Writer’s Headcanon Explains How ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ Gorn Fit With “Arena”

The latest episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds showed us the Gorn for the first time in the series. The alien lizards’ look certainly got an update after 55 years, but the episode’s writer has a way of making it all fit together.

Writer finds “wiggle room” in “Arena”

Strange New Worlds co-executive producer Davy Perez, who wrote “All Those Who Wander,” gave an interview to Inverse where he talked about how there’s “wiggle room” to explain some of the differences between TOS Gorn and SNW Gorn,  and even covered Kirk’s apparent lack of knowledge of the species in the original Star Trek episode “Arena,” which introduced them. Perez explained:

Kirk’s idea of the Gorn is different from what he is being told by the Metrons. The Gorn he’s meeting in ‘Arena,’ doesn’t sync with his expectations of them. It was a personal choice I made in my own headcanon that allowed me to have fun with the writing. Viewing it that way creates more possibilities for Gorn stories to continue.

In “Arena,” a superpowerful race named the Metrons transports Captain Kirk and a Gorn captain to a planet where they are expected to fight to the death. Perez’s headcanon relies heavily on this single line of Kirk’s dialogue from the original episode: “I face the creature the Metrons called a Gorn.” Perez sees this as an opening:

Maybe Kirk has never seen them, he could even be one of those people who still doubts the stories, or maybe even he has seen them and they don’t look the same. I think the safest thing to say is we have no idea what the Gorn are really like.

Perez didn’t address why neither Spock nor Uhura mentioned their previous experience with the Gorn during “Arena,” but it’s possible he has some headcanon for that as well. His comments also indicate there could be more Gorn to come on Strange New Worlds.

From “Arena”

The Gorn reborn

The following video shows how the Gorn were brought to life for Strange New Worlds, primarily using puppetry.

New episodes of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds debut on Thursdays exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., Latin America, Australia and the Nordics. The series airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave in Canada. In New Zealand, it is available on TVNZ, and in India on Voot Select. In the UK new episodes arrive on Wednesdays on Paramount+ but run five week’s behind the USA. The series will arrive via Paramount+ in select countries in Europe when the service launches later this year.

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Me in response to this headcanon:

In the words of acting first officer (cadet) Kirk, in 2009’s Star Trek, “Bulls**t.”

One word for this: preposterous.

I don’t have as much a problem in the change of their look as I do with using them to begin with.

I’m honestly not sure why Kirk would have a different view of the Gorn than what he was told by the Metrons. Honestly that doesn’t make sense. It also makes no sense Kirk doesn’t know what the Gorn are REALLY like. By his time there would be 10 years of more data on them. It is just not reasonable that Star Fleet would not seek them out and attempt to talk and hammer out an agreement. At the very least learn as much as possible about them. And if not, what we have seen on SNW would have certainly been reported. I would guess the only thing that would make sense is that sometime in the next 10 years they vanished and the entire species underwent some sort of metamorphosis. But that still doesn’t explain not being aware they even existed. At the very least Spock would have called attention to the Gorn possibility.

I’m sorry but I call BS on this. It sounds more like they were dead set on using the Gorn because they thought Gorn were perhaps scary and cool. And that was that. It reminds me of a friend of mine who made what I thought was a bad decision and I told him it was a bad decision but he used some sort of twisted logic to convince himself it was a good decision because it was what he wanted to do at the time. And, of course, ultimately he regretted it completely.

You forget they used the Borg in Enterprise, people were aghast (yes I said it) at that. They can’t have the Borg because… But it fit the canonical story line. And it worked.
Yes, the Gorn (updated at that) were used in the mirror universe episodes (In a Mirror Darkly 1 & 2), but they would look the same if Archer, et. al., came accross them in any other episode. They didn’t change just because it was the mirror universe.

I don’t mind using the Gorn, and I’ve watched Trek since the beginning- seen all the changes to all the alien races. Didn’t mind when they did it woth the Klingons, Romulans, didn’t mind then and don’t mind now. Hell, the Borg were updated for the movies because they had a better budget than the TV show!

Nope. I did not forget the Borg on Enterprise. I thought going there was ill advised but the way the show worked it didn’t invalidate or contradict what we saw in the feature film or other Borg episodes. That argument is null because bringing in the Gorn completely undermines everything in Arena. Don’t know why you are speaking of the change in the MU episodes of Enterprise. As I said, the change in look is expected and while it seemed to move faster it still pretty much looked Gorn-like. The fact is the Gorn appeared in the MU episode and not a regular Enterprise one was because the show runner, Manny Coto, actually had respect for the source material. He new he could not use the Gorn on Enterprise even though he publicly said he would have loved to do so.

The mistake was made on SNW the instant the word Gorn was uttered in Episode 1. It was a bad decision then and them doubling and tripling down on it only cements the bad decision. These sort of things have plagued Secret Hideout productions.

Agreed. That was one of the reasons Enterprise was so despised. Remember they also met Ferengi, even though the Federations first encounter with that species was with Picard. This Gorn business is representative of the typical Hollywood NPC writer, lacking creativity but no doubt filled with activism, his line of logic is that it didn’t “sync” with his “expectations”. The sheer stupidity-fueled self-serving arrogance is beyond contemptible.

I wish that the writers of Star Trek strange new worlds would just admit that the show is a reboot/reimagining of the original series era. It’s like they are afraid to admit the obvious. You can blame the temporal Cold war you can blame the red angel there are a lot of things you can blame and chalk it up to interference in the timeline. I think the temporal Cold war would make the most sense. The first contact with the Klingons was not supposed to happen in Montana. The guy from the future was manipulating events in the past. Wouldn’t there be a ripple effect in the fabric of SpaceTime?

The original series is not compromised because I think you’ll have to just reimagine the way you think about those stories and one day they may decide to create a series around those stories. The only analogy I can think of is even though the silver age fantastic four comic take place in the 1960s marvel uses a sliding timeline to modernize those stories it doesn’t mean that those adventures didn’t happen but they have to be reconsidered in a more modern context. I love the original series but let’s be real it needs to be modernized and strange new worlds has done a beautiful job of doing that. A lot of the norms in the original series don’t work in 2022 for example the way women were treated on the show but of course that’s a whole another discussion.

I get all the canon conversation but if you go back and watch the original series a lot of their Canon was not consistent. As the show evolved there were adjustments made along the way.

He needs to just say what we’ve all been thinking that the show is a reboot of the original series. There were a lot of potholes in the original series there were things that we were shown without much of an explanation. A lot of things were explained in novels many of which were not even considered canon. Strange New worlds totally up ends the original series and I’m okay with that. This idea of a fidelity to canon is kind of stupid to me especially in science fiction.

Michael Burnham’s mother made a comment in one of the season 2 episodes about how time travel impacts technology and I thought it was interesting that the line was in there.

This idea that all the time travel that has happened in Star Trek had no effect on the timelines is kind of ridiculous to me it’s such an easy way to deal with a lot of these issues but I don’t understand the reluctance on the part of the writers. Discovery pretty much change that entire timeline and they just need to say it.

That is just another example of an option TPTB had at their disposal. Personally I just REALLY wish they had said from the beginning that all of Secret Hideout was a reboot. That everything they were doing was their take on the franchise and as such they would decide what they wanted to keep and toss away from established canon. Had they done that we could focus on the shows themselves rather than all the things they got wrong regarding consistency with established universal rules.

I wish they had just stuck to canon, which would have been done if they had had any respect for the source material.

Yeah, this obviously sounds like an excuse to make everything fit together but it has as much truth as a TV ad. I think they could have used a totally new or develop another less developed alien from one of the previous shows. For example I think these aliens could have been those insectoid aliens from the “Conspiracy” episode of TNG and something happens eventually that sends them into hiding until they show themselves again in the TNG era. I think the writers were basically thinking a bit too much about this while a simpler solution in this case would have sufficed.

100% agreement. I’ve heard a handful of other suggestions, like the one you put forth, that make a lot more sense than using the Gorn. I mean, are they trying to say that there was no other Trek alien that didn’t have an established era of first encounter that could have been used? If they felt that then there is no reason they couldn’t have made up their own species. Enterprise made up Suliban and Denobulans. Are the SNW folks that bereft of creativity? I think the answer is “YES”.

Yeah why not focus on those guys again??? They were in one episode but we know nothing about them in the 23rd century. They were scary as hell.

I also think the Breen is such a great species that they can do tons with. We never saw them until the end of DS9 and they were fun lol. The Breen are the ultimate enemy because they come off so mysterious and everyone should fear them. I still laugh at the line on DS9 when it’s mentioned Klingons sent a fleet of ships to conquer the Breen homeworld and never heard from them again lol.

Or start something up with the Cardassians! Again we know nothing about them in the 23rd century. Here your chance to go big again with those guys.

There are still plenty of CRAZY aliens in every century! ;)

Breen are a great idea. Whenever I rewatch those later seasons of DS9 I always get a bit disappointed how they came a little late to be fully expanded on. But they are totally ripe for exploration, if not here then they’re a must for any potential 25th century Picard spin off.

“I still laugh at the line on DS9 when it’s mentioned Klingons sent a fleet of ships to conquer the Breen homeworld and never heard from them again” Love that! :D

Yeah I just really fell in love with the Breen after DS9. It’s just another testament to that show of how they took a species we never saw and turned them into something memorable in just a few episodes. I hope you’re right we will get them in a 25th century spin off show. They are so ripe for more development.

Dammnit. I was really hoping for a more coherent explanation.
I’m fine with visual reboots. TMP did a full visual reboot of the franchise in 1979, so it’s not a new thing.
And Enterprise gave us a faster Gorn (albeit in the Mirror universe).

But try and respect the history and stories that are already told. If you wanted a fast scary alien with no redeemable qualities, make one up. Don’t completely rework one that has become an iconic alien just because you want to use the word Gorn.

Wow. A lot of unfiltered self righteousness directed at the creative decision of the SNW team.
First of all: Space is big. You can’t even imagine how big. It’s wildly more probable that there are several tribes / factions / even subspecies of one particular race than one that manages to rule as a cultural monolith over a giant junk of space and on top of that keep the genetic code narrow.
It’s absolutely possible that the faction we met so far in the SNW timeline are a wildly different one (and located not even close to) the one we met in “Arena”.

Second: Someone said, WHY on earth would starfleet not have tried to reach an agreement with the Gorn between SNW and “Arena”….? Well, would you have tried after learning about them what we learned, without knowing about the outcome of Arena?…. HELL NO.
I’d love you trying to argument some earth delegation should have made efforts to negotiate with the Xenomorphs….. that’s (like many insist to point out constantly) the image the Gorn have right now. So… no, the probably would not have tried…

BTW: The SNW team took a silly, ONE OFF alien of the week from one of the most ridiculed episodes in TV history …. and managed to turn them into one of the most dangerous, relentless enemies Starfleet ever encountered. it’s like they turned the Society from “Spocks Brain” intro the Borg. That counts for SOMETHING, right?

The Xenomorphs were animals. Not space faring. Far more instinctual. The Gorn achieved warp capability, obviously. They were intelligent. Intelligent species can potentially be reasoned with. Also it is a very Star Fleet thing to do to attempt to talk. When I say “talk to them” I obviously meant back in Pike’s day. When they were actively harassing and killing Federation citizens and Star Fleet ships. And then, even in Arena Kirk said, “We can talk. Maybe work something out.” So obviously Star Fleet would have tried the diplomatic approach first. They always do. And in doing so it would be obvious to gather as much intelligence about them as possible going in. And in case talks don’t work, you have a good idea of where they are, how they act and think. By Kirk’s time it was reasonable that a great deal would have been known. Certainly at least as much as La’an knew. and she didn’t even study them! All she did was run away without seeing them and she is the obvious expert on them in Pike’s day. Are you saying no one bothered to try and learn more? Ridiculous.

And for the record… Arena is one of the best episodes of the entire series.

Calling it “unfiltered self-righteousness” is to majorly mis-describe what is happening here. The only unfiltered self-righteousness I’m seeing here is your dismissal of people’s valid complaints.

Agreed and he is probably not recognizing the fact that he is coming through much more “self-righteous” than the other people here. I also don’t think as an episode “Arena” should be so dismissed as he claims to be. I mean he is basically comparing to Spock’s Brain. Arena is miles above Spocks Brain and I am actually a guy that enjoys Spock’s Brain.

The visual change is not really an issue at this point. This is what NuTrek does, and it’s the least problem I have with the Gorn. But as others have said, the choice to use them, no matter how you explain it, is just an inherently bad idea. All of this could be some new species and no one would have to be going through all this… but no, they have to tie everything back to something we know. Because they’re creatively bankrupt, or they simply don’t think people will watch if they don’t use what is known. Seriously.. it’s a 40 year old series that they can’t synch up with visually, but they can’t let go of pre established, character, places, species, ships and familiar ‘things’ (like the guardian). And they have the gall to wonder why people have such contempt for what they’re doing.

Agreed 100%.

Disagreed 100%

It’s absolutely possible that the faction we met so far in the SNW timeline are a wildly different one (and located not even close to) the one we met in “Arena”.

OMG, here we go again with that fan nonsense of needing and faking an explanation for production look changes in an alien character due to improved make-up/SFX and concept changes, which then inevitably leads to writers doing fan service pandering eps like the Klingon Augment Virus.

No thanks, I don’t ever want to see a Gorn Augment Virus 2-parter on a future Trek series…lol

You’re projecting.

Once again, they are taking huge liberty by changing canon and going their own way. All this episode was is a somewhat star trek take of Alien. REALLY! The original Gorn couldn’t move very fast and were more (somewhat) believable in being warp capable. This new version isn’t. I like SNW, but they are beginning to go off track I believe and do it their own way, just like Discovery, (which is not Trek, but a weird sci-fi show).

Discovery is absolutely a Star Trek show regardless of whether you like it or not. To say otherwise is gatekeeping and isn’t tolerated here.

Exactly who determines what opinions are and are not welcome on this site?

They went off track the moment the word “Gorn” was mentioned.

Please stop the gatekeeping. You are not in charge here and don’t speak for all fans regarding Discovery.

I’m still not sure why it was necessary to call it a Gorn in the first place. Want to do something new? Just do it! No need to shackle yourself with a name.



Yep. They could have used the exact same species as presented on the show and just called them the Noraq or something.

I’m sticking with the same head canon (and beta canon), that I’ve adhered to for years. That there are multiple “Gorn” species that a part of the Gorn Hedgemony. Maybe Kirk was familiar with THIS Gorn species, but not the one we see in Arena. In all honesty though I think it likely that some future SNW episode will negate that theory though.

It is a bit odd. For all of the “visual reboots” of species in Discovery they did shown a Gorn skeleton that was spot on for how see them in TOS.

Giving the Gorn sub categories is not a bad idea. But if that was the case wouldn’t Kirk has said “The Metrons said a Gorn, but this is not like any Gorn I had ever known.” What he did say was “Apparently called a Gorn.” Which means he had never even heard the word before. There is no wiggle room there. It’s rock solid.

That’s actually a horrible idea. That line of thinking is how we get to utter crap fan pandering from the writers like the Klingon Augment Virus 2-parter on the failed Enterprise series.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea had it been established that Star Fleet knew about the Gorn since Pike’s day. But it is obvious no one knew about the Gorn. Not even Spock. So that explanation is moot.

I’m not going to dump on what the writer said but honestly, it’s a bit silly at the same time. I’ve gotten over trying to ‘fit’ in these ridiculous canon gaps by episode 5. None of it is a huge deal. I never even cared about the Gorn lol.

But same time, it’s a bit frustrating because no one just want to say the obvious and that it conflicts with continuity. I guess when you’re a writer that’s kind of a big no-no and yet it happens ALL the time in Star Trek. Every movie, every TV show, it happens! SNW Is not the first show with these problems, it’s just the first that feels so blatantly though outside of Discovery.

OK, you don’t want to call it a reboot, fine, I get it. But what’s wrong with just saying it’s a retcon? Again happens ALL the time in Star Trek. They just changed something to fit the story better or the time a new show takes place in. Fans usually accept it as well. Just call it that and move on! No one is going to stop watching the show either way but these types of ‘explanations’ just doesn’t help. That sound about as bad as Matalas saying maybe Spock just didn’t remember the real date of the Eugenics wars when they were avoiding talking about it in season 2 of Picard. Why are you treating both your audience and Spock as morons? Same advice, just say you retcon the date to a later time and move on.

Yea, and not only that, I do think we get an updated TOS in a few years that will update this canon to make it all consistent with the modern Trek series’.

So all of this canon stuff about SNW is kind of a waste of time in my opinion. It’s going to get updated in a few years with the inevitable new TOS updated series.

Yeah but no one knows that. It’s just your assumption. Which is fine, but you can’t hang everything on ‘well, we don’t need to worry about canon because an updated TOS show will fix that in 5-10 years’. No, we don’t know that man. I understand that’s what you want, but it’s not a fact until it’s said. They should be more focused on canon today regardless.

I get that. But that is why this canon stuff with SNW doesn’t personally worry me much — because I think it’s likely we are heading to TOS being revised.

But you keep saying it as if the rest of us should just believe it too. You responded to me with this first as a reason I shouldn’t worry, correct?

And as said, we don’t know that. Just assuming it is odd. So if there is no show in the future, then is it OK for people complain about it now? So until then…

Let me rephrase that then: “In my opinion, you shouldn’t worry….”

OK gotcha. But don’t agree lol.

And there are no guarantees all the canon stuff gets miraculously solved just because they remake TOS. They already did that with the Kelvin movies in another universe and fans still moaned over a lot of it, especially STID. ;)

I personally hope they avoid another TOS show altogether.

I agree with you 1000%. I wish they would just say that strange new worlds is a reimagining / reboot of the original series era. It doesn’t negate the original series but it does modernize it. Just say that and get it over with. I’ve been arguing that you can make a case that the temporal Cold war or any number of time traveling events in Star Trek history impacted the flow of time in the prime universe. It’s such an easy way out and I noticed that they’re always trying to give these elaborate explanations every time they make a decision outside of Canon. Star Trek has adjusted and changed Canon whenever it felt like doing it for decades. This is nothing new. I love strange new worlds it’s the kind of thing that the original series era has needed for a very long time.

On deep space nine there is a line that Captain Kirk was responsible for over 17 temporal violations you mean to tell me that in those 17 violations of the timeline there was no impact on how time flowed in the prime universe? I feel like the writers have the ideas to justify their decisions but it’s like they’re afraid to use those ideas. Star Trek Canon has created the justification they need when it comes to their creative decisions.

Bringing Jim Kirk on season 2 is an interesting move in the original series he says that the first time he met Pike is when Pike became fleet Captain. We know that’s not true. I’m totally fine with all the changes but they need to just be real about what they’re doing. The temporal code war the board traveling back to the 21st century the list goes on and on how many times has the timeline been wiped out and restored? So you mean to tell me that when the timelines are wiped out and restored that there are no changes to the timeline?

If Anthony gets an interview with kurtzman I hope he brings a lot of this stuff up because I think it’s time for them to just be real about their creative decisions.

Exactly, it would make their jobs a 100 times easier if they simply called it a reboot. And yes if you have to be fickle about it, then just do it in-universe like with the Temporal Cold War as you said. And of course they HAVE rebooted the show with an in-universe explanation with the Kelvin movies. So there is already a huge precedent for it. I just don’t know what the inherit problem is other than they are afraid fans will not watch it if it’s not in the prime universe.

And I really really just don’t buy that. Fans are fickle but c’mon. It’s still Star Trek with the same characters, aliens and situations. And most of us watch plenty of reboot things. And in this case it will just be an altered timeline if you have to get super nerdy about it, which again we have 3 films that are already doing that. And many fans already use either TCW explanation or the First Contact/Regeneration situation as proof that the changes we been seeing since Discovery are due to those. Of course it’s just their head canon. ;)

But as I said, if they feel calling it a reboot would be too drastic, then just admit you are retconning some things and most fans will be OK with that too. But I don’t understand this weird need to keep telling fans it all is fitting canon when it just isn’t. They can’t just throw this show 900 years into the future to explain why Spock never mentions a sister in TOS so they have to go another direction.

Now to make this fully clear I don’t want to give the impression my issues with canon are impacting my enjoyment of the show. Not at all. I have not rated a single episode any less because of continuity issues. I had plenty of issues with the last episode but it’s more due to a lack of originality and feeling like a rip off of other movies than over canon. I am truly enjoying the show so I can get over it. And as I said the Gorn thing doesn’t really bother me in general.

Same time though the longer the show goes on, the worst it will get and that’s the real concern.

As a fan of Trek for almost 45 years now, I long gave up worrying about canon and it’s numerous contradictions. I just sit back and try and enjoy each episode on its own.

Thanks for saying that Dr B! I’ve been a fan for as long as Trek has been on television and I’m totally enjoying the fact that brand new well made Trek is on my TV! The “canon” purists take things a little too far IMHO. It’s Sci Fi entertainment! They have kept a reasonable amount of continuity and have expanded and updated other elements. I for one am thankful that the people in charge love Trek and want to tell good stories and produce entertaining episodes.

Let the canon outrage continue…..

It’s not being ‘outrage’ over canon, it’s producers/writers constantly trying to tell you they are fitting canon when they aren’t. I don’t understand with just saying ‘yeah, we changed that and here’s why…”.

But instead they want to tell us British Khan is the same Khan from the PU. The ‘visual canon’ in Discovery isn’t really changing TOS canon. Klingons in Discovery really had hair in the first season when they told us before the show they were suppose to just be bald. And now apparently T’Pring and Chapel were besties in TOS when it was obvious Chapel never heard of or met her prior to Amok Time. The Eugenics wars actually never happened in the 90s, Spock is just really really bad at dates. And on and on and on.

STOP TREATING YOUR AUDIENCE LIKE IDIOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s really the problem. “How many lights did Picard see?” “He saw 4 lights!” “Nope, it is really 5 lights actually, he only sees 4 now because we changed it after the fact but it’s still suppose to be 5 lights…or maybe Picard just needed glasses and why he thought it was 4? Anyway, it still fits canon if you just ignore your eyes and ears!” Sigh

Yes Tiger2, exactly. STOP TREATING YOUR AUDIENCE LIKE IDIOTS. That’s the issue for me. I’m not really that concerned about canon, up to a point, but the fact that they change things and then pretend they didn’t just because they see the fan outrage? They should put on their big boy pants and admit what they did and stop wasting our time with their coward excuses. They should actually also stop changing things that don’t need to be changed, just because they, what, just want to put their brand on it? Is this an ego thing? For example, since you brought up my favorite show Discovery and their Klingons… why DID they need to change them? The showrunners just wanted to put their own take on it, but it’s not theirs to change… Yes, that was sarcasm about DIS being my favorite show, oh boy!

LOL about Discovery! I feel the same in sarcasm. ;)

I’m sure if they told people they purposely changed canon that would bother some. But I don’t see how stuff like this makes it any better? What’s funny is all the people who think this episode changed the Gorn doesn’t seem to be won over or convinced by these arguments either, so why keep doing it?

Again, I hate to go back to my greatest hits but this is why I just don’t love prequels. They seem to have the biggest problem with canon because the writers don’t want to make a purely prequel show. And they don’t have to but you have to still show level of restraint or why bother making it a prequel? Discovery learned that the hard way lol. I do think SNW has done MORE right as a prequel versus wrong but they are still making some of the same mistakes. The difference is we do have a show much more aligned with TOS canon and just a better written and fun show IMO. So most people can overlook the canon issues. I include myself in that. At the moment, I give the season an 8/10. Compared to DIS that gets a 6/10 and PIC a dismal 3/10, SNW is sitting pretty good lol.

But I still think they can do a better job with continuity. But I guess that’s also the problem when you bring in so many TOS characters and aliens and not just try to do more new or original stories, hence the Gorn.

I know this is one of your greatest hits but I don’t mind prequels at all. They aren’t inherently bad. Worse case is prequels are handcuffed somewhat by what came before. That doesn’t mean they still can’t work. Enterprise was a very good prequel. And I think Rogue One was an excellent one, too.

The thing is it is very apparent that Secret Hideout is just not up to the task of making a Trek prequel show. At all. In fact, they are barely competent (at best) of creating a post TNG show. I’m returning to one of my greatest hits in saying that Star Trek is currently in very bad hands and would be better of P+ terminated their deal with Secret Hideout.

And you heard me say this as well, I’m not saying you can’t make a great prequel but so far it seems harder for everyone from Enterprise to SNW make a more truer version of one. I include Enterprise because people hollered about that one at the time too. People were really up in arms about some of the changes. But yes compared to Discovery it fits i really really well today. And it was the first.

So I’m not saying they are ‘bad’, I’m just not a huge fan of them in general. But that said, I watch a lot of them including all the Trek ones. One of my favorite shows is Better Call Saul. That’s a prequel done really really right IMO. But to be fair, there isn’t any time travel or alternate times in BCS. And there only about 50+ episodes in Breaking Bad and not the 600+ episodes of TOS-VOY so their jobs are a bit easier.

But we’ve had three Trek prequel shows, they’ve all had these canon issues which I don’t know is about the people that makes them or is it just really hard to just make a more straight forward prequel?

I don’t understand with just saying ‘yeah, we changed that and here’s why…”.

Even THAT would be better than trying to squeeze the round peg in the square hole they are attempting. I really don’t understand their hubris here. I don’t think as many fans would shun a reboot as they fear would. And I certainly think that if they had just said, this is why we did what we did, if it was sound, most fans would accept it. Even me.


Everyone has their own headcanon. You do… I do.. the writers do… as do others commenters as written above. And it’s all fine. That is the beauty of Trek… it can be anything you want!
TOS and TNG (as well as the other shows) often contradicted canon as well… that is Trek. How often has TAS changed from being canon to not canon to novels not being canon until it was confirmed on-screen?
I have been watching Trek since TOS and honestly, it doesn’t bother me one bit.

Fine, but the writers are not writing ‘headcanon’ they are writing canon, period. I’m not a difficult person. I can overlook anything if the story itself is intriguing enough. But please stop telling people nothing was changed by their stories when it clearly was. That’s just insulting to me. As I said, just tell me WHY you changed it and I think more fans will be fine with that instead of constantly telling us to ignore what we see with our own eyes. That’s how Trump works, Star Trek should be better. ;)

But we got a whole article and a video from P+ here in this story that presents their case for the Gorn changes — isn’t that what you are saying you want here (“just tell me WHY you changed it”)?

Seems like they did exactly what you are asking here regarding the Gorn canon change, right?

I wasn’t talking about the video, just the idea how Kirk supposedly never heard of them and so on. It just doesn’t fly in the face of common sense for some because they have made the Gorn almost mythical on this show. But sure you can definitely argue that. And end of the day they are the writers, they can just say that. But I just think it’s feeling more and more and more ridiculous.

It’s pretty obvious the Gorn are going to be a big part of this show for however long it goes. People tried to make the excuse for Uhura in the first episode she didn’t know them because she wasn’t on the bridge at the time of the attack which is just silly IMO. But then the second episode she CLEARLY knows who they are now lol. This is what I mean. I just wish they say they retcon the whole Gorn thing instead of trying to pretend any of it aligns with Arena. It really doesn’t at all IMO. And as others said it just completely misses the point of Arena.

Yeah! It would be kind of cool actually if they said:

Were making some supporting elements canon changes to some of the characters, alien species and events that you are familiar with from TOS both because that’s a 55 year old show with antiquated production values that don’t really represent anymore what the future might be expected like like, plus also to free up storylines and possibilities so we aren’t so hemmed in by existing TOS (and Berman-era) canon.”

They probably would love to do this, but then I would bet the same higher-up exec at CBS who came up with the ridiculous notion that the LDS cartoon-comedy is now canon is likely insisting that they play the “were sticking to canon” game with the fans for SNW as well.

Sadly agree!

While I would not find that explanation sound (whining about how old the original show was is no reason to abandon key elements in some episodes that made them work) at the very least it would acknowledge they willfully made outright changes to things and would be so close to admitting the show is a reboot that I, as a fan, would see it as such.

There is some truth there. But there are things that are written in stone. Once it was established that Jean-Luc Picard was of French ancestry they didn’t change him to Argentine when they made the feature film, for example.

I mean, this is all going to be fixed anyway when the inevitably redo TOS in a few years, so why sweat over it?

This is ridiculous but “your world of starship captains doesn’t admit women” didn’t mean Starfleet didn’t allow women to be Captains? The truth is, we all have headcannon to justify storytelling choices. I’m not hung up on the way Kirk phrased his references to the Gorn’s identity.

Janice Lester was certifiably insane. You can’t take anything she says as gospel. This is a very, very different situation.

McCoy called it a Gorn before anyone told him what the alien was called. There are countless, blatant errors and lots of dialogue issues. We pick and chose which ones “destroy” cannon.

The Metrons called them Gorn when they stopped both ships and told them what they were going to do. Before the Captain was whisked away. Was McCoy on the bridge for that? And if not, the term Gorn was still now known and could have found its way to McCoy in Sick Bay.

Stuff not shown on screen but assumed to make it make sense is the definition of headcannon. We assume based on how things are phrased in Kirk’s log entry that no one had heard of the Gorn, but it’s never established that Arena is First Contact. Again we pick and chose what we find too much and it varies wildly including Dr Lester being “certifiably” insane – something never established. Meanwhile women can’t be Captains but they can while serving in UESPA, I mean the Space Service, I mean Starfleet. I’m sure this disappointed Helmsperson/Ops Officer Cadet Commander Lieutenant Valeris as she climbed the ranks while conspiring with Sisko’s father, I mean Admiral Cartwright, to kill Klingons whose blood changes color in a few years. A conspiricy prompted by racism that doesn’t exist in the future except everytime Bones disagrees with Spock.

All sarcasm aside, there are errors everywhere. We chose which ones upset us. None of them ruin Trek. They just annoy some of us more than others.

This is an argument I just don’t buy. The idea that if it is not seen then it very well could happen. No. Common sense should still prevail. Just because we don’t see Scotty with an Ice Cream cart in engineering doesn’t mean we can say he sold ice cream in his spare time. Common sense means we can safely say he did not. The way Kirk reacted to the Gorn and Spock’s lack of reaction means we can also safely say that no one had ever heard the word before.

And using the UESPA and such from a time when it was not cemented on the show doesn’t mean they were inconsistent. It was still an organization and producers had yet to settle on a name. A different character played by the same actor does not mean it’s the same person… Etc Etc….

Some inconsistencies are there. They are normally small and generally inconsequential. But the big ones just don’t happen… Except in Secret Hideout productions. Which tells me they should have just said everything they make is a reboot to begin with.

Canonical errors that are not inconsequential: Women can’t be Captains, Khan remembers Chekov, the crew of the Enterprise has zero reason to travel to Genesis in STIII, the size of the Enterprise in STV, Deanna solves a mystery by reading a Ferengi even though Betazoids can’t read Ferengi minds…my point is that there are many and we selectively react to them.

Entire story arcs can fall apart by things actually said in dialogue. But we chose to ignore those errors and then cling madly to things that are mere suggestions or assumptions.

I prefer my canon adoration with a strong dose of consistency. And on the Gorn issue, it just ain’t there. That’s my only point.

The “women cannot be captain’s” thing is the one on your list that could be counted as a canonical error. Maybe. But I wouldn’t count it as such because that was the one and only one time it was ever mentioned. It was deemed a mistake probably almost immediately and was never mentioned again. Which meant it was not unreasonable to suggest the line was an insane person could not be a captain. Which obviously Lester was. Khan recognizing Chekov was a mistake, yes, but it did not ruin the movie. In fact, Koenig himself was aware but didn’t speak up because he knew if he did it would cost him lines. Using the Gorn as SNW is would be akin to Khan saying he was picked up but the Yorktown and was looking for Captain Smith or something. Then the movie wouldn’t work and it would be a grave error from the show. The crew went to Genesis because Kirk needed to retrieve Spock’s body. I cannot speak for the Troi thing as I’m not as familiar with TNG as I am with TOS.

And speaking of errors in consistency, how about Kirk leaving the bridge after the attack and runs into Scotty holding Preston. Why was he taking him to the bridge? It was a cinematic thing done on screen to generate an emotional response even though it made no sense from the characters standpoint. Such things are acceptable to most and quite typical in visual story telling. In the novel Kirk ran into Scotty after he left the bridge and Scotty told him, “I’ve got to get him to sick bay.” Which makes more sense but lacks the emotional punch of the way Meyer presented it.

I guess this was a long winded way of saying that if you do like your consistency then the Gorn appearance on SNW is indeed a rather large issue.

To clarify, the consistency I’m seeking is in when canonical errors bother folks. There’s no consistency at all. Actual lines of dialogue are contradicted and some excuse it. Those same folks get twisted in knots when things that were never spoken but simply implied are bent or broken. That’s all.

If that is your baseline for getting bothered then I find it to be a rather substantial ask. People seem to be bothered by different things. I accept that nothing they make would be universally accepted by fans. But I do think that if they make an honest effort to stay within the rules of the sandbox they are playing in the majority of fans will be at least OK with what they do.

TOS Trek was sexist. You can put all the lipstick you want on that pig, it doesn’t change that fact. There’s no universe where I need to hear NuPike utter “I’ll never get used to a woman on the bridge”, so I’m perfectly happy with a modern interpretation of Trek being inclusive, canon be damned.

Same. But folks will jump through all kinds of hoops to make those lines make sense. And they just don’t. It should be ok to bend things not said if we can ignore things actually said.

The problem isn’t so much the different aesthetic, as it is that the writer entirely failed to grasp one very important theme of “Arena”: the invaders were the humans, not the Gorn. This episode got them so, so wrong. There’s a reason so many fans are calling it SNW’s worst episode of the season. The Gorn aren’t monsters, savages, vicious or animals–and they’re certainly not in any way like either Alien or Predator. I hope this episode’s writer moves on to other shows. I’d hate to see him screw up the Tholians, the Cardassians, or any other species.

True. The Gorns are a space-faring species, and yes they were defending their territory in Arena, albeit in a rather draconian way, but they’re aliens and we can’t judge them by human standards. The Gorn as portrayed in this episode are blood-thirsty animals. We have to realize though that what we saw were “babies” and although they grew super fast, they were certainly not adults. It’s possible in their adult stage they become slower and less savage… But that would be stretching it.

I agree. The visual differences don’t matter to me, but they have completely missed the point of “Arena”.

This is where I am too. They missed the point! I’m enjoying SNW a lot, but stuff like this gets in the way. (I also don’t quite see the value or interest in a species that JUST kills, but that’s a separate issue.)

I was shocked by the violence, especially La’an shattering the Gorn. It was mindless violence with no humanity or anything. It’s all chipper at the end of the episode. No discussions about life or killing or revenge or trauma or seeing other points of views or anything. For me, it just wasn’t Star Trek.

Same here. The visual differences are less important to me than getting other things, like when the Gorn were first encountered, right. The visual differences can be a thing if they stray too far but it’s still less important than other things.

I’d honestly be okay if they never even addressed it. This is the reality of long-term fictional universes. I can compartmentalize and allow for wiggle room when necessary. Then again, I grew up a comics fan, where the notion of canon itself isn’t even consistent, so I’ve just never felt the need to reconcile two contradictory things. At least not things like this. Bigger things? Maybe, but I don’t feel like we’ve crossed that line yet personally.

As a viewer I have to assume I’m watching the character’s reality, unless it’s specifically stated I’m not. Otherwise, you could call the whole series an illusion, if you wanted. Better to just create a new alien, other than Gorn, and have no problems.

My personal headcanon is that there are different species of Gorn. They’re all reptilian but have different qualities. Some are more feral creatures like we are seeing now. Others are like the one we saw in Enterprise. Still others are like the TOS Gorn. They all come together to form the Gorn Hegemony.

If there can be six species of Xindi, why not multiple Gorn? Similar to how we call them all dinosaurs, but a T-Rex and a Velociraptor are two very different things.

Read any Star Trek Novels about the Gorn?

I like this as well. Just like how the first season of PIcard established there were different versions of Romulans, there are different versions of Gorn. Why not?

I like these Gorn. They are very scary and interesting.

I know this is not a popular opinion, but I don’t consider TOS “real” Star Trek. Yes, it started it all but now it’s dated and unwatchable and I don’t give a rats ass how a modern episode of Star Trek connects perfectly to a low budget idiocy filmed 50+ years ago. As far as I’m concerned, Star Trek started with The Motion Picture. Everything before is….too silly to take seriously.

You’re right about one thing: NOT a popular opinion… TOS is Star Trek. The only Star Trek without the necessity of an additional subtitle… Nothing is more important than TOS (not saying it’s the best Trek, but for sure the most pivotal show)…

I’ll take that next step. TOS is still the best Trek.

TOS is the most pivotal show which is oddly part of the problem because it’s also old and outdated and yet the prequels keep attaching their canon to it and it just doesn’t really work outside of the broad strokes.

The perfect example of what I mean is Chapel. The version of her on TOS is a really outdated model of a woman pining for a man and she’s like a little puppy when it comes to Spock. That character wouldn’t work today at all and so they changed her. But they did it to a point she’s just Chapel in name only. No one who is watching Star Trek for the first time is going to get they are suppose to be the same character. It’s almost as ridiculous as telling us that STID Khan and TOS Khan are the same character. Other than having the same name, in what freaking way???

It’s why I wish they just rebooted shows like DIS and SNW from the start so they won’t have to feel as tied to TOS. TOS is a very very old show today with a lot of issues today in both story and production. So much of it is excused because it created the franchise obviously and there is the huge nostalgia factor with it. If they kept going forward in the timeline like they did with TNG, it would be fine. But once they started making prequels to it, it just make the canon issues worse for all the reasons cited since Enterprise started. And it only got worse with Discovery and SNW because TOS is only getting older.

I agree with you, instead of trying to constantly update TOS for the modern point of view I think it would have been a better idea to just create new shows in new time frames and let TOS stay as the historical oddity of its times, something that is truly dated but an example of something of a certain time period that people can see how problematic certain aspects can be. I mean I am a big fan of classic film-noir but if everyone tried to remake every single film-noir out there just to fix their problematic elements than it wouldn’t make any sense and it would be a tall order. Better to leave the past in the past (with all its warts and problems) and try to concentrate on the future.

And that’s what they did for a long time, certainly when the 24th century shows were going. I honestly loved the way they treated the TOS era meaning they basically left it alone as a museum piece. It was kind of frozen in ember but obviously still recognized in canon. I think that was really the smart way to go. Now it doesn’t mean you can’t go back to the 23rd century at all but I think it would’ve made things easier if it was at least post-TOS 23rd century. Once you do a prequel of it for a more contemporary time it really hits home how unaligned TOS feels to the rest of the franchise today.

Here’s a really funny example of a video that makes the point discussing contradictions of the interior size of the new Enterprise. I don’t personally think its a big deal, you have to update things. But it does prove how out-of-canon SNW feels to TOS in many ways:


It’s just an example of trying to pretend any of this truly fits with TOS. It doesn’t at all but then this is the part you have to tell yourself it’s just a TV show and go with it. I think most do but there will always be limits too. ;)

So is your comment.

I completely understand and support the upgrading of anything that is almost 60 years old. If we want Trek to continue, it must be upgraded for today’s audience. In saying that, however….

  1. Why would you upgrade the Gorn versus making a new alien? Seems silly to do that, especially with such an iconic race. Even Shatner did a commercial a few years ago with the Gorn that we know. And I do not buy the fact of “why wouldn’t we see them again?” That is an easier cannon question to answer than “why do the Gorn look, act, and are so different.”
  1. How could a species like the “new” Gorn achieve space travel, which they obviously do?
  1. I think the fact that Spock and Uhura don’t mention this is a huge support of not using the Gorn and using another species.
  1. No one else seemed to mention this on any board I have been on, but the laying of eggs from vomit and having those eggs bread in a human is right out of Robert Wolfe’s Andromedia. The Magog did exactly that. The writers this year have taken so many ideas from other properties that this seems to be another one.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like SNW, but there is always room for comment.

“Even Shatner did a commercial a few years ago with the Gorn that we know.”

Yeah, but the entire point of that commercial was to advertise an upgraded version of the Gorn as seen in Star Trek The Video Game (2013) [great score BTW]…

And ANDROMEDA started as an After the Fall of the Federation pitch, so it swings back round.

This is what happens when you don’t care about canon. They find one little thing that they can cling to, and run with it. If he’s saying using the Gorn wasn’t his choice, and that’s the best he could do, then fine. If that’s his own excuse for using them, that’s friggin’ weak.

I’m not that bothered by them using the Gorn. It’s the copy and pasting from Alien and Predator in the last episode that bothered me more than anything. I mean, here’s an opportunity to get to learn more about an iconic Trek species and, so far, it’s all very familiar sci-fi stuff we’ve seen in those franchises and their many, many copycats over the years.

Hopefully, and I’m assuming this will be the case, if and when we see the full grown Gorn used in SNW, it’ll be something more substantial. More than screeching monsters. Fingers crossed.

*sigh* Gatekeepers….
We lobbied for SNW. We finally get it?
And some fans are mad we didn’t get a guy in a rubber suit.
Arena was broadcast 55 years ago. Thinking that the BULK of SNW viewers are even aware of it, is naïve, at best.
I guess I gotta keep reminding people:
It’s show BUSINESS, folks. There aren’t enough fans that are canon advocates to sustain this show.
Gatekeeping isn’t new. Batman fans in 1966 were livid, at the campy take on the Caped Crusader.
Now, for a LOT of legacy Trek fans, ’66 Batman is the “only” Batman.

I happened to enjoy episode 9, despite the dents the writer put in the canon helmet.

TOS broke canon. “Vulcan has no moon, Miss Uhura” In TMP? One big HONKING moon.
Vulcanians became Vulcans, the United Earth Ship Enterprise morphed into the Enterprise from the Federation. I don’t hear anyone complaining, with their hair on fire, about that.

I remember the drought times. The 10 years between TOS and TMP. Yes, there was TAS and fiction books. Then, the drought was 2-3 years between films until TNG came along.

Then there was a drought of 12 years for Trek on TV. 2005-2017. Personally, that one was the hardest for myself.

Now, we have Trek, back on TV, almost weekly.

CBS owns Star Trek, plain and simple. They can make a Star Trek cereal if they want to, we just don’t have to buy it.

Show BUSINESS, folks. We gotta accept that, or find our DVD’s of TOS.

I don’t think you are getting it. No one is mad we aren’t getting a guy in a suit. That’s not the problem. The problem is they are using the Gorn to begin with when it was made painfully clear that went against what was established. Even Manny Coto, when he ran season 4 of Enterprise, said he really wanted to use the Gorn but knew he couldn’t! Would be nice if we got show runners who respected Trek like he did.

Sure, the bulk of the audience is not aware of the intricacies of the episode “Arena.” But that just means if SNW people had made up a new alien no one would care. Had they used another alien whose first encounter was never specified or implied it still wouldn’t matter. That changes nothing for people who don’t know much about TOS and the long time fans are happy as it shows respect for the source material. It’s a win win that requires only a teeny tiny bit of imagination from the producers and writers.

Things that were changed during the show’s gestation period really don’t count much as they don’t contradict anything. Vulcan having a moon or not doesn’t change the story any. Would it have been nice had the matte artists working on TMP known this? Sure. But it didn’t take away from the story at hand and didn’t invalidate the episode where Spock told Uhura Vulcan had no moon. I don’t sweat the small stuff. Hell, I don’t even mind the new look of aliens so long as they don’t go so far as to being unrecognizable. But the big things…. They really should know better and not going there to begin with is a win win for the production.

No, I completely get it. Continuity fans are upset that the Gorn were used, before their appearance in TOS. For the fans that say, this goes here in the timeline, that comes after this event, in the timeline, and take GREAT COMFORT in knowing these events. I get that it helps in world building for TOS. I would throw the remote at the TV, if R2D2 came out of the turbolift and chirped its way to the helm, So I understand canon advocates concerns. Some are forgiving, like myself and others are saying- “What have you done with my Star Trek?” that doesn’t go there,
It’s entirely possible that Starfleet or Section 1031 has classified the Gorn until they know what to do with them. Pike may have written a report and Starfleet decided to classify the incident. I’m okay with the writer’s head canon because it helped him tell a great story. It’s a big galaxy, out there. People may be aware of their peers but not their adventures.

If that is your head canon and helps you accept what SNW is doing then more power to you. I can even accept the character change of Christine Chapel. Barely. :) But to me there are things that are so huge and universe changing that they just shouldn’t touch. Using the Gorn before anyone knew about them is one of them. I find it painfully obvious no one on Kirk’s ship even was aware of the word Gorn before the Metrons used it. But the SNW folks decided, “screw that. We want to use the Gorn anyway.” To me there are only two ways to do that reasonably. Use the Gorn on any show set AFTER TOS. Or just make your pre-TOS show a reboot. And honestly, there is really no good reason they HAD to use the Gorn for their Big Bad. None. They could have used a different Trek alien that had no established first encounter or made one up. That is why SNW is so frustrating. Everything they did wrong could have been so easily fixed but they did it anyway.

Sorry about the mini rant. It’s just that the incompetence is infuriating to me.

I see your point, but this is unlike anything else in show business. The props for TOS are likely more famous than the lead actors in many current tv series. If you took 8″ x10″s of a communicator and phaser onto the street, most people would know what they were — even if they just said Star Trek. TOS is still on tv, every day. People saw the Gorn last month. They read the book. Mego made a figure of it last year. The least the SNW producers could do is pay attention to what it was, or make something new. They did after all, reproduce Roddenberry’s whole first pilot, and added his legacy characters to make this show. Why not use the USS Constellation? Don’t rework Balance of Terror, or do a kinda sorta Tholian Web, or use the Gorn. Use the millions they have and access to computer techniques TOS producers could only dream of and make something new. I always thought it was the studio, not the fans, that wants to coast on what came before, because it’s just simpler to copy the past than risk new creations.

I really don’t care if we have to throw out the entire Arena episode. Or just say it’s the same alien. Anyone who watched the motion picture and accepts that that enterprise is the same one on the show should be able to accept a change to a species which had one episode only.

I’d prefer they just used a new alien here… but whatever. Not losing sleep either way and I really like SNW

But it’s not the same ship. They said it underwent an 18 month refit. Decker said “This is an almost totally new Enterprise.”

The revision to the Gorn does not bother me so much. If anything, it makes Kirk’s victory in Arena all the more impressive. Arena was definitely set up to tell a brains vs. brawn story, that element can be preserved by making it an underdog vs overconfidence story. A much more aggressive and capable Gorn is convinced he will win by his superior strength so misses the strategy Kirk identifies. Now just replace the plodding, ’60s fight scenes with much faster moving, more desperate combat from a modern show and it’s all good.

So when Kirk and the Gorn are dancing cheek-to-cheek and going nose-to-nose, why doesn’t the thing clear its throat and take Kirk out that way? No, this doesn’t wash no matter what cycle you put the machine on.

It’s not uncommon in nature for creatures to have estrous cycles. So a Gorn not in a reproductive cycle wouldn’t be spitting out eggs.

Maybe Kirk has never seen them, he could even be one of those people who still doubts the stories”

Seriously? That’s what the writer is going with? It’s clear that Pike and the Enterprise had documented experiences with the Gorn that led tot he death of Starfleet Officers. Those are nor “stories” like Bigfoot to the Loch Ness Monster.

There is no “headcannon” here. To me that means he filled the gaps in on a character or race in his head. It’s not “headcannon” to change the nature of a species from what has been established on screen.

He created mindless Aliens that seem no different than a Dinosaur in Jurassic Park – hardly a species that seems capable of creating advanced technology.

Why not create a new species for this? The writers and producers had to know this would not be a popular move with fans. Just a really odd choice, and a really lame explanation from the writer. Not a lot of creativity from a guy who’s job it is to be creative.

Honestly, I don’t think the Gorn should have been included in the show at all – it’s hard to square their appearance in SNW with what we saw in TOS and I find it somewhat disrespectful to fans.

Funny… Many are annoyed with what they did with the Gorn in this episode but I was miffed when the Gorn were mentioned in the first episode. I found it odd that they would know about them when Spock, Uhura and no one else knew about them 10 years later. They way it was set up I knew it would only get worse as they doubled and tripled down on their incredible mistake.

I’m not really down with making the Gorn’s half-Velociraptor/half “Alien.”

That being said, it was a fun ep, and I will look forward to the revised version of Arena in a few years when they get to redoing TOS.

A poor excuse for a lousy job. Ignoring cannon is a poor job and a disrespect for other’s jobs. “To have fun” with the writing is too cheap and only means cheating with the legacy. SNW was a nice try. It began quite very well in a blast of glory… but like a New-year firework, it’s fading to a vanishing and forgetful death… I’m so so sorry they choose (again) this path. It could have been glorious…

Got Melodrama?

Got plagiarism?

My head cannon? The whole series is a reboot. That’s the only way this show works for me and I’m fine with that. Nothing wrong with a reboot, even if Trek fans are irrationally terrified of the very notion.

I wish I could do that. I really do. But there are so many instances like this very article where the BTS staff are justifying what they are doing to fit what came before. And failing. I just wish they officially said this is a reboot. Their version of the show had The Cage been picked up as a series. Which is perfectly fine. Then none of this Gorn, T’Pring and Chapel stuff would matter one teeny tiny bit.

It really should just be a reboot and all these problems goes away. Instead of trying to desperately make something fit that clearly doesn’t just do your thing and people can judge it based on that and not how it fits with a 55 year old outdated TV show.

That’s how I’m looking at it, too, but it is getting more difficult to maintain with each passing episode. It would all be made incredibly simpler if one of these doofuses serving as Trek’s shepherds would just come out and admit that’s what they’re doing.

Had that been said CLEARLY and so freeing both the fans AND the writers to do whatever pleases them, it would be acceptable, yes. Now, it’s clearer and clearer that IT IS a reboot, a “based on” but not the same or “the same timeline” as they insisted… No, it’s not. It’s something else. And OK if it is…!! They just had to be clear that “it’s not ‘your fathers’ Star Trek”…!! It would eliminate a whole lot of problems and reclamation…!!

Headcannon = Justification for lazy, sloppy writing. Seriously, the writers of SNW and Picard need to be fired. They’re so bad and amateurish they make the first season of TNG look like classic literature.

Wow, very harsh lol.

So, we don’t know what the long term here is, or if there is one with the Gorn. Maybe as Gorn get older, they grow thicker hides and slow down versus the young ones. More deliberate and calculating versus all speed and instinct (Think young Anakin vs later Vader).

Maybe they do only include the strongest of a brood to be raised as their young? Maybe Vasquez Rocks was particularly cold for the Gorn Captain and he was having a slow day. Who knows. And that is fine.

Why? Because I don’t want all the answers. I want to be invested in how they square that circle. The journey is why I watch Star Trek, not the destination (even if episodic/ semi-serial).

All that is fine. But explain how no one in Kirk’s day knows them yet everyone in Pike’s day does?

I agree that this explanation for the differences in the Gorn is a stretch. On the other hand, several posters were suggesting a better rationale in another article’s discussion that the hatchling Gorn are wildly aggressive without any adults around. Perhaps their species had to evolve from a “reptilian brain” past and did so by the adaptation of a significant transformation in puberty. As adults they mellow into more intelligent and reasonable beings. This may yet be a approach that SNW will develop in future episodes. I wonder what Linus, someone from another reptilian species, would have to say.

While the choice to use the name Gorn seems to profoundly trip up a lot of people here, I’m a bit exasperated with the resistance to actually thinking through whether their head canon based on Arena makes any biological sense.

The one thing that does make biological sense is a Gorn culture that advances and organizes through individual fights for dominance. It’s not the only option for a reptilian society given that some snakes and spiders do cooperate, but it’s not unreasonable.

The exploration of what different reproductive “strategies” mean for the development of intelligence is only occasionally explored in science fiction, but it’s an important concept in biology.

R/K Selection in evolution describes the trade off between having numerous offspring with few that survive vs few offspring in which parents invest intensely in their care and development.

R breeders include most insects, spiders, fish, amphibians and reptiles. It’s an advantage to treat offspring as expendable in very hostile environments. They lay their eggs in nests, and in some cases are parasitic breeders. The key point is they breed and then abandon the mass of eggs to develop to maturity without parental support or guidance.

Few R species develop higher levels of intelligence, which is why octopuses are so fascinating. They are solitary R breeders who can reach a level of intelligence close to dogs and cats or higher.

Mammals and birds are K breeders, investing intensely in the care of their young to adolescence.

There are a few science fiction books where R offspring can only enter society at maturity after reaching a certain level of sentience. Before that they are considered to be more like animals.

Having the Gorn be R breeding reptilians in hostile environments makes a certain sense. Having them be an intelligent species that doesn’t value individual life in quite the same way, could follow from that.

By contrast, we would expect Saurians to be K breeders like birds. Linus in Discovery would have had a very different upbringing with parental involvement.

Even though there has been more than one spacefaring reptilian species in the franchise, I don’t think Star Trek has taken this on the implications of R breeding strategies with a major species before.

As much as people complain here that they don’t want the same old aliens with bumps on their heads, they seem to be actually quite resistant to something actually strange and new that fits entirely into biological theory.

TG, thanks for your most interesting and scientifically informed reply to my speculation! We’ll see where things go with the Gorn in future episodes of SNW and perhaps other series.

Speaking of other series, I feel exactly the same as your final sentence with regard to the Klingons in season one of Discovery. It seems to me that with so much attention devoted to them across many Trek series that they were becoming too familiar, too human, and insufficiently alien. This is always a danger since, after all, everything is being written and performed by human beings. And maybe this danger was heightened by TNG focusing on Worf, a Klingon raised by humans. It seemed to me that the Disco producers wanted to make Klingons truly alien again with the less human makeup, language use, and rituals. DS9 and Voy and Ent also attempted this from time to time. So, I hope in Picard S3 we don’t reencounter overly “domesticated” Klingons. I also think that the depiction of the truly alien was significantly advanced by Disco S4.

Thanks, again!

As much as people complain here that they don’t want the same old aliens with bumps on their heads, they seem to be actually quite resistant to something actually strange and new that fits entirely into biological theory.

That is not what the problem is. The problem is using the Gorn to begin with. If TPTB really wanted to to something actually strange and new then they should just make up a new alien species and no one would whine about what they look like, how they act or that they were used in a TOS episode and were unknown at the time.

ML, I understand from your many postings about this that you would have preferred the introduction of a whole new species. However, reaching back to a species that appeared in a single TOS episode without little development and adding distinctive characteristics and ascribing previously unknown features to it is also a reasonable approach. The underlying concern that many folks here have is what kind of canonical limits are imposed by earlier appearances and where does one draw a line on a spectrum of how the earlier precedents are adhered to or revised or disregarded. There is no consensus about this. It is a matter of individual preferences.

I am more lenient about alleged canon “violations,” though I have my limits (as in an earlier thread about the time travel inconsistencies in Picard S2). Even with regard to what the TOS crew knew about the Gorn in “Arena” given what SNW has done, to me that jury cannot even hear the case until we are given the full extent of SNW’s presentation of them in upcoming episodes.

Again, going in and fleshing out the Gorn is not the problem. The problem is having the Pike crew deal with the Gorn when it was clearly established that not one person on Kirk’s Enterprise in Arena had ever even heard the word before. If they want to flesh out the Gorn, have them show up in Picard S3. Or have them show up on a Captain Sulu show or anything set in a time frame AFTER Arena. Nothing they do in upcoming episodes could change things unless they introduce changes in the space time continuum. Which might work but I would still say was a cop out and an overly complex solution to a mistake that didn’t need to get made.

Well, I’m not concerned enough about this to go back and watch Arena, but is it the case that Kirk and company didn’t know who they were chasing until the Metrons identified them as Gorn? Then the (adult) alien captain so named was totally unfamiliar to their past experiences with Gorn. I admit it’s a stretch but could be unpacked in this way in future episodes. At the end of the day, this discrepancy just doesn’t loom so large as to make SNW less enjoyable for me.

It is the reasonable and even solid conclusion based on the character reactions and what they said that this was the very first encounter anyone in Star Fleet had with the Gorn after the raid on Cestus III. A raid where no one on Cestus III knew who attacked them. So we can safely say no one had heard the word Gorn before it was revealed to them by the Metrons.

We all have what limits we are willing to accept before rejecting something. As I said before, I’m not a HUGE stickler to canon but some things just have to be adhered to. When the Gorn were first encountered is one of them for me. And here’s the thing… Secret Hideout has already used up all of the slack I think was reasonable to give them. Had they started with this show I would probably not be as down on them about this as I am. But given their past… That they have consistently tossed out and retconned anything that they wanted to do what they they wanted to do as well as the below average quality of their products… I just can’t give them a pass for the Gorn thing. I just can’t. Sorry.

My point is that an R – or “fast” -selection reproduction strategy is much more consistent with the adult Gorn in Arena than an M – “slow” one.

If the Gorn have a seed and ignore reproductive cycle, and only collect and admit the rare individuals who reach sentience into their society, it would make sense of the events in Arena.

Federation colonists wouldn’t see a planet with juveniles lacking sentience as belonging to the Gorn, but the Gorn would consider it theirs.

Understood. That’s very clear. Still to be explained is where the word “Gorn” came from, but that’s easily devised.

Not sure why you are replying to me with this. It has nothing to do with my main point. I’ve never complained about the Gorn reproductive cycle or why the young are speedsters when the old seem to be slow and cumbersome. My complaint was that they appeared in a time when it was established on TOS that no one had heard of them yet.

All they had to do was name them something else, but at this point I would’ve preferred no explanation and left it to us fans to decide how/if we care. They completely changed the Klingons in The Motion Picture, and I was probably upset for a few minutes, and that was that. Even Worf didn’t want to talk about it…

The 17 year locust Gorn


Capt Kirk


Lt Kirk fought the

Gremlins Gorn

On the bridge of the legendarily cursed Farragut

I’m less fussed by a change to the Gorn that two other elements.

1) The species makes no sense. How is a race that is basically feral actually spacefaring? Also, how do they actually survive as a species since they use Highlander rules from birth?

2) Why are they now xenomorphs? The whole episode was essentially a mashup rewrite of several Aliens movies, right down to the Ripley dive ending. I now really want to never see the Gorn again. I just can’t take them seriously after that episode. Sadly they are obviously lined up to be the recurring baddies. Sorry, Davy, but Star Trek vs Aliens was a bad choice to go with.

These headcanon excuses make no sense either unless Kirk never reads reports. This is not a great defense of the logic here at all.

Overall, I thought the writing on this episode was really poor. SNW, you can do better than this. I know the second season is already wrapped, but I really hope there are no more rip-off episodes like this. It’s bad enough a number of episodes are basically mashups of older TNG/TOS plots, but at least the cast carries it off well enough that I don’t care. They’ve been very good up to now.

And this is why it was a VERY bad idea to run straight to the 2nd season without first gauging how the first season was received. And they could also see what worked and what didn’t. I felt it was obvious the Gorn did not work back in episode one. Now I seem to have more company in that decision.

I have a much better answer: it’s 2022, not 1967.

The march of time isn’t an answer; it isn’t even an excuse. It’s just lame, like this dumb overwriting of what went before.

Is there any reason to doubt the Gorn we did not see in Memento Mori were unlike the one seen in Arena? The Gorn seen in this episode were young. Who is to say they don’t mature into an adult Gorn like the one seen in Arena? I’m confused by the fact there seems to be a disconnect where there doesn’t need to be one.

I’m confused by TPTB need to tie into pre-existing IP at every opportunity regardless of whether they should be doing so.

Look, ALIENS runs roughshod over the actual internal logic for the Alien lifecycle from the first film by introducing a queen into the mix. There’s actually a piece of Giger art that shows the whole intended lifescycle, and if you watched ALIEN with the cut Skerritt cocoon scene spliced in (I edited the laserdisc into a ‘special’ VHS including most of the cut stuff for a friend in the early 90s), you get an idea that this whole lifecycle is there in the original.

So I suppose SNW jumping off from ARENA in all these weird directions shouldn’t be considered tons worse than what Cameron did (but Cameron succeeded so spectacularly well, that’s a distinction!) … but it is, it really just is. This is TREK, not a sequel to what was intended as a one-off horror movie.

The Gorn were given an update for Enterprise, the newer more vicious Gorn babies we’ve seen on SNW is a natural progression.
People think the TNG era Klingon is the proper look, forgetting the TOS Klingons. Why is this a thing? They look different because the technique used to portray them is different, and better. Not just a dude in a foam and rubber suit anymore.
When will people stop over thinking the bits they don’t agree with (while just accepting the bits the like) and enjoy it for the entertaining and skilful thing it is? A lot of work, both behind and in front of the camera, goes in to producing a wonderfully entertaining show. Enjoy it! Revel in the skill of the writers, directors, camera operators, actors, make-up artists, CGI artists, etc.
Are you not entertained? 🖖

No. Not when they make poor decisions like introducing a species that TOS had no idea existed when they first encountered them 10 years later. Along with some other mistakes they made. Secret Hideout has run out of slack. They no longer get the benefit of the doubt.

I’m mostly entertained by SNW, yes, but you gotta call ’em like you see ’em. It’s weird and more than a little cultish to praise everything we see, and pay to watch by the way.

If you don’t like the food at McDonald’s, you feel free to say so, don’t you? Paramount is not much different. Come on, these aren’t mom and pop shops that live or die by good word of mouth on Yelp.

I love the updated Gorn ❤️!!!! The venom sacs in their mouth and the Predator heat vision were really cool to see! And their new ships are fantastic too 👍!! The Gorn has always been one of my favorite races and it’s nice to see them get some respect finally and show how truly formidable they can be 🙂.

The Federation is going to have a lot of problems with this version of the Gorn 🙂 and I can’t wait to see their conflicts unfold on screen. Because this version of the Gorn is so much more terrifying and formidable now, I really can’t wait to see what these guys do for the Tholians when they show up! Oh, my God, my heart’s getting excited at the prospect of seeing a truly terrifying version of them next. They are my favorite race in all of Star Trek, the Gorn is second, so it’s really cool for me to see these species get these awesome special effects updates that weren’t available when I was growing up in the ’90s.

They tried updating the Gorn and the Tholians on Enterprise in the Mirror Universe and it almost cost them their whole budget for season 4 so that says something about how expensive it is to use the more unique alien races in Star Trek. That’s why I’m very happy to see Paramount is finally willing to spend the money on updating Star Trek’s more unique aliens, that’s just awesome, man 🙂👍!!! Live long and prosper, Trekmovie 🖖.

Perhaps adult Gorn do not move as fast as juveniles. This certainly true with cats!

How abou thisinstead: You know all that time travel to years predating Arena? Well, some of it resulted in changes to the timeline as shown in Arena.

“I think the safest thing to say is we have no idea what the Gorn are really like.”

Fella, if this is the best you can do, I recommend you just shut up and cash your paychecks without explanation. What a crock of s–t.

That statement is actually backed up by canon, but die mad about it if you want.

The statement may be true but what is also true is that no one knew they even existed before the Metrons revealed them to the Enterprise. Which honestly is the bigger problem here.

I rewatched “Arena” tonight. Certainly, when written, it was intended to imply a first contact situation. But I tried to listen to the dialog very closely to see if I could accept Perez’s head canon, and I can. It could be interpreted that this is the first time encountering a Gorn of this type, which is confusing to Kirk. At one point in the dialog, Kirk says that his enemy is “apparently” a Gorn, which could mean that he is accepting it, even though it is different than Gorn previously encountered. Canon issues like this have been popping up since the original series first aired and I actually enjoy trying to figure out possible explanations. I’m fine with Perez’s explanation.

My thing there is if that were the case he would not have used the word “apparently”. I would have been more like “The Metron said this was a Gorn.” And either way there would almost certainly be something like “but this is unlike any Gorn I was aware of.” after. Had they known at the time that someone 50 years later might want to use the Gorn for a show set 10 years earlier maybe they would have. But the fact is they didn’t. And I find such “head canon” an incredible stretch. So incredible I just can’t buy it.

I probably will, thanks!

I love the new additions to the Gorn as a species, and now I can’t wait for the remake of Arena with the possible remake of TOS. It would be awesome to see Nu-Nu-Kirk fighting an updated Gorn instead of a slow-moving person in a rubber lizard suit.

This entire first season of SNW has been excellent. I hope season 2 is even more exciting.

Geez, why can’t they simply admit to a minor retcon. Instead they come up with ridiculous “headcanon”.

Thank you! That’s what I been saying too. It’s so odd they can’t just say they are retconing parts of the Gorn instead of this nonsense.

There is no such thing as actual headcanon….It’s just making sh*t up as you go….in your head.

Repeat to yourself: It’s just a show, I should really just relax.

Puppets! It’s getting closer and closer to Farscape and I am 100% okay with that!

Me too.

I think they would be far smarter to categorize SNW as a soft reboot. Let’s stop being slaves to a dated 50+ years-old show. That statement doesn’t mean that I don’t love the original. I do and always will. Nevertheless, it should only influence and not limit today’s writers and artists. Let them create. I’d rather be entertained by a new story rather than always worrying about how a puzzle piece fits into an old one.

All they have to do, then, is move the show along in the timeline (no need for alternate universes, at all), and there would be no problem.

Here’s my beef with this and all of the other times Trek’s new producers have “headcanoned” (read that: retconned) what came before:


How big is the galaxy? How many new stories are out there? How many new worlds to explore?

That spirit of adventure is totally lost on this constant, cynical re-imagining of what other, obviously more talented people have done before them.

Why do we need to remain stuck between Enterprise and TOS? Why does that part of canon constantly have to be continuously revisited? How many more Mirror Universe (cringe) visits do we need?

Granted that they’ve tried to move into the future in STD and Picard with horrifying results, and what they did to Picard and Company especially is inexcusable, making the dawn of the 25th century as awe-inspiring and hopeful as a walk through East LA or downtown Detroit at night.

But Trek is about… wait for it… boldly going where no one has gone before. Not visiting the characters and stories better writers came up with 60 years ago and re-arranging the furniture.

If there really are no new adventures to be had out there in the Final Frontier, then hang it up.

It was obviously inspired by “Alien” as well.

It doesn’t bother me because we have literally seen ONE being that fans have used as a precedent for how an entire species looks which is…problematic in itself. Star Trek Online even gives you a bit of an option with slight variations on how your Gorn can look. If this is a lizard species, I have no problem with their young being on all fours and primal. Human babies make vocalizations and crawl long before they’re able to walk and talk. Think of apes as well. Idk, it’s just very weird to me that Star Trek fans of all people can’t wrap their heads around The Gorn going through normal species growth as all animals do. It’s 2 dimensional thinking to imagine they’d just pop out looking like small versions of the TOS creature. Lizards molt and change as they grow…c’mon now

Hear, hear!

I think this is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for the writers of SNW.

By using the Gorn in the way that they are very likely violating established canon. However if they were to create an entirely new species to fill this role of an apparent merciless antagonist, fans would cry out that canon was being broken due to there having been no mention of this species up to this point.

Ignoring the fact that Star Trek has broken its own canon since almost day one: Spock’s parentage and emotionality, the look of the Klingons, when the Borg were first encountered by Starfleet, the nature of the Borg themselves, and the circumstances around the Earth/Romulan war to name just a few, we as viewers are left with two options. Continue to watch the show and hope that the “breaking” of canon is either explained at a later point to address our concerns and/or that the story told is so strong that it eases the violation of canon; or simply stop watching the show and acknowledge that this current round of new Star Trek content is not meeting our desires and we will take our attention elsewhere.

At the end it needs to be said, we don’t own Star Trek, as much as it feels like we do at times. The writers and creators of these shows are free to do whatever they want. We, as fans, should accept that and act accordingly. If you really want to send a message that this doesn’t work for you, stop watching. It’s the only way to tell them that this isn’t working for you.

I will continue to watch as SNW is the first Star Trek show in a long time that I’ve enjoyed without reservation.

Live Long and Prosper

Personally I don’t worry about canon and continuity too much. If a show is good and the writing is good (like SNW) then IMHO, it’s no big deal. If SNW was terrible, then this would be a big problem.
Whether its the Klingons (TOS vs TMP), the Trill (TNG vs DS9) or now the Gorn on SNW, I’m not that upset because each of the shows were and are, great and they stan on their own.
Btw, at first I wondered about how wise it was to reintroduce the Gorn as they could have easily just called them something else. But considering the amount of comments RE this story, they probably made the right decision. Especially since the show overall is doing very very well on sites like Rotten Tomatos.