8 Star Trek Enemy Aliens Who Became Heroes

Many of Star Trek’s best heroes hail from alien species that Starfleet have deemed to be enemies, proving that one should never judge by appearances.

star-trek-enemy-aliens-became-heroes

Summary

  • Star Trek teaches not to judge by appearances, so allies can be found in former enemies.
  • Characters like Worf, Quark, and Borg Queen Agnes show enemies can become heroes in Star Trek’s vast universe of shifting alliances.
  • Nuanced characters like Elim Garak, Tendi, and Seven of Nine show the depth and growth of Star Trek’s heroes.

If Star Trek has taught audiences anything over the past six decades, it’s that one should never judge by appearances, as proved by numerous enemy aliens who became heroes. Gene Roddenberry believed in “infinite diversity in infinite combinations”, and this is evident in how every Star Trek show strives to explore the nuance in Starfleet’s greatest enemies. One of the most notable ways that Star Trek: The Next Generation achieved this was in the episode “I, Borg”, in which Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) had to confront his trauma at the hands of the Collective via an encounter with the individualistic drone Hugh (Jonathan del Arco).

Ultimately, Star Trek‘s United Federation of Planets is an alliance which can provide security in an unpredictable universe. Former enemies of the Federation can become allies or even members, depending on the circumstances. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Dominion War created a temporary alliance between the Federation, the Klingons, and the Romulans, something which would have been unheard of during the time of Star Trek: The Original Series. The fact that Starfleet’s enemies can also become heroes is one of many reasons that the Star Trek universe is so rich.

Star trek worf spock quark

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8 Lt. Worf (Klingon)

Star Trek: The Next Generation season 1

Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) is the ultimate Star Trek alien enemy turned hero. When conceiving Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gene Roddenberry wanted to communicate that Starfleet had made peace with Star Trek: The Original Series‘ main antagonists, the Klingon Empire. A Klingon bridge officer would be a quick way to visually communicate this and so Worf became a symbolic recurring character in TNG season 1. Thankfully, Rick Berman and the TNG writers realized how much presence Michael Dorn had as Worf in the pilot episode, and swiftly made plans to expand the character into Star Trek‘s best-loved Klingon and one of its greatest heroes.

Michael Dorn holds the record for the most Star Trek appearances, clocking up 285 performances across TV and film.

7 Quark and Rom (Ferengi)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fixed the villainous Ferengi after they failed to make the desired impact onStar Trek: The Next GenerationDS9 introduced Ferengi bartender Quark (Armin Shimerman) and his brother Rom (Max Grodénchik) and they quickly made an impression on audiences. Quark’s unforgivable crimes in DS9 were always tempered by his conscience and desire to do the right thing. Despite his criminal nature and insatiable thirst for profit, Quark was responsible for some truly heroic acts, the most notable of which was risking his life to give Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) the information needed to retake Deep Space Nine from the Dominion in DS9 season 6.

Quark’s brother Rom also subverted the villainous image of the Ferengi in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In one of his best episodes, “Bar Association”, Rom unionized the staff at Quark’s Bar to secure better pay and conditions. Like his brother Quark, Rom also played a pivotal role in the Dominion War, by inventing self-replicating mines to block the Dominion from sending reinforcements through the wormhole. Rom was eventually made Grand Nagus, allowing him to roll out progressive societal change back home on Ferenginar. Rom’s rise was clearly influenced by his heroic son, Nog (Aron Eisenberg) who was the first Ferengi to join Starfleet.

6 Agnes Jurati (Borg Queen)

Star Trek: Picard season 2

Alison Pill as Agnes Jurati/The Borg Queen in Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek: Picard season 2’s hybrid of the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching) and Doctor Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) began as a mysterious and threatening force on the bridge of the USS Stargazer. However, once Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his friends learned more about who she actually was, Agnes was able to fulfill her heroic destiny. Having merged with the Borg Queen from an alternate universe, Agnes chose to use the powers of the Collective for good. This benevolent version of the Borg Queen and her Collective stood guard over the mysterious temporal anomaly that was threatening the Federation.

The cause of Star Trek: Picard season 2’s temporal anomaly was never revealed, being written off by Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) as “weird s**t” in season 3.

Various Borg Queen incarnations throughout the Star Trek franchise

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5 Elim Garak (Cardassian)

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s inscrutable intelligence agent, Elim Garak (Andrew Robinson) was the show’s greatest anti-hero. When the Cardassian Union joined the Dominion, Garak remained loyal to his Starfleet and Federation colleagues aboard Deep Space Nine. It was always clear that the Cardassian tailor had done some morally questionable, even criminal, things in his past, but many of Garak’s best DS9 episodes were about his quest for redemption. During the Dominion War, Garak helped Sisko with a top secret mission to involve the Romulans in the conflict, and eventually helped to liberate Cardassia from the Founders and the Vorta.

4 Lt. D’Vana Tendi (Orion)

Star Trek: Lower Decks

Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells) has been instrumental in changing Starfleet’s perceptions about the Orions. Since Star Trek: The Original Series, the Orions have had a reputation as pirates, thieves, and slavers, but Tendi proved that the species have hidden depths. Like Worf before her, Tendi is proving herself to be a kick-ass Star Trek hero, displaying her fighting skills in Lower Decks season 4. As Tendi, a.k.a. the Mistress of the Winter Constellations returns to Orion in Lower Decks season 5, she will have plenty more opportunities for heroics.

3 Gwyndala (Vau N’Kat)

Star Trek: Prodigy

As the cloned progeny of Star Trek: Prodigy‘s Diviner (John Noble), Gwyndala (Ella Purnell) began the series in opposition to Dal and the crew of the USS Protostar. However, Gwyn quickly became one of Prodigy‘s most important heroes thanks to her knowledge of the Vau N’Akat and their tragic future. Gwyn’s gifts for understanding alien languages also proved invaluable when the Living Construct laid waste to Starfleet and the Federation in Prodigy‘s season 1 finale. Gwyndala will spend Prodigy season 2 preparing her people for the arrival of Starfleet in the hopes she can prevent their tragic future from coming to pass.

2 Thy’lek Shran (Andorian)

Star Trek: Enterprise

The Andorians were initially great enemies of both the Vulcans and Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). However, the antagonistic relationship between Thy’lek Shran (Jeffrey Combs) and Captain Archer in Star Trek: Enterprise became something of a begrudging friendship. Shran was instrumental in averting a second devastating Xindi attack on Earth by relaying covert Andorian intelligence to the Enterprise NX-01. Shran then ran interference while the Enterprise crew stole the Xindi’s super weapon and later helped Archer deactivate a Romulan drone ship. Shran and Archer’s partnership was key to establishing better relations between Earth and Andoria, leading to the foundation of the United Federation of Planets.

Jeffrey Combs as Weyoun, Shran, and Brunt

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1 Captain Seven of Nine (Borg)

Star Trek: Voyager/Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Voyager‘s Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) had a harder time in Starfleet than Worf or Tendi, due to the prevailing fears about the Borg Collective. Seven proved herself to be a great hero during Voyager and did so once again when she joined Admiral Jean-Luc Picard’s crew decades later. Some of Seven’s most heroic actions include taking the USS Titan-A back from the Borg without loss of life in Star Trek: Picard season 3, and facilitating a devastating civil war within the Borg Collective in Voyager season 7.

Sadly, Seven had to deal with a great deal of prejudice after the USS Voyager returned to the Alpha Quadrant. This prejudice prevented Seven from becoming a commissioned Starfleet officer for decades. Finally, after the endorsements of Admirals Jean-Luc Picard and Kathryn Janeway, she was accepted into the organization and swiftly climbed the ranks. Now that Star Trek has made Seven the captain of the Enterprise, it reaffirms that Starfleet and the Federation should always strive to see the nuance in their enemies, because they just might become their greatest heroes.

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