Worf aboard the Enterprise
Sergey Rozhenko (adopted)
|Mother||Helena Rozhenko (adopted)|
|Portrayed by||Michael Dorn|
|First appearance||"Encounter at Farpoint" (TNG)|
Worf (wo'rIv in the Klingon language) is a fictional character in the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–94) and in seasons four through seven of the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1995–99). He also appears in the four Next Generation feature films that were released between 1994 and 2002. Worf is the first Klingon main character to appear in Star Trek, and has appeared in more Star Trek franchise episodes than any other character. He is played by the actor Michael Dorn.
Initially, Worf was not intended to be a regular character, as Gene Roddenberry wanted to avoid "retreads of characters or races featured prominently in the original Star Trek series". Accordingly, the June 1, 1987 cast portrait did not include Worf. Several "tall, slim, black actors" auditioned for Worf before Michael Dorn came along, walking into the audition in character and not smiling.
The House of Mogh was a family of high social and political rank which was for a time represented on the Klingon High Council. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (set around 70 years before the Next Generation era began), Colonel Worf (also portrayed by Michael Dorn) appears as the legal advocate of Captain James T. Kirk and Dr. Leonard McCoy after they are accused of killing Chancellor Gorkon of the Klingon High Council. He was also a member of the Klingon delegation at Camp Khitomer. Although not explicitly stated, he was intended to be Worf's grandfather.
Worf was born in 2340 on the Klingon homeworld as the son of Mogh. Five years later, his parents moved to the Khitomer colony. Worf's parents were killed during a surprise attack by the Romulans on the Khitomer outpost. The colony's distress call was answered by the Federation starship USS Intrepid. Chief Petty Officer Sergey Rozhenko found Worf in the rubble and took him in after failing to find any living relatives. Rozhenko and his wife Helena raised him on a small farm colony on the planet Gault, a world of about 20,000 inhabitants, almost all of them human. Worf also has a human brother, Nikolai, with whom he often quarreled. He also spent time on Earth in his parents' native city of Minsk, later recommending it to O'Brien as one of his favorite places on Earth.
Worf did not take the Rozhenkos' last name, preferring to be addressed by the Klingon designation "Worf, son of Mogh". However, his son Alexander Rozhenko, who was raised by the Rozhenkos after his mother K'Ehleyr died, did use their surname. Although Worf was raised by humans, he considered himself a Klingon at heart and studied the ways of his people. As an adult, his mannerisms and personality, as well as his innate sense of honor, became more Klingon than human.
Worf's brother Kurn, barely a year old at the time of the Khitomer attack, had been left behind on the Klingon homeworld Qo'noS by his parents. Lorgh, a friend to House of Mogh (appearing only in dialog of the episode "Sins of the Father"), was charged with the care of the younger son, originally expecting Mogh's stay at the Khitomer outpost to be short-term. Lorgh adopted Kurn after the attack, but informed Klingon authorities that he had died with the rest of the family. Kurn was not revealed as being alive until both brothers were adults.
In 2357, Worf entered Starfleet Academy. He graduated in 2361 and was commissioned with the rank of Ensign, becoming the first Klingon officer in Starfleet. Although Worf took immense pride and a sense of honor from serving in Starfleet, most other Klingons shunned and belittled his choice of vocation.
In 2359, he became briefly involved with K'Ehleyr who was the daughter of a Klingon father and a human mother.
The Next Generation
In 2364, Worf was assigned to the USS Enterprise-D as relief flight control and tactical officer with the rank of lieutenant junior grade (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint"). The next year he was made Acting Chief of Security following the death of Tasha Yar, even though he believed that a promotion due to the death of a comrade was not honorable (TNG: "Skin of Evil"). The next year, he transferred to operations division and was formally made Chief of Security (TNG: "The Child").
In 2365, he renewed his relationship with K'Ehleyr when she came aboard the Enterprise as a Federation emissary on an urgent mission. He proposed marriage but was rejected (TNG: "The Emissary").
In 2366, he was promoted to lieutenant (TNG: "Evolution"). After an accident caused the death of Lt. Marla Astor, Worf brought the orphaned Jeremy Astor into the House of Mogh through the rite of R'uustai (TNG: "The Bonding").
Worf learned of Kurn's existence when Kurn was assigned to the Enterprise as an Exchange Officer. Kurn specifically asked for the Enterprise so he could observe his brother. He then revealed his true identity, informing Worf that the House of Mogh's rival Duras accused their father of betraying the Klingon Empire by helping the Romulans attack Khitomer. When they and the Enterprise crew discovered that it was in fact Duras's father that betrayed the Empire, Worf, realizing that the powerful House of Duras could not be publicly shamed without throwing the Empire into civil war, accepted a ritual discommendation from the Klingon High Council. While Worf decided to accept this dishonor, it was decided to keep Kurn's true identity secret in order to protect his honor (and the House of Mogh as a whole be left alone) (TNG: "Sins of the Father").
In 2367, K'Ehleyr returned with Klingon Chancellor K'mpec who had come to meet with Capt. Picard. When she came aboard, Worf learned he had a son named Alexander. She wanted to marry him but Worf refused because he did not want to share his dishonor with her and their son (TNG: "Reunion").
After K'mpec's death, she assisted Capt. Picard with the rite of succession. K'Ehleyr was eventually murdered by Duras when she found evidence of his involvement in the effort to discredit Worf (and why he was discommended). Exercising his right of vengeance, Worf fought and killed Duras in a bat'leth duel, allowing Duras's political opponent Gowron to become chancellor (TNG: "Reunion").
A civil war erupted when the Duras's son Toral challenged Gowron. Worf believed Gowron was the legitimate ruler and convinced his brother to bring forces loyal to him into battle on Gowron's behalf. Worf resigned from Starfleet to fight for Gowron and served on his brother's ship. Gowron won the war after Starfleet exposed Romulan support for the House of Duras. In appreciation of his support, Chancellor Gowron restored Worf's honor (and allowing Kurn a seat on the High Council as the recognized brother and representative of the House of Mogh) (TNG: "Redemption, Part I") and gave Kurn a seat on the High Council. Worf later regained his Starfleet commission (TNG: "Redemption, Part II").
In 2369 while the Enterprise was at Deep Space Nine, Worf investigated a claim that his father might still be alive in a Romulan prison camp. His father was not there (having indeed been killed during the battle at Khitomer), but a number of Klingons were living there with the Romulans. Unable to return home with honor, as Klingons are supposed to commit suicide rather than be taken prisoner, they stayed and strayed from their way of life. Worf's visit had a profound effect on the children of the prisoners and many chose to leave with him (TNG: Birthright).
Worf's visit to the camp caused him to reconsider his own beliefs. He visited the monastery at Boreth to meditate. One day, a man appeared before him claiming to be Kahless the Unforgettable who had returned to lead the Empire once more. Worf was willing to consider the idea that Kahless was genuine because he believed the Klingons had lost their ways. Gowron was skeptical. He questioned Kahless about details of his memories, which Kahless could not recall, and then challenged Kahless to combat, defeating him easily. The loss forced the clerics to reveal that they had created a clone of Kahless and implanted ancient scriptures of Kahless's battles as his memories. Despite this, Worf became convinced that the Klingons would make a leap of faith and accept him as the legitimate heir of Kahless. He convinced the Klingons to appoint the new Kahless as Emperor. While real power remained with Gowron as head of government, the Emperor would be the formal head of state and teach the stories of Kahless. Gowron was incited to go along with this arrangement when Worf threatened in private otherwise to oppose him publicly, what Gowron, still not fully in control of the Empire, could not afford. (TNG: "Rightful Heir").
Worf avoided romantic attachments with non-Klingons during his first few years on board the Enterprise-D. As Worf explained to both Commander Riker and Guinan, he felt that non-Klingon females would be too fragile, and that he would have to restrain himself too much. He eventually developed strong feelings for Counselor Deanna Troi, and explored a relationship with her for a time, which at times strained his relationship with her former romantic interest, Commander Riker. Worf and Troi ended their relationship following the destruction of the Enterprise-D at Veridian III and Worf's reassignment to Deep Space Nine.
Deep Space Nine
In 2371, he was promoted to lieutenant commander (Star Trek Generations). After the destruction of the Enterprise-D, Worf took an extended leave to evaluate his future. He was at a monastery on the Klingon colony of Boreth when he was ordered to go to Deep Space 9 to advise Captain Sisko when a Klingon fleet massed at the station. When he arrived, he was met by former Enterprise-D crew member and DS9's Chief of Operations, Miles O'Brien. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior").
Worf learned that the Klingons were planning to invade Cardassia because of a coup which they had been led to believe was engineered by the Dominion. Worf reluctantly informed Sisko, knowing this would jeopardize his status in the empire. After the invasion had begun, Gowron traveled to DS9 to ask Worf to join him in battle. Gowron believed the Federation was unworthy of Worf's loyalty because they would not fight the Dominion. Worf felt the war was wrong and he could not support it. Gowron punished him by reinstating Worf's discommendation, but this time executing it to the full degree, by stripping him and his family of his honor, lands, and titles, effectively bringing down the House of Mogh.
Worf submitted his resignation but Sisko rejected it because he still needed him. He had decided to rescue the members of the Cardassian council from certain death at the hands of the Klingons. In doing so, he was able to prove that there was no Dominion involvement by verifying their identities. The Klingons attacked the station in order to capture the council members but withdrew as Starfleet ships approached fearing a war on two fronts.
At the end of the immediate crisis, Sisko convinced Worf to join the crew as Strategic Operations officer. In this role, he would coordinate all Starfleet activity in the Bajoran sector and act as an executive officer on the USS Defiant, meaning he had to adjust to the requirements and obligations that came with the red "command personnel" uniform. For the first months, Worf had difficulties adjusting to life on the station, unintentionally overstepping his boundaries by acting as he did on the Enterprise, putting him for a while at odds with Chief of Security Odo. For Worf, the station's life seemed just too much 'grey', subsequently requesting to relocate his quarters aboard Defiant.
After the Klingon civil war, Kurn had gained a seat on the High Council. Worf's opposition to the war against Cardassia cost Kurn his seat on the council. Four months later, he arrived at DS9 seeking help from his brother to perform a ritual to die with honor. He felt that the ritual, which involved Worf killing him, was the only way to restore his honor. Initially disregarding orders from Sisko not to carry out the honor killing, Worf failed in his first attempt to perform the ritual and later found he could not bring himself to do so again, as he had taken on a human future of morality and would consider it murdering his brother. Worf arranged for his brother to have cosmetic surgery and his memory wiped so he could start a new life with no ties to the House of Mogh. Kurn now has the identity of Rodek, who believes he lost his memory after being hit by a plasma discharge (DS9 episode "Sons of Mogh"). When Rodek sees Worf, he asks him whether he is family. Worf bitterly replies to have no family.
After a year of war between the Federation and the Klingons, Worf joined a team sent to investigate claims that Gowron was a changeling in disguise. Worf nearly killed Gowron in combat but at the last moment the impostor was revealed to be disguised as Gowron's military adviser General Martok. The discovery helped restore peace between the Federation and the Klingons and to Worf again being shunned by Gowron for not having killed him when he had the chance, reaffirming his dishonor. (DS9: "Broken Link", "Apocalypse Rising").
In early 2373, Worf became involved with DS9 science officer Jadzia Dax, a Trill woman. She was familiar with Klingon customs due to the experience of the Dax symbiont's previous host, Curzon. She was the first non-Klingon that Worf could "physically" be with in the traditional Klingon way, although it still left bruises, cuts and broken bones .
While on a mission to the Gamma Quadrant, Worf was captured by the Dominion and sent to a Jem'Hadar prison camp where he met the real General Martok and was reunited with the real Dr. Bashir, who had both been captured and replaced by changelings. While the prisoners worked to escape, Worf entered a daily round of combat with each of the guards in turn. He earned the respect and admiration of Martok and even of the guards because he would not yield. Once the prisoners escaped, they managed to warn the station about the Bashir-changeling.
Upon their return, Martok was assigned command of the Klingon detachment on Deep Space Nine and command of the IKS Rotaran. He asked Worf to be his first officer. The ship had suffered many losses to the Dominion, and morale was low. Martok's refusal to engage the enemy, due to his Dominion incarceration, made things worse. Worf challenged him for command, but allowed Martok to win and retain command. This led to Martok regaining his warrior's courage and, with renewed vigor, he led the crew to their first victory against the Dominion. Understanding what Worf had done, Martok thanked him for reminding him of his duty as a soldier and offered him a place in his house as his brother. By joining the House of Martok, Worf's status in the empire was restored (albeit the House of Mogh remains stricken). Worf's son, Alexander, was also assigned to the Rotaran after joining the Klingon Defense Force. Though Worf was initially estranged by his now adult son, and skeptical of his son's desire to serve the Empire, he eventually reconciled with him, and his son joined the House of Martok. Worf continued to serve on the Rotaran after Sisko withdrew from DS9 at the beginning of the Dominion War.
When Sisko eventually returned with a fleet of Federation ships to retake the station, Worf and Martok lobbied Gowron to send Klingon ships to join the battle. The entry of the Klingon ships turned the tide and allowed the Defiant to break through and retake the station (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels").
Having helped liberate the station, Worf and Jadzia decided to get married. The wedding was a traditional Klingon ceremony which included a series of trials on Jadzia's part in order to gain the approval of Martok's wife to join the House of Martok. This almost ended in disaster, as the free-spirited Jadzia felt forced into a position rather than taking the matter seriously enough. Eventually, realizing its importance to Worf and counseled by Sisko that she needed to mature, Jadzia yielded and she was allowed to marry Worf. (DS9: "You are Cordially Invited...").
In the DS9 episode "Change of Heart", Worf prematurely ended a mission to contact a Cardassian informant inside the Dominion in order to save his injured wife. The informant was subsequently executed by the Dominion, causing Captain Sisko to officially caution that Starfleet might not grant Worf his own command after this incident (being another official reprimand in Worf's records of consequence). However, Sisko added that, had he been forced to choose between his duty and his wife, he would have done the same thing.
By late 2374, Worf and Jadzia were married less than a year when they decided to try to have a child, despite the extreme difficulties posed by the disparate biologies of Trill and Klingons. While Worf was away during a mission, Jadzia visited the Bajoran temple on the station where she was attacked and killed by an alien possessing the body of Gul Dukat, who had come aboard the station to destroy an Orb of the Prophet. (DS9: "Time's Orphan", "Tears of the Prophets")
In 2375, Worf led a mission to destroy a Dominion shipyard. He dedicated this mission to his late wife, in order to ensure her entry into Sto-Vo-kor, the Valhalla-like realm of the honored dead, being joined by Quark, Bashir and O'Brien (DS9: "Shadows and Symbols").
Julian Bashir was able to save the Dax symbiont, which was sent back to the Trill homeworld to be rejoined with a new host aboard the USS Destiny. When the symbiont's health worsened, the Dax symbiont was implanted into a new host named Ezri Dax, who was the assistant ship's counselor. She had not been trained to be a host, but she was the only available unjoined Trill aboard. Ezri had difficulty making the transition and sought out Ben Sisko on Earth. She helped him on his mission and then returned to DS9 with him. She accepted his request to stay on as station counselor.
Worf avoided Ezri at first, confused about what to do about this new situation. Her quick posting to DS9 led to a number of awkward moments between her and Worf, since the new host carried all the memories of their former hosts but had its own distinct personality, despite their shared past. Also, it was considered taboo on Trill for new hosts to fraternize with former lovers. After a brief rekindling of their feelings for one another, they decided that things were just too different and, eventually, the two settled into a comfortable friendship, with Ezri eventually becoming romantically involved with Julian Bashir (who previously had feelings for Jadzia). This allowed Worf to accept 'his' Jadzia to have her place into Sto-Vo-Kor.
In 2375, Worf became concerned with the leadership of Gowron. The entry of the Breen into the war on the side of the Dominion temporarily sidelined the Federation and Romulan fleets, which proved vulnerable to Breen weaponry. This left the Klingons alone to carry on the fight as their ships were not affected in the same manner. Gowron assumed direct command because he feared Martok's growing popularity and devised a plan to discredit Martok. He began ordering Martok on near-suicidal missions against Dominion forces, hoping that a string of defeats would weaken Martok's popularity and discredit him as a military leader. Recognizing that Gowron was jeopardizing the entire war effort, Worf tried to convince Martok that he should challenge Gowron for the leadership. After Martok refused, Worf challenged Gowron himself, citing his faulty battle planning, his dishonorable conduct in trying to discredit Martok, and poor strategies at the later stages of the Dominion War. After a brief battle, Worf killed Gowron; by right, he was proclaimed the new chancellor of the Klingon High Council. However, Worf declined in favor of Martok (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind"). Ironically, it was again by Worf's hand the next chancellor of the Empire was decided (having slain Duras to allow Gowron's ascension after K'mpec's death), and the second time he and Gowron dueled, this time finishing Gowron off. As a token of respect, Worf performed the Klingon Death Howl on Gowron, essentially forgiving his misdeeds and recognizing a worthy warrior was on his way to Sto-Vo-Kor.
After the conclusion of the Dominion War, Worf was offered the position of the Federation ambassador to Qo'noS (the Klingon homeworld), as depicted in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series finale "What You Leave Behind".
Worf continued to appear in TNG films which is explained in various ways such as rescue (Star Trek: First Contact) and leave (Star Trek: Insurrection). Star Trek: Nemesis was released after the conclusion of DS9. Worf's status at this time is unclear. He attended the wedding of William Riker and Deanna Troi on Earth and travelled to Betazed with the Enterprise crew for the second wedding ceremony when the ship was diverted to investigate positronic signals from a system near the Romulan border. He still wears a standard Starfleet officer uniform during Nemesis, not one of an ambassador . According to Star Trek fans, this was most likely due to the fact he was awaiting his honorable discharge from Starfleet before being sworn in as ambassador.
Subsequent non-canon books have featured him as the Enterprise's new first officer after the departure of William Riker to his own command. They also mention that he has adopted Data's cat, Spot.
In 2370 after returning from a tournament, Worf encountered a quantum fissure and began shifting into different realities. In one reality, he became involved with Deanna Troi while recovering from a spinal injury. He asked permission from Commander Riker to court Troi. By the time the events in this episode takes place, he has been married to her for two years. In another reality, Worf is first officer of the Enterprise serving under Capt. Riker who assumed command after Capt. Picard was killed by the Borg. He is married to Deanna Troi and has a daughter Shannara Rozhenko and a son Eric Christopher Rozhenko. However, she doesn't know anything about Alexander (TNG: "Parallels").
In an alternate future, Alexander becomes a diplomat instead of a warrior. He wanted to end the feuding among the great houses and declared that the House of Mogh would no longer engage in blood feuds. Worf warned him that this was a show of weakness but Alexander persisted. Shortly after Alexander's decision, he witnesses Worf being killed on the floor of the High Council. Had he become a warrior, he thinks perhaps he could have saved his father's life. Eventually, he finds a way to travel back in time to try to prevent these events from occurring by convincing his younger self to train to become a warrior while under the assumed name of K'Mtar (TNG: "Firstborn").
In an alternate future, Worf had been reluctant to become involved with Troi and her subsequent death led to a rift between Riker and himself as a result. He later served as a member of the Klingon High Council and was governor of the Klingon colony of H'atoria with his fellow Klingons possibly at the brink of war with the Federation after conquering the Romulan Star Empire (TNG: "All Good Things").
While on a mission in the Gamma Quadrant, the Defiant detects an energy barrier surrounding a planet in a nearby solar system. When they enter the barrier, the ship is damaged and they detect a settlement with 8,000 people who are mostly human. When they investigate, they learn they have been expected. The settlers explain they are the descendants of the Defiant crew. In a couple of days, when the Defiant tries to leave orbit, they will be thrown back in time two centuries and crash land on the planet. Worf learns he married and raised a family. He meets his descendant Brota who leads the Sons of Mogh. The members are descendants of Worf and Jadzia and others who choose to join them. They follow Klingon customs as first taught to them by Worf (DS9: "Children of Time").
In the mirror universe, Worf leads the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance as Regent. After Terran rebels take over Terok Nor, Worf tries to recapture the station but is defeated by the rebels who have a new ship based on the design of the Defiant. Enraged, Worf claimed he lost only because he had been betrayed. Garak blamed Intendant Kira Nerys (DS9: "Shattered Mirror"). Eventually, Worf captured her and Grand Nagus Zek who crossed over to this universe to open new markets. Worf agreed to let Zek go in exchange for a cloaking device, but the device was sabotaged and his ship was disabled, allowing the Terran rebels to capture him (DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak").
Star Trek licensed fiction set after Star Trek: Nemesis, the most recent canon TNG work to date, depicts two differing paths in Worf's life.
According to the Pocket Books novels set after the Nemesis, Worf takes over William T. Riker's position of first officer aboard the Enterprise-E. According to Death in Winter, Worf was to transfer with Riker to the Titan, but after Data's death, Picard asks Worf to stay aboard the Enterprise, and Worf obliges. In early 2380 in Resistance, Starfleet Command approves Picard's request to make Worf the permanent first officer, but Worf refuses as he doubts his command skills (due to his choice of love over duty in "Change of Heart"). Soon afterwards, however, Worf successfully leads the rescue of Picard from another Borg crisis, and is sufficiently convinced to accept the permanent promotion. As of 2385 in the novel miniseries Star Trek: The Fall, Worf continues to remain as first officer of the Enterprise-E.
In the official comic book prequel to the 2009 movie Star Trek, Worf is a General in the Klingon Empire who is dispatched to deal with Romulan Captain Nero and his significantly altered mining vessel, the Narada. When the Klingon forces suffer a crushing defeat, Worf agrees to Nero's demand to board a shuttle and come on board the Narada. Worf takes the opportunity to surprise Nero, cutting into the Narada's hull and fighting his way to the main bridge for a confrontation with Nero. Already prepared for such a tactic, Nero succeeds in surprising Worf by impaling him through the back with a large mechanical tentacle. When the Enterprise-E arrives to do battle with the Narada, Nero agrees to beam Worf over if the ship will lower its shields. When Captain Data agrees, Worf is beamed back to the ship, giving the Narada time to fire on the Enterprise. The ship suffers heavy damage, but manages to raise its shields in time to prevent a second attack. Nero then leaves the battle to continue his assault on the planet Vulcan. Worf is assumed to have survived, but this is never explicitly mentioned in the comic.
Critical and fan reception
Worf is a popular character among fans. The episode "Heart of Glory", which focuses on Worf and his relationship to other Klingons, is credited with planting "many seeds for successive Klingon storylines ... and new insights into Klingon culture".
In 1995, with TNG over, the writers of DS9 came up with the idea of adding Worf to the cast in response to pressure to boost ratings.
- Adam Schrager, The Finest Crew in the Fleet: The Next Generation Cast On Screen and Off. New York: Wolf Valley Books (1997): 96 - 97
- Schrager (1997): 97
- "Heart of Glory"
- "Let He Who Is Without Sin..."
- "What You Leave Behind"
- Jeff Greenwald, "Worf Factors" Future Perfect: How Star Trek Conquered Planet Earth. New York: Viking (1998): 79. "Dorn plays the immensely popular Worf ... Worf may be the most complex and sympathetic character in the history of Star Trek.
- Lincoln Geraghty, "A Network of Support: Coping with Trauma Through Star Trek Fan Letters" The Journal of Popular Culture Volume 39 Issue 6 Page 1002-1024, December 2006. "Fans of the aggressive but honorable aliens were delighted to see the Worf character given some screen time and that the Klingons were becoming an important part of the Star Trek universe once again."
- Source: "Charting New Territory". DVD extra included with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — The Complete Fourth Season. Of Worf, writer/producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe said in an interview conducted on October 20, 2002 that the studio felt DS9's ratings were sagging at the end of the third season, and he and the other writers were asked to give viewers a new reason to watch. Their answer was to make Worf a part of the cast.
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- Michael Dorn at the Internet Movie Database