Jason Statham made his debut in the Fast and Furious franchise with the sixth film, Furious 7, as the antagonist Deckard Shaw. He wants to take revenge for the incapacitation of his brother, Owen Shaw, in the previous film, Fast & Furious 6. His target was Dominic Toretto, Brian O'Conner and team, having already killed their friend Han in the post-credit scene of Fast & Furious 6. During the entire narrative of Furious 7, Shaw torments Dom and co, gets Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) injured and has a great one-on-one fight with Toretto, before he is defeated and jailed.
And then, suddenly in the next film, Deckard Shaw is a nice guy. After a brief fight with an incarcerated Hobbs in jail, they become friends and Shaw even rescues Dom's baby in an exciting mid-air fight sequence. And suddenly, the heroes forget Shaw had killed their dear friend. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Movie Review: Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham Give the Finger to Physics in This Slick, Entertaining Action-Comedy.
And now Deckard Shaw returns as one of the two main leads in the Fast & Furious spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw. Giving him company is his previous foe and now bickering frenemy, Luke Hobbs. Dom and team are nowhere in sight, though.
Well, Deckard Shaw is not the first character to suddenly turn positive as a movie franchise advances. And he will certainly not be the last. In this feature, we look at 9 such characters whose black/grey shades were ditched owing to the popularity they had over the fans.
The Scorpion King
Franchise: The Mummy
As a Villain: When his wrestling career was on a high, Dwayne Johnson made his theatrical debut with a small role of The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns. Near the climax of the film, we see The Scorpion King in a monstrous scorpion-like form looking to kill anyone who awakened it from its slumber, before our hero Rick O'Connell dispatches him for good.
As a Hero: As The Rock earned more popularity as a star, the franchise had a spin-off/prequel based on his character where he was more of a heroic warrior. The Scorpion King had sequels too, but The Rock never returned for them.
Franchise: Harry Potter
As a Villain: Not exactly a villain, Severus Snape, played by the late Alan Rickman, was more of a douchebag, trying different ways to put Harry Potter down, or even get him expelled from Hogwarts. In the sixth film, we even see him kill Professor Dumbledore and join Voldemort's Death Eaters.
As a Hero: In the first book/movie itself, it was revealed that Snape had saved Harry Potter from getting killed by Quirrell. But Snape remained as a tormentor to HP till the seventh book/eighth movie, The Deathly Hallows. Here's when we realised that Snape was a hero in his own way, who had loved Harry's mother all his life and wanted to protect her son. Even the Dumbledore murder was planned between the two to fool Lord Voldemort, with Dumbledore already dying from a curse. Harry Potter Turns 39 Years Old: 15 Amazing Details About the Boy Wizard and His Friends That You Probably Didn’t Notice in the Movies!
Franchise: Marvel Cinematic Universe
As a Villain: Loki (Tom Hiddleston) started off as a villain in the first Thor film, being the hero's envious, scheming adopted brother. He was so great in his deception games, that he was also made the main antagonist the first Avengers movie too. Sure, Loki was merely acting as a minion for Thanos, but there was no justifying for him killing, as Black Widow puts it, '80 people in two days'. Also the murder of Agent Coulson.
As a Hero: The change began with Thor: The Dark World, where Loki helped Thor in avenging the death of his mother. Towards the end, though, Loki tricks his brother into thinking he died so that he can usurp the Asgardian throne. The streak of grey continues in Thor: Ragnarok as well, though towards the end of the film, Loki turns out to help Thor in fighting Hela and saving the surviving Asgardians. Sadly, he gets killed in the first act of Avengers: Infinity War trying to trick Thanos to save Thor. Started off as a villain, died a hero!
As a Villain: The first Terminator movie had Arnold Schwarzenegger turn up as a murderous cyborg, sent by Skynet from the future to murder the mother of human resistance leader, John Connor, before he was conceived. The potential victim, Sarah Connor, along with her saviour from the future and lover, Kyle Reese, manage to dispatch him off at the end of the film.
As a Hero: By the time the sequel came out, Arnold was a bonafide action star. So James Cameron turned him into a hero in the future sequels fighting far more vicious cyborgs and saving the day.
Magneto and Mystique
As a Villain: The first X-Men trilogy had Magneto (Ian Mackellan) lead the evil Brotherhood of Mutants, with Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) as his loyal associate. They were on the bad side till the end of that trilogy, briefly making them join hands with the good X-Men in X2 to fight a common foe.
As a Hero: The prequel series, First Class, doesn't make them bonafide villains, instead, allowing these characters to walk the thin line of grey. While Magneto, played by Michael Fassbender, continues to (to the point of being boring predictable) shuffle between good and bad in nearly every movie, Mystique suddenly becomes a completely good character at the end of Days of Future Past. Maybe it has more to do with Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence playing the role, as the star's popularity began to overshadow the complexities of the character.
Franchise: Star Wars
As a Villain: Considered as one of the biggest villains of all time, of not the BIGGEST, Darth Vader was a terrifying presence in the first two OG Star Wars movies. Not only was he a terrific dueller in light-sabre fights, but his force-choke is also equally dangerous.
As a Hero: The second film, Empire Strikes Back, ended with the revelation that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father. This gave us a hint of how things would go in the next instalment, Return of the Jedi. In the climax of that movie, Darth Vader saves Luke from getting killed by Emperor Palpatine and gets fatally injured in the process. And of course, redeeming himself in the process. Though, we would rather prefer bad Vader over a good one (remember those awful prequels). Just see how badass he was in the final scene of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Franchise: Guardians of the Galaxy
As a Villain: In the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Yondu (Michael Rooker) was more of an anti-hero, who had kidnapped Star-Lord aka Peter Quill as a kid and always used to threaten him with murder. He wanted the Power Stone for himself for which he does help the Guardians in their fight against Ronan the Accuser, only for Star-Lord to fool him with a fake.
As a Hero: In the sequel, we find out why Yondu doesn't deliver Peter Quill to his father, as was originally arranged. It was to save his life, even though it meant Yondu was debarred from the Ravagers faction (who looks down upon illegal kids smuggling). Towards the end, Yondu sacrifices his life to save Quill and making him realise, Yondu was his true father after all.
Franchise: The Hangover series
As a Villain: In the first Hangover film, Leslie Chow, played by Community star Ken Jeong, was this annoying gangster who was accidentally kidnapped by the heroes during their drunken phase. He tormented the trio for this misdemeanour and also makes them think he kidnapped their fourth friend.
As a Hero: The protagonists befriend Leslie in the sequel, and thus thawing any icy vibes between them. Though he continues to cause them trouble in his own irksome ways.
Franchise: Jurassic Park
As a Villain: The raptors were the most feared creatures in the original Jurassic Park trilogy. They were depicted as these smart but vicious hunters who live upto the horror element of the franchise.
As a Hero: The reboot/sequel, Jurassic World, try to portray them as unlikely anti-heroes like the T-Rex. The raptors, along with T-Rex, also help in taking down the big villain, Indominus Rex. The surviving raptor, Blue, also plays the hero in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and his bonding with protagonist Owen Grady offers some emotional moments.