The Star Trek franchise has extended its reach even further in the last year. Like the infinite galaxy, it seems like there will be no end for Star Trek’s popularity. The classic Star Trek franchise, dubbed as The Original Series, introduced the world to Gene Roddenberry’s inclusive vision of the universe -- but that didn’t mean that Captain Kirk and Starfleet didn’t have foes to fight! The Original Series also introduced the world to Klingons, Romulans, and other species that had a fearsome reputation in the galaxy. Since The Original Series, Star Trek has widened its reach with the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series and films. Led by Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard, The Next Generation is so beloved that fans lost their minds when Stewart announced he was coming back to the role in a new show.
Star Trek: Deep Space 9 explored what the Starfleet is like when the scope is limited to a space station, while Star Trek: Voyager explored the Delta Quadrant. Star Trek: Enterprise focused a pre-Kirk world as a prequel to The Original Series. The latest in the Star Trek family is Star Trek: Discovery, which also acts as a prequel to The Original Series. Each of these different franchises had powerful species that the crews had to deal with. While Starfleet has military and diplomacy duties, their missions often revolve around exploring new worlds. Sometimes the crews find new enemies, but they also find new allies. Here at CBR, we took a look at Star Trek’s most powerful species -- from the Alpha Quadrant to the Delta Quadrant -- and ranked them!
The Romulans’s first appearance was in Star Trek: The Original Series in 1966. Since then, they have also been in several of the subsequent Star Trek series, as well as several films. The Romulans and the Federation have had a complicated relationship over the years.
Romulans are the opposite of Vulcans -- instead of unfeeling, Romulans feel everything, and they act on their rage. A cunning species, the Romulans have a strong military force to back up any actions they may take against the Federation or other planets. Indeed, Romulans have a penchant for conquering other species, which is something the Federation has had to fight against.
Klingons are a classic Star Trek species and for good reason: they are absolutely fascinating. They are a warrior species and have several ceremonies and customs revolving around fighting and honor. Their military strength combined with their traditional values made them a worthy opponent in the Star Trek universe.
Later on, after the wars, the Klingons would have a presence in Starfleet. Lieutenant Commander Worf is probably the most famous Klingon to serve in Starfleet, but there’s also B’Elanna Torres, a half-Klingon who served as U.S.S. Voyager’s chief engineer. However, even though they were in Starfleet, their tempers were still something that had to be managed.
The Cardassians’s first episode in the Star Trek universe was in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Cardassians gave the Enterprise-D crew a formidable enemy, and even characters on Deep Space 9 and Voyager have spoken on the power of the Cardassians.
Odo from Deep Space 9 has even said that the Cardassian intelligence organization is more unforgiving than the Romulan one (which is saying a lot). The Deep Space 9 crew had multiple interactions with the Cardassian character Gul Dukat, who was at times an enemy of Captain Sisko and at times an ally. Even the Voyager crew was affected by the Cardassians, as the only reason the Maquis were present on Voyager in the first place was because of a treaty between the Cardassians and the Federation.
The most famous Ocampa in the Star Trek universe is Kes, who was a character in the first three seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. The Ocampa only live to be nine years old, so they develop quite quickly.
Some Ocampa are capable of great mental abilities, such as Kes. Originally, Kes served on Voyager as an assistant to the holographic Doctor. By the end of the show, however, she had visions of the future and could travel through time. She left the ship as a being of pure energy and helped the ship move forward thousands of light years closer to home.
It’s hard to imagine the Star Trek universe without the Vulcans. The Vulcans have been a presence Star Trek since The Original Series, and continue to be a presence even in Star: Trek Discovery. What makes the Vulcans so powerful is their ability to act only on logic and reason instead of emotions.
The Vulcan physiology also allows them to stay in dangerous environments slightly longer than humans, which is seen in Spock’s sacrifice in The Wrath of Khan. Other reasons why the Vulcans are so powerful are their ability to mind-meld, as well as their physical strength and fast reflexes.
Changelings are shapeshifters, the most prominent one being Odo from Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Changelings aren’t limited to just humanoid forms in their shifting. They can shift into inanimate objects, animals, and even fire!
The Changelings’s weakness with their shifting is they do need time to regenerate in their natural liquid state. While Odo allied himself with Starfleet, several members of his species were “the Founders” of the Dominion, a group that wanted to bring “order” to the universe by taking over everything. Changelings think as a collective and are difficult to kill. They were, therefore, a difficult adversary to have.
The Borg is another prominent species in the Star Trek universe. The Borg thinks as a collective – there is no individuality at all. Their main objective is to assimilate other species: meaning, turning them into Borg and taking their technology. They had the technology and the power to do this. As such, they were feared throughout the galaxy, especially when they succeeded in assimilating Captain Picard.
Members of the Borg are capable of reverting back to their human state, such as Seven of Nine who served on the U.S.S. Voyager. Because of the knowledge she accumulated about different species and technology as a Borg, she was a valuable asset to Voyager.
The Organians were a species that Captain Kirk and Spock encountered in the first season of Star Trek: The Original Series. Kirk and Spock beam down to Organia, which is, at first blush, a pre-industrial planet. However, the Council of Elders soon demonstrates their true power.
The Organians actually are beings of pure energy. The character Trefayne appears to be the most powerful of the lot, as he’s able to also tell what’s going to happen in the near future. In the end, the Klingons and the Federation do not go to war because of the Organians.
7 THE NACENE
The Nacene are a species that were explorers, like the crew on Voyager. Voyager’s first episode was about the Nacene and their relationship with the Ocampa. “The Caretaker” was the Nacene that left behind to care for the Ocampa since the Nacene previously destroyed their atmosphere. Without the Nacene, the Ocampans would have no energy, food, etc.
The Nacene were another species of energy beings that could take human form to communicate. The Caretaker had the power to pull Voyager all the way to the Delta Quadrant to find someone to procreate with before he dies. Janeway confers with The Caretaker, and she chooses to save the Ocampans instead of using the last of his energy reserves to return Voyager to the Alpha Quadrant. This kicked off seven seasons of the U.S.S. Voyager traveling home.
Captain Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise-D are the ones who discovered the Douwd. The Douwd were an immortal species of pure energy that could also take any form and create and destroy lives and environments. When Picard first met a Douwd, the Douwd introduced himself as Kevin Uxbridge.
Kevin had a human wife, and in a moment of intense rage at her demise, he took out an entire species, the invading Husnocks, with a thought. That’s 50 billion lives! Kevin was a pacifist and surprised at his own actions, so he sentenced himself to exile, creating a house and a wife with his powers.
5 SPECIES 8472
If the Borg is afraid of a species, that species must be powerful. Such is the case with Species 8472. Voyager’s experience with Species 8472 was so devastating that it caused a temporary alliance with the Borg. And it led to Seven of Nine’s permanent posting on Voyager.
Species 8472 has biological technology that the Borg, and Voyager, simply could not match. Their purpose was to destroy all life in the galaxy. The Voyager and Borg dream team came up with a plan to use modified nanoprobes in a warhead to fight back. Their plan succeeded, but their experience with Species 8472 wasn’t entirely over.
4 THE PROPHETS
The Deep Space 9 space station was located by a stable wormhole, inside which the Prophets lived. The Prophets are best described as entities: they’re non-corporeal and therefore have a difficult time understanding humans and the progression of time.
The Prophets were the basis for the Bajoran religion, which played a significant role in Captain Sisko’s character development. The Prophets could take any form in visions and could also communicate by using a body as a vessel. The Prophets can also create powerful objects. They sent orbs to teach its disciplines, and upon touching one, Sisko relived his past.
3 THE PAH-WRAITHS
The Pah-Wraiths are excommunicated Prophets. Because they don’t have the morality of the Prophets, they use their powers for evil. Instead of striving to teach others, they prefer to destroy. In one Deep Space 9 episode, a Pah-Wraith uses its powers to possess Keiko O’Brien to blackmail Miles into destroying the wormhole that houses the Prophets.
The Pah-Wraiths could also appear as fire spirits, in case just being evil wasn’t enough. Towards the end of Deep Space 9, the Pah-Wraiths even went so far to resurrect Gul Dukat to burn the universe. Evil non-corporeal beings are not to be underestimated is what we’ve basically learned from the Star Trek: Deep Space 9 series.
The Voyager crew encountered the Ramurans twice, but only Commander Chakotay will remember it. This is because the Ramurans have a unique pheromone that makes people forget about them. Combined with their stealthy technology, the Ramurans have the potential to do a lot of bad in the universe. Fortunately, they prefer to be isolated, and it’s illegal for one of their kind to leave.
A Ramuran named Kellin appeared on Voyager because she was hunting down one of those escapees. She partnered up with Chakotay to help find her missing target, and in the process, they fell in love. When she leaves, he forgets about her, but then she comes back! Chakotay falls in love with her again, but Kellin loses her memories and leaves. It’s a sad story, but Ramurans proved that they are a unique power in the Delta Quadrant.
Q is both the name of the species and the name of one the most popular Star Trek characters of all time. The rapport between Q and Captain Picard -- where Picard is exasperated at Q’s antics -- made for some classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes.
Q has the power to do anything he wishes, including going back and forward in time, with just the snap of his fingers. With the Q’s infinite powers, it gets a little boring, which is why Q visits multiple Starfleet officers, including Voyager’s Captain Janeway and Deep Space 9’s Commander Sisko. It must get lonely being all-powerful.