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Redpack007

What i should do with my Villain?

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I'm writing a story, and in it I need to finish the villain, like I don't want him to die, but for him in prison it would be very simple, like, "We've been through this whole adventure and he's just going to get arrested?" or would it look good? I also think about holding it in an alternative dimension, but that people could come in with some device or something, but it couldn't get out, then I couldn't think of anything and I want to see which option is better or what you guys think I should do. 🤔

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Depends entirely on context. What genre the story is, what age range the target audience is, what the villain is precisely guilty of, who the heroes are that presumably have him at their mercy...

Don't feel you have to kill him, but it may be the most natural thing for the heroes to do in that situation. It may also not.

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There are a number of ways to deal with a villain at the end of a story's climax; however you choose to do so should fit the villain, the conflict(s) you've created between them and the other characters, and the tone/messages you're trying to set.

It sounds like you want to permanently dispose of your main villain without having them be killed. In that case, there is an old but versatile trope called "the Fate Worse than Death". Here's a really good video about it that goes into its various strengths and weaknesses; you decide if you want to use it or something else:

 

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The genre is adventure, kinda like the Classic Dragon Ball, the age range is from 14 year olds onwards, and yeah i want to permanetly dispose my villain, but without killing him, i'm gonna check the video, but i still want suggestions.

Edited by Redpack007

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1 hour ago, Redpack007 said:

The genre is adventure, kinda like the Classic Dragon Ball, the age range is from 14 year olds onwards, and yeah i want to permanetly dispose my villain, but without killing him, i'm gonna check the video, but i still want suggestions.

You could put him into a situation that's left up to interpretation by the reader. Like... and this is just an example... if you threw them off of a cliff into the ocean, it leaves it up to the reader to determine whether or not he died from the fall of survived the plunge. If you ever make a sequel and change your mind about your villain and want to bring him back, you can easily do so. 

If not, it at least allows the reader some imaginative freedom in how the villain leaves the story. That way, it's never outright stated or implied that the villain dies, but rather that his fate is unknown.

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49 minutes ago, indigoasis said:

You could put him into a situation that's left up to interpretation by the reader. Like... and this is just an example... if you threw them off of a cliff into the ocean, it leaves it up to the reader to determine whether or not he died from the fall of survived the plunge. If you ever make a sequel and change your mind about your villain and want to bring him back, you can easily do so. 

If not, it at least allows the reader some imaginative freedom in how the villain leaves the story. That way, it's never outright stated or implied that the villain dies, but rather that his fate is unknown.

The one problem I would see with that is that popular media has gotten to the point where if you do something like that; anything where a character says/could say, "We didn't find the body" afterwards, most audiences will interpret it as, "The villain's alive and will return in a sequel" without any ambiguity, as that's what happens 99% of the time, and it's to the point where readers might go so far as to criticize him if the villain doesn't return.

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31 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

The one problem I would see with that is that popular media has gotten to the point where if you do something like that; anything where a character says/could say, "We didn't find the body" afterwards, most audiences will interpret it as, "The villain's alive and will return in a sequel" without any ambiguity, as that's what happens 99% of the time, and it's to the point where readers might go so far as to criticize him if the villain doesn't return.

Hmm, okay... I guess that's a fair point.

Ok, new idea: put the villain in a coma. He's defeated, but alive. 

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20 hours ago, Redpack007 said:

The genre is adventure, kinda like the Classic Dragon Ball, the age range is from 14 year olds onwards, and yeah i want to permanently dispose my villain, but without killing him, i'm gonna check the video, but i still want suggestions.

Okay; so that's the genre. …What about the villain? What defines them in terms of who they are?

A lot of interesting ways to dispose of a villain are ones that target the core of who they are as a villain; essentially disposing of them in a way that shatters their worldview and/or driving motivation, or has that driving motivation bring about their undoing; here's just a few examples to illustrate what I mean (spoilers ahead for Avatar: the Last Airbender, season 2 of Castlevania, and Aladdin).

Spoiler

Most A:TLA villains went out this way:

Zhao's overambition and dream of being in the history books leads him to kill the Moon Spirit to ensure the conquest of the northern water tribe, only for him and his fleet to be destroyed by the Ocean Spirit's retaliation, and for Zhao to pretty much be forgotten by the world.

Long Feng manipulated his way to power, only for he himself to be manipulated by Azula and forced to bow down to her.

Azula had a mindset that she needed to use fear and intimidation to keep everyone around her, that she was superior to others (especially Zuko) because her dad saw her as superior to others for being a firebending prodigy. When her friends betray her and her father callously discards her so he doesn't have to share the spotlight when his ambitions are realized, she snaps. By the time Zuko and Katara defeat her, she is a broken mess.

Ozai believes in his superiority as the leader of the Fire Nation and one of the strongest firebenders, to the point where he outright declares in front of the avatar that he (Ozai) has "all the power in the world", only for the avatar to take away his bending and for the son that he abused and banished to take the throne, end the war, and throw Ozai in a cell.

Spoiler

Dracula fights his son Alucard and unwittingly brings the fight into Alucard's childhood bedroom. When he realizes it, he realizes that he's killing his own son: his late wife's "greatest gift to [him]", as a result of his own quest for vengeance against humanity for his wife's death, and he realizes that he truly must be dead inside, so he lets Alucard finish him off.

Spoiler

Jafar, who seeks all the power in the world, is tricked by Aladdin into wishing to be a genie and then getting trapped inside his own lamp.

 

If not that, then another thing you could do is instead focus on the hero and their conflict with the villain for figuring out how to dispose of the villain: maybe the villain makes his debut by doing something to the hero and their ultimate defeat intentionally mirrors what they had done to the hero, or maybe the villain is defeated in such a way that the hero is just left somber about what happened; there are a lot of ways to do this that all depend on what kind of hero and what kind of villain you have. Here are some examples (spoilers for Mission Impossible 5, the Hidan & Kakazu arc of Naruto Shippuden, and season 1 of One-Punch Man).

Spoiler

In Mission Impossible 5, the villain debuts by trapping the protagonist in a glass box and filling it with poison gas while shooting an agent in front of the protagonist. The climax of the film has the villain be lured into a glass box while the protagonist and his team fill it with knockout gas.

Spoiler

In the Hidan & Kakazu arc of Naruto Shippuden, the literally-unkillable villain Hidan kills Shikimaru's mentor, Asuma, with Shikimaru being the character that gets the most focus in this particular arc. Shikimaru uses the fact that Hidan can't put himself back together if any part of him is severed by having Hidan be blown to pieces, putting those pieces in a ditch, and then filling in the ditch.

Spoiler

In One-Punch Man, the protagonist Saitama is bored out of his mind due to just how absurdly powerful he is and how every foe he meets can be beaten in a single punch by him. In the last arc of season 1, the planet is invaded by aliens led by Lord Boros: a galactic conqueror is in a similar boat as Saitama: desperately craving a good fight and an alleviation from his boredom, and upon seeing Saitama, he believes he has found his worthy opponent. Indeed he has, and Boros is defeated in one of the most visually-spectacular fights ever put on TV. Boros is glad that he finally got the fight of his life, but when Saitama says that it was hard-fought for him as well, Boros realizes that Saitama is lying: Saitama was holding back to give Boros the fight he himself so desperately craves, and while Boros was by far the most powerful opponent Saitama had faced (enough that Saitama actually stuck around afterwards and bothers to remember him), it wasn't enough, and all Saitama can do is walk away with a sad look on his face, as the day he finally gets a worthy opponent may never come.

 

Basically, what I'm trying to say with both of these is that, for any hero vs villain conflict, there is always both a surface-level physical conflict of the hero needing to stop the bad guy and a deeper personal conflict that's about who the hero and villain are and their motivations, character arcs, and/or personal dilemmas (and to be clear, the villain could have nothing to do with what the hero is going through personally; just so long as there is a personal struggle that's affecting their conflict; I'm trying to be as general as possible when describing this), and how the villain is ultimately disposed of is a resolution to that surface-level conflict, but it should also be a resolution to that personal conflict in some way, whether it's the villain's personal conflict, the hero's, or both.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, if you want to figure out how to dispose of your villain without killing them, then you should start by thinking about your hero, your villain, and what's driving them, and that should hopefully lead to you figuring out the most fitting way to dispose of the villain.

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35 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

In the Hidan & Kakazu arc of Naruto Shippuden, the literally-unkillable villain Hidan kills Shikimaru's mentor, Asuma, with Shikimaru being the character that gets the most focus in this particular arc. Shikimaru uses the fact that Hidan can't put himself back together if any part of him is severed by having Hidan be blown to pieces, putting those pieces in a ditch, and then filling in the ditch.

Technically speaking Hidan can still die due to malnutrition and starvation as said so by Kishimoto himself. 
 

as for the topic at hand it depends on what ideas you want to explore as well as How those things relate to the world and narrative as a whole. To once again use Naruto as an example. A lot of Naruto villains are defeated through the hypocrisy of their own ideals. Naruto coming to understand his opponents through battle and pointing out their hypocrisy afterward to make them realize their wrongdoings and change for the better. Or in the case of a lot of Sasuke’s opponents are killed not by him but their own contradictions. Haku killed by Kakashi as a tool to Zabuza, Orochimaru absorbed by Sasuke in an attempt to prevent his own stagnation at the hands of the next generation, Deidara dying in a suicide explosion forcing the world to recognize him only to be forgotten and unrecognized by anyone, etc. the way a villain is defeated should echo the themes of the narrative as a whole. 
 

Think about the message you’re trying to tell with this story and how your hero and villain are supposed to echo those ideas. A fight should be more than just an exchange of blows until one guy falls over. They should be stories in it of themselves that echo the themes of the narrative as a whole.

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51 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

Technically speaking Hidan can still die due to malnutrition and starvation as said so by Kishimoto himself. 

as for the topic at hand it depends on what ideas you want to explore as well as How those things relate to the world and narrative as a whole. To once again use Naruto as an example. A lot of Naruto villains are defeated through the hypocrisy of their own ideals. Naruto coming to understand his opponents through battle and pointing out their hypocrisy afterward to make them realize their wrongdoings and change for the better. Or in the case of a lot of Sasuke’s opponents are killed not by him but their own contradictions. Haku killed by Kakashi as a tool to Zabuza, Orochimaru absorbed by Sasuke in an attempt to prevent his own stagnation at the hands of the next generation, Deidara dying in a suicide explosion forcing the world to recognize him only to be forgotten and unrecognized by anyone, etc. the way a villain is defeated should echo the themes of the narrative as a whole. 

Think about the message you’re trying to tell with this story and how your hero and villain are supposed to echo those ideas. A fight should be more than just an exchange of blows until one guy falls over. They should be stories in it of themselves that echo the themes of the narrative as a whole.

I am aware of that; that's the reason I specifically said "unkillable", which is how he is referred to in the show by Kakazu (a man who does not believe in immortality) and only means he can't be directly killed, not that he can't die.

I agree with your point to a large extent; I personally would just phrase it more in terms of the characters than in terms of the themes/messages simply because I feel that doing so provides a broader definition can cover a lot more stories; hence why I looked at each example I gave in terms of the characters involved.

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