The Gorn have played a large part in “Strange New Worlds,” serving as the series’ most revisited villains. The Gorn have attacked the U.S.S. Enterprise from space, have implanted eggs inside the abdomens of certain members of the Enterprise crew, and, in the finale of the show’s second season, are poised to destroy a human colony and eat its inhabitants. Characters talk about the Gorn in hushed tones, terrified of the threat they pose. In order to stay in line with dialogue from the original “Star Trek” series, few people in Starfleet have actually seen a Gorn up close.
After the original series episode “Arena, which aired in 1967, the Gorn became an official part of Trek canon. Likely because of the Gorn mask worn by the on-screen actors and stuntmen, however, Trek has been reluctant to bring them back too often; the Gorn wouldn’t reappear until “Star Trek: Enterprise” in the early 2000s. “Lower Decks” might easily have had an all-Gorn episode, and there could easily be passing references to the Gorn (“Lower Decks” is lousy with deep-cut Trek references), but Kelly didn’t dare steal any of “Strange New Worlds'” thunder.
In brief, he merely said, “We would never do the Gorn.”
This is, one might imagine, a promise made after the first season episode “Veritas,” wherein Ensign Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) recalled, via his cranial implant, that he once stumbled into a Gorn wedding. Upset at the interruption, the Gorn all leap out of their seats and savage Rutherford. Luckily, he seems to have escaped with his life intact. Beyond that, a passing line of dialogue, or a background detail, it seems that the Gorn will not return. Kelly is politely leaving Gorn stories to the “Strange New Worlds” writers.