Showrunner Explains New Look For ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Klingons

Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery

The look of the Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery has been the subject of much discussion since the trailer came out in May. Today Entertainment Weekly has a new quote from Discovery showrunner Aaron Harberts, which seems to be addressing fan debate:

“In the different versions of Trek, the Klingons have never been completely consistent,” Harberts said. “We will introduce several different houses with different styles. Hopefully, fans will become more invested in the characters than worried about the redesign.”

The article also notes that original original showrunner Bryan Fuller advocated “updating” the new look for the Klingons and was involved in the redesign.

CBS has also released high resolution version of the two images in the Entertainment Weekly SDCC preview issue we showed on Saturday, including this one with the Klingons below.

Mary Chieffo as L’Rell and Chris Obi as T’Kuvma in Star Trek: Discovery (CBS)

Those are Klingons?

Let’s not forget that Klingons have not been known for their consistent look from one Star Trek series to another, as noted in the Deep Space Nine episode “Trials and Tribble-ations.”

And while most physical changes to the Klingons were due to budgetary reasons, the canon explanation came in a story arc on Enterprise.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US. See our Discovery info page for more details.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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“Let’s not forget that Klingons have not been known for their consistent look from one Star Trek series to another”

Actually the look was consistent throughout the various TV shows with the exception of TOS.

The showrunner didn’t offer any good rationale for the changes; basically Aaron Harberts is saying that they’ve changed the look because they could.

Agreed. Even the Klingons on Enterprise were of the TNG-era design. The Klingons on Discovery look more like the ones from Into Darkness, which is why everyone is in an uproar.

Agreed as well. It’s changing for changing’s sake.

@Dan — I’m not sure why Berman gets to be the defacto last word on the Trek franchise Klingon appearance? Thank god somebody else is taking a crack at improving it. The YNG era Klingon’s looked like papier mache marionettes …

FALSE! Makeup designer Michael Westmore designed the Klingons from TNG through Enterprise & each one was unique. The foreheads were each based on fossilized vertebrae. Rick Berman had absolutely NO INPUT on Klingon makeup design or the design of any other alien. Westmore was given total control to create whatever he wanted for any & all aliens during his time on Star Trek. None of the writers, producers, directors had any input.
In addition, the Klingon design has been consistent spanning movies 2-10 & in TNG, DS9, VOY, & ENT. Enterprise makes TOS consistent.
There is no good reason to change the Klingon look, period.
Recent interview w/Westmore on Klingon design:

Canon isn’t just the stories, events, & characters, but it is the look of everything as well. All this talk of ‘canon checkers’ in the Discovery writers room is baloney. Star Trek is a period drama & appearances cannot be changed any more than you can change Downton Abbey. You can’t set a prequel to Downton in a 21st century New York apartment, call the apartment Downton, & say it’s the early 1900s. It doesn’t work. The appearance of TOS era cannot be changed (except for minor tweaks). It has been established as canon in TNG, DS9, & Enterprise. Again, canon includes visuals.
By shoehorning Discovery into an established era the producers have shot themselves in the foot & doomed the series. If these people wanted to do whatever they wanted, then it should’ve been a post-Nemesis series.

Well said.

Bravo, sir!

@Trekkie88 — do you feel better now? Berman most certainly had approval over Westmore’s designs. How strictly he enforced it when differing with Westmore is another matter. Regardless, again you’re putting the control of the look of the Klingon’s into Westmire’s hands, which in my book is no different. You think Westmore being the exclusive designer makes this better? It doesn’t change my opinion about the way they look. Just because the Berman era allowed Westmore’s designs to persist doesn’t make them the only vision for he Klingon, or the one that should remained unchanged just because they lasted the longest.

You’re wrong about canon, but then it’s just an opinion, isn’t it? Trying to justify your opinion by comparing Trek canon to historical fact is RIDICULOUS. And that’s all that has to be said about that.

The new look was established in TNG, tweaked in Star Trek III and that pretty much locked down the look of Klingons until Enterprise went off the air. Costumes that followed over the next several decades were all based on the design introduced in TMP.

Wrong. The new look was technically established in TMP, tweaked in Star Trek III (released in 1984, three years BEFORE TNG) with TNG ‘locking it down’ in 1987.

You were there in the meetings, etc?

You are completely right @Trekkie88

Agree as well Trekkie88.

While I partially agree with you, if a series in TOS era were made in the exact style designed in the 1960s, it’d be laughed off of CBS All Access. Star Trek Continues and Star Trek Phase II got away with it because they were fan productions. That being said, the problem could’ve also been gotten around by setting Discovery in the Star Trek VI era and attributed the new Klingon look to a) being ancient Klingons or b) in the aftermath of the Augment Virus issue in ST: Enterprise, say some Klingons experimented with cosmetic enhancements not just to restore the base Klingon look but to make themselves more frightening/more predatory-looking

I 100% agree with you!
Yes… TOS design looks weirdly out of date by now and a bit cheesy. STILL in DS9, ENT, etc. they went back there… and left the style the EXACT way it was. Why? Because that is how the time period looks like in Star Trek. Period.

Moving everything Post-Nemesis would have solved A LOT of these issues.

This looks more like JJ-Prise than it does like REAL Star Trek. Which is a pity.

But come to think of the past… it’s not like the people behind Star Trek have cared too much about what fans think/want.
In the 90s and beyond many people, including G. Takei himself wanted to see a standalone Sulu/Excelsior series. Didn’t happen.
After Nemesis fans, and J. Frakes wanted to see a Star Trek Titan series. What did we get? A TOS prequel that nobody had asked for and that created many continuity issues, while solving a couple others, like the look of the TOS Klingons. While ENT turned out to become a decent series, especially towards the end, it flopped majorly. Why? Because nobody actually wanted a TOS Prequel. And now… mistakes are repeated… for NO reason.

“Westmore was given total control to create whatever he wanted for any & all aliens during his time on Star Trek”. Within budgetary reasons.

On canon, agreed. Well spoken.

Amen, brother. Amen.

Dan, if anything the JJ Klingons were more like the TMP/TNG ones than this lot with their weird elongated craniums.

Untrue. They’ve changed a LOT over the years.

No, they’ve been pretty consistent from TMP through Enterprise. A few tweaks here and there over the years, but basically the same.

No… they have changed from TOS to TMP and again to the TOS movies. TNG changed them again. Even Worf doesn’t have a consistant look throughout his run.

@Trek67. Those changes were very minor. You’re stretching.

Very minor changes. These are fundamental changes.

And if they show different “houses” some that more resemble TNG Klingons? Will you cry about that too?

Im going to guess that this look is specific to a closed “family” of Klingons, perhaps even inter-bred. Like royalty.

Amen brother. Amen.

What is wrong with change for the sake of change? Sometimes change is good to shake things up and give a new perspective, whether that’s through story or visuals.

Ok, then I look forward to a redesign of the Millennium Falcon. You know, because change is good to shake things up.

I wouldn’t have a problem with a redesign of the Millenium Falcon. Then again, there is a difference between redesigning a specific ship and updating the look for new members of an alien species that we haven’t seen before.

Given that Trek has struggled to attract new viewers the past 15 years, can you blame them for wanting to make some changes?

Star Wars doesn’t have that problem.

Maybe think about the differences in these franchises before making moronic comparisons.

Ahhh, this crappy make up change will have the viewers flowing in!!!

LOL have to agree with that. I don’t get the point of changing them when all its really doing is just upsetting the most hardcore fans. Are new people really going to care one way or the other? I think this may be another mistake but if its good people will move on quickly.

If we’re going to be comparing Star Wars to Star Trek, then: Trek=SciFi, Wars=SciFantasy. I see Star Wars as Timeless, where Trek is Timely. SW is the long ago, far away galaxy adventure that lives in its own bubble, ST at its best always is a reflection of how we see our future. TOS was a glimpse at how we could optimistically see ourselves 300 years from the 60’s, TNG was 80’s Trek, etc. I think it’s great that Star Trek adapts to the changing times in the way it presents our future. And Trek has always had set/costume/makeup inconsistencies and changes. Explain the STIII Klingon ship interior vs. STIV? do the cramped BOPs have two bridges? It was just the preferences of the production crew. The enterprise bridge was constantly changing, Spock’s ICONIC ears weren’t even always exactly the same!
I would say visual canon is trumped by narrative canon every time. But that’s just my two cents

The only struggle was getting people in the seats to see Nemesis years ago. There was no struggle to get people…a whole lot of people…to go see JJ treks 1, 2 and 3. You proceed from a false assumption if you think the studios and Bad Robot had some sort of struggle getting butts in the seats of their movies. Sorry, your perceived “struggle” is not real.

Change for the sake of change ie never necessary if the thing you’re changing ain’t broke. Let’s change the Vulcan ears and haircuts next shall we, ya know, ’cause we can and all?

@El Chup: So are you opposed to the changes made to alien makeup in the TOS movies and TNG? This seems like a willfully hypocritical position to me.

@El Chup — prove it is change for the sake of change. And yes, please GOD change the Vulcan makeup and specifically hairstyles. The dumbest move in the world was giving every Romulan and Vulcan in the universe the same haircut.

Everything is wrong with change for the sake of change, when you’re working in an established setting with an established look in an established universe (which the creators voluntarily *chose* as the setting from a multitude of options). Change just for change is fine if you have a blank canvas setting- but when you’re working within an established setting (and, as prequels do, leeching off the popularity of an existing popular property), then changing it up is just self-centered arrogance on the part of creators who want all the audience from the old franchise, but none of the responsibilities inherent in consistent and contiguous storytelling.

Yeah. I’m very disappointed with this explanation given all the BS we’ve had about it all fitting in to canon. All it would’ve taken was a few lines to fit them into canon alongside the previous Klingons. But this is just flat out messing with the fans. Promising them Prime universe and canon consistency up until just a few days ago and then basically confirming they’re taking elements and rebooting them at will.

If the explanation is that there were a bunch of different houses including augments/TOS versions and the ancestors of the TOS movie/TNG Klingons, doesn’t that fit canon?

Except that it was broke. You guys are deluded if you think Trek didn’t need a major overhaul.

How does changing the Klingons make it ‘better’ though? They ‘overhauled’ the ship design too and we are seeing how well thats going?

As I always said, I think the changes would’ve made more sense in another time period at least. To put all this during TOS time and tell people this is suppose to be around TOS but looks nothing like it is asking for trouble IMO.

I don’t get why they just didn’t put it in a later period and then all the changes like the Discovery wouldn’t feel shoe horned as a lot of it does now.

Better is subjective. These are creative decisions they feel are for the betterment of quality and attracting audience. As Drew says further down, “i’m not sure what more logic you need.”

All these questions “why do this?” “why not do this?”

They have their reasons. Some may be business related, some may be creative, some may simply be the writer’s personal preference, just as you have yours.

“To put all this during TOS time and tell people this is suppose to be around TOS but looks nothing like it is asking for trouble IMO.”

I think this is the biggest flaw in this argument. To be so focused on this and to be basing judgement around visual consistencies is mind-boggling.

What they’re really asking for the audience to do is let go of the details of canon, and accept something new. Even when Klingons were introduced in TMP with ridges and different armor, many producers commented at the time that they we should accept that “this is how they always looked.” Only DS9 screwed that up.

I’ve said this before, a producer (I feel like it was Michael Okuda) said that we should consider the TV series a fictional adaptation of real events. That is to say that what we see isn’t always accurate to “how it really happened” or “how it really looked.”

I don’t need these explanations to enjoy a new series, but if you do, that should suffice, i’d think.

If it doesn’t… well… than this just isn’t for you.

And that’s OK! There are lots of things that aren’t for me. I don’t like TOS. I hated Babylon 5. I think Orville looks like trash. I’ve never really been a fan of Stargate. I wish I could have enjoyed them, because I love science fiction, but there were things about them that prevented me from doing so.

If the period Discovery takes place in and some visual contradictions to an established fictional canon are lines that you can’t cross, then so be it.

Ultimately I think people will get over it with both time and if its good but it just seem like an ill advise decision to try and win old fans but then change everything in the period.

Its feeling like the same issues they are having with the KT films. I hope to be wrong but it feels like many may reject the show over it among other reasons.

@ Tiger2: Maybe they underestimated the inflexibility of part of the fandom.

Maybe but after the KT films I don’t know how? And what I mean is all the complaints over the differences for years. Of course it doesn’t mean those complaints are the majority or a consensus but they are clearly there. So they they had to know major changes were going to get a lot of people upset especially when the KT films had a an in-universe reason for a lot of those changes and people moaned about them anyway.

And look don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the show will live or die by how the Klingons look or if the ship look too different/advance in this period. I think us Trek fans moan about this stuff but will get over it pretty fast if they just like the stories and characters.

But I do wonder why take this chance knowing the fanbase you have? Most people WILL give it a chance but as shown it doesn’t take much for fickle fans to deem something ‘bad’ and moved on. Thankfully in Trek’s long career there is more success than failure but this could fail if enough feel its not Star Trek enough because they have to pay for it unlike the previous shows where people might have hated it but still watched to see any improvement. Now that there is a pay wall its going to have to get a lot of people onboard out of the gate or many will just cancel their subscriptions or bother not to come back the next season.

Yeah, I agree. It would have been better if they just came out and said they’re reimaging Star Trek. I would still prefer them to stick to established canon but I’d have more respect for them if they just were honest with the fans. Instead, you can tell they want to reboot it and they twist themselves into knots trying to explain why it makes sense. It doesn’t. They’re rebooting/reimaging Star Trek. The sooner they admit that to themselves the better off they will be.


The people complaining seem to be consistent in either being angry they dont look like TOS Klingons or TNG Klingons but seem to forget the Klingons havent all looked the same throughout the history of the franchise. Even specific Klingons changed their design over time (Worf certainly did).

Humans have a wide variety of looks and yes even different shaped heads.


“Worf certainly did”

You know very well they were minor changes.

It might have been minor changes but it was supposed to be the same person. So what? Worf had plastic surgery several times but they never mentioned it? He just looked different? And nobody cared.
Now we get Klingons we have never seen before. They look different from the various types of Klingongs that we’ve had before, but still similar. And people freak out?

Humans look different but look like humans in the end. Klingons too. But THESE do not look like the Klingon race (yes, a fictional race).


Thank you.

What Aaron Herberts is offering in this article is a non-explanation in the form of an excuse: “Well, other production teams changed the Klingons, so why shouldn’t we?”

The better question, which has heretofore gone unanswered, is: Why DID you?

What was wrong with the way that the Klingons looked from TMP through ENT (the non-Augments)? What was the problem that you felt the need to resolve? What was broken that you thought needed fixing? I don’t recall any real complaints about the way that Klingons looked for all those years. And I certainly don’t recall ever seeing or hearing anyone complain that Klingons should look like the DSC re-designed version. So, was there any meaningful reason for changing them? Or, was it just arbitrary? This article leaves the impression that it was just arbitrary.

Frankly, I’m less concerned about them violating canon with the look of the Klingons and more concerned about a quality story. All I want is good Trek, with great characters and a great story.

Agreed! I want these Klingons to be INTERESTING; I don’t care what they look like.

Agreed. Lots of Trek racism with people judging based on their skin and clothing! :)

That is what I am interested in as well, but Klingon culture was so well developed from the nineties onwards, when they became so much more than moustache twirling villains, that it seems a shame to mess with that in any way significantly, which this feels like it does.

I’d add, particularly given one of the major series regulars of the past was a Klingon.

My guess is the Klingon culture will stay the same, its just the look thats changing.

“Hopefully, fans will become more invested in the characters than worried about the redesign.”

This lasted exactly zero comments.

Well, I still hold out some hope that people may come around once they see the show. That is assuming the show is actually any good. Right now we still know almost nothing about the premise of the show. Given the lack of any story details to talk about people focus on the few visual details we got. Maybe this will change once we get some story to talk about. Of course, there are some fans who have already made up their minds that they hate the show. And they will probably watch it looking for things to hate. It’s their loss, I guess. Personally, I’m hoping for interesting stories featuring great characters. I don’t really mind which time frame the story is set in.

You can thank Ahmed and his racist closed mind. I’ve officially broken up with him. He was an abusive boyfriend too!

Than why redesign them? If all viewers could be more invested in the char vs looks there should be no need for a redesign. It does no bother me that they are redesigning the!, I’m just saying I fail to see the logic in this statement.

Surely the reason to redesign is “they think it looks better.” I’m not sure what more logic you need.

In actuality, using the canon explanation from Enterprise, and the look of the TOS Klingons, it makes sense that we are seeing a hybrid in the evolution – logically makes sense because of the timeline of Enterprise, to the timeline of Discovery to the timeline of TOS.

It seems very plausible that the Klingons used the mutants in their confrontations with the Federation as to hide their real appearance, but as the mutants died off, the “traditional” Klingons that we saw in TMP and beyond started to return to the front lines of the Neutral Zone.

The only thing my theory doesn’t address is Kor, Klang, and Koloth interacting with Jadzia Dax in DS9 “Blood Oath” (S2E19), “The Sword of Khaless” (S4E8) and with Ezri Dax in “Once More Unto the Breach” (S7E7), and they appeared to have had their ridges restored (unless it was cosmetic surgery so they could “die with honor” looking like a true Klingon). – Side note, all three actors only appeared as their younger Klingon selves in only one TOS episode each, so “Blood Oath” was their first (and only) time portraying their Klingon characters together.

Wrong. Kang fought Sulu in the Azure nebula in the VOY episode “Flashback”. He had his ridges back then too. Most likely he was cured of the virus or reconstructed.

@Ugh — God I wish we could just ignore this canon.

I missed that in reviewing IMDB. But indeed, Sulu was not a Captain until “Undiscovered Country” (which is the timeline the VOY episode was to have taken place in, since Tim Russ also appeared in “Undiscovered Country”), so he would have already been encountering the “ridged” Klingons that we first saw in TMP. If I remember, the Enterprise refit that took place after TOS and leading into TMP was 5 years, so in theory the Klingons begun reverting back in a 7 year period (the 2 years of the Big E’s 5 year mission that wasn’t broadcast, plus the 5 year refit).

Enterprises refit was 18 months. Tim Russ was not in the Undiscovered Country, He was in Generations.

And he played a different character…

The novels explained some of that (though with the caveat they are not canon–but I usually follow the novels where they are not contradicted on screen). Not all Klingons were affected by the virus. Some remained ridged throughout. And I remember one of the novels, I forget which off hand, explained that a cure was finally found for affected Klingons sometimes between TMP and TWOK, ending the augment virus for them once and for all.

I’m fine with your idea, providing we get some lines in the show to confirm it, and then later perhaps a normal ridged Klingon shows up. That would satisfy me. It’s the change for the sake of it I don’t care for.

As for ridge restoration, it’s simply good plastic surgery.

They look more menacing and alien like which I think is great. I know they’re not the standard look we are used to but they do look great. Remember the Borg looked awful at first and no one complained when they were redesigned for First Contact. I think the look fits in a lot more with the ideology of the klingons

And lets also not forget that Klingons looked the same for the last 30 years…

You can’t say “for the last 30 years” if there are no examples of prime universe Klingons in the last decade, surely? You should say “from a period 30 years ago through 12 or so years ago”.

The Klingons have changed many times since TOS, even from season to season in TNG.

Like they say, just because you can change something, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

There were two big changes…the big step from TOS human-like Klingons to the more alien versions from TMP which had the explanation of the spine continuing up and over onto the forehead. That was the main difference, with sharp teeth and new uniforms. Then Trek 3 came out and shot down the little spinal issue, (sadly, because it was a common trait that actually made sense) and introduced the various different turtles stamped on everyone’s forehead. It seemed, after that, every freaking Klingon had poodle crimped hair and some wild weird variation of latex gobbed on top the forehead. And now this…the various styles of different houses I take as aesthetics in costuming, not so much biological differences. We’ll see, but as it stands, I really hate these guys…but not in the way I’m supposed to! lol

Why did you feel the need to redesign them in the first place? If you hadn’t you wouldn’t have to put out statements about it.

Honestly, I think if they had a story that needed Klingons, they wanted to make them more frightening. TNG watered down the Klingons to where they were just drunk, rude humans.

I suspect they want a truly terrifying enemy. They *could* have used a new race of alien but we havent seen the story yet, so we dont know what the in-universe reason is. Perhaps its a really good Klingon story.

You can take any Klingon from the TOS Movies, TNG, DS9, Voy, Ent and even the JJ Movies and you can said “that is a Klingon from Star Trek”.
TOS Klingons has been explained on Enterprise.

Now, DSC Klingons are not recognizable as Klingon and is just a change for a sake of a change. Klingons did not need an update, and even if you update them, do it as JJ did.

A bad change that is only going to annoy the fanbase.. gg.

Not true. They are clearly Klingons.

They are immediately identifiable as Klingons. Different Klingons, but Klingons nonetheless. I think they wanted them to look fierce and more alien like and they succeeded it appears. I wouldn’t be surprised though to see many different looking Klingons. Though hopefully they don’t do that to appease fans. Keep their vision theirs.

Too bad Fuller didn’t leave the show earlier in it’s development. Most of the dumbest ideas seem to be his.

Reverse tht comment and I agree.

Insufficiently good Fuller did stay the show later out its regression. Few of the smartest ideas aren’t to be hers.

(There ya go Torchwood! Best I could do for ya!) ;)

I’m okay with there being a variety of Klingons. It is supposed be an “empire” after all, and empires typically have various races and languages within their borders.

For a franchise that preaches IDIC and contains a multiverse, I can’t say canon bothers me that much. Go nuts, guys.

@DannyBoy — except for Vulcans and Romulans. They all must have the same haircuts. Man, people around here would lose their sh*t if somebody decided to part a Vulcan’s hair on the side …

Why go through the trouble of changing the design for change’s sake but then making them look similar to the Remans from Nemesis? The design doesn’t convey a warrior culture.

@Redshirt — says you.

“In the different versions of Trek, the Klingons have never been completely consistent.”

In other words, “Let’s create completely new Klingons and blame our continuity error on those who were in charge before us. And what do you mean by ‘existing canon explanation’, I don’t get it?”

“We will introduce several different houses with different styles.”

In other words, “We don’t care how other people’s Klingons look. We’ll have our own Klingons. We simply pretend our Klingons never appear in another Trek, and that the other Klingons never appear in our Trek. Or better, we let our fans, the loyal ones, make up weird theories.”

“Hopefully, fans will become more invested in the characters than worried about the redesign.”

In other words, “The fact that we redesigned Star Trek’s most iconic species against all reason still doesn’t give you the right to complain. It’s all about the characters. Hopefully they will still be credible behind their thick lizard masks.”

Klingons, Shmingon, who cares what they look like. Tell a good story and it won’t matter.

Yes. This and only this.

This explanation doesn’t satisfy at all.
Giving the current canon timeline, lets see: In the biginning of ENT the Klingons have the, lets say standard-forehead ridges with mostly long haired normal shaped heads (This is also the way ressurrected Khaless from a 1500 years ago looks like). After 3 and half years Enterprise left the dock for the first time, because of a mutant virus, Klingons start to look like “normal” humans from earth, except that their feelings for fashion and styling. Then, 10 years before Kirk, they suddenly start looking very Alien-like with egg-shaped heads, no hair, no beards and ridges from the mouth to the top of the head and defintely a completely new feeling for fashion and styling. Then during Kirk-Era they then look again like the Virus-Mutant pretty much human-like Klingons from the end of Enterprise and keep the same look until TMP, where they have forehead.ridges that are small, but go from the right above their eyes very much up to the end of their heads.
Lets have some fun and include the Kelvin timeline, where we can see some Klingons around the, lets say, the TOS-time, where they sudenly have very strange eyes and bald heads and a really weird look, while in Real-Trek TOS-Universe at the same time, still look, like explained above. After TMP the Klingons again look different. They still have forehead-ridges, but more hair. And again a slidly different taste for styling, than before. This keeps consistent till the ende of Voyager.
Did anyone get the mistake(s)?
While there is a perfectly good explanation for all the different looks of Klingons in everything we have seen so far in the prime-universe, we get stuck explaining the Kelvin-look and the DSC-Look.
I have no problem with that at all, if they give us at some point of the story a good explanation for the fact that “the new Klingons” look they way they do and we have never seen “those” Klingons before. A bit creativity and everything can be plausible explained. Some guys comment that we should be bothering more for a good story and story-telling. Well, giving explanations for questions, the viewer asks himself, makes a good story to me. But not having a bearing on that at all, makes very bad storytelling. Deaus ex machina in the case of the Klingon-look is still better than no machine and no deus.
Integrating it well in the story they want to tell would be the best.

Me again. For all those that think that this is not so important: They called it Star Trek and said that it takes place in the prime-timeline. So they should respect 725 Episodes (including TAS, although this is not right, because Gene Roddenberry excluded it, instead of Robert April) of storytelling. And doing so is taking into account everything that has been told so far. ENT already made a break with it, having more advanced technology that starfleet has 100 years later, … But having one series breaking canon doesn’t make it right. Personally, I still don’t like ENT as much, as the other series, but I think it can be accepted, because of the fact that they tried at least (mainly in the 4th season) connecting some open questions to the franchise.

Yes, it is called Star Trek; yes, it is the prime timeline. And yes, this is not important. Just ask the Trills.

Members of one species can look dramatically different without violating science – consider the Labradoodle.

I just don’t understand the uproar. Why do we think that the ENTIRE population of Klingons would look exactly the same? There are numerous varieties of colors and shapes and looks among humans, so why wouldn’t there be the same among other races? That’s always been my one gripe with the Star Trek aliens . . . all the Klingons look the same, all the Romulans look the same, all the Andorians look the same . . . and they all follow the SAME culture! I think it would be nice to see some variation on looks and cultures within a race for once. I, for one, and excited about this!

@Mr. Steve — The Vulcans and Romulans should all look the same — that’s kind of the point made in the very beginning. Except they should definitely have different hairstyles, instead of all looking like the Beatles. But adding the forehead plate was Michael Westmore’s biggest mistake.

They should look similar, but why would Vulcans (or Romulans) from different regions of the planet all have the same look? Someone from the United States looks different than someone from Japan who looks different from someone from Guyana who looks different from someone from Kenya . . . why wouldn’t the alien races have different facial features and different cultures across the planet?

I have no problem with the Klingons looking different. My complain is that the makeup doesn’t look very convincing. The weird fingers and full-head prosthetics look less convincing than Westmore’s rubber foreheads, and that says something, considering it’s 2017 and they got a massive budget…

@Alex — completely disagree

The Klingons changed with every production phase. They were only consistent for a time (1987-2005) because the same people were behind the make-up and because it was cheaper to reuse a lot of stuff. That is why the TNG Klingons look more like the TMP Klingons because a lot of stuff already existed and was still available and therefore cheap. Designs change when there is money and therefore the movies have always changed what was seen on TV. Espacially during TNG-ENT. The Borg got a major redesign and even a big change of concept of the species and everybody bought it.

Discovery will be a new production era of Trek and therefore it will be it´s own thing in terms of production design and make-up because there are new people behind the wheel. I am actually glad that the klingons get a new design because stuff was reused way too long.

In the end: It is just TV.

They werent even that consistent then. Specifically, Worf changed from season to season. They seemed to settle into a general design after a couple of years and yes, because it was the same design people.

We accept the difference between TOS, TMP and TNG but people here are losing their minds over this? You can throw STID into the mix too because Nero arriving didnt change how the Klingons looked so those were still prime Klingons. So most fans accept 4 different looks and within those four you still had different or changing looks (Worf, for example). But this is too big a departure?

Come on…

At the end of the day this tactic has kept you guys talking. If by the show opener or midway through season 1 it’s explained that this is a sarcophagus ship and that these are in fact some older sets of Klingons from forgotten prominent houses or just from houses we’ve never heard of then yes they will have redesigned Klingons and done it with purpose while not crapping on what fans know. For Fuller to be such a Trek fan, I could see him doing something like this. It’s different but explainable.

One thing I always found frustrating with Trek aliens – that we had a chance to get to know – was that we never saw real differences between them (except for maybe Vulcans). Line up a set of humans from North America and South America, areas of Asia, etc and you will see not only pigment differences but also differences in features. People in Africa have very specific and sometimes pronounced features compared to people from Europe/European background. Same with the differences between the many different peoples in the Eastern part of the world. Would that be overload for fans or would you consider that thorough world/universe building? I could see these Klingons hailing from another part of Qo’noS than the Klingons we constantly see. But hey, that might just be me.

Question: Does the average citizen born in Shanghai look like someone born in Ireland look like someone born in Nairobi look like a Native American?
Answer: No.
There is a broad, beautiful tapestry of racial types across this planet. Now, add to that the fictional universe of Star Trek, whereby many planets interbreed over time. What does a member of the Federation look like then?

In my opinion, the same thing goes for the Klingon Empire which prides itself on annexing planets and cultures.

Step away from the cookie cutter and into the pastry shoppe of design.

That is all.

My thoughts exactly! Why do we want the aliens in Star Trek to all look the same and follow the same culture?

YES All humans look alike!

There are NO physical traits that run through closely knit families.

Stop pretending humans look different.

(Sarcasm of course).

The redesign should be part of the story, not just ‘ignore it’. A reason should be presented for the many different Klingon looks.

Not thrilled that Discovery is to focus on Klingons. I’d like to explore Strange new worlds.

I felt the same way when I saw some of the cast were playing humans. Humans?! In Star Trek? What a rehash.


What an idiotic response to a reasonable comment.

The Klingons role in ‘Discovery’, as described by EW, is the real rehash:

The Klingons will cause major intergalactic chaos in the upcoming ‘Star Trek: Discovery’. The ridge-headed warrior race plays a huge role in the CBS All Access drama’s mysterious story, which is set during a Federation-Klingon cold war a decade before events in the original series. […]T’Kuvma (Chris Obi), the leader of an ancient Klingon house looking to unite his people, even if that means provoking a war with the Federation


We’ve already seen stories about “Klingons causing major chaos” and “leader of a Klingon house looking to unite his people” in the various TV shows, especially TOS, TNG and DS9. And we know there won’t be an active war between Federation & the Klingon until 2267, that’s 12 years from the time of ‘Discovery’.

Rather than taking the road less traveled, ‘Discovery’ is focusing on the tired Klingons story.

Yeah this is the other negative for me. We don’t need another story involving the Klingons. I actually give the KT films credit that they never went full Klingon.

But we now have an entire season of them on Discovery. Ugh.

I would probably be more interested if it was a post TUC storyline.

If there is one thing that I don’t care for, it would be the ‘spider-web’ uniform. I think I saw enough of that on American Chopper…good riddance. But if that is the only thing that is wrong then I have nothing to complain about. Bring on the fall, bring on NCC-1031!

I’m indifferent to the redesigned makeup, but the costumes look like something out of an old Flash Gordon serial. I expect to hear Queen kick in every time I see them.

The question that goes through my mind is: Should we just disregard everything we thought we knew about the Klingon’s, including their culture, and everything else that’s been established over the last 51 years?
I truly hope these new Klingon’s are just one ancient faction that was asleep for a million years, and didn’t evolve like all the rest.

Yeah. Kill it. If they can improve upon it, do it. And that remains to be see. Sorry if it makes you uncomfortable in the interim … I’m excited to see what they do.

Let’s hope then this “Klingon” house where everyone has the mumps and dresses like the renaissance dies out quickly

Let’s hope idiot fans who care more about visual consistency with previous shows than the actual quality of the show die out quickly.

Is there any reason we cannot have both. It’s not that hard.

I understand that the TOS Klingons looked different, mainly because of budgeting issues. But here’s the problem I see… The things that defined TOS Klingons were their reddish-orange skin tones their dark, messy hair, and the importance they placed on facial hair. Those things didn’t change when TMP and TSfS redesigned their look. They simply added forehead ridges and lengthened the unkept hair and gave them new outfits. Even Chang had SOME hair. What defined Klingons as a species in TOS still existed for the many decades that followed, until 2013. With ST:ID and DSC, they’ve removed decades-ingrained defining characteristics. And that’s where we are running into problems. Add head and facial hair to DSC’s Klingons, and make their skin have more reddish-orange undertones, and I see no problem with these being Klingons.

Have you seen the series? Have you seen different houses? No, so get over it.

Well so much for the entire ancient Klingon theory we been harping on for months now. Its basically just Klingons with a changed look, period. In the end, if the story is compelling enough people will just get use to it but I do worry all these changes will just bite them in the butt as the changes in the KT universe did and that actually HAD an universe explanation and many fans still hated it.

This seems to be ‘hey, we changed everything but its still a prequel to TOS, just looks nothing like it thats all–enjoy.’

Hopefully it will all work out.

From the Motion Picture in 79 through the wrap of Enterprise in 05, Klingons have looked the same…obviously ignoring JJ’s Into Darkness incarnation…If the “showrunner” doesn’t realize that, they don’t deserve to run the show. Updating one of the most beloved species in the Star Trek franchise just because you feel like it is foolish. So…please…and I am directing this at the Discovery writers….come up with a reason for the new look. Following the events seen during season 4 of Enterprise, we know the Klingons would be coming out of the period where they had lost their ridges….so, make these current ones a midpoint between TOS Klingons and the look we all know and love. Then you can actually have the species morph over the seasons of Discovery. Just a thought….

@Dayton — seriously? Come up with a reason? You mean like the misguided, now canon, augment backstory!? Give me a break. It doesn’t matter how long a look persists — if there’s a better way to do it — do it, and don’t pander to the fans with some stupid story explaining why things look different visually when there’s absolutely no functional change to canon by doing so.

Sure, there’ve been tree different generations of Klingons with differing cranial ridges and hairstyles. You know what we didn’t have? A complete lack of hair which has always been an iconic part of each generation’s Klingon design, and bizarre, elongated skulls. Pretty sure we didn’t have those funky noses, either. Let’s not act like this is more of the same… or like it’s some sort of ‘original, new-for-the-show redesign to keep things fresh,’ considering how close it hews to the abysmal Into Darkness designs that started the trends (*shaking fist* “Nevil Paaaaaage…!”). It’s just another attempt to make this show look exactly like the Abramsverse to capture the audience for those movies; this design is neither original, nor within the design lineage of the Klingons, nor logical for the prime universe (whose look has been established), nor based on a design that was actually good to begin with.

@Andrew — nice rant. These Klingon’s look nothing like the Abramsverse to me. Indeed little of this show looks like the Abramsverse. Completely disagree with you. These Klingon’s look like real aliens to me, unlike the papier mache marionette-looking Klingon’s from the TNG era.. Until I see otherwise, I’d say it’s a positive development.

Yeah, I had a friend say the same thing – they look like STID Klingons, and I said no, they really dont.

I wish they did. Those Guys looked pretty bad-ass. These creatures…what we’ve seen so far anyway…look like reptiles with heads right out of Indana Jone’s and the Crystal skull…decked out in outfits that are way too ceremonial in appearance. I really hope that what we’ve seen isn’t every day, casual attire!

@Curious Cadet,

Like the rest of us you’ve only seen the trailer and even that shows the unfortunate influence of the reboot. In your defense of ‘Discovery’ you’re overlooking some rather inconvenient facts like the showrunners themselves admitting the influence of Abramsverse on their show, at least visually:


Aaron Harberts: “And just visually speaking, there’s also a little hint in terms of what J.J. Abrams did, a little bit, in terms of some of the visuals.”


“These Klingon’s look like real aliens to me, unlike the papier mache marionette-looking Klingon’s from the TNG era..”

Seeing this rant from you all over the thread, the fact remains that the TNG era Klingons were good enough to be used over the course of 25 seasons across 4 TV shows. You may think ‘The Discovery’ Klingons looks more alien, to me they looks like goblins from a fantasy show.

@Ahmed Indeed, not to mention that Bad Robot is directly involved in this show’s production, a fact that seems to not get mentioned often.

Wrong, Bad Robot is NOT involved.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake was Ron Moore making a joke about the ridgeless Klingons and acknowledging that they existed. The original intent was that the Klingons always looked that way, but the 1960s budget couldn’t do that makeup.

I’m totally fine with that, but once they made it canon that there were differences, and that canon was not reconcilable with what we saw, (Kahless, Kor, Koloth, Kang), we had a problem. Enterprise made a valiant effort to try to deal with it, but it still didn’t work.

A shame one line screwed up so much.

The Klingons that have been around the most post TOS was the ST3:TSFS look. Even in ENT. The TOS Klingons should have just been nothing more that a make up issue. But, hell, they addressed it.

But what he says is BS. The klingons have always looked like they did from ST3, TNG onwards. Inconsistant my ass.

People do realise that star trek isn’t real? and that by changing the look to fit in line more with what technology and money can afford now doesn’t change the concept and ideology of Star Trek.

I guess this means that the new Klingon ship that looks like the cross between a mosquito / dragonfly and a cathedral will have no explanation either than “change for change’s sake”. So long D-7.

Has anyone considered this entire discussion as a metaphor for our own racism — whether or not a being looks “right” based on our own prejudices? This is literally just fodder for the fans to rage over something trivial. Who are you to say what a Klingon should look like?

So even though they say that they are being faithful to canon, this throws out the canon explanation for changes in Klingon appearance.

If Klingons are going to be the Bad Guys, they need to be scary. Klingons are not intimidating, they are silly and ridiculous. When people think of Klingons they think of overweight cosplayers. They were awesome and scary after the first makeover 40 years ago, but now they are a tired joke. I, for one, am thrilled that they are getting a new look. We need an adversary we can really be afraid of.

I don’t want any misunderstandings about my comments heretofore concerning the marketing of DSC.

My criticism is about the marketing. As more than one genius will point out, the show hasn’t even come out yet, so how can you know that you won’t like it? Right you are. The show hasn’t come out yet. But, man, the folks promoting it are really doing a lousy job—IMHO. I’m seriously fighting off the impression that CBS is being intentionally shadowy and vague about the substance-related issues of the show. “Different,” “intelligent,” “complex,” “gritty”…these are the generic descriptions that have been offered in lieu of substance. It’s not that I want spoilers! I don’t! I just want one intelligent, meaningful, substance-related sentence in print, or 10 seconds of same in audiovisual, that sells the show as a Star Trek show. The protagonist is a Black woman…the uniforms are a little different…there’s a gay character…these superficial details tell me nothing about the substance of the show. I don’t care if the characters are Black or gay; I care about what they think and say, and how they act. What’s the reason that the Klingons have been changed? What’s the meaning behind it? Is there any? Remember Star Trek? It was that smart show for thoughtful, nerdy, science-fiction types? That philosophical show about big ideas? Meaningful concepts? Yes, there were lasers and zooming spaceships and colorful costumes, but those were the icing on the cake. There was actually deep, rich cake underneath that superficial layer of icing! I’m just saying that I’d like to see just a hint of some cake. Is that so wrong for a Star Trek fan to want from a Star Trek show?

I thought I saw a quote from someone connected with the show that said a major catalyst for 1st season of this show deals with a character who (mentored by Sarek, no less) is forced to make a decision that has a lasting impact on not only her life but apparently the lives of those around her and possibly the entire Federation, with many of the subsequent episodes dealing with the fallout from this choice and learning to live with the ever-present consequences of it (I’m paraphrasing here). That still may be a little vague but that certainly sounds like there are some ideas and concepts there. But then that was an interview snippet, not any official marketing.

@Planet Pandro,

“to make a decision that has a lasting impact on not only her life but apparently the lives of those around her and possibly the entire Federation”

Actually it’s decision that affects the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!!


Showrunner Aaaron Harberts: “And Burnham’s choice that we’re alluding to is the most difficult choice you can make – it affects her, affects Starfleet, affects the Federation; it affects the entire universe.

That doesn’t sound like he explained it at all.

TUP – Here’s why I care about the marketing…

(1) Academic interest——I can’t help it. I find it interesting to ana|yze the marketing, just as I find it interesting to ana|yze the stories.

(2) It’s extremely utilitarian. Anyone who works in any kind of a business, and that certainly includes entertainment, has an economic interest in the mechanics of marketing. It is quite possible (and it does happen) to have an excellent product that is a financial failure due to poor marketing.

(3) The marketing for DSC is my first and, to date, only impression of the show. All that I know of DSC is from its marketing. And as I’m interested in DSC, I’m naturally also interested in the marketing of DSC.

(4) If the person in charge (executive producer) of DSC were Nick Meyer, or somebody else with a track record of great Trek production, I would buy the show on the first day site unseen. But, because the person in charge of DSC has an abysmal track record, I am looking and hoping for signs that the show is not substantially built upon the shallow, superficial literary sensibilities so painfully evident in the Trek movies that he co-wrote.

I don’t see why a retcon was necessary. They could have just said that there are different Klingon races. Like different human races or dog breeds or daylily cultivars.

I agree with some others that have said this is change for change’s sake. The ridged forehead look for Klingons originated in TMP, including the uniforms. It was “updated” a bit for TSFS, but still followed from TMP. Basically you could tell they were the same species. I would say all the series from TNG through ENT followed the look established in TMP and refined in TSFS. Yes the ridges have different patterns on individual Klingons, much like all humans don’t look alike. But there was no doubt it’s basis was the pattern set down in TMP and TSFS. ENT took it a step further by trying to explain why Klingons in TOS era looked more like human beings in canon. It all ties together.

Then there was STID which upended the look of Klingons. To me the new Klingon design in DIS looks more like STID then anything we ever saw in any of the previous films or series. Maybe it’s old fashioned of me, but I would have preferred that Klingons appeared in DIS as they appeared in TOS. We are told this series is about 10 years prior to the original series, and in the same universe. I would expect the Klingons to appear as they did in TOS since it’s so close in timeframe.

I think what this probably tells us is DIS will likely play a bit fast and loose with canon. The writers will probably respect the overall storyline of past shows (i.e. they won’t suddenly erase something like the Earth Romulan War from canon), but they are not going to worry about the details. In a way, I just wish they’d come out and say it. It’s actually worse for them to say they plan on respecting canon and then not do it, then just to come out and say, yeah, we’ll stick with the basic premise but this is a re-imaging of Star Trek. That they plan on taking Star Trek in a different direction. But saying you’re going to stick to canon and then not do it will just tick off Trekkies even more.

I have no problems with hypothetically changing the Klingon design but this reasoning is ridiculous and stretching.

There is a correct way to answer this question – either admit you think the new design is superior, because at least that’s honesty, explain an in-story reason, or frankly discuss the history of Klingons to justify it. Those are all acceptable answers, and anyone tapped to work on “Star Trek” should be able to do any one of those. If the new design is limited to one house of Klingons, I’ll be fine, but that’s something they should be able to say upfront.

This is none of those. The Klingons have “never been completely consistent” is a very misleading statement intentionally framed to say one thing and mean another. We’ll see how much the “different houses” line stacks up. The last line just rubs me the wrong way a bit, as if characterization will justify design.

I’m trying to be excited about Discovery, but these producers sound like they’re making decisions strictly to contemporary audiences, without even a second thought about fans or continuity. I understand that contemporary audiences need attention, and the first and third Kelvinverse films managed to service both sides – but this feels like they stopped caring what fans think and want them to line up or ship out.

I hope I’m wrong. I really do. I hope they’re just showcasing this stuff to get interest from the casual audience, but it’ll pay off for the fans. But a good story and good actors, imo, isn’t enough for a franchise production if it breaks from a sense of reality.

They keep reinventing the Klingons, it’s really annoying. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. These Klingons in Star Trek Discovery have faces that resemble horseshoe crabs. I think Star Trek fans would be really upset if they kept reinventing the Vulcans. They had a set standard for the Klingons and how they should appear with maybe some variations but these Klingons don’t even resemble Klingons, they look like a race of horseshoe crabs.