of the first nit-picks I ever answered (way back in September
2001) concerned the changing shape of the Klingons' heads.
Since my original answer was posted, this issue has of course
been resolved on television, in the Star Trek: Enterprise
- or has it? What about Kor, Koloth and Kang, who were smooth-headed
in the original Star Trek series but lumpy-headed in
are the original nit-pick question and my initial answer to
it. Beneath that is my analysis of how well my theories have
held up in light of the revelations in Affliction and
oh, why is it that all the Klingons we see in the original
Star Trek series have smooth heads, while those featured
in the movies and subsequent television series have all had
lumpy heads? This includes characters that have appeared in
both eras (Kahless, Kor, Koloth and Kang), who have had both
smooth and "pasty" heads in their time.
only time the subject has ever been addressed (to my knowledge)
was in the DS9 episode Trials and Tribble-ations,
and even then Worf merely said that Klingons don't discuss
it with outsiders. Thanks, Paramount, for clearing that up
you do any better?
don't get me started on Klingon lumps! Oops - too late...
and authors of licensed fiction have, over the decades, come
up with a number of possible explanations for the Klingons'
change of appearance (aside from the real-life increase in
the budget for make-up). Some have suggested that the "smooth-heads"
belong to a distinct clan or sub-species that was briefly
in power during the time of the classic series. Others have
theorised that the Klingons' lumps were mutations caused by
radioactivity from their unsafe mining operations on the moon
Praxis (which ultimately exploded in Star
Trek VI). The Praxis theory won't do, however,
because it's inconceivable that all Klingons throughout the
known galaxy could have been affected by this very local phenomenon
(for local people). Others have proposed that the "lumpy-heads"
are the product of genetic enhancement - however, Klingons
from time periods prior to the original series have been shown
with lumpy heads, most recently in the new show, Enterprise.
favourite theory is the one put forward by Trek novelist
John M. Ford, who claimed in several of his books that the
smooth-headed Klingons were specially bred "Klingon-human
fusions". These specialised soldiers incorporated human genetic
traits, so as to enable them to deal more effectively with
human enemies, and they were assigned to areas of space where
the Empire was likely to cross paths with Starfleet. Similarly,
Klingon-Romulan fusions were developed to better cope with
Romulans. These "impure" Klingons presumably fell out of favour
around the time of the first six movies, perhaps because Kirk
defeated them so frequently, and the majority of the Klingon-human
fusions were thereafter dishonoured, banished and/or executed.
for Kor, Koloth and Kang, perhaps certain high-ranking officers
who had won sufficient favour or wielded a degree of political
clout within the Empire escaped disgrace, exile and/or genocide.
In order for them to remain active members of Klingon society,
they could have been cosmetically altered to resemble "pure",
the case of the semi-legendary Kahless, when we first "see"
him in the classic Trek episode The Savage Curtain,
he is an illusion created by the Excalbians. As with the simulations
of Abraham Lincoln and Surak, the image of Kahless was presumably
plucked from the minds of Kirk and Spock, who evidently imagined
him as a smooth-headed Klingon, the type with which they were
most familiar. The real Kahless would have had a lumpy head,
as did his clone in the Next
Gen episode Rightful Heir.
that's smoothed your furrowed brow, Scott - I'm gonna head
off now (boom, boom)...!
an extent, John M. Ford's references to Klingon-human fusions
have not been invalidated. Affliction and Divergence
reveal that smooth-headed Klingons are indeed the result of
an attempt at genetic manipulation using human DNA. However,
this is not for the purpose of dealing specifically with human
enemies, but rather an attempt to incorporate human-Augment
strengths. The experiments fail, though the side effects -
smooth foreheads and generally more human features - remain.
It is perfectly reasonable for these mutants to be referred
to as Klingon-human fusions, because that's what they are.
fusions could also exist, having arisen from similar experiments
using Romulan tissue, or from Klingon-Romulan interbreeding
during periods of alliance between the two species. Indeed,
this might explain why some Romulans have slight ridges on
to why the smooth-headed Klingons seem to disappear after
the time of the original Star Trek series, perhaps
a simple way to reverse the mutation is achieved at this point.
All the smooth-headed Klingons and their progeny, including
Kor, Koloth and Kang, could therefore have their natural appearance
maybe the Augment-fusions do indeed fall out of favour. The
Star Trek: Vanguard novel Summon
the Thunder, by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore,
states that these mutants, known in the Klingon language as
QuchHa', are regarded by many "pure" Klingons as being
comparatively weak and lacking in honour. It is said that
many of them have already been banished from certain sects
of Klingon society. As I have already theorised, Kor, Koloth,
Kang and other high-ranking Augment-fusions who have won sufficient
favour or wield sufficient political power could escape such
disgrace and banishment, and remain active members of society,
by being cosmetically altered to resemble "true" Klingons.
it is possible that Kor, Koloth, Kang and other high-ranking
Klingons were "pure" specimens all along, surgically altered
to resemble the Augment-fusions for the purpose of keeping
the troops in line. At a later date, these officers have their
true Klingon features restored.
explanation regarding Kahless still stands.
head off again now!