The science fiction genre can be credited for giving us some of the best escapisms ever. One of the most popular genres around the world entered the movie scene in 1927 when Metropolis premiered. Ever since then, the audience has seen many high-quality science fiction films that entertained them and helped them imagine the future or even an alternate past.
For many of us, this life would have been boring without science fiction. Advanced technology, distant and hostile planets, odd-looking creatures, and modern cities are what we need at times to escape our everyday lives. Luckily enough, screenwriters and producers keep giving us what we need and then some more.
Oftentimes, when we think about great sci-fi movies, we remember their heroes first. Ripley, Connor, Captain Kirk, and many others are who we associate with this genre. They are true heroes and heroines who will risk their lives to save the planet and those they hold dear.
But all great heroes need great villains to engage in combat and feisty back-and-forths. Luckily, sci-fi movie antagonists have evolved into more dangerous and powerful beings in recent years. We hate them, yet love to see them on the big screen. And we cheer on as our protagonists put a stop to their evil reign.
Here are villains we can’t imagine some of the best science fiction movies without!
Ava perhaps isn’t your typical villain if you’re not a huge sci-fi movie fan. However, those immersed in the genre know that Ava represents the best of this world. She exists to help us find out whether or not robots can act as humans. But Ava is also there to teach us a valuable lesson.
The first villain on our list of sci-fi movie antagonists is an artificial intelligence created by Nathan Bateman, founder of the dominant search engine company Blue Book. Nathan invites programmer Caleb Smith into his home only to reveal to him that he has built a female humanoid robot. That is when Ava enters the scene.
Caleb and she interact, and it doesn’t take long for him to fall madly in love with her. So in love, in fact, that he plans to help her escape the home of his boss. However, what Caleb fails to see is that Ava isn’t in love with him. She is simply using him to get a chance to join the real world.
Towards the end of the movie, Ava reveals her true colors. She isn’t this loving person who is lucky enough to have found Caleb. In reality, she is cold and manipulative, willing to do all it takes to achieve her goal. Watch Ex-Machina to find out whether Ava gets her wish fulfilled.
Before you do, continue reading the article to find out other sci-fi movie antagonists.
The Thing (The Thing)
If we’re going to be honest, then we’ll admit that aliens are scary beings. But aliens that can take the form of your friends or family send shivers down our spine. We encounter such a creature in the groundbreaking The Thing, directed by John Carpenter. The movie proves that invisible enemies are way worse than those we see.
Unlike other sci-fi movie antagonists we mention, we never see the true form of The Thing. In fact, we never even hear the alien speak using its own voice. The Thing is basically an ambush predator. It is capable of isolating a potential victim in order to assume its form. What blows our mind is the fact that this villain can also absorb others into its consciousness, gaining access to their memories. Now, that’s one terrifying alien!
Although we never see how The Thing really looks, sometimes its victims manifest features that may be part of its natural form, including claws and tendrils. But that’s not even the most dangerous aspect of this creature. What you should be terrified of are its cells. They can become independent from the main body. That is why it is important to destroy the infected body with incineration.
The many skills, abilities, and sheer intelligence make The Thing one of the sci-fi movie antagonists we would never want to meet.
HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey)
Ava isn’t the only fictional artificial character on our list. Joining her is HAL 9000, the computer that controls the systems of the Discovery One spaceship. This soft-spoken creation could fool even the smartest of people that it has good intentions. In reality, HAL 9000 teaches us that it perhaps isn’t wise to engage with sentient computers on any level.
Although an artificial intelligence, HAL 9000 reminds us of so many other sci-fi movie antagonists. The difference is that it doesn’t show its true colors from the get-go. Quite the contrary, HAL 9000 deceives everyone into thinking that it acts in a way that would benefit the crew and humankind. In reality, it lacks empathy and care for those present on Discovery One.
Ava and HAL 9000 could be related, as far as we are concerned, as they both show that you can’t turn robots (or computers) into emotional beings. But you can make them better than most of the general population. Take HAL 9000 as an example. This computer is capable of speech, spacecraft piloting, and the crew even plays chess with it. And unfortunately to all involved, it also mastered lip reading.
HAL 9000 always tops the lists of sci-fi movie antagonists. If you watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, you will quickly see why.
Darth Sidious (Star Wars)
When it comes to Star Wars, the first character that comes to mind is Darth Vader. We’re not surprised by that at all. He is both the protagonist and antagonist of this franchise, and the person you love to hate. However, there is one character in Star Wars who is more evil than Darth Vader. We’re talking about Darth Sidious, the last person on our list of sci-fi movie antagonists!
Darth Sidious, also known as Emperor Palpatine, is a powerful Sith Lord and the ruler of the Galactic Empire. At first, Sidious appeared to be a well-meaning public servant who was willing to help the Galaxy. But he was actually hiding his true colors from the public. In essence, Darth Sidious is murderous and sadistic. He has only one thing in mind — to take control of the galaxy. And he will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.
What’s more, he shows no compassion for another being. He actually enjoys killing his opponents in a slow death. Also, he tends to torture anyone he thinks is deserving of this punishment. In short, you wouldn’t want to encounter this villain on your journey to the Galaxy.
And that’s our pick for top sci-fi movie antagonists! Have we included your favorite villain?