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Worf (Lieutenant)

Worf figurine by Patries71 via Flickr

Lieutenant Worf is a Klingon officer in the American science fiction TV shows, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.The character is played by actor Michael Dorn.

Unlike the Klingons of the original Star Trek, who were hostile to the Federation of Planets (which includes Earth), Worf and his race are allies with the Federation.

Star Trek lore has it that the show’s producer, Gene Roddenberry, at first didn’t want Worf as regular in the series. Apparently Roddenberry didn’t want to rehash existing themes (like the standard alien race of “Klingons”) from the original TV series.

But Worf’s popularity was undeniable, and Roddenberry, along with subsequent producers, changed their outlook on the Star Trek mythos. Instead of avoiding past episodes, they embraced and adapted them to enhance the overall story, which is a literary device called ‘retroactive continuity.’

Related Posts » Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series



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Klingon originally uploaded by ZoeARP via Flickr

Klingons are a race of nasty aliens in the original Star Trek TV show. They became good aliens by the time of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The fact that their physical appearance changed over time was explained in 2005 with the literary device of ‘retroactive continuity.’¹

In 2002, the Oxford English Dictionary included the word Klingon (along with Jedi from Star Wars) in both its complete and Shorter dictionaries. The following definition is from the OED:

A member of a fictional humanoid alien race featuring in the U.S. television series Star Trek and in subsequent associated series, films, publications, etc.

The OED also rightly points out that Klingon has another meaning, that of an actual language, created for the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) by Dr Marc Okrand.

Although not in common use, the Klingon language is learned and spoken by die hard Star Trek fans, known as Trekkies. Learning is facilitated via instructional audio tapes such as “Conversational Klingon.”

¹ “A canonical explanation for the change was given in a two-part storyline on Star Trek: Enterprise. The two episodes, “Affliction” and “Divergence“, aired in February 2005.” (See

Related Posts » Archetypal Image, Worf