Star Trek: Picard showrunner Michael Chabon explained why the Romulans in Picard have different facial features as part of his ongoing Q&A with Star Trek fans.
Chabon responded to one question that asked him, “Why do some of the Romulans appear human, while others have more alien features?”
Chabon responded, “If you are referring to the forehead ridges, they are a facial feature common to the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere of Romulus.”
He continued, “Denizens of the Southern Hemisphere have smooth foreheads.”
Chabon concluded, “There is an entire, quite scabrous vocabulary of mutual insult in the Romulan language based around this anatomical divergence.”
Star Trek boss Alex Kurtzman previously revealed there would be different looks for the Romulans.
“It’s funny, because you’ll see by the time you get to [Picard‘s] third episode, there are different kinds of Romulans that look different, depending on their territories.”
Kurtzman added, “You’ll see some Romulans that are just about the ears, you’ll see some with the ears and deeper ridges in their foreheads… ”
Star Trek: Picard’s Prosthetic Designer Vincent Van Dyke had also previously revealed there would be two types of Romulans shown.
Van Dyke states, “With the Romulans we had two different versions. We had some that had full foreheads that were full silicone prosthetic foreheads. And then we had some that were going to be much more human, but we still needed to change their brow direction, we still needed to give them that classic Romulan brow.”
He goes on to detail how the Romulan brows are created.
In Star Trek: Picard’s “The End is the Beginning” the idea of northern and southern Romulans was hinted at when Laris describes a Romulan attacker as a “stubborn northerner.” It was implied in the episode that northerners were identified by their ridged foreheads as Laris compares the Romulan to Zhaban. Zhaban has a ridged forehead.
Romulans with different forehead features have been shown in a number of previous Stark Trek series. In Star Trek: The Original Series, Romulans did not have ridged foreheads.
They would also be shown with smooth foreheads in the J.J. Abrams produced 2009 Star Trek film.
In Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, and The Next Generation they would be shown with ridged foreheads.
What do you make of Chabon’s explanation about the northern and southern Romulans?