“Star Trek Beyond” opens this weekend, and with it comes the introduction of a brand spankin’ new alien species to the “Star Trek” universe in the movie’s main antagonist, Krall. That’s right, space fans, he’s definitely not a Gorm, and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we can trust JJ Abrams when he tells us who his “Star Trek” villains definitely are not.
But we digress.
As we prepare to go where no one has gone before (again), we decided to look back at “Star Trek’s” long and storied history of imaginative alien races that show us what a Hollywood makeup department can do when they really give it their all.
That’s what we have here: eight super-creative “Star Trek” alien races that are the products of Gene Roddenberry’s most boundary-pushing days in character design, and not whatever the makeup department came up with when they got to the set too late to get any coffee.
100% imagination here, folks. Nothing phoned in, for sure. Just eight aliens that are definitely not a human being wearing a bit of make up.
8. The Dosi
We start with the Dosi of the Gamma Quadrant, known for their shrewd business tactics and tulaberry wine.
And, of course, their naturally-occuring skin pigments, complete with the kind of 90Â° angles and sharp color contrasts that are so prevalent in evolution. The Dosi are what happens when a costume department is at its best and not when someone accidentally grabs their kid’s kindergarten art project instead of the alien of the week’s design sheet on their way out the door.
Totally. These are definitely not human beings wearing some make up.
Hell. Yes. The Klingons, baby! Hardcore, death-dealing, warrior monsters from outer space with a serious chip on their shoulders. And their knees. And their chests, elbows, tibias, jawbones, fingers, tendons, and anywhere else they can fit a chip, because these guys are constantly in go mode.
Which brings us to one of the most defining characteristics of their race’s design, their unforgettable forehead-ridge. It exudes power, confidence, and pride, and is a highlight of Star Trek alien design for the ages.
Speaking of the ages, not a lot of newer Trekkies realize this, but the Klingons actually go all the way back to the original series! Even back then, they were–
Oh, so sorry, this is embarrassing. It seems CBR’s backend has accidentally put a picture of a human here, not a picture of a…
Well, our editor just informed us this is, in fact, an Ocampan, and not a human being. Apparently, the difference is in the ears, which… OK, yeah, we can see it now, it’s a little bit longer at the top…
But! Still a great species, and with only a nine-year life span, it’s one that puts the human perspective itself into perspective. Imagine running into a species with a lifespan ten times as long as yours, and you’ll start to understand what it’s like to be an Ocampan.
Which is, to be perfectly clear, a totally valid and original alien species, and not what the prosthetics department came up with when an intern accidentally added an extra zero to the end of an order for more Vulcan ears.
5. The Edo
The Edo are… uh… are race of free-loving, law-abiding people… the constant threat of… wow you can see, like, the outline of it and everything. And this aired on weeknight network television? Wow. Huh. That’s… wow…
Sorry, we got distracted. The Edo are a peaceful people with no crime, and only one method of judicial punishment: execution. And they are definitely an example of visionary Star Trek extraterrestrial design, and not what happens when the costume department covers for the entire makeup and prosthetics department at once.
Wait a minute, these are aliens, too? Where’s the “alien” parts? Is it the hair? Because a wig on an alien is still just a wig, that doesn’t make him an “alien.” Is it the paint on their foreheads? The space guitar in the one guy’s hands? The space frisbee in the other guy’s hands?
Well anyway, the Catullans were a race of hippies that had rejected modern technology, while in space, and were searching for a mythical planet named “Eden.” Upon reaching their destination, their rejection of science and medicine is what sets them up to be killed by the planet’s native flora and fauna.
As far as anti-hippie messages go, watching space hippies get killed by nature because they refused to get a job is a bit on the nose. And as far as costuming space-hippies go — who, again, were aliens and not the same race as Kirk — “let’s give them wacky hair and some facepaint” is a bit, well, lazy.
We suppose we can give Gene credit for the irony of space hippies being killed by a Mother Earth, though. Also, for thinking ahead and giving them a space frisbee.
*takes off glasses*
*puts them on table*
*leans forward onto elbows, which are on table*
*places an index finger on either side of nose, closes eyes, exhales deeply and longly*
*sees Armus is still on screen, still acting like he’s an alien and not a man wearing an entire container of wet industrial trash bags*
*closes eyes, exhales again*
*thinks about the internship at the New York Times he turned down years ago*
*opens eyes, again sees this man covered in thousands of regurgitated licorice jelly beans acting like he’s doing a good job portraying one of the many curiosities in our vast, unknowable universe on a show meant to inspire fascination and exploration, as opposed to the very real revulsion it is currently inciting*
*leans back, puts on glasses*
Okay, so, this is definitely not a human being wearing make up. This is more like a human being wearing a bucket of tar, or someone who walked in a Russian sauna while wearing a cheap plastic Darth Vader costume. This is a man who was offered make up and said, “No, I wish to instead be covered in the mashed up carcasses of a million beetles. I am a professional actor and this is how I am practicing in my trade.”
But it’s definitely not make up.
Iotians? You know, we don’t actually remember these guys. Were they the eyebrow ones, or the chin ones? Oh, were they the ones that only lived nine years? No, no those were the Ocampans.
Oh. Oh, yes, we remember the Iotians now. The Iotians were the space mobsters.
1. The Greek Gods
Wait, what do you mean, “The Greek Gods”? Like, the actual-
OH COME ON, GENE.
Which alien species from “Star Trek” had you 100% convinced it was definitely an alien and not in any way, shape or form just a lame old human doused in makeup?
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