“Who Is A Villain You Rooted For Rather Than The Protagonist And Why?” (56 Answers)

The mark of a truly well-written and iconic villain in any story is that their motivations low-key make a lot of sense. In short—they’re relatable. Someone who twirls their mustache and is evil for the sake of being evil is boring. Meanwhile, a flawed character, in whom we can see a part of ourselves reflected back at us, might just become a huge hit in the entertainment industry. Sometimes, they even overshadow the heroes.

Inspired by user u/Sparkjoy4ever, the members of the sprawling r/AskReddit online group spilled the tea about which villains they personally rooted for over the protagonists. Scroll down to check out their opinions, and upvote the ones you agree with.

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Bored Panda reached out to the person who sparked the entire discussion, u/Sparkjoy4ever, and they were happy to share their thoughts on well-written villains. Check out our full interview with them, including which villains and heroes they personally love the most!

Image credits: Sparkjoy4ever

#1

Squidward.

The guy hates his job, hates his noisy neighbors and overenthusiastic co-workers, wants to leave work on time, needs his quiet time, wishes that he has a sculpted body and dares to dream despite being bad at the skill-a clarinet virtuoso.

We are Squidward.

Image credits: anon

The author of the thread, u/Sparkjoy4ever, opened up to Bored Panda that they’re a huge fan of books and movies alike. “I’ve always found villains more interesting than heroes. They seem to have more depth as characters,” they told us.

They were surprised that their question got as much attention as it did online, but they were glad that the “fun and interactive” topic managed to strike a chord with everyone. In their opinion, the thread brought “together people who share the same views on villains in stories.”

We were very interested in getting the author’s take on writing villains well. For them, making relatable villains requires giving them depth. “Show their motivations and struggles, making them human. Even if their actions are wrong, understanding their perspective fosters empathy. A compelling villain challenges the audience’s morals, blurring the line between right and wrong, making them intriguing and worthy of empathy,” they shared their perspective with Bored Panda.

#2

The Coyote.

Invictum2go:
And Tom too. Jerry was 90% an a**hole before Tom started.

Image credits: Orpheline10

#3

King Kong. They invaded his home, captured him and then get mad when he’s pissed?

Image credits: pandataxi

“For me, personally, the narrative provides me, as the audience, with a chance to think, ‘Wait, if I were him/her, would I do the same thing?’ and I realized, ‘Yeah, maybe I would.’ If I was in the same position as the villain, I would understand and empathize with them. The villains are quite relatable, but other times, they’re just straight-up crazy, and I find that just as enjoyable,” u/Sparkjoy4ever said.

Bored Panda was curious to hear who the author’s favorite villain of all time is. They told us that their top spot belongs to Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz from the popular cartoon Phineas and Ferb.

“He [Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz] had such a jagged childhood. His parents didn’t deem it necessary to appear at his OWN birth. But even now, in the show, he managed to grow up to be a great, loving, and awesome scientist and dad to his daughter Vanessa who simply wants to take over the city,” u/Sparkjoy4ever said that Doofenshmirtz is a wholesome Disney Channel villain.

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#4

Gru and his Minions, stealing the Moon, etc!

Image credits: vanchica

#5

I always wished Tom would win in Tom and Jerry.

3StarsFan:
Remember it’s Tom and Jerry and not Tom vs Jerry. I love the theory that people say both of them are friends and that they have to pretend fight so that the Toms owners keep him.

Image credits: Dangerous-Bar-2451

#6

I rooted for Snape in every scene he was in with Umbridge.

Image credits: jamhamnz

On the flip side, the author’s favorite protagonist might just be Thomas from The Maze Runner series. “He is a resilient and resourceful young man, and he also embodies leadership qualities. I love his character arc throughout the books,” they said.

“Overall, I admire a majority of the Dreamworks protagonists, such as Hiccup from How To Train Your Dragon, Sinbad from Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Moses from The Prince of Egypt, and Puss In Boots from The Last Wish,” they shared some more of their favorite heroes.

If you want your audience to be immersed and to suspend its disbelief, then you need to get the details right. In short, that means putting in a lot of effort to build up your world and your characters. Everything has to more or less make sense in the context of the world we’re being shown on the silver screen or on the pages of a book. Nobody’s asking for ‘perfection,’ but the basic logic, at least, has to be consistent.

#7

In Jaws 2 near the end there is this girl who won’t stop screaming hysterically and I kind of want the shark to eat her so it will stop.

Image credits: stu-padazo

#8

Heinz Doofenshmirtz – He had a rough childhood. His parents didn’t even bother showing up for his own birth but he managed to grow up to be a loving father who simply wants to take over the tri-state area. If it weren’t for that pesky platypus.

Snowtwo:
I remember hearing a theory that Perry was actually meant more to be kind of an emotional support animal. OWCA knew Doof wasn’t actually *evil* and that he was actually a genius. But due to his own upbringing and bad life and such he was effectively in a bad spot mentally. So they assigned him Perry to keep Doof from going truely evil while, at the same time, letting him work it all out so he could finally reform into becoming an actual force for good.

Image credits: boanxi

#9

Crowley – supernatural

he is the king of hell after all.

Image credits: Maleficent-Bad3755

“Superheroes, aliens, and magic are the price of admission. That’s what I’m paying for with the movie. After that, everything else should be relatable,” writer and math teacher Christopher Burke told Bored Panda earlier.

“There can be a dragon. The dragon can swear, smoke cigars, and drink whiskey if it wants to. But if it starts talking about cigars and whiskey and gets basic facts (which are easily found) wrong, someone’s going to notice, and that will pull them out of the moment. The audience will willingly accept the big stuff or they wouldn’t watch the movie. It’s the small stuff that’s distracting, and sometimes you wonder if they could’ve avoided it.”

#10

Magneto. His family was ripped apart by Nazis as a child. Then he watched governments hunt down his people again as a mutant…

amican:
Damn was he the best part of First Class. ‘I agree with every word you said. We are the future. But… unfortunately, you killed my mother.’ I’ve been at the mercy of men just following orders… never again.

Image credits: DogUsingInternet

#11

Loki in the first Thor movie. He’s absolutely right that Thor is unprepared to rule. And his breakdown is because Odin was a d**k and took him, never told him he was adopted, and never put a stop to any of the s**t people said about the Jotuns that he grew up hearing, at least some of which had to have been coming from inside the palace. The cherry on top was that Odin did a whole lot worse and covered the whole thing up, literally and metaphorically.

#12

Spike in buffy.

Cardboard cutout mustache-twirling villains and heroic, well, heroes do have a place in entertainment, sure. But if you’re aiming for a deeper story rather than an action-focused narrative, you’ll want to spend time fleshing out each character to make them multi-dimensional.

The very best characters in movies, video games, and books have depth. No matter the story you’re writing, ideally, you want all of your characters to have an authentic personality, grounded motivations, and a backstory that draws the audience in. You also want to sprinkle in some genuine flaws to balance out their strengths. 

#13

I was 3 when Jurassic Park came out. I rooted for the dinosaurs. Still do!

Image credits: Slothonwheels23

#14

I don’t know if Sylvester is supposed to be the bad guy and Tweety is supposed to be the good guy, but wow is that Tweety Bird annoying af. Maybe it’s the voice, I hate that voice.

Image credits: Mushrooming247

#15

Frankenstein’s monster.

Image credits: Ma1ukai

Some of the most memorable villains are also going to be relatable to the audience. At least on some level. Look, you don’t have to be in the bad guy’s corner, supporting everything they do, but let’s not be naive—the villains sometimes have a point. Their goals, means, or motivations can really resonate with us if we’ve had a similar upbringing or suffered the same setbacks.

It’s a weird feeling when some of your values align with someone you’re ‘supposed to’ be betting against. But, again, these sorts of villains are the best ones. In a similar vein, quality protagonists are those who have clear weaknesses and flaws. ‘Perfection’ is boring and simple. Insecurities, fears, and anxieties, however, make for good growth opportunities and great character arcs. 

#16

Megamind for obvious reasons.

Image credits: AnnoyedMoose123

#17

Hades in Disney’s Hercules. I just always thought he was super cool.

Image credits: DaBigBird27

#18

The Grinch.

Image credits: Glass_Maven

Let’s not forget that most people in real life believe they’re the heroes of their own stories. Similarly, most villains (if they were real) would probably think that they’re the protagonists and the masters of their own destinies. From their perspective, it’s the heroes who are the antagonists, trying to thwart their plans.

If you have a subjective view of morality, then you might agree that what we consider ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends on who wins at the end of the story. However, if you subscribe to the idea that certain behaviors are good and evil on an objective—cosmic—scale, a villain’s story can be even more tragic. They might have honorable intentions, but the means that they use to reach their goals go against ethics and morality. Or they always try to act in the right way, but this has unintended negative consequences for everyone.

#19

Swiper, he was just a sly fox raised on the wrong side of the fence and wanted to be included but noooooo Dora had to keep the fun for herself.

SleepyPoodleMomma:
My husband is convinced he swipes because he needs the money to feed his wife and 4 kids at home. He’s just trying to be a good father….

Image credits: TowerFluffy1426

#20

Lowkey sometimes I wanted Mr crocker to win because Timmy can be a real a*****e in some episodes.

Image credits: Resident-Theme-2342

#21

Captain hook. he’s interesting and cool; that spoiled boy is as twisted as him but boring as f**k. i really can’t stand peter pan. just grow up you little s**t.

Image credits: glitterguavatree

In the end, some members of the audience will usually end up cheering for well-written characters, whoever they are. But they, their aspirations, and their mindset have to be believable for them to be relatable.

Who are your favorite villains of all time and why, dear Pandas? On the flip side, what movie, game, or book heroes do you like the most? We can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this! Tell us all about it in the comments.

#22

The Sharks in Deep Blue Sea. They were being tortured and experimented on. They just wanted to escape and live their lives.

Image credits: Mackinacsfuriousclaw

#23

Plankton.

Image credits: 0Helpful-Candy0

#24

Mojo Jojo, he never really seemed like he wanted to do anything super evil but the PPG repeatedly beat the stupid out of him for pretty much no reason.

nola_throwaway53826:
It’s been a while, but I remember one episode where he was just minding his own business, not doing anything to anyone and the PPG just showed up and beat the living sh*t out of him.

Image credits: DrD3adpool

#25

Sometimes the joker. He wins if Batman kills him, but he would also be saving so many lives if he could just get him to kill all the villains.

Image credits: FulliCullli

#26

Ken from the bee movie. His girlfriend is throwing away their happy picture perfect life/relationship because she falls in love with a f*****g bee. Man got cucked by a bee, and we’re supposed to be angry at HIM???

Image credits: Money_Ad1028

#27

I wanted the Volturi (sp?) to kill Edward and Bella. .

Image credits: IllChampionship5

#28

Team Rocket. (Jessie and James)

When I was younger I got super fed up with the fact that team Rocket never won.

Image credits: Outside-Idea-547

#29

Imhotep from The Mummy (1999). He just wants to get his girlfriend back.

#30

Dr Evil. Way more interesting and fun character than Austin Powers.

#31

The Hound from GOT.

Image credits: ConvenientlyAnnoyed

#32

Lex Luthor.

Imagine growing up knowing that everything has to be earned. And then a “god” comes from the sky and completely decimates your world view. And that said god has everything you wanted.

I’m not justifying Lex, but dude is relatable.

#33

Daenerys Targaryen

Still can’t get over it ? ?.

#34

Zuko from avatar.

#35

The Phantom, Phantom of the Opera. Partially because I’m insane, partially because Raul is a joke, and partially because Gerard Butler is f*****g hot.

#36

Dracula, every movie, because he should never be that easy to kill.

DentrassiEpicure:
Tbf he was difficult af to kill in Van Helsing the movie. Dude had to change into a werewolf to fight him and even then it was hard.

Image credits: anon

#37

The replicants in Blade Runner — they just want to live but Harrison Ford is walking around shooting them dead in the street.

#38

In the last few episodes of The Clone Wars, I was rooting for Darth Maul. I’d seen Ahsoka get out of trouble dozens of times before, but seeing Maul scared for his life made me really feel for him.

mettrolsghost:
It’s funny someone should mention this. I just watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and it occurred to me that it’s basically just Deep Blue Sea from the perspective of the sharks.

Image credits: pulpexploder

#39

Gerard Butler in Law Abiding Citizen. The ending was b******t.

Image credits: SatsuLark

#40

Gustavo Fring. His best friend was killed and seeing him get his revenge against the cartel was immensely satisfying. Seems like a chill boss for a d**g lord. Just don’t f**k around and you won’t get f*****g murdered. All Walt had to do was do his f*****g job and it would have been smooth sailing. Not to mention he’s an extremely fair boss, he pays his civilian employees well and goes to bat for them and protects them against his other life.

Image credits: MarshallDyl26

#41

Vegeta! Because he is boss! Especially when he’s young and voiced by Brian Drummond. I just love everything about him!

#42

Macho Man Randy Savage.

Hulk Hogan always cheap shots his friends (especially in the Royal Rumble), he includes himself in all of his ally’s achievements so he can hotdog and grandstand, and he had lust in his eyes for Miss Elizabeth.

#43

In Death Note, Light is the protagonist and the villain so I hope this counts. I don’t like Near as much as L so I ended up rooting for Light even though he became completely consumed by his god complex.

#44

Ursula.

#45

Tracy Flick in Election. She was groomed by a teacher and then her social studies teacher tried to cheat her out of the class presidency because he’s a small man who hates overachievers and felt like she got his best friend (who statutory-raped her) unfairly fired.

#46

Boyd Crowder from Justified. I think it’s because his character was acted so well he felt real. And the protagonist Raylan turned into a mega a*****e in the final season. .

#47

Hannibal Lector because I find him charming. ?.

#48

Shigo from Kim possible.

#49

Killmonger.

#50

Zemo. His motive was top-notch, and Daniel Bruhl knocked it out of the park.

#51

Hans Gruber.

Because he *deserved* to be on a beach earning 15%. Nakatomi corporation is the real villain.

#52

Nacho Varga in Better Call Saul. Dude shoulda used his networks and killed all the olds and taken over the Salamancas. They ruined his could be story in my head.

#53

John-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg.

#54

The Mighty Monarch was WAY cooler than Team Venture. .

#55

Cersei Lannister but only towards the end and especially with the whole septum thing. The faith just needed putting down like a dog in the street. The nun looking woman sooo got what she deserved. #GOT

I realised writing this comment maybe I have some unresolved internal conflict ???.

#56

I think Paul In Dune 2 is going to turn evil and cause the deaths of over 60 billion people across the galaxy…

I am rooting for him because his house was betrayed and almost wiped out by treachery, Paul basically got revenge and destroyed the emperors house and the Harkonnen’s both of which conspired together…

The Great Houses will not honor Paul’s ascendancy and I believe that they shall all be put to the sword and regarded as traitors to the galaxy as well as anybody that supports them…

DOWN WITH THE EMPEROR AND THE GREAT HOUSES!
Source: boredpanda.com

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