You know what that line follows. “I already have” is a cliche answer, and sickeningly so. But I’m not one to say you can never say a cliche line or use a cliche concept because to say so would be wrong. If I did expressly forbid use of “I already have”, I myself already can think of an exception – maybe your villain is slightly genre savvy and has been dying to use that phrase.
But I have problems with this phrase because villains are getting antsier and antsier about using it. I mean I get that pride tends to be a big issue with villains but counting one’s chickens before they’ve hatched is foolishness and villains should not be foolish. So while a villain may count on his plan working out and everything is in motion and the whole thing will be working like clockwork…no. No it isn’t. And your villain should know, accurately, when the Point of No Return is and not act like he’s past it when he isn’t because if he does, he’ll over-look that tiny bit of tar hanging out on one of the gears of his clockwork that will gum up the works and ruin everything.
What I’m getting at here is that your villain shouldn’t say “I already have” when he hasn’t. I’d like to use a recent and popular example:
You know when Hans has actually gotten away with his plan? WHEN ANNA AND ELSA WERE BOTH DEAD AND HE WAS CROWNED. That is when he’d gotten away with it. While Anna is still alive, he hasn’t gotten away with it. Just because he thinks she’s going to perish doesn’t mean that there isn’t some miraculous way she won’t – and the way she doesn’t perish in that room isn’t even all that miraculous (point that a living snowman is a miracle aside ‘cuz Disney movie). Her friend came and helped to save her, woo surprise.
But even if it was a safe bet that Hans had put Anna on ice (haha I’m so funny guys) there were still several steps left in Hans’ plan. I think if he was going to tell anyone “I already have” is if Elsa had somehow been in an incapacitated position and all that was left was for Hans to kill her and return – he could be saying it then as he stabbed Elsa. That would be appropriate.
You know who actually already did when they said so? Doris from Meet the Robinsons.
You know whose line was far more terrifying and potent? The hat’s. My feelings as Hans said the line was something along the lines of, “Really? That’s what he’s going with? Ugh [eyeroll].” That was in addition to what I’ve already said, of “No you haven’t either gotten away with it yet” thoughts. My feelings about Doris’ use of the phrase? It’s the caption to that picture. Time continuum whatevers aside, that was a pretty terrifyingly excellent use.
So I will not tell you that your hero may never say, “You’ll never get away with this!” because cliche as it is, when the villain is leaving and you’re angry, you really want to just shout something at him but he’s winning so you can’t think of anything else but, “You’ll never get away with this!” And I won’t tell you that your villain can’t respond, “Oh, Hero…I already have.” But please, please, if your villain says that, make sure that he actually already has gotten away with it.
Hey, aside update: I’m still working on the Villain Sue test, I haven’t forgotten, promise. It’s still just having to take second place to my life.