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Star Trek race
The Gorn whom Captain Kirk fought in "Arena"
Also known asGorn Hegemony (Government)
AffiliationGorn Hegemony

The Gorn are a fictional extraterrestrial humanoid reptilian species in the American science fiction franchise Star Trek. They first appeared in a 1967 episode of the original series, "Arena", in which Captain Kirk fights an unnamed Gorn on a rocky planet.[1] The fight scene has become one of the best-remembered scenes of the original series, in part due to the slow and lumbering movement of the Gorn, which some viewers have considered unintentionally comical.[2][3]

The Gorn have since appeared, or been mentioned, in various Star Trek books, video games, and other media properties, including the 1973 episode "The Time Trap" of Star Trek: The Animated Series. They finally appeared again in live action form in a 2005 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, "In a Mirror Darkly, Part 2", this time with a more angular appearance and rendered using computer animation. Several Gorn spaceships (though no actual Gorn) appeared in a 2022 episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, "Memento Mori".

Fictional history[edit]

According to the Starfleet Technical Manual, the Gorn are from Tau Lacertae IX.

The Gorn had contact with the Orion Syndicate as early as 2154. The name of their government was established as the Gorn Hegemony in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Bound".[4]

In the episode "Arena" of the original Star Trek TV series, the Enterprise pursues an alien ship of previously unknown design after it had attacked an Earth colony. A powerful race known as the Metrons force the captains of both ships to fight to settle the dispute. During the episode, it is discovered that the alien race calls themselves Gorn.[5][6] This first contact with the Federation occurred at Cestus III in 2267.

A Gorn appeared in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "The Time Trap".

Although the Gorn made territorial claims in the Cestus system in 2267, the Federation had a settlement there by 2371, indicating tension later softened or the Gorn had ceded the territory.

In 2005, an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise featured a Gorn (albeit in the Mirror Universe) in the episode "In a Mirror, Darkly Part II". In that episode, the Gorn (whose name was Slar) was an overseer of a group of slaves belonging to the Mirror Universe's Tholians in an attempt to steal technology from the Constitution-class NCC-1764 Defiant which had been transferred into the Mirror Universe from ours. Slar hid in the ship's corridors and killed several crewmembers until it was killed by Jonathan Archer.

A Gorn was slated to appear in the movie Star Trek: Nemesis as a friend of Worf at Riker's bachelor party, according to an interview given by John Logan to Star Trek Communicator in 2003, but the scene was not in the final version of the film.

The series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds features a character, La'an Noonien-Singh (played by Christina Chong) who is the sole survivor of a Gorn attack. In the 2022 episode "Memento Mori" of Season 1, the Gorn attack the starship Enterprise, and the trauma previously suffered by La'an is a central theme of the episode. The Gorn do not actually appear onscreen in the episode, although several of their ships do. Captain Christopher Pike escapes the attack by luring the Gorn ships into a brown dwarf and slingshoting the Enterprise around a black hole.


The Gorn was designed by artist Wah Chang, and is depicted in Arena as a hissing, slow-moving but lethal beast.[7] The Gorn captain was portrayed by Bill Blackburn and Bobby Clark, and voiced by Ted Cassidy.[8]

In the animated series, the Gorn appeared less harsh than in the original.

Slar, a Gorn from the Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly Part II"

In the Star Trek: Enterprise appearance, the Gorn Slar was designed and rendered using computer animation, and looked different from the original appearance; the clearest being lack of compound eyes. Slar also moved much faster than the Gorn Captain Kirk fought. Since "In a Mirror, Darkly" takes place entirely within the Mirror Universe, the contact seen between the Terran Empire and the creature does not contradict the first contact seen in "Arena".

Other appearances[edit]


  • Gorn appear in the 2005 novel STAR TREK – Starfleet Corps of Engineers #44: Where Time Stands Still, a sequel to the animated episode mentioned above.
  • Gorn appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation book #32, Requiem.
  • A Gorn, with a name that sounds like "Rrrk", manages a bar in Arcturus (a city, planet and star all with the same name) in the novel The Lost Years.
  • The Gorn are featured in the 2010 Pocket Books novel Star Trek: Typhon Pact – Seize the Fire They also appear in the Star Trek: Destiny trilogy and the TNG novel Cold Equations: Silent Weapons. In these novels, the Gorn have joined an interstellar organization known as the Typhon Pact (composed of the Gorn, Romulans, Tholians, Breen, Tzenkethi, and Kinshaya).
  • The mirror universe counterparts of the Gorn appeared in Star Trek: Mirror Universe – Rise Like Lions.*
  • Kirk mentions his fight with the Gorn in dialogue with the Romulan Commander in the 1977 novel The Price of the Phoenix.


  • Gorn burial practices were discussed in an issue of Marvel Comics' Star Trek Unlimited.
  • A Gorn appeared in the first DC Comics run of Star Trek, in 1984. Bones comments that he doesn't have any tranquilizer strong enough to knock out a Gorn.
  • The Gorn homeworld and government chamber are shown in the Star Trek: The Next Generation trade paperback comic book The Gorn Crisis.

Video games[edit]

  • A mini-campaign with a Gorn enemy and ally appear in the SNES game and PC game Starfleet Academy. There are video cutscenes featuring a Gorn, portrayed using a puppet. The ships are also playable in skirmish mode, and multiplayer games.
  • Gorn appear in the PC game Starfleet Command.
  • Gorn ships appear in the PC game Klingon Academy. They are also playable in skirmish mode.
  • Gorn appear in the Nintendo game Star Trek: 25th Anniversary.
  • Gorn are available as one of the playable races for the Klingon Empire in the PC game Star Trek Online. The 'Gorn' jokes are a running gag in the online chat and spawned a fan-site of the species.[9]
  • Dr. McCoy referred to performing an emergency delivery of a brood of eight Gorn, noting "those little bastards bite!" in the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness. This is most likely a reference to the 2013 video game Star Trek due to McCoy performing a c-section of a Gorn in the game.
  • Kirk and Spock fight the Gorn in the 2012 Star Trek Video Game.[10]
  • The Gorn appear in the 2013 video game Star Trek, set in the alternate universe of the 2009 Star Trek film. Taking place between the first film and its sequel, the Gorn appear as enemies attacking the New Vulcan colony. The Gorn shown are depicted as being a brutal race of imperialistic extra-galactic conquerors who had already taken over their galaxy before crossing over into the Milky Way. They are shown to have a rigid caste system based on skin coloration and intelligence levels with the more intelligent Gorn serving as soldiers, while primitive ones serve an attack-dog role. These Gorn are far more alien-looking and are not as fully bipedal as previous incarnations. Their relations to the Gorn of the original series are not known.[citation needed]
  • In Star Trek: Starfleet Command and Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War The Gorn's government was referred to as the Gorn Confederation.
  • The Gorn race also appears in the alternate non-canon Star Fleet Universe, represented in the range of games from Amarillo Design Bureau Inc. as well as the first two Star Fleet Command games (and the Orion Pirates stand-alone add on for Starfleet Command II) from Taldren. These are not considered canon with the Star Trek movies or series. In this continuum, the Gorn Confederation is a powerful empire located coreward of the Romulan Star Empire, also bordering the United Federation of Planets and the Interstellar Concordium. It comprises three genetically related races, each from a neighboring star system, known as Ghdar I, Ghdar II and Ghdar III. They are portrayed as a more civilized and cultured race than as referenced in the Paramount Star Trek universe.
    • They ally in Y174 with the Kzinti Hegemony, the Hydran Kingdoms, the Federation and the Tholian Holdfast in the General War. The alliance between the Gorns and the Federation – following a brief conflict over a misunderstanding regarding the Federation colony on Cestus III, a Gorn world – represents one of the few alliances that is based on mutual trust and desire for friendship as opposed to political convenience. They are mutually antagonistic with the Romulans, with whom they share a border with the Interstellar Concordium, and were among the first races to feel the effects of the ISC War of Pacification.

Board games[edit]


  • A life-sized Gorn statue was on exhibit in the History of the Future museum in the Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek: The Experience attraction. Since the attraction's closing, the figure's current whereabouts are unknown.[citation needed]
  • Gorn action figures have been available over the years including the Mego line from the 1970s, appearing in that line's television commercials.

Popular culture[edit]

  • MythBusters, a Discovery Channel television show that uses elements of the scientific method to test the validity of rumors, myths, film scenes, adages, Internet videos, and news stories, set out to prove whether or not it was possible for Captain Kirk to have constructed an effective bamboo cannon that could have injured a Gorn, as depicted in the climax of "Arena". Their test showed that available bamboo was not strong enough to withstand the explosion. While Kirk would have been badly injured or killed, the Gorn would have been only slightly injured. However, the James Blish novelization of the episode indicated that although the plant looked like bamboo, it actually had a high metal content, so much so that it let out a distinct metallic sound when Kirk bumped it, the implication being that it was stronger than Earth bamboo.
  • In the 2001 Family Guy episode "The Kiss Seen Around the World", Neil Goldman plays the fight scene from the episode "Arena" in class, showing Captain Kirk fighting the Gorn, pointing out when it is William Shatner performing as Captain Kirk and his stunt double "Fred Lubbins". In reality, the stunt double for the scene was Dick Dial.
  • A Gorn is shown reading Gorn magazine and sitting in Sheldon's spot in the 2010 The Big Bang Theory season 4 episode "The Apology Insufficiency".
  • In the 2011 film Paul, the protagonists are shown playing with a Gorn mask.
  • A Gorn is shown at the conclusion of a dream by Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory season 5 episode "The Transporter Malfunction" (2012).
  • The Gorn appeared in the 2012 Robot Chicken season 6 episode "In Bed Surrounded by Loved Ones", in which Kirk has "stage 3 space Herpes" and contacts the people he had sex with. One such encounter includes the Gorn (voiced by Fred Tatasciore) too, which they briefly fight before making out.
  • A Gorn appeared with William Shatner in the preview/ad for the Star Trek 2 game in 2013.[11]


  1. ^ Bogmeister (10 July 2006). ""Star Trek" Arena (TV Episode 1967)". IMDb.
  2. ^ Gael Fashingbauer Cooper (January 19, 2017). "Star Trek's Gorn turns 50, and it's not easy being green". CNET.
  3. ^ Lily Hay Newman and Daniel Hubbard (November 3, 2015). "Neil deGrasse Tyson on Star Trek's "Worst Fight Scene Ever"". Slate.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Claudio Carvalho (29 April 2010). ""Star Trek: Enterprise" Bound (TV Episode 2005)". IMDb.
  5. ^ "46 Years Later, a Rematch Between William Shatner and the Gorn Warrior". WIRED.
  6. ^ Bogmeister (10 July 2006). ""Star Trek" Arena (TV Episode 1967)". IMDb.
  7. ^ "Wah Chang". IMDb.
  8. ^ "Star Trek – Arena (1967) – Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  9. ^ https://gornhub.org/
  10. ^ "Kirk and Spock Fight Gorn in Star Trek Game". The Escapist. 6 June 2012.
  11. ^ Sykes, Tom (30 March 2013). "Gorn but not forgotten: Shatner fights his old nemesis in the latest Star Trek game trailer". PC Gamer.

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