There’s a great novel by John Gardner called Grendel. And if you know anything about the story of Beowulf, then you can probably guess that it tells the “villain’s” side of the story. This is very much like the book and Broadway play, Wicked, which tells the story of the “wicked” witch of the West (she’s named Elphaba Thropp, by the way). In this way, we get to see how the “antagonist” is not so much an antagonist at all, but rather, a truly misunderstood character.
With Ratched on Netflix, we finally get to see everybody’s favorite evil nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest walk the line between both good and evil. But this made me wonder: What if Die Hard’s Hans Gruber had his own show? Was he always a bad guy before he took over the Nakatomi Plaza, or did he just turn out that way? I just gotta know.
Because I love when the bad guys get even more fleshed out in backstory. I mean, let’s face it, the villains are often the most interesting characters in a story just because of their moral ambiguities. And so for this list, I want to speculate on what some of the most famous villains of all time would look like if they got their own a Netflix show. Yippie Ki-yay, cowboy.
Hans Gruber – Die Hard
German-born member of the Volksfrei, Hans Gruber (played by the late, great Alan Rickman) is a criminal mastermind. He and his team are looking to steal $640 million in bearer bonds once they get through the safe at the Nakatomi Plaza. Everything goes swimmingly until they get the attention of one Officer John McClane. One cat and mouse game, and a funny fall later, and that’s the end of our favorite bad guy. Happy trails, Hans.
I imagine a show would go into Hans’ younger years with his brother, Simon, who we meet in Die Hard with a Vengeance. The story could go into how Hans rose in the ranks and actually acquired the terrorists who would later go on with him to the Nakatomi Plaza. But I think it would be interesting to see a young man who is just learning how to be a leader, and all the trouble he gets into with his brother. I see it as almost a buddy-cop show, but with two bad guys trying to one up each other. The lighter the tone, the better.
Anton Chigurh – No Country For Old Men
For hitman, Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardem), life is one big coin toss. He’s been hired to pick up $2.4 million in drug money, but it’s taken by a welder named Lleweyn Moss (played by Josh Brolin). Anton tracks him down, does what he has to do, and gets the money back. But he ends up in a nasty car accident, sustaining a brutal injury, and lives to limp it off, walking off into the unknown like a ghost.
I’d love to see how Anton got to be so heartless and dead inside. How did he come to believe that life is worth less than a coin toss? And why a bolt stunner for a weapon? Did he work in an abattoir at a young age? Is that what scarred him? I just have to know, and a show could really broaden his personality, leading him up to 1980 when the film actually takes place.
O-Ren Iishi – Kill Bill: Vol 1
O-Ren Ishii, oh what a species. Played by Lucy Liu, O-Ren Iishi (a.k.a. Cottonmouth) is the current leader of the Yakuza and former member of Bill’s Deadly Viper Assassination Squad. She led the Crazy 88 with an iron fist, but died at the end of a blade wielded by “the Bride” (Played by Uma Thurman).
We actually see a great deal of O-Ren Iishi’s backstory in the movie, as it’s shown in a badass anime. But I want to know more about her upbringing on an American military base in Japan, and what happened after the death of her family and her murder of the man who killed them. The show could mostly go into her missions, and how she eventually met up with Bill. Was she hunting him down, and then he offered her a proposition? Who’s to say, but it would be cool to find out.
Regina George – Mean Girls
Regina George (played by Rachel McAdams) is the “queen bee” of North Shore High School and the leader of the Plastics, which is only the hottest, and most in-demand clique in the entire school. She develops a friendship with Cady (Played by Lindsay Lohan) because she thinks she’s pretty and could potentially be competition, only to turn on her when Cady wants to date her ex. But Cady gets the upper hand since Regina has been a mean girl for pretty much her entire life. In the end, she gets hit by a bus! But she survives, of course. Because she’s a mean girl. She’s not evil.
A Regina George show might actually be more interesting as a sequel rather than a prequel. It would be pretty cool to see if Regina can actually change and maybe mature as a person. Or (which is more likely), if she would form her own adult clique in college or run a business as a CEO. Either or would be interesting, but the latter would be the most likely.
Alex DeLarge – A Clockwork Orange
Now this entry might be a malenky bit different. Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, which is somewhat based off of the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess, is about a young man (played by Malcolm McDowell) who likes to drink spiked milk and engage in the ‘ol ultraviolence. He brutally rapes a woman and gets framed by his fellow droogs, where he’s arrested and forced to endure treatments that will make him ill if he thinks about engaging in violence. But it works a little too well, and he winds up defenestrating himself. The government has to change him back to his old ways because having former patients jump out of windows is a bad look.
I could go either forward or backward with this one. I would love to see the world Alex DeLarge grew up in as a child and what pushes him to be such a violent sociopath. But I would also love to see a series on Alex DeLarge coping with his misdeeds now that he understands everything he’s done. In the book, he grows out of his violence, but the ending of the movie is quite different, so I’d be interested to see which way a show would steer it if it ever came to be. Call it Alex.
Those are just five potential villains that could have interesting series made about their lives on Netflix. I considered other characters like Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York or Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction, but these 5 were the best of the best. Which villain do you think would make for an ideal show on Netflix? Sound off in the comments section below.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.