Introduce the Villain’s Power Right Away

Every story needs a villain. Sometimes there’s just a series of villains the hero must overcome but sometimes there’s a single villain who drives the entire story from start to finish. Whenever you introduce a villain, always introduce their power and foreshadow their defeat.

In “Terminator 2,” the single villain is the liquid metal Terminator. The first time we see this liquid metal Terminator, we don’t know whether he’s good or bad or what he can do. As soon as the liquid metal Terminator clashes with the hero (the original Terminator) do we learn who’s good and who’s bad, and also the capabilities of the liquid metal Terminator.

In the following clip, notice that this is the first time we get to see what the liquid metal Terminator can do. He can absorb shotgun blasts and reform himself back into the complete shape of a person. This lets us see his power and also foreshadows how he’ll be defeated in the end by getting shot with a shotgun that pushes him back to the edge of a balcony above a vat of molten steel.

The introduction of the liquid metal Terminator scene foreshadows its defeat, which you can see in this ending scene. By watching these two scenes back to back, you can easily see how the introduction scene foreshadows the ending scene.

Now watch this scene from “Crazy Rich Asians” to show another villain who happens to be an extremely rich woman, but we don’t know that at first. The villain arrives with her family at a luxury hotel in London but is denied her reservation by a racist hotel clerk and manager. To get revenge, this woman simply calls her husband and buys the entire hotel so she can stay there after all, thereby defeating the hotel clerk and manager.

In this case, the villain actually appears sympathetic because she’s being unfairly discriminated against. Yet we get to see her tremendous power of great wealth that lets her get her way, which will later make her seemingly unstoppable against the hero who is nothing more than an economics professor. Because this villain is used to getting her way, this foreshadows her eventual defeat when the hero proves to her in the end that the hero can be just as devious when they play mahjong.

In the mahjong game, the hero lets the villain win, but then reveals that if she had chosen to, she could have won earlier. The hero tells the villain that if the villain gets her way, it will be because of the hero’s actions in letting her win. This makes the villain realize that the hero is not only smart, but willing to sacrifice her own happiness for the good of others. That’s when the villain realizes that the hero is a worthy person and has actually triumphed in the end.

When introducing your villain, let us know their power because that will make them seemingly unstoppable against the hero. But also foreshadow their weakness that will eventually be used against them to defeat them. By introducing your villain’s power and flaws as soon as possible, we’ll know what the hero is up against and wait until the very end until we find out what happens.

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