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Your father was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be the Jedi Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed.
~ Obi-Wan tells Luke how his father turned from hero to villain

Many heroes walk a thin line between good and evil; indeed, many heroes have fallen into despair, rage or even madness, and once proud heroes descend further into the path of evil, often fighting against people they once protected or fought alongside.

Originally protagonists or somewhat good guys, these villains turn evil due to events in their lives, such as being corrupted by another villain, their desire for revenge, a failed love relationship, betrayal from the good side to the dark side, or any other unresolved traumatic experience in which they question whether or not the good side is worth fighting for.

A Fallen Hero is usually the end result of a protagonist exposed to a Corrupting Influence, Brainwasher, and occasionally an Extortionist, Blackmailer, or even a Bond Destroyer. However, some heroes may turn for more greedy reasons. In some situations, some heroes turned to the dark side can become Purely Evil to add drama as they are willing to be evil without remorse, redemption, or positive qualities after all. Good examples include Makuta Teridax, Terumi Yuuki, Koba, and Griffith. However, some of them can still redeem themselves such as Big Baby, Darth Vader, and Speckles.

There are various scenarios why these individuals turned to the dark side, though the said individual often to fell onto multiple scenarios altogether:

  • From Zero to Nightmare: Scenario where the said hero turned to the dark side in this way often became a shocking events for either viewers, heroes, or other people that learned about this. Reason of this mainly because the said hero always looked down upon, his/her existence was ignored, and/or worse, considered as an outcast or an individual that often being abused by other people that dislikes/hate them (either the Big Bad or merely minor villains in the story) no matter what kind of good/heroic efforts that he/she did for others' acknowledgement. Once this individual turned to the dark side, they became feared by many people, includes heroes that faced them. Good examples of this include Savitar, Dave and various incarnations of Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Not good with Rejection: A character may have once had an acquaintance or love interest who befriended them prior to their turn to the dark side. One day, the individual either made an offer, confessed their love, or presented a certain proposal to the hero which the hero rejected. The individual, unable to cope with this, thus decided turned to the dark side. The worse the hero rejects the individual, the farther that individual turns to the dark side.
  • Being an Extremist: A character has well-intentioned goals for the greater good, but their methods and ultimate ends are proven to be very extreme to the point that they become something that is greatly despised, whether by those whom they know, the heroes, or themselves. The said actions may even potentially drive them to the dark side as well. Good examples of this include Superman, Punisher and Damon Gant.
  • From Victim to Villain: These characters were once people who tried to be friendly and do good, but were rewarded with injustice and/or ingratitude by society. Often, they were victims of bullying or abuse, and eventually they were pushed so hard they finally snapped and now seek revenge on the very society that shunned and hated them. Despite their tragic nature, very few of these characters actually are redeemable because they almost never forgive or forget, and/or are now completely insane and cannot be reasoned with. Often, they enact the exact same cruelty, or even worse cruelty, on their tormentors. Examples include Andrew Detmer and Lucy, both of whom, after being bullied and abused by others, finally went on killing sprees and, in the end, had to be killed in order to save others.
  • From Sugar to Excrement: These characters were once highly revered and loved by their peers but turned evil, often bringing shock and despair to those who knew them. Rhinox/Tankor, Kenny Matthews and Liu Kang of Mortal Kombat X belong here.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Tragic villains do NOT automatically mean that they are heroes turned to the dark side. This category is meant for villains who used to actively work for the good side. Also, this kind of hero is the polar opposite of Pure Good that are absolutely incorruptible.

Please note that a character has to have been established as a hero before turning evil. Morally neutral characters (a la "average joes") or characters initially un-involved with any side of the conflict do not count. False Heroes, if they never were good, do not count either (one of the most infamous examples of this is Emperor Palpatine).

Subcategories

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