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Depicting Klingons

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Qo'noS patrol officer, 2259

A Klingon officer in Star Trek Into Darkness, played by Sean Blakemore

The depiction of the Klingon species, the iconic aggressive warrior race from the planet Qo'noS, has evolved throughout the years from a simple analogy of the American fear of Cold War-era Russians to a depiction of a complex and proud tradition-bound people who value honor as well as combat prestige. As Klingons became more and more popular, attention was placed into evolving the make-up effects, into establishing a unique Klingonese language and into exploring the ever more complex history, society, politics, culture, psychology and religion of the Klingon species.

First televised appearances Edit

Klingon invasion of Organia

The very first Klingons who appeared in Star Trek were a group of soldiers occupying an Organian village in "Errand of Mercy"

Klingon Soldier Walt Davis

One of the first Klingons to appear in Star Trek, played by Walt Davis

Klingons were introduced in Star Trek: The Original Series, making their first appearance in the season one episode "Errand of Mercy". They were originally meant to be involved in only that installment. (Star Trek Magazine issue 125, p. 37) The episode's writer, Gene Coon, was the person who initially imagined the species and their culture. However, both aspects were among multiple elements of the series which Star Trek Producer Gene Roddenberry joked originated from his "cousin in Ohio." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, paperback ed., p. 136)

Gene Coon primarily modeled the Klingons, metaphorically, on contemporary Russians, making the standoff between the species and the Federation representative of that between the Russians and the Americans during the then-ongoing Cold War. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 139) The Klingon Empire was also a metaphor for Communist China and its allies in the Vietnam War, namely North Vietnam and North Korea. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One) David A. McIntee explained, "There is some suggestion that the Klingons represent a Cold Warrior's view of China in the 1960s – swarthy, brutally repressive." (Star Trek Magazine issue 153, p. 66) Dave Rossi agreed, "In many ways, the Klingons were born out of our fear, as Americans, of [...] the Communists." ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray) According to D.C. Fontana, there were a range of other real-world sources that additionally gave rise to Coon's creation of the Klingons. "What did he want to accomplish? I think he just wanted a good, tough villain... for Kirk," Fontana speculated. "And I think he was basing a lot of it on the kind of attitude of the Japanese in World War II, the Nazis in World War II, because Gene was a World War II veteran marine and he really took all this to heart. And as a result, he modeled them on the worst villains he knew." ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray) McIntee concurred, "The Klingons with their conquests and military structure echo the Axis forces of World War Two as much as the Communist powers in Vietnam." (Star Trek Magazine issue 153, p. 66) Chekov actor Walter Koenig specified, "They [the Klingons] were evil and nationalistic. But Star Trek did not address the baser things in man. There was no imperialism or colonialism. We addressed this obliquely, hoping that someone would pick up our message out there." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 61)

After Gene Coon conceived the Klingons, a name for the species did not immediately come to mind. He took inspiration from a name which came into earshot, that of Lieutenant Wilbur Clingan – a friend of Gene Roddenberry who served with him in the Los Angeles Police Department. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 141; Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry, p. 131) Even when retired years later, Clingan was still proud to introduce himself as the first Klingon. Commented Robert Justman, "The question remains whether Gene named these creatures out of homage or revenge. I've heard it both ways." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, pp. 22-23) Also under dispute is the nature of the production staff's reception to the name. According to the book Star Trek: The Original Series 365 (p. 141), the series' production staff liked how the moniker sounded, which led to Coon altering the spelling and using it for the fictional species. However, D.C. Fontana stated, "We never liked the name. We said, 'Gene, can't you come up with a different name than Klingon? We hate it.' It was odd-sounding. You know, Kling-on – as in clinging." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One) The detractors of the name were apparently unable to devise a more preferred alternative and there wasn't enough time to settle on something else, so they left the name as it was. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 40; These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)

The script of "Errand of Mercy" introduces the Klingon look by saying, "We see the Klingons are Orientals," thereafter repeatedly describing them as "hard-faced." Indeed, the Klingons originally appeared as fairly ordinary Humans with heavy makeup as well as emboldened eyebrows, with some of the males having mustaches and goatees. The reason the Klingons were accepted as looking so Human-like, delineated from Humans mainly by their mannerisms and characters, was that the series had neither the materials, budget nor time necessary to create elaborate makeup for the Klingons. ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray)

Kor, 2266

John Colicos as Kor in "Errand of Mercy"

The introduction of the Klingons in "Errand of Mercy" caused the casting of that episode to become a longer and more involved process than normal. This was because the production staff had little idea what a Klingon should look like. "I had never heard of a Klingon before," related Makeup Designer Fred Phillips. "And nothing in the script that I read told me what it was." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One) Because Kor actor John Colicos had likewise never previously heard of Klingons, he was also initially uncertain how they should look. "I said, 'Oh, well, the makeup department is going to know exactly what it's doing.' When I arrived at Paramount the make-up man said to me, 'What in the hell does a Klingon look like?'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 19) Phillips started the design process by directly asking Colicos how he wanted to look. Despite thinking of the Klingons as the futuristic Russians they were intended to be, Colicos took inspiration from Genghis Khan, as Kor was likewise an ambitious military commander. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 40) "He thought that was a hell of a good idea," Colicos said, regarding Phillips' reaction to the concept. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 19) Colicos' hair happened to be very short and combed forward. He asked for it to be sprayed and slightly "kinked up." Due to the Genghis Khan influence, Colicos then proposed "a vaguely Asian, Tartar appearance," with an alien-looking "brown-green makeup." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 40) Colicos also took inspiration from Fu Manchu as an influence on his look as Kor. ("The Sword of Colicos", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 8) "Within two hours," said Colicos, "this thing emerged and that was it." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 40) Colicos was pleased with how he had influenced the layout of the makeup. "I thought I was pretty crafty [...] because it only took 20 minutes to put on," he said. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 19)

The swarthy appearance of the Klingon faces was actually created with a dark brown cream base, which was applied to the actors' faces. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 42) Rick Stratton, who was part of a small team of young makeup artists enlisted by Fred Phillips to work with him on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, uncertainly recollected, "I think the makeup was called 'Mexican #1 or #2.' That was the name of the original makeup foundation – they actually had kind of racist names at the time, like 'Negro #1' and 'Mexican #2' – which was the basis for the original Star Trek makeups." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 59)

The males' facial hair appliances were lace, glued on using spirit gum, and their eyebrows were made to look bushy. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 42) Noted Michael Westmore, "They actually shaped and penciled in the eyebrows with pencil." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 110, p. 59) Due to the minimalism of the makeup used, the Klingons were easy to create, from a makeup standpoint, and were therefore able to be shown in groups. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 42)

The first time any Klingons were filmed was on Friday 27 January 1967. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164,  p. 70) However, several minor changes were made between how the Klingons were initially planned to be portrayed in "Errand of Mercy" and how they ended up being shown in that installment. For example, a pair of Klingons guarding a munitions dump were scripted to have a couple lines of dialog, though they don't speak in the episode's final version. [1] Also, two mere moments which acted as the set-up and payoff of a "stare-off" gag were shot but deleted from "Errand of Mercy". The gag involved, at one point, a Klingon shooting a hard stare at Kirk in a courtyard on Organia and – on another occasion, at the doors to Kor's office on the planet – another Klingon soldier receiving the same kind of look from Kirk. (Star Trek Magazine issue 164,  p. 70)

As the makeup procedures for the Romulans were too costly for that species to be featured on a regular basis (despite the Romulans having been meant as an ongoing villain), the Klingons – much cheaper to create – replaced them as the show's chief antagonists. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 42) Although the creative staff hadn't intended for the Klingons to be recurring villains and never thought they would be as successful as they were, these expectations were changed by the fact they were considerably easy to do, basically requiring merely facial hair and slightly darkened skin. ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray; These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One) "Once we figured that out," reflected D.C. Fontana, "the Klingons became regulars." ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray) "It didn't happen at first, but they were good villains," offered Robert Justman. "A lot of these things didn't enter my consciousness at the time, but looking back on it now, I can see how unerring Gene [Coon]'s instincts were." (Star Trek Magazine issue 125, p. 37) In agreement, Fontana described the ease at which the Klingons could be done as "the beauty of them." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 22) She said further, "They became a very good adversary, because once you established them, you had to find out ways to explore them." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 40)

The first installment in which the Klingons reappeared, the season 2 outing "Friday's Child", at first hardly involved the species. Although D.C. Fontana wrote multiple drafts of the episode (between January 1967 and April of the same year), her version of the story featured no Klingons on Capella IV, where most of the episode's events take place. In fact, other than a subplot featuring a Klingon ship – which Fontana added at Gene Roddenberry's request – the Klingons were discussed but not seen in Fontana's form of the plot. It wasn't until Roddenberry did a rewrite of the episode's script (in May 1967) that the Klingons factored more heavily into the installment. Even though Gene Coon had created the species, Robert Justman included – among comments he sent Coon about the changes Roddenberry had made – the reminder, "We are not at war with the Klingon Empire in this show." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)

David Gerrold proposed reusing Klingons in the second season episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", which was at that time a story entitled "A Fuzzy Thing Happened To Me...". The suggestion, later described by Gerrold as "almost accidental," was inspired by a statement made by Gene Coon, while he and Gerrold were seeking a villain for the installment. Gerrold recounted, "'The threat has to come from outside the Federation.' And when he said that, something went twang in my mind, something I'd seen on a first-season rerun – I opened my mouth, wondering what I was going to say, and said, 'Klingons!' [....] Perhaps the fact that I had just seen the episode the week before had something to do with it." Gerrold believed the Klingons fit perfectly into the story. (The Trouble with Tribbles, pp. 80-82) He subsequently asked Coon if he could reuse them as the alien menace required for the episode. ("The Trouble with Tribbles" audio commentary & Starfleet Access, TOS Season 2 Blu-ray) "He said, 'You know, we've been talking about having a continuing threat, a continuing nemesis for Kirk, and the Klingons are probably the best way to go,'" recalled Gerrold. ("The Trouble with Tribbles" audio commentary, TOS Season 2 Blu-ray) Despite Coon revealing that the producers had been discussing the option to have the Klingons become a recurring nemesis, he also mentioned that there hadn't been a suitable story form to feature their return, so he gave Gerrold the go-ahead to write them into "The Trouble with Tribbles". ("The Trouble with Tribbles" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 2 Blu-ray) Coon approved of this course of action in agreement with Gerrold's belief that the Klingons were a good fit for the story. Gerrold commented, "This would fit in nicely with his overall plans for the series." (The Trouble with Tribbles, p. 81) Concluded Gerrold, "So, the tribble episode was where we made the decision to have the Klingons be the continuing nemesis for the Enterprise." ("The Trouble with Tribbles" audio commentary, TOS Season 2 Blu-ray)

Klingon Psychology was one of several topics which David Gerrold thereafter found himself having to hurriedly research before writing the episode's teleplay. Even so, while scripting the installment, Gerrold temporarily had some slight difficulty with making the Klingons as nasty as Gene Coon wanted them to be. Coon thoroughly approved of another element of the episode's Klingons, though, Gerrold later recalling, "Gene Coon thought the names I used for the Klingons were deliciously evil-sounding." (The Trouble with Tribbles, pp. 121, 135 & 186)

In the script for "The Trouble with Tribbles", David Gerrold described both Koloth and "the last Klingon commander that we saw" as "an evil-looking S.O.B." The last Klingon commander featured on Star Trek before that episode was Kras in "Friday's Child", though Gerrold's comment was most likely aimed at the highly influential character of Kor from "Errand of Mercy". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)

David Gerrold thought up the idea of Klingons hating tribbles (and vice versa) as a way of determining, in the story, the true identity of Arne Darvin as a Klingon spy. Gerrold later recalled this story point having come to him "almost at the last moment" and said, "It just came to me on the spur of the moment." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)

The overbearing nature of the Klingons in "Errand of Mercy" influenced Charlie Brill's depiction of Arne Darvin in "The Trouble with Tribbles". Brill was pleased that, because Darvin was a Klingon disguised as a Human, he didn't have to wear the Klingon makeup. [2]

William Campbell approved of how the Klingons are portrayed in "The Trouble with Tribbles", with the character of Korax being what Campbell perceived as "the nasty one," as opposed to his own character of Koloth. Said Campbell, "I thought that was a good idea; it gave them depth." (The World of Star Trek, 1994 UK ed., p. 121)

Comic book writer Scott Tipton, who co-wrote the mini-series Klingons: Blood Will Tell, characterized the Klingons in "The Trouble with Tribbles" as generally "very different" from those in "Errand of Mercy". He noticed that they are not only less like Mongol warriors by having less of a swarthy appearance but also by being slightly not as fierce, allowing them to be shown aboard Deep Space Station K-7. "These are kind of more like suburban Klingons," he said. "You know, they're a little laid back, you know, it's like they've been working in an office, they just wanna come in, you know, get some R&R, maybe use a snack room [....] It's enough of a keystone back to what we've seen before that it still feels familiar but it works well because you couldn't put the 'Errand of Mercy' Klingons in this episode, 'cause you wouldn't let those guys onto your space station so they can come have a drink at the bar! So, by the nature of the story, you have to kind of make them a little more refined." ("The Trouble with Tribbles" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 2 Blu-ray)

Regarding the fact that the episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" concludes with many tribbles having been beamed aboard a Klingon ship, David Gerrold supposed about the Klingons, "I'll bet that they didn't let any thoughts of inhumanity trouble them....." (The Trouble with Tribbles, p. 116) When William Campbell was questioned about what the Klingons did with all the tribbles, he responded, "We ate them." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 98) Dave Rossi imagined that the Klingons were "shoveling these things into the engines" at the end of the episode. ("The Trouble with Tribbles" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 2 Blu-ray)

"A Private Little War" continued the analogous use of the Klingons. In that outing, they were meant to represent the Communist foes of the United States specifically during the Vietnam War, which was being controversially fought at that time. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 222) The species was metaphorically used, in this way, since the very first story outline for "A Private Little War" was submitted. Therein, the Klingons were established as having familiarized some of the inhabitants of planet Neural with rifles. Upon criticizing the story outline, Robert Justman wondered, "Why have the Klingons introduced rifles to this civilization instead of their own particular weapons, which we have previously established in another show? I think I know why, but perhaps we ought to spell it out, so that the audience understands that the Klingons still wish to retain absolute control and don't want this civilization to get too advanced, or to be difficult to handle eventually." Gene Roddenberry was interested in increasing the degree to which the Klingons allegorically resembled North Vietnam, politically. He wrote to Coon, "I think it is terribly important that the Klingons are operating in complete secrecy. It is vital to this story, to the whole logic of it that the Klingons attempt to preserve the illusion that all this is 'normal' planet development; that the people with their guns developed gun powder themselves. Thus, if Earth people interfere, the Klingons can argue that it is Earth people who are upsetting the delicate balance of a world here.… In other words, the situation is even closer to the Viet Nam situation. North Viet Nam tries to preserve the illusion, or at least tried to preserve it for some time, that they were not sending men and materials to South Viet Nam. And that way they insisted it was the United States which was the meddler and the aggressor." Coon thereafter stressed to Ingalls the importance of the Klingons being defeated by Starfleet due to secret instructions to counterbalance them, stating, "If we do not play it this way and it is admittedly the hard way, the Klingons will take over and threaten the Federation, even as the situation is in Vietnam, which is, as I remember, if Vietnam falls all Southeast Asia falls." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)

While the story for "A Private Little War" underwent development, D.C. Fontana suggested substituting the Klingons with the Romulans, as a way of differentiating the episode from "Friday's Child". Gene Coon was determined to keep making the Klingons recurring villains, though. On the other hand, Robert Justman feared, in common with Fontana, that another "nose-to-nose confrontation between Captain Kirk and his Klingon adversary" was one of numerous factors which made the installment too similar to "Friday's Child". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)

An undeveloped, untitled story which Alan Dean Foster proposed for a two-parter in the third season of TOS involved a Klingon named Kumara. Foster was told to resubmit the idea for the show's fourth season, though the series was ultimately cancelled at the end of its third season. [3]

At first, no Klingon ships were intended to be shown on The Original Series. "We had no need for a Klingon ship," stated Designer Matt Jefferies, "nor did we have a budget to do one, or the time to design it or build it." Taking advantage of a merchandising opportunity with Aluminum Metal Toys (AMT), however, the Star Trek creative team eventually designed and built the D7 class model of Klingon ship, which ended up appearing in only one episode. That installment, "Elaan of Troyius" was far from a major Klingon story and the Klingons played only a peripheral role in it. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 9, p. 66)

In Jerome Bixby's undeveloped TOS story "For They Shall Inherit", a colony of Klingons residing on a farming world near the Federation border was endangered by the planet's sun being about to go nova, so the Enterprise was sent to rescue them. As discovered by a landing party from the Enterprise, though, the Klingon colonists had been subjugated by a malevolent race called the Dorn. All the weak Klingons had been killed by the Dorn, sparing only the strongest warriors, who were forced by their oppressors into fighting against larger, stronger Dorns in gladiatorial games which the Klingons always lost. A small group of hate-filled Klingon survivors were pitted against the Starfleet landing party, as part of the Dorn's sadistic contests. Discovering that the Dorn fed on hatred and violence explained why only the strongest Klingons were being kept alive, as "food" the Dorn required. The Klingon survivors thus made a concentrated effort, along with the group from the Enterprise, to contain their anger and hatred, instead displaying merriment and conviviality. This behavior weakened the Dorn, who met their doom in the supernova while the remaining Klingons escaped aboard the Enterprise. Paraphrasing Biblical scripture, Dr. McCoy told the Klingon leader Tarnok, "Blessed be the meek -- for you shall inherit another planet. Hopefully without any Dorns on it." This story outline, the first draft of which was delivered on 28 March 1968, gradually evolved into third season's "Day of the Dove". [4] [5]

In an early story outline for "Day of the Dove" (dated 3 June 1968), Uhura was to have made a remark, while sitting at her communications station early in the installment, which smacked of "hard-core racism against the Klingons," entirely unsure why she made such a comment. At the end of the episode, Captain Kirk was to have mused that the Klingons might become more like the Humans by developing a love of peace, the captain pondering, "Perhaps someday the Klingons will learn the truth of it." Neither of these moments were included in the episode. Similarly, a team of Klingons who, in both the outline and the outing's final version, beam aboard the Enterprise was originally to have included numerous women as well as the female Mara, all of whom (except for Mara) were implied as being a "harem" for the service of the Klingon warriors. [6]

The first draft script for "The Enterprise Incident" (dated 7 June 1968) established that the Klingon Empire had been trading with the Romulan Empire. Also, Spock referred to the Klingons, in duplicitous conversation with the Romulan Commander, as "known to have little honor." [7]

The Klingons were not always portrayed allegorically. Years after playing Kang in "Day of the Dove", Michael Ansara declared, "We weren't playing them to resemble any earthly nationality or race. We were from Outer Space." (Star Trek Magazine issue 175, p. 46)

No specific rules were ever stipulated for writing about Klingons. "They had a certain culture and a certain kind of way of thinking that we didn't really line out in the bible or anything like that but we knew from past experience on other scripts how we had developed them," D.C. Fontana reflected. "So, if a writer was going to use them, we just let them read those other scripts or watch the episodes, so they could get a handle on it." [8]

D.C. Fontana was highly approving of several of the actors who played Klingons, enthusing, "We had some really good ones." [9] Klingon-playing performers John Colicos and William Campbell, who featured as Kor and Koloth in "Errand of Mercy" and "The Trouble with Tribbles" respectively, were veteran television actors. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 23)

Although no Klingons ultimately made any more than one appearance in the original series, Gene Roddenberry believed the series could benefit from a regular Klingon character, a counterpart of Kirk's with whom he would frequently clash. As such, both John Colicos and William Campbell were intended to return as their respective characters of Kor and Koloth. Campbell played Koloth in the knowledge that he might subsequently be hired for as many as thirteen episodes per season. Though Colicos was asked to reprise his role as Kor in both "The Trouble with Tribbles" and "Day of the Dove" whereas Campbell was invited for the first of what was meant to be multiple reappearances as Koloth, other commitments kept both actors from returning. (The World of Star Trek, 1994 UK ed., pp. 120 & 121; Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 61; "The Trouble with Tribbles" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 2 Blu-ray)

The Klingons' appearance changed within the original Star Trek series; although dark makeup and heavy eyebrows were the norm, the Klingons of "The Trouble with Tribbles" were much lighter-skinned and more Human-like in appearance. Regarding this change, William Campbell remarked, "Mike Ansara had a certain gypsy look to him, and John Colicos actually used the name Genghis when describing his character and the kind of make-up. My character in 'The Trouble with Tribbles' was just a guy with a widow's peak and a beard, so basically, we looked like they [the actors playing Humans] looked." (Star Trek Monthly issue 11, p. 53) Explained Robert Justman, "The second time [the Klingons appeared], something went wrong. I didn't see them in their makeup before they were photographed, as I usually did. The first time I saw the Klingons revisited, I was horrified. They were much paler and didn't match what we'd done before. I blew a gasket, but in television, unless it's a total disaster, you can't afford to reshoot. The third outing, we went back to them being darker." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 24) Trying to account for these makeup differences, Ruth Berman stated they were "Because there are different races of Klingons, just as there are different races of Earthmen. Also, because, when Fred Phillips looked up information on Klingons for 'The Trouble with Tribbles', the photos he found were poorly lit and gave the appearance of light skin and ordinary eyebrows. Since then, he has followed the 'Errand of Mercy' style of Klingon." (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two)

Klingon 3 variants

A trio of Klingons from "Day of the Dove", including Kang and the female officer Mara

Another changing element was the depiction of Klingon females. A line by Koloth in "The Trouble with Tribbles" was meant to suggest that females ("non-essentials," as Koloth puts it) don't serve on Klingon vessels. (The Trouble with Tribbles, p. 187) In "Day of the Dove", however, two women (including Mara) are shown as crew members from Kang's battle cruiser. "Day of the Dove" marks the only appearance of any female Klingons in the original series. It was Fred Phillips who created the female variant of the Klingon makeup. (The Star Trek Compendium, p. 119)

Gene Roddenberry always wanted the TOS Klingons to look more alien than they did, but this desire was stumped by TV budgets of the era. (Star Trek Monthly issue 93,  p. 37) Additionally, Roddenberry was unsettled by the way Klingons were portrayed on the original series, coming to realize that they were at loggerheads with the ethos of Star Trek by being shown as entirely villainous. (Star Trek Monthly issue 10, p. 50; The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, pp. 215-216) In 1980, Susan Sackett relayed about this opinion of Roddenberry's, "He believes that the Klingons emerged as too simply the epitome of evil – the bad guys who always wear black – whereas one of Star Trek's philosophical cornerstones was that there are many forms of truth, and other life forms (or other humans, for that matter) should not be branded good or evil solely on the basis of our own customs." (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, pp. 215-216) During a SeaTrek convention a decade later, Majel Barrett agreed, "Gene [Roddenberry] never did like the Klingons because they were represented as being 'all bad.' Gene said, 'There is no such thing as a whole race that is all bad.' He really hated that." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 3, p. 20)

D.C. Fontana personally found the Klingons less interesting than the Romulans. [10] Comparing the two groups, she stated, "[The Klingons] were interesting villains with an agenda, not quite as mysterious as the Romulans. The Romulans were a keepout group. The Klingons were operating in our territory which could lead to more direct contact–and conflict–with the Federation." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, pp. 22 & 23)

David Gerrold wrote, "All of the Klingon episodes were, in one way or another, restatements of the original: Klingons and Earthmen must not fight." He also approved of the Klingons, if they were to be shown on a regular basis, as not engaging in all-out conflict with the Federation, saying, "Not only does this provide a good background for a wide variety of stories, both humorous and dramatic, but it is a lot more optimistic and (hopefully) believable than a space war. After all, a race that can achieve space travel is going to have done so only through large scale programs of social cooperation, and it is hoped, in the process will have learned that there are better ways than aggression to accomplish one's goals." (The World of Star Trek, 1994 UK ed., p. 32)

The portrayals of Klingons in TOS are largely consistent with one another, though new attitudes were attributed to them in later years. Whereas TOS Klingons were played with what Robert Justman once termed bravura, no one thought of them as honorable warriors yet. "When you got right down to it," said Justman, "they were worthy adversaries and they were killers. They were 100 per cent bad, evil, motivated by the need to be evil. They were thrilled to be evil." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 24) Mike Sussman pointed out, "They really seemed much more interested in glory and treachery than honor in those days. Maybe they found the whole 'honor' thing wasn't working for them." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 47) Richard Arnold concluded, "In TOS, the Klingons were not very bright bad guys." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 27) Ronald D. Moore felt the original series included "very, very little" about Klingon culture. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) He elaborated, "They were villains, it was built around conquest, and there were certain attributes you could identify, but there wasn't that much to go from." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19, p. 64)

While working on Remastered TOS, neither Dave Rossi nor Michael and Denise Okuda were ever tempted to add computer-generated wrinkles to the Klingon foreheads, matching the look of the species in later appearances. "Although, I gotta tell ya, the three of us talked about it for a while," recalled Mike Okuda, "and we thought, 'We should propose digitally retouching the foreheads just so we could see [Visual Effects Supervisor] Niel Wray's head explode,' because once he figured out the amount of time it would take to retouch every single frame with every single scene with every single Klingon, they'd still be working today." ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray)

Klingons 2269 1

Animated Klingons in TAS: "More Tribbles, More Troubles"

While Star Trek: The Animated Series was in early development during 1969, one of three never-produced story outlines which were submitted by Don Christensen and were considered for production by Filmation was entitled "Klingon Attack". (Star Trek Magazine Souvenir Special, p. 55) Klingons subsequently represented one element which David Gerrold felt he undoubtedly had to "shoehorn" into the animated episode "More Tribbles, More Troubles". (Star Trek Magazine issue 132, p. 19) The installment's creative staff even copied the way the Klingons were used in "The Trouble with Tribbles", involving diplomatic relations between them and Captain Kirk. Gerrold felt a recap in the episode's dialogue was necessary to address the species' hatred of tribbles. ("More Tribbles, More Troubles" audio commentary, TAS DVD special features) However, Klingons turned out to be an aspect of the episode which amounted to it seeming "contrived" to him. (Star Trek Magazine issue 132, p. 19)

In 1976, the Klingons were planned to feature in the ultimately never-produced film Star Trek: Planet of the Titans. The Klingons would have fought with the Federation over a planet once owned by a technological super-race. According to the director, Philip Kaufman, one of the Klingons, hopefully played by Toshiro Mifune, would have battled with Spock while both characters were "tripping out in outer space." (The A-Z of Star Trek, Special SFX Edition, p. 106)

During development of the unrealized TV series Star Trek: Phase II, John Meredyth Lucas wrote a two-part episode entitled "Kitumba" which, if filmed, would have established a radically different Klingon culture to the one developed in subsequent series and films. For a start, it would have been revealed only members of the Empire's warrior caste are called Klingons. The other castes are called the technos, who are the scientists and technicians, and the subjects. A relationship similar to the Emperor and Chancellor in later series would also be established, with the ceremonial Kitumba residing on the Sacred Planet that orbits closer to the sun, while the Warlord presides over political and military decisions on Ultar, the story's name for the Klingon homeworld. (Star Trek: Phase II - The Making of the Lost Series) In essence, the Klingon Empire of this story took major influence from Japan. (The A-Z of Star Trek, Special SFX Edition, p. 105)

Film redesign Edit

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Mark Lenard sporting the redesigned make-up in Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, improved makeup techniques and bigger budgets led to the Klingon makeup design becoming more elaborate than it had been in TOS. Faced with the prospect of having much more finances to work with for the Klingons in The Motion Picture, Fred Phillips initially asked Gene Roddenberry if he could do some very alien-looking Klingons, a request Roddenberry approved. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 12) In fact, not only did more finances assist with the creation of a cinematic version of the Klingons for The Motion Picture but so did more time. Both elements enabled Phillips to give "character" to the Klingon faces. (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 209)

Costume Designer Robert Fletcher was instrumental in giving the Klingons a new "look" for The Motion Picture. Maggie Schpak noted, "We had a lot of time [...] so Bob just designed and designed and designed those Klingons." ("Klingon and Vulcan Costumes", Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray))

The new makeup design included the original complexion and facial hair of the TOS Klingons but also added a bony head crest. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 59) The head thus became one of the most significant features in the Klingon makeup scheme. "The rest of the makeup was lots of hair and a beard," stated Mark Lenard. "There is a lot of hair on the sides of the Klingon appliances." (Starlog #42, p. 24)

The inspiration for the post-TOS Klingon makeup came from Planet Earth, an unsold 1974 Gene Roddenberry pilot which starred Diana Muldaur and Ted Cassidy. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 40) That pilot featured a Klingon-inspired, warlike race of mutant Humans called the Kreeg who had ridges down the center of their foreheads. Robert Fletcher was largely responsible for the addition of the Klingon cranial ridges. "I did sketches for the Klingon, including the knobby forehead and head. The makeup department, very generously, said, 'That's great, we'd like to use it.' Gene Roddenberry was not too enthusiastic. He thought they should look more like just people. I said, 'Yes, but these are real aliens, and they're evil aliens.' I think the people, the audience, wants to see something that is not just folks, that goes beyond just folks." ("Klingon and Vulcan Costumes", Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray))

It was Gene Roddenberry's idea that the newly added head ridges were actually an outgrowth of the Klingon spinal cord, proceeding up the back of the neck and over the head. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 59-60) Robert Fletcher was of a similar opinion. While considering the Klingons as "a race of reptiles," he also thought their distinctive spines were from a type of crustaceans. (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 52) "In my mind, all the bumps on the forehead and so forth are vestigial remains of a people that evolved like crustaceans, like lobsters, who have their skeleton on the outside of their bodies," Fletcher explained. "And over the millions of years, they've lost that complete outside skeleton, but now retain only vestiges of it." ("Klingon and Vulcan Costumes", Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray)) In production notes that Fletcher wrote about the movie's various aliens, he specified about the Klingons, "Spine comes up over head and down forehead (different from series). Hair on side of head as though trying to cover spine." (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 133) Fletcher also believed that the evolutionary roots of the Klingons were symbolized by an ornamental spine piece that runs down the back of 23rd century Klingon uniforms, such as those designed for and shown in The Motion Picture. ("Klingon and Vulcan Costumes", Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray))

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An early Klingon makeup being tested by Rick Stratton

Once thought up, the Klingon head ridges required considerable experimentation. "Fred Phillips did a makeup test by putting a bald cap on the actor and sculpting the entire thing out of mortician's wax so he would have a crude version of what it looked like in three dimensions," Rick Stratton explained. However, Director Robert Wise – thinking the test makeup was slightly too extreme – was inspired by noticing the knuckles of one of his hands in moonlight. "He had the idea for a more subtle bone structure than the big gnarly spinal cord thing," continued Stratton, "but we thought to ourselves, 'Oh, knuckleheads!' So we did a makeup test with the subtle 'knuckles,' but it wasn't extreme enough. So, we went back to the more vertebrae-like look." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 60) Stratton also noted of the final design, "It might have looked like a lobster tail." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 59-60)

The head piece came down over the brows and back over the head. "It was made in two segments, and they were joined together with cement," reported Mark Lenard. One of these parts was a nose piece that extended down from the upper area of the head piece, over the actor's nose. "So that was pretty warm," said Lenard of the entire head piece. (Starlog #42, p. 24)

The creation of the prosthetics meant the makeup team had to take molds of the actors' faces. (Starlog #42, p. 26) The Klingon appliances were sculpted by Rick Stratton along with Mark Seigel and Mike LaValley. (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 209) Commented Mark Lenard, "The fellows who did the mask, helpers of Fred Phillips, weren't my idea of professionals. They kind of left you alone. And they took a long time putting it on." (Starlog #42, p. 24)

Early Klingon with teeth

An early Klingon makeup design for The Motion Picture, featuring teeth

While helping to sculpt the prosthetics, Rick Stratton suggested adding teeth. "When we began running out of stuff to do," he admitted, "I wanted to get an extra day's pay, so I said, 'How about if we make some messed-up teeth for these guys?' It would save time staining their teeth and make them look like they had been chewing on bones or something, but it was all because I wanted another day's pay!" (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 60) The dental appliances remained as part of The Motion Picture's Klingon makeup. (Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook, p. 209)

Ve Neill arranged the Klingon makeups for usage, actually applying the makeup for The Motion Picture's main Klingons, of which there were three. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 60) This required the actors to spend several hours each day just being made up for their Klingon roles. Mark Lenard calculated that this duration was between one-and-a-half to three hours, a time span which varied to enable the makeup artists to redo the makeup in time for the beginning of the day's shoot. (Starlog #42, p. 24) "I put all the heads together, dressed the hairpieces, and glued all the hair on the heads [....] Fred [Phillips] hired some old cronies to do the rest of them, and they came in and brushed out all the hairpieces!" Neill remembered. "All they had to do was put on the heads with the hairpieces on them, and take a rat-tail comb and blend the hairpieces onto the heads, but they brushed them all out, and totally messed up all of the makeups. Every one of those actors came to me and said, 'Hey, you've got to fix my makeup!' and I had to say, 'Oh, no, I'm not going to fix anything!' I don't want any of those old guys mad at me!" (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 60)

Once applied, the Klingon makeup in The Motion Picture was so elaborate that it obscured the faces of the actors. In fact, the only way to tell the Klingons apart from one another, according to Mark Lenard, was the build of their bodies. "One was skinny, another fatter, another taller," noted Lenard. (Starlog #138, p. 35)

Gene Roddenberry tried to explain the differences between The Motion Picture's Klingons and the original ones by saying that the original show had simply never had the budget and makeup technology to envision the species as it should have been seen, so the apparently new Klingons were just Klingons as they were always intended to have been. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 40) He specifically said, "Just as there are different races of humans, there are different races of Klingons, and the Klingons seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture are not the same race as the ones we saw on the original series." Since Fred Phillips expected that the fans would wonder about how the Klingons could possibly have head ridges newly added to their faces, he and Roddenberry came up with the explanation of there being a variety of Klingon races, even before the release of The Motion Picture. Despite this, the transformation continued to be regarded as a mystery for decades to come. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, pp. 71-72) Roddenberry also stipulated that the Klingons would preemptively attack any foreign entity discovered within Klingon space, such as they do to V'Ger in The Motion Picture. (audio commentary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (The Director's Edition))

Klingon Captain in makeup

The final version of The Motion Picture's Klingon makeup is tweaked, on the film's set

Mark Lenard admitted that, before playing the Klingon Captain in The Motion Picture, he had never imagined playing a Klingon and said this was "because they are the arch enemies of the galaxy." (Starlog #42, p. 24) The actor had trouble with the film's Klingon prosthetics, though, complaining, "This Klingon makeup was very uncomfortable and painful." (Starlog #117, p. 48) He clarified, "[It] was so full of hair, and it was so hot–and it itched." (Starlog #138, p. 35) Despite the discomfort, Lenard found that the makeup was sufficiently movable for the required performances, remarking, "Oh yeah, you could be expressive – even as a Klingon." (Starlog #42, p. 26) Richard Arnold once noted that, despite appearing in only a few brief scenes, Lenard was instrumental in developing a key aspect of the Klingon character. Arnold specified that, by making the Klingon Captain "sympathetic," Lenard changed the Klingons "into having more honor." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 27)

The Klingon style for all subsequent Star Trek productions was influenced by the design of the Klingon bridge in The Motion Picture. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 171)

Gene Roddenberry planned for the second Star Trek film to focus on the Klingons, including an exploration of their culture and the motives regarding their passion for battle. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 215) He specifically wanted the second movie to feature a group of Klingons who, having discovered the Guardian of Forever, had traveled through time to 1963 Earth. There, they had prevented the assassination of John F. Kennedy, though their efforts were ultimately thwarted by the crew of the Enterprise, which had followed the Klingons into the past. However, this storyline did not come to be, instead rejected by Paramount. (Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry, "Log Entry 21" & "Log Entry 22")

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The three main Klingons from Star Trek III: The Search for SpockTorg, Kruge and Maltz

Although Harve Bennett originally planned for the Romulans to be the primary villains in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the Klingons were instead made the film's adversaries at the recommendation of Leonard Nimoy, as he convinced Bennett that the Klingons were Star Trek's main antagonists. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 8, p. 30) "I've always been more intrigued by the Klingons," Nimoy conceded, "so I suggested the switch, which Harve readily embraced [....] It was Bill Shatner who reminded me that Gene Coon [...] gave us the gift of Klingons." (I Am Spock, hardback ed., p. 223) Nimoy also perceived that the addition of the Klingons was made out of considerations regarding the Genesis Device, which had been established in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. "They would have heard about it and would have been threatened by it. It had overtones of a Soviet-US kind of combat." (Captain's Log, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray)) Bennett himself added, "That gave us the perfect foil [....] And, of course, Leonard had a marvelous insight into what they should look like. His knowledge of how we could do it made the Klingons the perfect fit; we had our Nazis." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 8, p. 30) Bennett also related, "It was only as I was writing it that I realized the Klingons were as dastardly a group of heavies, and that I had made them so. I'd resurrected them from the series, where they were ill-defined or non-defined." He revealed, too, that his decision to replace the Romulans with the Klingons as the movie's villains was because, after viewing all the episodes of TOS, he perceived a "sense of determination and absolutism" in the Klingon episodes that he felt wasn't so evident with the Romulans. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock audio commentary, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray))

In Star Trek III, Leonard Nimoy wanted to thoroughly explore the Klingon mindset. "My thrust always was, 'Let's learn something,' and I think that's the best of Star Trek, always. 'Let's get under the skin of these characters, under the skin of their story, under the skin of their society. Why are they so paranoid [...] angry and hostile?'" (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock audio commentary, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray))

One unrealized plot thread from Star Trek III, conceived and briefly considered for inclusion, was that the Klingons had stolen a Bird-of-Prey from the Romulans (accounting for the reused name). "We agreed that the Klingons would steal the best from anybody," Harve Bennett recalled, "though we didn't have time to show it in the story." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 8, p. 30) Another changed concept was that, on the surface of the Genesis Planet, the Klingons were originally intended to meet with fierce, carnivorous "rock eels", which were physically planned in concept drawings. One of the Klingons was even devoured by an eel. As the character of the Klingons continued to develop, it became clear that they themselves should be the most ferocious lifeforms on the planet, so the idea of the eels was dropped. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 228) The Klingons also appeared in concept art for Star Trek III, storyboarded to appear much as they had been seen in The Motion Picture. ("The Klingons Attack" and other storyboard sequences, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition) DVD special features)

Leonard Nimoy believed that having the relationship between Klingons Valkris and Kruge established near the start of Star Trek III was "very interesting and helpful in establishing the context in which the story was going to take place." Nimoy was additionally of the opinion that the audience was taught about an aspect of the Klingon mentality via the on-screen interactions between the two Klingons, particularly that Kruge is willing to sacrifice his beloved Valkris, by killing her himself, simply because she has learned all about the secretive Genesis Device. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock audio commentary, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray))

Klingon aesthetics played into the designing of the Bird-of-Prey, such as Leonard Nimoy giving Art Director Nilo Rodis an idea of what a Bird-of-Prey even meant by showing him an image of a Klingon. "I looked at that and I thought, 'OK, I think I understand,'" Rodis remembered. Particular aspects that he took inspiration from, in designing the Bird-of-Prey, were the Klingons' color scheme and that they apparently like decoration. "If you look at the Klingons, there is something fairly gothic and art deco about them," Rodis pointed out. "If you notice, they never wear simple, undecorated costumes; it's all kind of metallic and leather, with piping and stuff [....] Also, even though the Klingons aren't green, they are definitely not blue. They lean more toward gray/green." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 8, p. 58)

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Klingon makeup being applied to an actor for Star Trek III

Specifically at the request of Leonard Nimoy, Robert Fletcher was made responsible for duties encompassing Star Trek III's redesign of Fred Phillips' redesign of the Klingons. Fletcher collaborated with Tom Burman of the Burman Studio, who fabricated Fletcher's designs; they thus created the third-generation version of Klingons, whose bony foreheads were less pronounced than those shown in The Motion Picture. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 226) "We tried to make them somewhat less brutal, less prominent," stated Fletcher, "so that you get a better sense of the Klingons' individual faces." Burman shared Fletcher's conclusion that the Klingon forehead had to be revised. "It was just too cartoonish, and I didn't want a Star Wars look in this movie," Burman related. "There had never been a good marriage between the forehead appliance and the actors' faces. We tried to keep them in character rather than have these obtrusive things on their heads." Burman believed that doing each of the Klingons right took two hours. (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 52) According to Maltz actor John Larroquette, though, application of the makeup required five hours. (Starlog #138, p. 25) The makeup process began with the application of a bald cap and forehead appliance. Still included as part of the makeup was faux facial hair. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 17, No. 3/4, p. 83) Owing to the fact that the makeup artists used a different base on the prosthetic pieces than on the actors' skin, there was a difference between the color of the prosthetics and the skin tones. (Starlog #138, p. 30)

Director of Photography Charles Correll was tasked with using lighting to ensure the Klingon makeup in Star Trek III looked believable throughout the movie, so that any naturally occurring anomalies in the makeup were not highlighted. Given that the bridge set for the film's Klingon Bird-of-Prey was top-lit and deliberately kept dark, Correll said about the Klingons being shown on their own ship, "We were lucky [...] and I think we accomplished what we had to do." The dim lighting not only helped make the Klingon prosthetics less pronounced but also added to how dramatic the Klingons appeared, which the framing of the shots also aided. "Shooting these guys on the Klingon bridge was all about getting in tight, getting mysterious, getting intense," commented Leonard Nimoy. "Very tight, very up-close, intense stuff, to emphasize the power of them, the presence of them, the danger of them, and their conspiratorial attitude, their whispering and the tension that grew out of that." (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock audio commentary, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Special Edition DVD/Blu-ray))

The Star Trek III portrayal of Klingons took inspiration from Japanese history. "Harve [Bennett] had the notion that the Klingons were like Samurai warriors," explained linguist Marc Okrand. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 27) Robert Fletcher agreed with Bennett, later saying of the Klingons, "I always liked to think of them as authoritarian, almost feudal, like Japan had been." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 52) As such, both the Klingon costumes and Klingonese language in Star Trek III were influenced by the feudal Japanese culture. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 226; Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 27; The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 52)

One actor who auditioned for the part of a Klingon in Star Trek III was Robert Beltran. When he walked into an audition with Leonard Nimoy, he forthrightly asked, "So, what's a Klingon?" Though his naivete obviously resulted in him losing the role he was trying out for, Beltran went on to regularly appear as Chakotay on Star Trek: Voyager, years afterwards. (The Finest Crew in the Fleet, p. 84)

At one point, Leonard Nimoy remarked that, on Star Trek III, he was "happier than ever to be working with Klingons!" and that this was due to Kruge actor Christopher Lloyd's portrayal in the film. (I Am Spock, hardcover ed., p. 226) For his part, Lloyd once expressed that he thought the Klingon makeup was helpful to performances, commenting, "That kind of makeup, when it’s put on well, it enhances what you’re doing and gives you more confidence that you’re going to be able to portray the character and make it believable." [11] One drawback of the makeup was that it was difficult to endure. "It was very heavy from the wig all the way down," attested John Larroquette. "It was claustrophobic." (Starlog #138, p. 25)

Multiple Klingon props and hand weapons in Star Trek III were designed by Industrial Light & Magic. (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 53)

Gene Roddenberry didn't find the Klingons in Star Trek III bothersome. This was because they were portrayed with much of the same attitudes as they had always had. (Star Trek Movie Memories, hardback ed., p. 289)

Even by the mid-1980s, Klingon makeup was still extremely thick. Klingon-portraying performers such as John Larroquette, in his role as Maltz, and John Schuck, who portrayed the Klingon ambassador in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, were thereby made to look barely recognizable in their Klingon personas. (Starlog #138, pp. 25 & 28) On the other hand, contrasting films of this period with The Motion Picture, Mark Lenard proclaimed, "They've modified the Klingon makeup a bit so now you show a little more of the face and can distinguish who's who." (Starlog #138, p. 35)

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A trio of Klingons from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, including John Schuck's Klingon Ambassador

Leonard Nimoy selected a single forehead design to be used for all the Klingons in Star Trek IV. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 254) Richard Snell commented, "We did what I called cookie cutter work [....] Basically it was done that way because that's the way it'd been done before." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 33) Said John Schuck, "It involved taking a full head cast. They bury you under mounds of dental compound, making a positive mold out of that, upon which they built the appliances." The duration required for applying Star Trek IV's Klingon makeup (at least in Schuck's case) was four-and-a-half hours. (Starlog #138, pp. 29 & 30) The actor complained, "It was heavy makeup. Getting it on was hard and, I always say, getting it off was harder." [12]

John Schuck thought the Klingons had begun to undergo a gradual transformation of ultimately becoming a tad friendlier by the time of Star Trek IV's creation. After discussing this subject with Gene Roddenberry, Schuck recalled, "It seemed to me that in the minds of the creators, the Klingons had matured [....] I asked him about it. He said it was time for the Klingons to take on a dimension which showed that the culture had changed. Alliances change. There can be progress." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 28) The actor also remembered about Roddenberry, "He felt that maybe the time had come for the Klingons – not that they shouldn't be adversaries and a dark, moody group – to be a little more accessible, make them a little more interesting in that way." (Starlog #138, p. 30)

Much of the focus on the Klingons in the Star Trek films preceding the advent of Star Trek: The Next Generation was not on their culture. Ronald D. Moore perceived, "The movies were sort of more about art direction, sort of how they behaved, and sort of changing their makeup than about anything cultural." ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Regarding the make-up, Michael Westmore observed, "Until now, Klingons were brown. Some had a bony ridge running down the middle of their foreheads, long black wigs and facial hair." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 28)

Becoming heroes Edit

On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gene Roddenberry was originally averse to Klingons appearing at all. (Star Trek Monthly issue 10, p. 50; Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 6) This was because he wanted to avoid them returning until the new series had been accepted on its own merits. As such, the Klingons were one of several original-series aliens (also including Vulcans and Romulans) which were initially vetoed by Roddenberry. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 6) Another issue that resulted in him planning the omission of the Klingons was that, by the time he opened TNG pre-1987 for story concepts from writers, the Klingon backstory had become so extensive it was now a problem. Said Richard Arnold, "Gene kept getting stories from professional writers about wars with the Klingons and he kept saying, 'Star Trek is not about Klingons!'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 56)

Robert Justman began an 18 October 1986 memo to Gene Roddenberry, concerning the show's bible, with the sentence, "Despite your aversion to using Klingons in the new series, I think I've thought of something which might just change your mind." Justman went on to propose a resident Klingon serving aboard the Enterprise, suggesting that the military skills and prowess of the Klingon species might cause such a person to be well-suited for a role in the ship's crew. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, p. 15) Roddenberry's response was adamant about excluding the species, saying, "Bob, we've passed all that. We don't need Klingons." However, Justman insistently challenged this opinion, pointing out that the acceptance of a Klingon in Starfleet could imply that Human attitudes had grown, which fit well with Roddenberry's optimistic view of the future. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 56) Okaying the character concept that then became Worf, Roddenberry finally agreed that a Klingon alliance with the Federation might be indicated via the inclusion of the new character, limiting the focus on the warlike nature of the species. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 70)

Whoopi Goldberg once cited the fact that "the Klingons have cooled out" as an indication that "things are going well for the world." ("Mission Overview", TNG Season 2 DVD/Blu-ray special features) However, the adoption of Plan B actually involved retaining not only the Klingon species itself but also their fierce image of "guys you've got to watch out for," meanwhile having them join the Federation. (Star Trek Monthly issue 10, p. 50) Nonetheless, at least in the opinion of Raphael Hernandez – the producer and writer of the CD-ROM game Klingon Academy – the TNG Klingons turned out to be much less "dramatic" than previous Klingons. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 118, p. 65) Disagreeing, Worf actor Michael Dorn argued that, with the advent of TNG, "the Klingons started talking more like Shakespeare, and they started getting very big." (The A-Z of Star Trek, Special SFX Edition, p. 85) Susan Sackett implied that having the Klingons now be Federation members, a decision made by Gene Roddenberry, was inspired by his efforts to ease hostilities between himself and Paramount, following the rejection of his Klingon-centric script for the second Star Trek film. (Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry, "Log Entry 35")

In the first writer's/director's guide for TNG, Gene Roddenberry stipulated that "no stories about warfare with Klingons" should be submitted. However, he and the rest of the staff soon realized that TNG had quickly established a style of its own, so they allowed Worf's Klingon background to be explored. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 92) As a result, the Klingons made the occasional guest appearance in the first two seasons of TNG. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 64)

Gene Roddenberry thought of the Klingons as actual people, often asking himself such questions as "Would the Klingons be happy with that kind of government or philosophy?" He reflected, "You spend years dreaming them up, and they begin to build up into a rather real thing. I don't for a moment think they are real subjects, but they have a reality for me. I take the fact of their fictional existence very seriously. If I am going to write something about them, and they are going to be seen by Arthur C. Clarke or Ray Bradbury, people I love and respect, I have to pretend that they are real, and that this is serious." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 3, p. 20)

African-American actors were often cast as Klingons in TNG and subsequent Star Trek productions. This practice wasn't racially motivated but was instead carried out because it lessened makeup time, as the performers already had a brown complexion without having to have their skin painted that color. (Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: TNG, Part 2: Launch, TNG Season 1 Blu-ray) Tony Todd, who portrayed the recurring Klingon character Kurn, stated, "I don't look at the Klingons necessarily as African-Americans, but it's about tapping into something–they're certainly an alienated people, so maybe that's why African-American actors can identify with those characters. But that doesn't mean it's exclusive to them." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 116, p. 54)

In relation to the casting of Michael Dorn as Worf, Dorn's manager and many people Dorn knew were at first puzzled as to what a Klingon was. Having been a Star Trek fan since the start of TOS, Dorn knew much about Klingons by now and was consequently able to explain the nature of the species to his curious acquaintances. (Starlog issue #138, p. 64) As Dorn and Robert Beltran were friends, Beltran informed Dorn about his unsuccessful auditioning experience for a Klingon role in Star Trek III, a story which influenced Dorn to devise a strategy for his own audition, which he attended with a Klingon mindset. (The Finest Crew in the Fleet, p. 84)

While Michael Dorn was preparing to play Worf, Gene Roddenberry wanted previous Klingons to have minimal influence on the forthcoming portrayal, advising Dorn, "Forget everything you've ever read or heard about Klingons." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine, Vol. 15, p. 46) Dorn was well aware that the species was intended to be shown in a different light than in TOS. "Roddenberry is saying that even Klingons have redeeming qualities," observed the actor. "That everybody has some good. I agree with him." (The Finest Crew in the Fleet, p. 85)

The Klingon makeup schemes for TNG were influenced by previous Klingon facial appearances. "I already had the basic design from the motion pictures," Michael Westmore observed. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 59) However, he wanted to depart from what had gone before, later claiming that the "subtlety of the original ridges did not translate onto television." (Star Trek 30 Years, p. 57) Westmore made his decision of wanting to deviate from the features of past Klingons upon first thinking about the species for The Next Generation and talking about them with the series' other creative personnel. Believing the addition of prosthetic heads was insufficient, Westmore wanted to differ the TNG Klingons not only from those shown in the previous films but also from the Klingons of the original television series. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61; Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 28) "I felt that for such a fierce warrior race, copying old designs just wasn't enough for The Next Generation," Westmore explained. "I wanted to lend a little more ferocity to their overall appearance, so I asked Rick Berman and Gene Roddenberry to let me try something different from what 'had gone before.'" (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 28) Berman offered, "Gene Roddenberry [also] wanted to redesign the look of the Klingons. That's the real reason for the change in appearance." (Star Trek Monthly issue 100, p. 18) Altering the Klingon makeup scheme for TNG was considered a positive development because it helped to differentiate Klingons from other species. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 3, p. 20) Westmore continued, "It's one area where I had a lot of license with it, because I was given photographs of former Klingons and there were no two alike. They were all different. So, I was given the opportunity to go ahead and create a new Klingon look that hadn't been done yet." ("The Making of a Legend", TNG Season 1 DVD & Blu-ray special feature) The Klingon makeup for The Next Generation was thereafter specifically based on the Klingon look Fred Phillips had developed for The Motion Picture. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 92)

Michael Westmore actually changed the Klingon facial design in numerous ways, though. He stated, "I added a Shakespearean style of facial hair and a forehead bone structure based on dinosaur vertebrae and I was able to modify motion picture Klingons for television." (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 59) He also explained, "I suggested bringing their makeup down into their face by using noses and teeth, rather than having just a forehead." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 25)

Michael Westmore believed adding a ridged "latex nose," an idea he first thought up while designing Michael Dorn's makeup for the character of Worf, ended up as "one of my biggest changes" to the Klingons. The nose appliance connected into the forehead makeup piece and covered the bridge of the nose, thereby bringing the ridged look previously introduced by the forehead into the center of the actor's face. "The idea turned out to be quite successful," Westmore stated, "and became one of our signatures on the series." Each of the actors portraying a Klingon on TNG had a unique latex nose crafted for him or her. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 28)

After incorporating a nose piece into the Klingon facial design, Michael Westmore hit upon the notion of also including newly crafted Klingon teeth, which he made look discolored, broken and uneven. The teeth were acrylic caps which fit over the performer's own teeth. A unique set of teeth was cast for each speaking actor who was to play a Klingon on TNG. This enabled the false teeth to fit perfectly and have, similar to real teeth, an individual appearance. Westmore routinely issued the teeth to the performers one or two days before the actors began working, so they had time to practice with them. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, pp. 28-29)

Michael Westmore based TNG's elaborate Klingon foreheads on images of dinosaur vertebrae sections, for instance by isolating and studying a small part of a single vertebrae. "There are several books that I used as reference material," he noted. One such book was about the anatomy of dinosaurs. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 30)

An early policy was devised by Michael Westmore whereby each Klingon forehead was cast with a different ridge pattern. Westmore soon came to regret this policy, however. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion 3rd ed., p. 21) "As I started sculpting the first forehead pieces for our Klingon guest stars," Westmore revealed, "I was under the mistaken impression that each design had to be different, as opposed to using the same mold more than once. It was the beginning of what I would eventually call 'Klingon Hell'; the self-imposed task of sculpting a new and different head for virtually every Klingon actor [on TNG]." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 29) The makeup department of TNG nevertheless amassed a gigantic backlog of different Klingon foreheads over the years. This was in addition to a supply of different Klingon noses available to the makeup staff. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 28)

At about the start of the series, the duration needed to apply the makeup for a single Klingon was two hours per day. (Starlog issue #138, p. 37) Especially due to the series featuring Worf as a regular character, the Klingon makeup scheme for TNG continued to become more refined throughout the series. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 92) Stated Michael Dorn, "I feel I've been a model for all Klingons." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 60) He also hoped his influence on the species had been a positive one, saying, "I would like to think I've had a hand in [...] making the Klingons interesting." (Star Trek Monthly issue 110, p. 7)

A characteristic design ethos was applied to the Klingons on TNG. "Klingon design is very harsh angles," Senior Illustrator Rick Sternbach pointed out, "and the colors are lots of olive drabs, rusty reds, very hard." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine, Issue 15, p. 14)

While having lunch with Gene Roddenberry one day very early in TNG's first season, Susan Sackett pitched a Klingon episode to him. She later recollected, "I told him I wanted to write a story about a group of renegade Klingons who had not seen the wisdom of the new order in which Klingons [...] were now loyal adherents of the Federation." As Sackett proceeded to outline her rough ideas for the plot, Roddenberry kept nodding his head. "When I finished," Sackett remembered, "he said simply, 'It won't work. Not on this show. All Klingons are now loyal.' End of discussion. Not even Gene could foresee the direction the Klingon story arc would take." (Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry, "Log Entry 37")

Early Klingon forehead prosthetics caused some skin problems. Michael Dorn said, "The glue was the number one thing I had a major problem with." This was remedied, after Dorn complained about it to the producers, in the second season of TNG. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 63) Korris actor Vaughn Armstrong's Klingon forehead prosthetic in the episode "Heart of Glory" likewise caused him to develop a rash by the time it was first removed, as he had an allergic reaction to the makeup. "They were very concerned," Armstrong related, "because they knew they were going to use it a lot, but they fixed it and it never happened again." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 9, p. 43)

Robert Bauer and Michael Dorn

Kunivas actor Robert Bauer and Worf actor Michael Dorn in their Klingon forms

It was "Heart of Glory" which introduced The Next Generation Klingons (except for Worf's previous appearances and an illusory Klingon temptress in "Hide and Q"). Ronald D. Moore once referred to "Heart of Glory" as a notable episode for developing the Klingons. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Owing to the Klingon death ritual established therein, Moore regarded the episode as an uncommon insight into the ritualistic aspect of Klingon culture which "left a mark that the Klingons were very ritualistic." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 58) Michael Dorn commented, "For my money, that was the first real Klingon episode of that first season [....] I think that episode worked because it showed Klingons could be eloquent beings. We gave audiences something where they could ask, 'Wait a minute! Who are these people?'" (Star Trek Generations - Official Movie Souvenir Magazine) Dorn thought it "nice to see that they weren't just savages." (Starlog issue #138, p. 38) He was also of the opinion that the outing not only inspired questions regarding the Klingons but also answered some. Dorn remarked, "I consider 'Heart of Glory' to be an information episode because it gave you everything you wanted to know about what happened with the Klingons. Why did they become allies? [....] That type of thing." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 165) Another facet of the episode's Klingons that Dorn was pleased with was the selection of actors playing them. "[They] were probably some of the best actors we've had on the show," he enthused. "They were steady, they were strong, they were right there, and it really made it a joy to work with them. You had to rise to the occasion." (Starlog issue #138, p. 38) The outing set a precedent for Klingon mythology that was later to be followed in many other installments. "And I think this is something that they probably didn't realize," Dorn said of the TNG producers and writing staff, "when they started down this road of Klingon stuff, that they were gonna have this mythology." ("Making It So: Continuing Star Trek: The Next Generation, Part 1: Strange New Worlds", TNG Season 2 Blu-ray)

Maurice Hurley, who co-wrote the story and scripted the teleplay for "Heart of Glory", observed that the Klingons helped bring a sense of balance to the series. "With the Klingons you're dealing with emotion and passion. You've got somebody who can say something. You need that balance in the show sometimes," he opined. "The show gets so intellectually smug and self-serving, and you need something like that to break it off; someone willing to storm the barricades." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 182) Additionally, Hurley expressed that "Heart of Glory" presented the Klingons in such a way as to be highly relatable, saying, "The hunter remains within us all. That need to stalk and kill, drink warm blood and howl at the moon is part of who we are." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 53) This approach helped the Klingon-playing actors to find their characters' mindsets. "You always start from the human element of these people," stated Vaughn Armstrong. "You find out what it is about them that you can relate to, and then you add other little characteristics as you go along and see the makeup, talk to the director, and all of that." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 9, p. 43)

Director Rob Bowman was extremely familiar with the Klingons before directing "Heart of Glory", later saying, "I knew the Klingons very, very well from the movies and the original series." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 21) Vaughn Armstrong noted about Bowman, "He also said, 'We want the Klingons to be the bikers of the universe!'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 9, p. 42) In "Heart of Glory", Bowman introduced the idea that it took three phaser hits to down a Klingon, with killing blows. "I wanted to make these guys as tough and as bad as I could," he said. ("Rob Bowman – Director of a Dozen", The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 10)

The Klingon alliance with the Federation was at first meant to feature in the story which became "Conspiracy". In the episode's original form, fears that the peace with the Klingons had made the Federation complacent motivated a Starfleet conspiracy based solely on paranoia. The notion of the concern over the alliance was omitted because Gene Roddenberry rejected this early version of the installment. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, pp. 168-169)

In the interval between the first and second seasons of TNG, Michael Dorn voiced some hopes on how the Klingons might proceed to be developed. "In the future, I would like to see a half-human, half-Klingon," he said. "And I would like to see the Klingons interacting more with the Federation. I don't think Klingons should be that much integrated into the Federation. I love their unanimity, their separateness, because they are such a straight-laced people. Once you start integrating the Klingons too much, they lose their edge." (Starlog #138, p. 38)

Riker in Klingon mess hall

Klingons congregate with Riker in "A Matter Of Honor"

Rob Bowman thought the Klingon action in "A Matter Of Honor" made it a fun episode to direct; after doing so, he remarked, "I guess there's a spirit inherent in the Klingons that seems to push it forth in a certain direction with the characters and the camera." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 176)

In "A Matter Of Honor", the Klingons were intended to be used to shed some light on a common social problem prevalent at the time of the episode's making. This was, namely, what it was like to be the only person of either white or black skin coloration while surrounded by people of the other color. The Klingons were selected to illustrate this theme as a spin on the usual arrangement of a predominantly Human crew serving aboard the Enterprise-D alongside Worf. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 176)

Michael Dorn once cited the Klingon crew in "A Matter of Honor" as rare evidence that Klingons can appreciate humor. "Those Klingons had a wonderful sense of humor," the actor opined. "A very sardonic sort of wit." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 59)

Producer Burton Armus not only co-wrote the story and wrote the teleplay for the Klingon-centric episode "A Matter Of Honor" but was also interested in an ultimately undeveloped Klingon story that was written and pitched for the series by freelance writer Marc Scott Zicree. This never-produced episode would have established why the Klingons looked differently in the new series and films to how they had appeared in TOS. Though Armus wanted to buy the story concept, he had left the series before he could. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 60)

Klaa, Korrd and Vixis

A trio of Klingons from Star Trek V: The Final FrontierKlaa, Korrd and Vixis

As co-writer of the story for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the director of that film, William Shatner observed that the Klingons provided an important structural function to the film's writers. "The Klingons were always regarded as an added threat," he stated. "We kept them alive throughout the story–almost mathematically mapped it out–so that the element of tension would be there. Otherwise, it would become, 'Are they going to see God, or aren't they–yes or no, yes or no,' like Ping-Pong balls. This way the elements of the unknown were kept alive, adding more tension and interest to the story. And, of course, they became an interesting way to resolve the final problem of how to get Kirk back on the ship." Harve Bennett cited the Klingons' rescue of Kirk from Sha Ka Ree as contributing to the surprises throughout the movie, saying the reveal of the Klingons as Kirk's rescuers was meant as a "big surprise." (Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, pp. 51 & 50)

William Shatner was pleased with the casting of Todd Bryant and Spice Williams in the Klingon roles of Klaa and Vixis respectively, commenting, "They were physically right for the Klingons and were obviously talented enough to do the roles justice." These two actors spent a great deal of time preparing for their roles. (Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, pp. 78 & 147-148) For instance, because Star Trek V was to be the first time when Klingons with bare arms were shown, Williams and Bryant began to adhere to a strict fitness workout routine and a diet to improve the physical appearance of their bodies. ("That Klingon Couple", Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Special Edition) DVD & Blu-ray)

Some of the Klingon-playing actors in Star Trek V revised previous Klingon characterizations. Art Director Nilo Rodis provided Korrd actor Charles Cooper with advice on Klingon culture, recommending Star Trek III and IV to Cooper with the statement, "That's where the Klingons are really presented." (Starlog #149, pp. 60 & 61) Despite Todd Bryant having already viewed all of the earlier Star Trek movies as well as TOS, he rented VHS tapes of the original Star Trek episodes which featured Klingons and repeatedly re-watched Christopher Lloyd's performance as Kruge in Star Trek III. "I looked for their attitude and how they acted toward humans; I tried to find the differences between the two [....] I learned that Klingons were aggressive and warlike, and I added some thoughts of my own, as to what I believed they would be like." Aware that Klingons had originally been patterned after Genghis Khan, Bryant also studied up on famous historical warriors and rented old pirate films that starred Errol Flynn. "It's a conquering personality that all Klingons have inbred in them," he mused. "They all want to conquer the universe." (Starlog #149, p. 63)

Further helping them prepare for their Star Trek V scenes, Todd Bryant and Spice Williams rehearsed extensively together over several eight-hour days, with the intention of absolutely perfecting their performances. (Starlog #149, p. 63) During this period, Williams decided that the Klingons they were playing should be far different from earlier-established members of the species. "We feel we're playing the Klingons as being much more real," she commented. "You can only go so far in creating a race that's only known for its evil. Seeing Klingons as having wants and desires is much more interesting. Vixis and Klaa are the new generation of Klingons. We're like spoiled rebellious yuppie Klingons. We're not just barking commands at each other. We're sharing and exchanging dialogue and we're showing that there's more than just a working relationship between the two. How Klingons are portrayed in Star Trek V appears to be the historical link when Klingons stopped being the committed enemy of the Federation and began working with them. The fact that a Klingon plays a prominent role in Star Trek: The Next Generation probably results from what takes place in Star Trek V." (Starlog #149, p. 67) The notion that, typically, the Klingon hierarchy would never permit a female Klingon first officer to become a captain was central to the portrayal of the relationship between Klaa and Vixis. Williams explained about herself and Bryant, "We both love Star Trek, we both saw an opportunity to contribute something far greater, a relationship, back story, and we literally sat down [...] and we would go through, 'Who are we? What are we doing here? Why are we here?' I mean, we even discussed, I think, 'What do Klingons brush their teeth with?' And I think Todd said, 'They don't brush their teeth.' That was brilliant!" ("That Klingon Couple", Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Special Edition) DVD & Blu-ray)

Part of conceiving the back story regarding Klaa and Vixis involved Spice Williams and Todd Bryant imagining the nature of the connection between the characters. Said Williams, "We wanted this sensual, sexual relationship that was never done before." Bryant offered, "[It] was something I don't think people got because they cut it out of the film. It's a lot of guesswork there but, yeah, there was a lot of that going on, undercurrent that we had a serious relationship that no-one was supposed to know about." ("That Klingon Couple", Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Special Edition) DVD & Blu-ray)

Vixis makeup

For depicting a Klingon on Star Trek V, a bald cap was applied...

Klaa makeup

...followed by the addition of a Klingon head appliance...

Korrd makeup

...after which the film's Klingon makeup scheme neared completion

According to Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (p. 148), Todd Bryant and Spice Williams had to endure a three-hour makeup session each morning to look sufficiently Klingon. According to Starlog #149 (p. 64), however, Bryant's makeup required a daily duration of four hours to be put on. He himself specified, "We'd both get there real early, 3.45 a.m. for an 8 o'clock or 9 o'clock a.m. call. So, we'd be sitting in the makeup chair for a good four hours." ("That Klingon Couple", Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Special Edition) DVD & Blu-ray) Charles Cooper's makeup as Korrd took four-and-a-half hours to apply and an hour to remove. (Starlog #149, p. 62)

For each of the performers cast to portray a Klingon in Star Trek V, the application process began with a bald cap being positioned over the performer's hair, after which one of the Klingon forehead appliances was added. (Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, p. 148) William Shatner permitted Richard Snell to produce each of the film's Klingon foreheads as a distinctive design. "I always felt that their foreheads should be like a thumbprint," admitted Snell, "and on V, Shatner said, 'Go ahead, make 'em different.' I thank him for that. That opened the door and now the sky's the limit." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 33) The forehead prosthetic was attached to the actor's skin using a strong adhesive glue. Both the newly added appliance and the skin were then painted with makeup, which was a mixture of acrylic and adhesive. Each performer then donned a hairpiece, helping complete the illusion. Unlike Todd Bryant and Spice Williams, Charles Cooper underwent an additional step in the procedure, as his makeup was completed with a layer of KY jelly that was used to give his skin a slick, oily appearance. (Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, pp. 148 & 149) The only Klingon which Makeup Effects Artist Kenny Myers created for Star Trek V was a Klingon god, of which he said, "I knew I wanted something that would imply a little more history to their race." In an attempt to imbue a sense of Klingon evolution in the design, Myers redesigned the forehead slightly, so it was a little higher than usual. (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 90)

Unusually, Todd Bryant enjoyed being in the heavy, dark makeup required for his appearance as a Klingon, as well as the big wig associated with Klaa. He subsequently noted, "There wasn't really a sweat problem. It didn't really get that hot." (Starlog #149, p. 64)

Given the extreme degree of preparation involved, William Shatner was very excited to film the Klingons. He was not disappointed, thrilled with the performances of Spice Williams and Todd Bryant. (Captain's Log: William Shatner's Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, pp. 147 & 148) Indeed, the efforts they had gone to in order to prepare for their Klingon roles turned out to be successful. "It worked," stated Bryant, "because, by the time we got there, we were so well-versed and we knew exactly how it was going to be blocked; everything went very quickly, and we did one or two takes most of the time." (Starlog #149, pp. 63-64) Commented Williams, "Todd and I were so well-rehearsed that they were able to shoot all our scenes in three days. In fact, Shatner would come up to us after almost every scene and say something like, 'You're the most well-rehearsed actors I've ever seen.'" (Starlog #149, p. 67) The pair of actors continued their diet even during production. Williams noted, "We were eating cans of tuna before shooting a scene." (Starlog #149, p. 64)

As with the Klingons in Star Trek III, Gene Roddenberry wasn't bothered by the Klingons in Star Trek V. Again, this was due to them being portrayed with much the same attitudes as had been usual for them. (Star Trek Movie Memories, hardback ed., p. 289)

Plakson and Dorn

Suzie Plakson and Michael Dorn in their respective guises as K'Ehleyr and Worf

At one stage, Ron Moore cited "The Emissary" as a significant installment for developing the Klingons. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Brannon Braga, who later served on the writing staff of TNG, and Moore agreed that Michael Dorn and K'Ehleyr actress Suzie Plakson were "very good together," first acting alongside each other in "The Emissary". ("Reunion" audio commentary, TNG Season 4 Blu-ray) Dorn himself, however, wished the episode had gone deeper into the relationship between Worf and K'Ehleyr, feeling the installment merely "scratched the surface" and that the idea of the romance was "sort of a teaser." Countering this opinion, Story Editor Melinda M. Snodgrass remarked, "I think there was a lot of heat." In crafting the episode's plot, the TNG writing staff toyed with the concept of the Klingons having allied themselves with the Federation without actually having become members of the organization. "That gave us something to play with," noted Snodgrass. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 45)

At the time Ron Moore wrote his first produced episode for TNG, season three's "The Bonding", he had become interested in the Klingons and had read about the species in the novel The Final Reflection, a book which had shaped much of his thinking about Klingons. ("The Bonding" and "Sins of the Father" audio commentaries, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Indeed, he had also begun considering several aspects of Klingon culture, concepts which he explored in "The Bonding". These ideas included Klingon honor, Houses and bonding people to them. However, Moore was unaware he was about to become synonymous with Klingon episodes. "I certainly didn't anticipate [...] that I would keep embellishing," Moore admitted, with a laugh, "on this culture, over and over again, throughout my Star Trek tenure." ("The Bonding" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray)

Klingons were present in an initial plot thread developed for but dropped from the episode "Deja Q". "We developed a whole story about how we were going to come into a war with the Klingons," detailed Michael Piller. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 191)

A poetic line of dialogue concerning the Klingons (and explaining why Worf never gazed at the stars while in Ten Forward, unlike many of his crewmates) was similarly excised from "Yesterday's Enterprise". Ron Moore, who wrote the line, recalled, "Worf said something about [...] 'To look at the naked stars is to ask them questions, and Klingons do not ask questions for which there will be no answers; we make the stars ask questions of us.'" ("Yesterday's Enterprise" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray)

One of the most definitive episodes for the Klingons is "Sins of the Father". Ronald D. Moore noted, "It was kind of a landmark show in terms of portraying their culture." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 170) The installment gave an insight, for the first time, into how Klingons behaved on their homeworld. The story basically came about as a combination of two Klingon-centric scripts, "Our Brother's Keeper" by Beth Woods and "Brother to Dragons" by Drew Deighan, though Moore also found himself assigned to help develop the episode. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) He noted, "This was the first time I really concentrated on the Klingons as a whole." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 58)

When Ron Moore joined the TNG writing staff and began working on "Sins of the Father", Michael Piller – who was by now running the writing staff – asked Moore to write him a Klingon-defining memo. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray; Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 64) "As part of the [episode's] development process," recounted Moore, "he said, 'Tell me what you know about the Klingons. Write up something that tells me about their culture.'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 64) This was because – as Piller wasn't a Star Trek fan – he was attempting to understand who the Klingons were. Since Moore was a fan, he had his own opinions about the nature of the Klingons. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) "I just went upstairs to my office and pounded out my take on the Klingons," he remembered. "I felt I was starting with a blank page [....] I really did feel that there was a great deal that had yet to be explored, and that there was a lot of room to play around with." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 64)

Indeed, the fact that very little had been firmly established about the Klingons, canonically, provided Ron Moore with a lot of creative freedom to invent facets of their culture in the memo, so he wrote his own personal ideas regarding the species into the document. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) For example, there was no canonical information about the workings of Klingon politics. Moore therefore invented the Klingon High Council and set up the ground rules of Klingon government. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 66)

Though Ron Moore didn't feel bound to the past, his thoughts about the Klingons did have some televisual and literary roots. "I took what I had seen in the original series as a jumping-off point," he noted. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 64) Apart from a couple of key installments that previously developed the Klingons in TNG, Moore also recalled the few details about them that had been set up; "Certain things about their culture having, sort of, honor-bound traditions were sort of established." ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) The experience of having written "The Bonding" was also an influence on the document. ("The Bonding" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Much of the memo's content was inspired by literature, with The Final Reflection serving as the primary influence. In general terms involving Houses and conflicts between them, the fictional universe of Dune, created by Frank Herbert, was very influential too. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Two historical societies, the Samurai and Vikings, served as other inspirations, Moore perceiving about Klingon culture, "There was the calm, elegant reserve associated with the Samurai but there was the 'party-down' like the Vikings." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 58) Additionally, he said of the Klingons, "They had these real intricate codes of honor and poetry, like the Samurai. They were also like the Vikings; they were big, brawling, larger than life, they liked to drink and sing big songs like the Vikings, or at least our conception of the Vikings. That was where I began with the culture. The irony was that I wrote them more like the Romulans had been in the original series [as a very honorable warrior caste who had codes of ethics]." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 65)

There were two main elements which were decidedly not influential on Ron Moore's writing of the memo about the Klingons, the first being the reference book The Worlds of the Federation. "I hated the chapter on Klingons in that," he stated, "so I went out of my way to do everything the opposite of what it said!" The second was the use of the Klingons as metaphorical representations of the Russians. "I stopped thinking of the Klingons as the Cold War adversary," he explained. "I didn't think it fit [....] The place where the Russians were when I was doing the Klingon shows just wasn't as relevant any more. The Wall had fallen, and it was all about the collapse of this empire, and what they were going to do internally, and how do they become a democracy. I didn't want to take the Klingons down that road, because it would have essentially defanged them and I liked keeping them more dangerous [....] I wanted the Klingons to be this long-running Empire with a long, glorious history, [whose politics had gone on for a few thousand years] and whoever is up and whoever is down is just one more chapter." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19, pp. 64 & 65)

Entitled "Klingon History and Culture: A Brief Overview" and running two pages long, Ron Moore's descriptive memo about the Klingons began with a description of the Klingon Empire, outlining that the planets therein enjoyed "many advantages and benefits of their association with the Klingons." The memo went on to say, "The Klingons are not evil, tyrannical pirates bent only on pillage and plunder. They have a strict, almost unyielding code of ethics and honor and take their responsibilities as rulers seriously." Following a description of the Klingon homeworld, the memo continued by saying, "Klingon society could most closely be compared to that of Sparta or feudal Japan." A description of the Klingon Empire's political system followed, involving the High Council and establishing that there was an Emperor. The document continued, "Klingons have a very complex and highly developed code of conduct, involving almost every aspect of their lives. Their sense of honor and integrity is integral to their very being." The text then detailed Klingon Houses and the high importance with which Klingons held them, before stating, "Strangers must prove their worthiness before a Klingon will accept them as an equal. Weakness, either mental or physical, is not tolerated. Klingons are born to be warriors. Time spent in other professions is used only to expand their knowledge and range of skills in preparation for being a warrior. Several of the races they have conquered now serve as the merchants, farmers, traders, machinists, et cetera, of the Empire. Klingons respect courage, strength and cunning, in that order [....] Klingons respect the declared war, the killing stroke, the blood feud, death in the field of battle and clear positions of hostility."

The names of several characters in "Sins of the Father" were thought up by linguist Marc Okrand. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 58) Something which differentiated the Klingons from the Romulans and the Starfleet crew of the Enterprise was the Klingons' love of ritual, a facet which had already been somewhat explored in episodes such as "The Icarus Factor" and "The Bonding". "It just seemed like that was part of their culture," Ron Moore remembered, explaining why he chose to include it in the installment which became "Sins of the Father". (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 65)

After Ron Moore and W. Reed Moran co-wrote a script that was based on the teleplays for "Our Brother’s Keeper" and "Brother to Dragons" and was entitled "Sins of Our Fathers", Michael Piller wrote a criticizing memo in which he stated, "I [...] feel we haven't adequately defined or explored the Klingon culture." Contrastingly, at another point during the writing of the episode, Piller decided the Klingon ceremonies established in the installment were too numerous, excluding one which Moore later described as "an elaborate sort of a take-off on a Japanese tea ceremony that was sort of a traditional greeting when someone came to your home." ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Despite Piller's feelings, the ritualistic aspect of the Klingons remained in the episode. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray); Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 65) Personified in the relatively understated portrayal of Chancellor K'mpec (in contrast to the Klingons' tendency for bombastic behavior), Piller was very fond of thinking the Klingons publicized a sense of their culture to outsiders that was not necessarily true within the society and that there were, as Moore phrased it, "the public face of the [Klingons] and then the backstage face of the Klingons." ("Reunion" audio commentary, TNG Season 4 Blu-ray)

Ron Moore envisaged the Klingons as a frequently corrupt society. "That was one of the great contradictions of the Empire; the society is built around a concept of being honorable," he stated, "but those principles are often sacrificed and compromised by people like Duras." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 66)

Worf faces the high council

Klingons with their backs to Worf, dishonoring him

The ways in which the Klingons ultimately dealt with Worf's brother, Kurn, changed considerably between the various script drafts of "Sins of the Father", though the Klingons dishonored Worf at the end of all drafts of the script, a plot point whose unresolved quality was then very rare for the series and allowed the installment to become the first part in a Klingon arc. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Ron Moore fought for the unconcluded nature of the episode. He was initially unsure if the series should produce a Klingon-heavy sequel to "Sins of the Father" but realized, "Whenever we run into a Klingon ship from now on we're forced to deal with it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 45 & 59)

In his role as Kurn, Tony Todd appreciated the nature of the relationship between his own character and Worf. "I loved the battling that went on between Worf and [Kurn]," Todd reminisced. (Star Trek Magazine issue 157, p. 39) Because he had a relatively large head, Todd could fit into Michael Dorn's rather large Klingon headpiece. Although there were several members of the House of Mogh, Dorn's headpiece couldn't be used on all occasions, however. Michael Westmore observed, "Michael Dorn's head is so big that nobody else could really wear it [....] Everybody else that has come along has a smaller head and could never wear Worf's head." (Star Trek Monthly issue 46,  p. 82)

Although the Klingon makeup remained arduous, Duras actor Patrick Massett was of the belief that it helped found the Klingon characters. "The real clincher is when they stick your teeth in," he revealed. "You have something to bite." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 58)

Focusing on Klingon politics to such a degree as "Sins of the Father" does involves an element of risk. Observed Ron Moore, "It's really interesting how deep into Klingon politics the show got. I mean, this was a fairly unheard-of thing [....] And it was asking the audience to buy into that and to actually care about that. And Michael [Piller], I remember, was [...] always kind of on-the-fence about it. There were times when Michael Piller thought that was great, it was taking the show in a new direction. Other times, he kind of went, 'You know what? I don't know if the audience is gonna care about whether the Klingon Empire falls into civil war or not." By continually leaning on how the political goings-on had dramatic repercussions for Worf, Moore thought the episode's political machinations were successful. "You are caught up in the political nature of the story," he expressed. ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray)

After completing the script for "Sins of the Father", Ron Moore had no reason to expect he would be requested to write any more Klingon episodes. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 66) The focus on Klingons in "Sins of the Father", however, established him as key to the development of the species. He remembered, "I got tagged with being 'the Margaret Mead of the Klingons' right after I did 'Sins of the Father' for TNG [....] In story meetings, people started talking to me about the Klingons, like I knew them or something." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 170) Moore was regarded as an expert on the Klingons not only because he had written "Sins of the Father" but also due to him having written the memo concerning the species. Even though the writing staffers kept asking him questions about the Klingons, he didn't have all the details about the species worked out. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 66)

Nonetheless becoming the custodian of Klingon culture, Ron Moore found himself writing the vast majority of Klingon installments for TNG. Each episode he wrote seemed to present him with new opportunity to explore different facets of Klingon culture, elaborating on his original sketchy memo. "Everything that I did, I did for specific episodes," he recalled. "In each episode I would explore this terrain, or I needed to accomplish something that would force me to examine this part of the culture, but I never sat back and tried to develop a master scheme. As a result, there are certain internal contradictions, but I didn't want to sit back and try to come up with a full-blown outline of how the society worked, because I felt that was restrictive and that it wasn't serving the goal of making the show." Although he attempted to keep everything he wrote consistent with previous shows, Moore was careful not to create too many rules for Klingon society. "I seldom went beyond what I needed to do in an episode," he said, "but I'm sure if you actually looked back through the scripts there's probably scenes and lines and references that would influence how you thought about the Klingons that never made it to the final version." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19, pp. 66 & 67)

Frakes directing reunion

In their Klingon personas as Worf and K'Ehleyr, Michael Dorn and Suzie Plakson are watched over by Director Jonathan Frakes

K'Ehleyr, Worf, Alexander

A family portrait; Suzie Plakson, Jon Steuer, and Michael Dorn on the set of TNG: "Reunion"

The developing Klingon mythology was significantly explored in fourth season installment "Reunion". "That was really where we began embroidering the larger saga that was sort of developing about the Klingons and Worf," reflected Ron Moore, "and that would lead to the civil war and [fourth season ender] 'Redemption'." ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Two factors mainly motivated the unusually extreme amount of continuity among the Klingons in "Reunion": the seemingly obvious fact that the writers were going to follow up the story of the Klingons having dishonored and discommendated Worf in "Sins of the Father" and a desire to return the fairly popular character of K'Ehleyr to the series. Furthermore, Klingon traditions such as the Klingon death ritual and turning one's back on someone with the intention of dishonoring them were reused from "Heart of Glory" and "Sins of the Father" respectively. ("Reunion" audio commentary, TNG Season 4 Blu-ray) "By the time we rolled around to 'Reunion', the Klingons were a society that had a lot of ritualistic elements," observed Ron Moore. "That was just something else to keep embroidering on and keep using." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 65)

Dealing with intense political machinations between core Klingon characters, the genesis of "Reunion" was a story outline and script which had the oft-reused title "What Dreams May Come" and was written by Drew Deighan. This version of the story began with K'Ehleyr and Worf's son arriving on board the Enterprise, after which a Klingon battle cruiser – commanded by Duras – arrived. By the episode's conclusion, a Klingon Civil War broke out, Duras and K'Ehleyr were both killed, followed by some family bonding between Worf and his son. Thomas and Jo Perry adapted this form of the plot into a different outline and a different script draft, which added many of the elements that remain in the episode, such as introducing the ultimately much-seen recurring character of Gowron and naming Worf's child "Alexander." Ron Moore and Brannon Braga used this, to a large degree, as a basis for them to collaboratively write the final draft of the episode's teleplay. By this time, Braga regarded Moore as "an expert" on Klingon mythology, though Moore himself later conceded, "I just made it up as we went along." ("Reunion" audio commentary, TNG Season 4 Blu-ray)

About the same time as he worked on the writing of "Reunion", Ron Moore found that the grand themes explored in such episodes put the Klingons on an epic stage and played to his strengths as a writer, as he was drawn to history and politics. "The Klingons seemed to lend themselves so easily to it [i.e., an epic saga] that it was a good fit," he reasoned. "I could write in these Shakespearean terms of the rise and fall of empires on a very large canvas [extremely akin to] Shakespeare's history plays." And just as with several characters in Shakespeare productions, Moore wanted the Klingons in "Reunion" to be extremely duplicitous. "The whole Klingon epic at that point," he continued, "was just soaked in intrigue and conspiracy and cross and double-cross [....] It made it more interesting if it wasn't quite so clear whose side was right." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19, pp. 67 & 68)

The notion of the Klingons progressively poisoning K'mpec was an idea which Michael Piller liked and which remained in all drafts of the teleplay for "Reunion". Also, the staff writers believed it necessary that Duras and K'Ehleyr die in the outing. Though the episode originally included the Klingon homeworld and more scenes on board the Klingon battle cruiser than eventually ended up in the installment, the Klingon scenes were edited so much that Piller wrote a note to Ron Moore, specifying that only one Klingon set was permitted in the script. However, this was not to be and Denise Okuda once commented that the Klingon settings which were featured were "cool ships." ("Reunion" audio commentary, TNG Season 4 Blu-ray)

Though obviously belonging to Worf's family, a smaller prosthetic headpiece was used for Alexander when Jon Steuer played him in "Reunion". The crafting of a miniature version of Worf's cranial ridges was due to the fact Steuer had a smaller head than Michael Dorn's. (Star Trek Monthly issue 46, pp. 82 & 81)

Production staffers such as Doug Drexler tried to help performers playing Klingons – for instance, Gowron actor Robert O'Reilly – with their portrayal. "There were actors who came in to play Klingons who had never seen the show," said Drexler. "So it was part of the job, as the makeup artist is applying their makeup, to help the actor find the proper mindset." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 212) O'Reilly himself postulated, "As soon as you become the Klingon leader, you become the antagonist [....] As soon as you're the leader, you immediately change, like any leader does. It was inevitable." (Star Trek Monthly issue 96,  p. 50)

At first, Robert O'Reilly rationalized meticulously about Klingon anatomical details. "When I started doing Gowron, I picked apart every physicality," he explained, "and worked on it separately before integrating it [....] I [even] thought about how the Klingon eye might work within the rest of the body." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 122, p. 27)

Although he established in "Reunion" that women may not serve on the Klingon High Council, Ron Moore didn't immediately realize the repercussions for females. "Even then," he recalled, "I didn't think it through and realize this was a very large sociological point about the Klingons; it was strictly a plot point [....] I wasn't trying to imply that they [Klingon females] were second tier citizens at all." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 67) The change, which contrasted with Gowron offering a seat on the High Council to K'Ehleyr in "Reunion", was also made because Moore wanted to differentiate the Klingons from the Federation and the Romulans. He imagined the Klingons as "a traditionally patriarchal society," with many aspects of that having disappeared over time, and pointed out, "It's an alien society with alien values and we shouldn't be able to identify with all aspects of their culture." (AOL chat, 1997)

The appearances of so many Klingons on TNG influenced the show's makeup department to devise new ways of dealing with the consequent makeup demands. "In the case of a story like 'Redemption', which had a large cast of Klingon characters, we had to develop a series of shortcuts to save time," explained Michael Westmore. "Instead of making a cast of each actor's head for example, I would measure their head when they walked in the door. If their head size was close to that of a pre-existing mold, we would create our new design on an available head mold. Quite often, if we had two actors with similarly-sized heads, I would sculpt the first forehead design, and after taking a mold from it, the clay sculpture would still be intact. This would eliminate the need for 'basing it up'; the process of putting the clay on the mold." Thanks to this time-saving measure, Westmore was able to immediately begin redesigning a new bone structure for the second Klingon. Rather than spending a whole day on the new sculpture, he could re-sculpt the second head design in three or four hours. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 29)

Klingon nightclub

Klingon socializing in "Redemption II"

In season five opener "Redemption II", Ron Moore wrote a Klingon nightclub scene involving a party with two warring sides and Klingons socializing together regardless of their affiliation. "It's like the old Warner Brothers cartoon with the sheepdog and the coyote," Moore expressed. "They're at each other all day, then the whistle blows, and they punch their card and go home together. I thought, well, Klingons are sort of like that too [....] I just loved that, I thought it was a very odd, not human society." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 68) For the same scene, Director David Carson originated some new forms of Klingon actions. "Rick Berman encouraged me to invent new ways of behaving," Carson remembered, "which is why they banged their heads together as a game; or arm wrestling with pointed daggers attached to their wrists. It was totally Klingon and it's an interesting world to work in." Shortly following the making of the "Redemption" two-parter, Berman himself stated, "We've played out our Klingon political trilogy to a point where we can take a rest for a while." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 227)

Robert O'Reilly believes that, from "Redemption II" onwards, the Klingons developed a sense of humor. "I think the writers started edging towards that," reflected the actor. "They were also scared of it. They didn’t want to go too far. Eventually I think most of the writers went, 'Yeah, we can go there.' From that moment on, I think Klingons could have a sense of humor." [13] In a 1995 interview, however, O'Reilly stated, "I've noticed that most Klingons don't have a sense of humor and I have always felt that was due to a choice of playing it too much one-way." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 54) The actor later detailed, "A Klingon having a sense of humor hadn't really been done at that point. The writers saw that it would be fun." (Star Trek Monthly issue 96,  p. 49)

Three days after Frank Mancuso – who was President of Paramount Pictures at the time – asked Leonard Nimoy for help in making Star Trek VI, Nimoy devised an idea for the film's plot which was centered on the Klingons. (Star Trek Movie Memories, hardback ed., pp. 277-278) He gave much consideration to how the Klingons were similar to the Communists. Influenced by the contemporaneous crumbling of both the Soviet Union (which included Russia) and its border which was the Berlin Wall, Nimoy chose to represent the Klingons as encountering analogous circumstances. "Realizing that over the 25 year history of Star Trek, the Klingons have been the constant foe of the Federation, much like the Russians and Communists were to democracy, I wondered how we could translate these contemporary world affairs into an adventure with the Klingons," stated Nimoy. "I thought it was an ideal way for us to have our closure too, because the Klingons for us have always been the Communist Block, the Evil Empire. It just made sense to do that story." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 100) Nimoy imagined that, unless they agreed on a treaty with the Federation, the desperate Klingons would be akin to "East Berliners streaming over the places where the [Berlin] Wall used to be." (The View from the Bridge - Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country")

Once he conceived the Klingon-centric story idea for Star Trek VI, Leonard Nimoy told Frank Mancuso the concept. "I came back to Mancuso and said, 'Okay, here's my idea. The Klingons have this terrible problem. Their economy is screwed up just like the Russians. We've always used the Klingons as our analogy for the Communist Bloc, and now, for the first time, they'll have to reach out for help and admit they have a problem. The crew of the Enterprise will try to save them.'" (Star Trek Movie Memories, hardback ed., p. 278)

During a meeting which Paramount Vice President of Production Teddy Zee had with Leonard Nimoy and writing duo Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner, Zee veered from Nimoy's plan of focusing the sixth movie on the Klingons by instead proposing the story should be about Romulans. Nimoy maintained that the plot revolve around relations with the Klingons, stipulating, "This is not just another Star Trek, this is the close of our hostile relationship with the Klingons at the end of twenty-five years." (Star Trek Movie Memories, hardback ed., p. 279) Rosenthal attested, "We had two meetings with Leonard and Teddy, where we said the film should be about a peace with the Klingons, and that it would be a nice parallel to reality." The main concern which Rosenthal and Konner had – while trying to help write the film – was that very few details about the Klingon Empire had previously been established. In Rosenthal and Konner's version of the plot, the Klingons arrested Kirk when he was turned over to them by Sulu, though this arrangement actually had secretly been set up by the Federation President, so Kirk didn't resist the Klingons arresting him. The writing duo planned to establish much about Klingon society in the story. "We discussed the fact that the Klingons are this aggressive race," remembered Rosenthal. "Originally they supposedly had this reptilian background. In regards to this whole thing about Kirk and his search to uncover the conspiracy behind the assassination....we originally came upon more primitive Klingon tribes who had an almost religious representation for the Klingons the way that they do for the United States in Dances With Wolves. They would be much more primitive and violent. We were going to do a whole thing on the anthropology of the Klingons, but all of that was dropped because it would have been too expensive." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., pp. 99, 100, 106 & 104)

The Klingons were thought about in great detail by Leonard Nimoy and Director Nicholas Meyer when they had an initial discussion about Star Trek VI, on Cape Cod beach. Meyer recalled, "Leonard asked me, 'What would happen if some terrible thing happened to the Klingons and they tried to make peace?' We talked about that for a long time." (Star Trek Movie Memories, p. 281)

The way the Klingons in Star Trek VI were used to reflect relevant issues within human society was extremely valued by some members of the film's creative personnel, including Denny Martin Flinn. "So when Leonard [Nimoy] came up with the idea that the Klingons could stand in for the Russians and we could deal with the end of the Cold War," said Flinn, "we were home free in terms of fundamentals that we knew worked." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 46) Gene Roddenberry was likewise enthusiastic about the concept of forging peaceful relations with the Klingons, as it was a stepping stone to the future of a Klingon serving in the Federation on TNG. "He was very intrigued with the idea that we would be exploring the relationship with the Klingons," reported Nimoy. "He was concerned in this particular story about the prejudice question [...] [but] by and large, he was quite taken with the idea of a Klingon detente." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 101) On the other hand, Roddenberry wasn't completely happy with how the species was portrayed in that situation. In fact, Richard Arnold remembered, "Gene was really bothered by the Klingons in VI [....] [They] were, in his words, 'too civilized, too decent, too much of the good guys in the story.' [....] [The Klingon detente] was not the way Gene would have handled it. He would have reversed it, he would have had the Klingons being the ones who couldn't handle the peace, with the Federation saying, 'Come on, let's try and work this out.'" (Star Trek Movie Memories, hardback ed., p. 289)

While co-writing the script of Star Trek VI with Nicholas Meyer, Denny Martin Flinn felt free to write about the Klingons as he saw fit – because he didn't have a detailed knowledge of Star Trek before joining the production – and to make any necessary changes afterwards. He reflected, "There was an attitude on my part that if somebody in the first draft says Klingons don't eat with their left hand, they eat with their right, I'll just change it." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., pp. 101-102)

Leonard Nimoy wanted to use Star Trek VI to explore Klingons and their culture. "It seemed to me that this movie presented us with a perfect opportunity" to do so, he said in retrospect. The depiction of the Klingons in Nicholas Meyer's and Denny Martin Flinn's first draft of the film's screenplay, however, frustrated Nimoy. "The story never explored the Klingon culture the way I'd hoped it would [....] I was hoping for greater insight into the Klingons." (I Am Spock) Nimoy hoped, in specific, that the movie would provide some important insight into why the Klingons had "always been so angry, such nasty, vicious murderers." Nimoy wanted the insightful knowledge to be an intellectually transformational force, changing the thinking of Kirk and the audience. On the other hand, Meyer was never comfortable with that notion and, though the writing team attempted to make it work, it simply "just never came to be," in Nimoy's words. (Star Trek Movie Memories, hardback ed., pp. 287-288)

The Klingons in Star Trek VI were additionally influenced by other races than merely the Soviets. Nicholas Meyer thought up one of these ideas, bearing in mind a Klingon courtroom scene from the film. Recounted Nilo Rodis, "He said, 'The Klingons are kind of like Romans throwing Christians to the lions.'" This concept went on to inspire the design of the courtroom itself. Thousands of Klingons were initially imagined as being inside Star Trek VI's Klingon courtroom. However, this quantity had to eventually be lessened because the production was limited to including only sixty-five background performers selected to play Klingons. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 55) The references to Klingons in Star Trek VI also incorporated racial insults very similar to real-world anti-black statements. (The View from the Bridge - Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Prep–Casting")

As for the possible ancestry of the Klingons, Gregory Jein – who served as props master on Star Trek V as well as on Star Trek VI – theorized that they developed from an underwater species. "My philosophy is that the Klingons came out of the sea originally," he mused, "and the sea was their basic cultural heritage." Jein took inspiration from this belief when crafting many of the Klingon props from Star Trek VI. He observed, "Most of the Klingon stuff I designed had that quasi-organic look [....] A lot of their props have a biomorphic shape to them." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 129)

Nicholas Meyer wanted Star Trek VI to show Klingons interacting with their disruptors more than the species had ever been depicted doing so before. "On this film, Nick Meyer decided he wanted to show the Klingons drawing their phasers out of their holsters," Greg Jein pointed out. (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 129)

For Star Trek VI, Richard Snell was made responsible for designing and fabricating all the Klingon make-ups, enormous numbers of which were needed. In fact, more Klingons are featured in Star Trek VI than those in the franchise's earlier films combined. The task of creating sixty-six suitably realistic Klingon make-ups was at first deemed too much of a workload for the movie's limited make-up department to take on, in the times allotted. "Fortunately, Paramount was gracious enough to say, 'Do what you have to do. If you need 66 Klingons, then hire accordingly' and we did," reflected Make-Up Supervisor Michael J. Mills. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 33) Klingon appliances were produced by a staff employed by Snell's makeup lab. (Cinefex, No. 49, p. 44) Noted Snell, "On certain days, we had upwards of 75 to 80 makeup people working." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 33)

Richard Snell was relieved that, in Star Trek VI, Nicholas Meyer gave him leeway to design the Klingons as slightly more diverse and grotesque than they had been in previous films. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 33) Regarding the variety abundant in the movie's depiction of the species, Michael J. Mills explained, "Since the Klingons were to play such a major part in the proceedings, the director wanted them to be as believable as possible. He wanted the audience to watch the actors' faces and not be distracted by the makeups. So every one had to be a custom job – which translated out to be about three-and-a-half hours. Richard Snell did a great job of coming up with all sorts of different designs for the Klingons, and we used the newest techniques and glues and paints for the applications – which was important since these characters were being seen face to face with the principal actors playing humans. The appliances had to be very thin in order to allow the expressions on our actors to come through and read clearly." (Cinefex, No. 49, p. 45) Offered Snell, "We had about 18 different designs for all the speaking roles. For the courtroom sequence, we had another 30 'A' makeups, 40 of the 'B' foam latex background mask makeups which still required makeup artists because they blended around the eyes, and 50 over-the-head polyurethane plastic Klingon masks for the far background ones. We'd then paint and hair each of those background Klingons differently. We had a wide diversity of styles, from very sedate to wild, heavy, bony plates. All told, we delivered over 300 Klingon pieces." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 33) Elements such as hairstyles and jewelery made the Klingons even more physically diverse. "Ron Pipes, working with Richard Snell, did a lot of work designing the wigs, which played a substantial role in making the characters look more believable," remembered Mills. "Our hairstylist, Jan Alexander, was instrumental in coming up with various braids and jewelry which suggested a tribal people with a whole heritage and history behind them." (Cinefex, No. 49, pp. 42, 44 & 45)

The Klingon makeups in Star Trek VI had to work well in sync with the lighting. Cinematographer Hiro Narita offered, "Sometimes in a warm ambient [light], the Klingons looked too red, so the makeup people had to adjust it or I'd adjust my lighting here and there." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 116) This was despite the fact that the Klingons had, by now, a red color scheme. It was used for ship interiors in Star Trek VI as well as in earlier films and briefcases in the sixth film, though not for a judge's gavel in the same movie. (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., pp. 116, 129 & 128)

Leonard Nimoy and Nicholas Meyer agreed it was logical for the actors who played Gorkon and Chang, two Klingon characters important to the story of Star Trek VI, to be name actors of talent and presence. (The View from the Bridge - Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Prep–Casting") "All I knew about Klingons was that they weren't very nice," admitted Gorkon actor David Warner. "What the attraction of this was was that he was the bridge between Klingons." [14] Meyer met with Whoopi Goldberg to discuss casting her as a Klingon princess in the film but Nimoy vetoed this idea. (The View from the Bridge - Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Prep–Casting")

The philosophy behind how Klingons relate to their spacecraft developed during the creation of Star Trek VI. William George recalled, "We did some research into military costuming, and came up with the concept that when these ships return victorious from battle, the Klingons build some sort of epaulet onto their wings or paint a new stripe on." (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 119)

Answering a casting call for Klingon extras in the Spring of 1991, TNG Pre-Production Associate Eric A. Stillwell and Trent Christopher Ganino, who co-wrote the story for "Yesterday's Enterprise" with Stillwell, signed up to be Klingon extras for Star Trek VI, as Nicholas Meyer required a roomful of Klingons for the film's trial scene. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 29) "Trent got to be one of the three Klingon judges," Stillwell explained, "and I was one of the non-descript Klingons in the rafters." [15] Stillwell continued, "I soon learned that being a Klingon is no easy task [....] Unlike Klingons with speaking roles, Klingon extras don't wear perfectly sculptured prosthetics with carefully crafted make-up applications. Instead, the make-up staff painted dark circles around my eyes to hide the eye holes cut into the heavy rubber mask I would wear over my head. With my rubber neck tucked tightly under the collar of my costume, it was impossible to remove the mask except during lunch breaks and the end of the day." As the trial scene was scheduled to take two 16-hour days to film, the extras stood in the courtroom set for hours on end. They encountered problems with their heavy rubber masks, because the performers could hardly breath through the masks' tiny nose holes. The conditions on the set were also difficult, as the camera lights heightened temperatures inside the masks to almost unbearable degrees and visibility was hampered by smoke pumped into the room. "The sweat dripping from our rubber eye holes made us look like a bunch of bawling bad guys," related Stillwell. As the first day wore on, an increasing number of the performers seemed to disappear into adjacent sets, which were to be used for depicting Kronos One and were coolly heated as well as darkly lit. On the second day, Stillwell had the forethought to use a turkey baster to pry open the rubber lips of his mask, whereas an assistant director found tampons for all the other extras to use as breathing tubes. Stillwell concluded, "Nicholas Meyer had to remind us to remove the tubes from our rubber lips whenever the camera rolled, least we appear on film as a bunch of Klingons with serious nicotine habits!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 29)

The illusion of hordes of Klingons in Star Trek VI's courtroom scene was heightened by the Klingon-playing actors in the audience appearing as merely silhouettes in seats, due to the darkness of the courtroom. (The Making of the Trek Films, UK 3rd ed., p. 116) Though only three rows of Klingon-playing extras were included in the scene, the existence of many more Klingons on multiple higher tiers was purposefully implied in the film, such as by repeatedly showing a matte painting that provided an overview of the entire hall. Production Designer Herman Zimmerman remarked, "[It] will convince the audience that all those Klingons are really there." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 55)

For a fight sequence involving Kirk and an alien clashing on Rura Penthe, twenty extras playing Klingon guards took positions on high catwalks above the floor of the set in which the conflict was to be staged. During a rehearsal of the scuffle, the Klingon-playing background performers began chanting a well-known song that serves as background music for a battle between Kirk and Spock in TOS: "Amok Time". After about twelve bars of the music, the intoning Klingon extras were joined in the song by the rest of the alien-portraying performers as well as the production crew. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 144, p. 41)

Although the creators of Star Trek VI feared they were being too obvious in portraying the Klingons metaphorically, the creative team likely needn't have worried. After Star Trek VI went on general release, Nicholas Meyer explained the allegorical nature of the film's Klingons to his dentist, who had seen and enjoyed the film but had not realized its metaphorical aspects. (The View from the Bridge - Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood, "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: Endings")

As they wanted to have an older actor play Worf's son Alexander in "New Ground", the TNG writing staff decided that Klingon children rapidly advance. Reflected Ron Moore, "[We] just told ourselves that, 'Well, Klingon kids grow up really fast.'" ("Reunion" audio commentary, TNG Season 4 Blu-ray) After the role of Alexander was recast with Brian Bonsall now playing him, Bonsall wore the same miniaturized Klingon headpiece as Jon Steuer had worn. "As the character grew he kept stretching that one out," commented Michael Westmore, "until he finally outgrew it to the point where we had to go to [...] [a] new one." (Star Trek Monthly issue 46,  p. 82)

Helping give the Klingons a grand scale was the saga of Kahless, as Ron Moore peppered references to him into various episodes. "I just decided to [...] create the Klingons' own specific take on mythology. I thought, 'OK, what are the values that are important to the Klingons, and how would those values be reflected in the myths and tales that they tell each other as examples of good, of morality, and of greatness in their epic sagas?'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 68)

By the end of TNG's fifth season, Michael Westmore had most likely sculpted more than thirty different Klingon head designs. He said at the time, "The process of casting the actor's head, making a mold from it, and sculpting the elaborate bone structure, generally takes about two days." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Makeup FX Journal, p. 29)

Even though the Klingons have played an integral part in all incarnations of Star Trek, the motivations behind the species were perhaps most prolifically explored in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Star Trek Monthly issue 96,  p. 48) That series featured Klingons as early as its second episode, "Past Prologue", in which the Duras sisters reappear.

After Brannon Braga and Ron Moore wrote the teleplay for TNG Season 6 installment "Aquiel", a Klingon-centered subplot in the episode, featuring some disagreeable Klingons being accused of murder, was thought successful by the two writers. "The Klingon story is the red herring and that's fun," commented Braga. Moore concurred, "I thought it was a nice little runner. I didn't want to make that any bigger than it was. But in the final product, it was one of the more intriguing things. I never thought it would be, but it was just a cool little C story." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 269)

Although the next major Klingon TNG story after the "Redemption" two-parter was "Birthright, Part I" and "Birthright, Part II", Ron Moore, for once, didn't write the story. (Star Trek: The Magazine Test Issue 1,  p. 19) Though Brannon Braga and René Echevarria are credited with writing of "Birthright, Part I" and "Birthright, Part II" respectively, the two-parter's depiction of Klingons was additionally influenced by Michael Piller. Having recently seen the film Malcolm X, he imagined the Klingons in the "Birthright" duology as metaphors for black people. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 274; Star Trek: Communicator issue 105,  p. 16) Moore was happy for the Klingons not to be developed exclusively by him. "That was good, because it [...] gave a chance to René and everybody else to kind of embroider on the Empire and to bring new things into it, so that later, when I came back and did other Klingon shows, I had more material to work with," said Moore. "I think that the singing in 'Birthright' is something I wouldn't have thought of." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 68) The writing staff put a lot of effort into trying to boost the likeability of the story's Klingons. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 105,  p. 16) Meanwhile, Klingon mysticism inspired a B story in "Birthright, Part I", which involved Data dreaming. ""It came from the Klingons sort of having a mystical, mythical, spiritual side," noted Jeri Taylor. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 273)

Michael Dorn was happy with how Klingons are portrayed in the "Birthright" two-parter, feeling particularly that the pair of episodes showed the Klingon mythology would "never go dry" and would instead "just go on and on." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 274) For timing reasons, though, multiple deleted scenes involving Klingons were taken out of "Birthright, Part II". (TNG Season 6 Blu-ray special features)

Both Richard Herd and Cristine Rose – who played L'Kor and Gi'ral respectively, in the "Birthright" two-parter – auditioned to play their individual Klingon characters and thought of those roles as classic. [16] [17] As for preparing to portray a Klingon warrior, Herd remarked, "There's a certain way you have to carry yourself. You have to really be able to project the violence and the anger [....] All you have to do is think of the Spartans. They say, 'They'd rather have you come home dead on your shield than come home a coward.'" Before playing L'Kor, Herd knew people who had played other Klingons. [18] However, there was apparently no-one who helped Rose adopt a Klingon persona, she later lamenting, "Alas, I don't remember anyone specifically coaching me on Klingonisms." Rose also endured heavy make-up for her Klingon role. "Before they ever applied any makeup at all I had to go in and have a plaster cast taken of my face, with straws in my nostrils so I could breathe. They also made a mold of my mouth to create Klingon teeth," she reported. "If memory serves -- and it often doesn't -- the first day of filming it took six hours to bring it all together. I was blessed to have June Westmore as my makeup artist. After the first day, it took less time, because the look had been created." Although Rose found neither the makeup nor hair changed her portrayal, the Klingon teeth took her some time to get used to, which was difficult for her to do in the couple of days she had in the part. [19] Tricia O'Neil, who portrayed Kurak in the episode "Suspicions", likewise had difficulty with the makeup though seeing it gave her great support in adopting her character's Klingon persona. Similarly to Herd, O'Neil had a knowledge of the Klingons before appearing as one on TNG. [20]

Filming Rightful Heir

Filming "Rightful Heir", several Klingon-playing actors receive directions from Winrich Kolbe

Use of the Klingons in "Rightful Heir" enabled Ron Moore, much to his delight, to write an episode about religion. "That was kind of a forbidden topic, basically, in Gene [Roddenberry]'s universe, but with the Klingons, you could go there," Moore reflected. Using Kahless as an allegory for Jesus Christ, Moore wrote the installment as a way of speculating about how the Klingons might react to the return of such a figure. "There was something fascinating to me," he admitted, "about the idea about, you know, if you could clone Jesus and brought him back today, how would people treat him and how would it affect their faith, how would it affect politics." ("Sins of the Father" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) Owing to the mythical tales surrounding Kahless, Moore was able to make sense of some of the more puzzling elements of Klingon culture. He said, "I was trying to bond the society together and explain things." For instance, Moore wrote about the forging of the first bat'leth, the Sword of Kahless, as a way to reason out why Klingons carry bat'leths. "If I'd sat down at the beginning and tried to create the entire Empire and the entire society, I never would have come up with stuff like that. Those kind of connections just would not have been formed," stated Moore. "It was only as I was going through story and writing characters for specific episodes that these connections were just naturally forming [....] I really preferred working that way." In addition, by using the myths of Kahless, Moore made the Klingons seem slightly more sensible, such as by choosing to illustrate that even a Klingon knows it is folly to try to make the wind respect oneself by fighting against it. "The danger was that the audience would start to think of the Klingons as just crazy berserkers. They had to have a brain; there has to be a limit to how suicidal they are, or the entire race would just self-implode [....] I've tried to play that over the years [....] I wanted to pull them back a little bit, and I wanted it to come from Kahless." Though installing the clone of the mythic figure as a kind of honorary Klingon Emperor at the end of "Rightful Heir" could have had major repercussions for the Klingons, the final Klingon show which Moore wrote for TNG was "Rightful Heir". (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19, pp. 68-69)

The second season DS9 episode "Invasive Procedures" featured Steve Rankin and Tim Russ as Klingon mercenaries Yeto and T'Kar respectively, two Klingon mercenaries hired to steal the Dax symbiont from Jadzia Dax. "We had elevator shoes on in order to look incredibly tall," stated Rankin. "We were hired guns, these Klingons. We were the heavies. So it was interesting because we were scavengers. We were thugs, basically, brought in to rob something. Tim and I thought it was very, very complex, though, because we were stealing this thing out of a woman's body." [21]

Klingons who were to feature in DS9: "Blood Oath" were originally non-specified, aged Klingon acquaintances of Curzon Dax. The storyline, as initially conceived by writer Peter Allan Fields, revolved around them and Jadzia Dax. Writing staffer Robert Hewitt Wolfe, a fan of the original series, then influenced the plot, suggesting the use of Kor, Koloth and Kang specifically. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 131) Fellow writing staffer Ira Steven Behr recollected, "Robert Wolfe and I were talking and he said as a throw away, 'Too bad we can't use any of the old Klingons.' I went to Michael [Piller] and thought we would have a whole discussion on it, but Michael's eyes just lit up and he said, 'Absolutely, see if we can find them.'" (Cinefantastique, No. 25, No. 6/Vol. 26, No. 1, p. 107) Fields remembered, "Once he mentioned it, it seemed a natural." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 131) Fields also generally based the Klingon group on American Western prototypes from the film The Magnificent Seven or, to a lesser extent, Japanese prototypes from The Magnificent Seven's movie source material, Seven Samurai. "I wanted each of the old guys to be a specific character," Fields explained. Jadzia Dax actress Terry Farrell was full of praise for the vivid characterizations of the Klingon characters. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 131-132)

Although the DS9 producers were sure that Klingon-playing actors John Colicos, William Campbell and Michael Ansara were still alive, whether they were still acting was initially unknown to the production staffers. The casting people therefore had to round up the performers to reprise, in "Blood Oath", their individual Klingon roles of Kor, Koloth and Kang respectively. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 131)

Behind the scenes of "Blood Oath", the look of the episode's three Klingons was discussed. "We had all those conversations about 'Should they look like the original Klingons?'" recalled Ira Steven Behr. The DS9 creative team ultimately opted to keep to current Klingon makeup and assume the trio had always looked that way. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 131) William Campbell at first expected, though, that the characters would look much as they had done, later reflecting, "When I was asked if I was interested in coming back [...] I thought we would be the 'old' Klingons, who didn't evolve with the carbuncle on the head and the various changes that had been done to them. I even said to my wife, 'We'll be the same as we were, only older.' But when I walked in and said to Rick Berman, 'Somebody said we were going to have to put this makeup on, a la Michael Dorn,' he said, 'Well... yeah!'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61)

The change in the characters' appearances was puzzling for the other performers too. Recounted John Colicos, "I thought, 'How do I put this look together with what he (Kor) was? How did he mutate into this monstrous lizard?'" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 19) Michael Ansara remembered, "That was my first question to them [the producers]. Why was Kang all changed now? I tried to understand why the make-up for my Klingon had changed so much, with the putty on the head and all of that." (Star Trek Magazine issue 116, p. 40) William Campbell also asked Rick Berman if there was a reason why the Klingons had changed so much. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61)

The producers told the returning actors their new look was a natural metamorphosis as part of the Klingon aging process, explaining that Klingons live very long lives, a comment which was perhaps tongue-in-cheek. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 131; Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 128) "They said 'You have to realize that Klingons live to be a hundred years longer than normal and they change gradually,'" recounted Michael Ansara. "That was the excuse they gave me." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 18) Ansara also recollected, "They told me that the Klingons grow those bumps and ridged foreheads as they get older [...] The reason we Klingons had changed so much, with the bumpy heads and whatnot, is that we Klingons live to be 300 years old." (Star Trek Magazine issue 116, p. 40) Recalling Rick Berman's answer for the transformations, William Campbell relayed, "He said, 'Bill, it's about 100 years later [than the original series], and this is the way the Klingons look now, and they've evolved into this.'" (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61)

Due to the lengthy application process, the performers were disappointed with the restyled Klingon makeup. John Colicos complained, "It was unbelievable getting up at four o'clock in the morning to put on this monstrous makeup [....] This new look took four hours [to put on]." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 19) Michael Ansara agreed, "I preferred the original look because it wasn't so heavy with makeup [....] I didn't expect four hours of makeup in the morning and two hours to take it off at night." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 18) William Campbell, however, described the makeup job for his character of Koloth as requiring a three-hour application process, also expressing that it was discomforting. (Star Trek Monthly issue 11, p. 54) As well as saying that the addition of the makeup took three hours, he also concurred that it took two hours to take off at night, commenting, "The hours were horrendously long, but we got through it." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61) In another interview, Ansara stated it took four hours to remove his makeup late each night, also saying, "Getting in and out of the makeup was difficult, but as an actor, it's part of the business. We know that going into it!" (Star Trek Magazine issue 116, p. 40)

Dennis Madalone and Brian Bonsall

Training for a Klingon fight sequence in "Firstborn"

Ron Moore felt the Klingons in seventh season TNG outing "Firstborn" – as with the members of the species in "Birthright, Part II" – were another example of René Echevarria's different take on the species. Moore commented, "The stuff he did [...] with them [...] [in 'Firstborn'] is very interesting. [In 'Firstborn'] Worf and Alexander celebrate at a Klingon outpost and they have this sort of mock opera singing, heroic fights and re-enactments of things in the streets and banners and this was a whole different cultural flavor to these guys that I hadn't thought of. My take on the Klingons was sort of more Shakespearean with the House of Mogh and that kind of stuff, and the rise and fall of political players. René brings in a much different element which I think serves them well." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 303) Moore also clarified his belief that the Klingon festivities "just never would have occurred to me." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 19,  p. 68)

Upon portraying a future version of Alexander in "Firstborn", James Sloyan had to wear a smaller prosthetic Klingon headpiece than Michael Dorn. This was because Dorn's head was a lot bigger than Sloyan's, so Michael Westmore sculpted a new headpiece for Sloyan. (Star Trek Monthly issue 46,  p. 82) The duration needed to apply Dorn's makeup as Worf, by the end of TNG's run, was merely an hour. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 63)

Although Ron Moore had become personally associated with the TNG Klingons, he didn't miss the species when he joined the writing staff of DS9. One of the first episodes he worked on for the latter series, though, was the Klingon-centric, third season outing "The House of Quark". As Moore and other members of the show's writing staff spent time mulling over that episode's story concept (which involves, as the episode title suggests, the unlikely pairing of Quark and Klingons), the prospect of using the Klingons in a relatively unusual way appealed to the writers. "We started talking about [...] how it gave us the ability to revisit the Klingons and their culture," reflected Moore, "and do it with some fun and humor [....] The Klingons were ready for some kind of comedy episode, so this was a great opportunity." The intense focus on the Klingons in "The House of Quark" was, of course, completely familiar to Moore. He thought up the visual image of a group of brutish Klingons utterly dumbfounded by something as incoherent to them as a basic accounting system. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 170-171 & 172)

Wearing extensive makeup and a heavy Klingon robe himself, Armin Shimmerman could easily empathize with the plight of the actors playing Klingons in "The House of Quark". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 171) Robert O'Reilly, however, appreciated the episode for establishing additional facets of the Klingon mythos, noting, "It adds to the on-going revelation of Klingon culture. We learn more about the institution of marriage, inheritance and what really constitutes an honorable death. We even hear a bit about Klingon law and see what [an] upper-middle-class Klingon home is like." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 54)

Later appearances Edit

David Carson and Klingons

The Klingon cast from Star Trek Generations with the film's director, David Carson

A story Robert O'Reilly tells in an interview in the DS9 Season 7 DVD is that a long-running joke among actors who have played Klingons is that they do not want to appear in the films as, he believes, the only purpose of a Klingon in one of the films was to be killed off. This is true of Star Trek Generations, in which every Klingon except Worf dies.

After appearing as Duras sisters Lursa and B'Etor in Generations, actresses Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh expressed some ideas about how they'd like Klingons, especially the females of the species, to further evolve. "Personally," announced Walsh, "I think we need to examine a fully developed mother-child relationship [....] I'd like to see a balancing between the darker side of Klingon nature and the maternal instinct [....] We have yet to learn anything about the differences between male and female Klingon rites-of-passage. Also, I would like to see what Klingon females get to do when they are not adjuncts of males. Do they operate on their own?" Offered March, "Since I portray a female Klingon, I have often wondered about the historical center for these females. What is their purpose on the Homeworld? How do they fit into Klingon society in relation to the violence [....] I think death is complicated whether you are a Klingon warrior or not. So I don't believe it's possible to say that one dies a heroine just because you've been in a battle. That's a very male perspective and I'm not so sure it would be appropriate to assume that such an ethos automatically applies to the sisters. It's for this reason I don't think Klingon females should be developed exactly like the males. The distinctions need to be highlighted. And I'm sure that the female rite-of-passage of death is a little different than the male rite but reflects equally the honor associated with dying a warrior." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, pp. 52 & 51)

The Klingons were one alien race which, by the time Star Trek: Voyager was in initial development, had become an extremely familiar element of the Star Trek universe. Deliberately, much less attention was paid to them in Voyager. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 155 & 162) Nonetheless, the species remained a part of the series due to the creators of VOY having a fondness for them. "We always felt Klingons gave us such wonderfully rich stories, because they are such an interesting, complex kind of culture," remarked Jeri Taylor. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 54)

After seeing an episode of TNG, Roxann Dawson pitied Michael Dorn for having to wear the extensive Klingon prosthetics, unaware it was her own destiny to wear similar makeup. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 121, p. 29) Dawson didn't even know what a Klingon was before attending her first audition for the Star Trek: Voyager role of the Human-Klingon hybrid B'Elanna Torres. (Star Trek Monthly issue 44,  p. 37) Upon securing that part, Dawson initiated thorough research into the Klingons. "I asked the producers for every pertinent episode which could tell me about Klingons," she explained, "so I watched very closely and I began to read The Star Trek Encyclopedia. And because I accumulated a virtual library of Klingon lore, I found myself carrying out massive historical research on the race–even though Klingons are obviously futuristic beings." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 55) The Klingon aspect of the make-up for Torres was initially accentuated, as it contained large teeth, but Dawson managed to ensure she wouldn't have to wear the oversized dental work, by faking an inability to enunciate clearly while wearing them. (Star Trek Monthly issue 80,  p. 25)

The Klingons were brought onto Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in its fourth season because Paramount and the show's producers, attempting to overcome slightly slipping ratings in the third season, were trying to appeal to fans of TNG who were not regularly watching DS9. "The first thought we had was to reintroduce the Klingons," remembered Rick Berman, shortly after the announcement that the species was about to return. "I have always felt that the Klingons were the most accessible bad guys Star Trek has ever had [...] and by taking the Federation/Klingon truce and unraveling it, we were not going to affect the plot lines of the movies or of Voyager, since they are nowhere near an area of space to be affected." Ronald D. Moore agreed, "Everyone wanted to see more of the Klingons as part of the franchise [....] Everyone thought bringing the Klingons back as villains again would energize the series and give it a new direction to go in this year." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, pp. 9 & 60)

Robert O'Reilly was aware of DS9 focusing on the Klingons to a great degree. "When I came on to that," he recalled, "it was sort of a nightmare for the show because, for whatever reason, the writers wanted 20 other Klingons with me. So it was a Klingon show, and [....] the Klingons [were] larger than life. It wasn't so individual; it was like a massive army coming behind me." [22]

J.G. Hertzler was swayed from portraying Martok in an understated, Machiavellian way by "The Way of the Warrior" Director James Conway and came to the opinion that Gowron was instead intended to channel this character type. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 144, p. 47) Hertzler once joked that, whereas he had to "wear a lot of make-up" to play Martok, Robert O'Reilly needed no make-up, even for Gowron's trademark bulging eyes. As a self-described "Green Party member and pretty much a left-wing liberal," Herztler believed the DS9 writing staff had a responsibility when it came to portraying the Klingons as violent. "I did mention that to the DS9 writers. But I love the Klingons, and that's who they are." (Star Trek Monthly issue 96, pp. 49 & 50)

The brotherly relations between Worf and Kurn were again focused on in DS9: "Sons of Mogh". "And I liked the fact that the relationship between Worf and Kurn was still unresolved," stated Tony Todd. "The Klingons needed Worf to come back to their planet and to be who he was and it was up to Kurn, to a large extent, to bring that about." (Star Trek Magazine issue 157, p. 40)

Although the script for DS9 fifth season opener "Apocalypse Rising" describes the Klingons as sitting in chairs, the DS9 producers later rethought how the Klingons were to be positioned. "[They] said that Klingons wouldn't sit around," explained Set Decorator Laura Richarz. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 449)

DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" made the change in the Klingons' facial appearance part of Star Trek canon. Ron Moore recollected, "Early in the discussions [about that episode], we knew, 'Well, there's these Klingons that don't look like our Klingons. Got to address it; hard to put Worf in a room with them and say they're Klingons and not comment on it, boys and girls!'" ("Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends", DS9 Season 5 DVD/TOS Season 2 Blu-ray special features) Since the episode was a 30th anniversary special, it seemed the perfect opportunity to finally establish a canon explanation for the makeup change, but the DS9 writing staff believed all proposed in-universe explanations were preposterous and ridiculous. (Star Trek Monthly issue 93,  p. 37; "Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends", DS9 Season 5 DVD/TOS Season 2 Blu-ray special features) Even the likes of dyed-in-the-wool TOS fans such as Ron Moore and fellow DS9 writer-producer Rene Echevarria as well as their executive producer, Ira Steven Behr, couldn't manage to get a workable, simple explanation for the makeup change into the episode. (Star Trek Monthly issue 93,  p. 37) Hence, the writing staff tried to deal with the issue in as minimal a way as possible. "There's no way around this," conceded Moore, "so we just said, 'Just have Worf say it's a long story and leave it at that, you know? And that's fine.' And it's a wink and a nod to the audience, like, 'Okay, we know this doesn't make sense. Just go with us, okay?'" ("Trials and Tribble-ations: Uniting Two Legends", DS9 Season 5 DVD/TOS Season 2 Blu-ray special features) The comment, which was thought up by Ira Steven Behr, thereby discreetly makes light of the fact that the producers and writers of Star Trek had debated for years whether or not to lay this question to rest, once and for all, by incorporating the subject into an episode. Behr explained about the line, “It came out of the story break. It got a huge laugh in the room. We knew we had to deal with the question, but it's really an annoying, boring question, because the real answer is obviously that makeup has changed over the years, in terms of money and quality. We wanted to shine it on, but not really shine it, and having the line 'We do not talk of it,' come out of Michael Dorn’s mouth seemed to work.” (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations) Due to leaving the question essentially unanswered, while working on DS9, Moore announced, "We have no explanation for the smooth-head/bumpy-head transition and nothing in the show should be taken as addressing that point." (AOL chat, 1998) For recreating some old-style Klingons in "Trials and Tribble-ations", the Klingon-playing actors had to be made up with the same swarthy, shiny brown makeup as used in the original series. (The Magic of Tribbles: The Making of Trials and Tribble-ations)

During the making of "Trials and Tribble-ations", the name "Klingon" was difficult for returning guest star Charlie Brill to pronounce, which Ira Steven Behr challenged him to do. "He tried to get me to say Klingon without the G," stated Brill, "but I'm from Brooklyn, so it's always going to be Klin-gone instead of Kling-on." [23]

Much to Ron Moore's delight, Ira Steven Behr gave him the challenge of writing, for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's fifth season, an episode which they pretended to be from a series all about Klingons, an installment ultimately entitled "Soldiers of the Empire". At first, Moore immediately began plotting a story about Worf and Martok taking a Bird-of-Prey to a Klingon outpost which the Empire had lost contact with, the pair then finding that all the Klingons were missing from the outpost. The duo then paid a boatman to row them across a fog-enshrouded lake nearby; on the other side, Worf and Martok hoped to be reunited with Worf's father, Mogh, and a friend of Martok's. Stated Moore, "I was trying to show the inner life of the crew of a bird-of-prey and do this big out-there kind of piece [....] Ira said, 'Let's just go with Star Trek: Klingon and tell a story.' So we cut all that loose and it became a show about Martok and Worf [and Dax] on the bird-of-prey, going out on a mission." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 448)

It was of paramount importance to Ron Moore that each member of the Klingon crew be portrayed as having their own personality. "What was important to me was giving that ship an inner life, in the sense that you walk in and each of the people there would have his own specific character and backstory and relationships." Moore struck upon the notion that this was "a beaten crew, one that had gone through some tough times and seen some horrible things." Placing the Klingons in this situation facilitated his interest in concentrating on their individual characteristics. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 448-449) He explained, "I [...] wanted the crew of the Rotaran to stand apart from other Klingon ships, to get the sense that these guys had really been through some rough times and that it was becoming apparent to anyone who encountered them." (AOL chat, 1997) Moore actually thought it important to give each of the crew members not only their own personality but also a distinctive look, conscious of an issue with earlier episodes involving multiple Klingons. "On some of the shows where we've had a lot of Klingons on camera, even I get them confused," he confessed. "So we wanted more visual distinction here." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 449) He referred to his interest in allowing the audience to tell the Klingon officers apart as his "primary concern." (AOL chat, 1997) To emphasize their distinctive personalities, Moore wrote a speech for Dax about there being "strong Klingons and weak Klingons." He later explained, "I wanted to say that Klingons are people too." Even though Moore tried to accentuate the differences between the Klingon crew members, he had them unite in song, thinking this was "just the kind of thing that Klingons do" because they are, in his opinion, similar to Vikings. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 449)

Casting the Klingon roles in "Soldiers of the Empire" turned out to be a difficult process. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 450) However, at least one of the cast members, Kornan actor Rick Worthy, was overjoyed to appear as a Klingon, because they were one of his favorite types of character, in this DS9 episode highlighting the species. [24] With hindsight, he related, "Playing a Klingon was so much freakin' fun...the hair, the face, the Klingon teeth, the way they speak and walk and their wardrobe..I always saw the Klingons as a combination of Japanese Samurai who haven't had their morning coffee (or tea!) and African Zulu warriors." [25]

Ira Steven Behr ended up disappointed with the Klingons in "Soldiers of the Empire". He complained, "[In addition to the difficult casting process], I don't think the makeup always helped the actors. None of it went far enough [....] These were supposed to be the baddest guys [....] And people in the bar [at Quark's] talk about them like they're bad guys, but they're not badass at all. Throughout the entire show, without a doubt, the toughest man on the ship is Martok. And that totally screwed up the show in my mind." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 450)

By the end of DS9's fifth season, the Klingon makeup included approximately thirty-five different ridged forehead designs, representing the various Klingon Houses. Applying the Klingon features took longer than they had required during the making of the original series. "People would be surprised to know the make-up only takes 20 minutes," commented Michael Dorn. "It's the gluing of the hair that takes most of the time. When we can speed that up, I'll be a happy man." On the other hand, the task of wearing the makeup had become progressively easier, including for Dorn as Worf. "The forehead weighs less than an ounce," said Michael Westmore, "but he's only glued around the edges now, which could also mean more touch-ups." (Star Trek 30 Years, p. 57)

Marc Worden, who guest-starred as an adult Alexander Rozhenko in the sixth season DS9 outings "Sons and Daughters" and "You Are Cordially Invited", remarked, "When you're fully suited up as a Klingon, it makes it quite easy to relax. So much work has already been done for you before you step on to the set of Star Trek that it's your job to portray the character as honestly as you can." About the latter of the two episodes he made appearances in, Worden exclaimed, "I found it hilarious in between takes to see two Klingon extras playing backgammon! It was hysterical." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 122, p. 25)

To play Alexander, Marc Worden wore the same prosthetic headpiece James Sloyan had worn in the episode "Firstborn". (Star Trek Monthly issue 46,  p. 82) By the time John Colicos reappeared as Kor in the Season 7 installment "Once More Unto the Breach", the Klingon prosthetics were not so impractical as they had been in "Blood Oath". "The make-up took far less time to apply," analyzed Colicos, "and getting it off no longer rotted my skin." (Star Trek Monthly issue 55, p. 38)

The DS9 writing staff thought it would be interesting to feature a conflict between Martok and Kor in "Once More Unto the Breach". "I stumbled onto the idea of making it a class thing between them," offered Ronald D. Moore. "That just felt right with their personalities [....] There was a natural antipathy between the two characters." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 622) Though establishing the once smooth-browed Kor as possessing "superior bloodlines" seemed to contradict The Final Reflection referring to Klingons with smooth foreheads having lower status in the Klingon Empire, Moore explained, "I didn't set out to deliberately refute anything in 'The Final Reflection.' To be honest, although the book did influence some of my early thoughts on the Klingons, I haven't read it in at least fifteen years or so and I don't really remember all the nuances of Ford's take on the Klingons." (AOL chat, 1998) The stratification of Klingon society mentioned in "Once More Unto the Breach" underwent revision later in the show's seventh season. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 624)

To have the Klingons participate in the Dominion War depicted in DS9, the writers had to minutely change the Klingons' typical gung-ho attitude. Ronald D. Moore clarified, "The Klingons can't be too suicidal. They're fighting a long and bitter war against a very strong opponent. They do have to husband their strength and their manpower to a certain extent." (AOL chat, 1998)

In 1998, it was rumored that the next Star Trek series after Voyager would probably be about the Klingons, set on their homeworld. Ron Moore dismissed this as "just a rumor." (AOL chat, 1998)

The Klingons in fourth season Voyager installment "The Killing Game, Part II" were particularly miserable. Though Neelix actor Ethan Phillips was uncomfortable with wearing both his usual Talaxian makeup as well as Klingon prosthetics, he enjoyed performing Neelix's stint in Klingon ephemera. "Klingons are outrageous to play, especially those guys we played," Phillips observed. "They were just nasty people [....] We [sang] some drunken songs and stuff like that. You know, it was fun." (VOY Season 4 DVD easter egg) For the same episode, Foundation Imaging used a CGI Klingon to portray a member of the species falling off a ledge, one of multiple instances wherein CGI figures were used to represent Klingons. (Star Trek Monthly issue 58,  p. 46)

The Klingons underwent cataclysmic changes in DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind". The writers of that episode consistently planned for Martok rather than Worf to become the permanent Klingon Chancellor, therein. "I didn't think that the Klingons would accept Worf as their leader after all that's happened," explained Ron Moore. (Star Trek Monthly issue 56,  p. 11) The high death rate of Klingon leaders meant that Robert O'Reilly wasn't surprised by his character of Gowron being killed off in "Tacking Into the Wind". "I had always gone into Star Trek knowing that the life of a Klingon leader was not very long," O'Reilly explained. (Star Trek Monthly issue 96,  p. 50)

J.G. Herztler felt strongly that the Klingon way is evident in Martok drinking over the death of millions of Cardassians in DS9 series ender and seventh season finale "What You Leave Behind" while the character does not understand why Sisko and Admiral Ross don't join him in doing so. "I think it was true to the Klingon culture to do it that way," Hertzler stated. (Star Trek Monthly issue 96,  p. 50)

Ron Moore was left unsatisfied, at the end of DS9, that the opportunity to do his Klingon Hell story idea hadn't presented itself. (AOL chat, 1999) He resurrected it for Star Trek: Voyager, in which it became the season 6 episode "Barge of the Dead".

Having always been interested in exploring the Klingon side of B'Elanna Torres, a showcase which allowed Roxann Dawson to do exactly that was provided to her in the form of "Barge of the Dead", not only delving into the Klingon Hell, Gre'thor, but also the history between Torres and her deceased mother, Miral. (Cult Times, issue #56, p. 39) Regarding how Klingons are portrayed in the installment, Dawson said, "It was [...] a chance to bring the Klingon world to the forefront in such a classical way, which you really couldn't do otherwise in a show like Voyager." (Star Trek Magazine issue 158,  p. 26)

"Who's Killing the Great Voyagers of the Delta Quadrant?" – a story which "Barge of the Dead" co-writer Bryan Fuller proposed for Voyager's sixth season – included multiple versions of Voyager, one of which was a Klingon equivalent of the ship. This version was from an alternate universe in which the Klingon Empire had conquered the Federation, two hundred years in the past. [26]

Though he played multiple Star Trek roles (such as Humans, an Iyaaran and an Eska), Eric Pierpoint found the Klingon makeup for his part as Kortar in "Barge of the Dead" took the longest to apply. (Star Trek Monthly issue 106,  p. 25) However, Roxann Dawson believed that, by the seventh and final season of Voyager, the make-up required for her role of B'Elanna Torres had deteriorated. During that season, she complained, "I despise putting on the B'Elanna make-up [....] I think that after seven years, the make-up is the only thing that has just gotten worse and worse and worse, and it is almost unbearable." Although Dawson's half-Klingon make-up seems less complex than a full layout of Borg prosthetics for one drone, the former actually took more time to apply. (Star Trek Monthly issue 74,  p. 15)

Even though Star Trek: Enterprise was intended – ever since its conception – to be set largely prior to Star Trek: The Original Series, the creative personnel responsible for depicting the Klingons in Enterprise didn't want the species to return to how they had looked in TOS. "We also weren't going backwards into the modified forehead with very little facial hair, which was the movie version," explained Michael Westmore, "so they decided to stay with the look I created in 1987." Because Costume Designer Robert Blackman decided to have lower necklines for the earlier Klingons, Westmore designed them to have "a clavicle appliance that glues on the front, so they have this distinct bony clavicle." Westmore proceeded to state, "We weren't trying to do the Klingons too differently. The character has been acceptable for 15 years, so we didn't want to go back several hundred years to a pre-Klingon and say they've evolved that fast." (Star Trek Monthly issue 98,  p. 45) Supporting the decision to continue using the bumpy-headed Klingon makeup, Dan Curry said, "We're just doing the best work we possibly can and letting it speak for itself." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 135, p. 77) On the other hand, Rick Berman admitted, "It's all a little bit sketchy anyway." (Star Trek Monthly issue 100, p. 18)

Some consideration was given, at about the start of Enterprise, as to whether the producers would try to explain the reasoning for there being two different-looking types of Klingon. Shortly before the series began, an uncertain Rick Berman revealed, "We've thought about it [....] I think it is something we have discussed possibly doing." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 134, p. 77) Mike Sussman commented, "The staff has talked about showing their evolution into the 'smooth-headed' and more cutthroat Klingons of the 'TOS' era. I don't know about the smooth foreheads, but I'd be interested in finding out why the Klingons never talked about honor in all the years Kirk dealt with them." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 47)

Klaang confronts the Klingon Chancellor

Klingons in ENT: "Broken Bow"

An initial concept which Executive Producer Brannon Braga thought up for the series pilot of Enterprise, "Broken Bow", had Klingons attacking Iowa en masse. This was later changed to a single Klingon crash-landing in Broken Bow, sparking off the Broken Bow incident. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 135, p. 22)

The makers of Enterprise sought to make the early Klingons seen in that prequel series more primitive and rustic than the Klingons of later centuries, such as proposing (in "Broken Bow") that they "sharpen their teeth." In hindsight, Brannon Braga was uncertain how successful this endeavor was. "To be honest [...] I wonder if they look any different," Braga commented, with a laugh. "How do you make a Klingon more Klingon-y? I think it was great in concept. I'm not sure if the Klingons ever were more gnarly." ("Broken Bow" audio commentary, ENT Season 1 DVD & ENT Season 1 Blu-ray)

Hoshi Sato actress Linda Park approved of how the Klingons were shown during the first season of Enterprise. Shortly after production on that season wrapped, Park raved, "Although they're not really our enemy, there seems to be a great comedic thing happening between the Klingons and us that I think is a really cool thing. It brings some levity to the situation, and shows a new side to the relationship between the Klingons and humans that hasn't necessarily been looked at before in the Star Trek legacy. At least I don't think it has." (Star Trek Monthly issue 96,  p. 10) Rick Berman likewise enthused, "I think our more primitive Klingons have been fun." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139,  p. 12)

Conscious that there were many ways to depict the Klingons on Enterprise, Mike Sussman felt that the writing staff of the show's first season were "a little guilty" of taking "the least interesting choice" of how to portray them. He described this as showing them "behaving in exactly the same way as they will in the 24th century." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 47) At the end of the first season, Brannon Braga similarly critiqued, "We did one Klingon show too many. So far, we seem to be helping them all the time. If we're going to do Klingons again, we need to make sure they're bad guys and start hinting at how they became our enemies. They haven't exactly been the titanic villains you might expect yet." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 25)

Klingon Marauders

A cast of Klingons from ENT: "Marauders"

Since writing staffers had the opinion they were not reaping the full benefit of the Klingon species in the writing of Enterprise, a concerted effort to show the Klingons in a more villainous light was made in the show's second season. This began with the episode "Marauders", of which Brannon Braga said, "We definitely wanted them to be bad guys. It was ultimately not as satisfying as it could have been, though." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, p. 25)

As a sign of the times, Star Trek Magazine deemed the reappearance of Klingons in a film production any time soon wasn't foreseeable. The magazine hypothesized, "It's more than likely that the Klingons have had their motion picture day, for the moment at least." (Star Trek Monthly issue 92,  p. 26)

Around the time when Star Trek Nemesis was released, Michael Dorn made some comments in which he conceded that, if the film was successful, he would very much like to see an entire series about the Klingons. Dorn was even willing to partake in the making of such a series, if Rick Berman called him with plans for it to be a companion series to Enterprise. This was despite hating the makeup for the role of Worf and doubting a Klingon-centric series was going to happen. (Star Trek Monthly issue 100, Star Trek Nemesis supplement, p. 14)

Amid the second season of Enterprise, Larry Nemecek suggested the series' writing staff might address the issue of Klingons having bumpy foreheads in the era of the show's setting, though such an episode was not (yet) announced. (Star Trek Monthly issue 103, p. 62) Even though he admitted that the DS9 writing staff hadn't managed to "make sense of" the change amongst Klingons in "Trials and Tribble-ations" and that the bumpy foreheads of the Klingons on Enterprise seemingly contradicted previously established canon, Nemecek remained faithful that an explanation would be included in the future of Enterprise, encapsulated in "a good story." (Star Trek Monthly issue 93,  p. 37)

The ENT Season 2 installment "Judgment" picked up the "Marauders" plot thread of worsening relations between the Klingons and Starfleet. "It was an opportunity to delve into what Klingons were like during this period in history," said Brannon Braga. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, p. 28) For scenes from "Judgment" which are set on Rura Penthe, about fifteen or twenty actors were cast as Klingon guards. First Assistant Director David Trotti recalled, "We managed to find some big, burly biker-looking guys to be our Klingons, much like back on the old Star Trek VI [Rura Penthe] set." ("Enterprise Secrets", ENT Season 2 Blu-ray special features) Compared to "Marauders", "Judgment" had a more successful representation of the species, with Braga calling it "an interesting insight into Klingon culture." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, pp. 25 & 28) Rick Berman cited the installment as "a great example of the intensity the Klingons can bring to Star Trek." (Star Trek Monthly issue 104, p. 18)

The writer of "Judgment", David A. Goodman, included multiple Klingon references in the episode and tried to use it to explain the differences between how TOS had established the Klingons and how they are depicted in TNG. "I shoved as many TNG Klingon references as I could into there, and most of them stayed in so I was very happy about that [....] It was fun for me to write this episode that was an attempt to explain [....] And I was sort of saying that the Klingons themselves were undergoing a kind of crisis as a culture that would lead to the Original Series Klingons but that the basis for the Next Generation Klingons would be under the surface." [27]

The penultimate installment of the second season, "Bounty", was to feature the Klingons more than they are in the episode's final version, some of their involvement in the story having been substituted by the Tellarites. Brannon Braga recalled how the writing staff thought about the Klingons at the outset of writing the episode: "Why do Klingons again?" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, p. 31)

By the time of Enterprise's second season, the Klingon mythos had been built up over the years to such a point that Duras actor Daniel Riordan once remarked, "The whole Klingon legacy is so rich." Riordan was fascinated by the Klingons. A helpful aspect in shaping his performances as Duras was noticing that Klingons in general seem to be a mix of high intelligence with animal-like aspects. Of the latter quality, Riordan said, "Everything's real basic in terms of their bodies, their physical lives. Their emotions are excessive in violent terms." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, p. 55)

To portray Klingons in the second season finale "The Expanse", Klingon-playing actors had to submit themselves for the application of their make-up, which started at five in the morning. Later that day, the performers were sought by assistant directors who ensured they were on set on time. As part of an exclusive tour of the sets for Star Trek Magazine, Penny Juday visited the Klingon set while battle footage involving members of the species was being filmed there. "Watching the whole scenario unfold," she reported, "makes you realise just how little these particular bad guys have changed over the years [....] Clustered in a small group [in a set-aside recreation area for actors not immediately needed] are some Klingons in full garb, eating ice cream bars, drinking Coke and slurping coffee, all the while making small talk about things like how the kids are doing in school. It's a very surreal sight, as well as somewhat comedic [....] Scott Bakula is swapping mock insults with the Klingons. 'These darn Klingons and their manes – it's all about their hair, and how costly tending the Klingon's hair can be, holding up the crew... again!' he chides with a wide smile on his face." (Star Trek Monthly issue 107, pp. 20 & 21)

Brannon Braga was ultimately disappointed with how the Klingons are portrayed in "The Expanse". He stated, "There was a part of me that thought the Klingon scenes were [drab and] shoehorned in there." A friend of his disagreed with him about this issue. (Star Trek Monthly issue 108,  p. 29)

During Penny Juday's set visit involving some Klingon-playing performers, it was rumored on the set that the Klingons would appear in the third season, for more confrontations with Enterprise. (Star Trek Monthly issue 107, p. 21) However, this did not come to pass.

The season 4 Enterprise episodes "Affliction" and "Divergence" explained the Klingon makeup differences, as Manny Coto and his team of writing staffers decided they did want to address the issue before Enterprise concluded its run. "It was an opportunity," stated Coto, regarding the option of telling a story that bridged the two variations of Klingon. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 40-41) Phlox actor John Billingsley criticized the effort to do so such a story, however. Although he admitted he believed it was an "interesting" idea, he also said, "I thought there was something puckish about Manny Coto's willingness to actually attempt to give a reasonable answer to that question." (Star Trek Magazine issue 123, p. 72) Conversely, John Schuck, who played Dr. Antaak in the Klingon-centered two-parter, "loved that story about how the Klingons got their ridges." [28]

The Klingons were to have been conquered by the Romulans in the unproduced animated series Star Trek: Final Frontier, set during the 2460s.

In the unmade series Star Trek: Federation (pitched by Bryan Singer), Klingons would have sought enlightenment as well as a good fight. (The A-Z of Star Trek, Special SFX Edition, pp. 106 & 107)

Klingons of the alternate reality Edit

Klingons yell for Nero

The Klingon prison guards that were cut from Star Trek

A new look for the Klingons – featuring masked helmets with ridges on the forehead – was created for a Klingon-centric deleted scene from the film Star Trek, set in the alternate reality. Director J.J. Abrams was at first unsure how he wanted the Klingons in the film to look. Costume Designer Michael Kaplan recounted, "J.J. said, 'I don't really have an idea exactly what they should look like, but I do want them to be really, really, really scary.'" The idea of not creating full-facial Klingon makeups for the film, using helmets instead, was thought up by Abrams. ("Klingon Wardrobe" featurette, Star Trek (Three disc Blu-ray)) Although the movie's script describes the masks worn by the Klingons of the alternate reality, the script also refers to the members of the species as "scary," with "hideous faces" barely visible underneath their helmets. [29]

Once the helmets were designed, the Klingons' facial features were considered. Joel Harlow, who created the makeup designs for the Vulcans and Romulans in the film, stated, "The Klingons were a race that really wasn't addressed makeup-wise until, you know, maybe a couple weeks before we shot it." ("Klingons" featurette, Star Trek (Three disc Blu-ray)) At his suggestion, the makeup artists who collaborated on the movie did some preliminary work on designing the faces of Klingons from the alternate reality. "It was never really a given when we got started, but Joel said, 'I think we should sculpt a Klingon and have the pieces ready just in case,' so that's what happened," said Richie Alonzo, who worked closely with Harlow on the film. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61)

Victor Garber Klingon makeup

Actor Victor Garber in the minimal Klingon makeup

The makeup included a small part of the brow to be seen through the helmet, as some of the Klingons were to be shown in close-up. ("Klingons" featurette, Star Trek (Three disc Blu-ray)) "Because wardrobe already had a helmet for the Klingons, we had to fit our makeup design under it, and make them work together," said Richie Alonzo. "You never really see what they look like, so we didn't want to come up with a specific look that we would be stuck with." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61) Joel Harlow noted, "We knew that there had to be something there other than a paint job." Harlow, who sculpted the brow segment himself, felt it was fortunate that only a small portion of the brow had to be visually updated. The only other element of the makeup were faux beards. ("Klingons" featurette, Star Trek (Three disc Blu-ray))

Before it was even confirmed that his production company Bad Robot would be involved in a sequel to the Star Trek film, J.J. Abrams was highly interested in including Klingons in such a movie. (deleted scene "Prison Interrogation and Breakout" audio commentary, Star Trek (Special Edition & Three disc Blu-ray)) Once his connection to the film was announced, Abrams conceded that "it would be hard not to" introduce them in the alternate reality. (SFX, issue #200, p. 60) He elaborated, "I do think that the idea of doing Star Trek and bringing Klingons into the world is an obvious and cool challenge. And how do you do it?" Producer Bryan Burk felt likewise, commenting, "Klingons are ingrained in the tapestry of Star Trek as any other villain, so you desperately want to get them in sooner than later." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features) Screenwriter Roberto Orci also felt the pressure to incorporate the species in the sequel. "Some fans really want to see Klingons, and it's hard not to listen to that," he admitted. "The trick is not to do something that's been seen before just because you think it will be a short cut to likeability." (SFX, issue #200, p. 61)

Joel Harlow predicted that the Klingons would indeed be featured in the sequel to the film Star Trek, saying, "That's gonna be a great challenge because the Klingons, I think, more than any other alien race beside the Vulcans, are known worldwide. So, how do you update that?" ("Klingons" featurette, Star Trek (Three disc Blu-ray)) Makeup Designer Barney Burman wanted to give the Klingons a new facial design for the sequel. "I would like to do the same kind of treatment on them that was done with the Romulans," he said, "and bring them into the new millennium." (SFX, issue #200, p. 60) In hindsight, Richie Alonzo remarked, "We thought it would be great to redesign the Klingons, and make them really cool-looking for the next film." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 61)

Lead Creature Designer Neville Page was also eager for the Klingons to return. In October 2010, he named them as "the one" species he would most like to tackle in the sequel. He proceeded to explain, "My approach would be to try and come up with something that's a unique look but is still a Klingon obviously. Because I think if I did them really tall like say 9' and instead of brown made them blue, I might get into a little trouble! But I would try think about them as real deal people -- and I know other designers have -- but really give them a history and a motivation. Understand why they're dressed the way they are. Understand their rationale for long hair and facial hair. Make sense of those physical features which they typically have, which are the ridged foreheads." Page added that, not being entirely sure how he would tackle the species, he had started contemplating ways to distinguish Klingon races; "There are different physiological ticks even in the Klingon world. Maybe they are all brown, but the ridges are the African ones, the fewer ridges are the Asian ones. I don't know." [30]

Klingon patrol officers 1, 2259

Klingons in Star Trek Into Darkness

Because the alternate-reality Klingons had only ever been depicted with their helmets on at all times, the creative staff of Star Trek Into Darkness had to work out how they looked without the helmets on. "We definitely wanted to do [that]," J.J. Abrams noted. ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features) Since only one scene had depicted the alternate reality variant of Klingons and it had been deleted, the makers of the new film were given free reign to reinvent their look. This opportunity was made the responsibility of Neville Page, Michael Kaplan and makeup department head David LeRoy Anderson. Richie Alonzo concluded that, for many of the makeup artists who had worked on the previous movie, the chance to redesign the Klingons "never materialized." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 62 & 61) On the other hand, Abrams remarked, "We were very lucky to have Neville Page and David Anderson work on bringing the Klingons to life." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features) Stated Page, "With this one, it was that perfect case of, 'We have to top ourselves,' or at least take the helmets off. And, because of that, there were all sorts of opportunities to do in this film what I'd thought of for the first one. So I had a good three, three and a half years to let my ideas for the Klingons gestate." [31]

The Klingon makeup scheme in Star Trek Into Darkness had to be highly detailed, so it could withstand the scrutiny of IMAX. "So, the makeup had to be great and the application had to be great," remembered J.J. Abrams. ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features)

The aforementioned sense of creative freedom drove Neville Page's designs. David Anderson reported, "Based on the versions that I saw Neville produce, I think he was not committed to anything, and free to explore a new direction." Heather Langenkamp, Anderson's partner at makeup shop AFX Studios, added, "Neville generated lots of amazing ideas about their appearance." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 62 & 63) According to Anderson, Page and J.J. Abrams "got pretty far out there" with their Klingon facial concept designs before "it started to come back." Anderson elaborated, "Everyone was trying to pay homage to the fans' idea of the real race while wanting to innovate something new...." (Empire, Issue 287, p. 87) Indeed, Page and Anderson agreed with this notion. ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features; [32]; [33]) "It's a real balancing act," Anderson professed. "You don't want to stray too far, but you also don't want to go back and cookie-cut the exact same thing. There have been a lot of advances and we have the opportunity to do a new, fresh pass without losing anything." [34] In agreement, Page himself specified, "As much as we wanna bring something fresh to the table, we also want to make sure that it is respectful to the culture. I studied [the] Klingon [language] quite a bit, and spoke to a lot of [Klingon fans] [....] There was this one treatment, a piercing element that the Klingons have, and few would recognise it, but those who are serious fans will catch it." [35]

The actors playing Klingons in Star Trek Into Darkness were cast if they looked intimidating. Props Master Andrew Siegel remembered, "We thought, 'Okay, these guys should be badass.' We cast all real imposing guys and they are scary.[36] The notion of making the Klingons brutal-looking reflected on elements of their culture. "That was something I gravitated towards," acknowledged Siegel. "The main thing for me was: 'What are these characters like?' They are incredibly barbaric. I wanted all of their props to reflect that." (Star Trek Magazine issue 173, p. 79) The brutality of the Klingons was definitely central to the design of their world. Production Designer Scott Chambliss recollected, "One of the early notions that I had was that they might be at war with themselves as well, much the way that we are, on our planet." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features) Despite the attempts to aesthetically highlight their barbarism, an effort was made to make the Klingons look somewhat appealing. Neville Page said, "One thing I tried to do with the Klingons, which was a tough one, is make them sexy: a beautiful-ugly group of men. I think we got it. Not that the previous actors were ugly, but it was a very conscious choice of who we cast, a very conscious sculpting of the Klingon form to make them look sexy. In a way."[37]

The preparatory time of about three and a half years helped Neville Page formulate how he would like the new Klingons to look. "Then, when it came time to show J.J. my ideas," he said, "I had thought about it all so much that I was just ready to go on the Klingons." [38] At a point when production was well under way, the first Klingon facial sculptures were digitally created, which Page did using ZBrush. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 62) A gallery of his Klingon concept designs can be found here.

Not entirely happy with the original sculptures, David Anderson tweaked the designs. "David put little changes on them," said Heather Langenkamp. Because ongoing production on the film meant that Anderson was extremely busy, however, he hired makeup artist Earl Ellis to tweak the designs. "Neville's artwork was beautiful," commented Anderson, "but it was translating into a very heavy makeup that would have concealed all of the features on the performer if we used that sculpture." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 63 & 62) Anderson also clarified, "When we studied the 3D rendering, we realized the proportions would have resulted in areas of makeup that were three or four inches thick. That would have limited the actor's ability to perform." (Cinefex, No. 134, p. 85) Ellis concurred, "The designs were tending to look a bit more mask-like, and we really needed a makeup approach." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 62) The group specifically realized that, by using massive blocks of foam rubber on the faces of the performers, they would end up making all the actors look exactly the same, whereas the creative team intended for each individual member of the species to be different-looking. [39]

Earl Ellis thereafter contributed to the design process. Continued David Anderson, "I said, 'I'm afraid the flavor and essence of the Klingons is not coming across here,' so Earl looked at the illustrations, and immediately understood what they represented, what we could use, and what to leave behind. He was able to translate Neville's ZBrush creation into an actual functioning makeup that allowed the actors' performances to come through." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 62) In essence, the makeup team's solution to their predicament was to leave the Klingon faces more exposed and use multiple prosthetic pieces, allowing for more expressive facial movements. [40] Ellis himself recalled, "When Dave showed me the designs, I recognized a lot of design elements that had been put into these characters. If you look at any of the episodes from the past 20 years, they have a certain color scheme that says, 'Klingon,' and you can't go too far from that. So I recognized those elements, but the design was sleeker, and more elegant. Not just some bestial character [....] The less you put on somebody, and the thinner the pieces, the better they can act, so that's the approach we took [....] It's tough to do the Klingons, because they kept changing over the years." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 63)

The design ultimately chosen for the Klingons of the alternate reality had the top of the head accentuated. "It's really what defines the Klingons, kind of their forehead and their hair," observed Neville Page. "So, in looking at the forehead, I thought it would be interesting if that forehead ridge shape continues all the way around the back of the head. The piercings, the idea behind that is kind of like marking the side of your World War II bomber with victories. They mark their bodies with victories, either with piercings or scarification." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features)

As the Klingon helmets had impressed J.J. Abrams to a great degree and since they had already been paid for, the helmets actually appear on-screen in Star Trek Into Darkness. (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, pp. 98-99 & 63) Earl Ellis foresaw some potential difficulty with trying to combine the Klingon head prosthetics with the helmets. "That would have limited the size of the heads," he speculated, "but because I took a makeup approach, that was fine." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 63)

Once the makeup for the alternate-reality Klingons was designed, extra modeling techniques were employed. "We then will print out three-dimensional models as reference models that I will give to the makeup department," explained Neville Page. "And the makeup department will then interpret those on top of our selected actors." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features)

On at least one day, Sean Blakemore's Klingon makeup was applied by Makeup Effects Artist Jamie Kelman, who reported, "This makeup is a long one. This one actually takes about four-and-a-half hours." The final detail in the application process was the addition of jewellery. After having a metallic earring secured to his left earlobe, Blakemore jested, "Now I am officially blinged out." Wearing the makeup got hot for the actor underneath it. ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features)

The filmmakers were highly satisfied with the new Klingon makeup design for Star Trek Into Darkness. "Once Earl finished his sculpture of the Klingon character on our two actors, we brought them to set for a show and tell, and J.J. Abrams loved them," David Anderson reminisced. "There was no critiquing; it was just, 'Yes, we've got our Klingons!' He could see that they were two completely different beings, but from the same planet, and they were really nice, subtle and thin makeups." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 63) Referring to the redesigned Klingons, Abrams described the collaboration of Anderson and Page as having resulted in "a great design and the great makeup." He went on to say, "I think [it] is a pretty cool, intimidating look and [...] I think David really did an amazing job." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features) Earl Ellis not only described the new Klingons as looking "more elegant" than they had in the past but also reckoned, "I think the fans will be very happy with them." Heather Langenkamp commented, "Of all the make-up we did, we're most proud of the Klingons. It's really powerful and fantastic. There's something very regal about it." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 63) Langenkamp was personally happy with the makeup herself, saying, "I think, technically, the Klingons are the most beautiful makeups in the movie. It looked so great on the actors." [41]

On the first day of shooting the Klingon scenes in Star Trek Into Darkness, the relevant actors were lined up and introduced to J.J. Abrams by First Assistant Director and Co-Producer Tommy Gormley prior to final preparations being made to the Klingon costumes before filming. To a camera documenting the occasion, Uhura actress Zoe Saldana commentated, "It's like Sports Illustrated for Klingons. They look so handsome." Indirectly referencing Spock's relationship with Uhura, she joked, "I don't know. If I was Spock, I'd be nervous." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features)

Again, some footage of Klingons in the alternate reality was deleted. The edited material from Star Trek Into Darkness included a scene in which, following a battle between the Klingons and an away team from the Enterprise, two Klingons had Kirk on the ground and brutalized him while standing above the captain. The pair of Klingons, including the officer played by Sean Blakemore, accepted the surrender of the other Starfleet officers in the away team – Spock, Uhura and a security guard – but struggled with them, shooting the guard, and were about to kill Kirk when Khan intervened, killing the Klingons themselves. [42]

Nowadays, there is once again no explanation for the introduction of redesigned Klingons. Earl Ellis concluded, "You just have to accept them for what they are. There's no real reason why they should look the way they do now, compared to the original series, but they still have all the elements that say 'Klingon'." (Star Trek Magazine issue 172, p. 63) By way of explanation, J.J. Abrams mused, "You know, it sort of honors what has come before. But in the many different series, they were all very different. We followed suit." ("The Klingon Home World", Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray), Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray 3D), Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness (Blu-ray) & Star Trek: The Compendium special features)

When quizzed about plans for a third film produced by Bad Robot, Damon Lindelof was noncomittal about whether Klingons will return but admitted, “You can never see enough Klingons, and I think in this film [Star Trek Into Darkness] we've given the audience a little taste, but there's also a promise that there's a larger conflict on the horizon, and that would be fun to see." [43]

Popular culture and trivia Edit

The popularity of the Klingons has grown over time. In 2002, Richard Arnold mused, "For good and bad, the Klingons have become really prominent in Star Trek and in Star Trek fandom, in spite of having made only eight appearances on the original series." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 70) Noting the impact that the Klingons had on fans of the original series, D.C. Fontana laughed, "They suddenly became really popular for us!" [44] According to Majel Barrett, the reason why the TOS Klingons were (much to Gene Roddenberry's distaste) consistently portrayed as evil was because "the fans insisted they be represented in that way." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 3, p. 20) At the time, the Klingons were so popular that, after William Campbell played Koloth in "The Trouble with Tribbles", he received fan mail that included people writing about the Klingon eyebrows he had worn. Also, the children in Campbell's neighborhood teasingly referred to his wife as "Mrs. Klingon." (The World of Star Trek, p. 120) When Ruth Berman tried to account for the makeup differences in TOS Klingons, she did so in response to a fan letter which enquired into the reasoning behind the changes in Klingon makeup for "The Trouble with Tribbles". (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two) On one occasion during the second season of TOS, a teenage fan misidentified Walter Koenig, upon encountering him at O'Hare Airport in Chicago, as a Klingon. In hindsight, Koenig remembered, "[He] froze in his tracks in front of me and in total befuddlement screamed loud enough to stop hearts, 'OH MY GOD, IT'S WALTER KLINGON!'" (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two, "Foreword")

The portrayals of Klingons in the original series have been successful with production staffers. As a fan of the original series from the second half of its first season onwards, Robert O'Reilly had long-standing aspirations to portray a Klingon. "If you had asked me at any time throughout the years which role I wanted to play on Trek," he admitted, "it would have been a Klingon." When asked why he had this enduring interest in Klingons, O'Reilly responded, "Well, I really like bad guys. I like being able to go a little over-the-top with my acting and have fun with it. I knew I could do a very good job with a Klingon role because I could bring in my Shakespearian background and use my accents in different ways." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 53) David Gerrold also appreciates the Klingons from the original series. He raved, "I just love those Klingons! They're just... they're so self-righteous and arrogant and pompous. You just want to stick pins in them, to watch them explode! But they're the perfect foil for Kirk [....] The Klingons are comic villains of the best sort and, I mean, if you look at the way the Klingons have been played ever since, yes they're villains, but they get some of the best lines, they get the funny lines." As an example of what he meant, Gerrold cited Gorkon saying, "You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon," in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Dave Rossi remarked, "They're no less savage and tricky [than the Klingons in later Star Trek productions] [....] The Klingons in the original series are deliciously clever and backstabbing and ready to kinda stick you with a shiv at any minute." ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray) Star Trek author Keith R.A. DeCandido also developed a fondness for the Klingon culture, ever since seeing "Day of the Dove" as a boy in the 1970s. [45]

As the underground popularity of Star Trek increased in the years when it was no longer aired after the making and broadcast of the original series, there was a strong portion of fandom that was so passionate about the Klingons that an extensive backstory universe started to grow in the show's absence. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 26) Richard Arnold pointed out, "With Klingons in four of the [first] six films, there was obviously something about them even then." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 70) Although William Campbell characterized the Klingons generally as "the perfect adversaries," he was not pleased with their redesign in The Motion Picture, observing, "When people saw the first movie, they said, 'What the hell is that?' You can't have a guy with a head like a crab become a rival.'" (Starlog #138, p. 34) Robert Justman was extremely pleased to view how the Klingons are portrayed in The Motion Picture, later commenting, "I was entranced when I first saw the movie and I saw those wonderful bony protuberances. I was thrilled. They were so imposing, frightening, awe-inspiring. It seemed to free the actors so they could shake off their inhibitions and go over the top portraying their characters." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, pp. 26-27) John Schuck disliked the color inconsistency, in Star Trek III, between the Klingon prosthetics and the skin tones of the actors playing Klingons therein. (Starlog #138, p. 30) Todd Bryant remarked about the fans, "They seem really interested in Klingons, that's for sure. There was a big response for Klingons." (Starlog #149, p. 65) Because Leonard Nimoy has always been highly interested in the Klingons (which he termed "our favorite villains") and their culture, Nimoy was regretful that the films he was involved in didn't use all the potentialities of the Klingons that he believes they hold. He commented, "To this day, I wish I could have done a serious study of Klingon culture in one of our films; I think they're marvelous 'dark side' adversaries." (I Am Spock, hardcover ed., pp. 313 & 223)

The response of fans to initial news that the Klingons were to be excluded from The Next Generation was an influence on the alteration of this plan. (Star Trek Monthly issue 10, p. 50) The Klingons gained even more fans as aggressive allies of the Federation than they had as its enemies. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 139) There were early criticisms, though, that Worf was too dissimilar from other Klingons, to which Michael Dorn responded, "If you're expecting a race to remain completely unchanged over time, then you're being rather narrow-minded." (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine, vol. 15, pp. 46-47) One initially skeptical fan was Ronald D. Moore, who was at first doubtful that the Klingons as allies could be as fun as they had been as foes. He was, however, excited by the Klingon-related possibilities which the addition of Worf suggested. For example, Moore eagerly anticipated seeing "the Klingon version" of such episodes as "Amok Time" or "Journey to Babel", which had established much about Vulcans and their culture. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. I1) In 1989, John Schuck similarly voiced concerns over the Klingon makeup and the decision to make them allies of the Federation. "That presumption has yet to pay off in terms of anything I've seen," he complained. "I don't like the makeup for television very much at all. I think it's very arbitrary. They've simplified too much. I think they could do better." (Starlog #138, p. 30) Obviously, William Campbell felt similarly. During the SeaTrek of May 1990, he stated about the revised Klingon makeup scheme, "I had a difficult time with that [....] I never understood the reasoning behind the extensive makeup change except for the reason that it is a new show." In direct response, Majel Barrett tried to explain the change by saying it was intended to delineate them from other TNG species, though Campbell responded by observing that the Klingon attitude had also changed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, No. 3, p. 20) Recalling his own opinion of the Klingons at the time he wrote "The Bonding", Moore stated, "I thought they were a really cool species." ("The Bonding" audio commentary, TNG Season 3 Blu-ray) In 1990, he also professed, "I think Klingons are, by definition, interesting. Their race is a fascinating one." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 44) Moore especially enjoyed writing Klingon scenes, later reminiscing, "The Klingon guest stars were always fun to write for." (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 213) Melinda M. Snodgrass echoed Moore's sentiments by saying, "It's an interesting alien culture – it's fun to delve into it and to continue to explore it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 44 & 45) Susan Sackett declared, "Of course, as any fan of the show knows [...] some of the best stories written for the series revolved around Worf, his family, his moral tug-of-war, the Klingon leaders and the decidedly hesitant Klingon faction which seemed temporarily resigned to Federation membership." (Inside Trek: My Secret Life with Star Trek Creator Gene Roddenberry, "Log Entry 37") Dave Rossi had a criticism about the TNG Klingons. "It's kind of a shame," he lamented, "that [...] for instance, in Next Generation, Commander Worf [...] just kind of became a measuring stick for how bad the next bad guy was. A bad guy would show up and if he could punch Worf in the face and knock him out, you went, 'Wooh, that guy was bad; he beat up a Klingon!' But in doing so, it kinda defanged the Klingons in a lot of ways. That never happens in the original series." ("Errand of Mercy" Starfleet Access, TOS Season 1 Blu-ray)

Director Cliff Bole – who worked on such Klingon-inclusive episodes as "The Emissary", "Redemption", "Unification II", "Aquiel" and "Suspicions" – valued the considerably overboard nature of the Klingon species and the freedom for inventiveness which they allowed. "I think the Klingon shows are fun to do," he remarked, "because you can go a little broad with them. Who the hell knows what a Klingon is anyway? Who knows how Klingons make love?" (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 182) The Klingons – including villainous sisters Lursa and B'Etor – were still enormously popular at the time of Star Trek Generations' production. This led B'Etor actress Gwynyth Walsh to proclaim, "There's a tremendous curiosity and delight in Klingons among the fans and it spills over to us [meaning herself and Lursa actress Barbara March]." (Star Trek Generations - Official Movie Souvenir Magazine) Despite being impressed with the diverse number of Klingon fan clubs, Walsh felt the appeal of the Klingons logical, remarking, "I can understand completely why Klingons are so popular, and I think it has to do with empowerment. It makes a lot of sense to me that, if you are a female and a Star Trek fan, you would identify with female Klingons." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104,  p. 52) Regarding the previous movie appearances of the Klingons, Star Trek Magazine enthused, "They've had a good run, having provided strong aggressive roles." (Star Trek Monthly issue 92,  p. 26) Somewhat explaining why the Klingons were originally made antagonists in DS9 Season 4, Rick Berman described them as "the villains that people love to hate." Shortly before that season, Michael Dorn mused about the Klingons, "Everybody admires their sense of honor. Even though it may have been passé in the years past, it's definitely one of those things that people recognize and respect now. Klingons have a sense of honor, and of going for it, and being up front, and telling it like it is. And I think that's what people like about them." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, pp. 9 & 59)

During the development of the series that became Star Trek: Enterprise, there were rumors that the premise of the forthcoming show would be about the future depicted from the Klingon perspective. (Broken Bow, paperback ed., p. 245) Making the Klingons major recurring adversaries on Enterprise was an attempt to keep all the fans of the species happy. (Star Trek Monthly issue 92,  p. 26) Even if he was no longer part of the Star Trek franchise, Robert O'Reilly was very happy that the Klingons were a part of Enterprise. He characterized their return as "what I like most" about the series and said he was pleased "as long as Klingons are back." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 145, p. 54) In a 2002 poll run in Star Trek Magazine (the results of which were published in the magazine's January 2003 edition), readers voted Klingons as their second favorite alien species in Star Trek (after the Borg). (Star Trek Monthly issue 100, p. 54) Shortly after appearing as Kolos in ENT: "Judgment", J.G. Hertzler mused about how the simplicity of the Klingons' magnified emotions made them appealing to fans; "The Klingons exist at the outer reaches of emotional behavior. Sadness is magnified, rage, everything. I think the Klingons allow the audience to vicariously participate with these emotionally outrageous and understandable beings and it's a relief. The world is so complex for us now. For the Klingons, things are clear – this is what I hate, this is what I like." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 122, p. 32)

By 2010, the Klingons had become the most popular alien species from the entire Star Trek franchise, Vulcans notwithstanding. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 139) Neville Page disclosed that, upon researching the culture around Klingons prior to crafting their facial redesign for the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness, he talked to "the Klingon people at Comic-Con, people who role-play that world." [46] Theorizing about the appeal of such an activity, Marc Okrand, the inventor of Klingonese, offered, "When you're [pretending to be a Klingon], you can do things that you can't do if you're human. You can get away with being demanding and bossy and just saying what you want [...] [which] polite society prevents you from doing. You can step back from that." (Star Trek 30 Years, p. 66)

Aside from feeling strongly about the Klingons in TOS, Robert O'Reilly – given an intensive insight into how Klingons were played – has been a fan of multiple Klingon depictions. "Every Klingon I've ever enjoyed watching has a tremendous passion, a love of life, a love of honor," he pointed out. "I think you draw some of that from every training you have. It helps to have done a lot of Shakespeare. Shakespeare lends itself to being a Klingon. There's also a lot of pain with the makeup, the hair, the wardrobe. If you can channel that suffering correctly, you can use it." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 122, p. 27)

Michael Dorn talked about how Klingons have been represented as multi-dimensional, suggesting, "You know there's a lot of Klingons that definitely don't have any honor and definitely don't have any morals or any scruples. So, the lesson you have to learn is there are no absolutes [....] You can't just go, 'Okay, I'm a Klingon and I'm going to do this despite everything about you." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 59) Concerning the moral ambiguity, Robert O'Reilly considered, "Maybe that's the key. Maybe that's what 'the Klingon way' is all about; a constant redefining of what it really means to be a true Klingon warrior." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 54) Ron Moore observed, "Some are good, some are bad, some are strong, some aren't. They're not Jem'Hadar."(Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 449) Keith R.A. DeCandido agreed, "The point is that there isn't a single way to be a Klingon. One of the reasons why Klingons have proven to be so vital as a species to pursue is that there is more to them. And I'd argue they didn't change as much between TOS and TNG as people like to think [....] I'd argue that the Klingons of the 24th century owe plenty to how John Colicos played the role. And the diversity is what makes it interesting [....] That's the point. There is no one way to be a Klingon, although there are basic notions that are constant." [47] Regarding the consistent aspects, Scott Tipton stated, "Even when Klingons are behaving badly, they typically have been portrayed as charismatic and strangely compelling. Throughout the various incarnations of Star Trek, there has always been a strong implication that the Klingons have a very different view of history than their Federation rivals." (Star Trek Magazine issue 132, p. 10) In agreement, O'Reilly philosophised, "On the side of the Klingons, it's like, if you are going to war, you've made that choice, even if you've been forced into it. I don't like war – it's the most horrible thing Man can create. But as soon as you've made that choice, you have to be a Klingon about it and just do it... and do it fully." (Star Trek Monthly issue 96,  p. 50)

In a contest to determine favorite Klingons voted by readers of Starlog (a poll which ran between issues 143 and 149 of the magazine, from June 1989 to December of that year), the two most popular characters were Worf and Kor. The poll also distinguished that other frequently mentioned names were Kruge, Kang and Maltz. (Starlog #149, p. 35)

Rick Berman retained a fondness for the Klingons, throughout the years he worked on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. In the run-up to the initial broadcast of "Judgment", he remarked, "I'm very partial to the Klingons. They've always been my favourite species. They're a lot of fun and they represent a part of humanity that our 22nd, 23rd and 24th Century humans have sort of shed. I've always enjoyed it when we've had Klingons on our shows." (Star Trek Monthly issue 104, p. 18)

Another production staffer who enjoyed working with Klingons, on both DS9 and Enterprise, is James L. Conway; from the episodes he directed, the ones that included Klingons are "The Way of the Warrior", "Shattered Mirror", "Apocalypse Rising", "Broken Bow" and "Judgment". "I love doing scenes with Klingons," he enthused, "I [did] a lot of Klingon scenes over the years, on Star Trek, and I never got tired of it. It was so much fun to do." ("Broken Bow" audio commentary, ENT Season 1 Blu-ray)

Out of all the aliens that Set Decorator James Mees worked with, Mees – who contributed to TNG, VOY and ENT – chose the Klingons as his favorites. "The Klingons have always been the most fun," he commented. "I think that's true for many fans too, because they're everything that you'd ever want; they're strong and passionate and ferocious and mean and happy. We get to do some great things; we've had shrunken heads with hair, and Korean chests! They're exciting." (Star Trek: The Magazine Test Issue 3,  p. 3, pp. 82-83)

Many comments which Star Trek Magazine received from readers questioned why the Klingons had changed so drastically, through the years. (Star Trek Monthly issue 91,  p. 21) Between the release of The Motion Picture and the broadcast of "Trials and Tribble-ations", several fan-devised theories for the discrepancies between the two main forms of Klingons were postulated. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 37, No. 2, p. 40) One suggestion, relayed by Richard Arnold, was that the two variants of Klingon were from different hemispheres of the Klingon homeworld than one another. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 104, p. 12) The decision to maintain the Klingons' head ridges for Enterprise proved extremely controversial among the fans. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 135, p. 74) "In fact," Larry Nemecek commented, in 2002, "the Great Klingon Dilemma – smooth versus bumpy, and why? – is the biggest ongoing question mark in Star Trek lore today [....] By now, the parameters to play with [...] have become the most confusing of any Star Trek point." (Star Trek Monthly issue 93,  p. 37) Nemecek found it one of the two most vexing points of the series' pilot episode, "Broken Bow" (the other being the seeming, bizarre nearness of Qo'noS from Earth), though he concluded, "Bumpy-head Klingons, I can deal with." (Star Trek Monthly issue 103, p. 62) Even individual Klingon makeup elements (Worf's head, for example) changed from episode to episode. Besides Michael Dorn and Roxann Dawson, other Star Trek cast members who wore the full Klingon makeup include Avery Brooks, Colm Meaney, LeVar Burton, Rene Auberjonois, Tim Russ, Kate Mulgrew, Ethan Phillips, and Scott Bakula. John Larroquette once referred to the Klingon forehead design as "a crab." (Starlog #138, p. 25) Dorn has heard many similar nicknames, ranging from "Turtlehead" to "Speed Bumps". Actress Telma Hopkins, a friend of Dorn's, used the term "Old Intestine Head" and talk show host Arsenio Hall, on one of his first ever shows, likened a set of Klingon cranial ridges to a pair of human buttocks. (The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine, Issue 12, p. 24)

Following the return of Kor, Koloth and Kang in "Blood Oath", fans wanted those Klingons to return, despite Koloth and Kang dying in the aforementioned episode. "Of course, a lot of them have speculated about how they could bring us back together again – such as the fact that maybe we weren't completely dead because we have two hearts," acknowledged William Campbell. He tended to think it wouldn't be surprising if the trio of Klingons did indeed somehow make a comeback, despite this not ultimately happening. (Star Trek Monthly issue 11, p. 54)

In the audio commentary for "Reunion", Brannon Braga realizes that he and Ron Moore were responsible for killing off K'Ehleyr in that installment as well as Lursa and B'Etor in Generations, somewhat comedically observing, "We're not very nice to Klingon women."

Most actors who played Klingons relished the roles. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 114, p. 58) Concerning the appeal of such a part, Spice Williams confided, "It's fun to play the bad guy sometimes, to have a licence to take on a character that's just rude, crude, spits and belches... and shoves and 'Qapla', you know, and that rowdiness." ("That Klingon Couple", Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Special Edition) DVD & Blu-ray) Patrick Massett and his wife, Marybeth Massett, played one Klingon each: TNG recurring character Duras, and Parell in DS9: "Children of Time". Over the years, actors Vaughn Armstrong, John Larroquette, Charles Cooper, Scott Leva, John K. Shull and J.G. Hertzler portrayed multiple Klingons each. In addition, Armstrong and Larroquette both separately imagined, at one point, differently aged Klingons. "They had all these warlike ridges and body armor, and I could just picture them in the backyard as children playing with a goat," Armstrong envisioned, "smacking their foreheads up against the goat's or against each other." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 9, p. 44) In a jestful manner, Larroquette imagined elderly Klingons, describing "a couple of old Klingons at the Old Klingon Home." (Starlog #138, p. 25)

The Klingon emblem was designed by Matt Jefferies, also responsible for the very first visual representation of the Klingon script . He was interested in making it a simple shape which would be instantly recognizable. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 6, p. 70) The only time the symbol is seen in the original series is in "Elaan of Troyius", and the high spire is actually facing right, not straight up as the subsequent versions are. Also, on the original Klingon ship model (the camera angles never showed it on the series), it was facing to the right there as well. It was probably meant to be that way originally, but series executives and concept designers likely found it looked better pointing straight up. It was not the first Klingon emblem shown on screen. An earlier version was featured in the original Klingon episode "Errand of Mercy", seen as a letterhead on a proclamation Kor was reading, as well as a wall ornament in his office on Organia. It was Jefferies' more aggressive-looking design, however, that stuck for the remainder of the franchise; the original symbol was only ever shown in "Errand of Mercy".

The infamous Klingon saying, "Today is a good day to die," actually originated from the Lakotan warrior Crazy Horse, while the proverb, "Revenge is a dish best served cold," paraphrased by Khan in Star Trek II, is actually a saying of the Pashtun people of South Asia.

Real-world political analogies Edit

In 2002, Allen Wastler, managing editor of CNN/Money.com, advocated hiring Klingons as financial stock analysts. Remarking on some then-current stock analysts who apparently had been misleading the public about the value of their share choices, Wastler urged, "Make them Klingon. Then they would be compelled to stand by their words, even fight to the death to defend them... that would really put some meaning into stock recommendations." (Star Trek Monthly issue 94,  p. 14)

On 10 January 2007, Congressman David Wu made a speech, on the House of Representatives floor, referring to George Bush's staff as Klingons, with regard to the Iraq War. Wu, an admitted fan of Star Trek, said he was making a reference to the title of James Mann's recent book Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet (ISBN 0670032999). In the book, Mann writes that "Vulcans" is a nickname that President Bush's foreign policy advisory team in the 2000 campaign gave itself, originating from a large statue of the Roman god Vulcan in Bush adviser Condoleezza Rice's hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.

Wu said that – unlike "the Vulcans of Star Trek", who "make decisions based on logic and fact" – Rice and her cadre behave more like the warlike Klingons, saying, "There are Klingons in the White House." Wu continued that – unlike "real Klingons", who are also known as fierce warriors – those in the White House "have never fought a battle of their own." He concluded, "Don't let faux Klingons send real Americans to war."

On 16 January 2007, comedian Jon Stewart dedicated a short segment of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to talk about the speech Wu had made. Stewart was joined in this discussion by Leonard Nimoy and George Takei (Spock and Hikaru Sulu, respectively). In the discussion, Nimoy stated the analogy was weak, citing that – while Klingons are warlike – they adhere to a strict code of honor.

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