The Andorians: The Blue-Skinned Star Trek Warriors Explained

By Kevin C. Neece | Updated

Jeffrey Combs as Thy’lek Shran, an Andorian Military Officer on Star Trek: Enterprise

In Star Trek, Andorians are one of the most instantly recognizable and iconic alien races in the galaxy. But who are they, and where do they come from? Here’s our overview of this unique and important Star Trek species.

From their first appearance in the second-season episode of the original Star Trek, Andorians have been an intriguing and at times mysterious species. Hailing from the ice moon of Andoria, they are recognizable by their distinctive blue skin, white hair, and antennae. Though their design has shifted somewhat over the decades, they have maintained these distinctive features.

First Appearance Of The Andorians

star trek first contact
An Andorian in the background of The Original Series

The importance of Star Trek’s Andorians has been established from the beginning, as they are one of the founding species of the United Federation of Planets. Along with humans, Vulcans, and Tellarites, Andorians joined in the first accords that founded the interplanetary governing body at the heart of Star Trek. This is especially significant since Andorians often tend to be cautious and slow to trust others.

Their first appearance in Star Trek also established Andorians as a warrior race, emphasizing military membership and rank within their society. This made them a particularly important part of the original alliance as the member worlds of the Federation generally embrace peace as their guiding philosophy. The inclusion of Andorians helped to show in the founding of the United Federation of Planets the diversity of social structures and cultural values that could exist within the fundamental principle of peaceful coexistence and cooperation between species across the galaxy.

Andorians And Aenar

Star Trek: Enterprise especially showed the long, slow process of earning the trust of the Andorians, particularly through the relationship between Captain Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise and the Andorian Commander Thy’lek Shran. Known for his particular suspicion of “pinkskins” as he called them, Shran’s progress from aggressive enemy to uneasy ally to a friend required a great deal of diplomacy and connection through shared goals and experiences. As understanding grew between himself and Archer, Shran (who was later promoted to general) increasingly became an advocate for a deepening relationship between Andor and Earth.

But Star Trek’s Andorians are more diverse than they are originally depicted, not only because their society also includes a great emphasis on art with some of the finest art schools in the galaxy. Their moon homeworld also includes a subspecies called the Aenar, who dwell in the ice caves of Andoria and, until the 22nd century, were so rarely seen as to be considered mythological by most Andorians. The Aenar are physiologically similar to Andorians, but are paler in appearance and are all born both blind and with heightened telepathic senses.

Bruce Horak as Hemmer on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

While Shran is surely Star Trek’s most famous and prominent Andorian, its most well-known Aenar comes from Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Hemmer is the original chief engineer of the Enterprise under Captain Pike whose senses are so sharpened that he can demonstrate incredible technical skill despite his blindness. Hemmer’s ingenuity and cleverness are invaluable to the Enterprise, as is the wisdom he imparts to Cadet Uhura, not only in engineering knowledge but also in life skills and wisdom.

Though they might seem an unlikely Star Trek ally with their generally distrustful, militaristic nature, Andorians have proven to be an integral part of the Federation.

Star Trek: Lower Decks continues to prominently feature Andorians through the character of Jennifer Sh’reyan, a command division junior officer serving aboard the USS Cerritos. Though she is originally despised by Ensign Beckett Mariner, the two eventually become friends and later even develop a romantic relationship. Their connection is yet another example of a human and an Andorian originally not getting along at all, but later growing quite close.

Throughout Star Trek, other Andorians are seen serving on Starfleet vessels, notably including Thelin, who appears in the classic episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, “Yesteryear.” In that episode, a change to Spock’s past causes him to not serve on the Enterprise, leaving him to encounter an alternate timeline wherein Thelin is instead serving as the ship’s science officer. Though the timeline is later rectified and Thelin is not seen again, he is among the more memorable Andorians depicted.

Though they might seem an unlikely Star Trek ally with their generally distrustful, militaristic nature, Andorians have proven to be an integral part of the Federation. Intelligent, reliable, and fiercely loyal, and with an intense emotionalism on the other end of the spectrum from Vulcans, Andorians represent an important element in the balance of core Federation species. Their contributions continue to be invaluable and we are always interested to see what new depictions of this fascinating alien race will appear next.