fiction The Best Fictional Characters Who Turn Evil  

Ranker Characters
4.5k votes 586 voters 83.3k views 35 items

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.

1 352 VOTES

Anakin Skywalker


Darth Vader is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Turn Evil
Photo: via Imgur
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

Also Ranked

#2 on The Greatest Movie Villains of All Time

#9 on The Best Video Game Villains of All Time

#4 on Vader to Binks: Best to Worst Star Wars Characters

#8 on Which Star Wars Characters Deserve Spin Off Movies?

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2 215 VOTES

Magneto


Magneto is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Turn Evil
Photo: Marvel Comics
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

Also Ranked

#17 on The Best Comic Book Superheroes of All Time

#20 on The Best Fictional Characters You'd Leave Your Man For

#7 on The Greatest Movie Villains of All Time

#2 on The Best Comic Book Villains

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3 238 VOTES

Harvey Dent


Harvey Dent is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Turn Evil
Photo: via Imgur
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

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4 177 VOTES

Saruman


Saruman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Fictional Characters Who Turn Evil
Photo: via Imgur
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

Also Ranked

#50 on The Greatest Movie Villains of All Time

#20 on The Best Lord of the Rings Characters

#33 on The Coolest Characters in Middle-Earth

#7 on The Greatest Fictional Magicians of All Time

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