Julien Neaves, Sci Fi Head Writer
I all my years doing Sci Fi articles I have not done a full list on Stargate, which just feels wrong as I am a huge Gatehead. I was thinking of doing a “Top 5 Reasons the Stargate Franchise Needs to Return” but that has been done before. And then I saw the very sad news that Cliff Simon, who played the Goa’uld system lord Ba’al in Stargate SG-1, died in a kiteboarding accident in California. He was 58. We at RMR extend our condolences to his wife, relatives, friends and colleagues.
Simon delivered such a wonderful bad guy as Ba’al and I decided the best tribute I could pay to him (in my own small way) was to do a list of Stargate villains. One caveat, though—you will not find any entries from Stargate: Universe. Now while I thought the edgier franchise entry was decent enough they never had any memorable baddies. With that out of the way and a Ha’tak-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s get to the list:
#10 Sokar (Stargate: SG-1)
It would be a difficult act following on from original big bad Apophis. And Sokar, well, he looked cool. And he really doubled down on that whole hell/devil aesthetic. And he put the SG-1 team and Apophis through some figurative hell. But in the Goa’uld pantheon he gets overshadowed by other entries on this list.
#9 Acastus Kolya (Stargate Atlantis)
Robert Davi knows a thing or two (or even three) about playing a villain, having done so in various movies. My favourite is cold-blooded drug lord Fanz Sanchez from criminally-underrated Bond flick Licence to Kill. And he was both cold-blooded and methodical as Commander Acastus Kolya of the militaristic Genii. He was no Wraith or Replicator, but with just his cunning and tactical mind took over Atlantis. Lt Colonel Sheppard and crew definitely had their work cut out for them with this dude.
#8 Ra (1994 film)
We would have no Stargate on television if not for the 1994 film. And while there are a few key changes between the movie and the series (most notably changing film Ra’s “last of his kind” gray alien to the vast, parasitic Gou’ald) they all exist in the same universe. And I do love me some continuity.
The film itself still holds up well as a Sci Fi action popcorn flick, and one of the reasons for that is a great villain performance by Jaye Davidson as god-impersonating alien Ra. His soft features contrasted well with the ruthless and powerful overlord. Ra did show up in the series due to some time travel shenanigans, but he kept his mask on all the time so no Davidson, who had previously retired from acting any how.
#7 Hathor (Stargate: SG-1)
There were not many female Gou’ald in SG-1 but Hathor helped to make up for that deficit with her memorable machinations. Unlike the male Gou’ald who relied on power, force, and fear, Hathor used her beauty, sex appeal, mind control and deception to get what she wanted, whether it was almost taking over the SG-1 base or returning to the ranks of the system lords. But all good baddies must come to an end and there was no coming back from a cryogenic tank bath courtesy one Jack O’Neill. We’ll never forget you, you sexy, evil Gou’ald you.
#6 Michael aka Lastlight (Stargate Atlantis)
Transforming a Wraith scientist into a human with no memory of his past sounds like a great idea, no? Well it didn’t turn out that well for the Atlantis crew as they ended creating their greatest villain with human/Wraith hybrid Lastlight, better known as Michael. Played with delightful menace by Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise), Michael would return again and again to plague the team, whether it was kidnapping poor Teyla or engineering creepy mutant creatures. He even helped the team out once but that was not an alliance that was ever going to last. While the Wraith themselves got pretty generic pretty quickly Michael remained an intriguing foe until the end and easily the best Atlantis baddie.
I’m just gonna come out and say it—Morena Baccarin is a genre queen! From Firefly to V to Gotham to Deadpool, this lovely actress is just killing it. And she delivers another fantastic role as Adria, zealous leader of the fanatical Ori. With her strong presence, cool demeanour and unshakeable belief in the Ori cause, she was a force to be reckoned with. And the fact that she was hero Vala Mal Doran’s (Claudia Black) daughter added an extra layer and complexity to her character that I quite enjoyed. After repeatedly escaping death and ascending into an even more powerful form it took Ancient Morgan Le Fay battling her for eternity to actually stop her. Now that is one bad mama jama.
I remember when Ba’al was first introduced and O’Neill was like, “Ba’al? Just Ba’al?” Classic Jack O’Neill. And he did not seem like anything other than just another system lord. But behind his suave and unassuming nature hid a plotting mind obsessed with obtaining power. And no matter what came out of his silver tongue or even if he was helping you destroy some super powerful Replicators, you knew Ba’al was all about Ba’al. I recall when he talked to the SG-1 team with his human voice and when they asked about it he nonchalantly told them they don’t have to speak with the booming Gou’ald voice. For a bad guy he was a cool dude.
Who would have guessed that he would have been the last of the system lords? And with all his clones and a handy time travel machine he almost had it all. Almost. But we will always remember Ba’al as the smoothest of the system lords, and we will always be grateful to Cliff Simon for giving us such a great character.
You never forget your first, do you. What is that look? What?! System lord! Your first system lord! This is not that kind of article. Anywho, Apophis was just such a memorable big bad. Played with regality and bombast by Peter Williams (who by the way I met while visiting Trinidad and he was a really cool guy) this was a man who was always in control and wielded power like it was his birthright. From kidnapping Daniel Jackson’s wife and brother-in-law and turning them into Gou’ald hosts to multiple attempts to destroy Earth, Apophis was a continual thorn in SG-1’s side. He even fought his way back from the jaws of defeat and Sokar’s slave pits to rise to power once again. And it was only through the efforts of both the Replicators and SG-1 that his reign of evil was ended for good.
#2 Replicator Carter
Replicators. Ugh. Those little creepy, crawling machines were just unnerving. And that chittering sound they made? It was horrible. And like mechanical cockroaches they just kept coming back. The clever little bastards even decided to upgrade themselves with some human-like bodies, including one of the beautiful Samantha Carter. And Replicator Carter (played with a disturbing calculatedness by the very talented Amanda Tapping) had just one thing on her machine mind—total galactic domination. And she almost achieved that after decimating the Gou’ald forces. She and her Replicator brethren was easily one of the deadliest threats the galaxy ever faced.
I loved her heart-to-hearts (I guess more heart-to-steel) with Daniel Jackson and even though her steel weapon arm thing was very T-1000 I’ll give her a pass on it.
If you look up the phrase “pure evil” in the dictionary you would see a picture of Anubis next to it. Okay, that’s not true, but it should be. A former system lord, his actions were so unspeakable that he was banished by the other system lords. And those guys aren’t exactly famous for their moral fortitude. After tricking Ancient Oma Desala into helping him to ascend but then getting stopped by the other Ancients he remains stuck in an in-between state. And because of that state his face looks like a black hole. And it is one of the coolest visuals in the entire franchise.
With his ancient knowledge, deadly Kull warriors and penchant for superweapons, he rises to become the most powerful and most dangerous of all the system lords. This megalomaniac almost destroyed all life in the galaxy and it would take Oma engaging him in eternal battle (sound familiar) to defeat him once and for all. For me Stargate SG-1 was at its most epic when the team was going up against Anubis, and that’s why he takes the crown as my number one franchise villain.
Well that’s my list. Special thanks to stargate.fandom.com for help with the background info. So who are your top three Stargate villains? To see where Stargate SG-1 ranked on my Top 10 Sci Fi TV Series of All Time list you can click here. Or for my Top 20 Star Trek Villains ranking you can click here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.Advertisements