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Steve "Leopard" Leonard
SteveManga.png
Gender Male
Species Half-Vampaneze
Age 12 (Cirque du Freak)
27 (Allies of the Night - Killers of the Dawn)
30 (The Lord of Shadows - Sons of Destiny)
16 (2009 film)
Relatives Mrs. Leonard (mother)
Desmond Tiny (father)
Darren Shan (half-brother)
Hibernius Tall (half-brother)
Evanna (half-sister)
Darius Shan (son)
Status Deceased (Book series)
Deceased (Manga)
Alive (alternate timeline at the end of the series)
Alive (Movie)
Background Information
Book Universe The Saga of Darren Shan
First Book Appearance Cirque Du Freak
First Movie Appearance Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant
Acted By Josh Hutcherson


Steve Leonard (スティーブ・レナード Sutibu Renaddo), better known as Steve Leopard is Darren Shan's best friend who has a deep interest in vampires. He discovered that Larten Crepsley was a vampire, and begged him to turn him into one. Mr. Crepsley tests his blood, and tells him that the blood is "bad", and that Steve is wicked and evil.

After Darren sacrifices his humanity to save Steve, he believes Darren stole away his dream to become a vampire and leaves to become a strong vampire hunter able to kill Darren. He returns as an antagonist in Allies of the Night.

Appearance

Steve is a child with messy grey hair and blue eyes. In the manga he wears his standard school uniform, consisting of a black sweater with a white shirt, green pants and red necktie.

As an adult, he's described as a man of medium height who hasn't aged well. His vampire hunter outfit consists of black clothing, with a long scarf looped around his neck, and gloves covering his hands.

Personality

Initially Steve is wild, reckless and hot-tempered, to the point people gave him the "Leopard" nickname. He has a poor relationship with his mother and other people and is part of why he wants to become a vampire, as he believes nobody will miss him if he were gone. Steve cares a lot about Darren, sometimes to the point of being emotionally dependant on him and has stated he'll be lost and helpless without him around. But after he becomes convinced that Darren betrayed him, he's gradually revealed to be cruel, vindictive, and self-centered to the point of outright sociopathy. Even the vampaneze, despite their preference for living victims and killing, are disgusted by him but continue to follow his orders because Mr. Tiny told them to.

As the series progresses, he becomes a cruel, callous and sadistic man who's defined solely by his need for revenge on his former friend. He's overly delighted by just the thought of tormenting Darren and admits that he crafted such a complicated revenge gambit on him to make things more fun for himself. It seems restricted to only Darren, and shows nothing but anger and hatred for Mr. Crepsley.

In the final chapter of the manga adaptation, the Steve of the alternate timeline decides that his friendship with Darren is more important and throws away his obsession with becoming a vampire. All in all, it really looks as if Darren's "betrayal" brought out the worst in him, and with him never becoming a vampire and leaving with Mr. Crepsley in the first place, all this never happened.

Role

The Saga of Larten Crepsley

Brothers to the Death

When Larten Crepsley is performing at the Cirque du Freak, he sees Darren and Steve and has the feeling those two will end up being the end of him someday.

The Saga of Darren Shan Novels

Cirque Du Freak

« I'll track you to the ends of the Earth if I have to. You and your mentor. And when I find you, I'll drive steel-tipped stakes through your hearts, then chop off your heads and fill them with garlic. Then I'll burn you to ashes and scatter you across running water. I won't take any chances. I'll make sure you never come back from the grave again! »

(Steve vowing to kill Darren and Mr. Crepsley)

Before the Cirque, Steve lived with his mother. His father left the family when he was young and he never got along with his mother. He had a fascination with vampires and was best friends with Darren since kindergarten. Darren tolerated his anger issues and was aware of his problems at home, but he simply preferred not to talk about it, as it was not a "cool thing" for boys to do.

When Steve attends the Cirque du Freak with Darren, he recognizes Larten Crepsley as a vampire from one of his books. After the show, Steve begs Mr. Crepsley to turn him into a vampire and take him on as his assistant. Crepsley initially agrees, but changes his mind after tasting his blood, which he accuses of being evil. When Steve is poisoned as a result of Darren stealing Crepsley's spider Madame Octa, Darren agrees to become a half-vampire and Mr. Crepsley's assistant in exchange for the cure.

Following Steve's recovery, Darren fakes his death, but Steve is unconvinced that his friend is really dead. After he is exhumed, Darren is attacked by Steve who accuses him of conspiring with Mr. Crepsley against him to steal his dream away. In the end, Steve decides that he's not ready to kill his friend yet, but swears to become the world's greatest vampire hunter and return to kill both Darren and Mr. Crepsley in the future. 

Allies of the Night

« He said I was evil! And you chose his side over mine. You set that spider on me and tried to kill me! »

(Steve revealing that he still has a grudge on Darren and Mr. Crepsley)

While investigating about a group of vampaneze killing humans in the city, Darren encounters an adult Steve. Both are ecstatic to see each other again and Steve claims he's a vampire hunter interested about the recent vampaneze murders. He also insists he has forgiven Darren and finally understand his friend wanted to save him in the past. Although Darren, Harkat Mulds and Vancha March trust Steve, Mr. Crepsley remains suspicious of him and insists he's evil.

When Steve, Darren, Mr. Crepsley, Debbie Hemlock and Vancha go to the tunnels, they're ambushed by a group of vampanezes. Steve takes Debbie hostage and reveals he is a half-vampaneze, having manipulated Darren and his allies the whole time. He never had any intention to forgive Darren and Mr. Crepsley and is obsessed with getting his revenge on them. In the following battle, Debbie is taken by the vampaneze, but Darren's group manages to take Steve hostage.

Killers of the Dawn

« We've come a long way, haven't we, Darren? From the classroom at home to this Cavern of Retribution. From humanity to vampirism and vampanizm. From the day to the night. »

(Steve about to reveal to Darren that he's the true Lord of the Vampaneze)

Steve remains hostage of the vampires briefly, but helps ensnare them into another trap, this time having them cornered and arrested by human police, who have been led to believe Darren's team are the killers behind the city murders. Before they're taken into custody, he is knocked out and is placed in a hospital. However, while Darren is questioned by police, he overhears police saying that Steve has escaped, killing several innocents along the way.

He's later seen with Gannen Harst and the Lord of the Vampaneze in the cavern. Mr. Crepsley decides to protect Darren and his friends by fighting against the three vampanezes. He succesfully defeats the Lord of the Vampaneze, but is pushed to his death by Steve into a pit of fiery stakes. Darren and his friends are devastated by this, but believe that the War of the Scars is already over.

Steve then walks towards Darren, telling him a terrible revelation with the intent of breaking him further: Mr. Crepsley's death had been for nothing and Steve himself is the true Vampaneze Lord, the vampaneze that Mr. Crepsley had killed being only a decoy. He mockingly states that the War of the Scars has begun and leaves with Gannen.

Lord of the Shadows

« You see, Darren, if you kill Darius, you won't just be slaughtering my son - you'll be murdering your nephew! »

(Steve revealing Darius is the son of Annie Shan)

Steve returns again with R.V., Gannen, Morgan James and a new assistant, Darius Shan, who is revealed to be his son. The vampanezes take Shancus Von as hostage in order to lure Darren.

In retribution, Darren takes Darius as hostage and tries to negotiate by swapping Shancus for Darius. Steve initially seems to agree, but before the swap is made, he snaps Shancus' neck, killing him. In revenge, Darren prepares to kill Darius, only to learn from Steve that Darius is not just his son, but Darren's nephew through his sister Annie.

Sons of Destiny

« I'll miss you even more. You've been the driving force behind everything I've done since I was a child. Without you, I'm not sure I'll have much of an interest in life. If possible, I'd let you go. I enjoy our games, the hunt, the traps, the fights. I'd happily keep doing it, over and over, a new twist here, a fresh shock there. »

(Steve before his last fight with Darren)

It is revealed that Steve started a romantic relationship with Annie Shan, with the intent of having a child whom he could use as part of his revenge on Darren. After Darius was born, Steve admitted he was just using her and left. Years later, he secretly met with Darius and converted him into a half-vampaneze, brainwashing him with propaganda. However, he lied to Darius, telling him that vampaneze do not kill.

After Darren performs the dangerous process of reblooding Darius as half-vampire, Darren and Vancha find Steve and the vampaneze at the Cirque du Freak, where they engage Steve and Gannen in battle. Vancha is wounded during the battle by Gannen and unable to fight any longer. Shortly afterward, Gannen is knocked unconscious, leaving Steve and Darren alone to fight. At the end of the long, vicious battle, Steve gains the upper hand when Darren suffers the after-effects of the reblooding, but his gloating leaves Darren with the chance to strike a fatal wound to Steve's heart.

Mr. Tiny then shows up, revealing that Darren and Steve are his sons and he manipulated them their whole lives, so that the victor could throw the world into chaos. Steve has a moment of doubt after finding out he's Darren's brother and seems that he's about to repent for all his actions. Unfortunately, Darren has the realization that both him and Steve need to die so that no one will become the Lord of the Shadows. He breaks Steve by telling him that he made a deal with Mr. Crepsley to take Steve's "rightful place" as a half-vampire, goading him into stabbing him again. Darren then drags him into the river by which they fought, and both succumb to their injuries and drown. Steve's mind has been thoroughly broken and continues to stab Darren motionlessly as he drowns.

When Darren is rescued from the Lake of Souls many centuries later in a possible future, after humanity has disappeared from Earth to be replaced by dragons, Evanna reveals that Steve's spirit is also trapped in the Lake of Souls. She states that she has no intention of saving Steve, as he chose to do evil in his life, whereas Darren was merely manipulated as part of Mr. Tiny's plans. Darren expresses no sympathy for his former friend either, saying that he deserves to be trapped in the lake forever.

Afterwards, Darren is changed into a little person and sent back in time, cutting off the original chain of events that made Darren a vampire. It's unknown what happens to the Steve of the alternate timeline, but since he's locked out of the loop of the world of vampires, he presumably lives a normal life and is still friends with Darren.

Cirque du Freak Manga

Steve as a child in the manga

« ....You just....have it all....A kind mother and sister....and even a father. Family and friends! But for me...YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE I HAVE! Why....aren't I good enough....You betrayed me....So you're going to take my last thing from me, Darren. Even though....I thought you were my best friend.... »

(Steve snapping at Darren after finding out he's a vampire - Volume 1)

Interestingly, the manga gives Steve more humanizing moments such as being more affectionate and protective of Darren before their fallout. This is dropped after he decides to get revenge on Darren and Mr. Crepsley and becomes a vampaneze.

During his final confrontation with Darren, Steve has a change of heart after finding out he was a pawn in Mr. Tiny's plans all along. He even tries to apologize to Darren. However Darren has decided that both need to die so that nobody will become the Lord of the Shadows, so he provokes Steve into killing him, mocking him for repenting too late and saying that he took away his dream to become a vampire on purpose. Steve falls for it and stabs Darren, who drags him into the river. As they drown and succumb to their injuries, Darren apologizes for provoking him and laments about their broken friendship. Steve calms down from his rage and smiles sadly at Darren as he dies.

Darren meets his younger self and a younger Steve.

Years later, Evanna rescues Darren from the Lake of Souls. Despite Steve's change of heart, Evanna lets him be trapped at the Lake of Souls forever, on Mr. Tiny's orders that only one of them could be saved. Darren is transformed into a little person and is transported to an alternate timeline in order to cut off the original chain of events that made him a vampire. Meanwhile, the alternate Darren goes to Steve's house and manages to talk him out about becoming a vampire, realizing that his friendship with Darren is more important than his obsession. The two then go to play soccer together and on the way they encounter the original Darren. He is relieved to see that they're still friends in the new timeline and peacefully disappears in front of them.

The Vampire's Assistant Film

Steve in the 2009 film, played by Josh Hutcherson

« I haven't seen my dad in years. My mom is drunk all the time. I absolutely hate my life. I never actually said it before, but it's the truth. This is what I was meant for. »

(Steve speaking to Larten Crepsley)

In the film, Steve is a delinquent student, to the point Darren's parents disapprove of their friendship. They decide to become "secret best friends" in order to avoid trouble with his parents, but Steve isn't too happy about it. When Darren becomes a vampire to save his life, Steve has suspiscions about it, but doesn't do anything. After Darren's "death", he starts acting more disoriented and violent at school until he's approached by Mr. Tiny, who tells him Darren is alive and stole his dream away.

Overcome with rage, Steve agrees to help with Mr. Tiny's plans and is made a vampaneze by Murlough. The two then kidnapped Darren's family to lure him to a battle. Darren comes to rescue his family and Rebecca. Murlough is killed by Mr. Crepsley, but then Mr. Tiny appears before Steve can kill Darren. Steve leaves with Mr. Tiny, offering to teach him his ways and promising that he'll fight with Darren in the future someday.

Trivia

Steve in an illustration drawn by Takahiro Arai on 2017

  • The short story An Essay on Vampires by Steve Leonard (which is about a school essay he wrote a year before the events of the series) gives some facts about him.
    • He had 62 books about vampires and had seen at least 50 movies about vampires.
    • His favourite vampire movie was "Salem's Lot".
    • He once squirted ketchup on his mom's bed and left a plastic bat in the 'blood'.
    • He liked to drink his own blood, making him feel like a vampire.
  • Steve's manga design is similar to Arago Hunt from Arago - City of London Police's Special Crimes Investigator, another work by the artist.
  • The 2009 film states he befriended Darren during their first years of elementary school after he saved him from bullies. Also his mother's name is Brenda. However, those facts are non-canon.
  • According to a tweet of the author in 2019, the Steve from the alternate timeline at the end of the novels has a normal life and is still friends with Darren.
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