"The Trek ramblings of a geeky Drag Queen"


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Discovery: Let's talk 'Klingons'

By now you've all seen the leaked pictures of the new Klingons from Star Trek Discovery. The image was posted to Instagram by a Toronto based film extra who, according to @startrekdog (presumably an account run by Nicholas Meyer?), is no longer with the production. My commiserations go to Andrew McKay as posting snaps to social media from exciting jobs is really the norm these days, I guess he didn't get the media blackout brief and I wish him success in the future (and secretly, thank you! we were clamouring for info, even if some of it can be disappointing)

Anyway, you will also have seen the huge negative response to the incorrect look of the new Klingons? I say incorrect because clearly we know exactly how the Klingons appear in that time period as its set a mere 10 years before TOS. I'm not going to delve into inverse reasons as to why they might look like this, that is the job of the writers, but my biggest fear here is that we simply will not get an explanation. We are all well aware that the 1987 TNG Klingons had to be modernised and adhere to the tastes of an 80's audience, but thankfully the two shows were set 100 or so apart and a lot can happen in that amount of time. When TOS and the modern Trek started to dabble with crossovers it became clear that this anomaly would have to be addressed and sure enough, after 35 years, we got the answers we were looking for in the way of an episode of Enterprise and the Augment virus (genius!)

So, here we are again! We are Trekkers and you have to admit, we will swallow pretty much anything that is put in front of us, regardless of how far fetched or unrealistic it is and all we need to be able to do that is an inverse explanation as to why. We will all have to wait until Discovery airs to find out if the producers are going to provide us with one, one can only hope so, but if alas they tell us 'because its 2017 and we can', then personally, I will have a hard time going along with that. It feels sort of disrespectful to wade into such a classic, well rounded, well developed, well established show and particularly an iconic species, and tamper with it, especially if the reason for the change is to target and attract non Star Trek fans. If this had been a sequel or future show, I'd have accepted such a huge change and have assumed there would be explanation's down the line, but the fact that Discovery is set in the middle of an already familiar time, it does not make sense.


I have seen many comparisons made with the old Romulans and the TNG Romulans. Such a subtle change was forgiven, especially with their close genetic similarities with Vulcans who do not have head ridges, but brown face make up on an TOS actor as opposed to an elongated earless skull with hairless ridges to the back of the neck is a vastly different species. The only time that I can remember Star Trek making such a noticeable change to the look of a species without explanation was the Trill. The Trill started as an alien of the week and the species concept was so interesting that DS9 included one in their show, casting Terry Farrell who was far to pretty to cover in latex. We now except Terry's make up as the Trill species and largely disregard the one episode character 'Odan'. This Klingon situation is of course a little different, if you name something associated with Star Trek, you would only get three or four word in before you said Klingons, probably part of the reason that this new show revolves around them.

I have followed Star Trek for the best part of 20 years and have survived without it on TV only with my permanent re-watch of the shows whilst waiting in hope that one day TV would return to that universe. I can't tell you how excited I was when they announced a new TV show, how disappointed I was when they announced it as a prequel (I'm yet to meet a single person who didn't want a post Voyager show), how pleased I was when they announced it as a Prime timeline plot, how confused I was when they d├ębuted an old rejected sketch as the title ship, and now how scared I am now that they have accidentally announced a disregard for established Star Trek lore. That being said, there is (an unspecified, delay delay delay) time for the creators to keep the fans happy, fans that have kept this franchise alive both financially and in spirit for the past 50 years.

what did Admiral Forrest say? Don't screw this up!