The episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" had the DS9 cast interacting with TOS footage. When Sisko and company are surprised to see smooth-headed Klingons, Worf hints at some embarrassing racial secret which later leads to contrived attempts in later works to explain the disparity.

Couldn't the DS9's FX people altered the old footage to give the early Klingons forehead ridges? Seems to me that would've saved a lot of hassle in the long run.

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    Personally, I thought DS9's lampshaded non-explanation was far more entertaining than any actual explanation would have been.
    – Kenster
    Oct 9, 2015 at 2:34
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    They probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway, but I don't really agree with the premise that it would have been relatively easy to add ridges, at least not without substituting modern actors for the original Klingon actors. Adding photorealistic CG bumps to an actor's head and having them track their head motions seamlessly might be doable with 1996 effects technology, but at the time I'd guess it'd be the sort of thing that would require a movie-level budget, not a TV episode budget.
    – Hypnosifl
    Oct 9, 2015 at 4:37

1 Answer 1


They likely could have, but I imagine they left it alone on purpose.

For starters, that is one of the most beloved episodes of the original series; messing with the original footage at all would likely not have gone over well with fans.

But beyond that, I suspect they were using it as a chance to clear the issue up. Ever since the first time we see Worf on The Next Generation, his features had been a matter of debate among Star Trek fans. The fact that original-series-era Klingons did not look anything like Klingons from subsequent shows was left unexplained, at least in-universe.

The idea of some sort of genetic engineering or similar explanations had been floating around unofficially for many years. In that particular episode of DS9, the writers decided to finally address the question on-screen. Though they didn't really explain anything, we at least got confirmation that the change in appearance was canonical. Unfortunately, we would have to wait until Enterprise to get the full story

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    Seems more like lampshading it than addressing it to me. :-) Oct 9, 2015 at 2:34
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    Mike, bumpy headed Klingons appeared in the movies before TNG. Oct 9, 2015 at 4:37
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    Yes, the Klingons in The Motion Picture had ridges although they don't quite look like later Klingons, but the ones in The Search For Spock look very similar to TNG era Klingons.
    – Hypnosifl
    Oct 9, 2015 at 4:47
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    @HarryJohnston - If you see small typos, don't post a comment, just correct them. Not only is it fun & useful, but you also get points for doing it!
    – Valorum
    Oct 9, 2015 at 7:45
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    @Richard: I'm fairly sure that you can't make single-character edits until you get edit privilege at 2000 points? (But in any case I wasn't certain of Mike's intent.) Oct 9, 2015 at 9:17

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