Dame Vaako, played by actress Thandiwe Newton, is the secondary antagonist in the film and is the wife of the Necromonger Empire commander Lord Vaako. Dame Vaako is consumed by, even defined by, overweening ambition. She is not a comfortable wife, constantly pushing Vaako to higher office, even hinting at murder to advance his career.
She is first seen on her husband's arm exiting the Basilica, and is later observed inspecting a room full of potential converts that the Purifier is preaching to. She ignores the Purifier and examines the converts, perhaps attempting to weed out potential rivals or select new servants. When Riddick appears and causes a scene, Dame Vaako recognizes that the Necromonger troops are no match for him; when the decision is made to bring him to the Necropolis, Dame Vaako positions herself on his arm and gives him a tour.
After her husband is sent to follow and destroy Riddick, Lord Marshal Zhylaw tasks her with interrogating Aereon in the hope of finding out what it is the Elementals are up to. Aereon resists Dame Vaako's threat of defenestration.
When the Necromongers leave Helion Prime, Dame Vaako catches a glimpse of Riddick's intrusion to the Basilica, but did not tell anyone but Vaako. She thought that his destabilizing presence could lead to opportunity for Vaako to succeed the Lord Marshal. Although Vaako took the hint and attempted to assassinate Zylaw, all he was able to do was ensure that Riddick struck the killing blow. Dame Vaako screamed in anguish upon realizing the error.
- Dame Vaako appears to be based in part on the popular Shakespearean character Lady Macbeth. Like Lady Macbeth, Dame Vaako is known by her husband's name and, driven by considerable ambition, pushes him to action he would not otherwise consider.