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Star Trek: 10 Questions About Klingons, Answered

We’ve been introduced to dozens of fictional alien species in the Star Trek universe – Vulcans, Romulans, Tribbles, the Borg etc. – but perhaps the best-known of the bunch is the Klingons. There was a Klingon in the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise in The Next Generation in the form of Commander Worf, while the species has been present as both allies and heroes in all other Star Trek media.

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There are plenty of interesting facts about the Klingons and a lot of common misconceptions about them in a passive Star Trek fan community, so here are 10 questions About Klingons, answered.

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10 Where are the Klingons from originally?

Since the Vulcans hail from the planet Vulcan, there’s a common misconception that the Klingons hail from the planet Klingon. However, the name of the species has nothing to do with the name of the planet they’re from. Their planet of origin is actually called Qo’noS. Of course, this isn’t the only planet on which you can find Klingons, because of the far-reaching Klingon Empire.

The Klingon Empire stretches across a ton of different planets, including H’atoria, Krios Prime, Morska, Boreth, Archanis IV (which they lost to the Federation in the 23rd century and then regained in 2373), Maranga IV, Narendra III, and Praxis.

9 Is the Klingon Empire a part of the Federation?

Star Trek Discovery

The Klingon Empire is not a part of the Federation. It is suggested in both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine that the Klingons are at war with the Federation and have ongoing diplomatic conflicts with the organization. By the 26th century, it is confirmed that there are Klingons who work for the Federation, but the Klingon Empire as a whole has yet to join it.

The powers behind the Klingon Empire have disagreements with the Federation’s way of handling things and would instead prefer to run the universe their own way, even if it leads to political struggles.

8 Are Klingons stronger than humans?

This question regularly comes up in discussions among the Star Trek fan community, but there is actually no official statement in the canon regarding the strength of Klingons in relation to humans. There are only a couple of occasions in the entire franchise in which the two species face off in hand-to-hand combat, actually, such as The Original Series episode “Day of the Dove” and the Deep Space Nine episode “The Way of the Warrior.” On all of these occasions, the human fighters have held their own against the Klingons.

However, it’s important to note that most of the humans we see in Star Trek have been trained by Starfleet and most of the Klingons we see have been trained by the Klingon Defense Force, so we’re faced with the best of the best fighters.

7 What is the Klingons’ political ethos?

Since Star Trek’s modus operandi has always been focused on political allegory and sociological storytelling, the Klingons have a very rigid political agenda. They have always been defined by their authoritarianism (the belief that the people should have very few freedoms and one power should control everything) and their feudalism (a social structure built around holding land for ransom in exchange for services and goods).

The Klingons are also strong supporters of the tenets of slave labor, which they have used to build one of the strongest armies in the Star Trek universe, at the cost of their soldiers’ happiness and liberties.

6 Why do Klingons look different in different shows?

The Klingons in The Original Series looked like normal humans before The Next Generation introduced the ridges on their foreheads. Star Trek: Enterprise introduced the Augment Virus, which removed the ridged brows of Klingons and was supposed to explain why they looked like regular humans in The Original Series.

RELATED: Star Trek’s Crazy (& Brilliant) Reason Why So Many Aliens Look Human

But then in the most recent series, Discovery, the Klingons were redesigned yet again. Some fans have suggested that Discovery’s Voq and Ash, as well as the thematic focus on “context” and “perspective,” prove that Klingons can be surgically altered to take on human form, explaining yet another Klingon appearance change.

5 Why are Klingons unable to cry?

In Star Trek lore, the Klingons have never been seen to cry. In one of the best examples of Star Trek using made-up species to explore human emotions in a deeper way, there’s a biological reason behind this. It’s not because they are cold-hearted or emotionless – it’s simply because they don’t have tear ducts.

This doesn’t mean that they don’t ever get sad or angry or happy enough to cry; it just means that they can’t cry when they do feel those emotions. Vulcans, on the other hands, are more emotionless, because they think in terms of logic and not sentiment.

4 What are some common Klingon phrases?

Suzie Plakson as Dr. Selar and Michael Dorn as Worf - Star Trek: The Next Generation

There are a number of made-up languages in sci-fi and fantasy, but Klingon is arguably the most famous one. There are entire institutes set up around the language and fans who are fluent in it. Some common Klingon phrases include “HIja” (which means “Yes”), “ghobe” (which means “No”), “nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa’’e’” (which means “Where’s the bathroom?”), “nuqjatlh” (which means “What did you say?” or “Come again...?”), “tlhIngan maH” (which means “We are Klingon!”), and “wo’ batlhvaD” (which means “For the honor of the Empire!”).

Keep these phrases in mind, because when the Klingons invade Earth in a couple of hundred years, you’ll need them.

3 Do Klingons have different ethnicities?

Despite the fact that Klingon characters have been played by actors of different ethnicities, like the black Michael Dorn (who played Worf, perhaps the most well-known Klingon) and the white Christopher Lloyd (who played Kruge) and Christopher Plummer (who played Chang), characters of the species are often depicted as having the same skin color when the actors are under all the makeup.

So, some fans have been led to believe that all Klingons are of the same race. However, some Klingon characters, such as Captain Koloth and his First Officer Korax, have been depicted as having pale skin, so there are Klingons of different races.

2 How are Klingons such good fighters?

Star Trek Discovery

The Klingons are depicted as incredible fighters in the Star Trek universe, and the reason for this is simply that the Klingon Defense Force continually trains its soldiers to fight, day and night, to make sure that they’re the best. As it turns out, it’s just a cultural thing.

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It’s in the Klingons’ culture to train in hand-to-hand combat all the time and it’s in human culture to only do it at all if it’s absolutely necessary to your lifestyle, and even then, at specially designated times. This means that Klingons are just more prepared for a fight than humans are.

1 Do Klingons have two hearts?

There’s a misconception that Klingons have redundant organs, such as a second heart that serves no function that the first heart can’t handle on its own. This comes from the in-universe fact that Klingons have self-duplicating anatomies, leading to useless extra body parts. However, this doesn’t mean that entire extra organs crop up – it just means that the existing organs have extra lobes or chambers that aren’t needed. So, for the heart, which requires four chambers, Klingons have eight chambers and only require half of them. It’s more complicated that way, which is likely why the misconception has arisen in the first place.

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