More Details On Klingon And Starfleet Ships Revealed In Latest Issue Of SFX

The November issue of the UK magazine SFX has an extended feature article from their visit to the Star Trek: Discovery set. It includes a lot of good insights into the show along with interviews with cast and crew. Some of the big highlights were more details on the ships of Discovery and their leaders.

Klingon puritans and their ship of death

From previous reports it has been explained that Discovery features a Klingon empire “in turmoil” with 24 different houses, each with a different look and different ideology. While conducting a tour of the Klingon Sarcophagus Ship set, co-executive producer Ted Sullivan divulged more details about the House of T’Kuvma – described as the “25th Klingon house that we hadn’t previously heard of,” saying:

“It’s a 200-year-old ship. This is a group of Klingons who’ve gone back to a puritan way of life. They look very different: they wear armour that’s 200 years old and they don’t have any hair. Their commander runs his Klingon house – the house of T’Kuvma – by the rules of Kahless, the Klingon messiah. And he calls himself the second coming of the Klingon messiah.”

T’Kuvma  (Chris Obi) on the bridge of the Sarcophagus Ship – sees himself as new Klingon messiah

Sullivan also went on to provide some insight into scenes that have been shown in trailers and promos for the show:

“The outside of the ship is covered in thousands of coffins. Some are 300 years old, some are just two days old. Downstairs is the death room, where they prepare their dead; then the coffins get raised up and put on the outside.”

Coffin being raised in the “death room” to be placed on the outside of the Sarcophagus Ship

Shenzhou and Discovery reflect Burnham’s character journey

As for the two main Starfleet ships, showrunner Aaron Harberts described them noting they are also metaphors for the main character Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green):

“[The USS Discovery is] a repurposed science vessel, whose crew’s been turned towards using their abilities to turn the tide of the war with the Klingons, which is reaching fever pitch. But it also serves as a metaphor for Michael Burnham and her journey, with the Shenzhou being an older ship and the Discovery represent.”

Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh) in the USS Shenzhou transporter room

The SFX article also gave some fun details on the different Starfleet ships:

Wandering the corridors of the Discovery, you feel you could easily get lost in them. In the vast transporter room, we twist dials and flick satisfyingly low-fi switches on a control panel, and peek into chambers on either side lined with spacesuits. We check out Lorca’s weaponry collection – guns, samurai swords, and a Klingon bat’leth (presumably a memento of battle) – and squint at Georgiou’s framed certificate from the Raal Institute For Interspecies Studies. A mess area nods to the past with a print of the USS T’Plana-Hath – a namesake of the Vulcan craft that made first contact with humanity. And in a corner of the engine room, we discover a display of weird, colourful fungi belonging to Anthony Rapp’s science officer, Lieutenant Stamets.

USS Discovery Captain Gabriel Lorca in his “menagerie,” a chamber with his collected ancient weapons and relics.

SFX issue with Discovery story issue on sale now

There’s more from the Star Trek: Discovery set visit report in the November SFX issue including interviews with Doug Jones, Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green. You can pick up the new issue of SFX in the UK now and it should be on US newstands soon. You can order a print issue online at You can also order a digital copy on iTunes, Google Play, or Zinio.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US.  In Canada Star Trek: Discovery will premiere  on Bell Media’s CTV and the Space Channel on the same night. Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25 to countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.

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


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Lovin’ the “ship of death”. Great concept.

I agree. Pretty cool.

Makes me wonder if somebody on staff reads DH Lawrence. I used his ‘the ship of death’ poem in my own space battle super-8 flick CRITICAL ORBIT back in 1983. It’s a private dialog moment between the acting commander and acting XO after the former, during an ad hoc council of war, has committed what remains of their vessel to a suicide maneuver against a powerful and unknown enemy:

Hansard: Now it is winter and the falling fruit and the long journey towards oblivion … have you —

Jamieson — Have you built your ship of death, o have you?

Hansard (genuinely surprised): I didn’t know they taught Lawrence at Command school?

Jamieson (dismissive, brusque): My mother’s influence. (rising, moving to door) Let’s go — we’ll come back with our shields —

Hansard: — or on them?

Hokey, but I still have fond memories of doing this.
Gotta get what’s left of that transferred to DVD before the film disintegrates!

I heard a mention somewhere that the USS Shenzhou IS the USS Discovery ( rebuilt and re-purposed ) – surely this can’t be true, can it??

The set is the same, I believe. Much like most of the Reliant set was the re-purposed Enterprise set in TWOK.

Correct FLB, just that time-honored tradition of repurposing Trek sets.

Actualy no the set is not the same, just the transporter room, the bridge s are dor shure different physical structures, engine room,… as i asked Ted Sullivan on Twitter and he clarified it. They realy put a lot of money in to DISCO 😉

That Ship of Death idea is right up my alley. Really neat.

Candles on the bridge. Stiff on the hull. Red Dwarf XII is coming (Oct 12, btw). Now THAT’s what I call an update!

I really hope that print isn’t actually labeled “USS T’Plana-Hath.”

I read it that the print is not of the ship that made first contact, but of a later Starfleet vessel named for hat 21st century ship.

I hope it is an NX-Refit or Daedalus class ship!

I hope that the House of Duras is one of the 24 houses. They’re always fun, and it would be a good way to bring the Romulans into the show,

House of Duras, fine, but they need to leave the Romulans alone.

Yeah, I’m not a strict adherent to canon, but in this case I wholeheartedly agree. The first face-to-face contact with Romulans is a major event in the original series–an event that, from Discovery’s point of view, is still ten years in the future.

That’s why I think the House of Duras would be a good way to bring them in. They can get involved in Klingon politics and interact with Klingon characters without the Federation characters ever knowing anything about them.

“turn the tide of the war with the Klingons, which is reaching fever pitch”

So this isn’t necessarily about how the war with the Klingons began, as this line implies it is ongoing, rather than just beginning.

Which makes sense, considering that, unless they break from established history (a possibility, I’ll admit) the Klingons and Federation have been at war for at least a few decades when the series begins, as per Spock’s line in TUC.

“Ship of Death”. Sounds like my old Ford Pinto.

Bazinga! I thought of my Mom’s creaky old Datsun 610 station wagon that I “inherited” when I got my learner’s permit almost forty years (!) ago. That thing was a rolling deathtrap.

Ha, the 610 was a classic. My Dad used to work for Datsun. I had a 78′ B-210. Similar-type death trap.

A seventy eight foot Datsun?!?!?

Pinto: aka the Ford Firebird

“This is a group of Klingons who’ve gone back to a puritan way of life. They look very different: they wear armour that’s 200 years old and they don’t have any hair.”

THANK GOODNESS! This proves that not all Klingons are hairless but only these “Puritans” are… That, basically, saves half of the show for me. I stand corrected on this point now.
Now I hope that the TV-MA rating ONLY refers to war aspects on the show, not the overall tone. Maybe they can go back to TV-14 for season two as soon as the Klingon War is over…If that happened, I would be the happiest fan in the universe… *fingers crossed*


Apology accepted.

It’s encouraging. It made sense that these were “ancient” Klingons to me. These are basically fundamentalists in an ancient ship. But I’m still not certain we’ll end up seeing TOS or TNG style Klingons in the series, given Fuller’s instructions when the series was in development. It’s still a wait-and-see.

It might be the case for season 1. We shall see what later seasons do.

That is not what the article says. Yes, they shave their heads or maybe have erased a mutation that gave Klingons hair. Doesn’t mean other Klingons don’t do the same thing. Remember: this is a thousand years old culture spanning thousands of planets. If humans can’t look alike on just one planet, think about the differences when you are a culture spanning many star systems. Each with their own eco system. Each with their own set of genetic consequences. Or do you really think that living under a dwarf star is not going to physically change you in, oh let’s say, a thousand years?

That is what I hate about Trek, this ‘one size fits all’ mentality towards alien species. All Klingons are this or that; they are essentially all the same with only small differences. It is ludicrous to say the least.

It would be nice to see more cultural variation among Trek aliens.

Dude, we’ve had like four or five black Vulcans and there was even an Asian one in TSFS for a few seconds; stop forcing this “diversity” agenda down our throats!

(Please tell me no-one’s dumb enough to miss the humorous sarcasm there…)

If you’re going to be sarcastic via text on the internet, you have to do better than that. It has to be so over-the-top ridiculous because there’s no tone of voice to go along with it. Part of me wondered if you were serious or not, because there ARE stupid people who would say something like that. Many on this very forum.

Agreed. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that most Vulcans have the same kind of hairstyle outside of Saavik and Tuvok (at a push).

That’s really sad that you needed an explanation for their hair to “save” the show. As in, that was 50% keeping you from enjoying it. Really, really, sad.

So, being bald myself, I could play a Klingon on DISC? Yes!

So only Klingons living this way of life have no hair? Does this mean we are going to see Klingons with it?

I’m glad to hear a *plausible* in-universe explanation for the change in Klingon makeup. And that’s all that’s needed, really.

What about this:
Gergiou and Lorca will never meet each other in the show because it is set in 2 Times….like Westworld!