Villain redemption arcs can be heartwarming and unexpected or they can feel forced and cliché. It all depends on how you write them. If you're looking for unique ideas about how to redeem your favourite villain, check out these prompts!
A villain’s adolescent son/daughter follows their footsteps, going down a dark path. The villain is heartbroken to see their child living a life of hatred, so they question their own action, and the example they’re setting.
A parent who once failed to protect their child is driven down a dark path by their grief. They’re a criminal, perhaps. When their gang recruits a very young member, they have a second chance to protect a child.
(This one’s goofy) A necromancer feels bad that their power is so dark. They felt forced into a life of villainy. One day they realise that if they apply their power creatively, they’re basically just a very spooky healer. Life threatening wound? Finish the job and resurrect them!
As their dying curse, a witch curses a killer to be haunted by the voices of their victims. To silence each voice, the killer must complete a task to lay each victim to rest (e.g. convey a message to their lover, etc.)
A villain sees a world in which one small aspect of their life was different, and they were regarded as a hero.
A villain used to be a hero, but their trials sent them down a twisted path. They lay waste to kingdoms, levelling armies, until one day they come face to face with their old mentor. Instead of shame, the mentor meets them with empathy.
A villain discovers a testimony or journal of one of their victims. Driven by guilt, they try to right the wrongs they've committed.
The villain is visited by the spirit of a former ally they betrayed and backstabbed. The former ally is shocked by how the villain's life turned out. They vow to haunt the villain until they redeem themselves.
A supervillain or magic villain has the power of absorbing other people's powers. They accidentally steal the power of emotional telepathy...essentially empathy. They're now able to feel other people's emotions. This makes it hard to continue being a villain.