Discovery Must Answer A Major Star Trek Klingon Mystery

Star Trek: Discovery season 5 must address the status of the Klingons, as the iconic warrior race has yet to make an appearance since the show jumped to the 32nd century. One of the oldest and most storied alien species in all of Star Trek, the Klingons were the primary antagonists for Discovery season 1, as the United Federation of Planets fought a bloody war against the residents of Qo’noS. The Klingons in Discovery season 1 were radically redesigned, appearing much more alien than they ever had before.

After the Federation-Klingon War ended at the conclusion of Star Trek: Discovery season 1, the show transitioned away from using the Klingons regularly. They had a limited role in Discovery season 2, and have been completely absent from the series ever since. The Klingons are easily the most important Star Trek species that haven’t made an appearance since Discovery shifted settings to the 32nd century. Their status in that far-flung future is one of the biggest unanswered questions as Discovery enters season 5.

The Klingons Should Return In Star Trek: Discovery Season 5

Apart from the inherent charms of the honor-obsessed warrior race, the Klingons have often served as a sort of bellwether for the fortunes of the Federation. They were an obvious stand-in for the Soviet Union in Star Trek: The Original Series, a fascistic superpower bent on conquest and rapid expansion. By the era of Star Trek: The Next Generation, they were the Federation’s allies, with one Klingon, Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn), becoming the first to join Starfleet.

The fact that Star Trek: Discovery has essentially ignored the Klingons for two seasons now is a bit baffling. Discovery has a laudable record of expanding the alien species of Star Trek through the likes of the Kelpiens and season 4’s Species 10-C. But the Klingons are a foundational part of the Star Trek mythos, and it’s well past time to learn what’s become of them in the 32nd century.

Why Discovery Ditched Its Klingons After Season 2

Discovery season 1 is easily one of the most polarizing entries in all of Star Trek. The season’s dark tone, technological anachronisms, and sputtering narrative made it a tough sell to longtime fans and new viewers alike. Perhaps its most universally reviled aspect was its reinvention of the Klingons, who were no longer the samurai-like, honor-bound warriors, but instead were portrayed as xenophobic monsters with very little in the way of recognizable humanity.

Star Trek: Discovery’s creators clearly realized the new Klingons weren’t working, as their role in Discovery season 2 was drastically reduced, and they were essentially forgotten in seasons 3 and 4. Reintroducing the much-loved TNG era Klingons would not only be welcomed by fans, but it would also make narrative sense, since the last canonical Klingon seen in Star Trek was TNG’s Worf in the early 25th century-set Star Trek: Picard season 3. Star Trek: Discovery has a genuine second chance to make the Klingons work, and they should take it in season 5.