Why did Star Trek: Strange New Worlds change the Klingons back?

Abbas Wahab as Ror’Queg appearing in episode 201 “The Broken Circle” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+
Abbas Wahab as Ror’Queg appearing in episode 201 “The Broken Circle” of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, streaming on Paramount+, 2023. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ /

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds changed the Klingon look, but why?

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds rectified an issue that Star Trek: Discovery needlessly made, which is to rectify the look of the Klingons. Typically depicted as larger aliens, with similar skin tones to humans, set apart by their hair and forehead ridges, Discovery made the decision to turn them purple, smooth out their ridges, and turn them into more orc-like aliens.

Fans didn’t like that. So when Strange New Worlds’ premiered with season two’s “The Broken Circle”, and fans saw that the Klingons looked more like the traditional ones seen in the William Shatner-led films and the television shows of the 80s, 90s, and 00s, fans were happy. But they were also curious.

Why were the Klingons changed back? Well, as Strange New Worlds director, Chris Fisher told the 7th Rule podcast (viaScreenRant);

"I’d say one of the big challenges of this episode for me as a director was reintroducing Klingons. I personally love the look of the Klingons in Discovery, [but] that look wasn’t gonna work us. Because we’re a character-driven show, we need Klingons who can actually emote emotion and not have so much prosthetics and visual effects. So we really kind of moved the Klingons from a creature into a character. As you’ll see through the season, the Klingons, we come back to [them] in a different way [and] maybe even tone them down a little bit more."

But co-showrunner Henry Alonso Myers had a slightly different take. Speaking to TV Line, Myers spoke about why

"[The Discovery crew] were really excited. They had these big, intense ideas. They bent the Klingons a bit. As we were starting our season — we’re working with a lot of folks in our production who are from Discovery — we were trying to find something that spoke to the old-school Klingons from [the original Star Trek series], from the movies, but that also didn’t speak against the ones that happened on Discovery. This is just what they look like right now."

Myers also went on to say that they wanted the Klingons on Strange New Worlds to be “feel like Klingons” and that it was just easier to make them the way they appeared in Strange New Worlds’ season two, episode one because it was easier for production.

Akiva Goldsman, co-showrunner of Strange New Worlds, also addressed the look of the Klingons differing in the same article, saying;

"We have our own aesthetic; Discovery has its own aesthetic. Our transporter room doesn’t look like Discovery’s transporter room, and our bridge doesn’t really look like Discovery’s bridge. We take [the original series] and we kind of extrapolate into this imagined version of that. It was a more classic Klingon, and a little bit truer to what we use as our basis for picking things."

We all know the real reason that Star Trek: Strange New Worlds changed the design

Call it whatever you want. Say it was for aesthetics, claim it was for easier facial reactions, or for ease of production but we all know why the show changed them; the fans hated them.

The fans hated them really bad. They hated them so much that the entire franchise did a 180-degree turn and changed them back to how fans wanted them. No other changes were made. Not from how the show is presented or how the ships are designed to look like futuristic museums devoid of that 90s charm we all loved.

Nope, the only thing that changed was the Klingons.

Gee, I wonder why.

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