Why Star Trek: Discovery's Klingons Will Look Different

klingons star trek discovery

If you've seen the trailer for Star Trek: Discovery (and if you're like many fans you've seen it several times by now) you know that the Klingons on the series will not look much like what we've come to expect from the alien warrior race. Now we know why, as showrunner Aaron Harberts has spoken out on the redesign of the characters and reveals that the change came about under former showrunner Bryan Fuller, who was keen to update the look of the race. He also noted that we can expect different Klingons to be styled differently.

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.

Well, just when we had all gotten used to our Klingons looking like Worf, they decide to go and change things up on us again. As you can see in the photo at the top of the article, the Klingons of Star Trek: Discovery look even more alien (and scary) than the Klingons of the Worf era of Star Trek shows like The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. The typical Klingon look of more recent Trek features a bumpy forehead with a center ridge, which is usually accompanied by a bumpy nose, and a smooth lower face that could be described as humanoid. But, these new Klingons (or, technically, old Klingons, since Discovery takes place 10 years before the original Star Trek series) clearly have bumps, spines and ridges all over their faces.

As Aaron Harberts mentioned during his chat with Entertainment Weekly, the look of the Klingon race hasn't been completely consistent across all of the Trek shows. Fans of the modern series who've also seen the original Star Trek, which aired, of course, in the late 1960s, will know that Klingons in that show had basically human features. The official explanation for the race looking so different during The Next Generation and later was that a virus created by Klingon scientists as they attempted to bio-engineer enhanced warriors got loose, threatened to kill the entire race, and, in the process, dissolved the cranial ridges of the infected, making them look more human. If you haven't seen an original series Klingon before, you can check them out below:

original star trek klingons

Yeah, those dudes don't look like scary fight-until-the-death warriors at all. But, seeing as how there is already this precedent for changing up Klingons, I guess I get where Fuller was coming from in thinking it was time for a redesign. It's interesting that Harberts mentions there will be different Klingon houses in Discovery with different "styles." Right now, we're not sure if that means that some of them will look like Worf, or if it actually means that some Klingons have yet another set of physical characteristics never before seen on Trek.

Well, either way, it will be exciting to see these new Klingons, and if we ever get an explanation for why they look how they do. Star Trek: Discovery will debut on CBS on September 24, and the rest of the series will air weekly on CBS All Access.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.