Anton Yelchin and Walter Koenig, who deserve all the love, both as Pavel Chekov
(Paramount Pictures)

40 (Okay, 40+) Best ‘Star Trek’ Characters Ever

I love Star Trek and am not shy about shouting that fact at the top of my lungs. (Hopefully, Klingons would be proud.) So, believe me when I say how difficult it was to whittle my list of best franchise characters down to only 40 (well, 40-ish, as some entries include more than one).

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Because of the difficulty of this task, I’m the first to admit that many notable fan favorites don’t appear on this 40 best Star Trek characters list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them.

42. T’Pol (Star Trek: Enterprise)

T'Pol in Starfleet uniform
(Paramount Pictures)

As the first Vulcan to serve in Starfleet, T’Pol (Jolene Blalock) paved the way for Sarek’s children, Spock and Michael Burnham, to serve on human vessels. One night, while dining with Jonathan Archer and Trip Tucker onboard the Enterprise NX-01, she tells the two Starfleet officers a story about Vulcans, including her second foremother, T’Mir, who crash-landed on Earth in 1957 and lived in Carbon Creek, PA. If true, the first contact between Vulcan and Earth actually happened much sooner than the date officially celebrated.

41. Neelix (Star Trek: Voyager)

Neelix (Ethan Phillips) feeds Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew)
(Paramount Pictures)

Neelix (Ethan Phillips) has the most important job to do onboard the U.S.S. Voyager, keeping everyone fed.

40. Grilka (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

Grilka (Mary Kay Adams)
(Paramount Pictures)

Grilka (Mary Kay Adams) is one of a few Klingon women in charge of her house in a predominantly male-dominated society. Although the character only appeared in two episodes of Deep Space Nine, she inspired High Chancellor L’Rell, according to Mary Chieffo herself.

39. Elnor (Star Trek: Picard)

Evan Evagora as Elnor

No Star Trek list would be complete without the addition of a sexy sword guy. In Picard, Elnor (Evan Evagora) joins Tasha Yar and Jadzia Dax in the done dirty on the Black Mountain shortlist.

38. Mirror Philippa Georgiou (Star Trek: Discovery)

Pictured (l-r): Michelle Yeoh as Captain Philippa Georgiou; Chris Obi as T'Kuvma.
(Jan Thijs/Paramount)

Mirror Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) can kick so high that she could have been a can-can dancer, not a ruthless empress. And when she teams up with prime universe Burnham, her moves get even better.

37. Captain Angel (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds)

Jesse James Keitel as Captain Angel in Star Trek: Discovery

The Serene Squall‘s Captain Angel, played by trans actor Jesse James Keitel, not only brings Spock’s emotional brother Sybok back into the Star Trek Universe but also shows that being trans doesn’t mean you have to be good.

36. Seven of Nine (VOY/PIC)

Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Rafi (Michelle Hurd) kiss in Star Trek: Picard

Always intended to be a queer character, per behind-the-scenes conversations, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) finally came into her sexuality when she started a romance with Raffi in Picard. Originally, Seven’s return was going to be complicated by the return of her Voyager love interest, Chakotay (Robert Beltran), but luckily, that storyline fell through when Beltran declined to return to his role.

35. Rok-Tahk (Star Trek: Prodigy)

Rok-Tahk, Zero, and Surf of Star Trek: Prodigy

Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui) is a Brikar, an alien species originating in the Beta canon (dope!). A whiz kid in science and mathematics, the young Brikarian is a great role model, showing young girls that STEM is cool and inspiring the next generation of Star Trek fans.

34. Mae Jemison (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Mae Jamison
(NASA/Paramount Pictures)

Real-life hero, NASA astronaut, and engineer Dr. Mae C. Jemison was the first Black woman to travel to space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in 1992. On more than one occasion, Jemison has been open about being inspired to become an astronaut after seeing Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series. A few years after her historic space flight, the astronaut appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation season 6 episode “Second Chances.”

Honorable Mentions: Captain James T. Kirk actor William Shatner has also gone to space, and the overlook effect changed his whole perspective on life, as well as astronaut Katya Echazarreta, another real-life hero citing Star Trek as part of what inspired her to start a flagship program for South American youth hoping to go to space, according to a Comics Beat interview.

33. Kathryn Janeway (VOY/PRO)

Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway sips a hot beverage

Star Trek’s first female captain. ‘Nuff said.

32. Hoshi Sato (ENT)

Linda Park as Hoshi Sato
(Paramount Pictures)

Hoshi Sato (Linda Park) is such a badass in linguistics and language that even communications genius Nyota Uhura cites her as a hero. Sato, who, in a fit of delirium, bypasses all of the Enterprise NX-01’s security codes, stating mathematics is just another language.

31. D’Vana Tendi (Star Trek: Lower Decks)

Beckett Mariner, D'Vana Tendi, and T'lyn in a Orion bar

We don’t blame D’Beckett Mariner for having a crush on D’Vana Tendi (Noël Wells), ex-Mistress of the Winter Constellations. As the first Orion to join Starfleet, Tendi has overcome her fair share of obstacles to get placed in the Science Officer training program, including the prejudices of her fellow crew.

30.* Top Dog Noonien Singhs (TOS/SNW)

Ricardo Montalbán as Khan and Christina Chong as La'An

All I’m going to say is I would bet a whole crate full of gold-pressed latinum Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán) would prevail against Darth Vader. Plus, Khan’s ancestors are way more compelling: give me La’An (Christina Chong) over Luke any day; after all, she can sing and kick ass.

29. Agnes Jurati (PIC)

Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) singing Pat Benatar in a red dress

Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) has one of Star Trek‘s most satisfying character arcs—from a Daystrom Institute lackey to an ascended leader of the Jurati collective. I’d karaoke Pat Benatar with Jurati any day of the week (Star Trek Musical, Part 2?).

28. Christine Chapel (TOS/SNW)

Nurse Chapel actors Jess Bush and Majel Barrett-Roddenberry

Always an understated badass in Star Trek: The Original Series, Christine Chapel (originated by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, now played by Jess Bush) finally came into her own in SNW.

27. Worf (TNG/DS9/PIC)

Jonathan Drakes as William Rider and Michael Dorn as Worf, son Mogh

Worf (Michael Dorn) might be the worst father in Starfleet, but he’s a damn fine Klingon warrior, security officer, captain, ambassador, and husband to Jadzia Dax.

26. Charles Tucker III (ENT)

Trip Tucker (Connor Trinneer) gets pregnant
(Paramount Pictures)

Trip Tucker (Connor Trinneer), whom I fondly call “Florida Man” because of where he is from, serves as Chief Engineer aboard the Enterprise NX-01, fielding all the poop questions sent in by Earth’s children.

25. Pavel Chekov (TOS)

Anton Yelchin and Walter Koenig, who deserve all the love, both as Pavel Chekov
(Paramount Pictures)

It might not seem like it now, but it was a big deal when TOS introduced Russian navigator Pavel Chekov, originally played by Walter Koenig, who also wrote one of the best Star Trek: The Animated Series episodes, “The Infinite Vulcan.” In Picard, we learn that Chekov’s son “Anton,” named after the late actor Anton Yelchin, who played the character in the Kelvin universe, also serves in Starfleet.

24. Michael Burnham (Star Trek: Discovery)

Mia Kirshner as Amanda Grayson, Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, and James Frain as Sarek in Star Trek: Discovery.

The first leading Black woman captain says on the Star Trek: Discovery season 2 commentary that her appearance in the role has actually changed the minds of racists. ‘Nuff said.

23. Katrina Cornwell (DISCO)

Jayne Brook as Admiral Cornwell in season 2, episode 14, "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"
(Russ Martin/CBS)

Sometimes it seems like Starfleet is full of badmirals, not Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook), who has the difficult task of leading the Federation through a war with the Klingons.

22. Harry Kim (VOY)

Garrett Wang as Harry Kim; Kim is playing an instrument
(Paramount Pictures)

Ensign Harry Kim (Garrett Wang) deserves all the promotions he was never given. GIVE US MORE KIM! Live logs and proper, Captain Kim.

21. Nyota Uhura (TOS/SNW)

Three Uhuras
(Paramount Pictures/NBC)

Nyota Uhura’s (Nichelle Nichols) role in TOS significantly impacted the number of Black women entering STEM. In fact, it had such an impact that when the actress considered leaving the series, Martin Luther King begged her to reconsider. Today, Nichols’ legacy is being honored by a trailblazing Black queer actress, Celia Rose Gooding, in SNW.

For fans of J.J. Abrams’ movies, a third triple threat joins the two triple threats: Zoe Saldana, who does a superb job playing Uhura in the Kelvin Universe.

20. Borg Queens (VOY/PIC/LDS)

Borg Queen actors (L-R): Susanna Thompson, Alice Krige, Annie Wersching, and Jane Seymour
(Paramount Pictures)

What’s better than one Borg Queen? All Borg Queens, whether it’s Jane Seymour, Alice Krige, Susanna Thompson, or Annie Wersching.

19. Lwaxana Troi (TNG/DS9)

Captain Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) and Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barrett-Roddenberry)
(Paramount Pictures)

Deanna Troi’s mother, Lwaxana (Majel Barrett-Roddenberry), loves hard-to-get men like most Betazoids. But she doesn’t need a man to feel sexy; sometimes, a puddle is enough.

18. Raffi Musiker (PIC)

Michelle Hurd as Raffi

To celebrate Raffi’s sobriety NA-style: Happy Birthday, Raffi (Michelle Hurd)! As the second sober woman of Star Trek after T’Pol’s brush with addiction in ENT, she’s the living embodiment of why not to judge a book by its cover.

17. Dr. T’Ana (LDS)

Doctor T'Ana saws off a foot in Lower Decks

The furry fandom finally got a well-developed character to love when Star Trek: Lower Decks‘ introduced the Caitian Chief Medical Officer, Dr. T’Ana (Gillian Vigman), to the franchise. Meow!

16. Geordi La Forge (TNG/PIC)

LeVar Burton as Commodore Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: Picard episode 306, "The Bounty"
(Trae Patton/Paramount+)

There are a lot of bad dads on this list. Not Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton); he’s a good dad to Sidney and Alandra. In Picard, we learn Geordi has been promoted to commodore, a rank fitting the engineering genius who inspired Captain Shaw.

15. Dr. Julian Bashir (DS9)

Bashir and Garak toast
(Paramount Pictures)

“It ain’t easy being an augment” should be Julian Bashir’s (Alexander Siddig, who was originally considered to play Captain Ben Sisko) catchphrase. Fortunately, he has BFF Chief Miles O’Brien and his bisexual lover Garak.

14.* Star Trek: Discovery‘s Queer Fam

Ian Alexander as Gray, Blu del Barrio as Adira, Anthony Rapp as Stamets, David Cronenberg as Kovich, Doug Jones as Saru and Wilson Cruz as Culber of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.
(Michael Gibson/Paramount+)

Gay icons Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp made history as Star Trek‘s first major queer couple, Doctor Hugh Culber and Paul Stamets, respectively. After the couple’s GLAAD Award-winning debut, the couple adopt two more members into Star Trek: Discovery’s queer family: Adira and Gray Tal.

13.* All Known Jeffrey Combs Characters

Jeffrey Combs in Star Trek as Weyoun, Brunt, Sharon, and AGIMUS
(Paramount Pictures)

Andorian Imperial Guard Commander Thy’lek Shran, played by Star Trek all-star Jeffrey Combs, is significant in strengthening ties between Andoria and Earth. No list would be complete without Shran, IMO, but the list of important characters played by Combs is out of this world. It includes Brunt, a liquidator for the Ferengi Commerce Authority; the Weyoun clones, all instrumental in the Dominion-Federation war; and AGIMUS, a sentient supercomputer who tricked a planet into fighting a century-long civil war and dated Peanut Hamper.

12. Katrina Cornwell (DISCO)

Jayne Brook as Admiral Cornwell in season 2, episode 14, "Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2"
(Russ Martin/CBS)

Sometimes it seems like Starfleet is full of badmirals, not Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook), who has the difficult task of leading the Federation through a war with the Klingons.

11.* Tribbles (TOS/DS9/DISCO)

Tribbles in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Short Treks, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

One of the most reproductive species in the galaxy was presented in an all-new light in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. What the heck is Captain Gabriel Lorca doing with a Tribble on his desk? How does one use a Tribble recreationally?

Honorable Mention: Moopsy!

10. Guinan (TNG/PIC)

Ito Aghayere and Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan
(Trae Patton/Paramount+)

“My name is Guinan. I tend bar, and I listen.” Yup, hailing from a species of listeners, the El-Aurian confidant of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D crew is the bartender we all wish we had—even Mark Twain valued her advice.

9. Harcourt Fenton Mudd (TOS/DISCO)

Harry Mudd in TOS and DISCO

Rainn Wilson’s agent, thank you for persistently getting your client cast as Harry Mudd. Star Trek was funny long before LDS. Watch Mudd kill Lorca while eating a cheeseburger in DISCO season 1, episode 7, “Magic to Make the Sanest Mad,” if you don’t believe me.

8. Mr. Saru (DISCO)

Doug Jones as Saru and Tara Rosling as T’Rina of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.
(Marni Grossman/Paramount+)

Saru (Doug Jones) is the first Kelpian to receive Starfleet’s Medal of Honor. He also speaks 94 languages!

7. Queen Grudge

Queen Grudge the cat of Star Trek: Discovery
(Michael Gibson/Paramount+)

Partnered with courier Cleveland “Book” Booker, Queen Grudge is a Maine Coon, the largest domestic cat breed and one of the oldest bred cats in North America.

Honorable Mention: Spot, the OG Star Trek cat.

6. Erica Ortegas

Christina Chong as La’an, Melissa Navia as Ortegas and Babs Olusanmokun as Dr. M’Benga appearing in episode 204 “Among The Lotus Eaters” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
(Michael Gibson/Paramount+)

M’Ortegas! The badass captain of Pike’s Enterprise deserves more away missions, and NOW!

5. Ensign Walking Bear

Ensign Walking Bear

Ensign Walking Bear (James Doohan) is a descendant of the Comanche. Russell Bates, a member of the Kiowa tribe, wrote the character.

4. T’Lyn (LDS)

Gabrielle Ruiz as T'Lyn in episode 5, season 4 of Lower Decks

T’Lyn (Gabrielle Ruiz) continues the tradition of sarcastically humorous Vulcans.

3. Christopher Pike (TOS/SNW)

Anson Mount as Pike in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

“You have really beautiful nail beds,” Sylvia Tilly tells Captain Pike the first time she meets him, which, to me, sums up how we all want to greet the man.

2. Jett Reno (DISCO)

Tig Notaro as Chief Engineer Reno of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY.
(Jan Thijs/CBS)

Engineer Jett Reno, played by long-time Alex Kurtzman friend Tig Notaro, is the Han Solo of the Star Trek franchise. ‘Nuff said.

1. Dal R’El (PRO)

Dal R'El and Hologram Janeway hug in Star Trek: Prodigy

Dal (Brett Gray) is the most snubbed captain in Star Trek, especially now that Paramount Pictures has eradicated Star Trek: Prodigy. As an augment accepted into the ranks of Starfleet, it’s especially sad that we may never see this storyline continue. 

Check out Gray’s music if you can’t get enough of this captain. Oh, and be sure to write to Paramount to complain. Go Trekkies, thanks for making Bjo Trimble proud.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures/CBS)

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Image of Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan (she/he) is a comics critic and entertainment writer, who's dipping her toes into new types of reporting at The Mary Sue and is stoked. In 2023, he was part of the PanelxPanel comics criticism team honored with an Eisner Award. You can find some more of his writing at Prism Comics,, Comics Beat, Geek Girl Authority, and in Double Challenge: Being LGBTQ and a Minority, which she co-authored with her wife, Avery Kaplan. Rebecca and her wife live in the California mountains with a herd of cats.