The Klingons ">[ˈt͡ɬɪ.ŋɑn]) are a fictional extraterrestrial humanoid warrior species in the science fiction franchise Star Trek.
|Star Trek character|
The Klingon insignia, designed by Matt Jefferies
|First appearance||"Errand of Mercy" (1967)|
|Created by||Gene L. Coon|
Klingons are recurring antagonists in the 1960s television series Star Trek: The Original Series, and have appeared in all five spin-off series, along with eight of the feature films. Initially intended to be antagonists for the crew of the USS Enterprise, the Klingons became a close ally of humanity and the United Federation of Planets in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the 1990s series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the United Federation of Planets briefly goes to war with the Klingons. Later in that series, the two join together with the Romulans to fight the Dominion.
As originally developed by screenwriter Gene L. Coon, Klingons were swarthy humanoids characterized mainly by prideful ruthlessness and brutality. Totalitarian, and with a martial society relying on slave labor, they reflected analogies with both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Although Cold War tensions are apparent in the characterization, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry did not intend any explicit political parallels. With a greatly expanded budget for makeup and effects, the Klingons were completely redesigned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), acquiring ridged foreheads that created a continuity error not explained by Star Trek canon until 2005. In later films and in the spin-off series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the militaristic traits of the Klingons were bolstered by an increased sense of honor and strict warrior code similar to those of bushido.
Among the elements created for the revised Klingons was a complete Klingon language, developed by Marc Okrand from gibberish suggested by actor James Doohan. Spoken Klingon has entered popular culture, even to the extent that the works of William Shakespeare and parts of the Bible have been translated into it. A dictionary, a book of sayings, and a cultural guide to the language have been published. According to Guinness World Records, Klingon is the world's most popular fictional language as measured by number of speakers.