For many decades, witches have served as a symbol of evil in many fantasy films. We all have our own preconceived stereotypes of witches, and most of them usually revolve around pointed noses, shrill voices, and no shortage of warts.
However, with the upcoming film The Last Witch Hunter, it looks like we are going to get another view of the witch archetype. From the epic battle scenes and bits of dialogue we get from the the trailers, we get peeks at a whole new level of witchcraft. The Last Witch Hunter presents a reality where witches easily walk among the normal folk, meaning even the most intimidating could be just another passerby. That fact is especially worrisome when it comes to the Queen Witch, a mighty adversary who's revealed herself in short glimpses in the trailer as well as in online graphics. And one thing's for sure: this powerhouse is not going to bow to Vin Diesel without a fight.
With her terrifying power in mind, let's take a look through the history of cinema to see how the image of witches has changed over the years—and what that might mean for Vin Diesel's Kaulder.
The Wicked Witch Of The West (The Wizard Of Oz, 1939)
Perhaps the most classic witch of them all is the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. Her timeless appearance is the very definition of "wicked" in the witch community. She has it all: pointed features, a hooked nose, a wart, and, of course, her signature broomstick. Whether you are a fan of the original Margaret Hamilton witch, or the newer Mila Kunis incarnation, the Wicked Witch of the West has become the template for witches to this day.
Madame Mim (The Sword in the Stone, 1963)
Not every magic-user could hope to challenge Merlin's legendary power, but Madame Mim sure put up quite a fight in The Sword in the Stone. Sure, her magical abilities took a turn for the ridiculous at times, but that is just part of the delight in animated Disney films.
Hermione Granger (Harry Potter franchise, 2001-2011)
Hermione was one of the first heroes to show us that not all witches are ugly old women feared and hated by the world. She is now one of the most prominent female figures in the magical world, and a great role model for girls everywhere. However, if you want the more typical evil sort of witch for the Harry Potter films, look no further than Bellatrix Lestrange.
The White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 2005)
Just because Hermione gave a good name to witches certainly doesn't mean that the rest strayed from their wicked ways. Tilda Swinton's portrayal as the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was exquisite as far as movie villains go. Her plan to kill Aslan and rule Narnia unopposed was truly sinister, and her powers over ice and stone made us all remember why witches were associated with evil.
Melisandre (Game of Thrones, 2011)
You can make any righteous argument for Melisandre that you want, but that doesn't change the fact that she burns people (children included) alive just to serve her god. Sure, she may claim that her magic is used for salvation, to free Westeros from the evil around them, but her techniques have devastating consequnces.
Queen Ravenna (Snow White and the Huntsman, 2012)
If there is one witch that exerts selfishness above all else, it is doubtlessly Charlize Theron as Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman. She wants to live forever, and she is willing to kill whomever she pleases in order to achieve her immortality. Unfortunately for her, Snow White wasn't quite as easy to kill as Queen Ravenna thought.
Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty, 1959 & Maleficent, 2014)
The character of Maleficent has long been associated with the darkest evil, ever since the original Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. While her own film has somewhat lessened her intimidating nature with a sympathetic backstory, that doesn't excuse her from setting an entire kingdom to sleep. And let's not forget she turned into a dragon to try and kill a prince. Those aren't the signs of a nice witch.
Chloe (The Last Witch Hunter, 2015)
From TV magic to feature-length spellcasting, Rose Leslie certainly has her foot in the door when it comes to the fantasy genre. In the upcoming Vin Diesel flick The Last Witch Hunter, Leslie plays an intriguing witch named Chloe. She uses her mysterious dreamworld powers to aid Vin Diesel's character Kaulder as the newest iteration of the witch archetype in contemporary cinema.
Over the years, witches have changed appearances and mannerisms quite a bit. It's gotten to the point where they are starting to become more of protagonists than antagonists. Sure, there are still some wicked witches out there, but some of them might just stick their neck out for you someday.