Star Trek Movie Make-up Secrets Revealed (including Klingons!)

As we reported in our profile earlier this year, JJ Abrams applied his ‘make it real’ philosophy to the new Star Trek movie right down to the make-up, looking to Barney Burman and the wizards at Proteus to ‘pepper’ the movie with realistic looking aliens. Now a newly available in-depth look at the make-up reveals more details and never seen before images, including the Klingons.


Making up the new Star Trek
Today UK Magazine SciFi Now is kicking off a three-part special looking at the make-up of the Star Trek movie, including interviews with Burman and his team. In the profile, Burman reveals how many aliens were created for a scene that was cut from the movie:

One or two aliens were to shoot before Christmas of ’07 but everything else was set to work in March of ’08 in a ‘Market place’ scene on a desert planet, so most of our designs were geared toward that kind of atmosphere. Then came the big surprise. We were close to the beginning of principal photography when J.J. informed me that the desert marketplace scene was now going to be a bunker with only one alien in the snow, and all the other alien designs would have to be revisited and peppered throughout the film.

Barney Burman with his creations

Another scene that was cut from the film was the Rura Penthe prison. Burman and his team put a lot of time into developing new Klingons for JJ Abrams film, but they ended up on the cutting room floor. They were spotted briefly in a couple of the Star Trek trailers and will appear in the upcoming DVD and Bl-ray releases, but the article at SFN gives you a good close-up on the Klingon make-up.

Klingon close-up

Read the full article at SFN for more details and to see a gallery of images in high resolution.

JJ Abrams gives direction to one of his aliens (played by Jeff Chase)


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Finally, new behind the scenes stuff!!!! Sweet!!!!!!!!!

Those Klingons look great…. actually scary…. hopefully we’ll get to see them next time around…

Great to see the creativity.

Awesome, loved the practical effects and make-up in the film. Hope to see even more in the next one!

The Klingons look like Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I’m not a fan of the helmets (and I agree with #5 and find it distracting) but the glimpses of Klingon are very effective, menacing and aggressive.

Wow – that’s a bit more like it! By the end of the Next Generation the Klingons (Worf included) had become a joke – a load of loud-mouthed buffoons impossible to take seriously. This one looks genuinely menacing – hope we get to see more of them next time out.

After looking at the hi-res shots on the article, I am even more impressed with the make-up, especially the Kilngon. The skin quality is incredible and I agree… this looks like one bad ass Klingon!

In the top center of the pic with all the designs, is that a Gorn? :) Looks like the salt vampire thing is there too

And the klingons look cool

I like that they actually managed to come up with a helmet that the Klingons could wear. It doesn’t look like Shredder at all. More Viking/Anglo-Saxon warrior.

I love the helmet. I particularly like the stylized forehead ridge. The Klingon equivalent of stylized chest muscles on a Roman breastplate.

#5 – Haha, nice.

The Klingon looks awesome. Canonically it could fit too since we can assume there’s a genetically altered human-like Klingon under there.
Klingons being the way they are, it would make a lot more sense for them to hide their new look with scary armour than prance around looking like humans.

Well that’s just my thoughts on it anyway.

I dig the Kirk n Spock babies! Hah!

Is that two baby Kirk’s I see in front of the Keenser prostehethic?!

I think so!

*lauhs hysterically*

Top/center in the shot of the group of masks…am I seeing a Gorn?

9. Gorn Captain – “In the top center of the pic with all the designs, is that a Gorn? ”

I think ur right awesome.

Those Klingons Kick Ass!!!

Hopefully next time if they make new aliens they won’t look like fecal matter like the long face alien from the bar. That thing makes me sick every time I look at it.

I simultaneously really liked the alien makeup for the new movie, while missing the touch of Michael Westmore.

The makeup looked good overall (and I especially loved the Romulan tattoos, which I guess was probably a different department from the prosthetics…?), but I was saddened that they didn’t get Westmore to collaborate.

As for the Klingons…I love the Shredder comparison! :D
But I also agree that helmet looks pretty great.

Way to go on the Klingons AND the Gorn. Yes, I think I would like to see a Federation-Klingon War outbreak movie with THOSE Klingons as the adversaries. Leave the TNG Klingons in the dust, please.

JJ cut the rura penthe scenes because he said it detracted from the flow of the movie, but now we have to access the Blu ray menu, select deleted scenes to watch it, like that doesn’t detract from watching the movie??? Why no extended edition?

Is that a Talosian, second row, third from the right?


I agree, there should be a extended versions for the trekkies/folks willing to accept villains capturing villains. I would pay another $20 to see it in the cinemas as the movie was written/shot. Still looking forward to the Blu Ray though.

I am also a big fan of that Klingon design with the helmet. I hope that any future Klingons in Abrams’ movies will always have those helmets….it’d be cool…

Is that a tail next to the “Gorn” head? Reminds me of Whiplash from Masters of the Universe.

I like the new direction. It would be cool to see Klingons with short hair & a uniform similar to TOS. I don’t want these guys looking all the same with Viking hair cuts & armor plates that aren’t functional in some situations. The Klingon look & how they acted got so stale. They became a bunch of Suicidal Kamikaze Neanderthals. I started to have trouble seeing how they could get it together enough to have space travel being such barbarians.

#27: I was just gonna say that…but I hadn’t thought of such an awesome description. Suicidal Kamikaze Neanderthals, indeed. More like a bunch of whiny babies than an army of fearsome honor-bound warriors. And I wonder how their population can possibly increase when just about every insult merits a fight to the death. I’d like to see some Klingons more like Samurai than Vikings, in control of themselves but able to kill you without a moment’s hesitation, more like Worf I suppose. I see less of a berserk killing machine/whining overdramatic suicidal emo with a really big pointy thing in him than in most Klingons from TNG or DS9.

Ha, maybe they cut the Klingon story-line to minimize the amount of groaning from TOS old-timers like me. It will be interesting to see how much Klingon footage they really had, including any SFX space battle scenes…

Those helmets are a good idea and a good way to get around the issue of TOS or TNG foreheads clever!

I see a nod to the Salt vampire up on the left!

I liked how light could be seen through the the edges of Vulcan ears….like real flesh and not rubber. Even had noticable blood vessels. Keepin’ it real!!

Wow, those Neanderthals- erm I mean Klingons look AWESOME! They actually seem to look a bit like Cavemen to me.

From a production standpoint, the helmet is a good move. They can probably make more of them faster, since they don’t need to make each one unique or fit it to an actor’s head like they would a prosthetic. That means cheaper klingons, which means more klingons. The fact that they’re uniform means they can use a computer to turn 20 Klingon extras into 500 or a 1000 klingon extras ah la Lord of the Rings. The new Kirk could have a klingon battle royal in his future.

Everything looks very cool but would it have killed them to have one Andorian? Or a Tellarite?

They always avoid those don’t they?


Only problem with the Vulcan ears was that the blood vessels were Jeremy Kogan’s, and showed up with a reddish tint while he had green blood on his lip.


aye, not a single sign of blue skin or antennae anywhere in the film, even in the starfleet academy/ hearing scenes. it seems they went out of their way to not show any of the more well known races in the background, still it’s a minor peeve that i hope the guys will remember for the next one.

great to see some nods to TOS in the prosthetics though all the same!

#34: IIRC, the Romulan helmets on TOS served the same purpose. And they got recycled into Vulcan helmets for Amok Time.

And that sure does look like a Gorn mask! :)

It’s funny how history repeats itself. TMP had a lot of exotic aliens end up on the cutting room floor as well.

#9 Gorn Captain – far upper left row – Ferengi? 2nd row, right side – Tholian and Talosian?

too cool

I just hope, if they do go for a big Klingon presence in the sequel, that they maintain the going for reality philosophy, which means not returning to the one dimensional Klingons who all dress the same from TNG.

Let’s get a hint of the stratification of Klingon society. Let’s see some nerdy scientist Klingons who serve the powerful warrior and political castes. Let’s see a humorous Klingon character who does not buy into the warrior culture thing. Cast Steve Buscemi in the role and make him a fan of Earth novels, who speaks English and who longs to be far way from the Empire.

I would like to see 3 dimensional Klingons. All Nazis were German, but not all Germans were Nazis. But I also want to see the warrior caste Klingons written like interstellar Mongols swallowing up starsystems, and yes, at least give shadowy hints that they do really bad things to people who oppose them.

I’m really sick of the all snarl, no bite Klingons.

The Klingons look cool, but it doesnt work for me. We already know what Klingons look like, and from what I can tell that only touches on it. As for the ridges on the helmet, they look cool, but Klingons have different ridge patterns depending on their family, so Id hope they wouldnt leave that out. I think its cool introducing new aliens, but when you have ones (like the Romulans and Klingons) that we already know how they look, I dont see the point in changing it.

Looks like the 1st left mask top row is Cardassian. Also looks like they put a couple different Whitley Strieberesque Grays in there.

And I believe the babies would be Kirk and Spock.

And by the way, folks, if you haven’t clicked on the SFN link, here’s a hi res pic of the Klingon in the makeup chair without the helmet on:

This is a disaster! Klingons whose skin doesn’t have fraying edges? That’s just not canon!

OK! Enough !!!.

Actually, one of the worst offenses of Nemesis was an early c/u shot of the Romulan woman, where you could see where her ear tip attached. There were a few ‘beauts’ in TNG as well, especially with Worf’s ever-peeling headpieces.

One of the great things in JJ’s movie is the ability of the makeup to stand close-ups. The early scenes of the Vulcans, where you can see the veins in their ears because of the backlighting is amazing. (Although the veins are red, instead of green!)

The new Klingon looks more Orc than Trek, but that’s fine. I fully expect a lot of bad-ass Klingons in the next movie. It’d be nice to have them more like Kor (a nice take on “The Grand Illusion” and a nice performance from John Colicos) and less like Koloth (buffoonish; and yes I know it was a comic episode.)

Klingon character design look nice but I would hope in space the grunts take on a more haggard appearance (like the submariners in Das Boot). Everyone is so costumed, hiply designed and European leathered, I half expect Kate Beckinsale in tight plastic jeans to flip across the screen shooting away.

I think Romulans are the Romans in space.

45 – Thanks for the link, but it took forever to download on my computer at work — a long time for not that great a design. Actually kind of ugly — like Klingons were bred by Snuffleupagus.

Regarding the Klingon under the helmet, what would REALLY be cool from a dramatic and visually interesting standpoint, would be to put those ridges back but make them actual bony protrusions, not skin covered, but protruding out of the skin the way that fingernails and teeth do, or the way that horns on an animal do.

That would look awesome and somewhat frightening, I think.