- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Star Trek has been fading from pop culturedom’s collective consciousness since the demise of the last television series, “Enterprise” in early 2005. Glimpses of life have been seen in recent Trek developments as new video games are coming soon and Paramount Home Video continues to re-release episodes of the multiple television series as fan themed sets of Star Trek DVDs. The latest, “Star Trek Fan Collective - Klingon” ($38.99) hit the planet last week.

Hoping to help reignite the flame for the Trekkie, I offer a multi-part interview with Michael Dorn, a man who significantly helped define the Klingon species as the Starfleet officer Worf in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Q. Worf has come a long way. When first auditioning for and working as Worf, did you consider he would be a major part of a DVD series release?

A. No, I never considered that a DVD series would one day be made. We all thought once we started working, this is cool, it will last a couple of years and we will move on. We had no idea it would take on this whole thing that it did. The fans were crazy the first year, and the resistance was strong to the new show and characters. And then there were the shows, the conventions. It just grew into this great series with fantastic fan support.

Q. Did you like Worf’s look?

A. I liked Worf’s look. It gave me the chance to play him without being able to see his expressions; it gave him a brooding feel. As an actor, I liked the idea that the expression does not change much. He was mysterious, a man of few words. The funny thing was that the producers did not know how to take me, because I did not want Worf to have a lot of dialogue. I wanted him to be quiet, contemplative.

Every time someone would say something to me, whenever they said anything I would just look at them as if to say “that doesn’t make sense” and the writers did pick up on that and they gave me the freedom to work that way.

Q. How did you create such an endearing character for twelve years?

A. [Creating Worf’s persona] was the first thing I did on the set. I realized in looking at the other actors, before the first line was ever spoken, that they were all pairing up and creating relationships, discussing the crew and saying that is the way to have the character continue to be popular, by having relationships, and we are all comrades lets go to space and like each other.

And that gave me the chance to say I will do the opposite. I [my character] was mad at everybody, angry at them, and it wasn’t that he was nationalistic about who he was, he just thought he was better, at everything, than human beings, and that by hanging around with them “I am starting to slum.”

From there, I wanted to show that he is learning recognizing that wait a minute, this Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is a smart guy and he is capable learning, changing. Maybe those humans are not all bad.

Adding to the character is that he a big guy, a lumbering kind of ox, knocking things over, yet he learns about emotions, his emotions and human emotions, but he is sort of clueless about that and he become endearing.

Q. Is Worf someone you like?

A. I did like the character. I would not have done “Deep Space Nine” if I did not like Worf. At “Deep Space” they opened up the character a little more, but I would have loved to do more [with Worf]. It’s a great character.

Q. Is he standoffish?

A. I always wanted my character to be on the periphery, ubiquitous, not in the forefront but always there. Which all played into my overall plan because if Worf did not have to be in every episode, made up 5 days a week, I could concentrate on directing. When Denise Crosby (Lieutenant Natasha “Tasha” Yar) left after the first year, it put that off until later on.

Part II: A Klingon reflects on his Captain.

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