Star Trek Confirms The Return Of Kirk’s Greatest Enemy

They're back!

By Michileen Martin | Published

captain kirk star trek uss republic

Of all the villains the heroes of the various Star Trek heroes have faced, the Gorn hold a singular place in the mythos. Introduced in the 1967 Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Arena,” the Gorn are reptilian humanoids who historically don’t get along with outsiders. In spite of remaining one of the most memorable bad guys in Trek, the Gorn have hardly shown up. While Romulans and Klingons have popped up all over the place since they were introduced in TOS; except for a brief CGI appearance in Enterprise, the Gorn were canonical no-shows as villains until they locked horns with Captain Pike’s crew in the fourth episode of Strange New Worlds. Now, the creators have confirmed the Gorn are on their way back.

As reported by Trek Movie, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was the final topic of discussion in the Hall H Trek panel over the weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, and among other things Alex Kurtzman talked about the future of the Gorn. “Early on when [Akiva Goldsman] and I were breaking the story for the pilot, we wanted the Gorn to be the big bad of the season,” Kurtzman recalled. “And obviously, the Gorn holds a very special place in our hearts from TOS. But the idea of what we could do with the Gorn now given technology and where it’s at felt like a really amazing opportunity… So I don’t think it’s going to be the only time you see the Gorn. The lore of them and the way they were presented, they’re just too exciting and too interesting.”

star trek gorn
The Gorn in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

The Gorn gave the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds heroes a difficult time in two episodes in its inaugural season. In the fourth episode, “Memento Mori,” the Enterprise and her crew barely survives an encounter with a veritable fleet of Gorn ships waiting to destroy the heroes. We only see the aliens’ ships in that episode rather than the creatures themselves. We get a much closer and more terrifying look at the Gorn in the season’s penultimate episode, “All Those Who Wander.” A squad of trapped Starfleet officers find themselves in a situation right out of Predator or Alien, stalked by ravenous infant Gorn, and one of the senior crew — Bruce Horak’s Hemmer, the Aenar chief engineer — sacrifices himself to save his friends.

William Shatner and the Gorn in Star Trek: The Original Series

While Kurtzman stops short of confirming the Gorn will once again be facing the heroes in season 2 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, it certainly seems likely, Few established, well-known alien species in Trek have as much potential for a newer series. With very few canonical appearances, the lore of the Gorn is rich enough to be familiar, and spare enough to build new stories on. 

The Gorn are also integral to the backstory of one of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds‘ main characters. In “Memento Mori” we learn that La’an (Christina Chong) was captured by the Gorn as a child and dropped on one of the race’s breeding planets, where she was meant to serve as food and hunting practice for younger Gorn. The experience did not leave her with fond memories of the lizard men.