Villains Need Love Too: Part One and Star Wars

December 13, 2017 | Writing

Rant: Coupons. I clip coupons. What gets me is when I have to purchase two or three of an item to get my $1.00 off. Really? I’m a single person and buying extra means it stands a great chance of spoiling before I eat it.

Since it’s Star Wars week, month, I’ve written this blog with the movie in mind and heart. Part Two, next week, I’ve taken Christopher Vogler’s, Hero’s Journey, and flipped the script. It’s going to be the Antagonist’s Journey.

I love antagonists. I love writing them, following their downfall or redemption in movies and books. I want to know what makes them the way they are and why they’re so determined to destroy the protagonist. Is it for love, money, power, fame? What motivates them? How far will the hero/heroine go to defeat the bad guy?

Villain, antagonist by any other name is still the same. The character who opposes your protagonist. I’m going to call them, Andy (male) or Andi (female). Andy(i) is my favorite character to mold. They’re dark, and damnable. Their purpose is to provide motivation for the protagonist. Push, shove them out of their ordinary life and off to battle a person, event, or even themselves. Make them grow from the experience, find a solution, take a chance on love.

So what about Andy(i)? What is their motivation? Why are they so eager to spread discord, attempt to kill your protagonist, rule the world. They aren’t dumb. They’re the smartest person in the room – according to themselves. And they just might be. Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty, Harry Potter and Voldemort, Ripley and the Alien, Thor and Loki, Thor and his sister, Hela, Batman and The Joker (Heath Ledger to be specific), my ex-roommate. They are yin and yang. You can’t have one or an interesting read without the other.

Let’s look at Darth Vader or as he was known when he didn’t have replaceable parts, Anakin Skywalker. Anakin’s future was foretold when he was young, to bring balance to the force. But also, as Yoda pointed out, he could destroy it as well. Which could be interpreted as destroying the established order to create a new better order. Obi-Wan trained him. Palpatin took over won Anakin’s soul and everlasting allegiance and turned him to the dark side using his greatest fear – Padame’s death. As Pamala Kinney, a Facebook friend, pointed out Palpatin was truly evil. Not a redeemable bone in his mutilated body. So we root for him to die. It takes one more film for that to happen. I won’t spoil how and who does it.

As for his young apprentice, Vader takes his role serious kill without conscience, wipe out any opponent to the plan to bring order to the galaxy – their vision. Luke Skywalker comes of age, seeks adventure, learns his father was a Jedi and wants to be just like him. He finally gets the opportunity to battle Vader and what’s his reward? His hand cut off and delivered the absolute worse news a hero wants to hear. “Luke I am your father.” Vader then doubles down, if Luke joins him they can rule the galaxy as father and son, and defeat the Emperor. I would have demanded a paternity test. But wait, isn’t this same spiel Anakin gave Padame? When Obi-Wan confronted Anakin they engaged in a verbal battle on the definition of good. Obi can’t convince Anakin he’s on the wrong side, and Anakin believes Obi-Wan is wrong and if he can’t convince his mentor well, he’ll just have to kill him. Obi-Wan stops short of killing Anakin. He does destroy half of Anakin’s body. Palpatine’s arrives and saving and rebuilding Anakin only cements their father-son relationship.

Luke decides there is still good in his father and will save him. The dark moment as defined in Vogler now motivates a change in the mission. Still defeat the Empire, but Luke won’t kill his father. He senses good. I’d have gone for the kill.

So is there a redemption possibility for Kylo Ren? If I were writing Star Wars Episode Nine, he’s dead.

When writing Resurrection I used the Hero’s Journey to create my Andy. First I needed his backstory. Richard Jensen from the outside looks like a great guy. He’s handsome, rich, owns his own business, is respected, charming, and has the boy next door act down. But underneath he’s damaged goods. All his life he’s been bullied by his arrogant, emotionally abusive, skirt-chasing father. He wants to be better than his father, he wants to prove to everyone how powerful he is, and has the knowledge to make the world a better place. According to how he views the world, witches and non-witches both. He’s going to have it all and the love of a woman equal to himself.

Richard chooses my protagonist, Sophia Sullivan, as the only woman who fits his strict standards. Problem is she’s in love with someone else. What’s a great guy to do? He joins forces with a powerful evil to destroy her family, kill her boyfriend, and take over Chicago. Because….. he knows all those things are wrong for her. She needs to see the big picture from his point of view. If he isolates her from everything she ‘thinks’ she loves and values, then she’ll love him and they’ll live happily ever after in his kingdom.

Okay, okay, Sophia’s not totally naive as to Richard’s antics but she finds it difficult to believe the man who has been a close male friend for years and whose shoulders she leaned on when her brother died is up to nefarious behavior and she’s being manipulated. She sees the good in him, until it’s almost too late. Will she join him? Kill him? And just how angry will she be when she figures it all out?

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