • Played baseball with Glenn's skull.
  • Didn't kill Carl when he had the chance.
The Walking Dead. [Credit: AMC]
The Walking Dead. [Credit: AMC]

Why They're Misunderstood:

Before the dead rose from their graves, gym teacher #Negan cheated on his wife after discovering she had cancer. Ok, yes, this isn't model hero behaviour either, but Negan only had the affair after struggling to deal with his wife's diagnosis and the pair soon put this behind them as he re-dedicated his life to her. I'm not sure how he managed to gain the affection of two women while wearing gym shorts to work, but I digress.

Just as the apocalypse hit and walkers began to overtake the hospital, Negan's wife died beside him, rising as a zombie just moments later. Shock twist; Her name was Lucille. That's right. Negan carries a constant reminder of his dead wife around with him everywhere he goes, inflicting the pain he feels on others. Sure, he may seem like a barbaric monster, but in reality, Negan is a sad, broken gym teacher who genuinely works hard to keep his Saviors safe in their Sanctuary.

What They Can Do To Restore Their Reputation:

Negan could finally live up to that title of Savior, doing us all a favor by finally giving Carl a haircut before choking him on his goddamned chocolate pudding. It wasn't fair to tease us with that arm trick in the Season 7 premiere, Negan. Finish the job already.

Darth Vader (Star Wars Franchise)

Why They're Bad:

  • Killed all of the Younglings.
  • Killed his son's mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi.
  • Just super annoying to work with.
Star Wars. [20th Century Fox]
Star Wars. [20th Century Fox]

Why They're Misunderstood:

While Darth Vader is clearly a hero for two-thirds of the prequel trilogy, it's better for everyone involved that we simply ignore the existence of these films. Instead, let's turn our attention to the classic run that began with #StarWars: A New Hope.

Despite being perceived as a seemingly bad character for the majority of his adult life, Anakin Skywalker eventually redeemed himself in his final moments by hurling Emperor Palpatine to his death, saving the galaxy in the process. What does Luke Skywalker do in comparison? That's right. The supposed hero swans off for a hipster retreat in the middle of some remote backwater planet while the galaxy turns to shit.

What They Can Do To Restore Their Reputation:

Instead of force choking the crap out of everyone he meets, Darth Vader needs to calm the hell down and invest in some quality skin products. Like a green Jedi midget once said; "Feel as good as you look you do," or something along those lines.

Xenomorph Queen (Aliens)

Why They're Bad:

  • Gave birth to a murderous race of alien predators.
  • Tried to kill Ellen Ripley, the most bad ass of all bitches.
  • Tried to kill Newt, the... actually, we're ok with that one.
Aliens. [20th Century Fox]
Aliens. [20th Century Fox]

Why They're Misunderstood:

Picture this: the alien Xenomorph Queen's one role in life is to give birth to children and ensure the survival of her species. Sure, these children are monstrous creatures that freak us out with their genital faces, but the Queen is a mother and therefore obliged to love her offspiring, regardless of whether they look like deformed reproductive organs or not.

Don't blame the Xenomorph Queen for trying to protect her young. Blame the Weyland Corporation for throwing this iconic maternal figure into conflict with Ripley in the first place. All she really wants is to be left alone with her genocidal batch of sticky eggs. What more could an alien Queen ask for?

What They Can Do To Restore Their Reputation:

Sure, the Xenomorph Queen is a living nightmare in the looks department, but she should really consider sitting Ripley down in order to have a proper heart to heart, woman to woman. After all, motherhood is a tough burden to bear, regardless of which species you're from, and lord knows the Xenomorph's baby daddy is long gone by now.

Gaston (Beauty & The Beast)

Why They're Bad:

  • Tried to kill the Beast.
  • Misogynist AF.
  • Ate the town's entire supply of eggs.
Beauty & The Beast. [Disney Animation]
Beauty & The Beast. [Disney Animation]

Why They're Misunderstood:

There's no two ways about it: Gaston is cocky, and he doesn't treat women with the respect that they deserve. But does this really make him a villain?

Unsurprisingly, when a savage and yet oddly attractive beast kidnaps the love of his life, Gaston decides to take action and enlists his fellow townspeople for help. Imagine how the musclebound 'villain' must have felt when Belle turned round and defended her captor, exhibiting literally every possible symptom of Stockholm Syndrome in the process.

Saving Belle should have been Gaston's crowning moment, the pinnacle of everything that his life had built towards. Instead, the poor man plunged to his death while candles and cupboards secretly serenaded his final moments.

What They Can Do To Restore Their Reputation:

While it would be somewhat out of character, Gaston should probably have considered taking a more subtle approach to rescuing Belle, approaching the Beast's castle without his pitchfork-wielding entourage in tow. After shooting the monster's head off while it slept, Gaston and a close team of friends could have then systematically dismantled each and every one of the castle's freaky inanimate objects before subjecting Belle to the years of psychological therapy that she so sorely needs.

Beauty & The Beast. [Disney Animation]
Beauty & The Beast. [Disney Animation]

The Joker (Batman Franchise)

Why They're Bad:

  • Paralyzed and sexually assaulted Barbara Gordon.
  • Bludgeoned the second Robin with a crowbar before killing him in an explosion.
  • Jared Leto.
The Dark Knight. [Warner Bros.]
The Dark Knight. [Warner Bros.]

Why They're Misunderstood:

While there have been many versions of the Joker in Hollywood over the years, Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Clown Prince in The Dark Knight is arguably the most disturbing, assuming of course that you ignore Jared Leto's... Jared Leto.

What most people fail to realize, though, is that the Joker does far more to eliminate crime and corruption in Gotham City than Batman ever does. By robbing the bank in the beginning of the film, the Clown Prince of Crime makes a huge dent in the savings of the mob and even turns key members against one another. Following that, the Joker then declared war on Gotham's law institutions, rooting out the city's corruption by creating dramatic examples, much like Batman himself does too.

On top of all that, the Joker also excels at magic tricks, making him a delight to have around at children's birthday parties.

The Dark Knight. [Warner Bros.]
The Dark Knight. [Warner Bros.]

What They Can Do To Restore Their Reputation:

Batman may not be particularly popular with Gotham's citizens in the Nolanverse, but his approval rates still out shine the Joker's, so we'd suggest that the Clown Prince of Crime could follow Christian Bale's lead and freak out with a loud shouty voice, both in front of and behind the camera.

Sid (Toy Story)

Why They're Bad:

  • Performed a double-bypass brain transplant on a toy Pterodactyl and a Janie Doll, even though no surgery was required.
  • Tried to lobotomize Woody.
  • That haircut.
Toy Story. [Pixar]
Toy Story. [Pixar]

Why They're Misunderstood:

In the first #ToyStory film, Sid is portrayed as an evil monster who mercilessly tortures toys with sadistic glee. That's all true. Who hasn't met sick little f**ks like Sid who take joy in the pain of others? However, it's worth bearing in mind that Sid had no idea that the toys he was performing amateur surgery on were actually alive.

Sure, Sid's still a little bitch, but haven't we all thought about blowing up our little sister's toys with fireworks before? Just me? Ok, but it's worth bearing in mind how traumatized Sid must have been after all of his toys came to life. A cameo in Toy Story 3 revealed that Sid had become a garbage collector, still wearing the same skull shirt and listening to the same heavy metal music that he enjoyed as a child. Text book case of traumatic regression.

What They Can Do To Restore Their Reputation:

The only way that Sid can win back the hearts of audiences now is to open up a toy hospital where he walks around and tells shit jokes, Patch Adams style.

Bruce (Jaws)

Why They're Bad:

  • Ate people.
  • Made the beach a scary place to visit.
  • Killed a skinny-dipping hottie before she could get her goodies out.
Jaws. [Universal Pictures]
Jaws. [Universal Pictures]

Why They're Misunderstood:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, Bruce the shark messed everything up by snacking on the residents of Amity Island with gluttonous abandon, all without taking a single moment to consider how this would affect the town's dependency on tourism.

In truth though, who's really to blame here? Bruce was just doing what sharks were born to do, whereas the townsfolk living at Amity Island should have considered other ways to keep their economy afloat, investing money in shark cages or sneakers.

What They Can Do To Restore Their Reputation:

Shark Week usually exploits our non-legged friends with dramatic reenactments of crazed shark attacks, but what if Bruce could arrange a candid interview with the team behind the Discovery Channel, humanizing his insatiable lust for food?

Bruce isn't so bad, right guys?:

See also:

Whether you think these iconic villains are truly evil or simply misunderstood, all of them deserve another chance.

Poll

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