Top 20 Star Trek Villains

Julien Neaves – Editor

So while scrolling through ye olde social media I saw that Syfy had done a Top 5 Trek Villains list. Now I love me some Syfy but with more than 50 years, seven TV series (including The Animated Series) and 13 films there are so many more villains worth exploring. And I was thus inspired to do a list of my own.

With a Dyson Sphere-sized SPOILER ALERT for everything up to and including the second season of Star Trek: Discovery, here are the Top 20 Star Trek Villains:

#20 Nero (Star Trek 2009)

Nero while watching the destruction of Romulus. Too soon?

Eric Bana certainly had fun playing this vengeful Romulan and gave us a high-energy performance. And he also destroyed Vulcan and killed Spock’s mom. Bastard.

#19 Captain Gabriel Lorca (DSC – various)

Presenting the sole member of the Michael Burnham Fan Club. #phasersfired

Gabriel Lorca made for a better morally grey captain than the generic Mirror Universe villain that he became. And he did it all for love. Next!

#18 Shinzon (Nemesis)

Your head is so…smooth…

Tom Hardy is hot stuff now but back in 2002 this was his first major role. And, despite a dumbed-down action-heavy script, he brought some nuance and depth to this Picard clone. That leather fetish though, has got to go.

#17 Control (DSC – various)

Wake me up inside, wake me up inside, SAVE MEEEEEEEEEEEEE…

An evil megalomaniacal AI? Well it was bound to happen eventually. Control may be a poor man’s Borg but it was enough of a physical, technological and strategic threat to give the Discovery and Enterprise crews a run for their latinum.

#16 Silik (ENT – various)

I wonder if his skin feels like a cat’s tongue

The scheming Suliban was most memorable for his striking look and that weird flattening thing he did. But at the end of the day he was a Time War lackey. That time he and Archer briefly teamed up was cool though.

#15 General Chang (The Undiscovered Country)

General Chang just received a notification that his Twelfth Night audio book was ready for pick-up

Who knew Klingons loved Shakespeare so much? Christopher Plummer’s General Chang was a grand, bombastic, speech-ifying, war-loving baddie worthy of the Bard. Sadly he was not to be.

#14 Commander Kruge (The Search for Spock)

Doc? Why are you calling me ‘Doc’?

We stick with Klingons and TOS-era films with Commander Kruge (Christopher Lloyd). This heartless, power-hungry son of a targ not only ordered the death of Kirk’s son but his actions led to Kirk having to blow up the Enterprise. THE ENTERPRISE. His death was really satisfying though.

#13 Professor James Moriarty (TNG – Elementary, Dear Data, Ship in a Bottle)

Am I a mere plaything to you Captain?

Hologram rights! Hologram rights! Just kidding. CTRL ALT DEL sucker! Who knew a holographic version of the Sherlock Holmes villain would be such a tricky adversary. Actor Daniel Davis (best known as Niles from The Nanny) played Moriarty with a grand flair that made him as charming as he was devious.

#12 Kivas Fajo (TNG – The Most Toys)

Look at that smug face. Don’t you just want to punch it? Admit it – you wanna punch it

Don’t remember this guy? Well I do. And this slimy collector tried to “collect” Data and pretty much treated him trash. Even looking at him now I want to punch him in the face. POW! Right in the kisser!

#11 Sela (TNG – The Mind’s Eye, Redemption Part II, Unification Part II)

Hold on – I’m almost on level 100 of Candy Crush

Why wasn’t Sela aka the super scheming half human, half Romulan daughter of a time-displaced Lt Tasha Yar, in Star Trek: Nemesis? It would have been a perfect addition and a great way to wrap up her arc. Well at least we can still enjoy her skulking in the TNG episodes.

#10 Q (TNG – various/DS9 – Q-Less/VOY – Death Wish, The Q and the Grey, Q2)

How many minutes it would take for Q to annoy the living daylights out of you

Truth be told I almost left the god-like Q (played by the vivacious John de Lancie) off this list because Encounter at Farpoint was the only time he really felt like a proper villain. After that he was just an overpowered nuisance, though a delightful one at that. Did you know he tried to seduce Janeway and Sisko once punched him in the face? Because he’s not Picard beyotch!

#9 Romulan Commander (TOS – Balance of Terror)

You are standing, on my shin!

What’s in a name? This Romulan commander didn’t have one and he contributed to one of the greatest episodes of the TOS-era and one of the best ship battles in all of Trek. Played by a pre-Sarek Mark Lenard (he just loved those ears) the commander was intelligent, calculating, thoughtful, cunning and sympathetic. It is a sign of a superb baddie when you mourn their death instead of cheering for the heroes. Sleep in the stars RC.

#8 Female Changeling (DS9 – various)

WEYOUN: Oh praise the Founders! FEMALE CHANGELING: Oh shut up Weyoun

If a blob could morph into a humanoid form of merciless, pitiless, bigoted evil it would look like the Female Changeling. The only lives that mattered were Changelings and she would gladly see countless Dominion underlings or former Cardassian allies dead at her feet once it brought her closer to the goal of the Changeling domination of the galaxy. You really don’t want to piss her off.

#7 Seska (VOY – various)

She told the stylist to make her look like a Kardashian. Obviously he misheard

Remember when I called Sela a schemer. Well Seska is a Super Schemer. And the girl loves to play the long game. This Cardassian masquerading as a Marquis was always causing trouble for the Voyager crew, whether it was undermining the Janeway et al as a crew member, plotting with the Kazon or pretending that she was Chakotay’s baby mama. Bell Biv DeVoe sang true – that girl is poison!

#6 Duras Sisters (TNG – Redemption I and II, Firstborn/DS9 – Past Prologue/Generations)

Come on Captain, once you go Klingon, you never go back

What can one say about the Duras sisters Lursa and B’Etor? They just wanted the best for their House and control of the Klingon Empire. Is that too much to ask? When these sexy, lethal ladies showed up you just knew you were in a good time. And likely a knife to the back.

#5 Borg Queen (First Contact/VOY – Dark Frontier, Unimatrix Zero, Endgame)

Wanna join my Collective sailor?

And speaking of sexy, lethal ladies we have our next entry the Borg Queen. Now the cybernetic hive-minded perfection-seeking race were a grand threat in TNG but meeting their queen just made it all worse. Played with delicious deviousness by Alice Krige in First Contact and VOY finale Endgame (Susanna Thompson was decent in the other appearances but she was no Alice) she was as much at ease seducing Data and Picard as she was assimilating entire species. And like Data we were also tempted for 0.68 seconds. Probably 0.69 if we’re being honest.

#4 Lore (TNG – Datalore, Brothers, Descent I and II)

I’m not Data, I’m beta. I mean better. I meant better. Damnit!

And we go from Data’s seductress to his evil twin Lore. This wicked android did not seem to have one good circuit in his entire positronic brain. He would manipulate anyone and anything to further his sinister goals including his dear old brother, the Crystalline Entity or a bunch of poor ex-Borg. And he would do it all with a smile.

#3 Gul Dukat (DS9 – various)

Dukat engages in his favourite afternoon pastime of dreaming of ways to torture Sisko

No villain in all of Trekdom has had an arc as varied and as interesting as Gul Dukat. Played superbly by Marc Alaimo, he has been both an ally and a nemesis to Sisko, a loving father and a cruel killer (RIP Jadzia), a Cardassian leader and a fake Bajoran, a religious cynic and an evil zealot. One thing he has never been is boring. And because of his grand pedigree he cops the bronze on this list.

#2 Khan Noonien Singh (TOS – The Space Seed/The Wrath of Khan)

Give me the M&M. Now!

The man, the legend, the Khaaaaaaaaaaaaan! With just one guest spot Ricardo Montalban crafted the best villain of the TOS-era (and almost the best of all time) in this genetically enhanced superman. His performance was so compelling he was brought back for The Wrath of Khan and Montalban gave an even better performance that cemented his iconic villain status in the greatest Trek film ever. And unlike Space Seed Kirk and Khan never meet face to face in the movie, but that does not detract from the palpable tension and cerebral warfare. And yes, that was his real chest.

Dishonourable Mentions: Dr Tolian Soran (Generations), Ahdar Ru’afo (Insurrection), Khan Noonien Singh (Into Darkness), Krall (Beyond)

Because I am a completionist I wanted to include four other movie villains in an honourable mention section. But then I realised they weren’t very good villains so it became a dishonourable mention section. How do you take such fantastic actors like Malcolm McDowell, Benedict Cumberbatch, Idris Elba and F. Murray Abraham and saddle them with such uninteresting roles? It boggles the mind. Quick recap: Soran is best known for killing Kirk, Khan is best known for being a poor rip-off of the real Khan, Krall is best known for his interesting backstory, and Ru’afo is best known for being a cautionary tale about cosmetic surgery.

#1 Kai Winn (DS9 – various)

So many schemes, so little time

Now we go from the mess to the best, and our number one Trek villain of all time Kai Winn. Those who have not watched DS9 may be wondering how this unassuming-looking lady could be the franchise’s top baddie. And yes she does not aspire to galaxy-wide domination like the Borg Queen nor is she as grand as Khan. But she is worse. So much worse. This power-obsessed Bajoran religious leader is a much more subtle, ordinary and pernicious brand of evil. Every word she speaks is duplicitous, her plots have plots, and everything she does is cloaked in piety and a devilish smile. 

Louise Fletcher already showed her villain chops as Nurse Ratchet  in the film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest but this is her magnum opus. From beginning to end she will make your skin crawl and you will have a love-hate relationship with her. And by that I mean you will love to hate her. 

So that’s my list. Who’s your top Trek villain? And did I miss any of your favourites? Feel free to share in the comments. And if you enjoyed this post you can share it with your peoples. Sharing is caring. 

For the Top 10 Trek Species you can click here.

Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel but dreams of being Batman. Also loves creating board games and is an aspiring Caribbean sci-fi author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.


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