The Villain Redeemed? Fairytale Origin Stories

The villains of fairytales have been being re-examined a lot as of late.    We get films from Disney like Maleficent and Cruella that give us a back story of the villains of their classic films.   I personally love to see the story from the perspective of the villain.   Many have complained that giving a villain redeeming qualities goes against what they should represent.

However, I have a different opinion.   I feel that giving villains redeeming qualities let’s us see how the villain came to be.   It also reminds us that all of us have the ability to become a villain if the circumstances are right!   At the end of the day it is largely our histories that determine how we look at the world, and villains are the figures who did not get saved, or who had more tragedy than most.

Maleficent only became the dark faery who would be willing to curse and innocent baby after she was betrayed by Stefan.   It was a horrible fate of being hurt that led her down a dark path.   She ended up growing to love Aurora as a daughter, and it is her motherly kiss that broke the curse!   In her second film we see her as the mother of the bride trying to fit in with her future in-laws.    We also get a look at the origins of the Dark Fae, which is really fun and interesting.    The battle scenes are incredible, and help bring humans and faeries together!

Cruella only truly became a villain when she realized the truth of her own origins.    Her mother was killed, and it turned out that was not her birth mother!    It was through that epic shock that made her come into her own.    She relished in her own villainy because of feeling abandoned and betrayed in equal measure!

Seeing complex origins and real reasons for a villain to become such is one way in which we can begin to identify why someone is how they are.   In this way I truly enjoy watching the origin films, and believe that it is a good thing that we see multiple viewpoints of common tales!    I hope you have enjoyed this short analysis of why I love villain origins.   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil poster.   I found the image on

Further Watching

  • Maleficent (2014)
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)
  • Cruella (2021)