Who are the Gorn in Star Trek?

Star Trek: The Gorn, everything we know about this ruthless alien race

If you buy something from a GEEKSPIN link, we may earn a commission

The Gorn in the Arena episode of Star Trek: The Original Series

The Gorn was at the center of the heartbreaking penultimate episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 1 last June. But are you aware that the Gorn in Star Trek have been part of the beloved sci-fi franchise since the 1960s? Below is everything we know about the ruthless alien race.

About the Gorn

The Gorn are a warp-capable, cold-blooded species whose interstellar government is known as the Gorn Hegemony. The Gorn in Star Trek are usually depicted as reptilian-looking creatures with red blood and green, rubbery skin. Their mouths are equipped with a set of pointed teeth and their hands and feet have razor-sharp claws that they use to attack their victims or protect themselves.

The Gorn appear to be stronger and have greater stamina than most humanoids, but they are slower and less agile. Some Humans think the Gorn are primitive and unintelligent, but the truth is they are just as smart as Humans. In fact, as of the late 23rd century, much of the Gorn technology, including its starships and weapons, was on par with that of Starfleet.

The Gorn has at least two genders: male and female. And just like Humans, they also get married. Despite its similarities with the Human culture, the Gorn is considered one of the most brutal alien races in the universe due to their vicious life cycle. The Gorn hatch from parasitic eggs that incubated inside humanoid hosts. When ready, the hatchlings would rip their way violently from the body of their host, killing their hosts in the process.

Which original Star Trek episode has the Gorn?

The Gorn in Star Trek made its first appearance in the 1967 episode of Star Trek: The Original Series titled Arena. In the episode, the Gorn attacked a Federation outpost on Cestus III as they found the outpost encroaching on their territory. The Enterprise led by James T. Kirk (William Shatner) pursued the Gorn’s ship to an unknown part of the galaxy, where the Metrons beam both the Gorn captain and Kirk to a nearby planet for a fight to the death. Kirk ultimately won the fight, but in a move of compassion, Kirk argued for the Gorn to be released as well.

Since that episode, the Gorn have made a number of appearances in different Star Trek series. In the 1973 episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, titled The Time Trap, a Gorn served as a member of a council made up of various species in the pocket dimension Elysia. Also, in the Mirror Universe, years before Kirk would encounter the Gorn, Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) encountered a Gorn in the Star Trek: Enterprise 2005 episode In a Mirror Darkly, Part 2. More recently, a Gorn wedding was featured in the 2020 Veritas episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

The Gorn wedding in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode, Veritas
A Gorn wedding featured in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode, Veritas. Like Humans and Vulcans, Gorn in Star Trek also get married.

Who are the Gorn in Star Trek Strange New Worlds?

As mentioned above, the latest appearance of the Gorn in Star Trek was in the 2022 All Those Who Wander episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. The episode revealed a lot of new things about the biology and life cycle of the Gorn, including the species’ fast and aggressive quadrupedal hatchlings, who develop ducts by their mouths that enable them to spit venom.

A Gorn hatchling in season 1, episode 9 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
A Gorn hatchling in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 1, episode 9, All Those Who Wander

In the episode, Hemmer (Bruce Horak) saved Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) when a Gorn attacked and spit venom that hit him instead of her. The Enterprise crew led by Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) initially believed that the Gorn’s venom would only blind or burn would-be victims, but they later found out that the venom actually turns the victim’s body into a host for Gorn, causing the deadly species’ babies to burst out of the host’s body.

Realizing what would happen if he didn’t take the matter into his own hands, Hemmer walked out into a frigid environment in order to stop the lethal Gorn hatching within his body and ultimately stepped off a cliff to prevent the Gorn babies inside him from bursting out and killing everyone.

Did Gorn join the Federation?

It’s not clear whether the Gorn has joined the Federation, but there’s a reason to believe that they did so. In 2267, the Gorn made territorial claims in the Cestus system. But by 2371, the Federation had a settlement there, suggesting that tension between the two parties either later softened enough for it to become a trading site between the groups, or the Gorn had ceded the territory or had completely joined the Federation.

Are the Gorn part of the Klingon Empire?

Though the Klingons successfully conquered the Gorn Hegemony after the Klingon-Gorn War between 2386 and 2403, the Gorn were given self-rule as long as they stayed loyal to the Klingons.

Source: Memory Alpha, StarTrek.com