Ranker pollsters have voted on which Klingon characters throughout multiple series and movies are fan favorites.
With the recently launched Paramount+ offering of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, it’s a foregone conclusion we’ll be seeing early Starfleet’s greatest adversary at some point. While Star Trek boasts a number of recurring, non-human races in Starfleet ranks as well as adversaries for the Federation, it’s the intriguing and diehard warrior race of the Klingons which has most captured Trekkers’ imaginations throughout the varied series and movies.
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It’s difficult to pinpoint the best of the best, one certain Enterprise-D chief of security notwithstanding, but Ranker pollsters gave it a fair shot.
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7 Kruge (Star Trek III: The Search For Spock)
Trekkers inherently know that the third cinematic outing for Star Trek’s original series crew had its share of criticisms, but few of them centered on Christopher Lloyd’s ruthless Commander Kruge. In seeking out the Genesis project to use as a weapon of mass destruction, Kruge managed to do what few former Klingon adversaries did not to one Captain James Tiberius Kirk. He hurt him but good, not only forcing Kirk to use the self destruct mechanism to destroy the original Enterprise, but also ordering the death of Kirk’s son David to prove his resolve. Lloyd delivered in a tongue-in-cheek yet intensely foreboding performance as a determined and unmerciful Klingon commander.
6 Kang (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Kang began his long and illustrious Klingon career as an adversary for Captain Kirk in the original series. It was later retconned by Trek writers that he was in fact a product of 22nd century genetic engineering, descended from Klingons affected by an augment virus as seen in the Enterprise episode Divergence, a method in which screenwriters used to explain away the stark change in Klingon appearances from the original series into The Next Generation series.
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He was later cured of the affliction as seen in the Flashback episode of Star Trek: Voyager. Kang also knew Curzon Dax, as recalled by Jahdzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Michael Ansara gives a nuanced performance as the debut example of Trek’s warrior caste.
5 Gowron (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Played to an utterly intense level by the always reliable Robert O’Reilly, the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council has been a frequent adversary and reluctant ally for many of Star Trek’s most prominent officers, most notably to Commander Worf as well as Captain Picard, Captain Sisko, and General Martok. His ascension to the Klingon High Command resulted in many seminal Trek moments including Worf’s reversal of family disgrace to the House of Mogh at the outset of the Klingon civil war and one of the best Trek battles scenes ever put to tape in the assault of the Klingon fleet on Deep Space 9 during the Federation-Klingon war. Gowron was perhaps the most ominously portrayed Klingon in all of Star Trek history.
4 Kurn (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Worf’s young brother Kurn, as portrayed by the great Tony Todd of many a horror franchise (most notably in the Candyman series), established himself from the onset as a formidable Klingon presence both in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space 9. First coming aboard the Enterprise-D to assess Worf’s loyalties, he became his older brother’s staunch ally, first during Worf’s necessary discommendation to avoid a Klingon civil war and again during Gowron’s ascendancy and the subsequent return of honor to their house.
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Todd’s rendition of a powerful Klingon dedicated to his sworn oaths as a Klingon warrior and brother to Worf was fierce and a welcome addition to Trek’s supporting cast.
3 Kor (Star Trek: The Original Series)
Kor has been a fan fave since the early days of the original series. Like Kang, he too was a (retconned) descendant of the Klingon augment virus, and holds the distinction of being Star Trek’s very first Klingon antagonist and a frequent detractor of the Romulan empire. Played by the science fiction staple actor John Colicos, well known for his Battlestar Galactica role as well as recurring Trek figure Kor, Colicos brought a menacing if smarmy attitude to Kirk’s first warrior adversary. Later in the franchise, Kor was revisited as a more wizened yet still passionate Dahar Master warrior and appeared in a trio of Deep Space 9 episodes as an older officer losing his senses of reality, ultimately sacrificing himself nobly in the Dominion War.
2 Martok (Star Trek: Deep Space 9)
The one-eyed general of formidable stance became a stalwart and honorable ally to Captain Sisko and the Deep Space 9 crew, thanks to two significant components of the character: his admiration of Commander Worf, eventually inviting him to join his family house, and the stellar portrayal of the grizzled Klingon war veteran by character actor J.G. Hertzler.
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Martok became a integral part of the multi-season Dominion War story arc, undergoing a number of changes including at one point being replaced by a changeling. It was Martok’s dedication to honor above all else that set him apart as a truly worthy Klingon warrior bereft of ambition or failure of duty.
1 Worf (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
A consistently outstanding performance from Michael Dorn makes the Enterprise’s chief of security a powerful yet sympathetic character within both the TNG and the DS9 series. Worf’s upbringing by his Russian foster parents was a frequent aspect of Worf-centric episodes, with his Klingon warrior side often at odds with his Starfleet officer side. Dorn’s Klingon is one of Star Trek’s most popular characters of all time and fans are eagerly anticipating his return in season three of Star Trek: Picard.
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