Girls’ Adam Driver is getting the opportunity of a lifetime after reportedly landing the role of the primary bad guy in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. Driver’s character on Lena Dunham’s HBO show, Adam Sackler, isn’t the greatest guy in the world, and most definitely not the best boyfriend in the world, but he isn’t necessarily a villain (even if an ex-girlfriend did call him a “Neanderthal sociopath”). He does, however, have plenty of evil-leaning characteristics that can potentially provide a clue into what kind of bad guy Driver will make in a galaxy far, far away.
Being selfish is the hallmark of almost every great villain. Even the ultimate Star Wars baddie, Darth Vader — who’s about as conflicted as they come — really turned to the Dark Side because he thought being good was holding him back. Driver’s Adam is quite possibly the most selfish character ever on television (rivaled perhaps only by his on-screen girlfriend, Dunham’s Hannah). Until recently, when he got a role in a Broadway production, Adam mostly lived off of the money that his grandmother gives him and mooched off friends as he pursued his “art.” The guy stole a dog just because he wanted to, and sex is always an individual act for him even if someone else is involved. Better still, he’s passive-aggressive: at the end of Season 1, we saw Adam complaining about Hannah chasing after him one moment and then complaining that she didn’t want to live with him the next, and basically manipulating her into taking care of him after he was hit by a truck in Season 2.
Adam might legitimately love Hannah, but his definition of the word might be a little bit different than the norm. He can scare his girlfriend in the shower with just a bar of soap. He broke into her apartment in the middle of the night, causing her to call the cops. He once asked her to pretend to be an 11-year-old during a sexual encounter. Besides his relationship with Hannah, he says really inappropriate things to his sister (Gaby Hoffman) and walks around mostly naked no matter the company. The word that you’re looking for is “ick.”
He’s Not What You’d Call Respectful
Early on in the series, Driver’s character caused a stir when he urinated on Hannah in the shower and didn’t see what the big deal was. That was nothing compared to the infamous “On All Fours” episode, where debate still rages about whether Adam raped Natalia, the girl he was dating. At the very least, the encounter was something on the other side of consensual, adding to his overall creepiness (he made her crawl to the bedroom) and Adam’s reaction was to walk away from the whole situation as though he got what he wanted and was done. Great bad guys have to be disconnected from people and feelings (think Hannibal Lecter). Besides calling him a sociopath, Natalia also pointed out that Adam acts “like he doesn’t even love his own mother.”
He Can Be a Little Bit Heroic
It might seem counterintuitive, but if you think about it, the best villains aren’t weak. They’re just as willing to put themselves in harm’s way as a good guy, just for different, more self-serving reasons. Adam might be a jerk most of the time on Girls, but every once and a while he’s willing to come to the rescue… whether that’s picking Hannah up (literally) and taking her away from an OCD meltdown or telling her dying grandmother that they’re getting married so that she’s left with a happy thought. A really great villain can make the audience think that he’s not really that bad… right before, you know, destroying an entire planet or something.