Really? We are up in arms about the Ferengi? You thought they were hot stuff before?

I am really not that bothered by the new Ferengi look.

We all know that there were budget constraits when TNG, DS9, and VOY were on the air. Budget constraits. Plain and simple. That is what happened. Fact.

Star Trek: Discovery Ferengi staring concerned

Now that technology and SFX have progressed, we should expect more complex physiological representations of our favorite aliens. New creative artists have come into the industry who have better tech and makeup options at their disposal.

My advice: Focus on the story, not the makeup.

In this day and age of conflict over small things, allow me to infuse the personality of my father, a Black man who grew up in the South during segregation. The Airforce Veteran (Vietnam era) is a die hard Trek fan and has a really good perspective on life. He knows what’s worth griping about and what’s worth appreciating. He is not adverse to change. He is the first one to issue a loving smack to the back of the head for being an over-sensitive whiner. And he will roll his eyes at people who complain about sci-fi when people are dying in the streets all over the world.

Oh. Are you one of those people who is offended about everything? He sits on his porch and laughs at you all day. He is one of the funniest comedians I know and—yes—you have been the butt of his jokes. So have I. I love him for it and am over it. He taught me that life should be enjoyed, even if you haven’t been given a fair shot. He was made stronger by his adversities. I chose to do the same. I have nothing to complain about. He made me who I am today.

My 75 year old best-dad-ever is uber-excited about all the Trek on TV right now, so he is not one to waste time arguing about the shape of Ferengi ears.

Ferengi ears is not the first time drastic changes have happened in the movie medium. I could go on and on about the long list of intellectual properties that revamped with time and technology.

Let’s start with one of the best sci-fi stories of all time, shall we?

War of the Worlds Then and Now

Planet of Apes Then and Now

Time Machine Then and Now

Spider-Man Then and Now

I will obey him. It’s paid off thus far in life.

13 comments

  1. I would have thought roleplayers would be especially adaptable to changes like this. Just look at how the official D&D art has changed over the decades. A 1970s 0e goblin has little visual similarity left with the latest 5e incarnation, and neither is quite what people imagined of them in fairytales and art of preceding centuries.

    The same goes for individual players’ games. I prefer a purely theater-of-the-mind kind of game (because I’m lazy and cheap), but I know others enjoy splashing out on extensive game art and minis. And they’ll often replace these halfway through a game with a “better” version, even if doesn’t visually agree with what they had before. We’re perfectly happy to suspend disbelief in those cases, so it is a bit curious that not everyone can extend that ability to other artforms in other contexts.

  2. I’m going to write in defence of people annoyed by this, (frankly I don’t care myself but I UNDERSTAND IT) people use the Klingons change from TOS to TNG to justify this (and honestly if they where thinking could also justify it using the trill from TNG to DS9) but there’s a bit of a differance here. and the differance can be summerized quite simply “Worf and Quark” By that I mean Worf and Quark where main characters in TNG and DS9.. and fan favorite characters as well thus any massive change to their races is seen as a potential change to these fan favorite characters so I think that’s a biiig factor in why people dislike changing the race

    1. The TOS Klingons’ appearance was largely down to budget constraints, and we have evidence that the ridged foreheads were wanted but rejected. The fact that TNG/DS9 aliens used such extensive prosthetics — including for the Klingons and Ferengi — demonstrates that this wasn’t the case for the Ferengi; they could easily have made the original Ferengi look almost exactly like this version.

      But, DISCO seems to be obsessed with making all of the aliens wrinkly, crinkly, and demonic. What’s next, a redesign of the humans?

  3. “More creative artists have come into the industry…” what an absolutely horrible thing to say. The artists who have worked on ST in all their iterations of been talented and worked with what they had, but to say that the current crop is more creative is insulting.

    1. You actually make a good point. I stand corrected. I should have said “artists with more budget and better tech accessibility.” ST has had the best talent in the industry for decades and I would not anyone.

  4. Thanks for writing this, Michael. I’m getting tired about all the hand-wringing conversations that I have about make-up changes in Discovery. It also occurs to me that all of the current griping is about a trailer and the actual content hasn’t even dropped. It’s showing how superficial the worry is.

  5. So what does this have to do with STA?

    CM is a fantastic resource for Star Trek roleplaying games, but I don’t think putting your oar into the never-ending fan fuss over “old” v “new” Trek is really the river you should be taking the site down. Really kind of disappointed by this post. CM is usually better than this kind of click-bait.

    1. Noted. I actually have to agree. Sometimes I post my opinions. Need to remember to keep that to a minimum.

  6. This is the first I’ve seen it and I’m not really a fan.
    It’s certainly possible to do a minimalist update. Update the techniques and styles without redesigning the entire look.
    It’s not like Quark’s make-up was bad.

    This just looks overdesigned and tweaked in unnecessary ways. Like how the ears no longer seem as rounded or connected to the forehead ridge. And the extra latex all over the lower face, which will also just make it harder for the performer to act and emote.

    It’s always interesting how Klingons and Ferengi get completely redesigned but Vulcans and Romulans got a pass, when their initial look was also limited by ’60s budgets. They should have redesign them first. Especially as Vulcans arguably appeared in a comparable number of episodes to Ferengi and definitely appeared in fewer episodes than Klingons…

  7. The thing is, its not simply a matter of a redesign of the Ferengi. Its the entire thought process behind Discovery.

    When you take the reins of a franchise, especially one with a fanbase as large and old as that of Star Trek, you need to understand that it cannot be treated like your own personal sandbox. You are not creating something new and unique- you are building upon foundations laid down by countless actors, writers, designers, directors, etc that contributed to the franchise before you. Yes, over the years Trek has had design differences here and there and it has not always made the effort to explain them. However, Trek generally aims to maintain a consistency that builds off of, rather than overwrites, its past chapters. And the fans may gripe and whine here and there about these antennae on that andorian or those ridges on this klingon’s head, but through decades, the franchise formed into a consistent universe beloved by generations.

    Then came Discovery. It did not seek to build upon the works of the past, but to “update” them. It started with the bizarre new Klingons, which fans despised, but were explained as “bald because thats what klingons do during war” and “they are only one house while TOS and TNG style klingons are still out there”. Except…..the Klingons were bald before the war with the federation, and when all the houses gathered, they all looked the same. Tellarites and Andorians were redesigned with no explanation. Ships, technology, uniforms with out of place color schemes. Now Ferengi and who knows what other races. At least when Abrams did it, he had the decency to say it is a different timeline. Its his own concept, tangential to main trek. But Discovery claims that it is main trek. Thats the core of what people find insulting. Its an “update” that shatters the consistency that many people spent many decades trying to build.

    So yes, there will be fans, particularly those with an eye for visuals or design, that will be upset. Sometimes, change is good. Updates are great. But people also find comfort in the familiar. And if you decide to take something familiar to people, have the common courtesy to respect its value to those people. After decades off the air, people should be excited to travel forth in their beloved universe, see sights old and new. But going off into what is supposed to be the same world and finding everything different purely for the sake of being different just leaves a sour taste in your mouth.

    If you are someone who does not care about aesthetics and purely about story, kudos. But be mindful of the fact that different people are different and can appreciate different aspects of a piece of media.

  8. I’ve wondered something. While this character looks like a variant of the Ferengi race, do we have a confirmation that the character is actually a Ferengi? Yes there are Ferengi features, but we’ve seen similar looking races before on Star Trek.

    Who knows, we may be looking at a new race we get to homebrew STA stats for.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.