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General Chang

Klingon General and Gorkon's Cheif of Staff

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Shakespeare's Biggest Fan

  • Oct 1, 2010

Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country introduced fans of Star Trek to one of the most ego-driven Klingons in the galaxy in General Chang.  Chang was the Shakespeare-spewing chief of staff for Chancellor Gorkon who fancied himself an equal to Captain Kirk (yeah, right!!). 

**If You Haven't Seen Star Trek VI yet, you might want to skip this next section.**

Chang is a key player in the assassination of Gorkon and also succeeds in having Kirk and Dr. McCoy imprisoned at Rura Penthe, a Klingon mining prison with a very, very low rate of successful escape attempts.  Once Kirk and McCoy escape the mine (Did ya ever doubt they wouldn't escape??), the plot to undermine the joining of the Klingon Empire to the Federation is revealed, and a wonderful game of cat-and-mouse plays out as Kirk and crew battle Chang in the stars above Camp Khitomer.

**End Spoilers**

Chang is portrayed by Christopher Plummer, a brilliant actor with a long and exceptional career.  Career highlights include performances in films such as Jesus of Nazareth, Malcolm X, 12 Monkeys, and The Sound of Music.  He also had a very successful stage career, perfoming in plays such as King Lear and Cyrano.

Even if you are only slightly familiar with the Klingons (post TOS), you know that they have a few genetic features that stand out from the crowd.  These include a ridged crest on their foreheads and plenty of hair either on their face or on their heads.  Plummer mentions in the special features for the two-disc release of Star Trek VI that he wanted to make Chang more unique and have him stand out from the usual run-of-the-mill Klingons. 

Firstly, Chang has almost no hair on his head, save for a small pony tail and a slight moustache.  He also has an eye patch bolted over one eye.  He also comes across a bit more "dignified" than most Klingons.  He appears to be a very worldly person and is driven by his own desire to be the best at everything.

Some of the best moments in Star Trek VI come as a result of actions taken by Chang.  His verbal sparring with Kirk at a dinner party is particularly engaging.  While attacking the Enterprise, Chang throws Shakespeare quote after quote with plenty of swagger that results in Dr. McCoy telling Spock, "I'd give real money if he'd shut up." 

Overall, Chang might not be the greatest villain to ever face off against Kirk and the Enterprise, but he definitely made the best of his time in the stars against them.

He's one of my favorite villains from the Star Trek universe, and he's one of the key reasons that Star Trek VI is one of my favorite films of all time.

Shakespeare's Biggest Fan Shakespeare's Biggest Fan

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October 01, 2010
When I was younger, I didn't really like Change, but as I got older I grew to appreciate him more though the scene where he's spinning in his chair reading the quote is still a little silly.
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review by . November 13, 2010
General Chang is a powerful villain that helped make "The Undiscovered Country" a great movie. A Klingon reciting Shakespeare as he is bombarding the Enterprise is one of the best scenes in all of Star Trek. He was also a retro to the genre of the villain expressing the "Yellow Peril."
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Kendall Fontenot ()
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Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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Chang (tlhIngan Holcheng) was a Klingon General and chief of staff to Chancellor Gorkon in 2293. He was a part of the Khitomer conspiracy that sought to prevent any lasting peace treaty from being signed between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

Chang was very fond of the writings of the poet William Shakespeare, although he preferred to read the works in the "original" Klingon languageversion. One of his favorite quotes was from Hamlet: "taH pagh taHbe'" (in English, "To be or not to be!").

At a dinner in Gorkon's honor aboard the USS Enterprise-A, Chang proclaimed that the Klingons needed "breathing room," which, as Captain Kirk pointed out, was an unintentional paraphrase of a similar claim made by Earth dictator Adolf Hitler in 1938.

As part of the Khitomer conspiracy, Chang commanded a prototype Klingon Bird-of-Prey that had the ability to fire its weapons while it was cloaked. Chang's ship fired on the IKS Kronos One while it was under escort by the Enterprise-A, making it appear as if the latter ship had fired upon the Klingons, violating the terms of the truce. This attack made it possible for co-conspirators Burke and Samno to board Kronos One and assassinate Gorkon.

When Enterprise officers James T. ...

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