Star Wars Vs Star Trek is not a new battle. Fanboys of both genres have debated the topic for decades but we’re not going to go into that today. Instead, we’re going to look at the bad guys. It’s time to decide who has the best villains. Oh and this article contains spoilers, but they’re old spoilers and if you don’t already know them you need to go and watch both Star Wars and Star Trek right now.
Star Was has some of the most iconic villains in fantasy and space opera. Villains such as Darth Vadar have been pop culture icons, and since Disney bought the right to Star Wars and relaunched the franchise, the legends live on in the excitement, awe and fear of a new generation.
The mastermind behind all things evil in the original Star Wars films. Darth Sidious doesn’t have the instant impact that other villains such as Darth Vader and Boba Fett does, but in many ways, he’s the evilest of all the Star Wars villains.
One of the best things about Darth Sidious, aka Sheev Palpatine, aka The Emperor, is his ridiculously high intelligence level, cunning and patience. After his training as a Sith he manages to manipulate his way through the political system, eventually being named Supreme Chancellor. But his hunger for power knew no bounds, and from that point, he established himself as The Emperor after replacing the Galactic Republic with the Galactic Empire.
He’s also the reason why we have Darth Maul and Darth Vader (also Darth Tyranus briefly) creating these two equally awesome villains as his apprentice. The guy turned the Jedi “it” boy Anakin Skywalker to the dark side and also executed Order 66 which all but annihilated the Jedi Order. Out of all the villains in the Star Wars franchise, none have been able to achieve more than Darth Sidious.
Darth Maul is probably one of the coolest looking villains. His entire character design must have been influenced by Satan himself, from the red skin to the horns. He also had arguably the coolest lightsabre in existence, with red beams coming from both ends.
Trained in both martial arts and The Force, Darth Maul was used by Darth Sidious as an effective assassin. Or sort of effective. His villainy is undermined by the fact when we meet him, despite his past of killing many powerful people (and innocent children), he doesn’t actually win many fights on the big screen. That being said, his fight scenes were some of the best.
Vader is the ultimate bad boy. When the first Star Wars films came out, he definitely came on screen and a scary foe. His casual choking of underlings and enemies alike using telekinesis was pure badassery. His completely hidden face, iconic breathing and overall mysteriousness added to his infamy.
What really cements him as one of the ultimate villains is when his identity is revealed. The “No. I am your father” line shocked audiences in one of the biggest original movie twists. The misquoted “Luke, I am your father” line is probably going to be remembered for all of human history.
Darth Vader is also immortal. Well, obviously he’s dead in the movie franchise. But we see Kylo Ren with his mask in The Force Awakens and we get an amazing scene with him at the end of Rogue One. It just shows that his immese popularity is so big, Disney and Lucas Films can’t not have his presence in their films. He adds that extra layer we apparently need.
Not so much a villain but certainly a bad guy. Boba Fett hates the Jedi and has a personal vendetta against them. That makes him the enemy of our heroes, making him a villain. However, rather than hate or fear Boba Fett, he inspired a whole generation of kids to be like him.
Why? Because he’s just so gosh darn cool. Everything from his helmet, to his gun, to the way he interacted with Vader just oozed badass. His costume is also one of the most iconic within the Star Wars franchise, and despite him having a relatively small role he has a huge fan base. So popular in fact that Dinsey and Lucas Films have been trying to write a whole film centered around the character.
Kylo Ren is the bad guy for the newest Star Wars films. Son of none other than Han Solo and Princess Leia. Born Ben Solo, he trained under Luke Skywalker as a Jedi. At some point however he was turned to the dark side by Supreme Leader Snork and slaughtered his fellow Jedi Students.
From there he takes charge of the First Order in much the same way Darth Vader takes charge of the Empire. He has a pretty cool lightsabre and very strong powers with the force.
Kylo doesn’t feel menacing and fearsome like Vader did, however. On screen, he is shown to be young, insecure and more than a little angsty. His emo-kid vibes definitely take away from the big scary bad guy image. Although strong, it’s also shown he hasn’t been properly trained by Snork yet and his lightsabre crackles from his lack of control over his raw power.
Him murdering his father, Han Solo, is the development arc that might push him into true villainy in the future films. He has a lot of potential as a bad guy. A sort of Anakin 2.0.
Possibly the most famous of all the Star Trek villains, Khan is shown as a genetically engineered superhuman with enhanced strength, intelligence and everything else.
Using his intelligence and charm, he is able to manipulate himself into a position of taking over the Enterprise and imprisoning Kirk. Kirk does manage to escape, and Khan and his crew are sent to Ceti Alpha V. It’s not the last of him though, and he returns as the main villain in Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan.
Here we find Khan bent on getting revenge on Kirk. After being exiled to Ceti Alpha V, many of Khan’s crew, including his wife, die on the hostile barren planet or are killed by the planet’s predatory Ceti Eels. He plants said eels into Terrell and Chekov’s brains and is able to use them as spies.
When things don’t go his way, he commits himself to self-destructing, as long as he can take down his nemesis Kirk along with him
The Benedict Cumberbatch version of Khan in the Star Trek film reboots isn’t as interesting, relying more on sheer power than intelligence and manipulation.
Khan is a villain, however, viewers can feel empathy for him. His revenge comes after the death and grief of his wife and people who were killed after being exiled to a hostile planet by the Federation. Whilst we condone his actions, we can definitely understand them. This 3D characterisation adds depth to him as a character.
Often forgotten, Tolian Soran is also a bad guy due to grief. Unlike Khan, however, he actually manages to kill Kirk.
Soran’s planet, wife and children were all destroyed by the Borg. He and a few others were thrown into another dimension called the Nexus. In this dimension, he was able to live in a place unaffected by time and was able to live in a place where his wife and children are still alive.
He is pulled out of the Nexus by Scotty, who heard a distress call. Upset that he is back in a reality where his family are dead, he tries everything he can to get back to the Nexus to be with them.
A noble and sympathetic enough goal. It’s just a shame that his plans to do so included destroying a couple of stars, planets and hundreds of millions of lives. He briefly succeeds and is able to be returned to the Nexus.
However Captain Picard and Captain Kirk work together inside the Nexus to stop him (thanks to confusing “time doesn’t exist so we can stop him before he does it!” magic). It’s during this that Kirk sacrifices himself and dies.
Soran as a villain is sympathetic, determined and responsible for outrageous genocide.
Q is one of the longest-running adversaries of those in the Star Trek universe. He is less of a villain and more of an annoying being that comes and pranks them occasionally. That being said, he’s also a being with God-like powers and is able to destroy all of humanity if he wanted to.
He comes and tests humanity often, much to he annoyance ofCaptain Picard (who he especially likes) and Captain Janeway. He often presents our heroes with interesting trials. Often these actually have positive learning outcomes.
In this way, many can argue Q is in fact not a villain, but an ally. There are episodes when he asks for help from Starfleet.
However, Q’s behaviour disrupts not just the lives of Star Fleet but also that of the entire universe. He’s started a civil war with his own people. His casual manner seems fun and inconsequential. But there is definitely a part of you that fully believes he would destroy humanity if he felt like it.
That casual power to wipe out our entire race, combined with his occasional friendship, combined with his easy-going attitude makes him a very formidable villain.
The Borg are a hivemind race of sorts, they go about forcing other species to join in their robotic ways and takes over their mind. “Resistance is futile” being one of their catchphrases. It’s true as well, once the Borg come after you, it’s almost impossible to get away from them.
At one point they even manage to assimilate Captain Kirk, the revelation of the act truly terrifying. The Borg Queen is also pretty scary in a sort of almost sexy way. You don’t want to be attracted to her, but she’s so confident and alluring when she wants to be. Even with her weird Borg skin and ultimately her wish to assimilate you and take away everything that makes up your individuality.
They also have a really cool cube-shaped ship.
The Klingons can definitely be considered villains within the Star Trek universe, despite some of the series main heroes being Klingon themselves.
Klingons are a powerful, warrior race who are able to conquer a huge amount of space. They are strong enough to be genuine opposition to Starfleet which is made up of many species and races.
Their race is bloodthirsty and put strength above all else. They are well written and have a mass of lore behind them. Because of their nature and culture, they often clash with Starfleet. Many fear the Klingons who have proven themselves in battle.
So popular, they have their own fiction language which thousands have learnt. However, there is no stand-out singular villain. The most well-known Klingon is Worf, who is actually a hero.
The new Star Trek Discovery definitely sets them as the villains and enemy of the series. It will be exciting to see these new Klingons played out and see if they’ll raise the overall villainy of the Klingon race.
The winner: Star Wars
Star Wars by far has the most stand out villains. Characters such as Darth Vader, Boba Fett and Kylo Ren are iconic. They make Star Wars as much as heroes like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. There’s also no problem discerning who’s a bad guy in Star Wars. There’s a literal dark side. Star Wars is able to create villains who invoke fear and awe from audiences.
Star Trek, on the other hand, has much more complex characters. The whole premise of Star Trek, that of exploration and discovery, makes it hard to create true villains. When facing foes, Star Trek often weaves in moral dilemmas. Their bad guys have backstories that make you empathetic towards them.
Not only that, a lot of “bad” guys in Star Trek comes down to whole species or races with whom Star Fleet are at war with. It’s hard to be iconic without a figurehead to represent. Yes, the Borg are fearsome, complex and ultimately pretty baddass. As a whole, however, they simply are not as iconic.