Star Trek: 10 Greatest Villains, Ranked
Star Trek is often defined by its ideas and the subject matter it tackles. But like any great franchise, a hero is only as good as their villain. The explorers of Starfleet have some of the greatest villains in all of sci-fi, with a Rogue's Gallery to rival that of a certain Caped Crusader. And like with many of fiction's most interesting villains, many of them have ended up as allies.
From personal rivals to omnipotent beings, the intrepid heroes of Star Trek have given their best against the worst of the worst, many times over. Our protagonists always tend to come out on top in the end, but the best Star Trek villains are never down for the count for too long and the franchise has seen many recurring enemies.
Lore represents a classic Star Trek staple: the inverse of a hero. Many Trek heroes have one of these, typically from the Mirror Universe. Lore represents the dark side of Data, being an android with emotions but absolutely no morals. Data operates within logic and reason, while Lore does whatever he wants. His ultimate fate remains a tantalizing mystery worth exploring in future seasons of Star Trek: Picard, especially now that Data himself seems to be gone for good.
9 Gul Dukat
Gul Dukat is one of the most complex villains in Star Trek history. A truly vile creature capable of insidious things, he nevertheless made for a compelling figure over seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His journey takes him from the former commander of the titular space station to Cardassian antagonist, uneasy ally, and finally, the pawn of the Pai Wraiths. He featured in many of the show's best episodes and was one of the franchise's best villains.
8 The Dominion
Gul Dukat received some major competition for the role of Big Bad on DS9 from the Dominion. This three-pronged snake— including the Founders, Vorta, and Jem'Hadar— emerged from the previously unexplored Gamma Quadrant, and arguably inflicted the worst damage on the Federation and its allies in galactic history. Some of the biggest battles of the franchise occur during the Dominion War, where countless worlds are sacked, millions of lives are lost, and entire fleets of starships get blown to bits.
They're cute, but they're deadly. The furry little balls of fun quickly multiply and overwhelm contained spaces like starships, as Captain Kirk and crew discovered in the classic original series episode "The Trouble With Tribbles," one of the best of the first iteration of the franchise.
The Tribbles made an encore appearance in a recent Short Treks episode, "The Trouble With Edward." In just a few short minutes, they completely take down an entire Starfleet science vessel.
6 Mirror Spock
The evil double is a classic trope of literary and genre fiction, going all the way back to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Star Trek introduced its own version of this in the iconic original series episode, "Mirror, Mirror." Fans discover a parallel universe in which the Federation is evil and so is Mr. Spock— complete with suitably evil-looking goatee. The Mirror Universe remains a staple of the franchise to this day, and also apparently could be a real thing, according to NASA.
The Romulans rank as the first true major villains of the entire Star Trek franchise. They first appeared in one of the earliest episodes, "Balance of Terror." The episode established them as the enemies of Starfleet going back to its very beginnings, and they remain so now, even after the massive upheaval in Star Trek: Picard. Thanks to the new series, the Romulans have gotten a renewed focus and attention that they have been lacking in the franchise in recent years.
When most people think of classic Star Trek villains, they think of the Klingons. These ruthless space warriors been some of the most vicious bad guys in space. Though they hadn't been villains for going on thirty years of Trek shows and movies, they saw a return to their role as a Big Bad thanks to Star Trek: Discoverywhich will likely continue in both subsequent seasons of that show, as well as in the Captain Pike-themed series Strange New Worlds.
The Borg quickly established themselves as the new Big Bads on the block in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Their zombie-insect quality, combined with their megalithic cube-like ship, made them very unique and very imposing. They also played a key role in the greatest cliffhanger in Trek history, "The Best of Both Worlds."
The Borg went on to terrorize Starfleet in the movies and on Star Trek: Voyagerand beyond, with their impact on the franchise continuing to be strongly felt through Star Trek: Picard.
Few threats loom as large as Q, in Star Trek or anywhere else. A cosmic, omnipotent being with a broad spectrum of powers akin to the greatest cosmic entities in the Marvel Universe, Q is essentially a god. His interest seems to be playing games with Starfleet, and Captain Picard in particular.
Over time, fans realize his true ambition is much grander, though a little obtuse. He almost tells Picard in the final episode of The Next Generation what all these tests and trials are truly about but stops short, as was to be expected from the confounding being.
Khan Noonien Singh is a far less cosmic threat than that of Q, but as a fan favorite Star Trek villain, Khan edges Q out. Q's tests of Picard are often intellectual. But the tests Khan subjected to Captain Kirk in both the classic episode "Space Seed" and the excellent second Star Trek film, The Wrath of Khan, are much more about the soul.
Khan's desire for vengeance drives him to confront Kirk, and in the process, forces them both to confront their past sins and ultimate mortality. Khan is the superior intellect, but he doesn't have the soul or the spirit that Kirk and company do.About The Author