Why are villain origin stories so popular nowadays?


Although you may not root for them, you can’t deny that villains are essential to the superhero genre. If the protagonists are going to save the day, they need someone to fight against and ultimately defeat. However, while the villains might be the bad guys, they’re not always evil merely because they want to be. Usually, their origin stories reveal a good reason for why they’ve gone down such a dark path, and they’re more popular now than ever before.

They help us cope

Superheroes may not be real, but it’s hard not to relate the turmoil in their worlds to the kind of stuff going on in real life. There are a lot of dark things happening around us all the time, and it’s enough to make life feel bleak and hopeless. However, thanks to all this superhero content, we’re able to understand why that is.

When you see a villain’s origin story, you start to understand why they behave the way they do. Instead of just being the embodiment of pure evil, you realize they’re a being with a tragic past. Suddenly, they’re not quite as terrifying anymore. Being able to translate that from the screen to the real world makes all the conflict around us a little less frightening. It’s not much, but it’s what people need right now.

They’re compelling and memorable

Superhero movies and shows are more popular now than they’ve ever been. There’s an increasing need to pump out new content quickly, leaving us with a lot of heroes and villains to get our heads around. It can be difficult trying to keep track of them all which is why origin stories matter so much.

This is the time when writers and filmmakers can be incredibly creative with their work. A villain is nothing without a good backstory because it makes them original and memorable. With the superhero genre now heavily saturated, all these creators have to work hard to make their characters stand out from the crowd. The end result is heaps of exceptional content that audiences can’t wait to watch.

It fills in the blanks

There’s a lot that can be said about the psychology of villains and why their backgrounds are so impactful on an audience. However, another reason why origin stories are incredibly popular nowadays is simply that more people are interested in the genre.

There’s been a massive jump in audience numbers recently, with millions of people now fans of franchises they wouldn’t have looked twice at before. Movies like The Avengers are filled with enough action, drama, and plot twists to please almost anyone, so it’s no wonder they’re some of the biggest hits at the box office. Of course, all these new viewers need to know what they’ve missed out on, and origin stories are usually a great way to help them catch up.

Even villains need to be relatable to an audience in some way. That’s why origin stories matter so much. Without them, the character’s are just evil for evil’s sake, and where’s the fun in that?