Create Your Own Villain

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Batman: I'm going to kill you.
The Joker: You IDIOT! You made me. Remember? You dropped me into that vat of chemicals. That wasn't easy to get over, and don't think that I didn't try.

Batman: I know you didn't.

Superheroes try to rid the world of villains. Unfortunately, sometimes they have the opposite effect.

Maybe The Hero accidentally wronged some Innocent Bystander—say, they or their loved ones were casualties in the collateral damage from a super-battle—and said bystander decides to turn evil to settle the grudge. Alternatively, the character may already be evil, but the Hero's intervention results in the villain gaining superpowers, and a super-grudge to boot.

In a parody or deconstruction of this trope, it might go on to reveal that the actions of the hero were actually irrelevant in terms of the individual's true nature. They were ultimately a disturbed individual who was looking for the first excuse they could find to justify their evil behavior.

Naturally, this is common in comic books. In many cases, however, the villain's origin story isn't even hinted at in their first appearance—it's only after the villain becomes popular that they're given a personal tie to the Hero via Retroactive Continuity.

One of the causes of the Superhero Paradox. See also Disproportionate Retribution, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. Contrast with Weirdness Magnet, where the Hero doesn't create the villains, but seems to attract them all the same.

Examples of Create Your Own Villain include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Beyond Birthday in the spin-off prequel novel of Death Note was the result of L and Watari’s Tyke Bomb production program.
  • Inverted in Full Metal Panic!. The last original founder of Amalgam, Mr. Mercury, was so disgusted with what his organization had become that he created Mithril to oppose them.
  • Gundam Seed Destiny's Hero Antagonist Shinn Asuka was molded to the man he is when his family was killed by a stray shot in the previous series during the fight between Kira Yamato and Orga of the Druggie Trio.
  • Yami Bakura from Yu-Gi-Oh! became Yami Yugi/Pharaon Atem's archnemesis after Yami Yugi in his past life in Ancient Egypt raided Yami Bakura's home village.
  • In Macross Frontier, Word of God states that at least in one continuity (there are several) Ranka lured the Vajra to 117th Fleet just as Grace was getting married, which resulted in Grace's bridegroom being killed, and Grace being mutilated, which turned her into a cyborg, triggering her downward spiral to becomming the Big Bad
  • Danzo from Naruto kept on doing this, with at least three different characters.
    • First he helped Hanzou capture Konan, which resulted in the death of Yahiko, and Nagato's mental break down.
    • Then he had Itachi murder the entire Uchiha clan, who however left his brother, Sasuke alive. Guess who had killed Danzo, after the Big Bad revealed this bit of information to him?
    • Apparently Yakushi Kabuto joined Orochimaru because Danzo had set up him and his adoptive mother -both faithful and competent spies working for him- to murder eachother, but Kabuto survived.
  • Ryoga tries to call this on Ranma ½. According to his version of events, Ranma ran out on the fight between them (after Ryoga made him wait three days), "forcing" Ryoga to follow him... all the way to Jusenkyo, where he was kicked into a Cursed Spring by a certain red-headed girl.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • Batman's foe, The Joker. Many details of Joker's origin vary, but it's widely accepted that the Bat was somehow responsible for the Joker's fall into the vat of chemicals that turned him into the psychopathic clown.
    • Man-Bat originally doped himself with bat serum extract in hopes of giving himself a bat's sonar—so he could fight crime like his hero, Batman.
    • It's often suggested that while Batman isn't directly involved their origin, the tendency of his Rogues Gallery to have garish costumes and gimmicks are a reaction to Batman's own. Batman's greatest triumph was to break the mob's hold on Gotham, and his greatest failure was attracting a bunch of psychopathic weirdos to take their place.
  • Superman: Pre-Crisis, Lex Luthor was a fan of Superman, then went on to hate his guts after an accident made Luthor lose his precious... hair as well a protoplasmic lifeform he had created and not to mention his laboratory. Luthor believed that it was done out of jealousy for Luthor's genius and vowed to prove he was better than Supes. Later, in the Silver Age, Luthor gained a more legitimate reason: He blamed Supes for the death of his wife. Nowadays he's often still technically self-created, but it's not exactly Superman's fault: he turned to villainy over jealousy of Superman's achievements.
    • The jealousy factors into his Silver Age origin as well. The experiment Superboy interrupted was one of a series of increasingly over the top acts of science Luthor was engaging to win respect and admiration that kept getting overshadowed by the Boy of Steel.
    • The villain Gog gets his start when Superman shatters his illusions about Superman being some messiah, thus causing Gog to see him as the Antichrist.
    • Bizarro, naturally, since he's an imperfect copy of Superman. Parasite would arguably be less dangerous without Superman to drain for power, and Metallo would at least be much more limited in his activities since Kryptonite is by far the best power source for his robot body.
      • Post-Crisis, Metallo is created by Professor Vale, who believes Superman is an alien invader, and creates Metallo to defend humanity. In the comics coutinuty post-Flashpoint, John Corben decides to become Metallo after seeing Superman easily fight his way out of a high secruity military base.

Vale: Are you sure you want to go through with this, John?
John Corben: You saw what happened earlier. We need Steel Solider more than ever, Professor Vale. Someone has to stop Superman... We're going to do what we have to.

    • He also brought the Eradicator to earth (it was a supercomputer from Krypton, he just didn't realize it's purpose would be malevolent.) He threw the Eradicator into the sun, causing the Eradicator to come back as an energy being, then the energy being created a new body for itself based on Superman.
    • Cyborg Superman. Superman believed that energy being Hank Henshaw could not master Kryptonian technology, so he trapped Henshaw in his birthing matrix. Result: Henshaw used the technology and traces of Superman's DNA to return as a kryptonian cyborg with a grudge.
  • Spider-Man: Eddie Brock's hatred of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man (some people just like to blame someone else), and Spider-Man did accidently pass the symbiote to Brock, creating Venom. Brock's recent Heel Face Turn came from finally admitting it was his own fault and not Peter's.
    • The Venom-symbiant itself is often portrayed as having been consumed with resentment (and abandonment issues) after Peter rejected it, going on to influence several hosts into lives of villainy and Spiderman harassment.
    • The original Hobgoblin is an indirect example: he got his start when he was tipped to the location of the Green Goblin's old gear when a minor criminal that Spider-Man allowed to get away stumbled across the stuff.
    • Green Goblin II/Harry Osborn might also count, as he became a villain to avenge his dad (although one could easily argue that it was his father's actions that truly created the second Green Goblin).
  • Fantastic Four: Victor von Doom was Reed Richards' college roommate. Richards corrected one of Doom's experiments; Doom, furious, switched it back to the way it was, then it exploded, scarring Doom's handsome face. Naturally, Doom blamed Richards.
    • The Mad Thinker's Awesome Android and Modulus are both the result of (mis)applications of Reed Richards's research.
  • Power Pack's Arch Enemy, Douglas Carmody (aka the Bogeyman) is a pretty good example of this. While he's pretty villainous when we first see him, he soon tries to hunt down and murder the kids outright, later joining up with the anti-mutant group The Right in hopes of going after them. The reason? The Power Pack blew up the power plant that he thought was going to make him a billion dollars and make him a household name. Okay, so he had no idea that it would blow up the earth instead...
  • Black Canary has recently acquired one in Green Arrow / Black Canary. A concert violinist she accidentally deafened through an injudicious use of her canary cry has returned as the sound based supervillain Discord.
    • Oddly, a Silver Age Justice League story had musician Anton Allegro become a villain because he'd been accidentally deafened by Green Arrow.
  • In the United Kingdom's Sonic the Comic, (which was based on the old Mobius/Kintobor backstory that's since been brushed away to line up with the Japanese plot), the story arc loosely based on Sonic CD had Sonic going back in time and deliberately causing the accident that turned kindly Dr. Kintobor into Dr. Robotnik. In the altered timeline where the accident never occurred, the Brotherhood of Metallix conquered Mobius and couldn't be stopped- in the 'real' timeline, Robotnik worked on the Metallixes, too, and thought to give them a mass-self-destruct function.
  • The insane Captain America (comics) from the 1950s started out as a fanatical admirer of then-missing Steve Rogers, driven insane by a faulty attempt to replicate Steve's Super Serum.
  • The Transmetropolitan arc "Freeze Me with Your Kiss" features a revenge scheme involving several people wronged in the past by Anti-Hero Spider Jerusalem. Also, part of why the Smiler is elected president is that Spider initially supported him over his similarly corrupt opponent as seemingly the lesser of two evils.
  • Iron Man villains the Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, and Firepower all got their start because the Dirty Commies and, later, a Corrupt Corporate Executive decided they needed their own counterparts to Tony Stark's "bodyguard."
  • The Ultimates in the Ultimate Marvel universe were at least partly to blame for the creation of the supervillain group the Liberators, and definitely to blame for the first Hulk rampage through New York.
    • It ultimately turns out that the advent of the mutant was a direct result of the superhuman arms race.
  • In Star Wars Legacy, Obi-Wan Kenobi is inadvertently responsible for A'Sharad Hett's transformation into Darth Krayt. Nice going, Ben.
  • Any number of All Your Powers Combined supervillains. Amazo, Paragon, the Composite Superman, the Super-Adaptoid, etc.
  • Hank Pym, the Avenger alternately known as Ant-Man, Giant Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Dr. Pym, and the Wasp, built the robot Ultron, which went on to become one of the Avengers' most powerful, persistent, and deadly foes.
    • Inverted by Ultron himself, who created the Vision and Jocasta, who both became heroes. Ultron kind of sucks at making villains, because he also created Victor Mancha who ended up joining the Runaways
  • In the Silver Age, the Reverse-Flash gained access to the secrets of superspeed in the future because Barry Allen placed one of his Flash costumes in a time capsule. More recent continuities have the Reverse-Flash starting as an insane fan of Barry's or, most recently, deriving all of his powers directly from Barry's mere existence, as Barry is now the source of all superspeed.
  • Invincible accidentally caused genius multiverse-walker Angstrom Levy's attempt to fuse with all of his alternate selves to backfire, and Levy has become one of Invincible's most determined foes as a result.
    • Likewise, Powerplex only became a supervillain to avenge himself on Invincible for the death of his sister during one of Invincible's brawls (specifically, Invincible was punched through a building she was inside of, causing it to collapse). Powerplex then killed his wife and infant son by accident while fighting the Nigh Invulnerable hero, fueling further revenge.
  • Billy Butcher from The Boys became a cape buster because a superhero raped his wife, and the resulting infant tore its way out of her body. From our point of view he's an Anti-Hero, but in-universe from the supers' perspective he's a villian.
    • Wee Hughie was a regular socially awkward everyman until his first love interest was smashed into a red paste by a superhero.
  • Sin City: While The Yellow Bastard was already a bad guy, John Hartigan's attacks led to the Yellow Bastard turning into a disfigured freak, became just a little more unhinged, and it made him take revenge later in life.
  • Inverted in Alan Moore's Supreme. Due to a Stable Time Loop, the villain literally becomes the source of the hero's powers.
  • Played with then inverted in Les Légendaires, where the protagonist Razzia, who was initially an innocent pacifist kid, became a vengeful barbarian villain as well as The Dragon to Darkhell after his village was seemingly destroyed by the heroic 1000 Wolves Army for no reason. Later however, his dying sister Sheyla reveals him it was Darkhell who destroyed the village and blame the 1000 Wolves for it. Inraged by the betrayal, Razzia turned against Darkhell and joined the Legendaries, becoming part of the sorcerer's worst enemies.
  • PS238 had a moment when cherub and imp were cheering when Tyler's clone "created and fought his first supervillain". He was rather unpleasantly surprised by the "created" part.

Films -- Animation[edit | hide]

  • Syndrome from The Incredibles. As a boy, his hero-worship led him to try to become Mr Incredible's Sidekick, but Mr Incredible brushed him off. Syndrome then decided to get his recognition by designing a robot to kill Mr. I.
  • Double subverted in Megamind. Megamind tries to create a new Hero to fight, but said person ends up becoming an even worse villain.
    • Also, Metro Man is partilly responsible for turning Megamind into a villain. He knocked Megamind's ship into a prison, causing him to be raised by criminals. He picked on Megamind in school.


Films -- Live Action[edit | hide]

  • The '89 Batman film had an exchange between Batman and the Joker where the Joker blames Batman for creating him, but Batman replied that years ago the Joker was responsible for killing his parents, creating him.

Batman: I made you, but you made me first.

  • In Batman Forever, Edward Nigma was an employee at Wayne Corp who really looked up to Bruce Wayne. Bruce shutting down Nigma's twisted pet project is what drives him off the deep end, turning him into the Riddler.
  • In Batman Begins, Gordon warns Batman about escalation.

Gordon: We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing bullet-proof vests, they buy armor piercing rounds. And you... you're wearing a mask and jumping off rooftops.
Batman: And?
Gordon: Take this guy...

  • In The Dark Knight, the Joker invokes this, claiming that Batman's example was what inspired him to change his schtick from clown-themed bank robber to clown-themed avatar of chaos. But considering how much he lies to everyone else, it's probable that he's only saying this to get under Batman's skin.

Joker: Look at me. LOOK AT ME! (speaks to video camera) You see, this is how crazy Batman's made Gotham!

    • Batman and Gordon created Two-Face in the same movie. Dent warned both of them about the corruption in the Gotham police department but they were more willing to ignore them in lieu of the Joker and finishing off the mob. Gordon's own men ended up working for the mob and kidnapped him and Rachel Dawes, resulting in her death and his disfigurement. In a more cynical example, if Batman had been a few moments late, Dent would've died in an explosion and Two-Face would not have been created. If he had been a few moments early, Dent wouldn't have been disfigured, would not have gone to the hospital, and would not have been driven farther over the edge by Joker. Additionally, if Batman had realized from the start that Joker was lying, he would have saved Rachel, leaving Dent to die.
  • In the Independent Film Sidekick, Norman (a nerdy comic book fan) discovers that Victor (a sleezy Wall Street Guy he knows) has latent telekinetic abilities. Norman tries to train Victor to develop his powers so he can become a real-life superhero, but (being a Wall Street Guy) Victor eventually decides to use his powers for evil instead, becoming Norman's arch-enemy. A comic book store owner friend of Norman's even remarks (under the false impression that Norman and Victor's story is a pitch for a comic book plot) that, although Norman has failed to make a good hero, it seems he did succeed in creating a killer villain.
  • In Iron Man, Obediah Stane is an evil genius in his own right, but it takes technology stolen from Tony Stark to complete his Iron Monger armor.
    • In the sequel, Ivan Vanko is inspired to become Whiplash by the revelation that Tony is Iron Man. His real grudge is against Tony's dead father - if Tony had never been born - or had died before the end of the first movie - Vanko may not have engaged in any criminal activity whatsoever. If Vanko didn't know Stark was Iron Man, his revenge probably wouldn't have involved building a suit of armor. Then Vanko improves his energy whips using suggestions from Tony himself. And, Justin Hammer would presumably be a conniving weasel with or without Tony's influence, but if weren't for Stark/Iron Man, he wouldn't have been trying to build suits of armor, or broken Vanko out of jail, or had access to the War Machine armor.
      • Vanko was already a criminal, though, due to his own father's actions that got him deported with Tony just being the scapegoat for his own miserable existence. Tony does seem to be worried about supervillains being created from his technology and takes steps to prevent this, but Vanko already had the knowledge and genius to make an arc reactor without Tony's help (though the advice he gave did come back to bite him).
      • Additionally, North Korea (among other nations) is trying to build its own Powered Armor.
  • In Kick Ass, Kick-Ass kills Frank d'Amico, causing his son Chris (Red Mist) to become a supervillain
  • Used rather literally in Tron and Tron: Legacy. In the first, hundreds of man-hours worth of programming, spearheaded by Ed Dillinger turned a chess program into something that was going to take over the Pentagon and Kremlin in about a week out of boredom. The second flick was a literal case; Flynn created Clu 2.0 and gave him near-User level of power and a "create the perfect system" directive so he could run things while Flynn was in his own world. Unfortunately, Flynn forgot to install a failsafe or ethics...
  • In The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, Robert idolizes Jesse and believes that he can earn a position of glory at Jesse's side. When Jesse fails to live up to Bob's expectations (and outright mocks him at a few points), Bob decides to instead earn his glory by killing Jesse James. (The entire thing is Black and Grey Morality, but most of the contemporary public views Jesse as a folk hero and Robert as a villain for killing him.)
  • Inverted in the film Black Scorpion as the the villain of the first film creates the hero by killing her father. Played straight with the mayor in the second film as he ends up turning Dr. Undershaft into Aftershock when his men sabotage her invention. This repeats several times in the series with the mayor's crooked schemes creating several villains. Little one most of them want to kill him.
    • Flashpoint is a tabloid photographer obsessed with discovering Black Scorpion's secret identity who is blinded by her energy ring, but his eyesight was restored by advanced laser surgery, making him one of the heroine's most persistent archenemies.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Jedi Order inevitably ends up creating the Sith Order. Each time the Sith are wiped out, some Dark Jedi, recently separated from the Order, finds Holocrons left by a previous Sith Lord and the Order is born anew. The worst part is that this cycle has occurred over half a dozen times.
    • Ajunta Pall creates what is presumably the original Sith order after being kicked out of the Jedi Order.
    • Freedon Nadd, having left the Jedi order due to massive ego and rampant paranoia, finds the holocron of one of the old Sith Lords, and resurrects the order.
    • Ditto for Exar Kun, who finds other Sith Holocrons and resurrects the Sith order.
    • Revan breaks off from the Jedi to form a new Sith Order - in order to fight the remains of what he calls "the true Sith".
    • Revan's former Jedi Master, Kreia, leaves the Jedi to find out why he apprentice turned. She makes her own mini Sith order. Ironically, her goal was to destroy the force, as in a fit of Genre Savvy, she saw that as long as the Jedi existed, there would be a Sith order, and that their conflicts would inevitably doom the galaxy. So she sought to eliminate both.
    • Darth Desolous ditches the Jedi because he thinks the Sith are cooler. Cue mini Sith order on his homeworld.
    • Darth Ruin leaves the Jedi, starting the order again and begins the New Sith Wars.
    • At the battle of Ruusan, the Jedi were literally shoving lightsabers into the hands of small children and sending them to slaughter. They also deemed the native "Bouncers" as too dangerous to keep alive because of the thought bomb. Well, one of those Force Sentitive kids sees her Bouncer friend killed by Jedi right before her horrified eyes. Congratulations! They just created Darth Zannah!
    • And finally, with Luke Skywalker having destroyed both master and apprentice of the Sith, you'd think it's over no? Well... No. We have a Jedi Purge Survivor that starts a Sith order that would rise to power 100 years later. And Jedi from Skywalker's new Jedi Order jumping ship (one in particular who is even related to him!)
  • And then there's this little stroke of brilliance from Jedi Apprentice, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's backstory series. So, the Jedi council has this problem kid, Xanatos. Too much anger and whatnot. And they decide that hey, we're not sure we can trust him, we need to put him to the test. So they send him and his master to intervene in a conflict where his dad is the Man Behind the Man, and everyone knows it, in the hopes that he'll screw up and they can boot him out. Well as it turns out, the plan works a little too well. Xanatos Face Heel Turns, his Master is forced to kill his father, and he swears bloody revenge on the Temple, going on to become a Corrupt Corporate Executive and Manipulative Bastard out for Jedi blood, who spreads slavery and death wherever he goes, and targets Qui-Gon (his ex-master) and Obi-Wan at every turn. Nice Job Breaking It Heroes.
  • In Wuthering Heights the other characters, especially Hindley Earnshaw, insult and abuse the young Heathcliff. It's no surprise when an embittered Heathcliff returns seeking revenge.
  • Inverted in Harry Potter: Dumbledore underlines the fact that Voldemort created his own foe. Villain creating his own hero.
  • In Seven Sorcerers by Caro King, the titular sorcerers are responsible for transforming Arafin Struud from an ordinary human into the Complete Monster Big Bad that he is by first letting him drink from a potion that makes him fully immortal, and then torturing and mutilating him horribly to see just how good the potion works. And then trying to make amends with a simple "Sorry".


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Trio was created because of Buffy. Admittedly, Johnathan (who would have killed himself if it weren't for her, the ungrateful bastard) and Andrew were just in it for the taking over Sunnydale part, but Warren completely was in it for the killing Buffy due to her tracking down the origins of his sexbot April which caused his girlfriend to leave him (admittedly, a bitchy move). Over time he becomes worse in worse, going from jerkass to evil Jerkass to homicidal evil Jerkass to murdering evil Jerkass to his S8 appearance as a genocidal skinless Jerkass.
    • Warren is both on the creating and created side, really. He attempts to murder Buffy, accidently killing Tara, sending Willow, one of the most powerful witches in exsistance, into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that including Warren being skinned alive. However, Warren survived the skinning due to another witch, Amy, who had turned evil out of jealousy for Willow having so much power without having to work at it (so Amy's another example). Warren then changed his hatred for Buffy into hatred from Willow.
    • In Angel, we have Holtz, who wants Angel dead for what he did as Angelus, killing the man's family and forcing him to dust his own daughter.
      • Angel, having spent 200 years as a psychopathic murderer, has a few of these, usually vampires he sired, who either want revenge, or Angelus back killing. For example, Drusilla, Spike (sired by Drusilla, but Angelus taught him how to be evil), Penn (from Somnambulist) and Sam Lawson (from Why We Fight). James from Heartthrob is a special case - while Angel didn't sire him (at least, it's never said), he tries to kill Angel and Cordelia because Angel stakes his One True Love. There's also Lindsey McDonald, who was introduced as a Amoral Attorney, but for whom Angel makes their battles personal when Angel chops off his hand and the end of Season One.
      • Spike has at least two villains he's created. The first is Robin Wood, a vampire hunter who mother was one of the two Slayers murdered by Spike when he was evil. The second is Dana, from the Angel episode "Damage". This one is albeit only indirectly Spike's fault. Dana was kidnapped as a little girl by a human pychopath, implying sexual assault. Later in life, Dana's Slayer visions (allowing her to have psychic dreams and access to the memories of former Slayers) activate. Since Spike has chased around and even killed two Slayers he's in a lot of the Slayer memories, leading Dana's damaged mind to substitute him for her actual childhood abuser. When it was all done he even mused in the hypocrisy of trying to tell her "I've done a lot of horrible things, just not to you."
      • Then there was Giles in "The Dark Age", who had to face the demon he summoned as a teenager that was now killing her former friends. Since a lot of characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel were The Atoner, or at least had a Dark and Troubled Past, this trope turned up a lot.
    • No mention of Angel himself? Buffy unknowingly created Angelus, season 2's Big Bad, and he never tired of reminding her about it.
  • Dollhouse has Echo, the main character being an Create Your Own Hero who takes down the people who forced her into becoming a doll. Echo has Bennett, who she accidentally created as Caroline, making a Heroic Sacrifice for her (the aforementioned being made a doll) which was sadly seen as abandonment, causing Bennett to hate Caroline/Echo for abandoning her and making her lose her arm.]]
  • In a bit of Role Reversal, The Alliance does this in Firefly, cutting up River Tam's brain, turning her into the insane, psychic, badass 16 year old Phlebotinum Rebel that she became. In other news, Joss Whedon REALLY loves this trope. It's in all of his works.
  • In Season 3 of Heroes, it's revealed that Batman-like Anti-Hero Mr. Bennet had a hand in turning nerdy watchmaker Gabriel Grey into the series' archvillain, Sylar. Specifically, Bennet (under orders from The Company) manipulated Gabe into killing again, thus removing the last of his moral inhibitions and completing his transformation into Sylar, who would go on to cause no end of trouble for Bennet and his family.
    • Also, in Season 2, Hiro's attempts to turn Adam Monroe/Takezo Kensei into a legendary hero (and get busy with Kensei's girlfriend) ends up pushing him from a goofy, drunken mercenary into the season's immortal, Misanthrope Supreme Big Bad.
    • Not only was Sylar manipulated, he was actually about to hang himself, unable to cope with killing another person for his power.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, half-human / half-wraith hybrid Michael, the series' most frequently recurring villain, was originally created by the Atlantis Expedition in their attempts to create a virus to turn Wraiths into harmless, amnesiac Humans. Michael was quite pissed upon learning he had been manipulated by the team, and very pissed when the team's response to learning that their pet Human-Wraiths were turning back into full-blown Wraiths was to nuke em' all.
    • And though they didn't create the Wraith and the Replicators, they woke up the Wraith, who'd been dormant, and turned the Replicators into a scourge against humanity (Our heroes programmed them to take out the Wraith; they decided the best way was to eliminate their food source, us. Brainwashing for the Greater Good never works in SGA.) The Atlantis crew has a very bad habit of both Moral Dissonance and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Xena obliviously did this to Callisto, though this is before Xena's Heel Face Turn.
    • Of course, Callisto believes that until she becomes a goddess and goes back in time to the day her parents were killed. It turns out that the future Callisto was the one who murdered her own parents, but her dazed past self assumed Xena was to blame.
    • And Callisto did it deliberately. Given the chance to undo her past, she instead made sure it happened, making it clear that one more Never My Fault villain actually is the way she is by choice.
      • Actually, she tried to prevent it. She took her mother and her younger self into a barn to protect them. When he father (thinking that the strange woman is one of Xena's Mooks) tries to attack her from behind, she throws a dagger at him without looking. Realizing that she can't change the past, she reluctantly incinerates her own mother with a fireball. In a last-ditch effort, she tries to kill her younger self by setting the barn on fire, but the girl is saved, swearing vengeance against Xena.
  • In Harper's Island, Sheriff Charlie Mills turns his wife's obsessive ex-boyfriend John Wakefield into a psychopathic serial killer by having him beaten up and framing him for the attempted murder of a police officer. He serves 17 years of a life sentence for something he didn't do. He kills Sarah Mills as soon as he gets out and Sheriff Mills seven years later, in the present story.
  • The 1960's Batman TV show. In the Backstory to episode "Instant Freeze", Batman turned Dr. Schiml into Mr. Freeze by accidentally knocking a beaker of Instant Freeze on him, which warped his mind and turned him to a life of crime.
  • While John Corben was actually turned into Metallo by Zod in Smallville, he already had a hatred for the Red-Blue Blur after one of the criminals saved from a prison bus crash by the Blur murdered his sister.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Neverwinter Nights, the rulers of Neverwinter technically created The Dragon of The Dragon of the Big Bad by obeying the wishes of the mob over whatever sense of morality they possessed.
  • Champions Online takes this trope literally: At level 25 you make your character's arch-nemesis.
  • Dragon Fable combines this trope with "Failure to Save" Murder with the story of Drakonnan.
  • Some endings of Star FOX Command lead to Dash Bowman, initially hoping to join Star Fox, becoming evil in response to choices made by other characters.
  • This is how Sukhov became Nuclear Winter in Freedom Force. Minuteman was trying to hit him with one of his Minute Missiles, but hit a bunch of liquid nitrogen canisters beside him, covering him with the stuff. This, combined with the latent Energy X in his body, turned him into a An Ice Person with a penchant for stealing atomic bombs.
    • Inverted in Minuteman's origin story, where he is shot by an American traitor during his meeting with Sukhov. The mortally wounded man crawls to the statue of a minuteman nearby, which has been hit with Energy X and absorbs the energy.
  • The Licensed Game of Spider-Man 2 combines Mysterio's comicbook and animated series villainous motivations. Quentin Beck tries to publicly discredit Spider-Man, but gets arrested after releasing several criminals into the arena, who subsequently hold the audience hostage. He blames his arrest on Spidey and devises the Mysterio identity (which he tries to pass off as an evil space alien) to get his revenge.
  • In Ghost Trick, Yomiel strictly speaking got his powers from a freak accident... but he was only in the place where it happened, and unable to notice or react to the meteorite that killed him, because of a standoff with police over a crime he was later exonerated of. He isn't the only one to consider it at least partially the cops' fault; both Cabanela and Jowd consider it My Greatest Failure.
  • Played extremely literally in Disgaea3. Super Hero Aurum, having defeated Mao's Overlord father, found that he had run out of strong, evil opponents. So what does he do? He takes the guise of Mao's butler and heaps loads of mental issues and scewed opinions onto his already strained psyche to make his into an Omnicidal Maniac for him to beat and have a chance of being a hero again.
  • The Ultima series is notorious for this. The only games in the main series in which the problems the Avatar has to solve are not the direct or indirect result of something he did in a previous game are the first and fourth.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Vengeance Joe from the (sorta-dead) webcomic Van Von Hunter seems to fit. He ended up becoming a minor villain to the title hero when Van didn't introduce himself properly while passing through a town and Joe became insulted, swearing vengeance on him.
  • In Darths and Droids, Jango Fett is a private detective with a vendetta against Obi-wan Kenobi—because Obi-wan killed his partner, Darth Maul.
  • In Homestuck, Vriska manipulates events so that Jack Noir get the powers of a First Guardian, turning a powerful but still beatable villain into a near invincible Physical God. All this would have happened anyway, Vriska just retconned reality to make herself the centerpiece.
  • A darkly hilarious example of this occurs in a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's strip. However, on this case, the villain's creation's was NOT an accident.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • This trope occurs and is discussed in Batman: The Animated Series:
    • A story of a villain creating their own villain, it was Rupert Thorne's attempt to blackmail Harvey Dent that lead to Dent's transformation into Two-Face, the transformation itself lead to Two-Face's extra-legal war on Thorne's criminal organization. Candace, Thorne's right hand, is well aware of this.

Mook: "I thought we got rid of this guy."
Candace: "Are you kidding? We created him.

    • In "Trial," the Arkham Asylum inmates put Batman on trial, accusing him of creating them. This trial leads to the revelation that even if Batman had not pushed them off the edge, they were all deeply disturbed people and would have entered villainy anyway from their own motivations. In fact, they created him. The villains then come to terms with this and find Batman innocent... and then, because they are such bad guys, they try to kill him anyway.
    • In "Lock-Up," the eponymous villain was formerly a guard at Arkham Asylum who got his position due to endorsement and support from Wayne Enterprises. When he goes insane and begins kidnapping the people he blames for the cities problems (The police, bureaucrats and reporters that he says cause the criminals) Robin snarkily comments "Another fine villain brought to you by the Wayne Foundation." The look Batman shoots him is not happy.
  • Batman Beyond:

Terry: You mean... I made him that?
Bruce: You may have... in part.
Terry: ...Good. (Bruce gives him a stern look) Hey, this guy had my father murdered and all he's done since is hide from the law. Well, no more hiding for Mr. Derek Powers. Now everyone can see what he is. Even in the dark.

    • A lesser example is with Shriek, who was pressured into using his sonic weapons to kill Bruce Wayne by Derek Powers. While at first he "only" intended to murder Bruce, and that only to secure more funding for his research, once Batman causes him to go deaf during their battle he went insane and became a full-fledge supervillain with the sole goal of getting revenge on Batman.
    • Both were already villains by any standards: Powers flat-out admitted he'd killed others besides Terry's father and Shriek was trying to commit murder for monetary gain. Fighting Batman just made them worse, unfortunately. Powers actually did the inverse and recreated Batman since his attempts to cover up his abuses brought Terry and Bruce together.
  • Inverted by Batman the Brave And The Bold: Plastic Man was a henchman and thief until he was Cursed with Awesome as a result of Batman's actions. Batman personally sees to Plas' reform and rehabilitation; now, larceny-related issues aside, Plastic Man is a genuine superhero thanks to Batman's influence.
    • Another inversion (a villain creates a hero) is from "Chill of the Night!" Batman confronts Joe Chill (the man who murdered his parents) during a weapons auction, where many of his Rogues Gallery are in attendance. In the fight, Batman reveals to Chill that he's Bruce Wayne. Chill realizes that by killing Thomas and Martha Wayne, he inspired Bruce to fight crime. He's the reason Batman exists. In a panic, Chill admits this to the Rogues. They, of course, aren't amused (except for Joker; he thinks it's hilarious).
  • Parodied on The Fairly OddParents when Timmy becomes The Masked Magician. The Crimson Chin warns Timmy about creating his own supervillain, and lo and behold... The Hanker-Chief!
    • Crimson Chin is speaking from experience: His archenemy, the Bronze Kneecap ("and his big BRONZE KNEECAP!!!"), turns evil when, in a parody of supervillain origins, the Chin accidentally breaks his leg during a jai alai tournament, causing him to get second third place once again, and then doesn't apologize. And so Ron Hambone melted down all his third-place bronze trophies...
    • The third crossover with Jimmy Neutron had Timmy and Jimmy purposly making a new villain after they discovered how easily their combined skills trumpted all their regular enemies.
      • What makes this funny is that they did this both literally and metaphorically. They literally made a villain, though he wasn't quite as evil as they had hoped, so they ditch him, which then causes the trope to be played oh so wonderfully straight. Confusing? It Makes Sense in Context.
  • In Transformers Animated, Cyrus "The Colossus" Rhodes hates the Autobots apparently because he lost his job to a machine, and Prometheus Black has a gripe against Sumdac because Sumdac Systems gets all the lucrative contracts instead of him. Interestingly, before Black became Meltdown, he was receiving funding from a member of Sumdac Systems' board of directors.
    • Blackarachnia in the same series might count definitely counts, as she allied herself with the Decepticons after Optimus and Sentinel abandoned her on Archa 7, a spider planet, believing she was dead.
      • Sentinel also came to hate Optimus after the very same incident, sparking an intensely antagonistic relationship between the two.
    • Wasp was falsely implicated as being a Decepticon spy and during his time in the stockade went nuts and wants a lot of revenge on Bumblebee.
  • In Danny Phantom (probably as a parody to the Fantastic Four example above), Vlad, Maddie and Jack are working on their first Ghost Portal. Jack pours diet soda into a crucial part, and it blows up in Vlad's face, giving him Ecto-Acne, and with it, his ghost powers. Then he goes all evil and revengey.
    • Technus, though in a more Lampshading and humorous way. Danny unintentionally frees him from the Ghost Portal (or something) when he first meets him. Assuming him to be a villain, Danny tells him he will not take over the world. Technus, confused, then enlightened actually takes his advice, thus setting his path of villainy.
  • Señor Senior Senior from Kim Possible. Not a particularly serious example, inasmuch as he becomes a villain when it's observed how much he seems like one already.
  • Gargoyles has an episode that toy with this, as a bystander who appeared in many prior episodes plots to get his revenge on the gargoyles and even relates every previous encounter he had with them. Played for comic relief, as his revenge was merely a pie-shooting bazooka.
    • For the record, the gargoyles inadvertently cost him pretty much every job he ever had since 1997. And the pie was banana creme.
    • But David Xanatos did create Thalog, a clone of Golath educated with Xanatos' own worldview. Naturally, Thalog turned on everybody.
    • No mention of the Hunters? They were created when Demona slash the face of a farm boy. Said farm boy then dedicated his life to hunt down every last gargoyles in existent. And when he dies, his moniker is adopted by another and created a generations of families whose whole life is kill Demona and gargoyles.
  • Darkwing Duck accidently causes Bud Flood to fall into a vat of contaminated water, turning him into the Liquidator.
    • It sounds awfully familiar...
      • Of course, Flood contaminated the water himself, and Darkwing was in fact there to stop him from doing exactly that; so, really, The Liquidator created himself, Darkwing just helped.
  • Ben 10's Evil Counterpart Kevin 11 was just a emo New York City street kid with the superpower of absorbing and channeling energy, until Ben teamed up with him to go on a criminal joyride, allowing Kevin to absorb the Omnitrix's energy and gain all of Ben's superpowers. Already selfish and mean-spirited, access to all that power quickly turns Kevin into a full-blown Psycho for Hire who goes on a nation-wide crime spree and attempts to kill Ben on multiple occasions. He got better.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, Mojo Jojo was originally created by Professor Utonium, and worked as his assistant. The professor and the girls indirectly turned him into a villain by making him jealous, as the girls hogged the spotlight, leaving Mojo in the shade; which eventually drove him out into the street. As an added twist, Mojo was himself responsible for Chemical X being added into the concoction that spawned the girls.
    • And, according to one episode, Mojo's traveling back in time to try to eliminate Professor Utonium as a child and being thwarted by the girls is what inspired Professor Utonium to become a scientist in the first place. Bringing the whole thing full circle...
  • An episode of The Simpsons featured the heroes not so much creating a villain as recreating one. While in Italy the Simpsons run into an apparently reformed Sideshow Bob living happily and honestly as the mayor of a small town. Bob isn't exactly delighted to have the Simpsons around but he treats them well enough... until Lisa gets drunk and 'outs' Bob as a former criminal. His new life destroyed he promptly swears revenge.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Spider-Man created Mysterio: He exposed special effects man Quentin Beck as the one responsible for a helicopter getting damaged during the shooting of a film, and Beck invented the Mysterio identity upon getting out of jail to take revenge.

Mysterio: It's payback time!
Spider-Man: Payback? For what? You did it all to yourself.
Mysterio: That's what my psychiatrist said, but you know what? His sessions never made me feel this good!

    • In "The Sting of the Scorpion," Jonah has hired PI Mac Gargan to trail Peter to figure out how he gets all those great pictures of Spider-Man. After finding out, Spider-Man bursts into the Daily Bugle and purposefully plays tough to try to scare some sense into them - even webbing Gargan to the wall, humiliating him. Unfortunately, all he did was give Jonah motivation to bankroll a Neogenic experiment and a willing test subject - making Mac Gargan the Scorpion.
    • And like in the comics, Venom - with the symbiote being rejected (and nearly killed), while Eddie Brock had been fired from the Daily Bugle and repeatedly humiliated.
  • In The Batman Mr Freeze considers Batman responsible for making him what he is now. However as Victor Fires he was already a criminal to begin with, had not been for that cryo accident he would have been just some common crook.
  • The Veggie Tales episode "Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed" actually begins with the title superhero accidentally creating the title weed by knocking a plant off a building and onto some power lines.
  • Doc Venture has a singular talent for this. Baron Ünderbheit became his enemy after an unspecified lab experiment blew off his jaw, The Monarch—probably justifiably—blames him for some college Noodle Incident that ruined his life, and Richard Impossible lost his mind after his wife tried to leave him for Rusty.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Some (mostly amateur) analysts blame the United States for "creating" Osama bin Laden by employing him during the 1980s war in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Actually, bin Laden's specific group never got support from the United States, although they and the CIA did separately support some of the same other groups.
    • Escalating the war by supporting the Mujahideen and tossing them and their devastated country aside once the Russians gave up, along with doing things like that for decades all over the world, might be the reason for this whole mess.
    • On a similar case the Pakistanis were already supporting the Mujahideen way before the US.
  • After the first World War the Germans concocted a myth according to which the victors blamed a supposedly innocent Germany for the whole thing, saddled her with crushing monetary reparations, and prohibited her from ever again having a standing army. The German reaction to this did a lot to set the stage for Hitler's rise to power. The terms of the Versailles Treaty may or may not have been lenient, there has recently been a fair bit of academic dispute on the subject, the size of the German army was greatly reduced, a lot of important goods and intellectual property (among others the patent for Aspirin) were used to pay the damages, and Germany was definitely not the only country to blame for the war.
    • More directly (but with far less evidence), some claim that Hitler and the Nazi Party were originally bankrolled by Western power groups, who hoped to build a bulwark in Germany against those Dirty Communists in the USSR.
    • Many nations were to blame for World War I and Hitler was supported by anti-Communists. The Western powers didn't create Nazi Germany, but the Treaty of Versailles certainly made it easier for the Nazis to play the Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
      • It wasn't uncommon in prior wars for the victors to demand reparations from their defeated adverseries. The problem with the Treaty of Versailles was that it not only stuck Germany with pretty much the entire bill for all the damage done everywhere by anyone, but it then tacked on the equivalent of "punitive damages". The terms where basically so outrageous that Germany would NEVER be able to recover from them, so eventually the government and economy all but collapsed, and the group that came to replace them just ignored the treaty all together.
    • IIRC, according to some accounts of the history of that era, there were a large number of historians and analysts who blamed Germany for the entire war. It wasn't until after WWII that people began rethinking that viewpoint. France was after revenge for the Franco-Prussian War, and the other Western Powers simply saw it as easier to blame one country than try to figure out who was responsible for what in the whole sordid affair. As the page for The Scapegoat puts it:

The "War Guilt" clause of the Treaty of Versailles, which placed responsibility for World War One solely on Germany's shoulders.

  • Supporting Stalin's USSR against Hitler's Germany created the Soviet Superpower that was the West's greatest enemy after the end of the war.
  • Several petty dictators supported by the United States against Soviet-backed rebels, and several rebel groups the United States backed against Soviet-backed governments, went on to themselves become immense thorns in Uncle Sam's side later, including Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein.
    • Taliban, anyone? The caves at Tora Bora were fortified with US assistance, and US-made Stinger missiles were used against allied forces in Afghanistan.
    • The battery of a Stinger lasts only about 5 years or so IIRC, so if they are using stingers they're not the US-made ones. Still doesn't change the training they received though.
  • Obviously "villain" isn't the right way to put it, but the PlayStation was directly spawned from the remains of a deal which Nintendo backed out of when they realised it didn't work in their favour. Sony used their work on the deal to form the basis for their own console. A few years later, the PlayStation resoundingly gave Nintendo its first loss in the Console Wars.
    • And, along the same lines, Pathfinder was only created because Wizards of the Coast didn't make an Open Gaming License when they made 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, and Paizo had to release something to avoid going under. Of course, this something is now one of D&D's big competitors, and is likely one of the factors causing them to try and create a 5th edition.
    • On a similar note, the Warcraft universe wouldn't exist if the deal between Blizzard and Gaming Workshop to create a Warhammer Fantasy Battle-themed game didn't fall through. On the other hand, it's possible World of Warcraft would be World of Warhammer and still just as popular.