Sci-Fi & Fantasy TV’s Top Villains From ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘The Boys,’ ‘Evil’ & More

Antony Starr in The Boys, Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Walking Dead, Ruth Wilson in His Dark Materials
Amazon; AMC; HBO

This is an excerpt from TV Guide Magazine’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy Special Collector’s Issue, which is available for international pre-order online at SciFi2021.com and available nationwide on newsstands now.

They thrive on power, growing body counts and frightening laughs. No wonder we can’t look away!

Below, we take a look at some of the villains we can’t stop watching from Supergirl, The Walking Dead, Evil, The Boys, and more, and what their portrayers had to say about these terrifying characters.

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THE CW

Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer)

Supergirl

Born To Be Bad The archnemesis of Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), and therefore his Kryptonian cousin Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) as well, the billionaire megalomaniac is a threat to National City and the entire multiverse.

Speaking of Evil “The 14-year-old comic book nerd in me got excited, because it’s rare that you get to do these iconic roles and make your own version,” Cryer told TV Guide Magazine when he was first cast as the comic baddie on The CW’s superdrama in 2019.

Scariest Moment During the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover, on a Season 6 episode of The Flash, Lex used the Book of Destiny to rewrite reality—and brand himself a beloved public figure.

Why We’re Terrified of Him Lex has seemingly infinite resources (read: lots of money), and his disdain for everyone in his life, including sister Lena (Katie McGrath), makes it impossible to sympathize with him. Also, he’s done time for mass murder.

THE CW

Alice (Rachel Skarsten)

Batwoman

Born to be Bad Wonderland gang leader Alice was actually born Beth Kane—twin sister to original Batwoman Kate (Ruby Rose, above, with Skarsten). After a car accident and a failed manhunt to find Beth, the Kane family declared the girl dead. She was later driven to adopt her current murderous persona by Queen of Coryana Safiyah Sohail (Shivani Ghai).

Speaking of Evil “Alice [is] this sort of redeemable—or possibly redeemable—bad guy, which I really like to play,” Skarsten said during the dark CW drama’s first season. “As a viewer, I like that in my bad guys.”

Scariest Moment Though she’s helped out the Bat-gang when it suits her agenda, we can’t forget her “Skin Pirate” nickname, earned for stealing faces from corpses to sew into grotesque disguises.

Why We’re Terrified of Her She’s a master with a butterfly knife and an expert poisoner, but what really gives us pause is her purely bonkers unpredictability.

Suzanne Tenner/Marvel

Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn)

WandaVision

Born to be Bad She’s introduced on the Disney+ Marvel series as nosy neighbor Agnes, poking around in the business of Avengers Wanda Maximoff and Vision (Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany). We eventually learn she’s the ageless witch Agatha Harkness,
attempting to steal Wanda’s chaos magic.

Speaking of Evil “What drew me to play [Agnes/Agatha] is that it’s unlike anything the MCU’s ever done, and I’ve never really been able to take a swing in a genre like this,” Hahn told us before the reveal of her mystery character’s true identity.

Scariest Moment In the series’ next-to-last episode, Agatha trapped Wanda in
her lair, plucked a hair from the heroic reality-changer’s head and forced her to revisit past traumatizing life events—all while keeping Wanda’s twin boys locked away.

Why We’re Terrified of Her Agatha is a master manipulator, and though she wasn’t powerful enough to best Wanda, she’s still got some mighty magic.

AMC

Negan Smith (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)

The Walking Dead

Born to be Bad Negan wasn’t always the bat-wielding baddie telling others to get their “s—tin’ pants” on. At the start of the zombie apocalypse, he was just a down-on-his-luck gym teacher trying to save his cancer-stricken wife (Hilarie Burton Morgan)…and failing.

Speaking of Evil “Negan is a direct correlation to what he thinks his wife would expect from him,” Morgan says. “Maybe not some of the [murderous] extremes, but a man who is a survivor and leader.”

Scariest Moment The Saviors boss bashed in the heads of do-gooders Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) with his barbed wire–wrapped bat, Lucille. And that was just his entrance into the AMC drama!

Why We’re Terrified of Him Though he’s evolved into more of an antihero, we still think he could snap at any moment. And we know what that looks like when he does.

BBC

The Master (Sacha Dhawan, et al.)

Doctor Who

Born to be bad The Doctor’s archenemy isn’t just two-faced: As a fellow Time Lord, the Master also has the ability to regenerate. Dhawan (Iron Fist) is the latest to play the jovial alien puppeteer.

Speaking of Evil “The continual manipulation of everyone in [the Master’s] life—I think that’s a huge character trait,” says Jodie Whittaker, the current and Thirteenth Doctor.

Scariest Moment The bitter Master destroyed their home planet of Gallifrey and built an army of “CyberMasters” (robotic Cybermen combined with Time Lord remains) in the Season 12 finale of the BBC America favorite.

Why We’re Terrified of Them You never know when the Master will appear—we even got two once, and they murdered each other! The goal is usually the same: world destruction.

CBS

Dr. Leland Townsend (Michael Emerson)

Evil

Born to be Bad The seemingly satanic forensic psychologist has manipulated patients into committing acts of crime, terrorized his professional rival (Katja Herbers) by dating her mother (Christine Lahti) and requested an exorcism just so he could screw with a priest-in-training (Mike Colter).

Speaking of Evil “He’s a kind of improviser of misrule,” Emerson says. “He brings calamity into the world if he can, like the character in the insurance commercials that wrecks everything he touches, only on a little more of a spiritual level.”

Scariest Moment In one of Season 1’s most entertaining scenes, Leland summoned a demon…to be his therapist. (In Season 2, the CBS drama moved to Paramount+.)

Why We’re Terrified of Him The scheming narcissist’s sinister smile and grooming of the innocent are equally chilling.

NETFLIX

General Aleksander Kirigan (Ben Barnes)

Shadow and Bone

Born to be Bad A very powerful shadow summoner and the commander of the Second Army, which is made up of magical folks called Grisha, Kirigan is also the original Grisha. He created the Shadow Fold, the vast and, yes, dark expanse filled with hungry monsters. Hence his nickname, the Darkling.

Speaking of Evil “My favorite part [of playing a villain] is to find the warmth,” Barnes says. “It is very fun to whisper the word quiet under your breath and everyone goes silent…but the real fun challenge is to find the flip side of the coin.”

Scariest Moment Raising an army of shadow monsters to follow him out of the Shadow Fold in Season 1’s final moments.

Why We’re Terrified of Him Being abandoned in the Shadow Fold by the heroic sun summoner Alina (Jessie Mei Li, above) only made the centuries-old baddie tougher. Yup, Season 2 is going to be frightening.

AMAZON PRIME

Homelander (Antony Starr)

The Boys

Born to be Bad Try “genetically engineered.” Homelander is the leader of the Seven, a sadistic antagonist with laser eyes and the ability to fly who disguises himself as a patriotic hero but is very, very far from it.

Speaking of Evil “I thrive on it; I love it,” Starr says of playing his murderous Supe. “It’s so fun being the bad guy.”

Scariest Moment The awful “hero” on Prime Video’s edgy drama let a planeload of innocent people die in Season 1, despite pleas from frantic passengers and his fellow Seven member Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott).

Why We’re Terrified of Him His temper is quick, and he’s almost always angry, like a child gone wild. ’Nuff said.

Netflix

Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira)

Locke & Key

Born to be Bad Discovered by little Bode Locke (Jackson Robert Scott) in a well at his family’s ancestral home, Keyhouse Manor, the demon eventually reveals herself to be a big bad. She orchestrates chaos to find the mystical Omega Key, which opens the Black Door, a gateway to another world.

Speaking of Evil “With Dodge, she knows she’s the bad guy, and I think she has fun with it,” De Oliveira has said.

Scariest Moment That time she casually threw an unnamed neighborhood kid in front of a train in Season 1.

Why We’re Terrified of Her Dodge can turn into anyone—from teenager Gabe (Griffin Gluck) to adult neighbor Ellie (Sherri Saum)—and use their physical appearance to fuel her nefarious plot.

HBO

Mrs. Marisa Coulter (Ruth Wilson)

His Dark Materials

Born to be Bad The power-hungry mother to hero Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) heads up a scientific group responsible for killing children in experiments. No wonder her daughter has shunned her.

Speaking of Evil Mrs. Coulter “will do anything to get what she wants,” Wilson explained during Season 1, “leaving a trail of destruction in her wake.”

Scariest Moment Any time we’re reminded she can be farther away from her monkey daemon (an animal extension of her person) than most other humans in the HBO fantasy drama. Meaning, perhaps she’s even more soulless than we thought.

Why We’re Terrified of Her She’s ruthless, and she has no true loyalties—a dangerous combination.