Thursday 29 August 2013

Designing the nuKlingons

This article was originally posted on 29th August 2013. It was updated on 24th April 2020.

Star Trek Into Darkness concept artist Neville Page has updated his website with lots of artwork, examining how he developed the look of the nuKlingons. Commenting on his blog he noted:
This was a very important assignment for me because I knew how important it was to the fans of the franchise. It was a delicate balance of respecting the established looks from previous incarnations yet delivering something appropriate for JJ's film.
And also remarked on what he hoped to his look delivered:
Part of my self induced criteria was to do a cleaner version (especially regarding the forehead) and to make them sexy (or sexier if you already find them sexy!)
He has posted a gallery full of Klingon artwork, with numerous variations trying out different ridges, ranging from so subtle you almost cant see them, to dinosaur-style head-crests. There's similar exploration of beards with options ranging from styles that wouldn't be out of place on Mr T through to a Fu Manchu.  Continue below to check them all out.

My favourite is an elaborate design featuring Pangolin-like scales over the hair (hair armour?):

The "pangolin" design features a piece of nasal jewellery, but this next design takes Klingon jewellery to a whole new level, with elaborate piercings, and pieces worn down the forehead ridges:

Page also considered this same head shape without the jewellery, which seems to make it's particularly pointy chin more prominent. Note he tried some variations keeping the piercings without the jewellery, and some with unpierced skin.

One of the more distinctive options included a much more pronounced central forehead ridge. Page tried different variations on this concept, with varied levels of pointiness.

There's a much more Human looking option, with vitiligo:

There's a similar looking head, but with a lot of scarring, including the loss of a whole eye. The wound is pretty gruesome, you can see right down to the bone!

This seems to be the most vanilla option; a fairly standard Klingon:

Page also did a lot of experimentation with hair, trying an especially wide variety of beards:

Be sure to check out Page's full gallery to see everything he worked on; they're very impressive designs! UPDATE: Alas since posting this article Neville Page has updated his website and his original gallery has been lost (you can see thumbnails only on the Internet Archive). I've updated the article with as many of the images as I could locate from across the web (nearly the whole gallery), which gives a good overview of all the designs he shared.

Page promises more artwork is on the way. In the mean time if you find the "behind the scenes" section on my Into Darkness guide page you'll find links to other concept art and other behind the scenes stuff that has so far been released.


Unknown said...

Some great concept work there. While I liked the look of the one we saw in the movie, I think it could have been better. Also would have been nice to have seen more than just one face.

As for the notion of making them sexy...I don't really see the point. Klingons don't need to be sexy. They need to be brutal. Especially since these are supposed to be TOS era Klingons.

Hopefully the next Star Trek movie will give us a chance to get a better look at the Klingon race as a whole. Would be nice to see how they very from each other, and how an on-screen Klingon's hair would be handled. If we have to have another bald Klingon, a design akin to General Chang would be appreciated.

8of5 said...

I'd love to see some of this variety in designs onscreen, it would be good for the Klingons to not all look too samey.

The main thing I want if they are in the next film is less helmets!

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