There comes a time in everyone's life when they've got to grow up. This comes with changes, some good and some bad. A person might not be the same as they were when they were younger.
The same thing happens to fictional characters. Eventually, our favorite fictional characters will grow up. Unless their names are Ash Ketchum or Timmy Turner, it's an inevitable and unavoidable process.
But that isn't always necessarily a bad thing. In fact, sometimes when a character changes, it's for the better. Sometimes, your favorite character transforms into a bonafide badass! Just check out these 5 who — all of a sudden — took a very advanced course in the art of badassery!
1. Harry Potter - The Harry Potter Series
First off, the Harry Potter series, as well as the titular character, have always been awesome! And yes, the series was full of action, danger, and adventure from the get-go. But who can remember a time where the HP saga wasn't so... dark?
Seriously, beloved characters dying, talk of magical prophecies, curses, and horcruxes, and MORE beloved characters dying are the staples of the series. But even though that was J.K. Rowling's plan from the beginning, the first book/film certainly had a different tone to it than the rest of the series.
It was more magical and fantastical than action-packed. It was clear that there was a threat, and Voldemort was certainly no laughing matter. But at the same time, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone felt a bit more kid-friendly and fantasy-oriented than the rest.
The series certainly never lost focus of its roots, but it did add several elements of action and high-stakes adventure! As the series went on, it truly felt like this was a battle between good and evil.
Just as the series evolved, so did its main character. Harry Potter went from the wide-eyed little boy who couldn't believe magic was real to the hero who was fully prepared to take on his responsibilities as the chosen one!
He gained courage, strength, and honor. He owned up to his fate, and did everything in his power — including technically dying — to stop Voldemort and save the world! It got to a point where Harry was such a magical action hero that there was hardly a moment where he wasn't covered in dirt and blood. Whether or not it was his own is completely beside the point.
2. Goku - Dragon Ball Z
Ah Goku, the main character of Dragon Ball Z is just as absurd as the series itself! It seems that every time we see him, he's undergoing a brand new transformation, defining the phrase "over-powered." But it wasn't always like that.
Now, a lot of fans either forget or don't know that there's a whole series before Dragon Ball Z, simply titled Dragon Ball. Though not as popular as the Z series, Dragon Ball is still canon and stars Goku as a kid.
Even as a kid, Goku was immensely strong. But before the Saiyan Saga, before becoming a Super Saiyan, Goku was just a kindhearted and incredibly clueless child. Even though he could take down a dinosaur with a single punch, he still felt like a humble character.
Then came Dragon Ball Z and Goku's many, many, MANY transformations. First he found out he was a member of an elite race of planet destroyers, then he became a Super Saiyan — something that no other Saiyan had done in thousands of years. But he didn't stop there! After undergoing a legendary transformation, he decided to up the ante by going Super Saiyan 2, then 3, then 4, then God!
Now, he's reached an all new state, awkwardly titled Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan... Yeah, Goku's basically gotten so powerful that he's running out of names to call his transformed states. I can't wait to see him transform into the Legendary Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Ultra Saiyan 2 next year!
3. Patricia 'Patsy' Walker (Hellcat) - Marvel Comics
Most people know Patricia 'It's Patsy!' Walker from the hit Netflix series Jessica Jones (if you aren't watching it, start!) But not a lot of people who watch the show know of her comic book history as the superhero Hellcat. Fewer fans know of her comic book background as your typical '40s-'50s teenage humor heroine.
Back when comics weren't allowed to be edgy, Marvel went by the name 'Timely Comics,' and published mostly humor comics featuring funny characters and animals — such as Millie the Model, Powerhouse Pepper, and Mighty Mouse.
Timely Comics, like most comics of that time, weren't exactly well-received, and were simply seen as things to put on your coffee table. But one comic that was more popular than the others was Miss America. The comic featured Patsy Walker and her friends Hedy Wolfe and Buzz Baxter. Eventually, Patsy got her own series of comics, Patsy Walker, Patsy and Hedy, and Patsy and Her Pals.
Around the same time Timely Comics started to slowly transform into Marvel Comics, a lot of Timely characters started disappearing in favor of characters like Iron Man and Captain America.
Luckily, rather than fade into nonexistence like the rest of them, Patricia Walker walked into the Marvel Universe in her stride! Her backstory was kept the same; she married Buzz and they moved in together. But after some experiences in Vietnam, Buzz became tense, and their marriage slowly broke apart.
After this, they divorced and Patricia — having learned of the X-Men hero Beast's true identity — accompanied him and the Avengers on a mission. Soon after, Patricia found a costume belonging to Greer Nelson, the hero once known as Tigra.
She donned the costume and became Hellcat, the newest member of The Avengers! Patsy's history is really incredible. She went from teen-humor heroine to a sharp-clawed superhero with no trouble at all!
4. Jak - Jax and Daxter Series
Who could forget Jak, the (mostly) silent protagonist of the Jak and Daxter series? People who had a PlayStation 2 during their childhood fondly remember growing up with Jak and his loud-mouthed partner Daxter, aiding them in their adventures and traversing beautiful foreign worlds.
The first Jak and Daxter was purely action-adventure-fantasy. A bright world full of lush landscapes, magical creatures, and a plot that revolved around mystical energy, magical sages, and an otter/weasel hybrid — how much more fantastical could you get?!
The game did well enough to sell millions of copies, and solidified Jak and Daxter's place as two of Naughty Dog's icons — along with Crash Bandicoot. But as Jak and Daxter were gearing up for their sequel, Naughty Dog thought it best to have the two get more mature, as a symbol of the fanbase growing up.
Enter Jak II! The Grand Theft Auto-inspired sequel to The Precursor Legacy was vastly different. With the help of a magic portal, Jak and Daxter are transported to a dystopian world, a polar opposite of the colorful world from the original game.
With this new bleak world came an equally grim story, revolving around a war between two factions, an evil Baron, and a Jabba the Hutt-esque gang lord who sends you on the most frustrating and unnecessary of missions!
Jak and Daxter — mostly Jak — adapted to this new world rather quickly. Jak was no longer a silent protagonist. He was now sporting a threatening voice, a rad goatee, and a literal dark side that came out whenever he absorbed too much Dark Eco.
It became clear that the little pointy-eared mute from the first game was no more; and replacing him was an adult, semi-psychotic, gun-toting badass with a license to kill. A license that he took note of every chance he got!
Despite the drastic change to the Jak and Daxter formula, Jak II (and subsequent sequels) sold fairly well. It turns out that Naughty Dog was right; the fans were growing up and ready to experience something a bit more mature. Now hopefully Naughty Dog will bring Jak and Daxter back in an epic M-rated adventure in the near future. Don't act like you wouldn't play that!
5. Aquaman - DC Comics
Ah yes, Aquaman, the king of going up a level in badass. Aquaman has come really far since his debut in 1941, and the character has gone up more than a few levels of awesome!
You've more than likely heard all of the jokes about Aquaman. He "only talks to fish," he's "useless on land," etc. These Aquaman-centered jokes all stem from his goofy appearance on the 1973 DC cartoon Super Friends.
That Aquaman was treated as a big joke, making water-related puns and riding sea turtles while Superman and Batman actually stopped crime from happening. Ever since, DC's been trying to make the character more cool and gritty. And while people still jab at Aquaman today, there's no denying that the character has gotten much more interesting.
Nowadays, Aquaman's origin is that he's a king who's desperately trying to keep his underwater kingdom (Atlantis) safe from threats such as Black Manta and his brother The Ocean Master.
His origin story has definitely received a cool revamp. But what about those lame powers of his? Well, those got updated too. Firstly, Aquaman doesn't really talk to fish anymore, he just mind-controls them into doing what he needs them to do.
He can also obviously breathe underwater, and he possesses superhuman durability. This allows him to not only to survive the high pressure and cold atmosphere of the ocean deep, but it also makes him strong enough to resist gun fire!
Then there's his weapon, the Trident. This weapon was already powerful before, with its ability to be used as both a very sharp melee weapon and a magical fire bolt-shooting item. But now, not only is it still sharp and magical, it's also one of the most powerful weapons in the world, and one of the seven Atlantean magical items forged by the first king of Atlantis himself!
The Trident is completely indestructible and powerful enough to make Darkseid bleed, making Aquaman the first and ONLY member of the Justice League to do so! So, the next time someone calls Aquaman a "useless flipper-boy," show them this picture:
Well, there you have it, 5 characters who started off with hardly any badass in their system, only to gain a whole lot of it over time! Which one is your favorite?