Guys, I've been thinking about something, something about the villains of the show. I've recently seen Thelooneyturtle's video regarding how some of the villains of the show suck, due to a lack of development or motivation that we can understand. But this has me thinking: Do villains like Tirek or Starlight Glimmer really need that kind of development? I mean, Nightmare Moon had a understandable motivation and development to do what she did, but she still came off as an unmemorable, incredibly generic and cliched villain to me, whereas that development was more for Luna than Nightmare Moon. Then we have Discord, a character who has a very simple motivation and only does what he does for the lulz. Plus, he's not given much of a reason to do what he does, other than he just can because he has that kind of power, and yet, he was still an incredibly enjoyable and interesting villain to watch and posed as more of a threat than Nightmare Moon as well if you ask me. What I'm trying to get at here is that just because a villain has some sort of development, backstory, or motivation that we can understand, that doesn't inherently make them good. After all, it's not going to mean anything if the character itself isn't already interesting or intriguing in their own right, right?
Then we have King Sombra, Tirek and Starlight Gimmer: Three villains that Thelooneyturtle believes don't have much of a motivation for doing what they do, and while I agree that Sombra and Tirek don't have much of reason to do what they did other than they're power-hungry, Starlight on the other hand believes that her philosophy of friendship is the right one, and single-handedly brainwashed an entire town to be convinced that it was right. So in her case, she's not doing bad things because she's bad, she's doing them because she believes she's actually doing the right thing, albeit very selfishly and egocentrically about it. I don't see her as a character that's underdeveloped, but rather a character that's intentionally shrouded in mystery. We really don't need to know why she did what she did because her actions already kinda spoke for themselves, and her motivation is clear and understandable: She wants equality, something that many people want as well, where everybody can get along with no conflict, to try and make the world a better place, she's just doing it in an evil, sinister and more personal way. And as for Tirek, I think he's already a great villain in his own right. He was a very imposing and dominating threat to the inhabitants of Equestria, and his big and bombastic nature already made him enjoyable and intriguing to watch on screen. Plus, he's probably the biggest threat the show has ever seen so far. I think that speaks for itself. But then we have Sombra, who I agree didn't really have much of a presence in 'The Crystal Empire' and while he did pose an impending threat, you didn't feel it as much as you should've, at least not for me, but I think that's more because the 2-parter focused more on how to make the crystal ponies distracted, so it had an element of slice-of-life to the episode.
The issue I have with this is that he treats the villains thorugh only one standard without taking into consideration all the rest, like how much of a threat they are, how interesting, intriguing and entertaining they are on their own, their dialogue, and their personality. I don't see development, backstory, or motivation as the "Be all, say all" of what makes a good villain. If that was the case, then Heath Ledger's Joker from 'The Dark Knight', or Scar from 'The Lion King' would just be bad villains, and that just doesn't seem fair to me. Now I'm not saying that developement, backstory, or motivation shouldn't be a reason as to why a villain is good, but what I am saying is that we should also take into consideration how they are as characters, along with what they do and say as being reasons as to why they can make for good villains. Judging them all by the same standard without any other standard just seems unfair and unreasonable to me.
But what do you guys think? In fact, what do you think of the MLP villains in general? Do you value development, backstory and motivation more than character? Or do you just see this topic in a different light? Let me know in the comments below. ;)