Michael Dorn is an American actor and voice artist who is best known for his role as the Klingon Worf in the Star Trek franchise. From his first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint", to his latest in Star Trek Nemesis, Dorn has appeared more times as a regular cast member than any other actor of the Star Trek franchise, spanning five movies and 272 television episodes. He also appeared as Worf's namesake, Colonel Worf in the film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Following the end of his Star Trek career, Dorn had supporting roles in a number of independent feature films, including Shadow Hours, Lessons for an Assassin, and the Santa Clause trilogy where he appeared in a cameo role as 'The Sandman'. Dorn is also an accomplished pilot and owns and operates an Air Force T-33 trainer jet, one of the first jet aircraft in the US inventory; Dorn jokingly refers to it as his 'starship'.
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Michael Dorn here. I'm happy to return to Reddit for the second time to bring you all up to date on what's happening with my proposed New Series, STAR TREK: TNG THE WORF CHRONICLES.
Feel free to check out the Full Playlist of Exclusive Videos that were released by the #WeWantWorf Campaign and if you like, show your support with one of their Exclusive Design T-Shirts: http://wewantworf.com/collections/frontpage/products/a-good-day-to-revive-wewantworf-t-shirt
Now, Ask Me Anything...
Will we see Alexander in the new Worf series? I always thought Worf's relationship with his son was interesting.
Yes we will.
Mr. Dorn, first off, thanks so much for your memorable and brilliant portrayal of Worf. You are an essential part of what I've always loved about Star Trek.
That being said, are you recognized much as Worf, even without the Worf makeup? I've always thought your eyes and voice were very distinctive, but I'm wondering how many fans can easily pick you out of a crowd. Also, what's your favorite sandwich?
My favorite what? [laughs]
I am recognized, a lot more than when I was first started on the show. But even because, well, because, y'know, the makeup was so intense, the only real Star Trek fans can put two and two together. And go, "ah, Worf." But I'm not recognized as much as my castmates are recognized, because their faces have been out there for over 30 years now.
Well. I make my favorite sandwich, which is a vegan sandwich, and it is avocado, vegan bacon, onion, spinach, vegan mayonnaise, mustard, and, um, I'm missing one...oh, and wasabi dressing!
Have you and Wil Wheaton ever discussed making a short film where Worf eviscerates Wesley Crusher with an edged weapon, just to please the fans?
Uh, no, we've never discussed that. And you're quite the sadist. [laughs]
Hey there, I have never seen you doing the "Picard maneuver" in TNG, why is it so? Nearly actor in TNG does it, is the shirt not tight?
Um. It was tight, but they fit, um, they make these uniforms, if you look at the drawing, they're all very slim and they're all standing, not moving around. they make the uniforms like that, without any regard to any bodies that move. so that's the Picard manuever, it would always bunch up.
There was nothing holding it down. The sash was even worse. The first one was the original from the show, and then tehy changed it, made it out of metal. It looked better, but it weighed six pounds. So I'm wearing six pounds on top of the costume. It was an impossible situation.
What is your personal favorite humorous moment and favorite badass moment for Worf?
My favorite badass moment was in First Contact. Worf was definitely in his element. When he was beating the crap out of the Borg.
If you had to go into battle, are you going with Picard or Sisko?
Is prune juice really your favourite beverage?
My 10-year old son just got into TNG and he's fascinated by Worf. What fascinates YOU about the character?
Edit: I think my son most likes the "in the world but not of it" feel to Worf. Huh, guess that makes Worf sorta Amish. :-)
He's always been - he's always learning. Evolving. Takes the best from everybody that he's come in contact with. Uses it to become a better soldier, a better Klingon, a better being. I always liked that about him. I also liked that he's...kind of a "guy." Not smart, not stupid, but just a guy. In this time, I imagine him as a sports junkie. I like his simplicity.
Why haven't you done a tabletop with Will Wheaton?
*Also, obligatory OMG it's Worf!
I have not been asked.
Hi Michael! Do you know when the new ST series will be released?
It is, we are, coming to the end of our little project. Where we will know very quickly, probably Jan or Feb, if Paramount is interested Which means we will be getting a no or a yes. And that's where we are right now. Everything is set to go, in terms of the package, we've done our homework on the other projects that are out there, we also realized that a lot of other interests are doing sizzle reel. So we decided not to do a sizzle reel. It was my call, but I didn't want our sizzle reel sitting in the corner with five other ones. I also realized that how ever good they may be, Paramount still has their own ideas with what they want to do with this. We don't believe that a sizzle reel will make a difference, we believe a content will make more of a difference.
Thanks for coming back for another AMA and keeping us updated.
Were you satisfied with how the family relationships with Alexander and Kurn developed and turned out in DS9?
I thought they turned out perfectly.
Hey there Mr. Dorn! Thank you so much for doing this IAMA! I can't really think of a poignant and thought provoking question, so I'll simply ask this. If /u/Wil (Wil Wheaton) were to design a homebrewed beer after you, what beer style would it be, and what would you want it to be named?
Ohhh. I would want it to be like a Guinness, and I would name it Death Before Dishonor.
How much of a pain in the ass was it to have to wear all that makeup? Did you have to wear the teeth all the time, or only when they would be visible?
Yeah, you put it on in the morning,and you took it off at night. It was extremely difficult. I did not enjoy it.
Mr. Dorn I wanted to a) Thank You for your portrayal of Worf, I grew in a less than, shall we say well adjusted way, and your Worf and Patrick Stewart's Picard helped me so much as I escaped in Star Trek from my home life. b) With your push to get Star Trek back on the air is there anything we as fans can do to help the cause, to prove to paramount that they can still make money from this AND give us a satisfactory show? c) My five year old thinks Worf is cool, especially his sword (bat'leth).
Mmm. At this point, I don't think there's anyhting the fans can do. We've done everything that was humanly possible, to get Paramount's attention. I think, righ t now, it's Paramount deciding whether they'd like to do another series. And that's what it comes down to.
Did you see the episode of south park where they had "you" in it? If so what was your reaction?
Um, I'm a HUGE fan of South Park. And I didn't know that it was going -- that they were doing that. WHen it happened, I was so excited. BUt I was a bit pissed off, because tehy didn't ask me to voice it. I would've done it for nothing. But later, I heard that someone had just wanted to do the Worf voice. So they wrote it so he could.
Whot is your favourite Star Trek villain?
Definitely the Borg. The Queen Borg. Was my absolute favorite.
What was Patrick Stewart like to work with? Did he ever wax his head?
(I secretly like to think that he does)
Like all of TNG to work with, he was a joy. He always gave wonderful performances. It was a real joy.
Worf is a great character, but why does he smile so little?
I intentionally played Worf that way, because I wanted to have, um, a different character, that was different than the characters on TNG. The other characters were very trivial and laugh and ahve a certain twinkle in their eye. I just wanted to be opposite.
Does Worf wear boxers or briefs? Or is he a commando kind of Klingon?
What was the most difficult or interesting part of playing that role?
When I was a kid, I always thought your forehead resembled a peanut from a crackerjack box. What is the best comparison you have heard over the years?
Whoopi Goldberg said that I look like "old intestine head."
Hi Mr. Dorn, thanks for doing this AMA!
How fluent are you in Klingon?
Not at all.
I knew a couple of words at the beginning, but that went by the wayside.
Welcome Mr. Dorn!
Are you a Star Wars fan?
Yes! I love Star Wars!
I did not like the last 3.
Its my feeling that a new Star Trek series would need to be familiar enough that people would watch it initially, but also do something different to be successful in the long-term.
What will The Worf Chronicles do differently to "hook" people and get them invested in the series as more than a simple spinoff?
The Worf Chronicles will be a look into another society. That is familiar with Star Trek, but has not been at the forefront. They are a violent, in a way, society, it's Shakespearian in its tone, which - there are coups, assasinations, intrigue, going on all the time. But we'll still have TNG/TOS theme, which is about: people, not special effects. Worf will be on a ship, going out in space, as TOS was/had at the forefront. We're taking the initial theme of the show, and just adding to it, this Klingon culture, which is - oh very interesting. Even when I wasn't playing Worf, I thought they were very interesting.
Have you heard any rumblings anywhere of plans to create another Star Trek TV series (besides your project), this one following the generation that followed "Next Generation"? This seems like a no-brainer to me - you could have actors from TNG do guest spots without needing an explanation for their age (except Brent Spiner and they killed Data off anyway). You could explore what the 25th Century might look like in the Star Trek universe, with dissident Romulans exploring the Vulcan heritage, a Klingon empire continuing to struggle with its cultural identity, and maybe even a Federation discovering that they're not always as enlightened as they thought.
But I lack the wisdom and insight into the viewing public that TV executives obviously have in abundance.
Uh, no. Paramount has not - or I haven't heard anything, from reliable sources, that they have any intention of doing another series.
As a singer, I've always thought you would be a great operatic bass. Have you done any formal training in voice?
An album of Klingon opera would be a dream come true...
[laughs] no, I have not had any formal training. Although I sang in rock bands when I was growing up.
Any specific memories of being in Rocky you would like to share?
I did have one instance, which was, I remember when I was working in the scenes - where they were having their boxing match - and in between the shots, Sylvester Stallone was lying on a massage table, relaxing, getting a massage, becaus eit was pretty physical work, and writing. He was writing and re-writing the script.
Interestingly enoguh, I did a movie with him, 5 or 6 years ago. We had a connection, I played Apollo Creed's bodyguard. I told him my impression, that nobody wanted to do the movie, that was my impression, that this was a proejct that MGM didn't want. The director, it was his last shot at directing, and they didn't want you to do the movie. And he said, that is so true, literally, they had a guy there, we took too much time, on this particular scene, was that necessary to the movie, he was going to pull the plug on the shoot, he was standing next to the generator that was connected to the movie, his job was to actually pull the plug. And as you know, as we can tell, the movie goes on to make billions of dollars, and they didn't want to do it.
big hug would you play worf again if there was a new tv show? Do you think star trek is still feasible on tv?
Yes, I think ST is still - always going to be part of our entertainment. And yes I would love to play Worf again.
I know some actors feel very awkward watching series/movies where they appear.
How about you? Do you enjoy it, or is it difficult? Does it matter if it's a physical appearance or a voice-over?
Edit: Thank you for the answer; interesting to know! Qapla' :)
I don't dislike it. It just depends, there's some shows that I liked very much, that I did some very great work, and then there's some shows that, y'know, that I don't think I did very good, so I don't watch those. But I don't make a point to sit down and watch - if it's on, I may take a look.
Someone says "I'm stopping for a coffee, What do you want?" What would you order?
A soy cappuccino.
What is a vegan dish even a Klingon would enjoy?
Um, fake targ.
How much have you worked with Ronald D. Moore? Was he on the set often? Do you have some good story?
I would see him, with a warp beard that he grew, that's how I knew there was a Klingon episode coming up.
Also, he wrote two of my favorite Klingon episodes. One is Soldiers of the Empire, and the other is Once More Unto the Breach.
What's your favourite beer?
Well, I don't drink. But my absolute favorite was, I don't know if you know this, but Hefevizen.
Hey there! The Next Generation was my favorite show growing up, and you were my favorite character! Thanks for doing this.
What is your favorite memory from filming that show?
This is difficult. There were so many. I would say my favorite memory was from the whole seven years of filming. So many to pick from.
Hey Michael! If you had to pick one episode of star trek you’d like to do again, what would it be?
Definitely First Contact.
How fun was it to play a big league ballplayer and have a week of shooting with no one in alien makeup in Far Beyond the Stars?
If you remember, I had makeup on. That was imp makeup. So it was no fun. [laughs]
Have you ever considered Minsk?
Also, my friend wants me to ask 'do you dream in weasel'? Make of this what you will.
Everybody dreams in weasel.
And no, I have not considered Minsk.
Aloha from Hawaii, Mr. Dorn! My grandfather got me into ST when I was very young and I attribute much of my love of science, technology, and "nerd"ness to our mutual love of the show. He passed last year on my birthday and I just wanted you to know how much all of you guys meant to us and how wonderful it is to have had that bond together because of a show that you were a part of :)
Now for a question....
What is your favorite Klingon word/phrase?
Hmm. I don't know how to spell it. "Nyut neh" - "What do you want"?
I think your character in all of the stories had the best fodder for great stories (having to juggle different cultures and dealing with the political battles and differences between the two main powers). I'm curious just how much input you had into your own stories as Worf. Did you work in conjunction with the writers often to help flesh out the character? If so, what can you take credit for as being solely your idea? What was the best idea (in your opinion) that about Worf that came from one of the writers?
No, I didn't, actually. I just started the show - I mean, I gave the character his initial personality, and the writers took over from there. I didn't have a need to go in and pitch things to them, or say, "he needs to go in this directon or that direction." I like what they did, and was very happy with them.
What is your favourite ship either from Star Trek or a movie from a different universe?
I think my favorite was - from Star Trek? anywhere? - definitely the Tie Fighter from Star Wars.
Hi Michael! Whatever is next for Worf's journey, which aspects of the character would you be most interested in exploring further? And which ones will you most enjoy reprising? Thanks so much!
Uh, his spiritual journey is something I would love to explore. And definitely his relationship. Because he's going to have - or should have - a relationship with a woman. And those are always fun.
Do you have any films or projects other than Star Trek that you've worked on that you wish saw more light?
Um, well I really wanted - I did a little series with Marina called Through the Fire - and I would've loved to see that go. It was a sitcom. We actually tried to get crowdfunding, but it just didn't work out.
Who is your favourite actor you have ever worked with?
John Colicos, who played Quor in the original Star Trek and DS9 was my favorite.
What is your favorite sci-fi series outside of Star Trek?
Hmm. Many years ago, there was the Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits. Those were my absolute favorites.
Hello Mr. Dorn! How deep will The Worf Chronicles explore the not always so smooth realpolitik-ish alliance between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets? Will the tensions and differences in values be reflected between character interactions or more as a subtle part of the storyline? What's your take on the alliance?
Um, the Worf Chronicles is not going to be really about the Federation and the Klingon Alliance. It's really going to be about the Klingons and how other cultures assimilate into their cultures. Because they had to move on. It's going to be more about that.