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Why Star Trek: Discovery's Klingons Look So Different

Star Trek: Discovery has received a decidedly more mixed reaction than producers likely expected, with many franchise fans focusing on the new design for the Klingons introduced in the series' first trailer. The alien race now features a drastically different look than what Star Trek devotees have become accustomed to, but there's a reason for that.

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"In the different versions of Trek, the Klingons have never been completely consistent," showrunner Aaron Harberts told Entertainment Weekly. "We will introduce several different houses with different styles. Hopefully, fans will become more invested in the characters than worried about the redesign."

The look, and even the behavior, of the Klingons has changed dramatically since the alien warrior race was introduced in a 1967 episode of Star Trek, where they were depicted with bronze skin, facial hair and dramatic eyebrows. They were dramatically redesigned for 1978’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which introduced the ridged foreheads and sharp teeth that have become their signature visual traits in the franchise (the changes were later explained away within Star Trek continuity by the Klingon augment virus). The appearance of the Klingons has continued to be tweaked over the decades, with 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness offering the most significant design departure — at least before now.

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Star Trek: Discovery debuts Sunday, Sept. 24, on CBS, before moving to the CBS All Access streaming service for follow-up weekly installments. The show stars Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham, Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca, Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou, Doug Jones as Science Officer Lt. Saru and Anthony Rapp as astromycologist Lt. Stamets, with Rainn Wilson appearing as Harry Mudd.

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