A Short History Of The Gorn In The Star Trek Universe
Movies - TV
Spoiler Warning!
This story contains spoilers for Episode 4 of "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds."
Gorn Canon
Canon is a funny thing, and "Star Trek” has had to tread carefully in regards to canon over it’s 56-year history. Since the Gorn "officially" made first contact with Starfleet in "The Original Series," they can't "officially" appear in any prequels, but as we've seen with later shows, it's still possible to make use of the classic villains without disturbing the story.
The Gorn identity
The Gorn first appeared in the episode "Arena," and even then, their mystique was a huge part of their appeal, as they attacked before the bridge crew got a look at them. When we do finally see them, we learn they’re essentially giant, sentient lizards that possess brute strength.
Mirror, mirror
The Gorn’s second most prominent role in the "Trek" canon came in the Mirror universe on "Enterprise." Here, evil Archer intends to use an advanced ship to quell the rebellion against the Terran Empire, but he has to contend with a few stowaways before bringing his plans to fruition, namely a murderous Gorn named Slar.
The menagerie
The Mirror universe would become a clever loophole for "Trek" writers to explore — or at least reference — the Gorn in prequels to the original series. "Discovery" made use of this when the first captain of the vessel, Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs), had a Gorn skeleton on display in his ready room.
Children of the Gorn
The "Strange New Worlds" crew can’t actually meet the Gorn, but they do battle them ship to ship and learn about the species, primarily through officer La'an Noonien-Singh, as she and her family were imprisoned by them. "Strange New Worlds" treats La'an's account as "unconfirmed" first contact and leaves us wondering if they will return and break canon.