It has been a while since I’ve done anything “Star Trek” related on the blog. So this was fun to return to as the villains are part of what helps make so many of the stories of the “Star Trek Franchise” memorable and have brought about so many compelling stories both in the show and films. Some of these villains were so memorable future writers would attempt to create that same magic in other films and largely be unsuccessful with it. I’m considering all the shows and films for when I made the list and these were the 5 favorite that have always stayed with me when considering the “Star Trek Universe.” Also there will be story SPOILERS for all the characters on this list.
5) General Chang
Christopher Plummer’s is a warrior driven by a fear of change as war is always known and what it means for what it means to be Klingon. He frames Kirk and McCoy for the death of Chancellor Gorkon and nearly succeeds in stopping the peace process of the Khitomer Accords as the only reason he loses is he didn’t bring backup and his Federation conspirators were discovered before they could assassinate the Federation President. Chang is ruthless but also has a respect for Kirk as a soldier as he is clearly enjoying the final battle against Kirk and Captain Sulu as he quotes Shakespeare and pummels them both from his cloaked ship. Like most of the adversaries on this list his cleverness is part of what makes him stand out as well as his ideology built on war that he is unable to grow past. To him there could be no Klingon Empire without war and it blinded him to the suffering of his people. He was powerful both at getting under the Federation’s skin with words and in battle. R.I.P. Christopher Plummer for playing one of the best villains in “Star Trek” and made the film “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” so memorable.
Gowron is a character who is driven by personal ego and honor versus the societal honor that guided the ideology of General Chang. When we first meet Gowron he shows how crafty he is as he is willing to trade a seat on the High Council to become Chancellor and his working with the Federation against the Duras family in the Klingon Civil War. Robert O’Reilly captured the joy this character has in both the political and personal battles. He loves combat and all moves he does are to build himself up and diminish potential threats. We see this in his doing away with the Khitomer Accords to go to war with Cardassia, believing they were taken over by Changelings and his taking all of Worf’s families money and land when he refused to support the Klingon Empire in their war. He later does this again when General Martok’s star is rising and so he takes control of the Dominion War to send Martok on impossible missions. This leads to his undoing as Worf who is now of House Martok challenges and kills him. Gowron own personal honor and ego are what make him so compelling and crafty are also what end up being his undoing as it was putting himself before his people that lead to Worf’s challenge, that was tactically backed by the Federation. O’Reilly created a memorable character and he is probably my favorite Klingon besides General Chang lasting through “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
Jeffrey Combs’s amazing Weyoun (all the ones we meet) is a character driven by ideology like General Chang. Though Weyoun’s is religious as it is his worship of the fascist Founders that drive his diplomatic and military actions in the Alpha Quadrant. He is the face of the Dominion and the enforcer of their will and Combs does it beautifully. He can act kind and is curious about the worlds the Dominion is to conquer. He is limited in what he can see and taste but can hear extremely well and navigates the Alpha Quadrant politics extremely well. He really only loses when the Female Changeling’s hate for solids overrides her tactics when combined with the deadly virus against the Founders. Weyoun brings in the Breen and the Cardassians and if his cautiousness had been bettered adhered to by egos like Dukat and the Founders the Dominion probably would have won the war. In the end the line of Weyoun is ended after Damar destroys his cloning facility and Garak kills the last Weyoun. He was a memorable villain who truly captured the complexity and threat of the Dominion throughout “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”
2) Khan Noonien Singh
Ricardo Montalban’s Khan Noonien Singh is an icon of “Star Trek.” Appearing first in “Space Seed” in “Star Trek: The Original Series” he bested Captain Kirk and his crew and won enough to the point that he was given his own planet with his augments as Kirk thought Federation rehabilitation of this past Earth tyrant impossible. The augments of which Khan is one of caused World War 3 and you feel their influence through “Trek.” Sadly, this comes back to bite Kirk as the planet Seti Alpha VI shifted orbit leading to much of Khan’s crew and family dying. He succeeds in revenge to as even though he doesn’t defeat Kirk it is only through Spock’s death he failed. This is the best revenge story in “Star Trek” and we see all the failed attempts to replicate it in Shinzon, Nero, Alternate Khan, Krall, etc. Most films tried to create this same magic but none are as personal as the losses Khan faced and his ego and rage are incomparable. All he does is to hurt Kirk and the Federation, even to his dying breath. Khan is a Shakespearean tragic figure and I can’t wait to review “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” He is easily one of the best and compelling characters to come out of “Star Trek.”
1) Gul Dukat
Mark Alaimo’s Gul Dukat is the most compelling villain to come out of “Star Trek.” This former Prefect of Bajor is responsible for the occupation that killed millions but fails ever to see how he is responsible. Dukat’s ego is what drives him and his need to impress those he respects (as a way to show he is right to himself). This is most apparent in his relationship with Captain Sisko and Major Kira as he sees their validation of him what he needs to be right and understood. This villain is wonderfully complicated to as he takes in his half-Bajoran daughter Zyal leading to his family and the Cardassian Government exiling him to him becoming a rogue fighter against the Klingons in the Klingon-Cardassian War. It is in this war he finds his out by negotiating with the Dominion to rule Cardassia after which he retook Deep Space Nine, from where he had ruled Bajor prior. Eventually it all comes crashing down when the Federation retakes the station and his second-in-command Damar kills his daughter. He breaks with reality at this point and after escaping Federation captivity starts a Pah-Wraith cult as he attempts to destroy Bajor once and for all. He nearly succeeds again but Kai Winn’s change of heart and Captain Sisko’s arrival stop him as he is trapped forever with the Pah-Wraiths as his final fate. This villain had so many rises and falls and never stops being interesting, charming and narcissistic. He is an intelligent villain even after he psychologically breaks and is set-up as a threat from the very first season of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” He had a great arc and Marc Alaimo gives such an amazing performance as the best villain in all of “Star Trek.”
I’m curious who your favorite villains in “Star Trek” are too. This was a fun list to make.