Less than a month out from the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, we still have more questions than answers about the prequel series. One thing we know for sure is that the Klingons will be playing a major role in whatever storyline Discovery explores — but they appear to be quite different from the Klingons we’ve seen before.
While the word “Klingon” tends to conjure up visions of the bumpy-headed warriors we’ve known throughout the films and all the Star Trek spinoffs since The Next Generation, devoted Trek fans will recall that the Klingons in The Original Series looked considerably more human. This was eventually explained away with a Star Trek: Enterprise retcon that revealed the more mundane appearances of the TOS-era Klingons to be the result of experimentation gone wrong. Discovery is set a decade before the events of TOS, but the Klingons we’re seeing in all the promo materials don’t exactly look like the latter-day Klingons on their augmented, smooth-headed TOS predecessors. So what does that mean, exactly? The new teaser, featuring Chris Obi as Klingon leader T’Kuvma, could provide some intriguing clues.
— Star Trek: Discovery (@startrekcbs) August 25, 2017
In the video, T’Kuvma talks about “remaining Klingon” in the face of some enemy or force who is trying to undermine the species at a fundamental level. “Atom by atom they will silence us,” says T’Kumva. “Cell by cell, our souls shall become theirs.” Now, he could certainly be speaking metaphorically, but, as pointed out by ncc-1031.com, that could also be referring to the augmented Klingons. A Klingon “purist” could easily see tinkering with Klingon genetics as a terrible offense, something that threatens the nature of the species. If T’Kumva’s speech is indeed referring to the genetic manipulation the led to TOS‘ Klingon look, then perhaps Discovery‘s Klingons are — retroactively speaking — the “first” look we’ve gotten at what Klingons originally looked like, before their genetics were distorted.
We know that T’Kumva is supposedly trying to unite the various Klingon houses. This is partially so the Klingons can stand together against the expansion of Starfleet, but what if he’s also trying to unite them against their own distorted genetics? If that’s the case, then Discovery could explore concepts of racism, ethnic cleansing, and all manner of other heady topics. It’s certainly the sort of stuff Trek has dug into in the past…or it could just be a red herring.
We’ll find out for sure when Star Trek: Discovery premieres on CBS and CBS All Access on September 24.