EXCLUSIVE: Neville Page And Glenn Hetrick Talk Designs For Different ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Klingon Houses

At the Hollywood blue carpet premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, TrekMovie had a chance to speak with Face/Off judges and Star Trek: Discovery creature designers Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick, mostly about Klingons. The full video interview and highlights are below.

Those bald Klingons

There have been some fans wondering if all the Klingons on Star Trek: Discovery are bald or if they are just holding back the ones with the more traditional hairband style. The pair of designers clarified, but left some wiggle room saying:

Page: “In this iteration that is correct. No hair.”

Hetrick: “For now.”

L’Rell (Mary Chieff), T’Kuvma (Chris Obi) and all the other the Klingons in Discovery are bald

Different looks for different Houses

While all the Klingons are bald, Hetrick confirmed that the makeup changes from house to house, noting:

Hetrick: “People are only getting glimpses of certain things. What you’ll realize once the show starts to unpack is we’re dealing with very specific houses. And in dealing with those houses, we made a very conscious decision. One of our goals at the beginning of the show when they said, “What would you guys like to see and what do you want to do?”… It ended up being like a 20 page document or something … Why if the Klingons existed in an empire of worlds, and if we exist on one world and the culture patina of our different continents and our very short history, has left us with such varied architecture and wardrobe and music and art, why wouldn’t they be more varied? They’ve grown up on literally different planets. So what you’re seeing so far is some houses of the Klingon Empire.”

Hetrick further expounded on how different the houses will appear from each other.

Hetrick: “They should all look very different. They all will have very different histories and we’ll get into that as we go and they’ll be more of it as we go. Everyone should keep in mind when you’re looking at the Klingons you’re getting little bits of certain houses so far.”

Hetrick also confirmed how many houses in the first season.

Hetrick: “What we can talk about thus far you’ll be seeing about five early on…You’ll see a couple fairly early on. I think it is one of the things we are going to explore in greater and greater depth as we go.”

Kol (Kenneth Mitchell) is from the House of Kor

Visiting Saru’s homeworld?

Page and Hetrick have spoken at length about designing the look for Doug Jones’ character Saru, who is Kelpian. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this new Star Trek species is they come from a world where they are the prey species. When asked if he has designed the corresponding predator species from Saru’s homeworld, Page said:  

Page: “Well, I have it in my head. I certainly have ideas. But there’s a lot of stuff – as Glenn said, as things are being unpacked – there’s a lot of world building that we’re still doing. So when we can we’ll be sharing that.”

Saru (Doug Jones) is a Kelpian

More to come from Hollywood premiere


Akiva Goldsman On Influence Of JJ Abrams Films On ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Doug Jones On Saru And Burnham Fighting Over The Captain’s Chair In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Mary Chieffo Talks L’Rell And Klingon Episodes Of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

Ted Sullivan On Canon Challenge Of Fitting ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Between ‘Enterprise’ and TOS

Sonequa Martin-Green On ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Captain’s Chair And Nichelle Nichols Blessing

TrekMovie has more interviews with Discovery cast and crew. These will be posted over the next few days so stay tuned.


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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If you draw hair and mustaches and beards on these guys they look more traditional than the Kelvin Klingons do. I wish some people would calm down.

At least the Kelvin Timeline Bat’leth actually looks like a Bat’leth. That is literally the only weapon design choice that’s been made for Discovery that I dislike.

Everything must be the same! Nothing should change! It’s all about me and my childhood!

They want to diversify Klingons, then why don’t show Klingons with and without hair and some with and without ridges. Why do they have to be all bold all of the sudden?

Right! After all, when considering evolution, would it not make sense that the Klignons would evolve differently on different planets? That way they could get something new and the fans could have something old and at least some of the canon debates might lessen.

I agree with your sentiment. But…how fast do you think evolution works exactly?

I am aware that evolution takes a long time but they could say some Klignons look like this because they lived on this planet etc….As the shows go further in future we could be seeing Klignons from different planets. Hence the no hair in these ones while TNG on forward did. Not huge differences. The could even say both versions exist but we don’t see the smooth headed ones. They could even make the argument that T’Kuvma is trying to avoid losing his ridges from the augment virus hence why he is in a sarcophagus ship. Then Later on they developed something for those that lost their ridges hence why “they came back.” They can explain it if they choose to.

Hate the explanation they give that every series had different Klignons. Of course they did! Make-up changes. Alternate realities. Etc.


Re: how fast do you think evolution works exactly?

Pretty fast once sentient life starts mucking around with it. Just look at the fantastic variability humans have been able to extract from wolf pups in a relatively short span of time, and human husbandry efforts overall?

Well, TNG for seven years never showed us any TMP or TOS Klingons, as was the case with DS9 ( until Trials and Tribellations ). Why does DSC need to blow their load all at once?

“Why does DSC need to blow their load all at once?”
They have the money, they want to show more facettes and different Klingon cultures, they are in a timeline where Klingons with smooth forheads and noemal ones co-exists.

That is true, but TOS we had three years of occasional appearances of swarthy looking fellows. In the movies onwards we had a full culture where every level of Klingon society was occupied by the ridge/hair Klingons, their culture was significantly developed and we had as series regular. So if you’re going to retcon like this then you’re going to have to have a good explanation as to why ten years from TOS the Empire is seemingly rum by houses of bald, purple and blue Klingons, all while the other Klingons and augmented ones exist, and then they suddenly vanish by the time of TOS and TNG.

I personally can live with a throwaway line explanation, but given all their banging on about canon it does seem strange that we’re all of sudden seeing totally different Klingons.

Is there a law in the Empire that bans shaving? Maybe I missed that particular episode.

Because they finished filming the season before they decided to go back and pretend that there were always going to be some Klingons with hair. They’ll show up in Season 2, but only to save face.

Because you’ve seen season 1 right? Oh or were you part of the writer’s table? Didn’t think so Mario

Save face why? None of this crap matters.

As long as we see Klingons with hair at some point then their argument will stack up and I’ll be cool with it. If we just see these guys then it sounds a bit silly to me.

Freakazoid Glenn Hetrick… God, is there anyone more affected and annoying?

Er, why? Apart from sporting a haircut I’d be embarassed by, he seems fine… calling him a ‘freakazoid’ strikes me as a bit of an overreaction.

Even if we should decide to agree with the decision to throw overboard the visual continuity of the past 40 years, the Klingons were never very diverse. Different houses never had different styling and never referred to different planets as their home. Discovery will never be able to explain why Klingons were diverse for only some 10 years of their history. It is a total reboot and the whole blurb about sticking to canon is nothing more than damage control. Why should Discovery writers even bother that tiny details are in line with canon when there are gross continuity violations in its very premise? I don’t get it and I don’t care for that sort of “fan service any longer.

Bernd Schneider,

Re: …never be able to explain why Klingons were diverse for only some 10 years of their history

You mean like because they somehow only practiced mass extermination in conquering others and NOT amongst their own kind?

Here I disagree with you. You have to put this in the right context. The premise of this show is, that the Klingon houses aren’t united and this has yet to occur. So it would make no sense if every Klingon wears the same military uniform or style.
Regarding the different planets: We know from TNG and DS9 that each House has their own lands and subjects, The house of Mogh didn’t live on the homeworld, they lived on Kithomer, so it’s save to assume that the great Houses controlled those planets or large parts of them.

Well, we didn’t ever see different houses until about 110 years after this, so…

I get that this makes for a lot of ‘splaining on your site, but none of this is real. Fans were pissed off by the Klingons in TNG. Things change because technical ability and styles change.

And there hasn’t been visual continuity for the past 40 years. Every new iteration (pilot, TOS, movies, TNG, TNG-movies) has been different.

Seriously, who cares? None of this is real. So why can’t we get some fresh looks? They had long hair before, now they don’t. Maybe the Klingon fashion is shaving right now (just like suddenly, Starfleet started putting officers in miniskirts).

This “it must be the same as before!” business is frustrating. Chances are, everyone involved in this show knows far more about Trek than you think they do (and probably more than you do).

That said, it bugged me for about four seconds when the Romulans suddenly had forehead ridges on TNG because a) it looked dumb and b) it didn’t make much sense in a universe where Vulcans still looked the same as they always had and c) mostly because it looked dumb.

But we’ve seen plenty of different versions of Klingons already – I’m fine with some more. I really don’t want to see the “and this is how they got hair!” episode. None of that minutia really matters. Just tell good stories and immerse me in them.

And frankly, I’m glad they look different. The caveman/’80s metal band look was tough to take seriously.