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Villains Turned Heroes Who Don’t Deserve Their Redemptions

Updated October 27, 2020 1.5k votes 310 voters 19.5k views13 items

List RulesVote up the villains you still can't forgive even if the good guys did.

It’s always a winning formula when movies include heartwarming scenes of redeemed villains performing at least one good and selfless act to make up for all their former misdeeds. Who can forget Luke cradling a dying Darth Vader after he finally renounces the Dark Side and charbroils the Emperor? Or when Captain Barbossa finally teams up with Jack Sparrow and sacrifices himself to save his daughter?

But wait a minute… did those two really deserve the sudden “OK, you’re a good guy now” treatment? When you weigh their last acts against their total offenses, it becomes a lot harder to be sympathetic. In fact, a whole lot of fictional characters probably don’t deserve the instant absolution they receive after their lifetimes spent indulging in cruelty, sin, and/or avarice. Here's a chance to weigh in on the characters you think don’t deserve forgiveness at the end of their stories.

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    Deckard Shaw In ‘The Fate of the Furious’

    How He Was Redeemed: After spending some time in prison for his misdeeds, Deckard Shaw (the former member of British Special Forces and MI6) is recruited to take down Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) by the shadowy Mr. Nobody before eventually teaming up with Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) to bring down the super soldier Brixton Lore. His ends up working with his sister to free their mother from prison.

    Why He Didn't Deserve It: He murdered Han “Seoul-Oh” Lue. In cold blood no less. You’d think a former military man and government agent would be a bit more judicious in terms of the rules of engagement. Sure, he would later come to “regret” sneakily killing one of the main stars of Tokyo Drift while he was innocently chilling hundreds of miles away from the rest of his crew. And despite the fact that Han is supposed to somehow still be alive in the upcoming F9, you can imagine the physical and mental issues he had to overcome after being T-boned, then blown to smithereens.

  • How She Was Redeemed: As the teen comedy Mean Girls closes, we find out the main antagonist Regina George channeled all the aggression and intensity away from tormenting her meek and insecure high school classmates into lacrosse. The only people she’s mean to now are rivals of the Lady Lions.

    Why She Didn't Deserve It: Suddenly transforming from popular clique tyrant to jock didn't erase the horrible things she said to belittle and demean those around her. Just because The Plastics weren't making students and teachers alike quake with fear didn't suddenly negate all the times she called fiends and foes alike things like “loser” and “stupid."

  • How He Was Redeemed: After finally finding the love for his chip-off-the-old-block Luke in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader chucks the evil Emperor down a reactor shaft, receiving a face full of Force lightning for his efforts. His mask is removed, revealing a disturbingly pale bald guy, and father and son enjoy a last moment of reconciliation before he becomes one with the Force and get to look like Hayden Christensen again.

    Why He Didn't Deserve It: Darth Vader was the cruelest, most diabolical and Sith-iest scoundrel in the galaxy for decades. When he first turned, he personally took his lightsaber to a classful of Jedi toddlers, for crying out loud. Not to mention the whole village of honking Sand People he tore through when he still claimed to be a Jedi. Just because he decided to be insubordinate to his boss at the 11th hour is supposed to make up for all the Rebels he slaughtered and Imperial middle managers he choked out? 

  • Photo: The CW

    How He Was Redeemed: In the last season of The Vampire Diaries, the maleficent Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) shifts from being the major antagonist he played early on as he finds love, becomes human, and goes on to live happily ever after. Sure, he’s no longer immortal, but he’s happy and it’s better than going out with a stake to the chest.

    Why He Didn't Deserve It: As an ageless vampire, he had been draining the blood of the innocent since the Abraham Lincoln administration. He consistently treated the woman he ended up with like garbage and made enslaved people out of other women he was involved with. As for his body count, he added a cherry on top of his massive list by murdering a woman who was pregnant.