Star Trek: 10 Production Secrets You Never Knew About Klingons

What's the story with one of Star Trek's oldest frenemies? When did the honour begin?

Klingons Star Trek
Paramount

The Klingons are among the oldest, and certainly the most recognizable, villains and allies in Star Trek. Introduced in the first season of the Original Series, they have appeared almost as many times as humans across the years, thanks in no small part to the character of Worf appearing in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

There were several factors that went into the creation of these aliens, though some of those factors have aged like bad milk through the years. There is little chance in hiding the fact that they were inspired by stereotypical depictions at the time, though this has been phased out through the years.

With thanks to an influx of cash, they have changed appearances through time, though there are supporters and detractors for each revised look that has been shown on-screen. Their culture has changed, their logos have evolved, a full language has been devised, and their culinary skills are second-to-none. They are spiritual people, though their beliefs borrow a lot from Christianity, Greek Mythology, and Viking lore.

They are one of the most well-known alien races in all of science fiction. Now, let's get to know them a little more.

10. There Was Exactly One Reason For The Original Redesign Of The Klingons - $$$

Klingons Star Trek
CBS

Star Trek The Original Series had introduced and kept the Klingons as they were one of the cheapest recurring aliens in the series. The Romulans presented an issue because of the costly ears that were required, so they were quickly overtaken by the Klingons. All that was required in their case was dark face paint, bushy eyebrows, and beards, then costumes that were made of burlap sacks and painted bubble wrap.

Then, ten years after Star Trek's cancellation, The Motion Picture went into production. Being a feature film, it had a vastly increased budget compared to the series. Makeup designer Fred Phillips, who had been instrumental in the design of the Klingons in the series, immediately approached Gene Roddenberry, and requested permission to make them look much more alien in the films.

Michael Dorn would later recall that the decision was inspired purely because they could, thanks to the budget. At the time, they probably never worried about having to explain why the Klingons looked different this time around. In fact, it would take another twenty five years or so before a reason was given on-screen for this, with the events of Star Trek: Enterprise's Augment storyline.

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Writer. Reader. Podcast Host. I'm Seán, I live in Ireland and I'm the poster child for dangerous obsessions with Star Trek. Check out my weekly podcast on all things....well all things film! Check me out on Twitter @seanferrick or at the website https://seanferrick.wordpress.com/