• Characters like Lon Suder in
    Star Trek
    can have dark pasts and violent tendencies, adding complexity to the show’s stories.
  • Thy’lek Shran is a formidable and unpredictable character in
    Star Trek,
    blurring the line between friend and foe.
  • Q, a powerful being in
    Star Trek
    , challenges the crew’s morality and explores the darker aspects of human nature.

A character someone might describe as “dark” could be mysterious, frightening, or even dangerously clever. They might have evil or malevolent intentions, although that doesn’t have to be the case. A lot of these nuanced characters can be found in the complex world of Star Trek, sometimes as a part of the long-term story or as a memorable one-off character.


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The whole Star Trek franchise has always had its darker moments, even in the earliest days of its shiny idealism, so this wasn’t something that started with relatively new concepts like Section 31, which is the subject of an upcoming movie. The writers have been experimenting with the concept of the galaxy’s inner darkness since the days of D.C. Fontana, and these are some of the most memorable characters who exhibit it.

6 Lon Suder

A Rebel With Murder On His Mind

Lon Suder and Tuvok mind meld

  • First Appearance: Star Trek: Voyager, S2E16, “Meld.”
  • Played By: Brad Dourif

Lon Suder was a minor character who took on a pivotal role for a few episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. The episode “Meld” introduced him and his long personal history of violent tendencies that predated his career in space, and whatever was in his head was so disturbing it almost broke the highly disciplined Tuvok when he saw it for himself.

Part of the reason Suder joined the Maquis was that he thought that some real fighting with a rebel group would stem some of his more depraved tendencies, and for a while that seemed to work. However, he had only been working as an engineer on of the Voyager crew for ten months when he compulsively killed another crew member and hid the body.

The storyline of how Tuvok tried to help Suder lasted for a few episodes, and things might have turned out better for him had the ship not been attacked by a double agent with a biological weapon. Suder survived the attack and helped the holographic Doctor regain control of the ship, using some of the violent tendencies that he thought were suppressed, but he was ultimately killed by a Kazon soldier in the final battle.

5 Thy’lek Shran

Archer’s “Frenemy” From Andoria

A group of Andorians, led by Shran, in Enterprise's "The Andorian Incident".

  • First Appearance: Star Trek: Enterprise, S1E7, “The Andorian Incident.”
  • Played By: Jeffrey Combs

A proud General of the Andorian Imperial Guard and the captain of one of its most powerful warships, the Kumari, Thy’lek Shran seemed an unlikely ally. However, a few mutually beneficial chance meetings and common grievances made him one of Captain Jonathan Archer’s most reliable friends-in-need.


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Shran was a recurring character who seemed to have a similar mission to Enterprise, but of a more aggressive and offensive nature. He is outspoken and aggressive for the most part, which seems to be the custom of his people, but he has a talent for planning several steps ahead and maintaining an effective deadpan even when he has murder on his mind. Any time Shran appears, there’s no telling which side he’ll be on.

4 Gabriel Lorca

But Was It Even Really Him?

Gabriel_Lorca Star Trek Discovery

  • First Appearance: Star Trek: Discovery, S1E5, “Choose Your Pain.”
  • Played By: Jason Isaacs

Gabriel Lorca was always a hard man, but one of his best and oldest friends, Katrina Cornwall, said the man she knew was “measured” and “reasoned” and that this person seemed to have a cold, vicious streak in addition to those qualities. Lorca’s appointment as captain of Discovery, a ship with an off-the-book crew and experimental equipment on a shady secret mission, wasn’t a coincidence. He was the ideal choice for the job.

Gabriel Lorca was calculating and ruthless, masterful at hiding his true identity as a mistaken refugee from the Mirror Universe, as Cornwall suspected and eventually confirmed. He pushed for the continuing development of the Spore Drive even though it was killing the tardigrade, for example, and most of his actions were part of a larger plan to get back home to the Mirror Universe.

3 Seska

A Double Agent With A Dark Past

Seska Star Trek Voyager firing phaser

  • First Appearance: Star Trek: Voyager, S1E11, “State of Flux.”
  • Played By: Martha Hackett

Originally, she was Bajoran, and one of the more outspoken and reticent members of the Maquis rebellion, which was integrated into the Voyager crew. Despite some of the close relationships that she formed with her new shipmates, Seska wasn’t discreet about her distaste for the Federation or Starfleet.


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After she needed medical attention, the Doctor discovered that she was actually a Cardassian who had been surgically altered to look Bajoran. Her excuse that the DNA was from a bone marrow transplant fell apart when she was confronted by Chakotay.

She then explained all of her dark plans, starting with pretending to be Bajoran while spying on Starfleet and the Federation for the Cardassian empire, right before her new Kazon allies transported her to their ship. Seska would be a recurring antagonist throughout the series, and she always had another dark and manipulative scheme to seduce new allies and destroy old ones.

2 Q

Phenomenal Cosmic Powers And Cruel Pranks

john-de-lancie-q-star-trek- tng farpoint

  • First Appearance: Star Trek: The Next Generation, S1E1, “Encounter at Farpoint.”
  • Played By: John de Lancie

Although the Q Continuum wasn’t officially named in the annals of Starfleet until the time of TNG, it’s likely they had already made a few appearances, such as in the TOS episode, “The Squire of Gothos.” As an all-powerful being with powers similar to a god, Q made it clear from the beginning that he wasn’t on anyone’s side.

He insisted that his meddlesome visits to Captain Picard’s ship were in the name of science or morbid curiosity. As the series progressed, and we learned more about his nature, it became more obvious that something darker was going on. The character of Q was a handy tool that the writers of Star Trek used to explore the sinister side of human nature if the species were to evolve to the same level of power.

1 Kodos The Executioner

A Dark And Tragic Figure

star trek tos captain kirk governor kodos anton karidian

  • First Appearance: Star Trek: The Original Series, S1E13, “The Conscience of the King.”
  • Played By: Arnold Moss

Outer space can be filled with grief and horror as much as joy and wonder, and this episode describes some of both. This is one of the darkest stories in the whole franchise, never mind TOS, and it deals with the generational problems of evil as much as its nuances.

He gained the nickname Kodos the Executioner after executing half the residents of a human colony to alleviate the threat of starvation. His efforts were seen as too much too soon, but before he could face justice, he was assumed dead, although his body was destroyed beyond recognition.

Years later, Kodos was rediscovered by two survivors of his purge, Captain James Kirk and one of his crew, Lieutenant Kevin Riley. He had taken on a new identity as Anton Karidian, the leader of a traveling group of Shakespearean actors, but his past followed him in the form of his daughter Lenore. She was secretly hunting down the last eyewitnesses from Talos IV and ending their lives before they could identify her father.


Star Trek
Created by
Gene Roddenberry

Creation Year

First Film
Star Trek: The Motion Picture

First TV Show
Star Trek: The Original Series

Latest Film
Star Trek Beyond

Latest TV Show
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds


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