STLV17: Designers Explain Why ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Klingons Are Bald And More

The third Star Trek: Discovery panel at Star Trek Las Vegas was focused on creature designs for the show, namely the Klingons and Saru, and featured Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick, who may be recognizable to fans of SyFy’s Face Off. Page is also known to Trekkies for doing the creature designs for the three Kelvin era Star Trek films. He and Hetrick – a self-proclaimed major Trekkie – have teamed up to form Alchemy Studios and they have been put in charge of creating the makeup and creatures for Discovery. For their panel the pair focused mostly on giving insights into the process of designing the look of the Kelpian Lt. Saru (Doug Jones), and all of the Klingons. They also shared some imagery of their design work for the show.

A Process with Canon Built-in

When asked about their design process, Page and Hetrick detailed the various steps they go through which includes 3D printing and various different test passes. Hetrick wanted to assure fans the team were dedicated to Trek history in their development process, saying:

There is also another step to this design process which is not just logic or the esthetic or the chemical or physical process, it is an almost religious level of devotion to the integrity of canon and making sure that all of you are getting what you want out of it. We spend a lot time talking about how things would work in the story and constantly buttressing our thought process with things from canon and from stories. 

Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick at Star Trek Las Vegas 2017

Designing the different Klingon houses

Page knew that coming up with designs for the Klingons for Star Trek: Discovery wasn’t going to be easy, telling the crowd:

I was brought on to start redesigning Klingons, which is a dangerous thing to do in general, as I found as I’ve reviewed comments online.

The redesign of the Klingons began very early on in the pre-production process by Page and co-creator Bryan Fuller. Page described Fuller’s original vision for the Klingons:

The words that he used were “The Klingons are self-ware estheticians, and I want them to appear less brutish and more conscious.” He made references [to] baroque and samurai [styles] in terms of armor because there is this whole suit [Torchbearer].

Page saw this as an opportunity to make the Klingons “deeper and richer than they already are.” They ensure that everything they design for both creatures, costumes, and props have “purpose and meaning.” Hetrick noted that they use the term “evolutionary imperative” as a term to inspire all decisions to make sure design choices are based on specific reasons. This approach is part of the reasoning behind the previously reported detail that the different Klingon houses will have different looks. He explained the reasoning:

The empire is very big. They don’t all grow up on Kronos. They don’t all live on the same planets and certainly those different planets would have different environments. So how would the cultures have evolved differently?…We tried to come up with cultural axioms for each house so each looks different and they bear a cultural patina like our cultures do here on Earth.

Down to the Smallest Details

The pair cited the design of the Klingon torchbearer as an example of the level of detail they’re striving for. For example, the top of the Torchbear’s knife contains Klingons poised to thrust themselves into the honor of battle, and this kind of symbol is used throughout other Klingon designs seen in Discovery

The Klingon skull and vertebra are part of their design ethos. It’s reflected in their ornate helmets, such as the “Periscope” helmet, which includes a heads-up display on the inside. 

The Torchbearer suit is their pride and joy, as it uses all new production techniques and incorporates incredible detail.

There’s a detail again of a Klingon sacrificing himself for the honor of battle, the shape of which harkens to the emblem of the Klingon Empire. Additionally, in between the calf plates are thrusters for flying through space.

Why are the Klingons bald?

Being that the Klingons are an apex predator the design for their anatomy assumes they have highlighted senses, specifically extra sensory receptors running from the top of their heads to their backs. This was the “impetus” with Page and Fuller for the shape of the heads. They started with designing Klingon skulls. 

And these lead to the first designs for a “generic Klingon.” Page explained that DSC’s Klingons are bald because of these heightened senses on the top of their heads. The bald look was also a mandate from Fuller.

Designing for the Character and the Actor

The pair talked a lot about the high-tech equipment and techniques they use in their work. For example, they start with a laser scan of the actor, such as Doug Jones for designing his look as Saru. They are then able to build up and try different simulated materials to arrive at the look they want.

Test of Saru mask fit with scan of Doug Jones

Page explained that the next step was to use sculpting software to finalize a design, but with a focus on the character and the actor, explaining using Saru as an example:

All the while I’m trying to get a sense of character. It is all about character mostly and trying to yeild something fresh and new which is a challenge. And what I felt so paramount with this particularly character was making sure that Doug Jones himself is able to do his job. 

Even though Doug Jones has worked with prosthetics extensively they were well aware he would be in the Saru makeup quite a bit, and he needs to be able to act through it.

Final design studies for Saru

 

Additional Star Trek Las Vegas Coverage

Panel: Details and covers for first ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ novel and comic revealed

Interview: Sam Vartholomeos and Wilson Cruz

Interview: Mary Chieffo And Kenneth Mitchell

Panel: Actors Discuss Different Klingon Houses In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ + First Image of Kol Revealed 

Panel: Writers Talk Technobabble, Timelines And How ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Is Telling Our War Story

Stay tuned for additional coverage coming all week long.

 

 

 

 

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“The empire is very big. They don’t all grow up on Kronos. They don’t all live on the same planets and certainly those different planets would have different environments. So how would the cultures have evolved differently?…We tried to come up with cultural axioms for each house so each looks different and they bear a cultural patina like our cultures do here on Earth.”

I’m cool with this as a reason why they look different, PROVIDED the existence of the Klingons we are familiar with is acknowledged.

I agree!

The new Klingons have grown on me and I’m okay with it. But seeing a classic Klingon would be nice just…because.

@TUP I agree – but I also thought the same thing through the TNG, DS9, VOY years – I’d wished a TOS Klingon ( a new one, not footage from TOS like ‘Trials and Tribbelations’ ) would have showed up somewhere and been featured in a Klingon story.

I guess ENT ultimately covered all this, though it would have made me smile to see a short haired Klingon like those TOS ones.

The thing is, Three TOS ear Klingons did appear in DS9 and they took the road that Rodenberry had led with. The Klingons always looked this way, they just couldn’t show it with the effects of the time. ENT were the one to retcon this much much later.

The new look is fine, as an ADDITION to the established look. But they are rolling with a complete retcon here and that puts the entire canon in jeopardy. Minor tweeks to Klingon, Romulan, Borg or Cardassian design could be overlooked in the past!

But we had Worf on board for 11 seasons and 4 movies and he had HAIR! Now they are saying, Klingons can’t have hair due to their extra sensors on the back of their heads…And that puts Worf and any other traditional Klingons into canonical limbo…

But what if by the time of Worf’s era, there had been more ( unspoken of ) human-Klingon pairings? That would have “softened” the appearance of Klingons in the post-DSC generations.

Worf was full Klingon, so was his grandfather Col. Worf. We know what a Klingon-Human hybrid looked like. Her name was lovely B’elana Torres. And BTW: Klingons on ENT biologically looked exactly like their 24th century counterparts. The outfits were different though, and no one would have blamed DSC producers to go full diversity on Klingon outfits and cultural aspects. But eliminating hair on ALL Klingons is not something that I can ever forgive, nor do I want to forgive that…

I thought they were saying THIS HOUSE doesn’t have hair, not the whole Klingon race.

And we overlooked the Trill as well, which was a huge change. This has happened before, I’m going to just roll with it until after I see this season.

Agree 100%. I’m all for change and am open minded but this major change in the Klingons is jarring to me, and I’m afraid it will prevent me from getting into the story, suspending my disbelief etc. The Klingons need some goddamn hair, they look like reptilians now.

Don’t worry, some writer down the road will probably make up an explanation to please our head-canon. I’m going with the Klingon’s developed a vaccine to the augment virus that stripped them of their ridges but it tool them too far the other way.

No, I have to disagree. I think the look hindered Chris Obi as T’Kuvma. He didn’t look intimidating…and he sounded slow and ignorant.

I totally agree

“PROVIDED the existence of the Klingons we are familiar with is acknowledged.”

Exactly, but that’s obviously something they are trying to avoid. By giving the new look a BIOLOGICAL basis, all the talk about different Klingon houses, tribes, subcultures becomes obsolete. They are retconning Klingon BIOLOGY here and since these new Klingons quite obviously don’t even have the ability to grow hair due to their retconned physiology, there can’t be any “traditional” Klingons around. Maybe some of them will be wearing traditional Klingon uniforms or something closer to it, but the hair is gone and that is a full retcon that can never be overlooked…

Never? You drastically underestimate the power of fanwank.

LJ (formerly known as LJ)

I like the idea that Klingons developed different cultures on different planets. They originated as a conquered race, not conquerors.Their fight for freedom was probably long and hard.

By that same token, I could accept that the ‘Klingons’ (i.e. those who can trace themselves genetically to Kronos) are the only Klingons we see. What we know as the Klingon Empire is the remnants of the territory the Hur’q once ruled – all other conquered species are extinct, the sector is barren, save for the people of Kronos who were enslaved, seeded, then rebelled. In the centuries since they overthrew their overlords, the Klingons have been able to expand a little into neighbouring, barren, systems, but infighting has prevented them from annexing many other races. A secret they wish to keep. (Cf Earth cultures such as the insular Japanese and the uniting of the Seven Kingdoms of England (though GoT covers this ground very well)).

It’s how homogeneous the Romulans are that is a loss to me. As they are ostensibly based on the Roman Empire, this should be a myriad species wearing ‘Romulan’ uniform and identifying as Romulan – some conquered, some there by choice. In terms of Rome, there were Britons who called themselves ‘Roman’, Gauls, those from Germania, those from the Holy Land – and those from the same lands who did not. It’s the system that matters, not the home world. They should have always been an anti-Federation before the Dominion was even conceived.

LJ (formerly known as LJ)

What I mean about the Klingons is imagine an Empire of 24 core systems ruled by 24 core families (the 24 houses the DSC producers discuss), some of which control a number of satellite systems. This is a form of feudalism. Imagine post-Roman Britain – a once-conquered people reasserting itself to become seven kingdoms. T’Kuvma becomes Alfred the Great, seeking to unify this disparate empire as one. And how would the Klingon sense of independence and self-determination clash with the Federation sense of togetherness (this is Brexit writ large: The Klingons wish to forge their own way – which by DS9 we know they can, yet the Federation believes all civilisations work best together).

I have always (post TNG) compared the Klingons to the British, rather than the Russians (a proud, warrior people eager to do what is right, but from a diminishing position) or the Samurai. A traditional, historical, conservative people the Federation (USA) identifies with, but does not quite understand. (Though I believe the British appear in Trek twice, as does the US – The old-school, experienced Vulcans as the Brits and Earth as the US in Enterprise).

LJ (formerly known as LJ)

Sorry for the long-winded diatribe, but the Klingon ‘Obelisk’ in DSC can also be equated to an ancient Northern European beacon, calling nobles to a Thing (meeting) or to defend their territory. Many places recall the idea of a ‘Thing’ and a ‘Wall’ in their collective memory. Any coincidence that Jason Isaacs originates in an area of Liverpool called Childwall (a meeting place for children)?

Would that he kept a slight Liverpool accent as Lorca. An ancient maritime port, steeped in history (when will we ever get a British actor playing a British captain?). Dave Lister will ever be our hero. Or even Captain Gabriel Lister would have been a great nod.

LJ (formerly known as LJ)

Yes, I know the first captain of 1701 was British, albeit he was played by a Canadian (the late, great, James Doohan), but in a show ostensibly based on the Hornblower series and the Royal Navy Circa 18-19th century, I’d expect more representation than semi-canon April, and full-canon Scotty, Bashir, and Reed.

I’m picard facepalming at the notion klingon foreheads are sensory. Let’s see Klingons are now apex predators and a discovery crew member is a death sensing prey creature…hmmm there’s going to some episode on that which writes itself. I just won’t ever see it.

Er, mankind is an apex predator. I wouldn’t expect less from the klingons. And take notice that their sensory foreheads maybe vestigial traces from thougher times in evolution history. Nowadays klingons probably don’t depend on them for hunting, with all those bat’leths. Yet, the traces of their evolutionary past remain. I, for one, find it amazing on how much the are delving into details.

Well, THAT was kind of pointless. Try again.

No reason to post here then!

Bye Felicia!

“Page explained that DSC’s Klingons are bald because of these heightened senses on the top of their heads. The bald look was also a mandate from Fuller.” This is no EXPLANATION why the Klingons are generally bald when they hadnt been bald in every other show or movie, with TUC (Chang) and STID being the exception to the rule. I actually I couldn’t care less which “mandate” Fuller gave… I understand the notion of moving away from the generic 80s “biker” looks in order to visually break with the “thugs of the universe” iconicity, but still, there needs to be some on-screen explanation. We had the same rift between TOS Klingons and “modern” Klingons from 1979 to 2004/05 but they finally solved that problem in ENT’s 4th Season. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was good enough to finally come to terms with that topic. STID and now DSC have opened that rift yet again… “The empire is very big. They don’t all grow up on Kronos. They don’t all live on the same planets and certainly those different planets would have different environments. So how would the cultures have evolved differently?” Cultures, yes! Different skin colors, check! Clothes, traditions, absolutely! Everything can be very diverse and no-one would have a problem with that. “Being that the Klingons are an apex predator the design for their anatomy assumes they have highlighted senses, specifically extra sensory receptors running from the top of their heads to their backs. This was the… Read more »

I honestly wish Enterprise hadn’t tried to ‘explain’ why the Klingons looked different. Even as a child growing up watching reruns of TOS then onto TNG, it was obvious to me that it was that special effects got better and budgets increased. I found ENTs retcon reasoning unnecessary. I don’t want to watch entire storylines trying to explain why a fictional species in a 2000s scifi show looks different to a show from the 1960s, I want storylines that are engaging and characters that are well rounded and believable. I found addressing the discrepancy between the two to actually to just be a clunky reminder that you’re watching a tv show, and detracted from the immersive experience of watching a show like Star Trek.

I loved those ENT episodes tho and thought it really added to the Season 4 arc, which was brilliantly executed

I absolutely agree. I thought Worf’s explanation in “Trials and Tribble-ations” was perfect.

Worf’s explanation in that episode was great!

I definitely wanted the reasoning, because on the same basis that the future versions have newer better technology and techniques, all the more they can make the details of the past accurate. If they want to dramatically change style and design, then come up with a Good onscreen reasoning to allow it all to flow and make sense. Otherwise, the new is saying “the old didn’t make sense and we don’t like it, we want it to be different and pretend the alternatives didn’t exist.”

In other words, smike didn’t actually read the article very carefully.

“How can you explain 700+ episodes showing Klingons with hair then?”

Because it’s a TV show! They can change what they want, whether we like it or not. Canon be damned (from their point of view). They are writing this show for people who’ve never been exposed to Trek.

Could be worse. They could have been ball-chinian inspired.

Don’t Litter!

He’s right about the size of the Empire. That’s something that always annoyed me about how Klingon citizens presented, with very little depth. I know some will never accept the new look of the Klingons but if is what Discovery is going with I’m ok with that. Look at the Federation as a guide and the various looks of earth-like creatures. Why wouldn’t it be the same for the Klingon Empire considering it encompasses a huge amount of space and many planets?

The Klingon Empire is larger than the Romulan Star Empire and we know of one major group inside the Empire, the Remans. It’s never been confirmed they’re genetic cousins but one would assume. Romulans themselves are genetic cousins of Vulcans.

Unless were going with the idea that all the planets Klingons conquer undergo genocidal cleansing, there should be more variety. Honestly I wish this concept would have been introduced earlier instead of the explanation we received for the different looks of Klingons in DS9/Enterprise.

Yeah, I think the Klingon empire is large and there are different species which have blended over the centuries. By ENT time, perhaps one species had been dominant for some years, or we see those Klingons, perhaps only from Q’onos, who like venturing into space. Perhaps in DISC times the ruling group hearkens back millenia to a certain planet in the Empire, perhaps the founding planet.

I have no doubt about Page’s and Hetrick’s competence concerning creature, makeup- and costume design, absolutely none! The way they appear to have structured the design process is astonishing and deserves a ton of respect.
And yet I still prefer my good old “Heavy Meal Klingons”…

Also, if “sticking to canon” (or working with “an almost religious level of devotion to the integrity of canon”, as they put it) just means “writing your own canon” (to make the design plausible) … then why even use the term “canon” in the first place?!

Or is that just another instance of “marketing-speak”?
Trek-buzzword #1: ‘canon’? – Check!

To be fair though: “The empire is very big. They don’t all grow up on Kronos.” sounds like a reasonable approach.
Distinct cultures through distinct cultural and maybe even exo-biological substrates. I’m fine with that.

Addendum:
Still, it should be noted that the term ‘evolution’ is really problematic in that context.
But then Trek has a history of using that term quite liberally. Like in the case of Romulans that “evolved” from Vulcans. Or TNG’s Mintakans being “proto-Vulcans” or something… those were the cases where you’d really just want to tell the writers: “Guys, that not how evolution works! A couple of centuries do JACK in an evolutionary context (especially when talking about a race in which one generation can span many many decades)…”

The issue with fans their obsession with adhering to canon is that more often than not, they think canon means “only what has been shown on screen so far and nothing else.” And that’s a pretty small box to play in. These writers are in charge of crafting the largest-scope Trek series ever produced. That means they make canon now, and they *should* be allowed to do whatever serves the story. Honestly, we’re counting on them to make Trek something new and interesting, not old and bogged down by the canon.

“These writers are in charge of crafting the largest-scope Trek series ever produced. That means they make canon now, and they *should* be allowed to do whatever serves the story.”

I’m sorry, but making Klingons bald by nature and coming up with a biological explanation for their inability to grow hair hasn’t got ANYTHING to do with world-building or scope. This is about eradicating traditional Klingon looks for good.

They could have always introduced a culturally bald Klingon faction / culture / house based on TUC’s Chang who decide to shave their heads without having to retcon an entire species. If this was about diversity, that would have been the way to go. But it’s not about diversity at all…

They are just replacing one Klingon look by another, making it biologically impossible to have Klingons with hair back on screen. Yes, they are adding more attention to details: clothes, weapons and other stuff, but biologically, they are all the same hairless Retconned Klingons (Klingcons)…

THIS.

Yeah, somehow I can’t see Worf, Koloth, Kor or Martok donning a wig every day [snicker]

Agreed on your Chang idea. Perhaps they shave their heads because it opens up their senses more, thus they’re more ready for battle.

Retcon, retcon, retcon

@Marja — except they’ve already gone out of their way to retcon the TOS Klingons. Something I personally consider pointless. Visual canon isn’t really canon. Art direction is not canon, per se. If that were not true, then TMP Klingons would have never come to be, and Worf would look like Fu Manchu as played by Peter Sellers. So here’s my question: Fuller’s direction — and I love that it’s Fuller and not Kurtzman as alleged by the hard core fans — should not counter canon, unless there’s specific spoken references to Klingon hair, or Klingon hair is featured in some important way in a storyline. Is there ever something stated that specifically references Klingon hair?

Hard not to admire the attention to detail and craftsmanship that went into this new generation of Klingons. And the inverted sacrificial figure that pays homages to the Klingon Empire symbol — pure genius. Bravo.

“And the inverted sacrificial figure that pays homages to the Klingon Empire symbol — pure genius. Bravo.”

Yep, that’s brilliant.

Awesome! Kapla!

One thing is certain. Whether you aheee or disagree, like them or hate them, the people in charge have clearly given their designs and costumes a lot of thought. Which is good.

Actually, they have given the designs and costumes TOO MUCH thought. The CULTURAL differences between the Klingon houses / factions / planets are very much appreciated but they’ve gone too far by coming up with a BIOLOGICAL explanation for ALL Klingons to be bald from now on. Cultural diversity within a fictional race of aliens is fine but we’re still talking about one and the same race here… there may be different shades of skin color, different traditions, different hair styles, outfits, items or even starship designs within a large interstellar Empire, but the Klingons as a species are either able to grow hair (as previously depicted) or not (as retconned on DSC). It all boils down to this outrageous retcon:

CAN Klingons grow hair or not? It’s not IF they do so based on different cultures, it’s about the biological ability to do so.

And this Gretchen question doesn’t just put Worf’s canonical status in jeopardy. This put each and every previous Star Trek production in canonical no man’s land. I’ll be having a very hard time watching and enjoying any previous Star Trek show ever again with these retconned Klingcons on my mind!

If Colonel Worf or any other member of the House of Mogh, House of Duras etc. appear on DSC with no hair and the new make-up, I’m not just done with DSC but with all of Star Trek, maybe all of TV and movies!

Perhaps the Klingons species is actually very adaptive and evolve quickly when needed.

Kinda like ALIEN.

Leave out explanation for design changes, and Trekkies complain. Put in too much explanation, and Trekkies complain…

Don’t change established designs, and Trekkies don’t complain! Go figure!:-)

So true, so true! The 1979 design change was adequate, this one isn’t !

Quote: If Colonel Worf or any other member of the House of Mogh, House of Duras etc. appear on DSC with no hair and the new make-up, I’m not just done with DSC but with all of Star Trek, maybe all of TV and movies!

Wow! Someone is being overly dramatic. If you really feel that way maybe you should indeed stop watching TV and movies and instead start searching for some meaning in your life.
Klingon make-up has changed before. If the thought that it might change again makes you unable to enjoy previous shows I really have to wonder how you could enjoy TREK up to now.
Also: Klingons on Discovery may be bald but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Klingons cannot grow hair. Some people have haircuts that cover their eyes or ears while others prefer to keep their eyes and ears clear. You could just as well imagine that some Klingons decide to cover their extra-sensory organs with hair while others don’t.

Agreed. I don’t like all of the changes, but I’m stoked that Star Trek is finally getting the attention to detail it deserves.

Doesn’t bother me how they look. But bullshit aside. The Klingons were purely war mongering barbarians in the truest sense. They should not be made out to be more than that by making them self-aware and less brutish. Remeber the Klingons will kill at the drop of the hat when it suits them and their heritage is always gained in blood. Leave them to be wild, murderous bastards, they’re more fun that way! Leave the rest of the stuff to the Vulcans and build on the Klingon bloodlust!

indeed!

“The Klingons were purely war mongering barbarians in the truest sense.” – Peter Loader

But they somehow happened to develop technologies that challenge all of Star fleet?
There is much more to the race than appearances.

http://www.startrek.com/legacy_media/images/200506/tos-042-arne-darvin03/320×240.jpg

Developed or obtained by war?

That’s just not true – you can even find evidence to contradict your statement in TOS, the series in which they were the most malevolent. Remember how Kang restrained himself in Day of the Dove? Warriors yes, violent yes, mindless brutes – no.

This is where I am not following their attempts to explain the different looks, and I could be wrong, but just want to throw it out there.

Discovery takes place in 2256, which is when Pike completed his first 5 year mission with the Enterprise, so that ship already is in commission. Discovery also takes place after the Enterprise series, which contains Klingons in the form we have been familiar with ever since TMP.

If this is a complete reimagining of the Klingons with Discovery, then ok, just admit to that. However, they are saying the lack of hair is due to their foreheads being sensory. In my opinion it completely contradicts the Klingons from Enterprise. Even some of the Klingons in the Kelvin timeline had hair.

I would really just prefer that this be said to be a complete reimagining, because that what it really looks to be and how these explanations are coming off, rather than try to justify the look to calm down the haters out there. The new look has grown on me, and I am ok with it. I just hope they live up to being awesome as I have always found them to be.

I doubt there will be an on-screen explanation of the ‘sensory ridges’ aspect – it’s just a justification for the design process ( and a good one at that ). I actually think IF you were to put a little hair on these new Klingons, they’d look quite like the TMP Klingons.

It’s a HORRIBLE justification for the design process because if you make these differences BIOLOGICAL in nature instead of CULTURAL, you eliminate any possibility for “traditional” Klingons with hair to pop up.
Unless the House of T’Kuvma is meant to be part of a second Klingon (sub)species, which quite obviously isn’t the case.

Well, the moment a member of the House of Mogh pops up on DSC, we will see. If this person has no hair and a similar biology as the previously seen DSC Klingons, canon and Klingon lore are no more. And it is pretty likely that’s going to happen sooner or later! Michael Dorn might reprise his role as Colonel Worf in the new make-up and that would be it…for good!

Bryan Fuller has completely underestimated the ripple effect this would have. Star Trek is no comic book franchise that can be retconned at some writers’ leisure.

The TOS Klingons appeared on DS9 with the new Klingon look, and I don’t remember large outcries about the end of canon.
Are (some, not all) TREK fans just getting increasingly fundamentalist with age?

@Diginon. Yep, I like to call them “Trextremists”.

@rockoandsocko3 — fans can disagree about art direction. TOS Klingons looked like Peter Sellers playing Fu Manchu. TMP changed them for the better. DISC is changing them again, arguably for the better. But is there anything stated in canon which confirms Klingons have hair, or hair otherwise being important for Klingons?

No, which was my point in the end. I’m growing on the new look, and am totally fine with it being a re imagining of the species. I just would prefer they stop trying to justify reasons for why they look the way they look, because it isn’t making really any sense.

I love the new Klingons. The work of Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick has produced a far superior evolution of this species and culture, building on the past and taking them away from the bland, homogenous cookie-cutter bearded and long-hair models that had become too common. Humans have black, white, Asian, Mongolian, native American, Pacific Islanders – all of whom have differences in appearance. I praise the work done here that treats the Klingons the same way with the same richness of variety. Also love the way they pointed out that many Klingons don’t grow up on Kronos. A fact that needed stating. I am really looking forward to seeing this!

I second that wholeheartedly!

“Humans have black, white, Asian, Mongolian, native American, Pacific Islanders – all of whom have differences in appearance.”

Great! Let’s have different Klingon races / subspecies / cultures. I don’t mind whether we’ve seen them on previous shows, I’d still be fine with any of that. They could have green-skinned or blue-skinned Klingons if they wanted to, as long as the traditional Klingons aren’t retconned out of existence!

But that’s happening right now! Canon on Klingon physiology is rewritten by saying that ALL Klingons don’t have hair because of the nature of their top and backhead ridges. This is not a cultural difference between House T’Kuvma and House Mogh, it’s biology that affects all Klingon planets, houses, cultures, people. And that’s what I’m opposed to.

Very agreed.

Of course, it’s not really “canon” until they actually acknowledge these things on screen. I’m guessing they’ll give themselves some wiggle room in regards to Klingons with hair co-existing. I love the new designs and the idea that the Klingons are not some type of mega-culture with no differences between them, but it would be nice if they leave the door open for TMP+ (really TSFS+) type Klingons as well.

So. Did you stop watching trek when three klingons from TOS showed up on DS9 as a totally and completely different species? Hypocritical asinine vinegar pissing fundies.

“Hypocritical asinine vinegar pissing fundies.”

Nope, because those specific Klingons on TOS and DS9 both had hair! :-)

Great idea. Anyone who thought all Klingons and Romulans wore the same outfit and looked the same everywhere are stuck in the past and have lost there sense of imagination. We are getting an expanded universe! Awesome. I can’t walk outside without seeing people of different dress and looks not sure how a space empire could.

Ugh can’t edit comments. Their not there.

“Anyone who thought all Klingons and Romulans wore the same outfit and looked the same everywhere are stuck in the past and have lost there sense of imagination.”

I absolutely welcome the idea of creating CULTURAL diversity within the Klingon people. It was always sort of lame to have Klingons, Romulans etc. wear the same outfits over decades, with no cultural diversity woven into these alien empires. Let some of them have long, some of them short hair and some of them deliberately no hair, for what it’s worth. Let there be different uniforms, casual wear, flags, languages, religions, music, food, pets, starship types, you name it!

But hey, this isnt about CULTURE, it’s BIOLOGICAL. They’re saying that Klingons can’t have hair due to their biology. And that’s a completely different sort of approach because this very idea annhiliates the traditional Klingons from existence. If Klingons can’t have hair because of the sensory nature of the backhead ridges, Worf and any other Klingon becaomes obsolete. And that’s a major punch in the face of anyone who grew up on traditional Klingons and loved them!

I’m still irritated that TNG changed Romulans into sneaky bastids and added a forehead V ridge. And those foam-rubber uniform tunics with giant square shoulders, don’t get me started ….

Fecksakes, in TOS the Romulans were “honorable” in the way of Romans [see the episode with Mark Lenard as a Romulan Commander], and Klingons were like warlords [see TOS Kor]. The TNG Klingons grew on me, but I never liked TNG’s/ENT’s &c. interpretation of Romulans. FEH!

@Marja — agreed! Klingons even adopted a sort of Viking mythology. But Vikings were certainly more than a bunch of thugs. The Romulans came a long way the wrong direction from where Mark Lenard established them. THere was considerably more depth to them in TOS. TNG basically turned them into a two-dimensional stereotype. With ridges. Ugh.

Yep, that used to annoy the heck out of me – not to mention the fact that say, Vulcans, all spoke ‘Vulcan’ and came from the planet ‘Vulcan’ ( apply this to Cardassians, Andorians, etc. ).

The designwork here is incredible – I especially love the Klingon Skull!

I’d love to see a physical model of this skull,

Yep. I want to run my knuckles back and forth across the top of the skull.

Saucy. ;-)

Wonderful. More Blingons. Why did they have to dick with what wasn’t broken to begin with?! More than anything else whybdonwe need to go back to the TOS pre 5 year Kirk era?! You have plenty to work with between Star trek 1-6. Fantastic ships, wonderful costumes. If the rumors are true about Nicholas Myers and a possible plan B series, I’m excited. Discovery? It’s Star trek Enterprise all over again. I’ll watch the first episode. I expect this will be all I watch.

Jesus Christ people….. there are more important things going on in the world then whether or not a Klingon should be bald or not. the looks of the Klingons in all tv shows, film have always been down to budget restraints, Don’t get so hung up on it. go out side and feel the sun on your face.

You stated that in a much nicer way than I was saying it in my mind!

This “It’s just a TV show!” kind of attitude is nothing but a nuisance. We are dealing with a TV show here and “enjoying the sun outside” or (as other people tend to express) “getting laid” or “getting a life” hasn’t got anything to do with this! It’s about the new Star Trek series and it’s our prerogative to critizise certain aspects of it, especially if these aspects have the capacity of ruining 50 years of world building… Sorry, but “just a TV show” doesn’t count…

what impact does the look of the Klingon actually have on the tv show???? no one complained when they changed the look in the motion picture… why was this done? because of a much bigger budget which allowed the film makers to give the Klingons a much better look.. thats all thats going on here. we are 50 years down the line, tv has changed technology has changed, what people want to watch has changed so Star Trek has to change with this. the whole reason why Star Trek grounded to a halt was because it did not change with the times.

TNG: The Rightful Heir

KAHLESS: I have returned. You doubt me. Who here knows the story of how this sword was forged?
TORIN: No one knows. It is not written in the sacred texts.
KAHLESS: I went into the mountains, all the way to the volcano at Kri’stak. There I cut off a lock of my hair and thrust it into the river of molten rock which poured from the summit. The hair began to burn. Then I plunged it into the lake of Lusor and twisted it into this sword. And after I used it to kill the tyrant Molor I gave it a name. Bat’leth. The sword of honour.
KOROTH: You know. The story of the sword is known only to the High Clerics. It was never written down, so that if he returned, we could be sure it was Kahless.
KAHLESS: I have returned because there is a great need in my people. They fight among themselves in petty wars and corrupt the glory of the Klingon spirit. They have lost their way. But it is not too late. I have returned and I will lead my people again.

So yea it has a pretty big impact given the plot of an entire TNG episode revolved around Klingon hair.

Well, I, for one, thought it was silly at the time. Just putting money on the screen, IMHO.

@Marja — true, but also consider that finally there was a race of beings that looked like aliens. Prior to that, for the most part, aliens were just humans with different colored skin. TMP may have made changes just because they had the money to do so, but that certainly wasn’t the only reason to do so. I look forward to Trek over the next decade now that we have the technology to create truly exotic aliens digitally.

@Curious Cadet

According to Cannon Klingons, Humans, Vulcans and well Romulans are all indirectly from the same speiciese hence why they can have babies together with some ease.

Yes they are “alien” but not more so than we all so to speak share same ancestory according to the lore.

You even see the same on earth a Lion and a Tiger are “alien” to each other and look different but they all come from the same place lets call it Cat family as i don’t remember the correct name and they can have babies together, same goes for panthers and the other Cat family you see the same with Wolf family aka DOGS and Wolfs.

So deep down these Aliens and us share same “family” which makes sense why we look so simulare to a degree, there are other races out there more alien and they are changing this with this new deal.

In that photo with the detail of the knife hilt – is that Beldar?! Maybe one of the Great Houses is native to Remulak.

Hee-hee! I just watched “Time’s Arrow” with Data explaining his complexion by saying he was a Frenchman.

Oh, how I wish he could’ve said, “I am from the South of France”

“Page explained that DSC’s Klingons are bald because of these heightened senses on the top of their heads.”

Imaginative explanation, although most Klingons have clearly stopped shaving their heads by the timeframe of the TOS movies. It also doesn’t explain why DSC’s Klingons don’t have beards or eyebrows either.

Theoretically the hairless appearance could be specific to Klingons from certain planets in the Empire. Obviously not certain *Houses*, since they’re claiming Kol is from Kor’s House. It depends on whether we eventually see the more usual TNG/DS9 Klingons too.

Beard or no beard could be a fashion trend. Just like there was a time on Earth when (at least some) women found it fashionable to shave their eyebrows.

I love what they’re doing. TNG era Klingons were ridiculous, when you look back on it. They all speak the same, they all look the same, dress the same – it’s so one dimensional. Enterprise attempted to give *some* depth to the Klingon’s, but as someone else put it, in the end they were drunken Vikings in space.

This makes the Klingon’s feel…. Alien. And it gives the race depth and dimension. I’m looking forward to “Discovering” these new/better/deeper Klingons.

In defense of TNG, they weren’t exactly the only ones guilty in the world of Science Fiction of treating alien races as monocultures. It’s a fairly normal take on alien species. I *love* that Discovery is going to flesh out the Klingon race and make them much more diverse and alien (and interesting!). It sounds like they’re going to delve a bit into Vulcan society as well.

@NX Class
But they aren’t really ALIEN they are from the same subspecies as Vulcans, Humans and Romulans and well also Bajorans hence why they have humanoid features. Unlike other races out there.

It was even explained in the cannon that we all are a subseices of the same just like we see here on earth with Cat family aka lions, tigers and so on, or Wolf family aka Wols and Dogs all breeds.

And they can breed make babies, these new so called “Klingons” move so far away from their ancestory are we even sure they can make babies with a human, vulcan or romulan anymore as they should be as they should be humanoid not “alien”

Dear Lord, I hope this ridiculous Klingon war (when exactly did that take place anyway? All I recall reference to, was the Earth-Roumulan war) is over after season 1, I’m already sick of them.

I always felt older Trek always got it wrong when trying to explain why Klingons looked different TOS and TNG. The augment thing was fine but then again just as Page explained, the empire is very large and just as there are a WIDE variety of humans, there would be a variety of Klingons. We never really got this in Trek. It was as if they said ALL Klingons look alike just because and ALL Vulcans look alike just because, so on and so forth. It’s a good use of anthropology for these alien species, and it’s just a breath of fresh air for the franchise in my humble opinion.

@PEB

Nope Trek always said they look alike because they are all from the same subspecies which humans belong to as well hence why we can make babies with them.

You see the same on Earth look at Lions, Panthers and Tigers to name a few or Wolfs and Dogs all same subspecies.

They made other Alien aliens out there in the universe but right now they might have moved Klingon 100% away from their heritage as a subspecies that humans, vulcans, bajorans and rumulans belong to.

I haven’t yet chimed in with my reaction to the DSC “Klingon kerfuffle” mainly because we haven’t seen S1 yet, so I really have nothing but “press junket innuendo” to react to. I have no real context. I do believe, however, that CBS and the producers are doing their very best to get us all riled up on this subject in order to guarantee that we’ll sign up for All Access, pay our fee and watch the show. Then … either the rumors will be true, and Klingon canon will be changed to satisfy Bryan Fuller’s whim, or, when this story arc is concluded, we’ll find out that we’d been led astray and the Prime universe canon is still intact. But if Fuller HAS changed the Klingon canon, then who says that we fans must go along with it? CBS can bark all it wants and tell us, “This is now canon,” but we don’t have to believe it. We can just say it’s a different timeline. Not the Prime timeline. Not the Kelvin timeline. Not the Mirror timeline. Some other timeline. Does the Star Trek: Enterprise timeline jibe with “The Cage”? No. The technology is too different. In “The Cage,” Jose Tyler tells the crash survivors, “You won’t believe how fast you can get back [to Earth]. Well, the time barrier’s been broken! Our new ships can …” It doesn’t matter, Jose. You’re now in a different timeline, thanks to Enterprise. Not to mention the hand lasers and the… Read more »

I may get riled up, but I still have to wait for DSC to show up on Netflix US or Amazon.

Despite “Discovery” and “The Good Fight,” the money they want is just too much/month for two programs. As it is I’ve had to take a financial holiday from Hulu [signed up just to see “A Handmaid’s Tale”].

@Marja — well we all have our financial budgets. What I love about the streaming media age is that even if I sign up for a service, I can cancel it just as soon as the reason I signed up is over. So I can literally sign up for CBS ALL ACCESS for 3 months, drop the service, and sign up for Netflix — binge a bunch of things, drop and sign up for Hulu — bing, and repeat with HBO, or AMC, et al. Theoretically I don’t have to spend more than one service at a time. Can’t really do that with cable.

Just a heads up……There has been some discussion in other stories on this website that doing that may not be possible with cbs all access. They may only drop the episode for a week and then replace it with the next one. It’s not a binge watch kind of streaming service like Netflix etc. As for Netflix itself I was under the impression they only bought the international rights not the domestic ones. So the only way to watch it would be blu-ray or DVD once the season is over.

As for the financial concerns….I can understand that. I am personally going for the commercial version. It’s a savings of about $50 compared to the commercial free version.

Sorry but no, those can’t be Klingons.

TNG is very specific in it’s dialog and plot that Klingons have hair. In fact the first Bat’leth was made by Kahless cutting off a lock of his hair. Meaning this is either a stealth reboot of the universe or everything about Klingons in Discovery should be considered non-canon.

Kahless was obviously mistranslated into English. ;-)

The periscope armor design remind me of the suit from Deadspace.

LJ (formerly known as LJ)

I don’t see the problem with having bald Klingons in this period, so long as it is aesthetic choice as opposed to some biological retcon. In Europe and North America, people (esp. the middle and upper classes) moved very quickly from accepting long hair in men as a sign of social status and sexual health, to demanding short hair as a norm (a matter of decades). Why cannot Klingons go through similar phases in fashion? On a personal level, I do believe the bald look makes the Klingons look more menacing, which would be an acceptable societal driver. The hairy look makes them look much more human, which may be favourable in later iterations.

He didnt even have to explain to the fanbase. I always knew they had to be other klingon houses….different worlds…ect. Hopefully now people can shut up and enjoy a new trek series. Does everything need to be explained ?

That’s one of the reasons the DS9 staff had Worf say in the episode “Trials and Tribble-ations” that they don’t talk about the lack of cranial ridges with outsiders when he was questioned by O’Brien, Bashir and Odo. They said on the DVDs that they felt the need to acknowledge the obivious but didn’t want to come up with an explanation for it because it was too complicated. Enterprise of course did, for better or for worse, and here we are today.

Wasnt the klingons in Into Darkness bald ?

Some were. Some had long hair. You’ll see them in the background.

The one thing I have not seen really anything discussed is why so many are purple in skin tone.

producers take my advice. have the real Klingons kill these guys off. It’s the only way to fix this mistake or the franchise will have no value going forward.

Klingons look awful. I hate everything about them in this series. This series is obviously not part of prime universe. They just lie. These ”klingons” are canon breakers. And if CBS obviously do not care about star trek canon ( how klingons look is canon ) and already established continuity, I see no reasons why I would care at all for this series.

As far I’m concerned, this series does not exist, just like the Abrams reboot star trek films.

It seems that star trek prime universe died with the last episode of Enterprise.

The problem with this explanation is that it doesn’t explain why the type of Klingons that we saw for 25 years of Star Trek, through 6 feature films and 4 TV series, are totally absent from Discovery. DSC posits that there are different types of Klingons…OK, great. So, why does that mean that the most common type has suddenly disappeared? There is no logical reason why the TMP-through-ENT Klingons couldn’t have been modernized for DSC while keeping their essential aesthetic form recognizable. And, then, the different types of Klingons in DSC could be introduced in order to make the species “deeper and richer.”

Once again, the explanation offered herein is a non-explanation, as it does not explain why the Klingons of Star Trek throughout 6 motion pictures and 4 TV series have completely vanished in DSC. Further, since the original explanation put out was basically, “Other production companies have changed the Klingons, so why shouldn’t we do it, too?” all of this business about making the Klingons “deeper and richer,” seems rather self-serving. They can make the Klingons “deeper and richer,” without dumping 25 years of Trek canon and history. There’s nothing that logically precludes simply having the familiar Klingons be one of the various types of Klingons in DSC.

Moreover…

How is the goal of making the Klingons “deeper and richer” served by dumping the most richly and deeply developed type of Klingons (i.e. the Klingons from TMP through ENT). Dumping them for no dramatic reason, and starting from scratch, would seem exactly contrary to the stated goal of “deeper and richer” Klingons, given how deeply and richly the TMP-through-ENT type of Klingon was developed——in TNG and DS9, especially.

We’ll just never move beyond human actors wearing masks posing as aliens. I’m sure that’s exactly what alien life looks like everywhere. Two arms, two legs, two eyes, nose holes and a mouth. Must be part of the grand design of the universe.

TNG “The Chase”

But all this talk.about apex predators and extra sensory organs talks as if this were a reboot of Klingons. These are the SAME KLINGONS that we see in TOS and TNG and so forth with extra sensory organs and with hair. Changing basic Klingon biology and sensory nature is even more idiotic than changing their look; now you have to explain why they lacked additional sensory organs 150 years before, and will permanently lose them again within a decade.

All the rationale behind these redesigns would only work if this show *weren’t* part of an established, shared universe.

The new “look” of the Klingons is just… PLAIN AWFUL! It was a huge distraction and it hindered Chris Obi (as T’Kuvma). I know the (former) producer wanted something different, but this was a terrible choice.

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