There are thousands of villains in fiction, from television, books, comics, and film, each with their own unique motives and methods of madness. But it can be rare to see a character go from a hero to villain before your own eyes. They might start out as an innocent person, with the best of intentions, before transforming into a monster. What makes these fictional characters turn evil?
Sometimes they’re tempted by the power that comes from evil and darkness, like in the case of Anakin Skywalker, Peter Pettigrew, and Lex Luthor. Many of these villains had the best of intentions, but it only led to a place of evil, like in the case of "Breaking Bad" anti-hero Walter White.
A lot of the characters on this list began as close friends of the heroes of their stories. Buffy the Vampire Slayer saw both her boyfriend and best friend go from her allies to bitter enemies. Many of Shakespeare’s characters were corrupted by jealousy or thirst for power and end up committing extremely evil acts, as in the case of Macbeth and Iago.
This list features characters who weren’t born bad, but were made evil by unfortunate circumstances and their choices later in life.
At the start of the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy Anakin Skywalker is a young boy with the gift of The Force. As the story evolves, he joins the dark side, becomes Palpatine's Sith and becomes Darth Vader.
Appears In: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, + more
Powers & Abilities: Telepathy, Levitation, Force
Magneto first appeared in "The X-Men" in 1963. He is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who would like to see mutants dominating the world.
Appears In: X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: First Class, Magneto, X-Men: The Last Stand, X2, + more
Powers & Abilities: Flight, Magnetism
Harvey Dent was one of the best criminal attorneys in Gotham before being attacked with acid and becoming the crime boss Two-Face. He first appeared in "Detective Comics" in 1942.
Appears In: DC Universe
Saruman is corrupted by power throughout J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" series. He was originally a good wizard before a desire to obtain The Ring caused him to kidnap Gandalf as he became consumed with finding it.
Appears In: Lord of the Rings
Powers & Abilities: Magic in Harry Potter