Star Trek: 10 Species That Have Changed Over The Franchise
Star Trekhas been on and off television since 1969, so obviously there have been a lot of changes and evolutions in its characters and stories over time. However, some of the most visually and tonally distracting changes concern its species. After all, 1969 just didn't have the same level of prosthetic magic that makeup artists have now. There were no beautifully made up Kelpians walking around the Enterprise back then.
Between the tone changes and the evolution of makeup/effects, there have been quite a few species that have looked or acted a lot differently over the years (even if it doesn't always make sense when they do). Here are 10 species that have changed over the franchise's various runs.
When fans first met the Ferengi, they were a caricature of a selfish, lecherous species. They also didn't seem very intelligent, just a bumbling group of tiny barbarians looking for self-profit.
DS9 really changed the entire game for the species. Sure, they did have tendencies to treat women poorly and were obsessed with profit. But they could be very clever and had their own complicated nuances, including an untapped amount of intelligence and strength in their people that was squandered by their obsession with profit. By putting Quark and his family at the forefront, DS9 showed they were more than the groveling idiots fans saw in their first episode.
TOS showed the Organians as a people with further capabilities who wanted peace so badly they transcended corporeal form. However, their appearance in ENT showed a different story. In that story, the Organians started out non-corporeal and at one point or another changed their form to be more amenable to humanoids.
ENT Organians were curious but ambivalent to humanoids, wanting to learn from their experiences but struggling to understand why their people cared so much about their flimsy little bodies. While it makes sense the Organians would have evolved over time, the fact they promoted peace and protected said bodies from harm is a big change from their ENT versions.
For most of the Star Trek franchise, Andorians are just a Federation species that are known for being a little quick to pull triggers. It just made them sound confrontational but negotiable. ENT not only gives the first serious portrayal of the species but also shows there's much more to them than that. After all, the only reason they were so "war-like" was because their neighbors, the Vulcans, willingly oppressed them and they just wanted the freedom to live their own lives.
7 The Genetically Modified
When fans meet their first genetically modified humans, it's in TOS and they are led by the warmonger tyrant himself, Khan Noonien Singh. The show makes the flaws and hubris that come along with making humans like this quite clear, which would understandably make the galaxy wary of modifying humans ever again.
DS9 shows another side of the coin with Julian Bashir and the other illegally modified humans, like Simon and Sabrina. For many of them, their physiology didn't react well to the modification, making them non-responsive or manic. However, even those genetically modified humans were well-intentioned and deserved better lives than to be locked away forever.
In TNG, the Borg were one of the most fearsome foes anyone could ever encounter. Even within the same series, their people were shown to be a lot more complicated, a race of brainwashed prisoners more than something pure evil. Slowly, fans learned to love them, as heart-stopping foes and as tragic characters.
Voyager took that a step further by making them seem a lot more chaotic than expected (the queen is a whole trip by herself) and added in the beloved Seven of Nine and her complex humanity. Who knew, when fans first met them, that everyone would learn to love a Borg?
These unique, green-skinned folk were only known as slaves or smugglers from the Orion Syndicate, and that was all fans knew about them. While Star Trek hasn't exactly done a whole expose on them or made a serious main character out of one, later on it's made clear that not every Orion is like that. It isn't like every single one of them is a part of their near planet-wide organization. A couple of them are even in Starfleet. So Vina's portrayal of being an Orion slave girl wasn't everything.
Star Trek has always let Romulans play the evil, shifty bad guys. Their secretive isolationism just makes it too easy. However, when it came to DS9 things started to shift. During the Dominion War, the Romulan Star Empire teamed up with The Federation to fight off the Jem'Hadar. While they didn't exactly become great buddies, they did start growing a new understanding for one another. Romulans are also sympathetic, complex, and passionate about their people.
And once their planet is gone? Their secrets can't hide their people anymore. They are so much more than their manipulative government.
Thefirst real episode of TOS was about Captain Pike facing off against a mind-bending race that wanted to use humans as a form of entertainment. In the end, they let Pike go (because they decide humans are too much trouble) but they still don't seem to have any affection towards them, other than their Vina.
DISCO makes that all different. Apparently, the Talosians care more than they show. After all, they and Vina help Spock and Michael throughout their struggles dealing with Spock's collapsing mind. Whether it was for Vina's sake or they actually enjoyed helping, it showed a far more compassionate side to them.
In looks alone, the Trill changed a lot from the first time fans met them. They had forehead ridges and the symbiont looked a lot more intimidating. When DS9 decided to bring the Trill back in the form of a main character, they changed their appearance to obstruct their facial features a bit less. Instead, they got the famous and adorable spots and the symbiont became even more important (and a little more pleasant to look at).
Also, their melding personality with their past selves wasn't just passing from one body to the next, but more like memories transferring from one person to another, augmenting them as people. Either way, things just got a lot more complicated.
By far, the species that's changed the most over the years is the Klingons. From their ever-shifting face ridges, coloring, and even the changing intensity of their culture. In DISCO, they are in-fighting zealots rallying under Kahless. TOS sees them as maniacal beard-twirlers that almost assassinated their hierarchy to avoid peace. Then from TNG on they got to be the drunken, passionate race that joined The Federation for their betterment but they're still everyone's battle-lusting faves. If only their history was a bit more consistent, though.