Sometimes, You Just Need a Good Villain…

Going from studio villains from earlier this week to the villains writers concoct for studios, I stumbled across this article by Tom Smyth for Vox about villians in Disney films… or the recent lack thereof.

I have to admit, villains are very much on my mind of late as I try and and finish writing season 3 of my space opera, Rogue Tyger. The season includes the introduction of a “big bad” villain only hinted at in the first two seasons… and while it is space opera where villains can twirl mustaches with the best of them, “big bads” are often understated with quiet menace borne from accrued power. Besides, I have a psychotic anger-driven villain in the same season. And then I have the villain who’s not a villain so much as a circumstance.

Disney films of late have gone that more abstract, with family dynamics, especially between generations, playing a big role. We recently saw the latest Pixar film Elemental in the theater and while you can point out antagonists and struggles, there isn’t, say, an evil vizier or brother scheming for the throne. Meanwhile, as Disney continues to raid its animation legacy for live-action film fodder, this year’s remake of The Little Mermaid preserves one of the iconic Disney villains, Ursula.

(I will always have a soft spot for Pat Carroll, perhaps because I and other DC denizens got to see her be brilliant on stage).

As mentioned in the article above, the use, and utility, of villains is explored and it’s made me think of what I want out of the villains, both recurring and serial-only in the series. Whether the embodiment of mayhem or an artfully constructed set of circumstances that isn’t a bad guy per se, I think audiences still want that satisfying payoff seeing the protagonist struggle and transform.

So, back to writing it is…

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