So you have probably seen the new Star Trek: Discovery trailer. If not, got ahead and watch it, and then come back.
I’m not going to discuss what I think the show will be like, or how much I want to be excited but can’t bring myself to do it because there really hasn’t been much great to be excited about in Star Trek since Voyager ended. Really, I’m just going to focus on the Klingons.
Most people agree that the original series Klingons were rather racist in their depiction, so the new version of them that appeared in the movies was not surprising. There was an obvious attempt to make them deeper, and different in appearance than just darker people. There was even a wonderful joking explanation of the change given in a DS9 episode, “Trials and Tribble-ations” which everyone should watch, if you even remotely like Tribbles.
But it seems like ever since then, Klingons have been revamped for every new iteration. In Enterprise, set before TOS, the kept the newer Klingon look. Though most fans preferred the less racist version, they could have dome something to make them look more like the TOS versions while still giving them the rich culture we see later. Really, which of the following three do you think does the least amount of cultural appropriation?
Then there was the reboot. Which, to be honest, I don’t consider Trek. Not really. The first movie was fun, but the following films were just OK. The cast is fantastic, but they don’t feel like my old Trek. And the Klingons? What was going on there? I only vaguely remember them showing up in that film, and wondering what they were, and being surprised to find out they were Klingons.
And now Discovery. What are these things? And why did they feel the need to change them again? Maybe the reboot could get away with it. Maybe. But this is years before that timeline starts. I mean, I guess they kind of look like the reboot ones? Mixed with the familiar ones? Sort of?
The changes are so unnecessary. They simply end up taking away the identity we as Trek fans are used to for what a Klingon is. We know what they are, and are eager to see the first years of contact with them. (Also I really think they are missing the chance to tell the story of the Romulan War.) I was very much wishing that we were going to get the film about the Axanar, which looked fantastic and dramatic and dealt with Klingons like Klingons. There are actors that have been playing Klingons for ages, know the language, and have the whole thing down. We liked those guys. Why are they being taken away?
Well, I may give it a chance. I’ll see. But I may be done being disappointed with the new Star Trek. Just leave me to my Netflix reruns.