As of Thursday, December 30, 2021, “Star Trek: Discovery” is officially on a mid-season hiatus and will return to the airwaves of Paramount+ on February 10. Since the show is not airing new episodes, it is an excellent time to address a question that keeps popping up in Trek fan circles: Where are the Klingons?
In the most recent episode of the show, “…But to Connect,” the remnants of the Federation called together representatives of many of the star systems with which they are in contact. The president of the Federation, Laira Rillak (Chelah Horsdal), explained how they thought the menacing Dark Matter Anomaly (DMA) should be handled. Rillak shared some options to either destroy or contact the aliens who operated the DMA. They decided these aliens should be called the 10-C.
In a speech that was not unlike what Lord Elrond said to elves, dwarves, and men in “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,” Rillak noted, “our views don’t always align, but the safety of our galaxy is paramount. The scope of the peril that threatens us is unprecedented, as is the scope of this assembly. An act of trust between us all. I am grateful for your willingness to collaborate at this critical time.”
The DMA Meeting with the Federation
As Rillak spoke, the camera panned around the room and revealed the various species represented at this meeting. Among them were humans, who were represented by Captain Ndoye (Phumzile Sitole), a controversial figure from Season 3; Vulcans and Romulans, the elf-butterfly Alshain who was introduced in Season 4, Episode 1; Kelpians, Orion, Trill, and many others. But, one race that was not at the big meeting was arguably the most important race in all of the “Star Trek Universe.” No Klingons were present.
Quite a few fans shared their thoughts on the absence of these iconic characters:
Klingons on ‘Discovery’
Unfortunately, the topic of the Klingons on “Discovery” is a controversial subject. The redesign of the Klingons from the look which had primarily been a constant since 1979’s “The Motion Picture” was not well received by some fans:
As with almost anything, since some hated the new Klingons, others liked them a whole lot:
Either way, the Klingons have not been seen on Discovery since Season 2, for which they were slightly redesigned. Their absence leads some to speculate that the Klingons might be a part of the upcoming “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” show or could possibly be aligned with a new power in the galaxy, especially after the devastation of “The Burn” throughout Season 3.
Den of Geek’s Lacy Baugher wrote that after their rocky introduction, “viewers probably had Klingon-related Discovery PTSD.” She said that the show’s writers had no choice but to get rid of those characters from “Discovery” to move on.
“The clearest, easiest path was to simply remove the piece of the show that had caused it the most problems in the past,” wrote Baugher. “Which is fine, there are plenty of other stories to tell in this universe, and maybe the series will figure out a way to reintroduce the Klingons in a way that doesn’t derail all the other good work the show has done since the last time we saw them.”
Baugher could be correct, and since the show received so much backlash when it first aired, it made sense to get rid of one of the points of contention.
But this species is so essential to Trek that it makes sense to bring them back into the fold. If one just counts the episodes and films with Mr. Worf (played by Michael Dorn), the total is about 300. Worf was on 175 episodes of “The Next Generation,” 103 episodes of “Deep Space Nine,” and in four Trek films, totaling 282. The complete number of Trek episodes and movies is just over 800, which means that a Klingon has appeared in over one-third of all “Star Trek” stories.