The holodeck or holosuite can be a place of joy, wonder, and scientific exploration. But when things go wrong, it can also be a very dangerous place where some of Star Trek’s most interesting (and ultimately ephemeral) villains can be found. Here’s a look at some of our favorite holographic villains from across Star Trek.
Moriarty, the rogue character from Data’s Sherlock Holmes holodeck program, was too brilliant to be contained by the confines of that program. Developing self-awareness and sentience, Moriarty posed a particular threat to the Enterprise because he was able to access the ship’s computer and try to take over. Eventually, his program was transferred to a memory module that allowed him to live out his life without realizing he was still in a holographic program.
But so iconic and compelling was the figure of Moriarty that he returned in Star Trek: Picard as part of Data’s attempts at communication with his comrades on Daystrom Station.
A gangster from Captain Picard’s Dixon Hill holonovels, Cyrus Redblock was a particular challenge during a holodeck malfunction that turned off the safety protocols and threatened the lives of the crew. When Picard tried to explain to Cyrus the nature of the situation as best he could understand it, he caused Cyrus to become the first holographic character to try to escape the confines of the holodeck. Unfortunately for him, when he and his cohort Mr. Leech stepped outside the holodeck doors, they dematerialized.
A destructive evil genius from Dr. Bashir’s Secret Agent holosuite program, Noah was given the appearance of Captain Sisko thanks to a computer malfunction. This made him all the more menacing as he posed a real threat to the crew during their time in the program, which had also gone awry.
His hatred of the human race and his desire to destroy everyone through his ingenious evil schemes seemed like a harmless part of an adventure fantasy until he was able to actually threaten the lives of people inside the holosuite.
Created by Ensign Samanthan Rutherford as a training tool for Starfleet personnel, this oversized comm badge with arms and legs instead developed a glitch and transformed from a jokey sidekick into a real and formidable threat. When Badgey’s program glitched and caused him to attack, Rutherford was able to overpower him and reset his program, but it was not successful. With a taste for violence and a grudge against Rutherford, Badgey began doing everything in his power to brutalize and murder his “father.”
Though Badgey seemed to have been overcome, the recent episode “The Stars at Night” hinted that he might have found a way to return and further exact his revenge.
The villain from Tom Paris’s Captain Proton program, Doctor Chaotica was surprisingly able to start a genuine war when the Voyager was trapped in subspace. When photonic beings appeared aboard the Voyager, they assumed the Captain Proton program represented the real world of humans and interacted with Doctor Chaotica, who killed one of them. This forced the crew of the Voyager to take on roles from the Captain Proton program in an effort to end the conflict with the photonic beings.
Doctor Chaotica appeared other times in the series as well, including trying to kill Captain Janeway.
Frank Chalmers, known as Frankie Eyes, has the distinction of being a holographic character whose primary threat is to another holographic character. It just happens to be that this is a holographic character we care about. A mobster from the Bashir 62 holosuite program, Frankie grew up with the self-aware lounge singer hologram Vic Fontaine.
Angry at the way Vic treated him when they were children, Frankie went after Vic, beating him severely. Thankfully, a feature built into his subroutine meant that Frankie eventually deactivated after Vic and his friends were able to defeat him.