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Culluh

First Maje Jal Culluh, a Kazon male

The Kazon were an aggressive warrior species from the Delta Quadrant, first encountered by the Federation starship USS Voyager in 2371. (VOY: "Caretaker") As of 2372, they were divided into eighteen different sects. Each sect has possession of different natural resources over which the sects fight each other. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Initiations") The Kazon were known to the Borg as species 329, but were deemed unworthy of assimilation. (VOY: "Mortal Coil", "Relativity")

History

The Kazon were a subjugated race, used as slave labor by the Trabe, who had conquered their homeworld. It is unknown if the Kazon were divided into sects before they were conquered by the Trabe, but the sects were in existence during their oppression by the Trabe. One of the Trabe's tactics in keeping the Kazon under control was to encourage them to fight amongst themselves. (VOY: "Alliances")

In 2346, Jal Sankur convinced the Kazon sects to put aside their differences and rise up against the Trabe. In doing so the Kazon took the Trabe's ships and technology, forcing them to become a nomadic species, never allowing them to settle on a new world. (VOY: "Initiations", "Alliances")

In 2372, the leaders of all Kazon sects were invited to a peace conference on the planet Sobras by Captain Janeway along with the Trabe leader Mabus. However, Mabus only consented to attend the conference in the hope of eliminating all Kazon leaders at once. The assassination was unsuccessful, and Kazon relations worsened with both the Trabe and the crew of USS Voyager. (VOY: "Alliances")

Political

As one, the Kazon were known as the Kazon Order; however, they were really a collection of semi-independent sects and there seemed to be no overall leader or government. The major sects were Kazon-Halik, Kazon-Ogla, Kazon-Oglamar, Kazon-Relora, Kazon-Nistrim, Kazon-Mostral, Kazon-Hobii, and Kazon-Pommar. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Alliances", "Maneuvers", "Basics, Part I", "Basics, Part II", and more)

The two most powerful sects were the Ogla and Relora, who possessed most of the Kazons' manpower and ships. The Nistrim were once a powerful and influential sect, however their reach has diminished – by 2372, they possessed fewer than six raider vessels. (VOY: "Maneuvers")

Leaders within the Kazon sects were referred to as Maje with the head of the sect referred to as First Maje. (VOY: "Caretaker")

The behavior of the various Kazon sects had caused them to make many enemies throughout the Delta Quadrant. Attacks on Talaxian trade convoys were frequent. (VOY: "Caretaker", "Alliances", "Investigations")

Physiology

The Kazon were a humanoid race, having at least two racial variants, one minority race with brown skin and the most common race with copper-colored skin. The foreheads of all Kazon featured distinctive ridges and their black or brown hair grows in large chunks rather than individual strands. (VOY: "Caretaker", et al.)

Society

Kazon script

Kazon script

Kazon society was patriarchal, divided along gender lines, with female Kazon typically spoken down to and treated as second-class citizens. A male Kazon will generally not tolerate being given orders by a woman. (VOY: "Maneuvers", "Alliances")

Male Kazon children were usually raised as warriors. When they come of age they took part in trials to earn their adult names (See Jal). When they had earned their names they were considered to be true warriors. Displays of affection from a father to his son are considered a source of shame for the son. (VOY: "Initiations")

The Kazon were the only species known to have been rejected by the Borg for assimilation. The former Borg drone Seven of Nine explained this to Neelix, the chef aboard Voyager, in the following manner: "Their biological and technological distinctiveness was unremarkable; they were unworthy of assimilation." When Neelix commented on this heretofore unknown discriminating nature of the Borg, she replied: "Why assimilate a species that would detract from perfection?". (VOY: "Mortal Coil") The Borg designated the Kazon as Species 329. (VOY: "Mortal Coil", "Relativity")

Technology

While the technology they took from the Trabe had allowed the Kazon to spread throughout a small area of the Delta Quadrant, it lacked elements common to the technology of Alpha Quadrant races. The Kazon possessed energy weapons such as phaser and tractor beams, as well as deflector shields, but had no knowledge of technology such as transporters and replicators until their first contact with Voyager. (VOY: "Caretaker", "State of Flux", "Initiations", "Alliances")

Kazon raider ships were tactically inferior to a Starfleet Template:ShipClass starship, although their larger carrier vessels posed more of a threat. (VOY: "Investigations", "Maneuvers")

See also

Individuals

Named
Unnamed

Appendices

Appearances

Background

Concept

The idea for the Kazon started to be conceived during secretive development meetings between Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor, from which Star Trek: Voyager began to be created. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager) The series' co-creators originally conceived of the Kazon as contemporary Los Angeles street gangs. Jeri Taylor recalled, "We felt with the Kazon we needed to address the tenor of our times and what [...] was happening in our cities and recognizing a source of danger and social unrest. We wanted to do that metaphorically." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 151) One factor in this analogy was that the trio wanted to have in-fighting between the alien "gangs". Michael Piller commented, "Our intention was to create a sort of disorganized anarchy, them-against-them as much as them-against-us." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 161)

The earliest material evidence of the Kazon concept is one of many summaries of the discussions written by Jeri Taylor during the development process; the specific summary in which the idea first appears is dated 10 August 1993 and reads, "Maybe there are 'gangs' who are the villains. They don't respect the prime directive, and have interfered with many non-warp cultures. They come in and 'squat' on a planet. They're basically bullies." The same set of notes also posits, "At least two gangs–Crips and Bloods, in competition for influence." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 186) The terms used to refer to these two groups were intentionally meant as preliminary, shorthand names. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 187)

On 16 August, Jeri Taylor wrote another summary, including the statement, "The Crips have a rival (or more), for territory; they vie for new worlds, wiping out people on the way. Maybe on some planets they get along with the native population. But generally, they begin, like skinheads, to practice 'ethnic cleansing.'" This summary also shows that, at this point, Taylor and her fellow series co-creators were considering the possibility that, in the pilot episode of the forthcoming Star Trek series, the series' main characters might form a truce with one of the gangs, making the other gang an enemy for the rest of the series. The document went on to state, "Perhaps there are three gangs, with constantly shifting relationships and allegiances. Just as we think we have sorted it out, the balance shifts again." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 187-188)

In a much longer summary, dated the next day (17 August), a preliminary story outline for the pilot episode of the upcoming series described the Crips as "a gang which, in conflict with two other gangs, competes for territory in this region of space." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 190-191) In addition, this early story outline shows that the series co-creators were still considering the idea that one of the enemy gangs (now selected to be the Crips) would forge a truce with the series' hero characters and that another of the gangs (said to be the Bloods) would therefore serve as antagonists for the series, vowing to eliminate the main characters. (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 191) This initial concept was scrapped by 10 September 1993, as can be seen in another of Jeri Taylor's notes (which twice abbreviates the terms used for the gangs as "the B's and C's"). The quarrelsome gangs continued to play into development for the pilot episode, although proceeding along much the same lines as they are depicted in the final version of that installment (besides the continued use of their shorthand gang-names). (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 205)

By mid-1994, the name of the new species had been changed to "Gazon" (most likely by Michael Piller, who was working on the script for the pilot episode, "Caretaker", by that point). (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 232) At some time in either June, July or August 1994, the species name was finally changed to "Kazon". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 281) The reason for the name change between "Gazon" (pronounced with an "a" sound) and "Kazon" (pronounced with an "ay" sound) was that, with the Middle East's Gaza Strip being an oft-mentioned news item at the time, the producers feared that an unintended metaphor might be made between the similarly-sounding "Gazon" and "Gaza Strip". (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 55) The first edition of the Star Trek: Voyager Technical Manual, first printed in September 1994, clarified that only two competing Kazon "sects" were still planned to be established, one of which was branded with the ultimately unused name "Kazon-Sera" (the other being the Kazon-Ogla). [1]

Initial makeup and casting decisions

About early June 1994, make-up supervisor Michael Westmore began researching designs for the makeup of the Kazon (who were, at that time, still known as the Gazon). (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 232) Of the eventual Kazon makeup designs, Westmore commented, "The idea with the Kazon was to have a character along the lines of the Klingons, but not to go with the dinosaur bone-type of ridges. It's more of a soft cockscomb, a rooster comb, that goes up the front of the face, and has a nose tip on it, with two extending skin protrusions that literally come up inside the nostrils. It's hard to tell, but there is a difference between the male and female; there's a little harder look and a little more detailed sculpture around the eye on the male; the females are a little softer. And we work with reds and lighter browns for those, as opposed to dark brown for the Klingons." (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 11)

To further the analogy of the Kazon representing street gangs, Michael Piller wanted to only cast actors of a certain youthful age range as Kazon. Piller explained, "The wish that I had, which was not fulfilled, was that we would only cast people between eighteen and twenty-five-ish so that these would be young, angry people who never lived to be old enough to have the kind of experience and perspective on the world that, say, the Klingons and Romulans might have. They were much more emotional, short fused, and therefore had fewer expectations, which I think is indicative of street gangs today." This concept proved unfeasible as older actors were found to do better with the roles. Piller noted, "Older actors gave more polished performances." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 161)

The task of designing the makeup for the aliens was not as big a problem as was making the masks for each Kazon actor, as there were many performers who would play the aliens in "Caretaker". Consequently, Westmore had to hire extra mold makers and make-up artists to assist with the work. After Star Trek: Voyager premiered, fan reaction to the Kazon was unrelentingly negative, with most letters essentially criticizing the alien designs with such comments as, "They look like they're all having a bad hair day." (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, p. 283)

First season

Despite the negative fan response to the Kazon in "Caretaker", they were one of three alien species (the other two being the Vidiians and the Sikarians) that the writing team of Star Trek: Voyager originally planned, in the series' first season, to feature as recurring, antagonistic aliens. The Kazon were also one of only two that succeeded this expectation (the Sikarians ultimately appeared only in the Season 1 episode "Prime Factors"). (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 127)

During the first season, Michael Westmore still found that the Kazon were one of Voyager's most demanding species but he also found they were a lot easier to deal with than the usual makeup demands of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Westmore noted, "With the Kazons, outside of the pilot, we only see three or five of them, so it's a smaller number [than the quantity of aliens often seen on DS9's Promenade]." (Star Trek Monthly issue 9, p. 49) For the reappearances of the Kazon after "Caretaker" (starting with the first season installment "State of Flux"), their look was slightly modified from how they had originally appeared. Shortly after this alteration, Michael Westmore explained, "One slight change already made in the Kazon look are the 'pig ears' that hair designer Josée Normand originally wove into the wigs." These "ears" had proven to be too heavy for not only the active workout that stuntmen put the wigs through, but even for normal use. As a result, the wig appendages were changed to being composed of lighter-weight materials, such as sponges. (Star Trek Monthly issue 4, p. 11)

Second season experiment

The writing team of Star Trek: Voyager deliberately made a concerted effort to explore Kazon culture in the series' second season and a major proponent of this was Michael Piller. At the time, he commented, "We met the Kazon the first year and we have been formulating quite a deep investigation of their culture that will turn them, I think, into perhaps one of the top five adversarial alien races in Star Trek's history." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 123)

Due to the increased attention paid to the Kazon, executive story editor Kenneth Biller (early in the season) invented a complex sociological backstory regarding their history and customs, inventing their societal relationship with the Trabe and writing a document on these ideas. Biller's motive for doing so was that he felt such a paper would prove valuable to the season and would be a good method of coordinating the way in which the Kazon would be portrayed for the rest of the season, as all the writers would literally be working "from the same page". Indeed, this paper was used in the writing of both the Biller-penned "Initiations" (during whose development the document was written) and "Alliances", which was written by Jeri Taylor. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 161-162)

Michael Piller found that the character of Seska helped with the season's exploration of the alien species. "She allowed us to go behind the scenes with the Kazon [....] Seska helped define the Kazon for us." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 165) Seska actress Martha Hackett noted, "I don't think she gives a hoot about the Kazon." (Star Trek Monthly issue 19, p. 56)

Michael Piller was eager to learn what the reaction to the increased focus on the Kazon would be. He stated, "I'll be curious to know what the audience's perception is, if our investing in the Kazon this season worked." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 161) Even though audience response (in that same season) was apparently that the science fiction nature of Star Trek was not prevalent enough, Michael Piller believed that a futuristic aspect of the season was its use of the Kazon. "There are a lot of people who don't consider a lot of these stories [this season] science fiction," he said. "But certainly you can make a case that facing the Kazon in battle is futurist storytelling." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 150) On this topic, Jeri Taylor admitted, "I think that many of [the season's stories] were sort of internal, character-driven, introspective and that the only times we did any kind of action-adventure was with the Kazon, once again!" (Star Trek Monthly issue 18, p. 13)

Conclusion

Ultimately, Jeri Taylor decided to abandon development of the Kazon after the second season. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 149, 151, 161 & 165; Star Trek Monthly issue 15, p. 12, et al.) She commented, "I think that we dwelt too much on the Kazon this year and it was one of the things that didn't work about the season. The Kazon have never been particularly interesting as adversaries, and we just did them and did them and did them and did them. It created the curious implication that we are standing still in space, when our franchise is that we are going at incredible speeds toward the Alpha Quadrant – we keep running into the same people over and over again! It was just an oddity, and I don't think the Kazon have served us well. And [...] it is my intention to leave them behind and to find new and I hope more interesting aliens." (Star Trek Monthly issue 18, p. 13)

In summation of his dispute with Jeri Taylor concerning the season's close look at the Kazon, Michael Piller commented, "I think that Jeri was unhappy in general with the Kazon, but I think it was important and valuable to create this adversary." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 165)

Executive producer Rick Berman agreed with the opinion that Jeri Taylor ultimately formed about the Kazon. In the interim between the second and third seasons, Berman declared, "I think you have seen the end of Kazon space. If you think about it, traveling for a year-and-a-half through a part of space dominated by one group is pretty amazing! I think traveling at warp speed for a year-and-a-half you would pass through the Federation, the Klingon Empire and a few other places. So I think we have overextended our visit into Kazon space and those stories are all going to be resolved and done with at the beginning of the [third] season." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 108, p. 56)

Another production staffer who supported the choice to no longer feature the Kazon was Brannon Braga. Regarding how he thought the series should progress after the second season, he related, "I think the show will stop having the feeling that we're traveling in a big circle. No more Kazon. We can say what we want, but the Kazon are just half-baked Klingons." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 36)

The cessation of focus on the Kazon also made sense to members of Star Trek: Voyager's regular cast. Tuvok actor Tim Russ supposed, "The only thing about it is that we are presumably in motion toward home, and I don't know what the Kazon's realm covers. You know, how expansive is it? They can only be with us for so long, you know, from what I can gather, unless they reestablish. They are nomadic. They have to be nomadic to the point where they're always roaming and that you could stretch out for a while, but you can't stretch out a territorial dispute, because we're no longer in the territory. We're out of range of a lot of things because [we're] on the move, and that's something the writers just built right into the story. Three years from now you can't be talking about the Kazon." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 151-152) Russ also said of the villainous species, "That's the only thing that really wasn't working for all of us. The bad guys we've dealt with every other show just have not been that imposing, haven't been enough of a threat, as it were, for anyone–the characters or the fans–to take seriously." (Starlog issue #231, p. 49)

Neelix actor Ethan Phillips declared, "We need to phase out the Kazon a little bit. They're not very exciting [....] I think we should send the Kazon back to the Gamma Quadrant." (Starlog issue #231, p. 49)

Half-jokingly, Robert Picardo, the performer of The Doctor, agreed, "Really, other than their hair, the Kazon aren't too scary." Picardo also felt that the only "fun" aspect to having the Kazon in the series was their hair. (Starlog issue #231, p. 49)

Chakotay actor Robert Beltran reckoned, "The Kazon don't have much intelligence. So, I don't think we respect them much as adversaries." (Starlog issue #231, p. 49)

Yet another supporter of the decision to rid the series of the Kazon was Janeway actress Kate Mulgrew. She commented, "We need [...] to encounter enemies of such ferocity, enemies who in fact are quite lethal and frightening. Enemies that you would watch and say, 'Oh, boy, how are they going to get out of this one?' I don't think the Kazon hit the bill." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20, p. 28) Mulgrew also noted, "I never cared much for the Kazon.... They're just great big stupid giants." (Star Trek: Voyager Companion, p. 125) Additionally, she commented about Star Trek: Voyager's second season, "I don't think our dealing with the presence of the Kazon was as effective as the actual pursuit of our mission to get home would have been." (Starlog issue #231, p. 49)

Even Michael Piller, having championed the Kazon arc of the second season, admitted, "As the season progressed, I think [the actors playing Kazon] got older and older still, and as a result, I think we didn't fulfill the full potential of the Kazon, even though I think they were written pretty well. I think they ultimately came out being sort of Klingon-ish and I regret that we didn't stick to our original version of keeping them young." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 161)

Final appearances

Intended to serve as the swan-song for the Kazon was the two-parter "Basics, Part I" & "Basics, Part II", which bridged Voyager's second and third seasons. However, it was initially uncertain that it would be the Kazon who would act as adversaries in that two-part story. "When we were going in," Michael Piller said of the two-parter's development, "there was a real question of whether it was going to be a new alien group [...] or the Kazon. I was the one who really drove the unit toward the Kazon, because I felt we had built up this arc with them and it was a natural conclusion." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 169)

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