Usually in stories (films come to mind), the character with the strongest desire can be potentially the most fascinating. I always think of how Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back, Maleficent, in Sleeping Beauty, and the Queen in Snow White all have the strongest motives in the story. Sure, Luke wants to be a Jedi, and that’s cool. Aurora wants to marry the guy she just met, and that’s…odd (story there), and Snow White knows she’s in trouble (fleeing is rational-but then she becomes a homemaker).
All the villains have the clear cut desires and seem to drive the film further. Darth Vader wants Luke -I assumed it was revenge for destroying the Death Star, but it got deeper and personal. We see a lot of Vader and his obsession, and what happens to people who disappoint him. It got real ugly at the Empire.
Maleficent made pettiness an art form; Don’t invite her to a christening, and your baby gets viciously cursed, and she doesn’t stop there. She mocks Prince Phillip after capturing him, and is deeply satisfied with herself.
The Queen is so vain, she goes through great lengths to murder Snow White. She even ruins her own beauty to get close to her victim. That’s some sick dedication that for a brief moment, paid off. She’s like the tragic hero in a play with the fatal flaw of vanity.
Are these antagonists secretly the protagonists in the films? After all their desires/emotions seem to push the story further. If they don’t do what they do, get thwarted multiple times, and push back, then nothing would happen.
Perhaps without Vader’s assertiveness (and story focus upon), during his training, Luke would have been extra-extra foolish and made a b-line for Vader for killing his father, then discovered the truth. Thus it would be about Luke’s own personal needs. It’s more of Vader pushed all the right buttons.
Maybe Aurora relocated as a child, found herself preoccupied with helping others in her teens, and discovered the curse and her origins? What if Snow white fled from some unknown danger, discovered the dwarfs, and they train her to fight, only to discover this evil queen after her is stuck on being the fairest?
That’s just me thinking about the scenarios without the villain driving the story. The films would be different for sure, but the motives and actions of the heroes would be stronger in my opinion. These are the things I think about when writing myself. Seriously, villains get a lot of screen time, and some of their motives are so strong they dominate the story. It makes them very, very intriguing, and I realize they usually have the strongest emotions, or the stronger focus on their emotions/needs.
As always, happy creative endeavors.