Best of the Bad: The Best Star Wars Television Villains

A villain can make or break a show. They need to be unhinged yet believable, dark yet still somewhat sympathetic — or, so awful that we can’t help but love to hate them.

So in Star Wars, who’s the best of the bad? Join us below as we break down some of our favorite villains from both animated and live-action Star Wars television series.

Grand Admiral Thrawn

Rebels and Ahsoka

Grand Admiral Thrawn is not only one of the best Star Wars television villains — he’s one of the best Star Wars characters to date. Ruthless, ambitious, and extraordinarily cunning, Thrawn nearly snuffed the flames of the rebellion before they’d really even sparked. He was a brilliant tactician as well as a skilled martial artist. Superior in both body and mind, he was a real threat to our ragtag Ghost crew.

While Thrawn disappeared alongside Ezra Bridger in the Rebels finale, the Imperial officer will soon return in Ahsoka. For now, we don’t know how he made it back. We can only guess he employed the same sinister strategies he did to boast such a successful track record in the first place.

Pong Krell

The Clone Wars

Initially, clone troopers™ were just cannon fodder to us. They helped the Jedi, and we didn’t care how many had to die for our heroes to succeed. What was most important about The Clone Warsseries is that it humanized these soldiers. Despite being manufactured for war, each man had his own personality, unique look, and moral code. We quickly realized clones were more than tools.

That’s what made Jedi Master Pong Krell so insidious. Krell, through the Force, had a vision of the Jedi Order’s™ end. Using aggressive and dangerous battle tactics, the commander held the record for most clone casualties. During the Battle of Umbara, he organized a treacherous combat plan in order to kill as many clones as possible. While he did eventually ally himself with the dark side, Pong Krell was disdainful of clones from the very start of their service. The Battle of Umbara was just the beginning of his wickedness.

Moff Gideon

The Mandalorian

Moff Gideon  from The Mandalorian made such an intriguing villain because he was simultaneously loyal to the Empire but also only to himself. The man was obsessed with power, hoarding important objects such as the Darksaber™ and beskar™ armor. Clearly inspired by Darth Vader, Moff Gideon wore heavy black armor and even wanted to use the Force. His helmet design even referenced Darth Maul™ with its horns.

For Star Wars, it was a radical new villain concept. An antagonist who wanted to steal the Force from another being and isolate it into genetic copies of himself? It was unheard of, and therefore quite chilling. And there was no one better to fulfill that terrifying role than the calm and composed Moff Gideon.

Count Dooku

Tales of the Jedi

Since the prequel trilogy, Count Dooku has always been a great villain. We all know that. But his role in Tales of the Jedi elevated him from just another evil Sith to an undeniably complex character. Firsthand, we saw the corruption and chaos within the galaxy that turned him away from the light — especially the death of his former Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn.

Count Dooku lost his faith and hope rapidly, instead chasing comfort in the dark. He killed another high-ranking Jedi Master who sat on the Council. Then he plotted against the Order with Emperor Palpatine. Besides, long before that, he used his powers of peace to torture and scare those who he hated. While his fall was not surprising, it was fascinating to witness.

Dr. Royce Hemlock

The Bad Batch

Anyone who treats other people like property is a villain in our books. Thus, Dr. Royce Hemlock from The Bad Batch makes the list. This apathetic antagonist did everything in his power to capture clones from across the galaxy. Without their consent, he performed experiments that were cruel and harmful in nature. Though most of these sessions weren’t on screen, we can ascertain that Dr. Hemlock dealt great and possibly irreversible damage to Crosshair.

In The Bad Batch finale, Dr. Hemlock also tricked Omega to obtain her. He brought her to his secret base, either to work on her or make her work for him. Since he views clones as nothing more than property, anything goes in terms of our season 3 predictions.

Who are your favorite Star Wars villains? Share your picks at, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!