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Star Trek: Discovery’s Klingon may look unfamiliar for a reason

Screen Shot 2017 05 18 at 1.30.25 PM

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After months and months of waiting, CBS finally released the first trailer for Star Trek: Discovery yesterday (seen above) and one aspect stood out above all the rest: the Klingon’s new look.

The most notable difference between many of the Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery and the look of Klingons in, say, Star Trek: The Next Generation, as seen in the prosthetic makeup on Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf is the lack of ridges on the new Klingons’ foreheads. Unlike Worf, seen below, their foreheads are smooth, which has led to many fans theorizing that this is an ancient group of Klingons that slowly died out.


Lieutenant Worf.

Image: CBS

These ancient Klingons belonged to a group of alienated people who encountered humans on the edge of Federation space. In 2154, a group of Klingons managed to get their hands on Human Augments, a genetic material they used to try and improve their own genetic makeup. While this helped the Klingons become stronger and more intelligent, it also degraded their physical makeup. When one of the affected Klingons came down with a Levodian flu, the combination of the sickness and the genetic differences created an airborne, fatal plague that spread from world to world. This is all confirmed in Star Trek: Enterprise, one of the Star Trek series that happens to pre-date the Original Series.

It was in the early stages of this plague that these Klingons lost the ridges on their foreheads. It was only with the help of the Enterprise’s Dr. Phlox that a cure for the plague was discovered. Star Trek: The Original Series takes place in 2364, but again, Star Trek: Enterprise takes place before that. Considering Discovery takes place before the events of the original series, which focused on Captain James T. Kirk and his crew aboard the Enterprise, and just after Star Trek: Enterprise, the timeline allows the theory to potentially come to fruition.

The only counterargument is that the Klingons in the original series most likened humans. We know that because of the genetic mutation, they began to look more normal before a cure was found. If this is the storyline that CBS wants to take Discovery in, that will need to be addressed as these Klingons aren’t as similar to humans as their later counterparts.

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Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery.


One other interesting aspect about the ancient group of Klingons that should be acknowledged is how religious they were. In the trailer, it seems like the Klingons have gathered together for a religious ceremony. Combined with the lack of ridges on their forehead, it seems to suggest that one of the focal points of the series — along with the crew of the U.S.S Discovery — may be the ancient Klingons trying to save their quickly vanishing species.

Former showrunner Bryan Fuller mentioned that Discovery would focus on an important event from the original series that wasn’t ever examined in-depth, but didn’t mention anything specific about the Klingon race at the time.

Star Trek: Discovery will launch this fall on CBS’ stand-alone app, CBS All Access.

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