10 Best STAR TREK Villains

To celebrate the apparently imminent casting of Benicio Del Toro as the main villain in J.J. Abrams' much anticipated Star Trek sequel, we run down our favourite ten villains in Star Trek lore.

Star Trek first began airing 45 years ago, it has provided us with a whole host of intriguing villains. Some of them were very forgettable but others, ah, the others. Across 11 movies and 6 TV series' there are some that really stand out and are usually involved in the best stories. To celebrate the apparently imminent casting of Benicio Del Toro as the main villain in J.J. Abrams' much anticipated Star Trek sequel, we run down our favourite ten villains in Star Trek lore, hopefully as an indicator and reminder to Abrams about what makes a great Trek villain. Here€™s the top ten!

10. Commander Sela

Tasha Yar€™s daughter had, even by Trek standards, a somewhat unique origin. Her mother wasn€™t the Yar that we€™re all familiar with, but rather was one from an alternate universe. Despite her half-human nature, Sela managed to slither her way up the ranks of the Romulan military and eventually was put in charge of efforts to destabilize the Klingons, bringing about a civil war. Later, she was embroiled in a plot to take over the planet Vulcan. Though neither of her plans actually worked, Sela still proved to be one of the top villains due to her unique backstory.

9. Kor

The Klingon commander turned up first in €œErrand of Mercy€ and then came back in the 1990s in three Deep Space Nine episodes. Played with evil, scene-chewing glee by John Colicos (who later played the original Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica), Kor was a force to be reckoned with. Kor is also one of the few villains to appear in two live-action shows and in the old animated series, where he was voiced by James Doohan. Not even Khan was able to pull that off!

8. Kai Winn

Religious extremism can come in all sorts of forms. Sometimes it€™s in the form of someone blowing up a crowded marketplace. Other times it€™s more insidious. Though Kai Winn flirted with the first kind in her first appearance, she later came to embody the second kind. Winn could be a pleasant sort of woman, and clearly genuinely believed what she preached, but that only made her all the more dangerous. She was also clearly one of those sorts of people who believed that by making herself glorious, she was making the Prophets glorious. Her character was redeemed in the series finale, but for almost the entire series run, she was an excellent, memorable adversary to the Emissary.

7. The Romulan Commander

Mark Lendard played Sarek, Spock€™s father, and did so memorably, but his first appearance in Trek was as the commander of a Romulan ship in €œBalance of Terror€. Again, this character wasn€™t really evil, but was certainly no friend to the Federation or Kirk (though he famously speculated that he and Kirk might, in another timeline, be friends). He was the embodiment of the noble enemy, someone who people on both sides could admire, rather like Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War.

6. Locutus

€œI am Locutus of Borg.€ And so began one of the longest summers of my life as I had to wait and see what was going to become of Picard and the Enterprise crew. Locutus was memorable not just because he was a great threat to the Federation (and destroyed several starships at Wolf 359), but because of what he came to represent to Picard personally. Being turned into Locutus wasn€™t something Picard got over easily. Indeed it haunted him throughout the entire rest of the series and into the movies, giving real strength and depth to his character, and giving us that rare villain who represented a threat to the hero€™s psyche and not just to the eternal world.

5. Gul Madred

The first major Cardassian character on Star Trek, and one of the most memorable characters of any recent TV series. He captured and tortured Captain Picard in the two part story €œChains of Command,€ and in the end, as Picard admits, did actually break the captain. In many ways he established what the Cardassians were going to be with Deep Space Nine, and set a high bar indeed for pure fascinating villainy.

4. The Borg Queen

Bizarre, strange, alluring and weird, the Borg Queen is the physical embodiment of all things Borg. Since her appearance in First Contact, she€™s grabbed the attention of the audience, and her return on Voyager was one of the series high-spots. Some may question the logic of such a character existing, but you gotta give her points for style, if nothing else!

3. Q

One letter, infinite trouble. Not necessarily evil, per se, but very much of an adversarial character toward Picard (and to a lesser extent, Janeway). At his best, he helped Picard to see the greater possibilities of the universe, and also allowed Wesley Crusher to be stabbed through the back by a pig thing. But at his worst, he wasn€™t above lying, letting the Enterprise get attacked by the Borg and allowing Deep Space Nine to nearly be destroyed by an alien life form.

2. Khan

You know he€™d be on here. You might not have expected him to be in second place. From his first appearance in €œSpace Seed,€ Khan Noonien Singh made it clear he was a force to be reckoned with. Amost without trying he and his crew of eugenics supermen from the 1990s took over the Enterprise and threw Kirk into a decompression chamber. It was only through the intervention of an Enterprise crewmember who had become smitten with Khan that everything ended up good for our heroes. Of course Khan€™s real moment in the sun came many years later when he returned to get his revenge against Kirk. Totally unhinged from reality, Khan allowed his desire for vengeance to consume himself and his people, resulting in his own death. But in the process he also helped cause the death of Spock, and became the gold standard for movie Trek villains, a standard none have really reached. 1. Gul Dukat The man who unseats Khan for the title of the best of the worst. From the first episode of Deep Space Nine to the very last, Dukat€™s shadow hung over just about everything. He was a seriously deluded individual who convinced himself that all the evil he€™d done while in charge of Bajor had been to the benefit of the Bajorans. Like all good villains he was the hero in his own narrative, and occasionally even did heroic things on screen. He was layered, he was fascinating, and if he was undone a bit toward the end of the series, well, that€™s forgivable given how incredible he was throughout the rest. Honorable Mention €“ Weyoun, Trelane, General Chang, Harry Mudd, the Female Changeling, Gul Damar, Mirror Universe Spock, and Brannon Braga.
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Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at wilybadger.wordpress.com