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Star Trek’s Gorn Hegemony in Strange New Worlds explained

Star Trek's Gorn are arguably the main antagonists in Strange New Worlds, and in the season 2 finale we got our best look yet at this new version of the aliens.

TOS-era Gorn

What is the Gorn Hegemony in Star Trek Strange New Worlds, and what do we know about the iconic species? This article contains minor spoilers for the Strange New Worlds season 2 finale.

Star Trek’s Gorn have been a part of the sci-fi franchise since the very beginning, famously (or, infamously depending on your perspective) making their debut opposite William Shatner’s Jim Kirk in a very… very… very… slow fist fight. Times have changed though, and the Gorn have now cemented their position as recurring major antagonists in the Star Trek series Strange New Worlds.

They’re almost unrecognizable, however, from their first appearance, and the show is continuing to develop the mythos around these reptile-style aliens in exciting ways. So, to get you up to speed as they put our favorite Star Trek characters in life threatening danger, here’s our full breakdown of the Gorn Hegemony in Strange New Worlds, including their full backstory.

Gorn in Star Trek Strange New Worlds explained

The Gorn were reintroduced to Star Trek in the Strange New Worlds season 1 episode Memento Mori. Here, Gorn Hunter ships attacked the USS Enterprise, almost destroying it in the process in one of the best Strange New Worlds episodes so far.

In this episode, La’an revealed that she had a prior history with the Gorn, as when she was a young girl her colony ship was attacked by the species leaving her as the only survivor. Here, we got an insight into Gorn biology learning that the Gorn use living humanoid hosts as breeding sacks. They implant their eggs into a humanoid host, and when the Gorn eggs are developed enough they hatch and explode from their host (yes, in a similar way to Alien).

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In the season 1 episode All Those Who Wander, which saw the death of Hemmer, the crew of the USS Enterprise battled Gorn hatchlings which proved to be deadly with an ability to spit venom.

In the first episode of season 2, Admiral April was shown to be concerned about growing tension between the Federation and the Gorn Hegemony as the Gorn expanded their territory, leading to the threat of war. This escalates in the season 2 finale which sees the Gorn occupy the planet Karnasus Beta to turn it into a breeding planet, destroying the USS Cayuga in the process and while the Pike’s Enterprise attempts to save survivors.

Here, we see a fully grown Gorn for the first time in Strange New Worlds as Spock and Chapel come face to face with one on the wreckage of the Cayuga. The Gorn uses its tail as a whip-like weapon, and is shown to possess incredible physical strength. However, the duo manage to eventually overpower the Gorn with some good teamwork.

Gorn hatching in Strange New Worlds

Gorn Hegemony’s backstory in Star Trek explained

Despite what is seen of them in Strange New Worlds, the Gorn are a technologically and culturally advanced species, though they had some brutal tendencies (not unlike the Klingons, or the Hirogen) which included hunting their prey as sport. The expansion of their territories led to a number of conflicts with the Federation as seen in Strange New Worlds and later on in the Star Trek timeline too, in TOS.

In the TOS episode Arena, the Gorn attack the Federation outpost Cestus III in the year 2267, approximately 6 years after the destruction of the Cayuga. This led to the official first contact between the Federation and the Gorn, as in previous battles communication had been impossible.

Gorn vs Kirk in TOS

The Gorn viewed their attack on Cestus III as pre-emptive as they had claimed the Cestus system as a part of their own territory, unbeknownst to the Federation. This led to a direct one on one confrontation between Kirk and a Gorn starship captain, though both individuals survived after Kirk defeated the Gorn, but spared its life.

No subsequent contact between the Federation and the Gorn has been recorded until the late 24th century, and it could be that the Gorn stopped their expansion, or reduced the boundaries of their territory so as not to conflict with Federation space. In the 2380s, close to a century after Pike and Kirk’s encounters, Gorn are seen living on Federation Starbases and helping in Federation affairs in the two animated (and canon) series Lower Decks and Prodigy indicating that relations have substantially improved. There’s that good old Star Trek optimism.

That’s all we know on the Gorn for now, but as Strange New Worlds continues on we’re bound to learn more about the enigmatic race.

For more Trek action, read our full Strange New Worlds season 2 review and our interview with Anson Mount and Rebecca Romjin. You can also check out our recommendation on how to watch the Star Trek movies in order, and see our picks for the best Star Trek starships and best Star Trek captains.

To stay up to date with the rest of Trek, see what’s going on with the Star Trek Discovery season 5 release dateLower Decks season 4 release date, and Star Trek 4 release date. You can also find out what’s new on Paramount Plus this month, and see our selection of the best TV series of all time.