Klingon mutation

Has anyone ever explained why the Klingons were given an entirely different look between the first series and the first Star Trek movie? In the DS9 episode where they revisit the original series, they had to sidestep the whole issue. (Oh, by “why”, I mean how do they explain it in the internal continuity of the show, not why did the producers decide to do it that way, although that’s an interesting question too.)

The reason I’ve read (in one of those “official” Star Trek Magazines) was that the Klingons knew about humans before the humans discovered them. Kligons are supposed to be skilled in genetics (again, according to this mag), and they bred human-looking Klingons on all outlying worlds in the Empire.

The reason? To be able to intermingle with the human “aliens”. Another possible reason that I inferred was so that they would appear less threatening to the humans.

This sounds fishy, I know, but it kinda makes sense in the original Star Trek series, where the Klingons are protrayed as tanned KGB officers.

What the hell. I’m still looking for an explaination for Star Trek’s non-radioactive, non-magnetic, invisible, nigh invulnerable force fields. And why didn’t Starfleet officers carry portable field belts?

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

One of the ideas thrown out was that that group of Klingons were a slightly different breed, could be what was mentioned in the above post, or could just have happened. Just as not all humans look alike (I know there are not as big of differences as the klingons).


Check out the Star Trek novel “The Final Reflection” for details.


Obviously the Klingons never changed. However, Human television reception and resolution were not advanced enough in the 1960s to portray them accurately. Once we advanced, we could see what they really looked like. The older episodes were caught on the more primitive tapes, so they still don’t show things accurately.

Or perhaps at the time of the original show, the makeup abilities just were not there. It could have been something similar to “this is what I envision” and the budget man says “we cant afford it” and the tech man says “we dont have the capability to do that” so you make the best with what you got. I am sure they would have used CG in the 1977 version of Star Wars if it was available. I bet it was nothing more than the Star Trek people making improvements on the idea and people suddenly go “hey! they look different” well, now we gotta explain that… sheesh! They just wanted the klingons to appear more “alien”

While we’re on the subject…

How come we never see the crew of the Enterprise/DS9/Vovager/shuttle floating around in zero gravity? Think about it. Every other system fails a minimum of once an episode (more often in battles). But the Romulan’s reverse-spasmodically-infindibulated electromagnetic pulse, which shuts down every single electrical system (leaving the crew to save the day with a flashlight battery and a rusty butter knife), DOES NOT KNOCK OUT THE ARTIFICIAL GRAVITY. Has this phenomena ever been explained?

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

addendum: On the old Star Trek cartoon series, I remember Kirk, et al, floating around when the power went out. That seems to be the closest the Star Ttek franchize has come to 0 G’s.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

As with all things in life, my friends, this one is about money, I’m sure. As Neobican said. I’m sure Mr. Roddenberry wanted to make the Klingons very menacing, but there’s no way they had the money to do it back then. The series barely made budget anyway. The first movie had a few million to spend, so the Klingons got a face lift…so to speak.
In fact, you might notice that Worf changes from season to season. Remember how he looked in the first season, then think of how he looks now. Those producers/writers make changes constantly, no one should try to make sense of it.

As long as were poking holes in the Star Trek storyline…

Why do spaceships always appear to be in the same axis? Why isn’t one of them crooked, or upside down for that matter? It’s as though they got together and collectivly decided which way was up.

As for Klingons, I hear they make fun of the kids at school who don’t look like they have a crab on their heads.

I love the way the Enterprise hangs tilted in space when she’s badly damaged (especially in TOS).

IMO, the “old” Klingons weren’t a special breed, but rather were surgically altered. Without that scene in “Trials and Tribble-ations”, the difference could have been dismissed. But having a ridge-headed Klingon (Worf) and non-ridge-headed (NRH) Klingons in the same show forced the issue. Plus, Koloth in this episode (and Kang and Kor in other episodes), appeared ridge-less, but ridged in DS9 episodes.

And why didn’t the NRHs notice Worf in the K-7 bar and confront him? “What are you doing here, looking like that?”

Ooh, I know some of these!

The reason the ships are all on the same axis when facing each other is exactly as was postulated - it is a standardised orientation within Starfleet. It isn’t exclusive - there are the infrquent occasions where there will be askew angled ships, but mostly not. I believe there are also Treknological reasons for it - i.e. the orientation of the galaxy makes Warp speed possible only on particular orientation of the Warp Nacelles. Or some crap like that.

In Star Trek VI: Undiscovered Country, there was an anti-gravity scene caused by damage to the doodad that creates the artificial gravity in a Klingon ship.

And finally, the reason that early Klingons looked different can most likely be explained by genetic mutation over a period of 100 years. There was an episode of DS9 where Klingons that were in the original series (played by the same actors) were featured, and this time they were all knobbly. So it has to be something like that.

By the way, the knobbly bits on a Klingon’s forehead is actually their spinal cord extended up over their heads.

“To me, socks are like sex. Tons of it about, and I don’t seem to get any.”

The Legend Of PigeonMan

In “Trials and Tribble-ations”, one of the DS9 characters (Odo, maybe?) asks Worf how come the other Klingons look different (I don’t remember exactly how it’s phrased). Worf looks uncomfortable and says something like “It is an embarassing time in my people’s history” and generally gives the impression that it’s not something that gets discussed in polite company.

I thought it was odd, though, that Dax didn’t say anything about it. After all, she had been there (w/ a previous host) at the time.

The Cat In The Hat

Starfleet officers have been known to turn off the gravity. Please see “Melora” (DS9) for an example.

My own WAGs:

Someone went back in time and altered the evolution of the entire Klingon species, so that in one sense, they’ve “always” been ridge-headed; but if you travel back in time before a certain year, the Klingons suddenly look like they do in TOS. Certainly the Klingon culture has been changed as well. The original Klingons were totalitarians who believed that no trick was too sneaky, no tactic too brutal, to achieve results. The modern Klingons are a barbaric warrior race, but they’re always going on about “honor”, something a TOS Klingon would never care about.

Artifical Gravity: Maybe it works something like a permanent magnet, the deck plates on the lowest deck have a gravity “charge”, which stays there indefinitely unless it’s counteracted.

In the final TNG episode “All Good Things…” a futuristic Enterprise attacks a bird of prey from underneath, pointed upwards on its approach. It’s the only occaission I can think of where a ship is shown severely out of kilter with the other ships in the scene.

“It is impossible to experience one’s own death objectively and still carry a tune.” – Woody Allen from Getting Even

For Star Trek questions, there is a simple rule to follow: If it ain’t on the screen, it didn’t happen. The novels are wonderful stories, but if they contradict filmed Trek, then the filmed version is canon and the novel is apocryphal. In official Trek, for example, Captain Kirk is dead. William Shatner’s stories of a resurrected Kirk interacting with the casts of TNG, DS9 and Voyager didn’t “really” happen.

As for their literary merit, that’s another topic.

The difinitive answer is that the apperance of the Klingons changed only AFTER the Tribbles were beamed en masse into one of their ships. Remember the two don’t like each other, and there’s a reason: Klingons are violently allergic to tribbles, so much so that the allergy altered them even at the genetic level. Why else do you think they spent all that time chasing down the Tribble home world and erradicating the little fuzzies? Modern Klingons (i.e. post classic ST series) are all descendants of an acute allergic reaction. ; )

…at night, the ice weasels come…

My favorite theory is that there are two species of Klingons and they’ve been fighting for power for millennia. First, one’s in power and then the other. Think of Cro-Magnon struggling with either Neanderthal or homo erectus for dominance, only in Klingon history, they reached a kind of stalemate. But in “recent” times, Earth’s 24th century (Kirk lived in the 23rd), Worf’s genotype finally won. And it was done without honor, which is why Worf would rather not talk about it. Kor, Koloth and Kang and other survivors had themselves surgically altered to “pass” as victorious Klingons. Perhaps these “great” warriors even betrayed their own kind…! And their dishonor was so great, Klingons were commanded never to discuss it, even privately…