By this point in time, it is clear that Star Trek: Discovery has managed to secure a measure of success for itself. This is no mean accomplishment, seeing as how some of the creative choices of the people behind the show have created a fair amount of commotion in the Star Trek fandom. One excellent example can be found in the baldness of the Klingons on Star Trek: Discovery, which was a much-mentioned talking point for some time.
To be fair, the issue that a lot of Star Trek fans had with Star Trek: Discovery Klingons wasn’t just because of their baldness. In short, the Klingons are one of the most iconic components of Star Trek, which in turn, means that they are near and dear to a lot of Star Trek fans out there. For proof, look no further than the fact that there is an actual, no-kidding Klingon language, for which there is a small group of people who know it well enough to speak it in a fluent manner.
As such, the differences in the way that Star Trek: Discovery Klingons were portrayed caused notable upset on the part of a lot of Star Trek fans. For example, a lot of people complained about the much more alien look of the new Klingons, of which the baldness was no more than the most visible difference from the classic forehead ridges and sharpened teeth look of their predecessors. However, there were others who commented on the new Klingons’ switch from traditional armor for much more colorful and much more elaborate costumes, which are in addition to a much more brutal kind of religious fanaticism mixed in with an obsession with racial purity and what looks a lot like pure animalistic savagery. Due to this, a lot of Star Trek fans felt that the new Klingons had lost the alien but not unrelatable feel of their predecessors, which was for them, a critical component of the overall feel of the famously optimistic sci-fi franchise.
Certainly, there are those who have sought to excuse the changes by pointing out previous changes in the franchise’s history. After all, the first version of the Klingons were a stand-in for the Soviet Union, which resulted in them being depicted as being intelligent but untrustworthy, particularly since they stood in opposition to the ideals of the Starfleet. It wasn’t until Star Trek: The Next Generation that viewers really got the iconic version of the species, which prompted an explanation that their predecessors were an entire generation of Klingons who had suffered from a radically different appearance as well as a radically different temperament because of the effects of an augment virus. Unfortunately, attempts to explain Star Trek: Discovery‘s Klingons using in-setting justification are complicated by the fact that the show is a prequel that is set 10 years before the original Star Trek, meaning that they contradict what has already been established by decades and decades of storytelling within the franchise.
Why Do Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery Have Hair Now?
Still, that doesn’t mean that the people behind Star Trek: Discovery can’t make a good faith effort anyways. For proof, look no further than the fact that Klingons now have hair again, with their previous baldness on the show being explained as the product of a tradition in which the species will shave themselves when going to war. Now that the war is over, the Klingons had restored their iconic manes, thus bringing themselves a bit closer to the iconic version.
Of course, there are still plenty of problems with this explanation. After all, the Klingons seem to spend most of their time at war with one faction or another, which raises the question of why this tradition has never been seen elsewhere. However, since the species has seen a lot of turmoil on Star Trek: Discovery so far, it is theoretically possible that this is just one of the traditions that fell by the wayside as such things do from time to time. It is not a particularly good handwave, but under the circumstances, it seems probable that some Star Trek fans will shrug their shoulders and take it in recognition of the show makers’ good faith effort to please them.