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Heel Face Turn on an ethnic scale. A faction allied with the enemy joins the heroes' team. A neutral people becomes convinced it has to side with the villains to survive. Truth in Television, as an ethnic group's character is most engineered by its leaders. Argentinians don't wonder where family members went unless General Videla says they disappeared. Russians aren't losing sleep over fear that neighbors will report them without Russia's secret police. Germans aren't stuffing Jews in chimneys without Hitler's influence.

This trope is more often used in realistic settings where there's gray morality, wars are good vs. good, and alignments aren't ethnically based. Settings where this trope won't be seen are where a culture is Always Chaotic Evil or otherwise demonic. Some sultry succubus or burly half-human warrior might have a Heel Face Turn but these characters are rare exceptions.


Comic Books

  • Artesia: Each faction in the setting has had previous alliances and works with whoever its current ruler thinks best serves the faction's interest.

Fan Fiction

  • This is one of the main themes of The Urthblood Saga, based on the Redwall series where the line between "goodbeasts" and "vermin" was strongly established and rarely crossed. In it, the titular badger has received a prophecy of a coming dark crisis, and decides to bridge the divide between the two groups by taking vermin under arms and training them to be decent creatures and soldiers, in the hopes of countering it.


  • At the end of Starship Troopers , it has been revealed that the "Skinnies", the race shown as one of the enemies in the very first combat scene of the book, have allied with Humans against the Bugs. The raid, in fact, was a scare tactic/warning by humans to convince the Skinnies to ditch the bugs.
  • After the first book of the Sword of Truth series, the D'Haran empire become allies, primarily because the protagonist, Richard, turns out to be the heir to the empire.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has the Noghri, who were saved by Darth Vader from Palpatine and collectively owed him a debt and became his personal assassins. Then he gave them to Thrawn. Then Thrawn sent them after Leia. The Noghri can tell your bloodline by your scent. Yeah, that went over well.
  • In The Inheritance Cycle, the Urgals go from fighting in the evil king's armies to joining the side of The Varden.
  • In the original Shannara trilogy the Rock Trolls serve in the evil Warlock King's army in the first book. In the second having realised they were duped they aid the elves in their fight against a demon invasion.

Live-Action Television

  • The Slave Race Jaffa of Stargate SG-1 desert their evil alien masters en masse in the later seasons.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, the Xindi's hat is that their "race" consists of several sentient species which did evolve on the same planet. At the beginning of the Xindi arc, the crew of the Enterprise considers all Xindi to be their enemies. But by and by, Archer and co. manage to convince three of the five living Xindi species to do a Heel Race Turn. They help the humans defeating the other two species and preventing the planned Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
    • And in Deep Space Nine, we have the Cardassians, longtime enemies of the Federation and allied to the Dominion, suddenly switching sides - in the middle of a major space battle - due to the Dominion having just informed the Cardassians they had destroyed a city and killed its two millions inhabitants as reprisal for an act of the Cardassian Resistence.
    • In fact, at one point, Michael Eddington, a disgruntled Starfleet captain, accuses the Federation of wanting to invoke this so desperately that they're doing so at the expense of the citizens on their border colonies.

Video Games

  • The Elites in Halo switch sides around the end of the second game.
  • Orcs in Warcraft 3.
  • All that's known about the Vortigants in the first Half Life is that they're invading aliens. In the second game it's revealed that they were confused and enthralled, and are now grateful for the destruction of their puppet leader. By the third, they gather en mass to support Gordon specifically.
  • The Arcadian Empire in Final Fantasy XII. At least in the ending.
  • The Lurkers are brutish Mooks in the first Jak and Daxter; in the second game, they're... not necessarily good so much as oppressed. Brutter and the Lurkers he asks you to save seem pretty grateful, at any rate.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, this presumably happened to the Fire Nation, when Ozai and Azula were defeated in the series finale, and Zuko became a new, benevolent Firelord. This didn't come out of the blue, though, as throughout Season 3 it had been shown that Fire Nation citizens weren't inherently evil. Most of them merely believed in the war propaganda promulgated by the governments of Ozai and his predecessors.
  • In the Season 2 finale of Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben saves the Highbreed from extinction and they stand down from galactic genocide.
  • Among the many rumours about the planned finale of Invader Zim was Zim coming to understand the beauty of other planets and passing on that philosophy to other Irkens when he took over the Empire. Of course, this being Invader Zim, it would have been played for Black Comedy as Zim would have still pushed for galactic conquest, he just would have made the Irkens a bit more affable and less genocidal.
  • In the Season 6 finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Thorax and Starlight Glimmer convince the Changelings to share love instead of hoarding it. As a result, the Horde of Alien Locusts stands down and allies with Equestria. They even get a Beauty Equals Goodness makeover.
  • In the Grand Finale of Steven Universe, Steven finally gets the Diamonds, mainly White, to listen to him and change the Gem Empire. By The Movie, he's succeeded in making the Gems a peaceful artisanal race instead of The Empire. Though the Diamonds are still plenty racist and have egos taller than themselves.
  • Zig-zagged and played with in Voltron: Legendary Defender. Long before the show started, the Galra were Always Chaotic Evil before some breakaways and rebels, namely the Blade of Marmora, showed up. In Season 3, following Zarkon being comatose, the Empire starts to fracture and plunges into an Enemy Civil War outright once Zarkon dies and Lotor takes over in Season 5. Having allied with Lotor, Team Voltron is exposed to some of the more reasonable parts of the Empire and starts negotiating and working with them. By the time of the Grand Finale, the Galra Empire has properly stood down and become a state in the Galactic Coalition.
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