fantasy: Star Trek – the Klingons

Le’ak & Kali
Lursa & B’Etor

Star Trek – The Klingons

The Klingons have come a long way from their first appearance in the original Star Trek back in the 1960s. They might be fierce (if not vicious) but they have neither the down-right nastiness of the Cardassians or the untrustworthiness of the Romulans.

Ever since Star Trek: The Motion Picture, some fans have felt the need to ponder on the origin of Klingon forehead ridges. The simple – and probably real – answer was that the prevailing production-value standards just didn’t require them, and budget and time constraints would, in any case, have been prohibitive; when they appeared we were simply supposed to believe that Klingons had always had them. Pretty much confirming this makeup evolution like topsy, Makeup Designer Michael Westmore said:

The original Klingons had no prosthetics except for dark makeup and the hairdos… beards and mustaches and bushy eyebrows. Then in the features they added subtle foreheads … and some not so subtle. When the TV show came along, I added the nose to go with the forehead and over-emphasised the bones in the forehead using for research cross-sections of dinosaur vertebrae.

However, a time travel episode of Deep Space Nine once again had ridgeless Klingons astonishing other characters and sparking a terse reaction from Worf (‘We don’t talk about it’) – not to mention puzzling those fans who care about such things. And more recently the makers of Enterprise with their almost unfailing ability to remove anything of interest from the Star Trek universe felt the need to explain the history of the ridges.