'Star Trek: Discovery' Showrunner Explains the Klingons' New Design

Monday, 17 July 2017 - 7:32PM
Star Trek
Star Trek Discovery
Monday, 17 July 2017 - 7:32PM
'Star Trek: Discovery' Showrunner Explains the Klingons' New Design
CBS
For years, fans have debated the various designs of the Klingon people, without being able to fully explain why the warrior race looks a little different each time they appear on screen. Now, thanks to an almost throwaway comment from Star Trek: Discovery showrunner Aaron Harberts, everything has changed.

One consistent challenge throughout the history of Star Trek is the design of the Klingons, some of the show's most iconic aliens. Once upon a time, they were little more than a racist caricature in the original series, before prosthetic ridges were added in The Next Generation to make them look more alien. This was explained away in Star Trek: Enterprise with a bit of backstory that involves a virus which mutated the race, and that, it seemed, was that.

Now, though, Harberts has given further clarification, explaining why Discovery's Klingons look different to all previous versions, and it actually goes some way to giving a better understanding of the Klingon people. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said:

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


While Harberts shouldn't hold his breath for people overlooking the new designs without scrutiny, the idea of different Klingon tribes that have various marking and different ridges makes a lot of sense - it not only explains the differences in various Klingons in the past, but also leaves the door open for additional alternative designs in the future of Star Trek lore.

Sticklers will be unhappy about Harberts' offhand comment on the subject, but if it means that we'll get to see different Klingon houses, each with their own distinct style, over the course of Discovery, it could become an obsessive fan's dream. Think of it - all those new Klingon families that need backstories and histories, and a bunch of new details to be expanded upon endlessly in new novels. Not to mention all the new possibilities to cosplayers who want to try something different.

Or, you could just shrug your shoulders and ignore the wider ramifications of the growing Klingon family tree. That's way less fun.


There are two ways of dealing with the complex intricacies of an often contradictory canon on a science fiction show that's lasted for over fifty years. On the one hand, you could shrug your shoulders and allow for the occasional lapse in continuity, on the grounds that it's just a TV show.

Alternatively, you could obsess about every little detail attempting to hold a tiny world within your head, filling in the gaps with retcons and fan theories that attempt to make logical sense out of a story that has long since outgrown its initial vision. Both of these approaches are justified, but often only the latter is tolerated among fans of a series. Besides, researching Star Trek lore is actually a lot of fun. 



Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24, 2017 on CBS and their streaming service, CBS All Access.
Science Fiction
Sci-Fi TV Shows
Star Trek
Star Trek Discovery
No