Since its debut in 1966, Star Trek has become famous for its iconic aliens such as the Vulcans, Klingons, and Romulans. While they've become icons through their numerous appearances across the franchise, others such as the Gorn are well-known for one or two memorable appearances.
The Gorn stomped their way into Star Trek lore as the monster of the week in the 1967 episode, Arena. Other than a few minor appearances throughout the franchise, the Gorn have had very little presence on Star Trek until the writers on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds began building them up as major antagonists. They even figure prominently in La'an Noonien-Sigh's backstory.
The Gorn depicted in Strange New Worlds are almost completely different creatures from the rubbery-looking hulk who lurched his way very slowly towards Captain Kirk in Arena. They're leaner, more vicious, more clever, and more terrifying than that brute ever was and probably wouldn't have been allowed on prime-time television in the 1960s.
Thanks to a combination of imaginative writing and modern effects techniques, they're more believable creatures as well. Here are nine ways the creators behind Star Trek: Strange New Worlds has re-imagined the Gorn.
When the Gorn captain lumbered his way toward Kirk in Arena, he looked like someone stuck a tyrannosaurus rex head on Arnold Schwarzenegger's body and made him wear an animal hide. This version of the Gorn had big, muscly arms, clawed hands and feet, needle-like teeth in a wide mouth, tiny ear holes, and bug-like silver eyes.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' executive producer Alex Kurtzman saw reintroducing the Gorn as a chance to make them into real nightmare fuel.
The re-imagined Gorn were introduced as babies and juveniles in the episode All Those Who Wander. They more closely resemble velociraptors than tyrannosaurus rex. They have narrow faces, knife-like teeth, reptilian eyes, and tails. The agile juvenile Gorn run around naked on all fours and pop out unexpectedly when they attack their prey.
While still well-over 6 feet tall, the newly designed adult Gorn are slimmer than their Arena counterpart, walk slightly hunched forward, and have long tails. Instead of animal hides, the Gorn depicted in Hegemony wore a high-tech, armored spacesuit. Although less agile than the juveniles, the adult Gorn was capable of climbing around and hiding in the wreckage of a damaged ship and using its tail as a weapon.