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Star Trek: Discovery — Your Ultimate Guide to the Klingons

Everything you need to know about the humanoid warriors

Keisha Hatchett

Whether you love them or hate them, there's no doubt that the Klingons will be an integral part of Star Trek: Discovery. The alien species, which hadn't been seen in about a century in Trek time, has resurfaced with a renewed sense of pride, unity, and purpose thanks to their charismatic leader, T'Kuvma (Chris Obi).

Longtime Trekkies are already familiar with the pointy-faced humanoids who speak their own language and harbor a strong dislike of humans. But for the people who have no idea who these angry warriors in the fabulous costumes are, don't worry. We've got you covered! Here's your ultimate guide to understanding the Klingons.

Who are they?

Klingons are a humanoid warrior species hailing from the planet Qo'noS, which is located in the Beta Quadrant -- a quarter section of the Milkyway Galaxy (also home to the Romulan Empire). They believe in an afterlife called Sto-vo-kor which is where all the great warriors who died honorably in battle go. Rather than rest in peace, these ultimate fighters serve the Black Fleet where they wage an endless war with worthy foes. Alternatively, the dishonorable are believed to be taken on the Barge of the Dead to Gre'thor, their version of Hell.

What do they want?

In Discovery, their main goal is survival. They firmly believe that humans are a threat to their way of life and have little or no trust in them. It all stems back to the "Broken Bow" incident (addressed in the Star Trek: Enterpriseepisode of a similar name) which marked the first interaction between Klingons and humans. Klaang, a Klingon and the only witness with proof that an alien terrorist organization was working to destroy their empire from the inside, crash-landed on Earth in 2151. He was then killed by a farmer who had no idea who or what he was. With all evidence of the internal threat lost, the Klingon Empire descended into chaos. Now the reunified race, which recognizes the humans' role in their previous demise, is taking no chances this time around.

Star Trek: Discovery: How the Klingon War Began

Noteworthy Klingons

Khaless the Unforgettable - Often referenced by T'Kuvma in Discovery, he is the one who founded the Klingon Empire. He did so after defeating his enemies in the 9th century, creating a new code of honor and uniting the warring houses. His teachings have shaped modern Klingon beliefs and he is regarded as a messiah-like figure. It is also said that he guards the halls of Sto-vo-kor. Before his death, he promised to return and once again rule the Empire.

T'Kuvma - A fundamentalist leader who is believed to be Khaless reborn, he reunited the 24 warring houses and sparked a new sense of Klingon pride. "They are coming. Atom by atom, they will coil around us...and take all that we are," he warns of the humans at the start of the series. After killing Captain Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh), he is then taken out by Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) during their failed mission to capture him as a hostage.

Klingon High Council - Comprised of two dozen representatives from the most powerful houses and led by a chancellor, the council is charged with overseeing the wellness and survival of the Klingon Empire. In Discovery, they initially don't view the Federation as a threat but are convinced after engaging in battle. The Council is believed to have descended from Khaless and is located in First City, the capital city of the Empire, on Qo'noS.

Kol - A member of the Klingon High Council, he is one of the 24 Great Houses to respond to T'Kuvma's summon using the Beacon of Khaless. He clashes with T'Kuvma -- who is not on the council -- because he disagrees with the latter's plan for unity which involves respecting the outcasts whom he views as beneath him. After threatening to put the rebel leader in his place, he abruptly exits the conversation.

L'Rell - She is a battle deck commander of T'Kuvma's ship.

Voq - An albino Klingon who volunteers to be the Torchbearer after Rejac's death. He is initiallty rejected by T'Kuvma because of his low birth but convinces him to change his mind through his firm belief in Khaless and their cause. He is granted the high honor of lighting the Beacon of Khaless and later on, as T'Kuvma lay dying in his arms, vows to honor his memory and use his death as a cause to unite all Klingons.

Rejac - The Torchbearer killed by Michael Burnam in "A Vulcan Hello." He is the first Klingon seen by a member of Starfleet in 100 years.

Chris Obi, Star Trek: Discovery

Jan Thijs, CBS

New episodes of Star Trek: Discovery stream Sundays at 8:30/7:30c exclusively on CBS All Access.

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