Star Trek Discovery – Why Do The Klingons Look Different?

Star Trek: Discovery 3 is almost here and we just got a better look at what the new series will be. Just about a week before its release, CBS All Access reveals its opening clip for the season. Among the controversial things discussed about the show was its physical adaptation of the iconic Kligons. What could be the difference and why do they look different?

Klingons are fictional species in the sci-fi franchise, Star Trek. In the original television series (TOS), Klingons are portrayed with bronze skin and facial hair suggestive of Asian people. They also possess physical abilities similar to humans. 

Photo Cr: Jan Thijs/CBS2017 CBS Interactive

Back then, production designers accomplished the look of Klingon males with the application of shoe polish and long, thin moustaches. Budget constraints in the show limited creativity.

Star Trek: Motion Picture – Klingons’ Redesigning

In 1979 Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the Klingons’ appearance was radically changed. To depict the aliens with more sophistication and threatening demeanor, the Klingons were added with ridged foreheads and protruding teeth.

For Star Trek: Discovery, the Klingon appearance was once again modified with more extensive facial and teeth prosthetics and elongated craniums. They are now bald, have different skin tones, and different costumes. They have black and purple color for skin tone variations.

Why do the Kligons look different?

According to the official Star Trek website, the Klingons’ varying physical attributes was “probably the single most popular topic of conversation among Star Trek fans.” However, the real reason for the discrepancy of the Klingons in TOS, their feature film and television series counterparts was actually lack of budget.

In Discovery though,  the decision to have yet another makeover for the aliens was a co-showrunner’s wishes.

CBS2017 CBS Interactive

“One of the things Bryan Fuller really, really wanted to do was shake up the design of the Klingons,” revealed producer Alex Kurtzman. 

“That they not be the thugs of the universe, that they be sexy and vital and different from what had come before,” added producer Aaron Harberts.

On the other hand, the new look for the Klingons isn’t the only thing getting a revamp. Because of their new features, Klingons will have heightened senses. According to the designer, Neville Page, the ridges act as extra-sensory receptors on the Klingons’ heads and backs. 

Moreover, there will be some diversity within the species. “We will introduce several different Klingon houses with different styles,” said showrunner Aaron Roberts. In other words, looks will differ not only from previous versions of Klingons, but would also vary from character to character.

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 will premiere on October 15 on CBS All Access. New episodes will be released subsequently every Thursdays. It will also be available for streaming online via Netflix, a day after it is aired in the US.

Leave a Comment