What makes a great Star Trek villain? That’s easy. It’s always been about character. They’re never one-dimensional. (Unless you count Harry Mudd, played more for comic relief than anything else.) They’re sympathetic. The same goes for pegging a great Star Trek alien.
The curious case of the Star Trek universe is that strange as they may appear, the aliens featured are not always evil, or particularly threatening. Some aliens from the original series were great for an episode, but how could you expand it to something along the lines of Khan? We’re talking Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan the second time around (or, technically, the third time), in Star Trek Into Darkness, despite a great performance by the wonderfully versatile Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), didn’t leave us feeling much of anything, except the after effects of a bad rerun.
The original series is full of colorful aliens, humanoid aliens, oddly shaped aliens that Roberto Orci and the other screenwriters can confidently look to the original Star Trek series for inspiration.
Let’s look at the five best aliens worthy of the big screen treatment.
The Guardian of Forever
Voted the greatest Star Trek (original series) episode by critics and fans alike, "City on the Edge of Forever" (written by SF writer Harlan Ellison) was a precursor to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, in that it dealt with time travel and provided an emotional center that made the science resonate strongly (however you feel about the theoretical "science" of time travel). The Guardian of Forever was also featured in an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, where Spock traveled back in time to meet a younger version of himself on Vulcan (clearly, a source of inspiration for J.J. Abrams’s first Star Trek film). So, the Enterprise crew has traveled back to the Depression era, and 1980s San Francisco. The new Star Trekf movie franchise could use a similar device with a dash of social commentary and a strong emotional heft.
It doesn’t get more "original" than the Talosians, who were featured in the Star Trek pilot "The Cage." Captain Pike’s only TV adventure (unless you count the two-part "The Menagerie" which featured Pike in a wheelchair) pitted him against the cerebral Talosians. They speak with their minds. Can give telepathic suggestions and build entire virtual worlds inside anyone’s head. They collect various species to study them, building beautifully gilded cages. These "prime specimens" could give the Enterprise crew a crash course in fantasy vs. reality. With a little tweaking, the Talosians could be a formidable foil for the young Kirk, Spock and Bones.
Often seen as the sexy side of the Star Trek series, those green, scantily clad babes are quite deadly when provoked, and a compelling storyline might be developed. Although the first Star Trek reboot film showed Kirk having a dalliance with one, it’s possible to build up something much larger. Giving us a new respect for the Orions as more than sexual objects. With the right script, something like this could have the right balance of Abrams’s and Whedon (use of strong female characters).
In the episode, "Charlie X," the Enterprise and her crew meet a young teen with extraordinary powers. He looks up to Kirk until things go badly, and he terrorizes the crew with his abilities. We later learn that the Thasians found Charlie at a young age and gave him power. The Thasians are corporeal, intelligent, and just imagine if they were to give that same power to other humanoids in the Star Trek universe. That might be worth a movie.
The Salt Vampire
The classic episode, "The Man Trap," featured a love interest for Dr. McCoy, and presented him with his own moral dilemma (like Kirk’s in "City on the Edge of Forever"). The salt creature takes the form of Nancy, a former lover of McCoy’s. If Robert Orci (the director) and crew and come up with a compelling story besides the Nancy angle, it’s possible you can have one terrifying shape-shifting creature worthy of a feature.
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