If you’ve seen a trailer for “Star Trek: Discovery,” debuting Sunday on CBS and CBS All Access, then you’ll notice that these aren’t your typical Klingons threatening the Federation.
The idea for the radical redesign came from former showrunner Bryan Fuller. Over the 51 years of the “Star Trek” franchise, the look of the alien creatures has continued to evolve along with advances in makeup and prosthetics.
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“One of the things he really, really wanted to do was shake up the design of the Klingons,” says Aaron Harberts, one of the show’s producers. “It was important that … they not be the thugs of the universe, that they be sexy and vital and different from what had come before.”
“And different from one another,” adds Heather Kadin, another of “Discovery’s” producers.
The show will introduce Chris Obi as T’Kuvma (Chris Obi), the leader of an ancient Klingon house who is trying to unite his people, even if it means war with the Federation. He is joined by his protégé, Kol (Kenneth Mitchell) and his battle commander, L’Rell (Mary Chieffo).
Fuller, who along with Alex Kutzman pitched the concept for “Discovery” to CBS, eventually stepped away from day-to-day involvement in the series after its start date was delayed. He continuted on another of his projects, Starz’ “American Gods,” which, interestingly enough, stars Obi.
However, remaining executive producers Kurtzman, Harberts, and Kadin loved the idea and had “Discovery’s” creature designers Neville Page and Glenn Hetrick rework the show’s Klingons to Fuller’s specifications.
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“They drilled down in such a deep way to redundant pieces of anatomy, to the different plates on the head,” says Harberts. “It was incredible to watch…