Aside from Klingons, Cardassians, and the Borg Collective, Romulans are one of the most prominent alien races in the Star Trek Universe, as well as being one of the most antagonistic towards the United Federation of Planets. A highly xenophobic race with a superiority complex, Romulans feel that all other life forms (including humans) are beneath them.
The Romulans may hate Vulcans the most, an odd debacle considering they're biological cousins, but one that has created great distrust between the two species. Romulans are far more likely to attack another species or invade its home planet rather than befriend it. For this reason, it's been hard for peace-minded Romulans (like Admiral Alidar Jarok) to make any progress, especially when leaders like Commander Tomalak are ready to fire on Federation ships rather than ask their intent. Here are the 10 most important Romulans in the Star Trek Universe, either by rank or because of impact.
10 ADMIRAL ALIDAR JAROK
In “The Defector”, an infamous Romulan Admiral defects to the Federation in an attempt to prevent civil war. Concerned it will destroy the Romulan Empire, he initially feigns being of junior rank, only to reveal his true identity when he can no longer conceal the pain of his emotional state over Romulus.
Captain Picard doesn’t exactly admire his actions, citing that is first duty is to the Romulan Fleet and his personnel rather than his own emotions. Picard views him as a betrayer of his people, until he explains that he doesn’t want his daughter to grow up in a world of constant warfare, and doesn’t care if she later feels he was a traitor.
9 COMMANDER TOMALAK
A prominent officer in the Romulan military, Commander Tomalak was an influential strategist who encountered the Enterprise-D and it’s crew several times over the course of their missions. Tomalak commanded the Romulan warbird that crossed the Neutral Zone in search of a missing Romulan ship, begrudgingly offering his respect when he discovered it was Geordi La Forge that kept the survivors alive.
Though he often employed the Romulan strategy of deception to achieve his goals, those occasionally coincided with assisting the Enterprise if it proved beneficial for both parties. It was thought he begrudgingly respected Captain Picard and his crew, often not reporting their maneuvers near the Neutral Zone to the Romulan government.
It’s a well known fact that Romulans deal in smoke and mirrors, lie and deception. One of the most brilliant military officers in the Romulan Fleet, Commander Sela, knew that all too well. She was a prominent component in the Romulan Empire’s efforts to tactfully destabilize the Federation and it’s new ally, the Klingon Empire, believing their united front a threat to Romulans everywhere.
Sela was the offspring of an alternate timeline Tasha Yar, the USS Enterprise-D’s former chief of security, and a Romulan general. She frequently employed subterfuge in her dealings with the Enterprise, such as kidnapping Geordi La Forge and brainwashing him into killing a prominent Klingon politician.
In the Star Trek film from 2009, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Co. take on Nero, a Romulan miner from their future, who seeks vengeance for the destruction of the the planet Romulus in 2387. He transports himself to 2233, disrupting the space time continuum with his actions in the past, resulting in the creation of an alternate reality.
In the new reality, it’s Nero who destroys the USS Kelvin, captained by Kirk’s father George, who originally was forced to use it as a battering ram against Nero’s Romulan ship and lead to the destruction of Romulus. The new timeline freed up the movie to go in different directions from the television shows.
When the Enterprise-D responds to a distress signal on Galorndon Core in “The Enemy”, a planet with radiological storms near the Neutral Zone, they never expect to encounter a crashed Romulan vessel. Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge beams down with Worf, Riker, and the rest of the away team but gets separated from the group, only to encounter a Romulan survivor named Bochra.
While initially the two are suspicious of one another, the two enemies have to cooperate to successfully survive the inhospitable planet. Meanwhile on the Enterprise, the crew negotiates with a Romulan warbird intent on locating its personnel. Geordi is able to beam aboard with his new companion, who informs his fellow Romulans of Geordi’s distinguished valor and assistance.
While not technically fully Romulan, Ba’el was a half Romulan, half Klingon female living in a Romulan prison camp for the survivors of the Khitomer Massacre of 2346 where Commander Worf’s parents were killed. Klingon survivors elected to stay rather than dishonor their families with their sudden appearance, and Romulan guards lived in harmony with them.
When Worf first came to the camp, Ba’el came in contact with the outside world for the first time. They began a romantic relationship after Worf discovered her bathing in a pond, but he couldn’t get passed her half Romulan heritage after what they had done to his parents.
4 KIMARA CRETAK
Kimara Cretak was introduced in “Image in the Sand” on Deep Space Nine as a supporter of a Romulan alliance with the Klingons and the Federation against the dreaded Dominion. She was the Romulan representative to the space station Deep Space 9, working directly with Captain Benjamin Sisko and Colonel Kira to coordinate Romulan Fleet deployment and maintenance.
She wasn’t as hostile to the inhabitants of Deep Space 9 as other Romulans, but she still did things in their best interests, such as approve of Romulan fortifications under the guise of building hospitals, expressly against Colonel Kira and Bajoran wishes.
Vreenak was a prominent politician in the Romulan Empire, influencing the Romulan Senate in conservative matters of state. A vice-chairman of the Tal Shiar and secretary of the War Plans Council, he was instrumental in negotiating an accord between the Romulan Empire and the Dominion just as the Federation was joining with the Klingon Empire against it.
He became the victim of a plot of subterfuge concocted ironically enough by Captain Sisko of Deep Space 9 and Garak, who forged data informing of a Dominion attack so that Vreenak would return to the Romulan Empire with it and change their pact. Vreenak died when the data rod self destructed.
The military adviser to Shinzon, a megalomaniac younger clone of Picard using DNA stolen by Romulan spies, Donatra was a conspirator in a nefarious plot to elevate his position to praetor of the Romulan Empire. As nefarious as she seemed at times, she couldn’t stand by and let him commit genocide of all life n Earth with thalaron radiation.
She would later use her warbird to assist the Enterprise in taking on Shinzon’s vessel the Scimitar, citing Shinzon’s coup as an issue of vital “internal security” for the Romulan Empire. Though her ship was heavily damaged, she used it to bring medical supplies to the Enterprise crew.
1 TELEK R'MOR
The Voyager crew had all but given up hope that they’d ever be able to reach the Alpha Quadrant again in “Eye of the Needle”, but Ensign Harry Kim provides hope when he discovers several subspace emissions that indicate a wormhole is nearby. Unfortunately, entering the wormhole without knowing where it leads could put them further away from home than they already are.
Captain Janeway orders a course change to the wormhole’s location in the hope of reaching home. When they arrive, they realize they are being scanned by a Romulan ship which, it turns out, exists 20 years in the past. After much discussion, the captain of the Romulan vessel, Telek R’mor offers to pass messages to their loved ones.