The new design for the Klingons in “Star Trek: Discovery” has been polarizing with fans. Some are intrigued by the new take on the bellicose alien species, while others decry what they perceived to be flouting canon. On the most recent “After Trek,” lead creature designer Neville Page and prosthetics/special FX makeup effects department head Glenn Hetrick explained that Bryan Fuller, who has since departed the show, was a huge influence on what the revamped Klingons look like.
“The biggest thing we did was we removed the hair,” Page said, which allowed the prosthetics department to reveal “detail on the back of the head… and the cool stuff underneath.”
Page also revealed the signature ridges contain extra sensory receptors, and the spinal column grows up the back of the head, which is full of nerve endings. The ridges also mark them as apex warriors.
As for the overall look for the Klingons and their cultural artifacts, Page added, “Bryan planted the seed. He likes the Giger aesthetic.” Of course, H.R. Giger is the well-known Swiss artist, most famouns in Hollywood for his designs in “Alien.”
The elaborate armor looks somewhat organic because of the Giger influence, but also because it has to move. The intricate details, as seen in the helmet above, all have very specific cultural references that tell a narrative. One of the details in the back was influenced by Thai design.
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Check out more behind-the-scenes info and upcoming scoop from the “After Trek” episode:
The strangely good mood that Stamets (Anthony Rapp) displayed in the most recent episode discussing Sarek-Vision was no fluke. In the sneak peek that “After Trek” played for Sunday’s upcoming Episode 7, he’s downright blissful but also blunt. Not only does he call out Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) on his incredibly healthy demeanor after seven months of torture, but he also asks Ash and Michael (Sonequa Martin-Green), “What’s up with you two?”
“Stamets plus mushroom spores equals Groovy Stamets,” executive producer Gretchen J. Berg explained.
The chipper astromycologist had injected himself with the tardigrade DNA two episodes ago in order to allow the Discovery to jump through space without endangering the life of the tardigrade Ripper. But after that, his reflection remained in the bathroom mirror even though he had left the room. Apparently, another strange byproduct of the spores is a mood enhancer/filter remover. In the sneak peek clip, Stamets also reveals a cybernetic augment that supposedly helps make his connection to the spore drive more comfortable. While we kind of dig groovy Stamets, none of this bodes well for his health.
Disco Workout Duds
The “DISCO” t-shirts that Tilly (Mary Wiseman) and Michael wear in the clip below are what the duo wore while jogging through the Discovery corridor. The corridor was only long enough for 10 seconds of conversation, so the entire scene took eight hours to film as the camera was placed on a Segway to follow the actors. The “DISCO” shirts were a surprise revealed only when the actors appeared to shoot the scene.
Hetrick revealed that in the past, shaving off the actor’s eyebrow in order to apply the more winged Vulcan brows was the old way of doing things. But that practice was abandoned because “sometimes they don’t grow back.” Instead, prosthetics are laid over the existing brow and then covered by the Vulcan one.
Jason Isaacs, Battle Strategist
The training simulation battle that Lorca (Isaacs) and Tyler participate in took 12 hours to shoot. The majority of the choreography was left up to Isaacs, who used his experience from “Black Hawk Down” for the scene.
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Doug Jones Is Really a Kelpien
The costuming and effects departments worked closely with production for the creature design, and that included recommending Doug Jones to play Saru because according to Page, his “morphology and body dimensions” really lent itself to the character’s overall design and look. They also worked closely with Jones to see what worked best for him (and as we learned earlier, his “flat ass” was one item they didn’t have to enhance.)
The Mysterious Augmented Airiam
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One particular member of the Discovery crew has caught the eye of viewers, but thus far she’s remained somewhat mysterious. Berg revealed that she’s an augmented human named Airiam (Sara Mitich), and she got added because Akiva Goldsman had fallen in love with a sketch for the character, whom he called “Plateface” at the time.
It’s not clear how much more viewers will learn about her since the character is still being developed, but Hetrick seemed open to the idea that Airiam’s augmentations could be modular, and that she could “evolve more” over time. Page said that there’s “depth to her in the mechanisms.”
At one point, Lorca’s bowl of fortune cookies was going to be removed from the set, but Isaac fought to keep them, saying, “Those are my cookies. Don’t take my cookies.” In between shots, he’d sometimes pretend to read fortunes to the crew.
Salty Sick Bay
Everyday household items like jars, soap dispensers, and salt shakers were modified to make instruments for the Sick Bay. It’s a practice that tracks back to “The Original Series” — “TOS” prop master Irvin Feinberg also used salt shakers to make scalpels.
New episodes of “Star Trek: Discovery” and “After Trek” will be available at 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET, respectively on Sundays on CBS All Access.