31 January 2012

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Why Star Trek Villains Are Better Than Star Wars Villains

I feel the whole world needs to know why Star Trek is superior to Star Wars. One of the reasons that Star Trek is so much better is because of the villains. Here’s why:

Villains on Star Trek are much better-developed than those on Star Wars. What exactly is the motivation of Emperor Palpatine? Why does he hate the Jedi? Why did Darth Maul become a Jedi-killer? Did his mother get hit by a drunk Jedi going over the speed limit in his speeder? Darth Vader obviously motivated by wanting the power to keep his wife alive, but his switch was laughably sudden. He went from being best buds with Obi-Wan Kenobi to being a Jedi-baby killer in less than five minutes of screen time. Talk about good character development!

If we take a look at villains in Star Trek, you’ll see a lot better motivation. Kahn was motivated by revenge by the death of his wife. The whale probe wanted to figure out what went wrong with its humpback whale friends. The Borg were obsessive-compulsive freaks seeking perfection. The Founders of the Dominion summed their motivation this way, “What you control can’t hurt you.

A Range of Villains
Emperor Palpatine was all-black. Storm Troopers didn’t have emotions—they were brainless as the battle droids in Episode I. The Trade Federation viceroy had an IQ of about 12. Enemies on Star Wars weren’t able to sit down in an intellectual debate with any of the heroes. Granted, not many heroes on Star Wars would have been able to keep up an intellectual debate.

Star Trek, on the other hand, had a wide range of villains that ranged from grey to black.  Captain Rudy Ransom on Voyager was a Starfleet officer who was on the team of the good guys but did some pretty nasty stuff for the good of his crew. Was it justifiable? In the end, he did the right thing but it sure took him a while to arrive to that point. But he turned out to be a dynamic character. Gul Dukat on Deep Space Nine was all over the board. He was unpredictable, chatting with you about his family one day and stabbing you in the back the next.

The Smiling Villain
To be fair, Star Wars villains did smile once in a while. I distinctly remember a Emperor smiling and laughing maniacally in at least two of the movies. But Star Wars never quite mastered the “smiling villain” the way Star Trek did.

Take a look at Weyoun. He was a perfectly pleasant character with such a warm smile and gentle voice that you feel like you should trust him. Yet that same warm smile and gentle voice had a way of instilling hatred in both the good guys and viewers. The man could flip flop on the spot better the best American politicians and bowed in hypocritical adoration of his masters. Truly Weyoun was evil even though he looked quite handsome.

Having a truly good villain isn’t merely about having a maniacal, people-killing, power-hungry machine. The truly excellent villain takes admirable qualities to an extreme—they show us how the inner good within each of us can be twisted and corrupted into something evil. That’s the most frightening thing about most villains—they don’t know that they’re the bad guys.

About today's Guest Writer:
Stephen Sharpe is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers can help if you tons of questions regarding online master’s degree programs.

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