Star Trek: Discovery's Klingons are getting a redesign in season 2 according to the show's makeup effects chief. In any modern science fiction franchise, especially one as internationally beloved as Star Trek, the visual designs of alien species are hugely important in creating an interesting, but still believable, fictional world that viewers can immerse themselves in. With everything from Klingons to Kelpians to tangle with, Star Trek: Discovery's makeup effects team had a huge challenge in front of them but their work has now been officially recognized in the form of an Emmy nomination.
One of the most important design tasks Discovery faced was bringing the visual design of iconic villains the Klingons into the modern day and, as could perhaps have been expected, the makeover wasn't universally well-received by fans. Discovery's Klingons looked radically different compared to the ones seen previously in the Star Trek franchise, with pale skin and a noticeable lack of hair. Prior to Discovery's debut, producers attempted to explain the new look by suggesting that different Klingon Houses would perhaps have different features. This would prove to be one of several instances where fans took exception to Discovery seemingly contradicting Star Trek canon, but producer Aaron Harberts has promised any inconsistencies will be addressed in the narrative.
It now appears as if the inhabitants of Qo'nos are getting another restyle, as Discovery's Head of Makeup Effects, Glenn Hetrick, has claimed that the Klingons will have a different design in the show's second season. He also teased how the reason for this, as well as for their radically different initial look, will be explained in the show itself. With regards to their baldness, Hetrick pointed to the story of Kahless the Unforgettable, a tale in which the Klingon Kahless dips a lock of his hair into lava to create a Bat'leth. Speaking with SyfyWire, Hetrick stated:
"We're trying to adhere as much as we can to canon, but still evolving it and making it something for today's audience - making it smarter, cooler, and technically more impressive so it can hold up in HD. But we don't want anything that looks so different that someone goes, 'That's not what an Andorian looks like.' It's a fine line... We're obsessed with that story [Kahless the Unforgettable]. And as we unpack it, we're going to find tons of other reasons for the Klingon look. I think people are going to freak out when this unfurls in front of them."
On one hand, it could be suggested that Discovery's producers are attempting to address an unpopular element of the series - the non-traditional Klingon design - by completely changing it ahead of season 2. This would fit into a pattern of developments that seemingly brings Discovery more in line with the established franchise, for instance the recent casting of Spock.
Going back to the original explanation for the reimagined Klingons however (that different Houses wouldn't all look the same), it perhaps makes sense that viewers will be seeing new-look Klingons in future episodes. After all, the season 1 finale saw characters Voq and L'Rell depart on a journey to unite the various Klingon factions and if season 2 continues this particular storyline, it's only natural that fans are going to see new varieties of Klingon. In his interview, Hetrick also confirmed that he has designs for over 20 Klingon houses, only six of which have appeared thus far in the show.
The promise of an entire backstory behind the Klingons' appearance is certainly an intriguing one and if there has indeed been a master plan all along that explains why Discovery's Klingons look nothing like the ones seen previously, the show's ambition should be applauded. Whether this will be enough to satisfy those who just want to see the traditional, Worf-style, beard-sporting Klingons remains to be seen.
Star Trek: Discovery season 2 is set to premiere in January 2019 on CBS All Access.
Source: Syfy Wire