National Villain Day

A sneering man in a suit, standing on a red carpet, smirk turned up to 11, with a backdrop of an evil lair..
National villain day illustration

Roll out the black carpet and dust off your favourite menacing laugh because we're diving into the unique, somewhat obscure, and oh-so-dastardly National Villain Day! Yes, you read that right! A day dedicated to the accolades of the ones we love to hate.

When is Villain Day?

It's national villain day on the 29th April.

Origins of National Villain Day

What a day this is! National Villain Day - a special time to revel in the mischief and mayhem caused by our favourite bad guys and gals. With 6 recorded mentions online, its popularity exploded on April 29, 2016, a day that will forever be remembered as villainous victory round the globe.

Why We Celebrate Villains?

While average joes may raise eyebrows, the die-hard fans know that villains play a crucial part in our beloved stories. Often, they're the dark horse driving the protagonist's journey, adding the necessary drama, intrigue and conflict, transforming a humdrum story into a thrilling roller-coaster ride. Who can imagine Batman without Joker or Harry Potter without He Who Must Not Be Named?

Celebration Ideas

Now that you are, hopefully, quite eager about the bad guys, here are some celebration ideas. Host a villain-themed party, encouraging guests to dress as their favourite villain, or binge-watch movies where villains stole the show.

Villains with a Cult Following

From cinema to literature and even in real-life narratives, we've seen villains who've garnered a massive following through their charisma and ingenious, albeit nefarious, schemes. Characters like the Joker, Darth Vader, and Lord Voldemort have earned a special place because they've challenged, intrigued, and sometimes, even drawn empathy from us.

History behind the term 'Villain'

14th century

The Birth of the Term

The term 'villain' originated in the 14th century, stemming from the Old French word 'vilain,' which meant a common person or peasant. During this time, the term was primarily used to describe individuals belonging to the lower social classes, often associated with poverty and lack of education. It did not carry the negative connotation we attribute to the word today.

14th century

The Rise of Old French

During the 14th century, the term 'villain' originated from the Old French word 'vilain'. It was a word used to describe a person who lived and worked on a feudal estate or village. In this context, 'vilain' referred to a commoner or a person of low social status.

16th century

Evolution of Meaning

During the 16th century, the meaning of 'villain' started to shift. It began to refer to a person of low moral character or someone who committed crimes or acted wickedly. The term expanded beyond its original association with social status and took on a more negative and pejorative connotation.

16th century

The Shifting Meaning

By the 16th century, the term 'villain' started to evolve and took on a negative connotation. It began to refer to a person who was wicked, malicious, or morally corrupt. This shift in meaning was influenced by literary works such as plays and literature that portrayed villains as antagonists or evil characters.

18th century

Villain in Theater

During the 18th century, the term 'villain' became especially prominent in the realm of theater. Villains often played crucial roles in dramatic productions, captivating audiences with their intrigues, deceptions, and malevolent acts. This further solidified the association between 'villain' and evil characters.

19th century

Villains on the Stage

In the 19th century, the portrayal of villains became increasingly prevalent in popular literature and theater. Villains often performed exaggerated and malicious acts, engaging audiences with their sinister nature. This period saw the rise of iconic literary villains, such as Moriarty in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, solidifying the enduring image of a villain.

20th century

Villains in Cinema

With the advent of cinema, the villain continued to captivate audiences. Throughout the 20th century, film villains like Dracula, Darth Vader, and the Wicked Witch of the West became cultural icons, leaving a lasting impact on popular culture. Villains evolved into more complex characters, sometimes even gaining sympathy or an anti-hero status.

19th century

Villain in Literature

In the 19th century, villains became recurring figures in popular literature, particularly in genres like Gothic novels and adventure stories. Characters such as Dracula, Mr. Hyde, and Moriarty personified the archetypal villains, contributing to the popular culture's fascination with the darker side of human nature.

21st century

Modern Villains in Media

In the modern era, villains remain a crucial part of storytelling and entertainment. With the rise of comic book adaptations and superhero films, complex and multifaceted villains have become central to the narrative. The term 'villain' has also expanded beyond traditional realms, encompassing antagonists in video games and other forms of media. Villains continue to evolve, challenging moral boundaries and providing thought-provoking narratives.

20th century

Cinematic Villains

With the advent of cinema, the concept of villains reached new heights. Actors like Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes' nemesis, Professor Moriarty, and iconic villains like Darth Vader in Star Wars captured the collective imagination of audiences worldwide. Villains became an essential ingredient for creating suspense, conflict, and memorable stories in film.

Present Day

Expanded Definition

In modern times, the term 'villain' has expanded beyond its literary and theatrical origins. It is now widely used in various contexts, including sports, politics, and even technology. The contemporary usage of 'villain' often refers to a person who acts in an immoral, dishonest, or destructive manner, irrespective of their social background.

Did you know?

Did you know that the character Hannibal Lecter only has about 16 minutes of screen time in the film 'Silence of the Lambs'? Despite this, his impact was so profound that he's considered one of the greatest villains of all time.


awareness fun culture movies villains

First identified

29th April 2016

Most mentioned on

29th April 2016

Total mentions


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