Farscape Encyclopedia Project
Dominar Rygel XVI
First appearance Premiere
Last appearance Peacekeeper Wars: Part 2
Nickname(s) "Sparky", "Spanky", "Fluffy", "Buckwheat", Ryg, "Guido", "Napoleon", "Your (Royal) Frogness", "Sluggo"
Gender Male
Species Hynerian
Affiliation Hyneria, Unaffiliated
Age 500 cycles
Vehicle of Choice ThroneSled
Weapon of Choice Teeth
Portrayed by Jonathan Hardy (voice)
Sean Masterson, Tim Mieville, Mat McCoy, Mario Halouvas and Fiona Gentle (operators)
Ben Browder ("Out of Their Minds")
Claudia Black ("Out of Their Minds")
This article is about the Moya crewmember. For other uses of the name, see Rygel (disambiguation).
"I am Rygel the XVI, Dominar to over 600 billion subjects. I don't need to talk to you!"
― Rygel to John Crichton


Dominar Rygel XVI is the formerly deposed ruler of the Hynerian Empire and former Peacekeeper prisoner for over 130 cycles .

Character History[]


Standing all of 26 inches tall - when he deigned to stand at all - Rygel XVI was once the royal sovereign of more than 600 billion loyal (or so he claimed) subjects, the ruler of the Hynerian Empire. Unfortunately for him, none of them were with him in the Uncharted Territories (except Acquara, a small tribe without technology due to a device that drains all energy from any machines or technology requiring electrical power). Over 130 cycles ago, Rygel's cousin Bishan overthrew him and seized the throne and claimed Rygel was dead to the Hynerian Worlds. Rygel never discussed the political causes for the coup, though he intended to avenge himself as soon as he got the chance. Bishan turned the dethroned Dominar over to the Peacekeepers, who held him prisoner for more than 130 cycles. Rygel initially spent his confinement aboard the Peacekeeper command carrier Zelbinion, where he was regularly tortured and humiliated by the ship's captain, Captain Selto Durka. He survived, but grew to hate Durka and Peacekeepers in general because of it.


He was eventually transferred off the ship, and endured an unknown number of prisons before finally landing onboard Moya. The Leviathan had numerous passages and conduits that only someone of his size could use, and he began to come and go as he liked, secreting food and valuables where the Peacekeepers couldn't find them. His efforts eventually paid off when he became the guiding force behind Moya's escape from Peacekeeper servitude: he had obtained the necessary code keys and bribed the guard drones in order to make the prison break possible. Of course, if Rygel could have freed the ship alone, he might just as easily have left his fellow inmates Ka D'Argo and Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan in chains. After the escape, Rygel spent his time aboard Moya as the ship's main negotiator, obtaining food and supplies.

Though Rygel did at times provide valuable services for the crew, from negotiating to urinating explosively, he often caused more trouble than he was worth. In one instance, Rygel tried to betray his shipmates to Bialar Crais and Scorpius in exchange for resources to return him to Hyneria. He only gave up when he learned that Scorpius planned to kill him anyway.

Rygel was not, however, always a burden on the crew. For example, he was instrumental in saving Moya from the Drak ("Exodus From Genesis"), managed to disconnect Moya from a Peacekeeper paddac beacon ("I, E.T."), and cycles later convinced Pilot to help Crichton collapse the wormhole to Earth. He joined Aeryn, Crais, Stark, and one of the twinned Johns aboard Talyn when the Peacekeeper Retrieval Squad commanded by Xhalax Sun attacked both Moya and Talyn. During his time there, he was forced to bunk with Stark and endure the sounds made by Crichton and Aeryn's love-making, finding neither situation to be acceptable. It was also during this time that Rygel reached the brink of death for at least the second time after an attack by Xhalax left him mortally wounded, only to be revived by Stark.

Later, while John and the Ancient Jack, were busy constructing a displacement engine, Rygel held off a small army of Charrids nearly single-handedly. He even negotiated the safe passage of the crew aboard Scorpius' command carrier.

Since the destruction of the Scorpius' command carrier, Rygel has warmed to his role as a member of Moya's crew and has willingly sacrificed himself at the expense of his crewmates, allowing Noranti to infect him with near fatal Hynerian disease as a distraction while the crew attempted to rescue Aeryn from the Scarrans, though he was unaware when Noranti infected him with a real strain of the disease. During their most complicated plan to date, Rygel incited the Charrids to attack the Kalish in a Scarran base.

In a personal victory, Rygel was able to exact revenge on his tormentor Durka, who had gained control of the Zenetan Pirates. But Rygel still awaited his most significant of triumphs. Through the Peacekeepers, he has received reports that the subjects of the Hynerian Empire are unhappy with Bishan's rule, and that the time might soon be ripe for Rygel to reclaim his rightful place on the throne. Until that happens, however, he intends to obtain as much wealth and glory as he can by whatever means possible.

If and when he does return home, one thing is certain: his cousin will rue the day he crossed Dominar Rygel XVI.

The Peacekeeper Wars[]

After the crystallization of John and Aeryn on Qujaga, Rygel and the rest of Moya's crew made contact with the planet's inhabitants. After making a deal with the people, later discovered to be the famous ancient race known as the Eidelons, Rygel had to search the ocean floor and recover each and every piece of John and Aeryn that had fallen out of the boat, ingesting each piece that he found and regurgitating them when he returned to the surface. He also found the wedding ring of Crichton's mother, which he kept safe in one of his stomachs.

Following the reanimation of Crichton and Aeryn, Rygel learned that he had somehow failed to throw up the pieces of their baby and that it had reformed inside him. He was now pregnant with their child and, as a result and inversion of normalcy, became the most important person in the Crichton's and Aeryn's life. He accompanied the rest of Moya's crew to Arnessk in hopes of contacting the Eidelons' lost ancestors and presided over the second attempt to marry off Crichton and Aeryn, but this was interrupted, in typical Moya-luck fashion, by an attack. Rygel also received a message from a source he had never expected, his treacherous cousin Dominar Bishan. The Peacekeeper/Scarran War had come to the Hynerian Empire and, believing that Rygel's royal lineage would help to unite their people, Bishan offered his cousin the opportunity to return. Though Rygel was eager to reclaim his former throne, his current situation prevented him from returning at that time.

After their visit to Arnessk, Rygel was among those taken prisoner by the Scarrans. Aware of his unique situation, Staleek had Rygel examined and tortured. Hoping to inflict as much pain on Crichton and Aeryn as she could, War Minister Ahkna tried to go over the Emperor's head and have Rygel killed, but Staleek discovered this before it could be carried out. The treatment took its toll, however, and as Rygel's condition worsened, Crichton was forced to transfer the baby from him back into Aeryn. In spite of the hardships he had endured with the child inside of him, Rygel would later find that he missed it. When the Moyans and their temporary Peacekeeper and Eidelon allies fled to Moya during the Battle of Qujaga, Rygel convinced Aeryn to let him take the newborn baby on his hover sled, knowing that it would safer as they were all scooped up in Moya's docking web.

Back aboard Moya, Rygel would witness the power of the wormhole weapon, remarking that if it were the largest black hole ever known, it would be a worthy death for him. Following the destruction of the weapon and end of the war, Rygel planned to accept his cousin's invitation and return to Hyneria, likely to reclaim the throne that he had long coveted.


Shortly after the war, Rygel chose to accept his cousin's offer to return to his homeworld. En route, he received a message from one of his ex-wives Mmyna, who informed him that Bishan had reneged on his offer to Rygel and had instead put a bounty on the former Dominar's head. Shocked, Rygel was now determined to overthrow Bishan and used Mmyna to gain some information about opposition. After Mmyna assured him that three of the Hynerian Army's generals supported him over Bishan, Rygel agreed to meet with them on Hyneria's fourth moon. There the coup was revealed to be a trap by Bishan, who promptly took Rygel, Chiana, and Ka Jothee prisoner.

Personality and traits[]

At first appearance Rygel, in short, appears greedy, self-absorbed, and egotistical. He made a habit of "procuring" items from his fellow shipmates, and even the dead, eating much more than his fair share, and more often than not putting those around him in danger. However, as the show progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that there are often underlying reasons for Rygel's (admittedly numerous) apparent negative traits that aren't immediately obviously. His apparent gluttony is actually nothing more than the result of literally having three stomachs and genuinely requiring more food than the rest of Moya's crew to live - his daily food intake may actually even be modest for his species. It is also easy to forget that, unlike the other characters in the show, Rygel is literally thousands of years old and approaching the end of his life, making him a senior citizen in human terms. What is often mistaken for arrogance is actually the genuine acquired wisdom of old age. Rygel has lived far longer and experienced far more life lessons than any of his shipmates and as a result has a different perspective, one that his shipmates have trouble grasping, finding it easier to dismiss as simple arrogance. Rygel in turn is continually frustrated at having his opinion repeatedly ignored and dismissed by his crewmates who, from his perspective, are like ignorant teenagers who think they know everything despite barely having lived. His ego is the result of having once been (and still rightfully being) the ruler of an interstellar empire of over 600 billion subjects. Being a ruler for such a long time has likely taught Rygel that there often are no easy or "right" answers in times of crisis, just varying degrees of "wrong," and the job of ruler is to choose the wrong with the least negative consequences (something he offers as comfort to Noranti when her actions on the Scarran space station caused the deaths of hundreds). While at first glance Rygel's ego may seem like unearned boorishness, it becomes clear that with his ego comes an equal amount of responsibility that Rygel takes seriously. Rygel is not abusive and was not a tyrannical leader, and he has no respect for rulers who abuse their power and act irresponsibly (such as when he expressed guilt during their encounter with the Acquarans, whose ancestors had been banished to a distant planet by Rygel X and whose priests had twisted the original mission into a religion to maintain their power (Rygel noting that he was uncomfortable being praised as something he wasn't even if he wanted respect as a Dominar)). Little is known about Rygel's time as Dominar, but by all accounts he was popular among his empire's citizens and seen as a benevolent leader, albeit a dictatorial one. When news reaches Rygel of the state of the Hynerian empire it is revealed that his cousin is hated among the people, who long for the return of Dominar Rygel XVI. When absolutely necessary he would "bravely" put himself in harm's way for the rest of the crew - although he would then remind them of it constantly afterward -, once willingly contributing his share of their recent robbery of the Shadow Depository to pay medical fees to heal Moya after she was badly injured.  He agreed with Crichton that wormhole technology was too dangerous for anyone to control, and even delivered Talyn's eulogy when they buried him in the Leviathans' sacred space. It is also safe to say that despite his ability to get along with John, Zhaan, Chiana, Pilot, Noranti, Jool, Crais, Stark, and Sikozu (to some extent), for much of the series Aeryn and D'Argo basically hate his guts, in a very pure way, and have both tried to kill him on more than one occasion even as far on as mid Season 4. However, there is a subtle respect and even affection between D'Argo and Rygel as the series develops, as the two appear comfortable working together on various assignments, requiring little to no preparation when putting on an act for their enemies (such as when they manipulate the Charrids in We're So Screwed and the robbers in I-Yensch, You-Yensch). Aeryn also shows signs of learning to respect Rygel's input, even if she usually doesn't agree with his conclusions. For example, in Eat Me, when Aeryn and Rygel are aboard the unconscious Talyn, Aeryn initially dismisses Rygel's insistence that they starburst in Moya as typical selfishness until Rygel cuts her off, explaining that whoever or whatever attacked Talyn, a far more formidable vessel than Moya, will likely return to finish the job and have no difficulty destroying Moya along with Talyn. Aeryn is visibly alarmed when she realizes that Rygel is right about them being in very real danger and embarassed that she didn't consider this herself. Towards the end of The Peacekeeper Wars Rygel offers to hold Aeryn's baby as they are picked up by Moya as the baby will be safer in his hover chair. After processing that Rygel is offering to do this for no personal gain she hands him the baby without saying a word, but the gratitude is visible on her face. Rygel also earns the respect of all of Moya's crew as the value of his negotiating skills becomes increasingly apparent, becoming the one vital strength that he brings to the table. As such, Rygel becomes the crew's unofficial negotiator with all other parties (the bug-replicating Queen in Exodus from Genesis, the independant Sabacean colony in Look at the Princess, and Scorpius in I-Yensch, You-Yensch).


  • I'm unloved, unwanted, unpopular - (Bekhesh kicks him) unconscious...
  • Shall I disrobe so it's memorable?
  • Help! Help! A mad Delvian exhibitionist is forcing herself on me... visually.
  • Go ahead and find out. I don't care. Because the all-powerful Durka is a failure. It's the TRUTH DURKA! You tortured me without mercy, but you never broke me! You only made me stronger! And even if you kill me, I'll be laughing at you because the last thing I'll think of is you on Nebari Prime for another 100 cycles - being ground back down into nothing.
  • Oh yes. I'm back, too. Thanks for asking. Back to being me. Back to being ignored.
  • I'm nobody's puppet!
  • I may be small, but allow me to remind you that only serves to put me at castration level!
  • Of course it's a foe! We have no friends!
  • May your afterlife be almost as pleasant as mine.
  • Oh Crichton. For once listen. When a woman, whether she's your wife, your lover, or a slave you purchased to be your wife or lover, leaves you repeatedly take the hint.
  • (To Sikozu): My name isn't Hynerian. It's Rygel XVI. You may call me Dominar.
  • (To Sikozu): I've been around long enough to know how ignorant I am. I don't assume the universe obeys my preconceptions. Hah! But I know a frelling fact when it hits me in the face.
  • To avoid conflict....
  • I want this "miracle of life" THE FRELL OUT OF ME!
  • Wormhole, normal space, wormhole..........
  • Goodbye, you big beautiful blue bitch.......
  • If it is the largest black hole, then it is a death worthy of a dominar!
  • Bitchin!

Involving Others[]

Rygel: Of course not, ya blue bitch! But what's done is DONE!
Zhaan: Just as long as we're wealthy.....
Rygel: May as well put it to good use.
Rygel: I'd do the same thing for YOU if it made SENSE! No no, don't read into that, its not what I meant.
John: Sparky, it's okay. I know exactly what you meant.
Rygel: You should do it.
Pilot: Would you?
Rygel: No. But I'm not you.

Background information[]

  • Rygel's nickname on set was "LRC" ("Little Rubber Chappie"). (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • Actor Jonathan Hardy made no effort to guise his voice. The voice that he provided for Rygel was very much his own, unlike other major voice actors such as Tara Strong or Frank Welker, who provide voices for many different characters on many different TV shows. Hardy does, however, vary his accent when necessary, adopting an American-styled accent for "Out of Their Minds" when Rygel's body is inhabited by Crichton and also a lighter Australian accent for when Rygel is inhabited by Aeryn, as well as an American accent when playing the Douglas Logan version of Rygel in "Won't Get Fooled Again".
  • Rygel appears in every episode of the series except for "Losing Time", "Incubator", "Scratch 'N' Sniff" and "Revenging Angel". While he does not appear on screen in "A Prefect Murder", he has one brief voice-over line. Crichton is the only character to appear in more as he is in all 88 episodes.
  • Rygel is one of nine characters to appear in all four seasons of Farscape as well as The Peacekeeper Wars. The others are Crichton, Aeryn, D'Argo, Chiana, Pilot, Scorpius, Stark and Braca.
  • In the 200th episode of Stargate SG-1, Claudia Black's character introduced a humorous re-imagining of Farscape with the SG-1 cast in the leading roles. Rygel was portrayed by Thor, whose puppet was given Hynerian whiskers for the occasion.

Alternate Versions[]

Douglas Logan[]

The administrator

Main Article: Douglas Logan
Episode: "Won't Get Fooled Again"

While under a Scarran mind probe, Crichton encountered this version of Rygel, whose image was in the form of IASA's administrator for the Farscape Project. Described as a "tough bastard", Douglas had little patience for "cocky astronauts". Though furious with Crichton and the potential fallout the failed experiment would have on IASA, Logan wanted to save face by having Crichton pilot a second attempt. By this point, however, Crichton was taking none of the simulation seriously. Believing that it was all an attempt of Scorpius to find out how he created his initial wormhole that had taken him to the Uncharted Territories in the first place, Crichton defiantly walked out. When Logan pursued him in a golf cart, Crichton grabbed the diminutive alien and tossed from the top of an open air stairwell, presumably to his death.

Logan would appear again, however, as the mind probe began taking a darker turn, trying harder to break John's mind.

Rygel the Black Knight[]

None shall pass.

Episode: "John Quixote"

Crichton and Chiana encountered this version of Rygel in a mental video game created from Crichton's memories. Rygel occupied a spot in a parking garage, barking "None shall pass!" when Crichton and Chiana approached. Though Crichton was initially amused, the situation turned deadly when he and Chiana tried to walk around the small knight. Unlike the Hynerian's usual helium, this version farted gigantic flames, directing them at any who tried to get around them. Chiana managed to use her agility to outmaneuver him and managed to stab him, causing Rygel to explode.

Later, when the game reset Rygel was resurrected. This time, however, Crichton ran him over with Male Zhaan's hijacked van.



Episode: "Unrealized Reality"

D'Argo/Rygel existed in one of the unrealized realities Crichton saw while being shown the dangers of wormhole travel by the Ancient "Einstein". He appeared to be much like Rygel with Luxan features, including a beard and a miniature Qualta blade. Like the D'Argo of Crichton's universe, he was considered captain of Moya, had slept with Chiana/Aeryn, and had been married to Lo'Laan.

When Moya came under Peacekeeper attack, D'Argo/Rygel tried to maintain control as chaos reigned around him. Becoming stressed as no one listened to him, he tongued and accidentally killed Chiana/Aeryn and was caught in an explosion moments later.



Episode: "Unrealized Reality", "Prayer"

Rygel/Noranti existed in one of the unrealized realities Crichton saw while being shown the dangers of wormhole travel by the Ancient "Einstein". S/he looked like a human-sized version of a Hynerian, dressed in overlarge red Dominar robes and without a ThroneSled in sight. In appearance he resembled Rygel, but in personality he resembled him much more, first attempting to escape on a transport pod until he realized that there were Marauders waiting to shoot down any transport pods that attempted to escape. When Bialar Crais boarded Moya and entered command with an armed Peacekeeper squad, Rygel/Noranti protested that he and Crais had had a deal; D'Argo/Rygel called Rygel/Noranti a traitor, to which Rygel/Noranti responded by punching D'Argo/Rygel in the stomach and scuttling off Command, squawking, "It's every Hynerian for himself!"

Crichton later returned to this version of Moya with Scorpius in an attempt to track down Stark/Sikozu for information about Katratzi. Needing someone for Stark to cross over, Scorpius found Rygel/Noranti and killed her. Unfortunately, it was then that they learned that this Stark could only cross over beings he loved. This Rygel's fear was much bigger and was practically afraid of almost anything, always having an afraid expression.