Last week, we asked who the worst characters in Star Trek history were — the series alums you never want to see back — and you told us. This week, we’re still excited for the upcoming movie, but taking a rosier view on things, so we asked who your favorite characters were, and you all weighed in again. We thank you for it. So without further ado, presented for your approval — or disapproval, if that’s your thing — your choices for the 10 best characters in Trek-dom — and one honorable mention we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave on the cutting room floor.
No. 1 | James Tiberius Kirk
He may not be the first captain of the Enterprise, canonically speaking, but Kirk is the original -- there's no arguing that. And while he's not our favorite commanding officer, Kirk was the right captain for the right time. In the (occasionally literally) Wild West atmosphere of TOS, a captain didn't need to be a consumate diplomat or a brilliant leader. The Enterprise needed a rough and ready cowboy type who could throw down with a lizard monster, bed a bevy of alien ladies, and not let things like the weight of command get him down. On those fronts, Kirk, simply cannot be messed with, and proves that even if you're not the greatest, you can still be a classic.
No. 2 | Leonard 'Bones' McCoy
The chief medical officer and resident grumpy old man of the original Enterprise has yet to be surpassed in medical brilliance or general crotchetiness. Bones has never been replaced in the hearts of fans, either. Is that because he chose to walk the path of the healer, even though he possessed a gaze so utterly withering it could no doubt shatter whole planets? We like to think so. Sure, his bedside manner could use some work, but dammit, Jim, there's no doctor in the galaxy we'd rather have doing science to an alien plague or never-before-seen brand of interstellar radiation. Angry, angry science.
No. 3 | Elim Garak
The most surprising entry on this list by a sight? Elim Garak -- Cardassian tailor, erstwhile spy, and agent provocateur of Deep Space Nine. In a series known for its heavy doses of political intrigue and double-dealing, there was no character better suited for the job than "plain, simple Garak." There are characters here we love for how straightforward they are, but Garak provides a counterpoint to the often wholesome, direct characters that Star Trek does so well. Perhaps the most consumate liar and master manipulator in the galaxy, Garak wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty when he needed to, ordering a wetworks operation that would turn the tide of an entire war -- not that you would ever be able to prove he did. In a show that has no dearth of knights in shining armor, Garak is a great reminder that some situations call for a rogue's touch.
No. 4 | Q
Is there a figure in Star Trek more divisive than Q? Loved by many, hated by just as many, the omnipotent trickster who is constantly testing humanity -- mostly by irritating Starfleet officers -- is the only character to appear on our both our Favorites and Least Favorites lists of Trek. Personally, we feel he belongs here, as the universe just wouldn't be the same without him. Is he blisteringly irritating? Sure. Confoundingly arrogant? Utterly. But you can't argue that he's interesting, and while his actions -- like introducing Starfleet to the Borg -- can have wide-ranging consequences, it's the little things, like his relationship with Picard, that make Q one of our very favorites. It's no accident that Next Generation opened and closed on encounters with everybody's favorite God-like total jerk.
No. 5 | Geordi La Forge
The Chief Engineer of the Enterprise kept the ship space worthy for years against all odds, and more impressively, he made it all look easy, consistently delivering real talk about how screwed the crew is this time cut with a well-placed quip or day-saving observation. While Picard may have the bridge in hand, there's no question who's in charge when you walk into engineering -- not that Geordi is ever a jerk about it. He's too nice a guy for that, and knows when to take a backseat, as he does when playing Watson to Data's Holmes in the holodeck. The presence, the charm, the technical acumen -- Geordi was a lock for this list, and it's not just because from falling in love with a hologram representing the ship itself or being turned into an alien species, Geordi always had the best subplots. (Yeah, yeah, except for the time he fell in a hole.) It's also because the man can wear a visor.
No. 6 | Seven of Nine
At the risk of waxing philosphical, many of beloved characters who made this list really hit home one of the guiding principles of Star Trek -- questioning, learning, and reinventing what it means to be human. Seven of Nine began life as a human assimilated by the Borg, only to be brought back to humanity by the crew of the Voyager, and it's unclear which is the more difficult transition. Coming to terms with her past while trying to build a new future, Seven of Nine fills the "of two worlds, belonging to none" archetype seen in other characters throughout the series, and also serves as a reminder that humanity shouldn't be taken for granted or easy to come by.
No. 7 | Jean-Luc Picard
Full Disclosure: When you ask me who the captain of the Enterprise is, I will always have one answer for you, and it is the right one. Picard. Earlier this year, Ben Wyatt on Parks and Rec put the argument to bed as well as we've ever heard -- “Sure, in a wrestling match Kirk would win, but overall, who would you rather have at the helm of your Sovereign-class starship? Jean-Luc Picard, no contest.” A brilliant military mind, a masterful leader of men, and a gentleman for all seasons, there is no one in Trek history we'd rather have discuss history, philosophy and high art with over a cup or tea, Earl Grey, hot. Again, this is no contest -- it's man who helmed the Enterprise through seven great seasons of Next Generation... and yeah, several movies that we would rather not revisit if it's all the same to you.
No. 8 | Worf, Son of Mogh
The most honorable member of the Enterprise crew and not by a little bit, it's hard to imagine Star Trek without Starfleet's first Klingon officer. Handy in a fistfight, a demon with a bat'leth, and always eager to open fire on whatever cosmic threats the crew encounters, Worf was the martial heart of Next Generation before making the move to Deep Space Nine. His featured roles on both series leave him as the character with the most episodes of Star Trek under his belt, and that seems really right to us, because Worf is awesome. Actor Michael Dorn is hoping to bring back the character in some new incarnation, and we wait with bated breath to see if he'll succeed, because we will watch the hell out of whatever that may be.
No. 9 | Spock
We thought Spock would be more popular than Kirk, but we didn't have much of a feel for just how much more popular. The technically brilliant, flawlessly logical first officer of the original Enterprise holds a special place in the hearts of a great many fans, and for good reason. He can perform mind melds, has a killer nerve pinch in his arsenal, and is always on hand to provide situational analysis for the rest of the crew. If it weren't for Spock's explanations, we wouldn't have known what was going on in a great many episodes. Calculating and unemotional yet deeply devoted to his crew, brilliant and brave Spock is everything you could want out of a first officer or a best friend, and you know what, we're just going to say it -- Kirk was batting out of his shoes on both fronts.
No. 10 | Data
Sure, this is a thoroughly unscientific poll, but we don't mind telling you that the Enterprise's most lovable artificial life form, Data, was the consensus favorite, barely edging out his spiritual counterpart, Spock, for the top spot. This is a correct thing, and demonstrates that our friends and readers are huge fans of science, robots and logic, with excellent taste in people -- even if they are not so big on the "being all emotional" thing. None of those things should come as a surprise. There's literally nothing not to like about Data. He's just that awesome, and the point isn't even up for debate. He's robot strong, computer smart, and the funniest member of the crew by a sight -- even if all his best jokes are unintentional. Honestly, the only thing we never really got about Data was why he wanted to be human so badly -- especially considering that we totally want to be him.
No. 11 | Honorable Mention -- Harcourt Fenton Mudd
Just a few votes for our favorite minor character in the series were enough to merit Harry Mudd a spot on this list, even if we have to shoehorn him in with an Honorable Mention -- ironic, we think you'll agree, since Harry doesn't have an honorable bone in his body. A rogue and scoundrel encountered a couple times by the Enterprise in TOS, Mudd is just the right blend of sleaze, con artist, and endearing bungler. You can't help but love him, and we would be remiss in not reminding fans that once, Harry Mudd ruled and entire planet of androids. Which is pretty cool, and gives us hope that one day, we could, too.
- Here’s the original slideshow of Trek characters we never want to see again
- And the trailer that got us all excited in the first place
- Could we make a real warp drive one day? “Maybe” is good enough for us