Face Heel Turn

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Arthas: from a nice person to An Ice Person.


In Professional Wrestling, a "good" wrestler (a Face) is occasionally tempted by The Dark Side, or just gets fed up, and becomes a Heel. Magazines and other promotional material from the various wrestling "leagues" frequently comment on various wrestlers' changes in "alignment" (in wrestling's fictional plotline known as Kayfabe) nearly as frequently as they actually cover events in the ring themselves. (They even actually use phrases like "Face Heel Turn", though the shorter "Heel Turn" is more common)

A wrestler's heel turn is often a sign that he or she is about to see his or her popularity skyrocket. Indeed, it is very common, once they have turned, to remain heels for their entire careers. Heels that become really popular may end up "naturally" becoming faces again, but it is just as likely for heels to be beloved because they are heels. In fact, as paradoxical as it might seem, a heel turn can help an otherwise despised wrestler become likable: fans may well resent a Mary Sue face character, and may be better able to relate to a character who is profoundly flawed in one way or another (after all, that's what satire is all about).

In other genres, it means "good guy turns bad," the opposite of the Heel Face Turn. Perhaps the former hero(ine) has become a Rival Turned Evil. Perhaps he or she has lost perspective, and became a Well-Intentioned Extremist or Knight Templar, or worse, Jumped Off The Slippery Slope into true villainy. Perhaps something horrible has happened that shattered his or her faith in good, and he or she has become a Fallen Hero. Maybe his or her love for someone turned into a dangerous obsession that went out of control. The hero may have bravely declared "You Shall Not Pass!" or his companions may have found it impossible to ensure that No One Gets Left Behind, but he proved to be Not Quite Dead and, deranged by his suffering, blames his companions for abandoning him. Perhaps he or she has had too many of their good deeds come back to bite them and decided that being a hero is no longer worth it. Maybe he or she has had enough of being pushed around, laughed at and put through hell, or maybe he or she has snapped after one too many rounds of Break the Cutie. Perhaps his (alleged) allies have made his life too difficult, or possibly even out-and-out betrayed him, or maybe she's just gone Drunk with Power. Perhaps fighting evil too long has led to his becoming what he once opposed. Maybe The Corrupter got his hooks into him and over time brought out the worst in him (usually in combination with any of the above factors).

This is the Evil Counterpart to the more common Heel Face Turn and is generally found in a story with Black and White Morality. The many reasons and the probability for a turn are listed in the Sorting Algorithm of Face Heel Turning.

Contrast The Mole: The Mole was always working for the Big Bad from the beginning, whereas a character making a Face Heel Turn was a genuine good guy until their change of heart. Contrast also Forced Into Evil, whereas the character was still a genuinely good guy, but had his own reasons to be on the bad guys' side while still maintaining a good heart, whereas a character who did a Face Heel Turn is a character who not only goes to the bad guys' side, but also become a genuine bad guy at heart. A character Forced Into Evil can be said about halfway doing a full Heel Turn, but not a full turn yet like the ones in this page (given time, they may make a full turn in the future).

In a world full of Brainwashed victims, they may be the one who appears to be but really is Not Brainwashed.

See also Heel Face Revolving Door, Neutral No Longer, Deal with the Devil, We Used to Be Friends and Start of Darkness.

No real life examples, please; Calling real-life people evil is an extremely bad idea. Also, it is too subjective to proclaim that someone has joined the "dark side" in real life.

SPOILERS AHOY

Examples of Face Heel Turn include:


Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Char Aznable in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, goes from a father figure to fucking insane.
  • Yui in Fushigi Yuugi, and most other instances of Rival Turned Evil.
  • Kaiser Ryo following a textbook Freak-Out in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. The dub even has Judai/Jaden compare this to, "when a pro-wrestler suddenly starts dressing in black and throwing chairs in the ring." Judai, like his predecessor in Yu-Gi-Oh!, also temporarily turns to The Dark Side (hey, Superpowered Evil Sides take some getting used to).
    • In 5D's we have the Dark Signers.
  • Vegeta from Dragonball Z, who was admittedly already a Heel Face Turn and technically just returning to his original alignment, went through yet another Heel Face Turn after the showdown of rivals. The whole arc also has the bonus of being a mid-life crisis as well as being a Not Brainwashed moment. Come to think of it, he is probably the one character in the entire series to do as many alignment changes as a pro wrestler.
    • It could be argued that he never switched sides at all, as he's always been on the same side: his own. Trusting him is the fault of the heroes.
  • Heppokomaru/Gasser in the manga sequel of Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo. He comes around eventually, though. This fact is made more infuriating when everyone discovers that the reason he betrayed Bo-bobo and his group was in order to save his sister, who joined the empire of the Big Bad on her own, and is rather unpleasent in the personality department.
  • Happens very briefly in the manga adaptation of Slayers: Evolution-R with Zelgadis.
  • We know that Griffith from Berserk is a bad guy at the start of the anime, but most of us wouldn't know this from the idealistic mercenary leader that we meet in flashback during the second episode, who is about as close to The Messiah as one can get in a series like Berserk. The anime, which follows the Golden Age manga arc of the series, is about Guts's time with Griffith's Band of the Hawks, and the events that lead up to Griffith's betrayal, his ascension as the fifth member of the Godhand, and Guts's circumstances in the very first episode. And when Griffith finally does go bad in the final episodes, he goes very, very bad.
  • Code Geass has enough Face Heel Turn and Heel Face Turn to drive one mad. By the end of the series everyone has switched to someplace at least once and some have done it two or three times do really screw your list over. Practically the only character never to change sides is C.C., who was on her own side from Day 1 and just followed Lelouch out of obligation.
    • What's really infuriating is that you can't even tell which side is good and which is bad. They're both morally ambiguous chessmasters with roughly the same plan for world peace.
  • Walter C. Dornez, loyal aide to Integra Hellsing in Hellsing, first seems to do a Face Heel Turn against his will after been brainwashed by the villains, but is later revealed to have been a willing traitor since WWII.However He did a Heel Face Turn by Killing Doc.
  • The Uchiha Bros. (tm) from Naruto might be taken into account, though their Heel turns were not really an alignment change. Maybe except for Sasuke's latest.
  • Julia and Collins from Blood Plus, though the former does return to the side of good after a while. The other gets a bullet to the brain.
  • Bleach has the infamous revelation of the main villains Aizen, Gin, and Tousen, and the second filler arc also has third seat Kifune of Squad 3.
      • Concerning the former three, Aizen was Evil All Along and was just putting on a facade so no one would suspect him. Gin is revealed to be a Fake Defector who only went along with Aizen to stop him when he was at his venerable. The only one that truly fits is Tousen, who willingly joined Aizen's side to take revenge on the Soul Society for letting a shinigami get away with killing his best friend.
    • Bleach often wants the villains to do this. The Soul Society arc was essentially all the Squads doing this, with Grey and Grey Morality blurring the lines. However, while some villains do get their Heel Face Turn to or from good, Ulquiorra and Amagai died when they tried.
  • Lord Genome from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, as shown in Parallel Works Eight. When he snaps, he snaps hard.
    • Post-Time Skip Rossiu, previously a good guy, sets up Simon as a scapegoat for the problems caused by the Anti-Spirals and takes over the government - and his plan to survive the Anti-Spiral attacks involves leaving a large portion of the world's population to die.
    • The real Face Heel Turn award doesn't go to Lord Genome, but to his daughter Nia, who was the unwilling messenger of the Anti-Spirals. The worst part? She had just gotten engaged to Simon.
  • Folken from the Vision of Escaflowne does this to begin with, followed by another Heel Face Turn near the end of the story, leading to his extremely bizarre "fated" death.
  • Chikane pulls this in Kannazuki no Miko's Wham! Episode. Well, she's got her reasons... but it's still rather horrifying.
  • Sasame in Prétear later joins the Big Bad to become her servant because he was in love with her and couldn't bear to fight her. The Big Bad herself also face heel turned due to love. Later they both undo this with a Heel Face Turn to once again join the heroes.
  • In Soul Eater, Kim and Jackie do an unwilling Face Heel Turn under the influence of Arachnaphobia's insanity manipulation machine. The actions of Justin Law, however, appear for the time being to be genuine: killing BJ and framing Stein for the murder (though Medusa almost certainly had a hand in it), trying to kill Maka Albarn as her soul perception might uncover Asura for Shinigami. He also seems to enjoy taunting the imprisoned Death the Kid, and listens in when Gopher is beating the boy up.
  • Wonrei joins the Faudo revival cult in Konjiki no Gash Bell!! when his bookkeeper is placed under a curse that will kill her if Faudo is not revived. However, this Face Heel Turn is fairly temporary, as expected given the nature of the series.
  • Megumi in Gate Keepers, after her envy towards Ruriko reaches its peak.
  • Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt: In classic Gainax fashion, Stocking slices Panty up into 666 pieces and reveals that she is a demon about a minute before the end of the last episode (whether of the whole series or just the first season is yet to be known).
  • Mikael from Tenshi ni Narumon does a Face Heel Turn in the last episodes of the series which ends in an epic breakdown. He gets better.
  • Shinobu Sensui in Yu Yu Hakusho, following an EPIC Freak-Out when he stumbled upon humans torturing demons For the Evulz. Incidentally, Koenma (who sent Sensui on the mission that caused his alignment change) considers this his greatest failure.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, every witch counts as this due to how magic works in the general universe, the most prominent in-series example being Sayaka becoming Oktavia Von Seckendorff after her Soul Gem darkened completely and turned into a Grief Seed.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Civil War: If you believe that the pro-registration side was "evil", then Tony Stark, Iron Man, fits the bill. The same goes for the anti-registration heroes.
  • Hal Jordan, Green Lantern poster child, underwent a psychotic turn into a being that wanted to reshape all of existence. Later explained and retconned, but still heavily controversial.
  • Cassandra Cain to unanimous disapproval. After spending 76 issues delving into her extraordinary psychology and fleshing her out into a complex character with high moral standards, DC savagely tore her down and made her into a cheap, drugstore-variety Dragon Lady who started killing people like roaches. Now, they've very cleverly revealed it she was actually Brainwashed. Her? Really DC? Drug control?
    • Well, at least Cassandra Cain is back to her old self now. It is a very good thing she had a lot of fans who were quick to rise to her defence and show DC just how much they care about her.
  • Mary Marvel provided an interesting contrast as a Golden Age teen amidst modern comics characters. Unfortunately DC decided to make her turn evil. Her clothes even turned black.
    • And her skirt was just as short as Supertorso's "Belt with a trim" microskirt after the switch! Bad move all around... then the next outfit made it look good.
  • In a particularly bad example of Executive Meddling, DC planned to turn Captain Atom into supervillain "Monarch." When readers guessed the plan ahead of time, they changed their minds at the last minute and made the character "Hawk" murder his partner "Dove" and don Monarch's armor. Then, in a series of decisions years down the line, they effectively reversed it, giving Hawk the new handle of "Extant", putting Captain Atom into Monarch's armor and creating a new Hawk and Dove team.
  • Two-Face, in the Batman comics (and later, The Dark Knight Saga is a good-guy district attorney who turns into an evil criminal.
  • Colossus, after his sister, Ilyana, dies.
  • Name a Teen Titan. Chances are good he/she has tried to kill the other Titans at some point. Raven, Jericho, and Beast Boy (yes, even BB) are some of the more well known ones.
  • Mandrakk, the Dark Monitor from Final Crisis, was a Lovecraftian Horror ultra-vampire who wanted to feed on the life blood of existence itself until it had been bled dry. Saying he was the Ultimate Evil is not pushing the envelope. If what has been suggested - namely that he originally was the Monitor, the heroic mentor figure who laid down his life so the Universe might live in Crisis on Infinite Earths - is true, then this might be the ultimate FHT in comics.
  • In Dark Reign Sentry does that, joining Norman Osborn's Dark Avengers in hope to getting cured from his Super-Powered Evil Side, The Void. In the end Osborn set a scheme in the motion that made Void take over completely.
  • Javi in Negation goes through this after Charon brought him back from the dead and convinced him that his conquest of the Negation-verse and his pending invasion of the main Cross Gen universe was a good and necessary thing. Javi, a religious man who had questioned his faith even before his abduction to the Negation-verse, came to look upon Charon as a god, one in whom he could place his whole trust in, without question. He becomes a Knight Templar as a result.
  • In Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog, the most notable thus far has been Fiona, who turned against the Freedom Fighters in #172 and joined Anti-Sonic/Scourge in Moebius (formerly Anti-Mobius).
    • Naturally, anybody who was roboticised also pulled this, though typically not of their own free will.
    • Espio turned against the Freedom Fighters and Chaotix to join the Iron Dominion, but returned. It turned out to be a ruse, but it wasn't exactly a harmless one.
    • And before either of those two... Drago Wolf and Sleuth Dog.
    • #178-179, though it could just be a political debate in which both sides use violence instead of words.
    • Geoffrey St. John appeared to have one in issues 219-220, but this is actually a subversion, as it was soon after retconed that he'd actually been working for Ixis Naugus since before either of them were even introduced, making him The Mole instead.
  • Tigress in Young All-Stars after her death and resurrection at the hands of Gudra the Valkyrie, which was meant to explain her origin of becoming the Golden Age villain the Huntress.
  • In Fantastic Four #600, Johnny Storm finally comes Back From the Dead...as the new leader of the Annihilation Wave.
  • Daniel Cross in Assassin's Creed the Fall.
  • Irredeemable is based on this concept with the Plutonian, a Superman-esque character, snapping due to the pressure and becoming the ultimate villian.
  • In All Fall Down, Pronto undergoes this in exchange for new legs as fast as his old ones.
  • A very big one few years ago was X-Men longtime member Bishop - after years of looking for a mysterious traitor who was supposed to kill X-Men, he betrayed them himself, for the same reason he joined them in the first place - to stop a Bad Future from happening.
  • In Sonic the Comic, Nack the Weasel is introduced as a member of the heroic Chaotix - but by the end of their introductory story he's sold them out to the Brotherhood of Metallix, an army of spectacularly evil robotic copies of Sonic. Admittedly a loose example, as a) he'd clearly already turned before the story started and b) the character was always a villain in the Sonic games, so seeing him as a hero first is the unexpected bit.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • In the Pony POV Series, Fluttershy suffers a severe Break the Cutie and falls victim to the same corruption as Nightmare Moon, transforming into the Big Bad of the story arc, Princess Gaia/Nightmare Whisper.
  • The entire plot of Queen of All Oni is kicked off when Jade's Super-Powered Evil Side, the Queen of the Shadowkhan, is reawakened, setting Jade up as the Big Bad.
  • Similarly, the plot of Inner Demons is driven by a prophecy that Twilight Sparkle will succumb to the darkness in her heart and become the "Queen of Darkness", who will take over all of Equestria. This happens within half a dozen chapters, and Queen!Twilight proceeds to take up the mantle of Big Bad for the story.
    • Trixie starts out the story as The Atoner, who wants to learn true magic from Twilight in order to make up for her boastful and arrogant past. When Twilight turns, she talks Trixie into helping strike at the other Elements of Harmony... then Trixie sees how powerful Twilight is, and performs a full turn herself in order to convince Twilight to keep her.
    • In a rather Shocking Swerve, Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo, who join up due to a combo of More Than Mind Control and not seeming to be fully aware of what's happening.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Anakin Skywalker of the Star Wars saga, who turned his back on the Jedi to become the ruthless Darth Vader.
    • A lesser known occurrence is when Count Dooku left the Jedi Order and became a Sith. Also many Jedi in the Expanded Universe.
  • Rooster in Righteous Kill.
  • While Kevin Flynn remains a protagonist throughout the entire Tron franchise, his program Clu turns HARD in Tron: Legacy. The comic book, however, makes it arguable as to whether Clu was ever a Face to begin with.
    • What's more, Tron himself has traded in his hero status for a badass make over as villainous Rinzler. At least until he snaps out of the Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • In Undercover Brother the title character turns his back on the Brotherhood after he falls in lust with Penelope Snow. Luckily Sista Girl brings him back to his senses.
  • Alec Trevelyan of the James Bond film Goldeneye seems to be like this during the reveal of him being Janus. But as it turns out, he's been plotting revenge against the British government for the betrayal of his family, who were Lienz Cossacks.
  • Scrappy from the first live-action Scooby Doo movie. He went all evil because the gang kicked him out years ago and wanted revenge by taking over the Earth with demons.
  • Harvey "Two-Face" Dent in The Dark Knight Saga.
  • Sentinel Prime in Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.
  • The trope image gets lampshaded in Muppets from Space where Rizzo the Rat tries to plead with Hulk Hogan by saying "What will your fans think?" The response: "Hey, I'm a bad guy now."
  • In X-Men First Class, Raven Darkholme (Mystique) defects from the good X-Men to the evil Brotherhood.
  • In The Incredibles, Buddy Pine's career as Incredi-Boy is short-lived when he is rejected by his idol, Mr. Incredible. But Mr. Incredible learns the hard way that some people can't handle rejection when he goes up against Syndrome, who is actually Buddy all grown up and out for revenge.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In The Secret River, Thornhill isn't exactly heroic to start with. But he goes from ambiguous to a villain.
  • An even more "they shoulda seen it coming" example: Raistlin Majere in the original Dragonlance books.
  • Subverted in Red Seas Under Red Skies, where the first chapter has Jean betraying Locke to a pair of assassins, then it flashes back to the start of the story. When it arrives back at the betrayal scene, we find that Jean was tricking the assassins and Locke just missed the hand signal for "lying."
  • A certain Imperial general in one of the later Warhammer 40000: Gaunt's Ghosts is eventually corrupted by Chaos. Surprisingly, he's shown to actually be a decent man when hit by amnesia - even his jailer notes that the general becomes ever more an unlikable bastard as he regains his memory.
  • Dybbuk from Children of the Lamp, though it was sort-of foreshadowed in that his father just happened to be Iblis, the most evil djinn of the most evil djinn tribe, meaning he was half Exclusively Evil. It wouldn't be surprising if he eventually had a change of heart, though.
  • Judas Iscariot, which makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.
  • Brutus in the Emperor series. And indeed any other series ever written about Ancient Rome. Because, well, he's one of the best examples of it in real life.
  • Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Aramis, in the D'Artagnan Romances by Alexandre Dumas. In The Three Musketeers he's unequivocally One Of The Good Guys, alongside Athos, Porthos and D'Artagnan—although even then, when short of money, we see him accepting expensive gifts from his mistress(es). In Twenty Years After, all motives are less certain, Athos and Aramis find themselves (for different reasons) on the opposite side to Porthos and D'Artagnan, it is far less clear which side is In The Right, and it takes much more intricate politics to have them all on the same side again with their disparate interests in agreement: and, in the end, Aramis becomes the true, shadowy villain of The Vicomte De Bragelonne, as the person who wants King Louis replaced by his secret twin brother Philippe, not in pursuit of justice but in pursuit of his personal ambition to be Pope (and those of the Jesuits, to establish further control over Europe's rulers): and, knowing that he could not suborn Athos or D'Artagnan to this scheme, he tricks Porthos into assisting it instead. And yes, here, Aramis is a true villain even when presented in a good light, and the Musketeers' accord is blown apart: because for all King Louis's inadequacies, he is the rightful king, and in the book D'Artagnan recognises this and sides with Louis, conducting the ill-fated Philippe back to jail (though he later refuses to actually open fire on the fort containing his friends, D'Artagnan holds to their compact to stand together even though Aramis has broken it: as a result of which Aramis escapes at the cost of Porthos's life.) It is Louis who remains on the throne and leads France to greatness. It's also amazing how many films of "The Man in the Iron Mask" reverse the ENTIRE point, and have Louis be unequivocally bad, and the Musketeers all on the same side and succeeding in pulling off the replacement... Though that may have been Dumas's point.
  • In Avalon: Web of Magic's eleventh book, Dark Mage, heroine Emily becomes the dark mage and kills the comic relief Weasel Mascot.
  • The main Love Interest from Ursula Vernon's Black Dogs turns out to have been modified by the Big Bad before the novel even started to appear much nicer and gentler and less evil than he would be normally. Towards the end of the novel, the Big Bad reverses these restraints and the Love Interest becomes a major villain.
  • Just a couple of examples from Harry Potter.
    • Peter Pettigrew, who everyone thought was James and Lily Potters' friend—until he betrayed them to Lord Voldemort and caused their deaths, which everyone initially blamed on Sirius. And Snape's involvement with that whole issue; he had one when he and Lily were in school, where they had a row and parted ways, leading him to the Death Eaters/Dark Side, although he really always loved Lily.
    • And arguably Voldemort himself; he started off as an (admittedly creepy) child in an orphanage and then got so screwed up throughout the years that he eventually became He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.
    • Also, it's hard to imagine that Percy was unaware Umbridge was ordering muggleborns' souls to be removed. A sufficiently dictatorial system CAN compartmentalise to this degree, through threat of violence and/or careful selection of personnel, and the Ministry under Voldemort qualifies. When he turns up for the final battle, Percy says his decision to turn face has been building for some time, so maybe he's been hearing hints and putting two and two together.
  • In The Lotus Eaters, Legate Pigna, over a case of wounded pride, betrayed the Legion.
  • In The Demonata series, Nadia Moore was one of the disciples who later joined Lord Loss, masquerading as Juni Swan.
  • Nimue in The Warlord Chronicles is an interesting example—her motives and methods don't change, but all of the other heroic characters learn to compromise, and she never does.
  • Time Scout: Skeeter Jackson goes from a Lovable Rogue to a Lovable Rogue on the right side of the law.
  • David in Animorphs. He starts out helping the team, then goes evil and Sixth Ranger Traitor.
  • In The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Archdeacon Claude Frollo is a compassionate man in the beginning, but after seeing Esmerelda, he goes mad with Lust and slowly becomes evil, desiring to either have her for his own or kill her if she won't become his.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Londo Mollari begins the Babylon 5 Myth Arc as the human commander's closest ally, but effectively becomes The Dragon as the series progresses. In fact, he vacillates between good and evil repeatedly as the series goes on.
    • Also Talia Winters, once her (utterly psychotic) "sleeper" personality was unlocked.
    • ...and Garibaldi in season 4, due to a bad case of More Than Mind Control.
    • ...and Anna Sheridan, who could be assumed to be a good person prior to getting Shadowed.
  • The third season of Degrassi revolves entirely around Manny and Sean turning Heel, then slowly turning back to Face.
  • Half the cast of Alias. Double-agency was a big part of the premise of the show, so it is to be expected.
    • Perhaps most notable was Lauren, Vaughn's (first) wife, which was probably supposed to be a big surprise, but which everyone saw coming anyway.
    • There were several in-show Face-Heel Turns that the audience was in on before the characters were:
      • Sydney was a double-agent for the real CIA, supposedly working for SD 6, and when she revealed herself to Dixon, he saw that as a face-eel turn. He came around eventually.
      • Francie was killed and doubled, and her doppelganger worked for a season as a bad guy, and when she was revealed, Sydney would have seen it as a face-heel turn (mitigated by the fact that she wasn't really who she looked like).
      • Sydney's mother did this over and over and over. It's not a spoiler because it's a defining trait of her character, and in the end you're never really sure which side she was on.
      • Vaughn appeared to do this at the end of season 4, but then it's pretty gray as to what's happening. The show has so much of this trope that the audience expected it (or at least was hardly surprised), and then the turn was subverted because he didn't really turn evil.
  • On Lost, Michael was of the Well-Intentioned Extremist variety, as he just wanted to save Walt, his son. He felt really bad about it, but there's varying opinion over whether or not we should feel sorry for him.
    • Locke also tagged along with the Others for a while, but he didn't really switch sides (though he certainly came close to being an out and out villain during a portion of Season 4, where his leadership was borderline tyrannical.)
    • Jack in season 5 to some.
      • The "some" being irrational Jack-haters. He himself says detonating Jughead to stop the plane crash is the right thing to do because it will save hundreds of lives, but he does have more personal reasons for doing it. In no way are any of his actions "evil".
  • Gul Dukat of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine starts off as a recurring annoyance, but gradually warms up to the crew and looks like he's on the road to Badass Decay... then he realizes Good Is Dumb and stabs everyone in the back.
    • Gul Dukat was one of the more interesting 'grey' characters (along with fellow Cardassian Garak). Most of Dukat's crimes were committed way before the series started, so the fans would not automatically hate him along with Kira Nerys. It was more of case the DS9ers were warming up to him, especially when he embarked on his one-bird-of-prey crusade against the Klingons. But as soon as he is sees the chance to 'make Cardassia strong again' (i.e. get himself into a position of power again) he does indeed remind everyone that sometimes Good Is Dumb.
    • Eddington is a more straightforward example from Deep Space 9.
  • Angel, Willow and Faith of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (all three get subsequent HeelFaceTurns).
    • Angel's Face Heel Turn happened due to having what is later described as a "moment of perfect happiness" which was his night with Buffy. This activated the Curse Escape Clause which brought back his original self, the incredibly evil Angelus.
    • Angel's evil alter ego is used several times on his spinoff, to the extent that he's now Heel Face Revolving Door.
      • This is more Jekyll and Hyde with Angel, as it is stated quite clearly that the two are mutually exclusive. Angelus hates his Alter Ego and considers him weak because he won't feed from humans.
    • Willow's Face Heel Turn came about due to her going crazy after Warren accidentally killed Tara while trying to gun down Buffy. She corners and kills Warren in exceedingly cruel fashion and then goes after the others, until she eventually Jumps Off The Slippery Slope and tries to destroy the world.
      • Willow's is far more this trope than Angel as she was always the same person (albeit far, far more angry). She even says later that she remembers exactly how it felt and why she was doing it - and that it felt pretty good. Dark Willow is Normal Willow on the ultimate despairing rage power trip.
    • In the best surprise on either show, Cordelia does a face-heel turn in the middle of Season 4 of Angel, awesomely and dramatically revealed when she cuts Lila Morgan's throat.
      • That's more of a subversion, really, seeing as Cordelia herself never changed sides -- she was possessed by Jasmine at the time.
    • Giles in "The Lost Slayer" novel Bizarro World, in his vampire version.
  • Jake Straka, for some reason, near the end of The Guardian.
  • Tyr on Andromeda - though we all knew it would happen sooner or later, as Tyr was always playing his own game.
  • Every character on Charmed, at some point or other.
    • Subverted with It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World, where the entire WORLD takes a face heel turn, excluding the demons, which all take a Heel Face Turn
  • Agent Lee on NCIS appears to be The Mole, faking a relationship to gain access to a private area (of the complex, you pervs) and killing another agent to protect herself. She's actually being forced to do it by her niece's kidnappers. Naturally, Redemption Equals Death for Agent Lee.
  • Undersheriff McKeen on CSI.
  • Dr. Zack Addy, who turned out to be the serial killer's apprentice on Bones. He didn't actually kill anyone and it's more of a case of a weak will being overpowered by a strong one, but only Sweets knows that Zack prefers to be thought of as insane since he wouldn't survive prison. Regardless, his friends still love him (to the confusion of his replacements)
  • Sweet-natured Kes returns to Voyager to crumple bulkheads and anonymous ensigns in "Fury". It turns out she's angry at her former friends because...well it's never really explained. But don't worry as everything's back to normal by the end.
    • Kes was supposed to be upset over being talked into leaving all of her people and life behind to travel to the middle of nowhere with Voyager's crew, and the episode's plot was about her trying to go back in time and convince her younger self to bail while she still had the chance. Given her Ascended to A Higher Plane of Existence exit in "The Gift," it was likely a case of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • St Elsewhere's Dr. Peter White winds up being a serial rapist.
  • In the reimagined Battlestar Galactica Reimagined, Felix Gaeta leads a failed mutiny against Admiral Adama, resulting in his and Zarek's deaths.
    • Earlier on in the series, Boomer appears to have joined Cavil's side in the Cylon civil war, later helps the final Cylon escape from exploratory brain surgery and gives her lover a literal Imagine/HopeSpot then steals her "twin's" daughter only to bond with her "niece" and give her back and is finally killed by her "sister".
  • Shane Vandrell in The Shield, more than once.
  • 24 embodies this trope. Most seasons have at least one of The Mole at some point. Sometimes this turns out to be misleading, with a few Fake Defectors, but there are several infamous true face heel turns. Going back to the first season was Nina Myers, who turns into a recurring villain for two more seasons. Most recently was the even more drastic Tony Almeida, whose Heel Face Revolving Door led the audience to be surprised by the (second) revelation that he was a villain, despite the fact that this was technically common knowledge months before the season even began.
  • Allan in season 2 of the new Robin Hood, at least until his Heel Face Turn later on in the season.
  • Professional Idiot Ball handler Stuckey in the 2009 season finale of Law and Order Special Victims Unit subverting Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize. After That Yellow Bastard and Simka Graves, I for one didn't suspect the guy who'd been there since the beginning of the season.
  • Doctor Who's own 10th Doctor went a little overboard (shall we say) in the episode "The Waters of Mars" when he finally realized he was the only Time Lord left in the Universe and didn't have to follow their rules anymore. He became megalomaniacal, the "Time Lord Victorious!" until the episode's heroine corrects his mistake. By killing herself.
  • Ashes to Ashes Season 3 kicks off with the introduction of new DCI Jim Keats. He seems like an upright, intelligent guy who even Gene Hunt begrudgingly respects - mainly because Keats is allowing Hunt to operate the way he wants to operate and isn't interfering the way other IAB officers would. He repeatedly tells Alex that he wants to help her, and he knows she has a larger purpose in this world. He makes overtures to the rest of the CID gang - Chris in particular - even bringing over a bottle of champagne to celebrate their closing a case. And then, about five minutes before the end of the episode, he walks into Gene's office, closes the door, and delivers one of the most scathing denouncements of Hunt and his people we've ever heard, and vows to bring Hunt down, no matter what. Hell of an introduction. Literally as it turns out.
  • Chuck: Daniel Shaw is an all-American hero, willing to die for his country, but when he finds out thanks to the Ring that Sarah killed his wife, he joins the Ring setting on killing Sarah for revenge; this turns out to be fatal, as Chuck kills him in order to prorate Sarah.
    • Shaw does survive, though not without super-advanced medical help, and returns later on a grand plan to take over every major American intelligence agency while framing his former allies as traitors before executing them. If that wasn't enough, he gets his own Intersect and kills Chuck's dad.
  • In the 1998 Merlin series, Lord Lot and Morgan Le Fay both turn against Arthur and Merlin.
  • As of the finale of season 3 of the BBC's Merlin, Morgana has finally completely turned against Arthur, Merlin and the rest of Camelot, and, with the possible death of Morgause, is in a prime position to take over as the Big Bad of the next season. Technically she was an enemy right from the beginning of season 3, it's just that now everyone knows about her Face Heel Turn instead of just Merlin and Gaius (and Gwen later on).
    • The "face-heel-turning" actually begins that the start of Series 3 after Morgana returns to Camelot after going missing for a year and becomes The Mole for Morgause and begins doing things like killing people in cold blood and threatening Merlin who unwittingly provokes her move to the dark side by attempting to kill her (for valid reasons) at the end of Series 2. The face-heel-turning of Morgana is amplified by the fact the first two seasons spend extensive time establishing the character as sympathetic and on a few occasions heroic.
  • In the miniseries Thumb Wrestling Federation (this sorta fits here), former Dextera member Evil Ira left for the Sinistras, simply because being good while he has evil in his name was too confusing.
  • In Smallville: Oh you highlighted this. For shame!
  • In season 6 of Supernatural, the Big Bad of the season, to whom both Crowley and Eve played Disc One Final Boss, is revealed to be Castiel, who has decided that to defeat Rafael and put Heaven on the right track, anything is acceptable - in this case, taking on a million souls. The Winchester boys do their best to stop Castiel throughout the final episodes of the season, while he continues to plead for them to accept him and his reasons for evil.
  • Duncan MacLeod does this for two episodes in Highlander the Series, while he's possessed by the Dark Quickening. His good and evil sides finally battle after Methos drags him into a magical hot spring, and his goodness wins, enabling a Heel Face Turn.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • One of the biggest shockers in the 1980s was the turning of longtime face Andre the Giant, who turned on Hulk Hogan in dramatic fashion, aligning himself with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, a villainous manager of many known heels in the WWF. Heenan had not only been trying to dethrone Hogan for the past three years up to that point, he'd also sent many of his proteges after Andre over the years. Nobody saw the turn coming, and Hogan seemed as much horrified as he was stunned by it. Andre took matters further, challenging Hogan for the WWF World Championship at Wrestlemania III, and then proceeding to rip off Hogan's shirt and more importantly, his cross. Hogan, who in storylines (and apparently in real life) is a devout Christian (which denomination is unknown), was so shocked by this he actually started crying from the entire event and was so enraged by the turn that he responded to Roddy Piper asking if he would take Andre's challenge with an absolutely massive yes (one of the rare cases of a Big Yes not indicating happiness). Andre stayed heel for nearly the remainder of his career, not changing alignments again until 1990, retired around late 1990-early 1991, and died only 2 years after that.
  • The Rock established his popularity with one of these. After being introduced as a Boring Invincible Hero, his unpopularity with fans was used the rationale for him turning heel. It worked, and he won over the crowds to his side.
    • Years later, after a long run as a face, he played with this again. In 2002, despite being a Face, he was still getting booed and receiving negative reactions from the fans in some of his matches (such as the Wrestlemania X8 match against Hogan). During the Summerslam 2002 buildup, it was learned that The Rock was leaving the WWE for a while to go shoot a movie. So he returned to the WWE in 2003 as a Heel.
    • However, The Rock's natural charm couldn't be hidden by his heel-ness and he often had to try really, REALLY hard to keep fans booing him. However, the fans could tell underneath the obnoxious villain, there was still the entertaining face everybody loved. By the time his match with Goldberg happened at Backlash '03, it seemed he just stopped trying to get fans to hate him and just accepted his role as a fan favorite.
  • Countless competitors in Professional Wrestling. Often, a heel turn will stem from a face feeling as though he doesn't have the respect of the fans or his fellow faces; this is sometimes set up by having the face lose for several weeks in a row, finally lose his temper and blame the fans or other faces. Usually, the new heel will prove his heelishness with a sneak attack on a former face ally, often aided by his new heel allies. Heel turns by wrestlers who constantly switch between heel and face (Lex Luger and Paul Wight are two examples) don't have all that much impact on the fans, but when a long-term face goes heel it's a big deal. The biggest example of this would be babyface Hulk Hogan's heel turn at WCW event Bash at the Beach in 1996 after over a decade of superheroics, which shocked fans and generated mainstream attention. A wrestler who turns often enough eventually settles into "tweener" mode, where they're a face or a heel as the storyline demands.
  • By the end of WCW's life, writers were doing this with everybody whether it made sense or not, possibly hoping they could reignite the excitement of the Hogan turn with someone else. It didn't work but that didn't stop WCW from doing it every week. Fans were more confused than anything as they couldn't tell from week to week who was a face and who was a heel. By the time they pulled one with their cash cow, Goldberg of all people, fans simply stopped watching out of frustration and WCW went belly up not long after that.
  • The heel turn is also a popular way to split up a face tag team, especially when one member of the team is thought to have more potential as a singles wrestler. One of the most famous of these was when the Rockers, a pair of high-flying pretty-boy faces, appeared on Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake's talk show "The Barbershop" to air out their tensions of preceding weeks. After seeming to reconcile with a hug, Shawn Michaels proceeded to kick Marty Jannetty in the face and toss him through the (fake) glass window of the set, setting up his new persona of The Heartbreak Kid and a lifetime of superstardom.
  • Another famous tag team split occurred in the late 80's in the Jim Crockett NWA, when Lex Luger and Barry Windham were the top faces, feuding with Ric Flair's devious Four Horsemen stable. In the weeks prior to a huge tag team title match, the Horsemen constantly told Windham that Luger (who had recently left the Horsemen in a Heel Face Turn) was only out for himself and would abandon Windham when he needed him most, teasing that Luger would turn on him and join the Horsemen. In the match itself, a badly beaten Windham tried to tag his partner, but Luger had just been knocked off the ring apron by Horsemen associates, thereby "proving" that he wasn't there when he needed him, and prompting Windham to turn on Luger and join the Horsemen himself.
  • There seems to be a distressing tendency for a wrestler's Face Heel Turn to coincide with his winning a championship title. Supposedly, this is to maintain the "underdog" status of the face wrestler, and let the fans root for him against the Jerkass with the title. Sometimes the turn happens in the title match itself, if the 'underdog' wins the title through a particularly cheap method (use of foreign object, another wrestler interfering with the match, and so on).
    • Chris Jericho is a shining example of this. Jericho has never...EVER, won a World Championship as a face. However, when he was a face he played the perfect underdog - being screwed over by anyone with a shiny waist.
    • One prominent example of this would be Stone Cold Steve Austin's turn on The Rock at WrestleMania X-Seven, where he teamed up with his hated nemesis Vince McMahon due to desperation to become WWE Champ. Somewhat narmed by the Texas crowd acting as if it was a Heel Face Turn for Vince, as Stone Cold is a local hero there.
    • After winning his first WWE Championship in 1999, it took Triple H eight years to win the title as a face for the first time.
      • Triple H was the Designated Hero for the main event against Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania X8 in 2002 mostly because 1.) many fans believed he Took a Level In Badass by coming back from his infamous quad injury like a true Determinator and 2.) he was feuding with Stephanie McMahon while she was in full-on spoiled brat mode and supporting Jericho in their match. He won against Jericho and then immediately started his heel turn by picking a fight with perennial fan favorite Hogan. Once he attacked Shawn Michaels, it was complete.
    • Daniel Bryan won the World Heavyweight Championship as a plucky underdog face and gradually morphed into an arrogant, Large Ham heel loudly over-celebrating all his victories with a Big Yes chant. His heelish acts such as tricking Mark Henry into pushing him just so he didn't have to beat Big Show and using AJ as a human shield also helped behavior-wise.
    • CM Punk's heel turn in 2009 started when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Jeff Hardy. The fans were very pissed off because Hardy just won what was only his second world title and it was taken away from him. Punk started to enforce his straight-edge lifestyle on both Hardy and all of the WWE fans. He finally completed his heel turn one day when he hit Hardy in the head with a microphone and beat him up.
    • When Kane won the world title in 2010, it started a feud between him and underdog face Rey Mysterio. Eventually he confessed that he attacked the Undertaker that Memorial Day weekend, fully completing his tern.
  • Batista finally turned heel in the fall of 2009 after nearly five years of being a face. Funny thing is, WWE had attempted to turn him heel twice before, but without success. They had him betray The Undertaker in 2007, but the fans still cheered for him. Then they had him mete out some Disproportionate Retribution to Shawn Michaels in 2008, but that didn't go over, either. Finally, they had him beat the shit out of Rey Mysterio. Since Mysterio is so squeaky-clean good, the best way to turn another wrestler heel is to have him pick on the Ultimate Underdog (as was done with both Eddie and Chavo Guerrero).
    • The reason it was even more effective is that Batista and Rey were Heterosexual Life Partners...seriously, the Ho Yay was palpable. Both of them were good friends of the late Eddie Guerrero, they had each others' back for years, and both were among the top babyfaces in the company. With the heel turn, and still armed with his customary Genre Savvy, Batista was on the cusp of real magnificence. (Too bad it ended almost as soon as it had begun.)
    • Even then, Batista was still cheered at the start, thanks to the backlash stemming from Rey's suspension.
  • Play-by-play commentator Michael Cole does an odd form of this on a weekly basis. In early 2010 he's still a face on RAW, but on the debut episode of WWE NXT he lit the Internet on fire with his de facto burial of "debuting" underdog face Daniel Bryan and hasn't let up since, verbally bickering with face NXT commentator Josh Matthews who continually calls him out on acting like an establishment mouthpiece, and heel Chris Jericho has joined in mocking Cole when guest commentating. By October 2010, Cole began making the transition to being a heel on RAW as well, serving as the unctuous "mouthpiece" for the brand's mysterious General Manager, who communicates with the arena via e-mail alerts. Cole Took a Level in Jerkass in December when he cost his colleague Jerry Lawler the title against the superstar he praises over all others The Miz. He played the Dirty Coward role for all it's worth and entered the ring against Lawler at Wrestlemania XXVII. He won after the General Manager reversed the decision. Teaming with Jack Swagger, he antagonizes Lawler and Jim Ross on a weekly basis.
  • During the infamous Invasion angle, everyone representing WCW and ECW became heels regardless of prior status. In particular, Booker T went from being a highly competent champion face in WCW proper to a fairly inept heel during the Invasion who couldn't keep his title unless guys like Steve Austin and Shane McMahon got involved.
    • The one exception at that event was Rob Van Dam. As one of the ECW invaders, he behaved like a Dirty Coward in his Ladder Match with Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore Championship but got cheered anyway - and won!
    • On the other side, all WWF superstars were supposed to be faces. They forgot why X-Pac has his own trope and he was booed in his match with Kidman. He quickly blamed the fans and so at Summerslam every match was WWF vs. Alliance except his.


Religion/Mythology[edit | hide]

  • In Roman legend, Tarpeia was a Vestal virgin and the daughter of gatekeeper Spurius Tarpeius. She offered to open the gates of Rome to the invading Sabine forces in exchange for "what they bore on their left arms"—meaning their golden bracelets. However, she was Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves when the Sabines gave her what they also bore on their left arms: their shields, which they used to crush her to death before hurling her off a cliff onto what became known as Tarpeian Rock.
  • In Christianity and Islam, Lucifer was an Angel who led a revolution against God – in some versions he wanted to take God's place, in other he refused to acknowledge humans as God's beloved creations, among numerous other reasons - and was, together with all other rebel Angels, sent to hell, where they all become demons. Which makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.
    • Islam's story is actually slightly different. Satan was never an angel, but a Djinn near God. He did fall because of his pride, and not acknowledging that humans now were in a higher position with the God than the used to be (OK, that part is similar). He did not challenge God himself, but His influence on mankind, saying he'll sway the humanity to corruption, and will show humans are no better. And finally he will not become a demon, he'll just be sentenced to eternity in Hell.
  • The Bible has lots of examples of this. There's Adam and Eve at the Fall. Noah, the nice guy who herded animals into his ark to save them, gets hung over and curses his grandson. The once-wise Solomon becomes corrupt. A more controversial example would be to allege Heel Face Turns and/or Face Heel Turns by God himself.
    • Then there's what may be the most infamous example of all: Judas. Although there's been some debating from historians and archaologists, speculating that Judas and Jesus had arranged for his betrayal so that Jesus could carry out his plan.
    • But then, Judas is said to have died rather gruesomely at the beginning of Acts (the "sequel" to the four Gospels) which would imply either God wasn't in on the plan, or that He simply made a serious dick move.
      • Why do people blame God for Judas's actions? Also, Judas is recorded as commiting suicide in at least one of the gospels. Acts just restates the event. I'm pretty sure there was no plan. Prophecy, yes. Plan, no.
  • Loki, the trickster God of Norse Mythology, had one which has been re-written tons of times in order to make him more villainous. Originally, Loki was a harmless trikster and best friends with Thor and Odin, often going with them on adventures. He caused some trouble (sometimes on purpose, sometimes completely unintentionally), but more or less would fix everything in the end, usually with something bad happening to himself and the other gods getting a gift (such as, when he cut off Sif's hair, Thor and Odin ended up with their future signiture weapons amonst other treats while he ended up with his mouth stitched close, or the time he agreed to letting a man use his horse to help work on building a wall which nearly meant the Gods had to pay him for it, and ended up with Odin's multi-legged horse and him being raped by a stallion and giving birth to said multilegged horse), but always ment well. Then, they didn't invite him to mead, and began talking about him behind his back. Loki got mad and invited himself, and began insulting the others in their faces, until Thor arrived as he was insulting Sif, and in retaliation for nonstop insulting Thor, Loki was bound naked to some boulders with the entrails of his own son while a snake dripped venom into his eyes, driving Loki insane. When Loki gets free, he will orchestrate Ragnarok in retaliation, leading the the death of all life in existance.
    • Ironically, during Loki's barge of insults included a faulse claim of being responsible for Baldr's death, leading to later versions to make that the reason for his punishment. Its a sore spot for many Norse Mythology fans.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Crovax and Ertai of the Weatherlight crew in Magic: The Gathering.
    • Crovax and Ertai turned in two completely different ways. Crovax did so through a vampiric curse triggered through his own slaying of his Guardian Angel, Selenia, and completed the turn by killing Mirri and assuming the Rathi evincar-ship in Volrath's absence. Ertai, meanwhile, was systematically broken during the Nemesis storyline, becoming fully under Crovax's sway on the realization that his crewmates had abandoned him to his fate.
    • Urza dedicated himself to fighting against the forces of Phyrexia and spent millenia taking steps to defeat them. Once he actually found himself in Phyrexia however, the Mad Scientist in him couldn't help but admire the sheer genius of its design. He eventually turned on his fellow planeswalkers and pledged himself to Yawgmoth because he couldn't bear to destroy a plane that embodied everything he had sought.
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill has this as its main mechanic: the players start out exploring the haunted mansion together, but once the Haunt is triggered, one of them turns Traitor and tries to complete their evil mission before the others can stop them or escape.
  • A major part of the backstory of Warhammer 40000 is Horus's fall to Chaos, which tears the Imperium of Mankind apart. A rather more minor part of the backstory is the Face Heel Turn of the Eldar Phoenix Lord Ahra. With The Corruption a constant threat in the game universe, Face Heel Turns are a constant threat to all the greyer factions.
  • Antipaladins in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
    • And for that matter, Blackguards, the prestige class the Antipaladin is based upon from Dungeons and Dragons 3E and 3.5. In particular, the worst kind of Blackguard, and by far the most powerful and feared, is one who was once a paladin. A fallen paladin who becomes a Blackguard gains extra abilities, and the more levels of paladin they had, the more powerful they become as Blackguards, and if a particularly high-level paladin goes bad this way, he or she can trade in ten levels of their former paladin class to become a fully-powered Blackguard with all abilities, as well as extra abilities based on how many levels of paladin they have left after the Face Heel Turn.
  • Asmodeus in the various Dungeons and Dragons settings is generally recognized as having started as a force for good before becoming He Who Fights Monsters, appropriate considering he's the single straightest analogue for Satan in D&D. On the other hand, having a Multiple Choice Past and all, a few origin stories state that not only was he always evil, he is in fact one of the original, primal forces of evil from the beginning of the universe.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Arguably Elphaba from Wicked fits this trope, after having everything she tries spectacularly backfire on her, and having everyone she loves die all around her, she snaps during the song 'No Good Deed' dedicating herself to a lifetime of evil. Almost immediately subverted when she is shown to be just very, very pissed off, but not actually evil a mere song later.
  • In the back story of Euripides' Hecuba, Achilles, hero of The Iliad, defected to Troy after falling in love with Trojan princess Polyxena. And then his would-be brother-in-law Paris shot him in his Achilles' Heel at the wedding, and everything went pear-shaped for the Trojans.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • EVERYONE in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne.
  • The supposed Face Heel Turn of Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas in Wing Commander III didn't work for many fans of that series who have only played the PC version (the console versions used bigger CDs than computers of the time, and could thus fit the explanation cutscene into the game; the Novelization also covers the explanation). In this case, he was an (unwitting) mole.
  • Sorbet in Magical Starsign fakes one as part of an elaborate plan to trick the Big Bad, and it's so convincing that even your party falls for it...unfortunately, you waltz in just as her plan is about to come to fruition.
    • Fortunately, it wasn't the best thought out plan anyway...
  • Ghaleon in Lunar: The Silver Star.
  • The player's wingman Solo-Wing Pixy does this in Ace Combat Zero after witnessing the horrors of war, including the enemy dropping seven nuclear bombs on their own soil.
  • Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII goes through a particularly malignant Face Heel Turn in the main character Cloud's flashback...the awesomeness of which also made him the ultimate Draco in Leather Pants character.
    • The PSP game Crisis Core (where you play as Zack, the guy Cloud absorbed the personality of) portrays this moment at the end. You even get to see Sephiroth before he went batshit. There's quite a few of the villains that do a Heel Face Turn.
  • Seifer in Final Fantasy VIII goes through a much more low-key version of this as well.
  • Kain from Final Fantasy IV, partly because of brainwashing, but also partly because of his envy for his best friends Cecil, who was the boyfriend of the girl he had a crush on.
  • Hardain and his cronies from Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.
    • Alvis from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of Holy War though he never was part of your party.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation and Super Robot Wars Alpha Ingram Prisken, leader of the SRX team and Ryusei's mentor, reveals halfway through the game that he is an alien spy who was trying to strengthen the earthlings so they would make better weapons for the Balmar. He afterwards becomes That One Boss.
  • Jerry Ying from the John Woo game Stranglehold, who starts out as Tequila's partner and ally inside Wong's Dragon Claw syndicate, only to go native during the Chicago History Museum stage and carry out Wong's orders to kill Tequila and Billie, Wong's own daughter. Tequila survives, but Billie isn't so lucky, setting up a furious showdown between partners as Tequila seeks vengeance for Billie.
  • Everybody in Warcraft. The only creatures who were evil from the start are the Old Gods of Azeroth and some of their servants. Everybody else started good and was corrupted by some means.
    • Sargeras by fighting a bit too much demons.
    • The Eredar and the Orcs started out as peaceful Magitek and shamanistic races, respectively, but were corrupted by promises of power.
    • Arthas in Warcraft III falls to due to to Lich King's Evil Plan.
    • Vincent Godfrey is interesting in the fact that he Face Heel Turns twice without ever commiting a Heel Face Turn. When you first start the Worgen starting experience he's a loyal Gilnean citizen and is seemingly important in helping cure your character of the Worgen curse. He then Face Heel Turns against you when he finds out that King Greymane is a Worgen and attempts to ransom him to the Forsaken until rescued by the player character. After killing himself, he is risen as a Forsaken and helps the Forsaken players in helping fight Gilnean Rebels in Pyrewood Village before he the betrays the Forsaken and sets up shop in Shadowfang Keep.
  • Beat in The World Ends With You does a Face Heel Turn and the opposite.
    • Technically, Joshua also had a Face Heel Turn, but he was that way from the beginning; he was just acting.
  • Baten Kaitos has a fantastic example in the first game, where the main character, Kalas pulls a Face Heel Turn. He later pulls a Heel Face Turn, though.
  • Sialeeds in Suikoden V.
  • The Boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Snake Eater, who switches from United States allegiances to the Soviet Union. It turns out that The Boss was really doing this to help the United States regain The Philosopher's Legacy. Naked Snake kills her, taking her position as Big Boss, only afterwards learning the truth.
  • Judith Mossman from Half-Life 2. She Does it so much you'll have whiplash by the final level.
  • Riku from Kingdom Hearts was, unknown to his best friend Sora, gradually making the Face Heel Turn, desperate to save Kairi through whatever means possible. He ends up going a similar way as Kain from Final Fantasy IV, complete with a return to the good side and a My God, What Have I Done?.
  • Mario plays the antagonist in Donkey Kong Junior.
  • The player character and his Five-Man Band in Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance becomes the Five-Bad Band in the Black Knight expansion.
  • Sigma from Mega Man X was originally the leader of the Maverick Hunters before he caught (and soon after became) The Virus from Zero and decided to go evil and declare war against mankind. Zero, in turn, does a Heel Face Turn, caused by said virus transfer via a punch to the forehead.
  • Colonel from Mega Man Battle Network was previously the Navi of the leader of a team that aimed to purge Nebula from the Net before doing a Face Heel Turn.
  • In Hero Senki Gilliam Yeager, the Ally with the most powerful unit at the start of the game is the final boss. He becomes The Atoner after he jumps universes though
  • It's stated that Gol and Maia from the original Jak and Daxter were good once, but exposure to Dark Eco caused a faceheel before the beginning of the game.
  • Bastila in Knights of the Old Republic. Can also happen to anyone you have a high influence with in the sequel, if you're going dark.
  • Arguably, both Kreia and Atris in Knights of the Old Republic II. Yes, both were already Grade-A bitchy, but neither was definitively evil until the end of the game.
    • The Jedi Masters could easily be interpreted as this.
  • In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Faize pulls a big one. He doesn't just become a villain, he becomes the final boss.
  • Gradius ReBirth retcons Venom into an example of this—he starts off as James's CO, but becomes a heel after you complete the game's third loop. He goes on to become the Big Bad of Nemesis 2 and 3, two lesser-known installments released on the MSX over 20 years before.
  • Kazuya from Tekken. He was originally a Ryu-esque cookie-cutter hero but eventually let the devil consume him and became (arguable) one of the bad guys. By the beginning of the sixth game, he had plans for world domination.
    • And there's also Jin, The Hero for about three games, then at the beginning of the sixth game, takes over the mega corporation and uses it to start World War III and try to Take Over the World, which prompts Kazuya to speed up his plan for world domination.
      • To be fair though, it's heavilly implied that Jin is doing this just so that he can kill off his own bloodline by any means necessary, bringing both Kazuya and Heihachi out for him to fight up front. Though no one is aware of Lars, Heihachi's illegitimate son. Though quite villainous and menacing still, this does make Jin more of an Anti-Hero.
    • The entire Mishima Zaibatsu, by 'Tekken 6, are caught in an endless Heel Face Revolving Door. It would be boring to watch this over and over again, and the more interesting characters seem on the periphery by now, but alas, Namco takes the position that Elites Are More Glamorous.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, Neeshka, Sand and Qara will betray you at the end of the game if their influence is too low. And if you manage to keep Sand, Qara will automatically betray you and vice versa.
    • And Bishop does so even earlier. He never was much of a Face to begin with.
  • How have we missed Aribeth de Tylmarande thus far? Bastila was Aribeth dropped into an alternate setting and given a more active role in the story, after all.
  • In the backstory for Star FOX 64, Pigma Dengar betrayed James McCloud to Andross. Later in the series, Andross's grandson Dash Bowman undergoes one of these in two alternate endings for Star Fox: Command.
  • In a rare example of the player doing this, the original Streets of Rage has, near the end of Round 8, Mr. X asking you if you want to join him. In a 2-player game, if one player answers "yes" while the other answers "no," they will fight to the death, with the winner being asked again if they want to join. If the winner says no, and defeats Mr. X, the winner gets an alternate ending in which he or she becomes the new syndicate leader.
  • Common in the Grand Theft Auto seriesm, though considering you are usually playing a Villain Protagonist it's usually more a case of Heel Heel Turn.
  • Soul Calibur: someone is doing one of these every five minutes. We have Siegfried, who did a Face to Heel (before the series even started) to Face to Heel to Face to Well-Intentioned Extremist Heel. Then there's Yun-Seong, who isn't all the way there yet, but he's getting there. Raphael, who did a Face Heel turn from 2 to 3, and did a Heel/Worse Heel turn from 3 to 4. Sophitia has done this in 4: arguably she has a good reason, but as she has been infused with the power of Soul Edge, there's nothing saying that she might not like this state of affairs later on.
  • At the end of the Fallout 3 dlc Operation: Anchorage, an Outcast defender named Sibley gets disgusted that his superior is sharing the spoils with a "local" (you) and attempts to kill him unless you stop him.
    • Also, in the main game, Anna Holt is the one who tells the enclave about the project purity activation code, after she's captured, and later shows up as a scientist working for them in their base. Oddly enough, you still get bad karma for killing her.
  • In the Halo series, your buddy friend, 343 Guilty Spark does this on two occasions. In the first Halo, he helps you to activate the ring until Cortana stops him, saying that doing so will kill everyone. 343 Guilty Spark sees this as breaking protocol and then tries to kill you. This also happens in Halo 3, where you go to destroy the ark. 343 starts going off at you again and then kills Seargent Johnson. You quickly kill 343 Guilty Spark with Johnson's spartan laser.
  • Possible in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows if you choose to let the Symbiote have its way. In the end of an all villain story, Spider-Man becomes the emperor of the Symbiotes and rules over New York City.
  • In Guild Wars, Vizier Khilbron, who appears about halfway through the Prophecies campaign, provides indispensable assistance to the players on several occasions in fighting the White Mantle and their Mursaat allies, and turns out to be the Big Bad who has been manipulating the player all along to set up the proper conditions for his Titans to assault Tyria so he can take it over.
    • The leaders of the White Mantle, and basically the entire White Mantle as a whole. The Bonus Mission Pack shows White Mantle founder Saul D'Alessio as a pretty swell guy, fearlessly defending his homeland from the Charr in an epic battle with help from the Mursaat. What did he get for his trouble? The Mursaat kidnap him and take him away forever as payment for their help. The remaining survivors, who felt understandably betrayed and ripped off, decided fighting for justice isn't all it's cracked up to be, and instead started a campaign to take over Kryta and secure absolute power for themselves.
    • Shiro Tagachi. Granted he was manipulated into becoming corrupt and evil, but it's strongly implied that he used to be quite a fearsome defender of the innocent in his younger days.
    • Torin, a rather unimportant Ascalon Guardsman in the beginning of the Prophecies campaign, becomes a bandit after the apocalyptic Searing event. A quest directs you to find him and his bandit comrades outside Fort Ranik and kill him. The reason for his face heel turn is never explained. Then again, he was the minor-est of minor characters to begin with, so it's probably not important to the storyline.
    • More Ascalon Guards turn heel after the Searing: Footman Tate and Footman Quinn stole a priceless artifact from a temple and ran off with it. Their reasons are never explained, though it's probably simple greed. A quest has you hunting down the traitors. Footman Tate surrenders after a short dialogue, but Footman Quinn is hiding far from any civilized settlement and will attack you on sight without a word.
    • Markis, the Shining Blade councilman from Prophecies. He initially appears as a high ranking Shining Blade officer with the group's best interests at heart. After a few conspicuous absences, it's later revealed that he's a White Mantle infiltrator. Late in the campaign, he taunts you about Saidra's death and your stupidity at falling for his ruse. It ends with the player's group getting a very well-deserved Roaring Rampage of Revenge on him.
    • Elonbel from the Nightfall campaign. A local guardsman on Istan who cuts a deal with a local bandit group. When the player discovers his treason, he sides with the bandits and you're forced to kill them all. He's actually pretty tough, being a relatively high level enemy in a starting area of the game.
  • In the wii flight game Innocent Aces Orishima does this after a mock battle with the player because she had so much fun that she wanted a rematch.
  • Something similar to Sophitia above happened in Blaz Blue: Continuum Shift. By the end of the series, Litchi Faye-Ling is forced to join the bad guys' side, since the bad guys kept the lover she's been trying to cure (Arakune) as a hostage and they had the cure she badly wanted, and she has to join if she wants both the cure and that lover. Throughout the series, she's usually one of the genuinely good characters.
  • Jan Kurtas/Medusa in Odium was a victim of Viral Transformation that turned him into a monster, but - unlike all other townspeople - he did not become an insane killing machine. Unless you blunder into the (entirely avoidable) scripted sequence where he finally succumbs and attacks you. (You can get an Optional Party Member as a replacement afterwards.)
  • Nathan Hale in Resistance 2 in the ending. Though only briefly.
  • Nie R has two examples.
    • First, the Twins, Popola and Devola are initially major allies in Nier's quest, but late in the game turn out to be two of the story's central villains.
    • Secondly, In the path to endings C and D (which is only possible by obtaining every weapon on a New Game+), Kaine's Shade half takes full control over her, turning her into the Final Boss.
  • Dan Stewart in the N64 game Winback: Combat Operations.
  • No one mentioned perhaps the most famous example? Double Dragon, in which Billy and Jimmy fight side-by-side through everything to rescue the girl, only to find that Jimmy is indeed the Big Bad
  • Wheatley, after the core transfer with GLaDOS in Portal 2. In fact, the audio files for these lines have "heel turn" in their names.
  • In the Web Game The Colour Tuesday, Paige tries to seize the guitar of Alex's disappeared brother when she tries to claim it.
  • In Night Trap...you, in the perfect ending. If you are so inclined.
    • You don't even go that fair. Just let one of the Martins escape during the final sequence and kick back and watch the fun. You get the same ending either way.
  • Septerra Core. Selina, when she saw Doskias almost getting killed by one of the good guys. Actually, she goes back and forth a few times throughout the game.
  • Marty "Monk" Malone is a loyal Corleone enforcer and a good friend of the protagonist in the video game adaptation of The Godfather. When his sister is murdered late in the game to get at the protagonist, Monk becomes embittered and eventually turns traitor, forcing the player to kill him.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon has this seemingly innocent line, if it wasn't for its dissonantly gleeful delivery:

Your partner: "The world of darkness is going to be wonderful.

  • Clyde in Vigilante 8 goes from a member of the Vigilantes opposing OMAR and their thugs to the CEO of OMAR who stole a time machine to kill his former leader and ensure the submission of the US in the sequel thanks to finding Houston's mind control bracelets in a service station bathroom.
  • Quox, The Dragon of The Tower of Druaga, was an ally of Ki in The Quest of Ki who turned evil after Druaga split the Blue Crystal Rod.
  • Almalexia did this at some point prior to the Tribunal expansion to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, due in large part to loss of access to the Heart of Lorkhan.
  • Both Dr Sorkin and Yoder turned on the team for their selfishness in episode 4 of Jurassic Park: The Game.
  • Both Jaesa Wilsaam and Nomen Karr in The Old Republic did this the first to join you and the second to kill you...3 times
  • In FHBG, the Sneakers got bored.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • White Mage from Eight Bit Theater. It didn't take.
  • Dr. Schlock from Sluggy Freelance, though he'd been straddling the fence for quite some time, anyway.
  • Otra appears to be doing this in Girly, shown here.
  • Panther in Dead of Summer does this in a very scary scene, first by tearing out Dr Light's eyes and killing him, then by declaring Doug Fetterman will be the new leader.
  • Sebastian Jalek in True Villains does this in the first Saga. He tries to not regret it.
  • In Zebra Girl, Sandra turns evil after being dragged into hell by Professor Broadshoulders. She's having fun now.
  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, Dr. McNinja is having trouble battling the evil Frans Rayner, because all the McNinja clones (long story) are triggering Conservation of Ninjutsu. So the Genre Savvy doctor does the only thing he can -- team up with Frans and start taking the clones out himself. Yes, Face Heel Turn as a fighting tactic. The clones were going to die either way, and Doc would have died with them if he hadn't changed sides. Besides, he went back to Face when there were no more clones, because Conservation of Ninjutsu was no longer in effect (and Rainer would have killed him had he stood quiet).
  • Eridan from Homestuck does this after deciding that the fight against Jack Noir is completely hopeless and as the "Prince of Hope" he believes he is the most qualified to determine if all hope is lost. He figures the only chance for survival is to pledge his loyalty to Jack. He then proceeds to K.O. Sollux, kill Feferi, and finally kill Kanaya (while destroying the key to restoring the Trollian race) when they try to stop him before he escapes.
    • And then, not long after, Gamzee runs out of sopor slime pies and becomes sane, which causes him to remember his destiny as a murderous Subjugglator. Later on however Karkat delivers a Cooldown Hug that manages to calm him and return him back to the way he was.
  • Ellen of El Goonish Shive shortly after her creation. Fortunately Dan scrapped the idea of her staying evil.
  • In To Prevent World Peace, Kendra's future would have involved becoming a Dark Magical Girl. She decides to prevent this by choosing a Face Heel Turn instead. This was not precisely what the future-seer intended when she warned Kendra about it . . .


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In The Gamers Alliance, Abel makes this very clear by adapting the name Cain once he's turned to the dark side. The heroes are oblivious to his new, treacherous nature and think he's only acting emo because of his embarrassing encounter with a lustful mage earlier in the story. Refan and Ronove also make a Face Heel Turn later on when they side with demons.
  • Corey from Three in The Afternoon does this not once, but twice, taking full advantage of his more idealistic friends the second time around.
  • Julia van Helden does this in Kate Modern in response all the traumatic experiences she suffers while helping the K-Team, and out of misplaced love for a villain.
  • In Associated Space, Nazar actually defeats Fatebane, captures him, and brings him to the villain. However, when he doesn't get paid, he decides to break the hero out, inadvertently joining Fatebane's side.
  • Reynold, of Homestar Runner's Show Within a Show The Cheat Commandos, recently went over to work for the evil forces of Blue Laser. All things considered, it was surprisingly plausible.
  • Any time a previous non-player starts to actively participate in the 'game' in Survival of the Fittest. As you might imagine, this tends to happen a lot.
  • Agent Washington of Red vs. Blue.
  • Ephram from Dead Ends does this when most of his family is killed by zombies and Eddie's stray gunshot.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Metalocalypse, when Toki gets fed up with always being the child friendly one and then starts burning the lair with a flamethrower.
  • Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender does a beautiful Face Heel Turn in the season 2 finale. Actually, he does a Face Heel Turn, then a Heel Face Turn, then another Face Heel Turn, then a few somersaults, ending with another Heel Face Turn. Say that three times fast. His first Face Heel Turn came when he was 13. An innocent, adorable boy gets his face almost burned off by his loving father. After this, he hunts Aang ruthlessly for his "honor." His second, and most exemplary Face Heel Turn, came at the finale. After starting fresh in Ba Sing Se, Zuko has to choose between his honor and his Uncle. After a blatant "I Hate You" speech, he attacks Aang and returns home a hero, at least until his final Heel Face Turn.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door had an agent, Numbuh 274, who had appeared in a couple Season 1 and Season 2 episodes become a villain from Season 3 onwards after turning 13. However, it turned out that he'd been working for the good side all along in the penultimate episode of the show.
    • The 4th grade class president also began as a heroic character but, after the KND works to ensure his safe election, it's revealed that he's actually their enemy. The exact nature of his Face Heel Turn is something of a mystery: while his blank eyes, Creepy Monotone and Father's Evil Laughter during his Face Heel Turn implies that he'd been brainwashed, later episodes establish him as not only a perfectly willing heel, but one whose agenda has little connection to Father.
  • Raimundo in the season one finale of Xiaolin Showdown. Shortly into season two, he reverses it and returns to his friends, but not without suffering some consequences and trust issues.
    • Omi undergoes an involuntary turn after coming back from the yin/yang dimension, leaving his good side behind.
  • Elyon Brown in WITCH.
  • Dinobot in the Transformers: Beast Wars episode "Maximal No More." He does a Heel Face Turn back at the end, though, upon realizing that just because everything's going according to Megatron's plans doesn't mean that Megatron isn't a dangerous madman.
    • Blackarachnia in Transformers Animated pulls her Face Heel Turn during the (mainly) flashback episode "Along Came A Spider." We discover that when they were in the Autobot Academy, Elita-1, Sentinel, and Optimus went to an organic planet, even though it was forbidden, and they encountered giant spiders. Escaping from the spiders, Elita used her download power to borrow Optimus's grapplers, but ran out of time, falling into a pit full of the spiders when Optimus failed to catch her with his other grappler. She attempted to use her download power on the spiders, but, the spiders being organic, it turned her into a mutated part-organic, part-mechanical Transformer with one of the spiders as her alt-mode. The new signal type made her impossible for Optimus to pick up on his radar, and led him and Sentinel to believe Elita was dead, and Blackarachnia to believe they abandoned her, and she joined the Decepticons.
    • Why hasn't anyone mentioned Wheeljack from Transformers Armada? He has one after believing that Hot Shot abandoned him and turns Decepticon.
    • Back to Beast Wars, there is also Rhinox/Tankor in the sequel show Beast Machines.
  • Tai Lung of Kung Fu Panda.
  • In Kim Possible The Dragon Shego used to be a superhero before becoming a villain. Various other characters have short, often for a single episode heel turns, including Ron at least twice.
  • Professor Hamilton, a longtime Superman supporter, as seen in Superman: The Animated Series, turns against him in Justice League Unlimited
  • In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Gene Khan does this in spectacular fashion during the second half of the season finale. Given that the writers had spent the entire first season making this character friends with the hero, humanizing him and integrating him into the True Companions, this is actually fairly stunning, especially given that this show loves sympathetic villains being redeemed the way it does.
    • One could argue Gene made his original turn at the start of the series, when he threw down his stepfather and took the role of Mandarin for himself. Outing himself to his friends after they out themselves as Team Ironman just sealed the deal.
  • Jojo does this in a rather epic fashion in The Powerpuff Girls movie, in what also counts as a Crowning Moment of Awesome: "The hobo formerly known as Jojo is no more! From this day on, I shall be known as... MOJO Jojo!" Then again, he was Evil All Along, so this might not count.
  • Gibbs from Adult Swim's Titan Maximum. His heel face turn in the first episode generates the conflict for the rest of the series. Unfortunately, it seems that he's perhaps the only character with any shred of competence.
  • A fictional pro wrestling example. In one episode of Futurama, Bender becomes a popular robot wrestler named Bender the Offender. After his popularity fades, management turns him into the Gender Bender.
  • Hanna-Barbera's Muttley Captain Ersatz as well as Columbo Expy Mumbly was made a bad guy in Laff-A-Lympics and Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose because they didn't have all the rights to Wacky Races at the time and couldn't be bothered to create a new character.
  • In the second TMNT series, the real Oroku Saki was originally one of a group of warriors that defeated a powerful demon. However Saki absorbed the power and became the Tengu Shredder.
  • Parodied in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy when, after a misunderstanding caused the other kids to beat up Captain Melonhead (Jonny) and Splinter the Wonder Wood (Plank), they face heal turned into The Gourd and Timber the Dark Shard to get revenge on the cul-de-sac. Too bad the movie was over.
  • Barnacle Boy in SpongeBob SquarePants, however it's only for one episode over the fact he wasn't allowed to have an adult-sized Krabby Patty.
    • Mr. Krabs is a more permanent example, but YMMV.
  • Princess Luna's descent into Nightmare Moon
  • Winx Club: Riven in season one, Bloom(via Mind Control) in season two, and Layla/Aisha in season four.
  • Aqualad/Kaldur'ahm in season two of Young Justice, after he becomes embittered at his former friends for letting Tula die during a mission gone wrong and his own mentor, Aquaman, for hiding the truth about his real, supervillain father, Black Manta. Kaldur ends up joining him.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Captain Argyus, Slick, Pong Krell.