Space may be the final frontier, but there’s no end in sight for the Star Trek universe. Since the original show’s premiere over 50 years ago, Star Trek has given viewers an opportunity to see what our future could be like. The original series was ahead of time by airing the first interracial kiss between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols. With Star Trek: Voyager, we were introduced to Captain Janeway, a capable female captain with advanced scientific knowledge and sharp tactical mind. The latest addition to the Star Trek universe, Star Trek: Discovery, broke more barriers with having a black woman, Sonequa Martin-Green, as the series lead.
In all of its variations, Star Trek has given us a lot of developed characters with interesting stories. Even though the bridge will always have certain types of people there – a captain, a commander, ensigns, and so on – each character brings something unique to the Star Trek universe. Some of the most unique characters have been the powerful ones: with all of the crews meeting new life forms nearly every day, there are bound to be some characters with interesting powers. Here at CBR, our sensors indicate that there are at least 20 powerful Star Trek characters to analyze. Computer, locate the most powerful Star Trek characters and rank them.
Guinan is one of the few survivors of her kind, the El-Aurian. Her job aboard the USS Enterprise-D is technically running the lounge area Ten Forward, but she also provides counsel for her patrons. A lot of the Enterprise-D crew, including Captain Picard, will talk to Guinan if they are having a problem with something. With her generally calm demeanor, you wouldn’t expect Guinan to have powers, but certain Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes have hinted that she does.
The episode where this is the most obvious is “Q Who” towards the end of season 2. Q once again causes a ruckus on the Enterprise-D and kidnaps the Captain. Guinan immediately senses that something is wrong, and tells Riker that she’s only gotten these feelings a couple of times. When Q returns to the ship with Picard, it looks as though Q and Guinan have met before. Q is an incredibly powerful being, and when he raises his hand as if to attack Guinan, she raises both of hers in a similar fashion. While we don’t know what specifically Guinan’s powers are, they intimidate Q enough for him to suggest to Picard that she be removed from the ship.
Trelane is a villain-of-the-week character from Star Trek: The Original Series. We meet him on the unnoted planet of Gothos which, according to their scans, has no sign of human life because of its inhospitable atmosphere. When Sulu and Captain Kirk disappear from the bridge, it becomes clear to the crew that at least someone must be down there.
The Enterprise crew was not expecting to find a powerful cosmic being who's obsessed with Napoleon.
Trelane is clearly lonely on his planet but has no manners. He demands that the Enterprise crew stay to tell him more about battles and conquests from 900 years ago (which is the time period he currently sees on Earth because of #science). Trelane can freeze people at will and transfer matter from place to place as well as alter the matter. When the crew tries to escape, Trelane can move the planet to always be in front of the ship. Just when it seems like the crew is out of options, Trelane is summoned by green lights who are apparently his parents. They chastise him for his treatment of the crew and threaten that they won’t allow him to make more planets if he keeps up this attitude. Ultimately, Trelane vanishes for what we assume is a timeout.
18 GARY MITCHELL
Gary Mitchell was the Lieutenant Commander of the USS Enterprise and served under Captain Kirk. Though he was friends with Kirk, he turns out to be the very first “villain” the Enterprise crew has to face. While trying to find out what happened to the USS Valiant, Mitchell is hit by a strange galactic force that accelerates his already-existing extra-sensory perception. From there, his powers compound: he’s able to read faster than anyone should, sense who’s behind him and has an eidetic memory. Sulu notes that his powers would increase at a geometric rate, which means he will continue to get exponentially more powerful.
Mitchell also demonstrates that he has telepathic abilities, but this coincides with his personality growing colder. In the end, Kirk decides that it may be best to maroon Mitchell before he can hurt anyone. However, Kirk’s plan doesn’t go as planned, and despite Kirk’s efforts, Mitchell proves to be beyond help. Mitchell’s humanity is gone, and his need to test his increasing powers on the crew continues to grow. Kirk has to make the call to kill him. Doctor Dehner sacrifices herself so that Kirk can eliminate Mitchell before he can do more harm to the Enterprise.
17 THE BORG QUEEN
The Borg are enhanced humanoids with a collective mind, which is what makes them dangerous. There is no individuality within the Borg. However, specific Borg characters stand out, and one of them is the Borg Queen from Star Trek: Voyager and the movie Star Trek: First Contact. The Borg Queen is similar to the queen of an insect hive; she brings order to the drones. She’s the head of one of the most feared species in the Star Trek universe. What’s even scarier is her appearance, where you sometimes see her as just a head and torso!
The Borg are feared by everyone in the universe because they are ruthless and efficient.
Because of the hive mind, everything is done quickly, including assimilation. Even Captain Picard has fallen victim to the Borg’s assimilation, and he spent some time as a Borg named Locutus. The Borg have the ability to strip planets of all of their machinery, and even their ships can regenerate. All the Borg do is consume, and they learn about new technology and species by assimilating them. In the Borg’s first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation, assimilation can start as early as infancy, which is horrifying.
16 SEVEN OF NINE
Seven of Nine is another Borg who is worth mentioning on this list because she is one of few to transition from a Borg back to being (somewhat) human. Unlike Picard, Seven of Nine was a Borg for over a decade, and thus her transition time was more difficult. It takes a while for the crew to trust her, and rightfully so: Starfleet is used to fleeing from the Borg, not welcoming them on their crew. However, because of Voyager’s isolation, it was better for them to bring Seven aboard.
Seven of Nine’s use of Borg technology helped the Voyager crew travel that much faster to get home. She is a combination of Borg technical knowledge and free will. We believe her to be more powerful than the Borg Queen because she learns how to make decisions as an individual, which gives her an edge over the Borg and humans. Seven also has a leg up on the Borg Queen because she is later able to resist the Borg Queen’s command to develop a nanoprobe virus. Seven’s sense of morality is tested a lot in Voyager, and she’s also given a lot of human experiences that develop her character further.
Data is the only android in Starfleet, and as such, he is quite unique. His mental prowess is staggering because he embodies the forefront of technology. Dr. Soong created him to be the perfect android, and Data is so advanced that he’s considered to be sentient, according to Captain Janeway. Data’s mind, as well as his physical strength, have gotten the Enterprise-D crew out of many tough spots (not a pun about his pet cat, but we’re going to leave it anyway).
Besides Data, how many other Starfleet officers are strong enough to lift a car?
One of the most dangerous times for the Enterprise-D crew was when the Borg assimilated Captain Picard. Data was crucial to their survival – it was Data who found a way to destroy the Borg cube that was heading towards Earth. Because he doesn’t require sleep, Data often takes command at night, and also when the crew strangely began to lack REM sleep and were not fit for duty. A common Star Trek universe plot point sees the baddie-of-the-week control the mind of someone on the crew. This wasn’t ever much of a threat for Data because of his powerful, positronic artificial mind.
14 THE FOUNDERS
The Founders are the head of the Dominion, an interstellar state that clashed with the Deep Space Nine station. The Dominion represents totalitarian rule and has claimed many planets over thousands of years. Their ideology is to “bring order to chaos,” and the Founders were by and large considered a myth. Most of the dealings with the Dominion had been through the Jem’Hadar, the military branch of the Dominion. However, the Deep Space Nine crew met the Founders, and they weren’t what they were expecting.
The Founders are Changelings, just like Odo, Chief of Security at Deep Space Nine, who always thought he was the only one of his kind. The Changelings used to be persecuted for being different. So now they’ve claimed “Changelings” as their own name, and they control the destinies of hundreds of other races. Essentially, the Changelings can shift their form at will and, with the Great Link, the Founders are harmonious in their goals to conquer planets. This makes them a huge threat to Starfleet. Thankfully, Odo gets them to stand down in their first conflict with the Deep Space Nine crew.
A common starting point for a Star Trek story is that there will be no appearance of life on a planet, and then the crew discovers that they were very wrong. This happened to the Enterprise crew in Star Trek: The Original Series with Apollo. The Enterprise is scanning a planet that is about four billion years old when a giant green hand comes out of the planet to grab the ship. The hand is pure energy, and soon they see the head of a man. He calls them children, and crew soon learns that this is Apollo. Yes, the god.
Though his sparkly gold toga is distracting, Apollo's powers in this one episode are great and godlike.
He can take out communications, transporters and phasers. He can make anyone wear whatever he wants them to wear (which he uses on poor Carolyn for a sparkly pink toga number). He can grow to be giant-sized and essentially perform Force chokes. The crew figures out that he draws his energy from his home base structure, so setting fire to it is the only way they are able to escape. If not, they would have been doomed to worship him for the end of time.
12 SPECIES 8472
Species 8472 is the only species that can make the Borg fear for their lives. In Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Janeway proposes an alliance between the Borg and the Voyager crew – Voyager has the ideas for how to defeat them, and the Borg has the technology to make it happen. This was a fascinating interaction and is what got Seven of Nine on the Voyager.
The reason why the Borg, and Voyager, were so afraid of Species 8472 is because they simply could not be stopped. They are highly intelligent creatures who, as Seven of Nine says, “are the apex of biological evolution.” They appeared to have no weaknesses. The Doctor even remarks that Species 8472 is the “most densely coded life form I’ve ever seen,” and their physiology could withstand just about everything. Introducing their DNA into another lifeform, whether through an attack or not, would consume the victim’s body from the inside out. The mind games they played were equally terrifying. They communicated to Voyager via telepathic messages to Kes saying that “the weak will perish.” So, we understand why Janeway was desperate to make an alliance happen!
Trefayne is one of the council members of Organia, a primitive peaceful culture. Captain Kirk is concerned that the Klingons will use Organia as a base for their war against the Federation, which is why Kirk and Spock beam down to the planet. The Council repeats that they don’t need the Federation’s protection because they are a “simple people.” This is confirmed by Spock who tells the Captain that there has been no advancement in their culture for thousands of years.
However, the Organian Council gives off a weird vibe, especially the alien named Trefayne.
Trefayne knows when the Klingon ships are coming and how many there will be, and he can predict what will happen in the future too. When the Klingons and the Enterprise crew try to fight each other, their ships lose power and their weapons radiate a heat so great that no one can touch them. The smiling peaceful primitive culture is a ruse. Towards the end of the episode, we realize that the Organians are pure energy and thought, and are far beyond humans on an evolutionary scale as we are to an amoeba. They don't require physical forms, and none of them have died for thousands of years.
Kes is an Ocampa who was a part of the Voyager crew for three years. She assisted the holographic Doctor and proved herself to be adept at learning and applying medical knowledge – an eidetic memory helps with that. She also experiences telepathic visions, the first of her species to have them in a while. These mental powers also help her resist aliens who attack by giving the crew members violent hallucinations (which has happened more than once in the Star Trek universe).
Once the crew encountered Species 8472, Kes’ powers advanced further. She could communicate with Species 8472, and she saw visions of the future that actually came to pass. She also gained telekinetic powers in addition to her telepathy – she could perform surgery with her mind! Like many powerful beings in the Star Trek universe, she decides it’s in her best interest to leave and explore her powers. Kes didn’t want to endanger the crew that she had spent so much time with over the years. She becomes non-corporeal and then helps Voyager out by getting them 9,500 light years closer to their home. This is not the last time they see Kes, but it is the last time she is a part of Voyager crew.
9 THE CARETAKER
Something had to take Voyager out far enough for them to have many seasons worth of stories of the ship traveling back home. That something was the Caretaker. The Caretaker is a Nacene, who are energy-based and can assume any physical appearance they wish. Nacenes could live for thousands of years. The Caretaker was referred to as such because he alone is what the Ocampa were depending on for survival – he generated the energy needed for them to live. When he realized he was going to die, he tried to find a replacement.
In his effort to produce a spawn, the Caretaker began abducting ships, including Voyager.
The location of the Caretaker was 70,000 light years away, and he was able to beam Voyager (and apparently other ships too) there in an instant. Captain Janeway manages to convince the Caretaker that caring for the Ocampa doesn’t mean that he has to everything for them: the Ocampa need to “grow up” and take care of themselves. Though the Caretaker sends them information to help the Ocampa survive, he dies before returning the Voyager to their original location. Voyager now has an estimated 75-year journey to get back home because of one being’s powers.
8 KEVIN UXBRIDGE
Kevin sounds like an ordinary name, but Kevin Uxbridge is no ordinary humanoid. The Enterprise-D crew found Kevin Uxbridge and his wife as the sole survivors of Rana IV’s destruction. Though all lifeforms were gone, Kevin, his wife, and his house stood standing. Captain Picard offers to help them, even urging them to come with the Enterprise-D, but Kevin refuses to leave. Though warships continue to return to the planet to attack, Kevin maintains that they are fine. Meanwhile, Troi is losing her mind because she keeps hearing loud music in her head; the same music that plays when Kevin and his wife wind up their music box.
Picard, of course, is suspicious of this, and finds out that Kevin is a Douwd: “an immortal being of disguise and false surroundings.” Kevin assumed a human identity to find love, and he did – but his wife died while fighting back against the planet’s oppressors, the Husnocks. When she died, he regenerated his house and her. In his grief, he accidentally killed all of Husnocks. Like, literally all of them. He feels immense guilt over it, which is why he wanted the Enterprise-D to leave. Before assuming a human identity, Kevin had lived for many thousands of years. We assume that he continued to stay on Rana IV for thousands of years after Picard left him.
When the original Enterprise crew go into the underground chamber of a lifeless planet to meet Sargon, all they see is a glowing orb. However, Sargon is a being that is all energy. These beings can read minds and assume control over bodies. He and two other minds are the only survivors of their kind, and Sargon specifically was tasked with searching the galaxy with his mind to find help. Captain Kirk agrees that the crew should help these beings survive by letting them take control of their bodies and bringing them aboard the Enterprise, so they can do the necessary experiments to live again. In order for this to work, the god-like beings needed to create mechanical bodies quickly before their host bodies succumbed to their higher metabolism and died.
The being that assumes Spock's body, Henoch, wanted to keep the Vulcan's body.
We the viewers were almost okay with this because Leonard Nimoy’s lowkey flirty acting as Henoch in Spock’s body was great. When Sargon catches wind of this, he decides that their kind cannot be trusted with anyone because their mental powers are so advanced. Sargon and his longtime love, Thalassa, resign themselves to oblivion.
6 THE PROPHETS
The Deep Space Nine station is in orbit of Bajor, a planet whose religion involves the Prophets. The pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine introduces us to these beings. They live in the wormhole that Deep Space Nine uses for travel. It’s the only known stable wormhole. Commander Sisko talks with the spiritual leader of the Prophets, who shows him one of the Orbs the Prophets sent to teach its disciples. The Orb allows Sisko to experience his past again, such as meeting his wife for the first time on a beach.
Later, Commander Sisko gets lost in the wormhole and meets the Prophets firsthand. They do not understand time and what it means to be a corporeal being. They can take the appearance of anything they want, and they usually use the consciousness of whoever they’re talking to decide what appearance to take. In Sisko’s case, he most often talked to the entity resembling his wife or his son. The beings can also take control of bodies, which happened at the Deep Space Nine station. The Prophets have a long time feud with the Pah-Wraiths, who were excommunicated from the Prophets long ago. Deep Space Nine had encounters with both of these spiritual beings, and they were significant enough to be a part of the series finale.
When the Enterprise-D crew goes to a quadrant of space that hasn’t been explored yet, they come across an area of blackness that appears and disappears with no predictable pattern. The ship’s sensors show that its a void without matter or energy; somehow, there’s a hole in space that isn’t wormhole. Even Troi can’t get any feelings from it. The ship enters the void, and see other ships: first, a Romulan ship and then the USS Yamato. The crew tries to hail the Yamato, but there are no life signs, and when Riker and Worf beam abroad, they get stuck in a loop on the bridge.
Then, the crew realized that a higher lifeform, Nagilum, must be playing with them.
Troi senses an intelligence that eluded her earlier, and an enormous face appears onscreen that’s a poor imitation of a humanoid. The being calls itself Nagilum, and it wants to experiment on the crew to understand death (which means killing about half of them). Nagilum demonstrates its power to do this on one poor crew member, and Picard gets desperate. Picard activates the self-destruct sequence, so Nagilum’s last trick was to do a pretty good impression of Data and Troi to convince Picard not to do this.
4 THE PAH-WRAITHS
In the Bajoran system, the Prophets are the basis for their religion. The Prophets, a long time ago, cast out “the false Prophets,” who turned into the Pah-Wraiths. The Pah-Wraiths are evil versions of the Prophets. They have similar powers to the Prophets but will use them for nefarious reasons. In one episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a Pah-Wraith takes control of Keiko’s body to blackmail Miles into doing what it wanted. Because of their long-time feud, the Pah-Wraith wanted to destroy the wormhole, which would then destroy the Prophets. It took the entire episode, down to the last second, for Miles to outsmart the Pah-Wraith.
So, the Pah-Wraiths are evil non-corporeal beings that can take control of anyone’s body, as well as assume the appearance of someone. This is certainly a dangerous combination, and something Sisko had to deal with throughout the later seasons of Deep Space Nine. In addition to their evil motivations, they are only different from the Prophets in that they usually take the form of fire spirits. In a later episode of Deep Space Nine, the Pah-Wraiths resurrected Dukat to help with the plan to burn the universe. Sisko’s involvement with the Pah-Wraiths finally ended with the series finale.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out almost 40 years ago, but we cannot forget about that film’s antagonist, V’ger. V’ger first appeared to be an enormous energy cloud whose energy capacity could fuel thousands of starships. So, a rather fearsome first impression. The bursts of energy V’ger unleashed killed Klingon ships and the Epsilon IX space station, so the Enterprise set out to gather more information about V’ger. The energy that V’ger was releasing had the potential to destroy Earth.
The Enterprise crew realized that there was an enormous living machine inside the vast energy cloud.
In the vessel, the data storage was like nothing Starfleet had ever seen before. When V’ger would destroy something, in the wake of the destruction, it gathered all the information it could about it. Because it collected so much information, over time, V’ger gained consciousness. V’ger could also create android copies of humans that were eerily similar, complete with memory patterns. In the end, V’ger wanted to learn more about its Creator and merged with a crew member who was willing to sacrifice himself. Thus, V’ger evolved into something new that we have not seen since.
2 THE TRAVELER
The Traveler is a being from Tau Alpha C who says his real name is not pronounceable by humans. He comes aboard the Enterprise-D as an assistant to Mr. Kosinski, who was altering the warp engines to make them more efficient. Initially, Troi doesn’t feel anything from him, not even a presence, which is usually a cause for concern. We learn that Mr. Kosinski isn’t actually doing anything, and it’s the Traveler who is somehow making the Enterprise-D travel faster than it ever has before.
In a test run, the Traveler pushes himself too far. Wesley sees him fade in and out of existence, and the Enterprise-D travels so fast it ends up over three million light years from where they started. In addition to this problem, which would take them beyond their lifetimes to travel back, the crew starts to see things from their past. Basically, what they think becomes a reality. The Traveler was weakened by his efforts and explains to Picard that his purpose was curiosity and that “thought is the basis of all reality.” The Traveler acts “like a lens that focuses thought,” which explains what’s been going on with the ship and its crew. When the Traveler is strong enough to bring them back, he phases out of reality seemingly for good. But he does appear to his new friend Wesley Crusher in a later episode.
The first crew to meet Q is the Enterprise-D, and Captain Picard calls him one of the most unique life forms he has encountered. Captain Janeway and the Voyager crew, as well as the Deep Space Nine crew also had the unique pleasure of meeting Q. Q is of the Q Continuum, god-like immortal beings. What they think happens. All it takes is the snap of Q’s fingers, but we suspect that’s more for show than anything else. While the crew found his appearances annoying, he seems to have a soft spot for humanity, which he tries to hide by pestering Captain Picard.
Q can take the form of anything he wants, but he seems to prefer appearing as a humanoid male.
He can also do as he pleases, except when he needs something from Captains Picard or Janeway. In Voyager, we actually get some more understanding of the Q Continuum. They are older than we can understand and because of this, they have experienced everything and know everything. No wonder Q likes pranks so much – he’s bored! On the Voyager series, Q develops further when he has a son, the first child born of the Continuum in a millennium.