“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Certain characters in film and TV are instant hits, because they’re awesome from the beginning, needing little to no development to cement them into the minds and hearts of fandoms everywhere. But despite being ultimately loved by everyone, they haven’t had to work and struggle to change themselves into something better  -and that is something we all love to see a character go through, whether for good or evil purposes.

Here’s a rundown of some of the best character transformations we’ve seen in film and TV:

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the Star Wars franchise

In the beginning, Luke was just the humble nephew of a moisture farmer on the desert planet of Tatooine, aspiring to become a pilot in the battle against the Empire – and I don’t think I’m alone in saying this, but he was a miserable, moany little pox, too. So when he met old Obi-Wan Kenobi, who entrusted him with his father’s lightsaber and the knowledge that it was his destiny to become a Jedi, his path to becoming a better character was laid out firmly in front of him. Over the next two films, Luke slowly morphed from a whiny little farm-boy into a wise and powerful Jedi Knight, leading the Rebel Alliance to victory against the Empire and defeating both Darth Vader and the temptation of the dark side – ultimately proving that good will always conquer evil, no matter the origin.

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof), Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel

I hated Wesley Wyndam-Pryce when he first appeared on Buffy, and I don’t think I’d be the only person to say that. Introduced as an adverserial replacement for Buffy’s Watcher Rupert Giles, Wesley was pretentious, untrustworthy in a fight and overall, just downright annoying. That changed, however, when he showed up in Joss Whedon’s spin-off, Angel. Wesley had transformed from geeky, posh substitute Watcher into a freelance demon hunter who proves himself to be one of the bravest men in the series.

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Arya Stark (Maisie Williams), Game Of Thrones

Unlike her sister, Sansa, Arya Strk is an absolutely useless noblewoman-in-training, preferring instead to spend her time with her brothers, training in the courtyards of Winterfell. When her father Ned is summoned to King’s Landing to act as Hand Of The King to Robert Baratheon, Ary is brought long, and under the pretext of learning to dance, she is instead trained to use a sword by Syrio Forel – which proves to be the first step in Arya’s journey from tomboyish youngest daughter to a pint-sized death machine whose encounters with infamous killers such as Jaquen H’gar and Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane will undoubdtedly continue to shape her into one of these killers herself.

Nevill Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), the Harry Potter franchise

Even the name is synonymous with change. Bumbling, ridiculed, under-achieving and timid as a youngster in his first year at Hogwarts, Neville Longbottom only shows aptitude for anything when studying Herbology, and for most of the series, nobody expected much of him. And why would they? He was quiet, easily scared, picked on by almost everyone and never showcased much talent for magic.- right up until the last moment, when Neville rose above everyone else and led Dumbledore’s Army in the Hogwarts rebellion. Death Eaters had taken over the school, attempting to recruit the students into Voldemort’s ranks, but at the front of the ranks was Neville, determinedly undermining the Death Eaters at every turn and becoming one of the greatest heroes of the series.

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Did I miss anyone out? Who do you think made a great transformation throughout their series? Leave a comment below with your own heroes/villains who made great changes!

-Luke

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“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”

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