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Media Essays: Reformed Villains

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Written by Erin-the-Gamer and TCH2


Erin: "Hey guys, 2024 is here and hard to believe we have a new start with a new year, and speaking of which, has been a while since I did a collab with TCH2 (aka Thomas) as we're doing a list of "second chances" with a roster of unlikely bad guys from media.

Yep, we're doing a list of the villains as we thought were major bad guys and threats for the heroes, but when we get to know them of who they are, you can see there are different layers to them as why they are beloved."


(Thomas Holmes walks into sight.)


Thomas: "Redemption is a theme I love very much in fiction. When done properly and with the right characters, it can create inspiring and memorable stories that resonate with those who thought themselves lost, only to find a better path. There are too many examples of reformed villains to count, but Erin and I are going to cover the villains we both know, and the Media Man also knows (barring one). There are others we'd like to include, specifically from Amphibia, but we'd rather not spoil anything major for our friend.


"So, ready to begin, Erin?"


Erin: "Of course, as we have a roster of redeemed villains, so which ones will be the most talked about? Let's begin with a familiar face."


Peridot (Steven Universe)

Peridot

Erin: "What you know, as I have finished my Steven Universe Retrospective just lately and we are familiar with the smart and funny green Homeworld gem Peridot, as no surprise Steven is a show about love and acceptance as Peridot was serving Homeworld during the first two seasons with the second one during the Cluster Arc she has to work with the Crystal Gems to deal with the threat thanks to Steven, who manage to help her with her character development, as we have much to talk about Peri."


Thomas: “When we first see Peridot in the episodes ‘Warp Tour’ and ‘Marble Madness’, she is cold, logical and business-like, serving the Diamond Authority in their plan to unleash the Cluster on Earth. However, when the Crystal Gems throw a spanner into her works, Peridot’s world quickly falls apart, as does her composure.


Eventually, the Gems are able to poof Peridot, stripping her of her limb enhancements in the process. However, Steven, being the loveable idealist he is, decides that Peridot’s warnings about the Cluster might be worth listening to. So, he releases her and Peridot begins her journey to becoming a Crystal Gem.”


Erin: "Yep, as she gets to work with the Crystal Gems as she has to shallow her pride and cooperate, from getting the parts of the drill to knowing each of the gems as she starts to realize the interest of Earth and starts to love the life on the planet, as it leads up to when she gets a device from the Moon Base to call Yellow Diamond (her superior) as Steven and the Gems assumed that the green gem is still serving Homeworld, but comes to see that Peri wants to reason with Yellow as it leads to a heated argument as Peridot realize her boss don't care about logic and being cruel to her, as she called her a CLOD and rebelled."


"Afterwards she feels like she has no purpose afterwards so Steven & the Gems make her feel welcome and comes to terms with her change as she gets to live in the barn as she'll be around when the team needs her, also she has to prove herself she changed to her later roommate, Lapis Lazuli."


Thomas: "This proves more difficult than expected, given Peridot literally dragged Lapis back to Earth. Steven tries to help them get along, but nothing works. Finally, Peridot snaps and says she fully understands how Lapis feels, stranded on Earth. Over time, the two start to connect and Peridot starts to moderate her speech to avoid hurting Lapis' feelings. By the time of 'The Movie', the two have become good friends.


"Anyways, Peridot helps Steven stop the Cluster, learns to bubble captured Gems, develops skill with ferrokinesis and becomes an invaluable source of scientific info for our heroes, especially in 'The Movie', where it's she who determines what the Injector is. Amazing, considering, as she herself said, it took her months to stop trying to kill Steven..."


Erin: "Indeed, plus with Peridot herself, she did won everyone over from her knowledge of gem stuff, new to Earth customs and her character being more wacky one moment and quite straight and serious from another as Rebecca has based Peri on Zim from Invader Zim, which is true."


"If there are any faults I would have with her is that after her redemption, she feels more like a side character a lot of the time and just mostly for comic relief as she is just there for laughs, but nothing too extreme as it is part of her character and I say while the show has a slow start, Peridot has gotten a lot of fans old and new, interested in the show."


Thomas: “It’s quite fitting that this Gem has magnetic powers, because Peridot is one of the many things that ‘attracts’ us to Steven Universe."


Megamind (DreamWorks’ Megamind)

Megamind

“The protagonist of one of DreamWorks’ more underrated films, this alien mastermind whose ego is as big as his head essentially goes from being Lex Luthor to Superman (or perhaps Batman is more appropriate, but you get my meaning)."


Erin: "DreamWorks overall I say are more of a wildcard film company as they can deliver big surprises, and Megamind is one I agree is as very underrated as he & Metro Man were aliens from their own worlds as Metro was raise to be a hero while Megamind has his fish buddy Minion as he was raise in a prison by crooks to be bad and evil and has major clashes with Metro Man as a villain, and during a latest plan, Megamind has won and ‘beaten’ Metro Man, as he has a big victory for himself, and later on, he realize that without a hero, what is a villain like him do now, as he ask himself of his purpose."


"So he is under disguise (as Bernard) as with a talk with Roxanne, he has a way to create a new hero to fight and have the villain role again, but he starts to like the simple things when bonding with Roxanne."


Thomas: “Megamind slowly starts to realise that perhaps he doesn’t need to be a villain, despite being originally seen as such. Indeed, he only became a villain in the first place because he was treated as one by just about everyone. Yet, nothing Megamind did was out of malice or spite; just because he felt he had no other choice.


“Yet hanging out with Roxanne makes Megamind realise that he does have other choices, to the point where he famously says:


“‘Maybe I don’t want to be the bad guy anymore!”


Erin: "Yep, and when he made Hal to be "Tighten" who became a villain, he has to become a hero as it is the only way to stop him and plus Roxanne is in danger as he cares for her, plus she got to know Megamind and vise versa. And when he gets to be a hero, it is very cool and a great character moment, plus Megamind himself is a fun character."


Thomas: “Aye. With a flamboyant personality, an amusing quirk of mispronouncing words and a fantastic voice courtesy of Will Ferrell, Megamind is a great example of how just because you’re treated like a bad guy, you don’t have to be a bad guy. And that is not rocket science!"


Felonious Gru (Despicable Me)

Gru

“Illumination Entertainment certainly hit it out of the park with their first movie and first protagonist. Like with Megamind, Gru soon discovers that there’s more to life than being a super-villain. Only he learns it in a different way.”


Erin: "Yep, now I haven't seen the film in the while or a lot of Despicable Me films, but I may know the plot and have Thomas say the rest."


"Gru is a super-villain that has his group of wacky yellow goons called Minions as he clashes with his rival Vector who is a villain also, as during one of their encounters, Gru meet up with three orphan girls named Margo, Edith & Agnes as they could help him with his plans but later on he grown to have a connection with the girls, later being their father figure."


Thomas: “So Gru adopts Margo, Edith and Agnes as part of his plan to steal... (poses) ...THE MOON!!! Ahem, at first, he treats as little more than pets and inconveniences. But, beginning with a visit to the funfair, the girls begin to break down the walls around his heart. They even try to help him in his plan to build a rocket. Eventually, Gru loses interest in his plan, drawn to the girls’ innocence and desire to be cared for. Even when Doctor Nefario sends the girls away and Gru succeeds in shrinking the Moon, he then decides to go to their Swan Lake dance. His newfound love for them is only further proven when he then goes to rescue the girls from Vector, expecting nothing in return. Gru even manages to kill two birds with one stone, not only saving the girls but returning the Moon to Earth’s orbit.”


Erin: "That is quite a cool character arc for Gru as he is now Papa Gru as he has the girls as his own and being their dad throughout the film series, not bad for a fun villain who has his Minions be the film company's mascots. I say you could check out Despicable Me and it's films as heard they're quite fun."


Cynder (Spyro the Dragon franchise)

Cynder

"And now from two films I haven't seen in a while to a video game franchise me & Tom are too close to! Spyro the Dragon, more familiar, the Legend of Spyro reboot trilogy, as you recall during the dark age of Spyro, after Insominac Games say their goodbye to the Spyro I.P., the main console games struggled to find an audience leading to a rushed buggy bad game and a so-so adventure Platformer inspired by Jak and Daxter, so why not gave the Spyro series a fresh new start, inspired by epic fantasy tales and the 2000s media having a more dark and mature edge at the time, plus reboots and blockbuster films, the Legend of Spyro was born in 2006...leading to 2008. As with the games themselves, have gotten mixed to positive feedback and one element that won a lot over is the black dragoness, Cynder.


You see that Cynder herself is a pawn of the Dark Master, Malefor, serving him and clash with Spyro during the events of "A New Beginning." where she is the big bad of the game, capturing the Dragon Guardians to drain their magic into crystals so they'll be used to free Malefor from his prison."


Thomas: “The build-up to Spyro’s first actual encounter with Cynder is so well done, and she doesn’t fail to make an imposing presence, thanks to Cree Summer’s chilling performance. However, after the first boss fight with her, it’s revealed that Cynder is actually Spyro’s own age, and that she was artificially aged into her adult form by Malefor’s dark power. Thus, Spyro unleashes his full power on Cynder and frees the dragoness from the Dark Master’s control.


Cynder’s road to redemption is chronicled over the next two games, ‘The Eternal Night’ and ‘Dawn of the Dragon’. In the former, Cynder runs away from the Dragon Temple out of guilt for what she’s done. However, she’s still shown to be quite cunning, as shown when Spyro finds her in both a pirate’s gladiatorial area and the Well Of Souls.”


Erin: “Yep as she was in a tight spot when she was captured by the pirates and later Apes, lead by Gaul and later in “Dawn of the Dragon” she & Spyro were trapped in crystal for three years and later get broken free and out then shackled to Spyro throughout the game by Malefor’s monster minions so she is bound to him due to dark magic so she has to assist Spyro on the journey and face her demons even other folk from the dragon realms who distrust her during her time as Malefor’s servant, as it is quite a long journey for her.”


“Later on she gotten the courage to help Spyro defeat Malefor and when Spyro use his powers to repair the world, she confesses her feelings for him.”


Thomas: “The couple of Spyro and Cynder may not have had the best build-up, but it’s still adorable, spawning countless fanfics and fan art.


Cynder herself, meanwhile, proved popular enough to return in the Skylanders franchise, still a former victim of being controlled; at least in the games. The Academy series portrays her as Malefor’s daughter (insert Teen Titans reference here) with a mostly cheery attitude.


As to when she will next appear, no one knows. But hopefully, when she does return, Cynder will be flying high to leave her dark past behind her."


Hunter/Golden Guard (The Owl House)

Hunter

“Ah yes, The Owl House; Dana Terrace’s passion project that was cut short by asinine executives. Oh well, we’re ready to talk about the mook-turned-ally/surrogate brother Hunter.”


Erin: "Yep, as like Peridot, Hunter was a villain serving a higher power authority and being a foil to Luz, as he made quite a good first impression when Season 2 started, since Lilith was serving Emperor Belos in Season 1, now it's Hunter's turn as he is making sure to everything to please his uncle figure.


During the Palisman episode, when stealing the Palismans, Luz got onboard to foil his plan however they are forced to work together to foil Kikimora, who hates Hunter as she wanted to be Belos' second in command as they stop her and Hunter gotten his own Paliman, Flapjack as he slowly realize that wild magic isn't all bad and Belos' ways make not what he told him.


He still serves the Emperor throughout Season 2 as he clashes with Eda, King & Amity during "Eclipse Lake" and taking the Titan Key which has Titan Blood and meet up with the Hexside Students as he starts to bond with them. But things get intense for him (& Luz) when he discover the truth of himself and his uncle in the fan favorite, "Hollow Mind", and major spoilers of course, as Thomas will explain."


Thomas: “As revealed in said episode, Hunter is a Grimwalker - a clone, or at least the latest of clones, of Belos’ deceased brother Caleb; all out of some crazy attempt to create a ‘loyal’ version of his brother.


“Naturally, this causes Hunter to suffer an existential crisis. Given he’s just a copy of a dead man whose whole life had been a lie, he feels lost and confused as to his purpose in life. Thankfully, he has Luz and his loyal Palisman Flapjack for support. Hunter eventually joins our heroes in their fight against his ‘uncle’ and is able to find purpose and meaning in his friends and his eventual lover, Willow.”


Erin: "Yep as it's rough for him as in Season 3, Belos possess him during "Thanks to Them" and wounded Flapjack as Hunter fought back getting him out, but is wounded near death, until Flapjack gave his life to revive Hunter so after the death of Belos, he finds a father figure in Darius Deamonne and being a wood craver."


"I say Hunter is a great character that has a great redemption and journey for himself as he has found his place and won a lot of fans as the Owl House overall has a lot of interesting and well-developed characters we like."


Thomas: “Indeed, Erin, indeed."


Darth Vader (Star Wars)

Darth Vader

“Yeah, can’t have a redeemed villains list without arguably the most famous one of all; the face of Star Wars itself, Darth Vader!


“Introduced in 1977 with the premiere of A New Hope, Darth Vader quickly became the face of evil, with his tall, imposing figure, all-black suit, skull-like mask and deep, baritone voice courtesy of James Earl Jones. Yet, as revealed later on, Vader’s mask hides quite a lot.”


Erin: "Yep, as the causal and hardcore Star Wars fans may know who Vader really is..... As he is the major villain of the original trilogy and a major foe of Luke Skywalker and his rebel team as they go to stop the empire and we see that Luke & Vader have a major history as later on, it is revealed that Vader is really Luke's father, Anakin Skywalker, as it really thrown Luke in an emotional roller coaster and wonder why the truth is out and why Vader is serving the dark forces."


"Well I'll have Thomas explain a lot as he is a big Star Wars expert and also it started with the prequel trilogy, the trio of films that started Anakin's decent to the cold Vader!"


Thomas: “Anakin Skywalker had it difficult from the start. Born into slavery, he was rescued by the Jedi Order, only to enter another life of servitude as a Padawan. Believed to be the Chosen One of prophecy, everyone, especially the Council, had high hopes for him; yet, Anakin was tortured by fear of losing the ones he loved and self-doubt over whether he’d be able to protect. Worse still, he was manipulated by Palpatine, a.k.a. Darth Sidious, who sought him as his apprentice.


Things eventually came to a head when Anakin feared his wife Padme would die giving birth. Unable to trust the Council with his fears due to their strict policy of non-attachment, Anakin was tempted towards the Dark Side by Palpatine, who offered the chance of saving Padme. Alas, it was all a lie; Padme was fatally injured by Anakin in a moment of anger and Anakin himself was left a broken man, both physically and mentally.”


Erin: "Indeed and during the battle with Obi-Wan, he is defeated and burned up deformed as then Palpatine transform him into the Darth Vader we know, serving as the major threat until up his end, as in "Revenge of the Jedi", we see that Vader cares for Luke and that's when it's tested the most."


Thomas: "Vader seeks to turn his son to the Dark Side, intending for them to rule together. However, he pushes it a bit too hard and Luke very nearly kills his father in a fit of rage. Fortunately, Luke gets a hold of himself and spares Vader, declaring himself a Jedi. When Palpatine then tries to kill Luke, Vader, unable to watch his own son suffer, turns on Palpatine, hoists him into the air and throws his Sith Master to his death, saving his son and bringing balance to the Force (and no, Rise of Skywalker doesn't contradict that; Anakin himself said he brought balance).


Anakin and Luke then share a heartwarming, yet also heartbreaking, moment between father and son, before Anakin, fatally injured, succumbs to his wounds and dies, a hero and a villain."


"Darth Vader was already an icon with the Originals, and the Prequels only added much more depth and tragedy to his character, cementing his position as one of the most legendary characters in all media."


Erin: "I agree as Star Wars deliver well with an iconic villain that is powerful like the force.


Merlina the Wizard (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Merlina

Thomas: "Ah yes, given we're both fans of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was only natural we include a redeemed villain from that franchise. Specifically, we chose someone whom no one expected to be a villain: Merlina, from The Black Knight.


"When we first meet Merlina, she serves as one of Sonic's guides and mentors to mastering the sword and learning his way around Camelot; similar to how Shara guided Sonic in The Secret Rings. However, after Sonic defeats King Arthur, Merlina reveals her true colours."


Erin: "As she is in fact, a twist villain! And she wanted King Arthur's sword, Excalibur to make the kingdom of Camelot, eternal as she is aware that the kingdom and it's stories have bleak ends for them so she is using the power to make sure it never happens, however the blue dude knows it's wrong as "what good is a world that goes on forever" as a lot of lives will still be in danger, so Sonic & the Knights of the Round Table have to do their power to prevent the power as Sonic and Caliburn goes to confornt Merlina who transforms herself into the Dark Queen as Sonic gotten a brutal beating from her... And I do meant brutal but Sonic is still standing to fight so with the power of the Scared Swords, Sonic gain a sweet transformation, Excalibur Sonic to give the Dark Queen a big fight!"


"The fight itself is hard but a thrilling battle as it is one of the most stand-out final bosses of the series and with it's unique track "With Me" has a powerful theme as you can say it's a clash of ideals between Sonic & Merlina of their point of views of life."


Thomas: “Indeed. It’s one of my favourite final boss themes ever, frankly. Many have often said Black Knight is the best example of Sonic’s character; how he prioritises the common good over how people might see. And I certainly think they have a point. Besides, it’s very hypocritical of Merlina to accuse Sonic of being selfish when it’s pretty clear that she herself is prioritising the preservation of the Kingdom and her own happiness above the lives of the civilians. Thus, Sonic and Caliburn teach her the error of her ways."


“After her defeat, Sonic manages to talk sense into Merlina in one of the most heartwarming and wholesome moments in the whole franchise; where Sonic shows that the end of something only makes it all the more precious.”


Erin: "I agree, and also a nice book end for Merlina, as she sure made a great impression on everyone in the Sonic fanbase and Black Knight is a solid and underrated entry in the game library, as you may appreciate the story for it's bold takes and mature message of "living life to the fullest" and from Sonic himself who always think on his feet with his actions, that is way past cool."


"Man, amazing how the 2000s Era of Sonic ended with a bang with Black Knight and Merlina herself, as when we gotten to the 2010s, sure was a rough time to be a Sonic fan......"


Sunset Shimmer (My Little Pony: Equestria Girls)

Sunset Shimmer

"From one big colorful franchise to another about ponies, we're going to chat about one fan favorite character who was a big villain to a beloved hero, Sunset Shimmer, as you may be familiar with and also Equestria Girls, a sub-series from the FiM franchise being more of a high school musical route."


"As for who Sunset is, she was a student of Princess Celestia that stole Twilght's magic crown and gone to the high school world where Twilight follow after her."


Thomas: “Sunset, unlike Twilight, actively sought to be an Alicorn and Princess, ultimately running away to a human version of Equestria and eventually becoming a bully at Canterlot High. She proves to be quite cunning and manipulative, driving a wedge between the human version of the Mane 6 (barring Twilight) and managing herself above suspicion.

“Her reign over the school is ultimately undone when Twilight follows her to the human world and challenges her to win her crown back. Of course, Sunset doesn’t go down without a fight, though it culminates in the crown transforming her into, in her words, ‘a raging she-demon’. She tries to invade Equestria with an army of zombies, but thankfully, Twilight and her friends are able to stop her and return Sunset to normal.


“The event leaves Sunset repentant and broken. Twilight offers her the hand of friendship and forgiveness, tasking the Humane 5 with watching over Sunset before returning to Equestria."


“Fans felt Sunset wasn’t a particularly interesting villain, just coming off as a generic school bully. I personally liked her as a villain, but I get the criticism. Regardless, the next few specials would chronicle Sunset’s road to redemption, leading to her becoming a favourite among fans.”


Erin: "Yep as we have the film's sequel, Rainbow Rocks as it has Sunset work with the Humane 5 to form a rock band for the school and their challengers are the evil and singing Dazzlings as they use their singing to feed on the negative traits of people and bring out the worst of them, as this event has Sunset work hard to prove herself she isn't a bully anymore and helps the heroes deal with the Dazzlings."


"As Sunset herself is quite an interesting and fan favorite character as they are layers to her character."


Thomas: "Indeed. Honestly, she's my favourite MLP character alongside Twilight Sparkle.

"Her story of her redemption would continue in Friendship Games (in which she comes full circle by saving the human Twilight from corruption, just as Princess Twilight saved her), Legend of Everfree (where she helps her friends embrace their magical powers) and Forgotten Friendship (when she has to face her demons once again due to Wallflower causing an outbreak of amnesia and reach out to Celestia for help in a very heartwarming scene).


"Sunset Shimmer may have turned out as merely a mean bully with little to go for, but she slowly grew beyond that to really stand out from the herd."


Doctor Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2/Spider-Man: No Way Home)

Doctor Octopus

"One of Spider-Man's most noteworthy villains, Doctor Octopus, or Doc Ock for short, has had a long, complicated and complex conflict with the Masked Web-Slinger."


Erin: "Yep as one is one of my all time favorite villains in media growing up as he has a lot of great versions of said character from the classic 90s version, to Spectacular, the versions from the two Disney cartoons (Ultimate and the 2017 one) and even the Insomniac Games' version of said character as you may know, great portrayal and from my favorite game of all time, but of course, the definite one we may say is the film version from the classic Sam Raimi trilogy, debuting in the best Spidey film, Spider-Man 2."


"In Raimi's version, Otto is a brilliant scientist as he and his wife, Rosie are creating a fusion reactor to help Oscorp, plus Peter has meet Otto as he is quite inspired by him to do science and the two share common interests. He even gives him credit for being "brilliant but lazy" student of Dr. Connors."


"As Otto begins his project, using his robotic limbs to keep power inside the fusion reactor, the machine is unstable as it is getting out of control and it gotten Rosie killed in the progress and has Otto knocked out and zapped with the chip controlling the robotic tentacles fried as the AI starts to control him, as he lost everything, he desires to make this dream machine again."


Thomas: "This ultimately brings him into conflict with Spider-Man, which includes a pretty awesome fight atop a Subway train, Spidey struggling to protect both Mary-Jane and Aunt May, and eventually culminates in their fight in an East River harbour. Spidey reveals himself as Peter to Otto, and, using his own experiences, convinces the mad doctor to do the right thing in what is a pretty heartwarming scene, not between a hero and a villain, but between two men of science about doing what's right. Octavius, deciding to die a hero rather than live as a villain, tames his arms, and gives up his life to sink his fusion reactor into the River, even protecting Peter in the process."


"But that wouldn't be the only time this guy would have the chance to be both a hero and a villain in one movie, as revealed when he made a surprising and well-memed return in the 2021 MCU movie Spider-Man: No Way Home."


Erin: "Yep, as the film itself is like a greatest hits collection of Spidey material, more so the film versions, as funny enough, it's also a multi-verse Spidey film, as Doc Ock and other villains are brought here due to Dr. Strange's mishandled spell as MCU Spidey (Tom Holland's version) as a big clash with him on the highway as due to tech and nanobots, he manage to subdue him and round up the other villains (Lizard, Sandman, Electro & Green Goblin) as due to May's advice, Peter, MJ (Michelle Jones) & Ned bring the villains to Peter's place so they can help them out curing them and also not die as Otto, Norman & Max did so in their universes...."


"As Peter & Norman made a new chip for Otto to control the robotic tentacles as the doctor is amazed that he can think well again and feel better, he has become a big ally during the final fight against the villains and even have a solid reunion scene with Peter-2 (Tobey's version and the one he's familiar with), as feels like genuine respect for two characters."


"And we can't forget that his design from the robotic tentacles and trenchcoat look screams iconic for said character and his great performace by Alfred Molina as the role is like perfect for him. Plus the voice of whenever I think of Otto himself."


Thomas: "Exactly. Let's face it; Alfred pretty much was Doc Ock, no questions asked. Otto might be be best known as one of Spider-Man's greatest enemies, but in a way, he's also one of the greatest allies Spider-Man has had when the going's gotten rough. Guess in these instances, 8 was Peter Parker's lucky number."


"And finally:


Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Prince Zuko

"Come on; you all saw this coming, right? As with Vader, it'd be impossible for us to talk of redeemed villains without including arguably the most popular character in Avatar: Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation.


"Zuko serves as the main antagonist of Book 1, as he chases after Aang and his two friends Katara and Sokka. At first, he might seem like a typical bad guy, but that perception will definitely fall apart once one watches the crucial episode 'The Storm'."


Erin: "Indeed as we see why Zuko wanted to capture the Avatar is because he got on his father's bad side, the Fire Lord as he disagreed with a plan of attack as during a fire duel, Zuko gotten burn in the face hard and he even doesn't want to fight his father, as the defeat has been a big burden on him along with his exile with his Uncle Iroh, as he believes finding the avatar will bring him honor and a welcome back from the Fire Lord."


"Through out the adventure, Zuko & Aang clashed as they even help each other at times when Zuko even became the Blue Spirit, as to free Aang from his rival, Adirmal Zhao."

"During Book 2, he and Iroh are pursuited by Azula, as they gone to Ba Sing Se, the Earth Kingdom to start a new life and to cut ties from the Fire Nation as it seems to be good for Zuko as he may start to like the new life along with a strong bond with Iroh, until Azula comes in, planning a coup and get caught in the middle."


Thomas: "Zuko ultimately sides with his sister, allowing Aang to be struck down and his uncle to be arrested. However, he is not wholly convinced he's made the right choice; a guilt only worsened by his uncle's imprisonment, an outburst during a holiday on Ember Island, his inadvertent contribution to the idea of burning down the Earth Nation, and, most of all, his learning that Avatar Roku was his great-grandfather on his mother's side.


"Eventually, on the Day of Black Sun, Zuko finally stands up to his cruel father Ozai, declares his rebellion and announces he's going to join the Avatar and make amends with his uncle. As an added bonus, when Ozai tries to zap him with lightning, Zuko redirects it back at him (consider that payback for burning his face).


"When Zuko meets with Team Avatar, unsurprisingly, they initially reject him due to what he's done. And in fairness to Zuko, he does not deny it. He knows that, whatever his reasoning, whatever Ozai's influence, his actions were his own. He even bemoans 'Why am I so bad at being good?!'


Erin: "Yeah as thing is tough for him, but be manage to get on the Team's good side when he helps stop Combustion Man as the progress is like a slow burn, from helping Aang with learning fire bending, help Sokka free his dad from the Boiling Rock along with Suki, even help Katara get revenge on her mother's killer, as it leads to the moments where he makes amends with Iroh and deal with Azula once and for all, along with being the new Firelord after Ozai's defeat by Aang."


"As it is quite a grand journey for Zuko from his character study, his rise and fall, to well earned redemption and his interactions with the main cast, plus importance to the Avatar mythos. Among with the iconic voice performance by Dante Basco."


Thomas: “It’s really little wonder why Zuko is considered a prime example of a redeemed villain in animation; a burning beacon of hope that no one is beyond redemption."


“And there we have it; our list of redeemed villains in media. Just gonna say that if any better known villains who saw the light aren’t on this list, either we forgot them or we didn’t know them well enough. Still, we hope you enjoyed this list.”


Erin: “Yep and if you have your own fav redeemed villains, let us know in the comments and we sure have fun doing this, plus great working with you again Thomas.”


Thomas: “Always a pleasure, Erin. See you guys later!”

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5 comentarios


Hunter on here is great, he deserves to be here, and him and Zuko are quite similar and have a dark depiction of abuse towards youngsters handled well in kid's media, and hey, they certainly had a much happier life after they found freedom.

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Contestando a

Glad to hear.


And thoughts on Peridot, Cynder & Doc Ock?


And have your own list of redeemed villains?

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A very great job Thomas and I did and a solid collab of our familiar baddies turned softies, who each have layers to them. :)


Should do more collabs with him.

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