The Rise of the Villain When the Main Character Steals the Show in 2023

In the world of storytelling, heroes are often placed on a pedestal. They are the ones who bring justice to the world, defeat evil, and save lives. However, what happens when the main character is the villain 23 is not the hero, but instead the villain? In 2023, we have seen a rise in the popularity of stories where the antagonist takes center stage and becomes the star of the show.

The Appeal of the Villain Protagonist

Why are audiences suddenly drawn to villains as protagonists? One reason could be that the traditional hero narrative has become overdone and predictable. Audiences want something new, and having a villain as the protagonist provides a fresh perspective on the story.

Another reason could be that villains are often complex characters with interesting motivations and backstories. By making them the main character is the villain 23, writers have the opportunity to delve deeper into their psyche and explore what makes them tick. This, in turn, allows audiences to understand why they do what they do, even if they don’t agree with their actions.

Examples of Villain Protagonists in 2023

One of the most notable examples of a villain protagonist in 2023 is the hit television series “The Main Character is the Villain 23.” The show follows the life of a notorious criminal mastermind named John Smith, who is determined to take over the city’s criminal underworld. Despite his heinous acts, audiences are drawn to Smith’s charm and intelligence. He is not a one-dimensional villain, but rather a multi-faceted character with a troubled past.

Another example of a villain protagonist in 2023 is the novel “Darkness Unleashed.” The book tells the story of a powerful sorcerer who seeks to conquer the world by unleashing an ancient evil force. While the protagonist’s actions are undeniably evil, readers are still able to empathize with his motivations and understand why he feels the need to take such extreme measures.

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The Evolution of Villain Protagonists in Popular Culture

While the concept of a villain protagonist is not a new one, it has certainly evolved over time. In the past, villains were often portrayed as purely evil characters with no redeeming qualities. However, as audiences have become more sophisticated, writers have had to adapt and create more complex characters.

One early example of a more sympathetic villain is the character of Darth Vader from the original “Star Wars” trilogy. While he is initially portrayed as a merciless villain, audiences later learn that he was once a Jedi Knight who fell to the dark side due to personal tragedy. This added depth to the character and made him more relatable.

In recent years, there have been several examples of villain protagonists in popular culture. One notable example is the main character is the villain 23 in the television series “Breaking Bad.” Walter White starts out as a sympathetic character who turns to a life of crime in order to provide for his family. However, as the series progresses, he becomes more and more ruthless, blurring the line between hero and villain.

The Importance of Sympathy in a Villain Protagonist

If a writer wants their audience to root for a villain protagonist, they need to create a character that audiences can sympathize with. Even if the character’s actions are terrible, there needs to be some sort of emotional connection between the audience and the character.

One way to do this is by giving the character a tragic backstory or motivation. For example, if the character is seeking revenge for a past wrong, audiences may be more willing to forgive their actions. Another way is by giving the character some sort of likable trait. Perhaps they have a sense of humor or show compassion towards others in certain situations.

The Potential Pitfalls of a Villain Protagonist

While having a villain protagonist can be an exciting and refreshing change of pace, it also comes with its own set of challenges. For one, audiences may not be willing to root for a character that they perceive as irredeemable. If the protagonist’s actions are too heinous, audiences may tune out completely.

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Another potential pitfall is that the writer may unintentionally glorify the character’s actions. This could be especially dangerous in cases where the villain protagonist commits violent or criminal acts. Writers need to be careful to show the consequences of the character’s actions and not make them seem heroic.


1. Are villain protagonists becoming more popular in fiction?

Yes! In recent years, there has been a rise in the popularity of stories featuring villain protagonists. Audiences seem to be drawn to complex characters with interesting motivations, even if their actions are not always noble.

2. How do writers make audiences sympathize with villain protagonists?

Writers often give villain protagonists sympathetic backstories or motivations to help audiences understand why theyare doing what they are doing. They may also give them some likable traits to make the character more relatable.

3. What are some potential pitfalls of using a villain protagonist?

One potential pitfall is that audiences may not be willing to root for a character they perceive as irredeemable. Another is that the writer may unintentionally glorify the character’s actions, especially if they commit violent or criminal acts.

4. Can a villain protagonist be successful in any genre?

Yes! While the concept may work better in certain genres like thrillers or horror, there is no reason why a villain protagonist could not be successful in any genre.

5. Is it possible for a villain protagonist to have a happy ending?

It is possible for a villain protagonist to have a satisfying ending, but whether it is happy or not depends on the story and the audience’s perspective. If the character is truly irredeemable, a happy ending may not be appropriate.


The rise of the villain protagonist in 2023 is a testament to the evolution of storytelling and the changing tastes of audiences. By giving villains the starring role, writers have the opportunity to explore complex characters and provide fresh perspectives on age-old narratives. However, creating a successful villain protagonist requires careful consideration and skillful writing. As long as writers can create compelling characters with sympathetic qualities, villain protagonists will continue to captivate audiences for years to come.