When Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted, it featured three main characters who weren’t totally human. The most surprising of these was Worf, who is a Klingon. The Federation and the Klingon Empire had been at odds throughout the series and it was shocking to see a Klingon serving in Starfleet. It didn’t take long for Worf to establish himself as one of the most interesting and unique characters on the show. The episodes that focused on Worf’s interactions with his people are considered to be some of the best of the show’s run and helped to popularize the Klingon Empire with the fans. Worf was so popular with the fans that he became a regular cast member on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where many of his storylines from The Next Generation were continued.
We are here today to look into the life of one of the most important Star Trek characters of all time. From the Fresh Prince of Bel Air actor who almost got the role, to Worf’s massive popularity within and without the series.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Worf, Son Of Mogh!
15. Uncle Phil Almost Played Worf
Michael Dorn was the actor chosen to play Worf in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He claims that he won the role by taking it more seriously than the other actors who auditioned, as he acted like a Klingon throughout the whole process. It was Dorn’s performance that helped to elevate the character from the minor role that he was originally planned for. This was helped by Denise Crosby wanting to leave the show, which led to the death of Tasha Yar. Worf was able to fill her role in the bridge crew and his stories took the place of those that were meant for Tasha.
The other actor who came close to playing Worf was James Avery, who is best known for playing Uncle Phil in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and providing the voice of Shredder in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon. James Avery did eventually get a chance to play a Klingon when he portrayed General K’Vagh in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise.
14. Worf Wiped Another Klingon From Continuity
When Worf was fifteen years old, he performed the Rite of MajQa, which involved several days of fasting and meditation. It was during this ritual that Worf had a vision of Kahless, who told him that he would do something that no other Klingon had ever done before. This vision was proven true when Worf became the first Klingon to serve in Starfleet. It was established early on in Star Trek: The Next Generation that Worf was the only Klingon to have ever served in Starfleet at that point in time.
Worf’s presence in the canon of Star Trek would end up wiping another Klingon from continuity. There was a Star Trek: The Original Series comic book that debuted in 1984. One of the characters introduced in this series was a Klingon defector, named Konom. He had abandoned his people and became a member of Starfleet, which led to him joining the crew of the Enterprise.
13. The Familiar Family Faces Of Worf
Star Trek: The Next Generation begins almost exactly one hundred years after Kirk’s Enterprise began its first five-year mission. This didn’t stop Kirk and his pals from going on adventures, as they were still making movies based on The Original Series cast when The Next Generation debuted. The hundred year gap between the two shows also didn’t stop them from crossing over, as Bones, Spock, and Scotty all showed up in The Next Generation. Captain Kirk & Captain Picard would later team up in Star Trek Generations.
Michael Dorn played Worf in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, though it wasn’t the Worf you are familiar with. He played Colonel Worf, who was the grandfather of the character who appears in The Next Generation. Colonel Worf represented Kirk and Bones when they were accused of murdering Chancellor Gorkon. Michael Dorn would also play Colonel Worf’s younger brother, Thok Mak, in the video game Star Trek: Klingon Academy.
12. Worf Almost Dated Selar
There was an episode of the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation that was called “The Schizoid Man”. It focused on an elderly scientist, who managed to cheat death by implanting his personality into Data’s robotic brain. One of the characters who appeared in this episode was a Vulcan doctor named Selar, who served as one of the medical staff aboard the Enterprise. While she only appeared in this episode, she was referenced in several others as performing her duties on the ship.
Tracy Tormé was one of the writers on the show at the time. He pushed hard for a romance to bloom between Dr. Selar and Worf. This would not come to pass, however, as the other writers wanted to pursue the love story between Worf and K’Ehleyr, which eventually led to the introduction of Alexander. It wouldn’t have mattered much to Worf, as both Selar and K’Ehleyr were played by Suzie Plakson.
11. Worf’s Outfit Had A Reference To The Original Klingons
The Klingons originally looked very different in Star Trek: The Original Series. The budget on the show was very limited, which meant that the producers had to settle for extra facial hair and a bronze skin tone when it came to making the Klingons look alien. This changed when the Star Trek movies began, as they had much bigger budgets. The actors who played Klingons now wore prosthetic forehead ridges. It took until Star Trek: Enterprise for the series to explain why the original Klingons looked human and why the later ones had the big foreheads.
Star Trek rarely referenced the original generation of Klingons. Worf managed to honor them in his own way during the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as his original costume referenced the Klingons of old. The cloth baldric that Worf wore in the show was the same that was worn by the Klingons in The Original Series. He actually obtained special permission from Starfleet to wear it as part of his uniform (while Counselor Troi was allowed to show up wearing whatever she wanted). This baldric was replaced with a metal one in the second season.
10. The Captain Worf TV Show
There is always a suspicion among fans of a long-running series that the actors in the show secretly hate their roles. This was the purpose behind Alan Rickman’s character in Galaxy Quest. It doesn’t help when actors like Leonard Nimoy release an autobiography called I Am Not Spock (which actually refers to an anecdote in the book, rather than Nimoy’s dislike of the character), or when William Shatner does an SNL skit where he tells the fans to “get a life“.
Michael Dorn is one such actor that fans suspect might have grown weary of being associated with Star Trek. He spent hours in makeup almost every day for fifteen years, which was followed by an another fifteen years on the convention circuit. Michael Dorn isn’t totally done with the character, however, as he has spent years petitioning Paramount for a Captain Worf TV show. He wrote a pilot episode for the show and has pitched it to executives on several different occasions.
The Captain Worf TV show seems to have been put on the backburner, as Star Trek: Discovery is going be the next incarnation of the franchise on television. If Discovery bombs in the ratings, then it might be time for Worf to come out of retirement for one last mission…
9. Worf Ruled The Earth In An Alternate Reality
Star Trek has been off our screens since Enterprise ended in 2005. This drought will end soon when Star Trek: Discovery debuts at the end of 2017. Fans haven’t been totally deprived of Trek goodness, however, as we had the three reboot films, as well as many novels and video games that are set in the Star Trek universe.
There have been many Star Trek comic book series released over the years, which have covered the various incarnations of the TV show. Star Trek has also crossed over with franchises like the X-Men and Doctor Who in the comic books, which is something that couldn’t really happen in real life.
The IDW Star Trek comics ran a story in 2014 called “The Q Gambit”. Q uses his powers to send the reboot Enterprise into the future, where they encounter Captain Sisko and have adventures across the cosmos. In the third part of this series, they arrive in a reality where the Klingon Empire is the dominant power in the universe and have taken over Earth. The ruler of Earth in this reality was Chancellor Worf, who got to sit on an awesome wooden throne all day.
8. Worf Was The Last TNG Cast Member To Be Created
It might seem like a crazy notion now, but Gene Roddenberry originally didn’t want any of the alien races from The Original Series to appear in The Next Generation. He wanted a totally clean slate, which also didn’t include any cameos from the original cast. This didn’t last long, as a Klingon now served aboard the Enterprise and an elderly Dr. McCoy visited the ship during the first episode of the show. Star Trek: The Next Generation ended up being a mixture of the old with the new, with Klingons and Romulans appearing alongside the Ferengi and the Cardassians.
Worf was the last member of The Next Generation‘s cast to be created. This was due to Gene’s reluctance to include a Klingon crewmate. Worf wasn’t even mentioned in the series bible. When Worf was finally added to the roster, he was intended to be a minor character. Michael Dorn’s performance impressed the writers so much that Worf started to become more important to the story and soon became one of the main characters on the show.
7. Worf & Ted
Seth MacFarlene is easily the biggest celebrity Star Trek fan. His cartoons are filled with Star Trek references, which led to the entire cast of The Next Generation appearing in an episode of Family Guy. He has convinced Patrick Stewart, Marina Sirtis, and Michael Dorn to reprise their Star Trek roles in Family Guy, and even snagged Stewart for a recurring role in American Dad. In terms of Star Trek itself; MacFarlene appeared in Enterprise and once tried to get a new series of the show commissioned in 2011.
Michael Dorn appeared in Ted 2 as Rick. There is a scene in the movie where Rick and his lover attend Comic-Con, just so that they can mess with the nerds in attendance. Michael Dorn’s character is dressed in an awful Worf costume, while his lover is in a Tick outfit. The inclusion of Dorn and his costume is just another example of MacFarlene’s rampant fanboyism at work.
6. Worf Narrated Several Klingon Audiobooks
The Klingon language is the most spoken fictional language in the world. This can be attributed James Doohan, who came up with the first few Klingon words in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The language was fully realized by Marc Okrand, who was commissioned by Paramount to flesh out the Klingon dialect and teach it to the actors who needed to speak it. Okrand would release several books on the subject of Klingon language, which is what allowed the fans to fluently learn and speak it.
There have been several popular Klingon language audiobooks, which can help you with the pronunciation of the words. Two of these audiobooks have been narrated by Michael Dorn as Worf. Conversational Klingon and Power Klingon both feature narration by Worf, as he prepares the listener for the best methods of speaking the Klingon language. Michael Dorn has also narrated several other Star Trek novels, though as a nameless narrator rather than Worf.
5. Worf Almost Destroyed The Enterprise
Denise Crosby left Star Trek: The Next Generation during the filming of the first season. This was because she wasn’t happy with her treatment on the set or the scenes she had to perform. Tasha Yar was killed in “Skin Of Evil” and it stuck, as she was never resurrected or brought back to life through other means.
Tasha Yar died, yet Denise Crosby kept returning to the show. She regretted leaving and was open to filming cameos, which led to the creation of Sela (Tasha’s half-Romulan daughter) and the occasional appearance of an alternate universe Tasha. The character of Tasha reappeared in the classic episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise”, which showed a reality where the Klingon-Federation War never ended.
At the end of the episode, the Enterprise is attacked and almost destroyed by the Klingons. During the production of the episode, it was originally planned for Worf to be the captain of one of the Klingon vessels. He would order the Enterprise to surrender and then lead the attack when they refused.
4. The South Park Cameo
The sixth season of South Park featured an episode called “Fun With Veal”. This episode focused on the boys discovering that veal is actually another word for baby cow, which causes them all to become vegetarians. They end up kidnapping a bunch of baby cows and hiding them in their homes. The episode then becomes a hostage drama, where the boys dealt with an incompetent negotiator who gave in to all of their demands. Cartman demands that their getaway vehicle is driven by Michael Dorn in full Worf makeup and that he can only be referred to as “Captain”.
Michael Dorn’s voice in the episode was portrayed by Matt Stone. Dorn has repeatedly said in interviews that he would have played himself in the episode if he had been asked. He is also a vegan in real life, which means that he may have been willing to perform in the episode due to the fact that it supports being a vegetarian (even though it really doesn’t, as the boys start growing vaginas on their body because they stopped eating meat).
3. Worf Hung Out With Webster
In 1983, ABC debuted a sitcom called Webster. It focused on the titular main character, who was a young black boy who had been adopted by two wealthy white parents. Webster was often accused of being a ripoff of a similar NBC show called Diff’rent Strokes. The show ran until 1989 before it was finally canceled.
So what does any of this have to do with Star Trek? Well, the final episode of Webster was an official crossover with Star Trek: The Next Generation, called “Webtrek“.
In “Webtrek”, Webster is playing on his computer when lightning strikes outside his house. This beams him up to the Enterprise-D, where he encounters Worf. The fact that a tiny human just appeared on the bridge doesn’t seem to bother Worf, as he hangs around and chats with Webster. The episode then turns into a Webster clip show, as all of the best scenes from the series are played. The episode ends with Webster in bed, with the joystick from his computer bearing a label that says it was fixed by the crew of the Enterprise. This means that the episode wasn’t a dream and it is a totally official crossover.
2. Worf Ended Up Marrying Grilka
When the first Star Trek reboot movie was released in 2009, it left fans wondering about the fate of the TV show continuity. In Star Trek (2009), Nero goes back in time and changes reality. So does that mean that only Star Trek: Enterprise is still in canon?
The universe of the TV shows is continued on in Star Trek Online, which focuses on what happened after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis. In Star Trek Online, Worf became the Federation ambassador to Qo’nos, which was the position given to him at the end of Deep Space Nine. Worf would eventually marry Grilka, who is the ex-wife of Quark from the classic episode “The House of Quark”. Grilka later appeared in the episode “Looking for par’Mach in All the Wrong Places”, where she was romantically pursued by Worf. This couldn’t happen at the time, as Worf was considered to be a traitor to the Klingon Empire at that point in Deep Space Nine.
1. Worf Holds The Record For The Most Appearances In Star Trek
The universe of Star Trek has mostly been focused on Starfleet. We see the world through the eyes of Federation citizens and their skewed perspective of events. The characters of Star Trek are intended to represent a bright future for humanity, where we abandon our prejudices and work together to overcome issues like disease and hunger together, as one species.
It seems that Star Trek fans are more interested in visiting the Klingon Empire, as the character who has appeared the most throughout the franchise is Worf. He showed up in almost every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and in all of the films based on the series. Worf also appeared in almost every episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine after he was added to the cast in season four. This means that Worf appeared in 282 episodes and four movies.
The only person who has come close to Michael Dorn’s numbers is Colm Meaney, who played Miles O’Brien in 225 different episodes.
Kahless once told Worf that he would do something that no other Klingon had ever done, and he was right. Worf managed to upstage every other human and Vulcan character in Star Trek history.