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This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Prodigy, and thus may contain spoilers.
Multiple realities
(covers information from several alternate timelines)

For the Changeling who impersonated him, please see Martok (Changeling).
For the host of the tabletop game Bat'leths & BiHnuchs, please see Martok (program).
"I am a loyal soldier of the Empire. I would rather die than dishonor my uniform."
– General Martok, 2375 ("Tacking Into the Wind")

Martok, leader of the House of Martok, was a well-regarded Klingon warrior who served as a general in the Klingon Defense Force, who, during the Dominion War, became the Supreme Commander of the Ninth Fleet, and ultimately, Chancellor of the Klingon Empire. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "You Are Cordially Invited", "Tacking Into the Wind", "What You Leave Behind")

Early life[]

Martok was born into a common family in the lowlands of Ketha Province on the Klingon homeworld, Qo'noS. As a young man, he had a pet targ that he described as "a filthy, mangy beast but in his bony breast beat the heart of a warrior." (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach", "Strange Bedfellows")

Fifteen generations of Martok's family had served the Empire as warriors, but Martok's father had hopes that Martok could become an officer. It took some doing, but Martok was able to take the entrance exam, and passed.

However, when he went before the Oversight Council, which was normally considered to be a simple formality, his application was rejected. Kor, Dahar master, felt that it was inappropriate for a man without noble blood to become an officer in the Klingon forces. With the "mark of Kor" on his record, Martok could not enlist even as a common soldier and was forced to become a civilian laborer. He served under General ShiVang aboard his flagship from 2345 to 2350, where he spent his days "cleaning the officers' mess".

Ronald D. Moore recalled the writing staff's decision to create conflict between Kor and Martok; "I stumbled onto the idea of making it a class thing between them. That just felt right with their personalities. John Colicos always played Kor as an aristocratic and 'to the manor-born' Klingon who ruled by 'divine right'. J.G. Hertzler always made Martok seem like a guy, like a common soldier who has worked his way up through the ranks. So there was a natural antipathy between the two characters." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 622)

Fortune smiled on Martok, however. During a battle with the Romulans, Martok's ship was boarded. Martok acquitted himself so well in the fighting that he earned a battlefield commission. Sadly, his father did not live to see that glorious day. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")

The line in which Martok reveals his father died before he could see how far he had come was added by J.G. Hertzler with permission from writer Ronald D. Moore. Hertzler felt it rounded out the character's choice to never forgive, to take his hatred of Kor and his resentment to the grave. [1]


Klingon Civil War[]

Martok worked his way up the ranks, eventually attaining the position of general. During the Klingon Civil War of 2368, he played an important role in commanding the forces loyal to Gowron at the Battle of Mempa, and began a steady rise to hero status in the Empire. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach", "Apocalypse Rising")


Martok fights Jem'Hadar soldier

Martok fights a Jem'Hadar soldier

At some point during 2371, Martok was secretly abducted by Dominion forces while hunting saber bear on Kang's Summit. From there, he was transported to the Gamma Quadrant and imprisoned in Internment Camp 371 while a Changeling impersonated him in an attempt to ignite war between the major powers of the Alpha Quadrant as a precursor to Dominion invasion.

While imprisoned, Martok was forced to fight his Jem'Hadar captors in hand-to-hand combat so they could familiarize themselves with Klingon fighting techniques. During one such fight, First Ikat'ika maimed Martok by destroying his left eye, resulting in partial blindness.

The script for "In Purgatory's Shadow" describes the scene in which Martok is revealed to be alive; "GENERAL MARTOK is missing one eye and looks much the worse for wear. He barely manages to touch a post to stay in the fight when his Jem'Hadar opponent launches into him, hitting him with a vicious punch/kick combination. Martok is laid out and no matter how hard he tries, he can't get back to his feet. The Jem'Hadar starts to go for Martok, but Ikat'ika holds up a hand." [2]

Though Martok's shapeshifting copy was discovered in early-2373, his real self remained isolated in the Dominion prison facility until later that year when he was joined by Lieutenant Commander Worf and Elim Garak. As a Klingon, Worf was also made to fight his Jem'Hadar guards. Fortunately for them, this caused a sufficient enough distraction that Garak was able to work on a transceiver device that commanded a nearby runabout, allowing them to successfully beam out of the facility. (DS9: "Apocalypse Rising", "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")

The Dominion War[]

Sisko and Martok on Deep Space 9, 2373

Sisko requests Martok's permanent presence on the station

Upon returning to the Alpha Quadrant, and with Chancellor Gowron's approval, Martok was assigned to command the Klingon detachment on the space station Deep Space 9. He was also offered the opportunity to regain the sight in his left eye with a prosthetic, though Martok rejected this outright. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light", "Soldiers of the Empire")

The idea not to give Martok his sight back came from actor J.G. Hertzler during a conversation with Ira Steven Behr; "He told me backstage, 'We're going to bring you back, and you can get your eye back, of course.' And I said, 'Well, you know I have a feeling that Martok may want to maintain it as a badge of honor. It's an ever-present, constant reminder to him of how much he hates the Jem'Hadar for what they did to him and what they stand for." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 428; Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p.128)

Later that year, Martok was given command of the Bird-of-Prey IKS Rotarran with orders to locate the missing cruiser IKS B'Moth, however, having been confined for over a year, he was hesitant about his command ability. With the Rotarran's crew already low on morale due to a string of defeats against the Dominion, Martok requested Worf join him as his first officer.

During the mission, Martok was extremely cautious in his command of the ship, deliberately avoiding opportunities to engage the Jem'Hadar in battle. The situation came to a head when the crew of the Rotarran nearly mutinied, but due to Worf's challenge of Martok's leadership, this was averted.

Martok and Worf fight on the Rotarran

Worf challenges Martok's authority on the Rotarran

The ensuing fight was very much one-sided in Worf's favor; at one point, the bridge crew began chanting Worf's name, expecting him to be victorious. Worf pinned Martok against a console and pointed his d'k tahg centimeters from Martok's chest. At that moment, the two men exchanged glances, and Worf sensed that the warrior spirit within his commanding officer was returning. Seeing this, Worf subtly let his guard down, allowing Martok to defeat his first officer with a stab to the abdomen. The general immediately gained the crew's loyalty, and he remembered his duty as a soldier of the Empire. (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

The original premise of Martok's first mission since being rescued was much different than the finished episode. He and Worf were to take a Klingon Bird-of-Prey to an outpost that lost contact with the rest of the Empire. When they arrive, they find that all Klingons are missing. Near the outpost is a fog-enshrouded lake, upon which a boatman appears, whom Martok and Worf pay to cross the river. Writer Ronald D. Moore, who was responsible for the initial outline recalled, "Basically, it was the River Styx. There was going to be a friend of Martok's on the other side that they wanted to bring back, and Worf's father was over there too." This initial story was deemed to be too much to do in just one episode. "I was trying to show the inner life of the crew of a Bird-of-Prey and do this big, out there kind of piece." Moore admitted, "And, as Ira [Steven Behr] said, it was the wrong point in the season to do a big meditation on the metaphysics of Hell and Life and Death." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 448)

Near the onset of the Dominion War, Martok patrolled the Cardassian border to watch for the Dominion invasion fleet. During the ensuing battle at Deep Space 9, the Rotarran played a critical role in defending the USS Defiant long enough for a minefield of self-replicating mines to be deployed. (DS9: "Call to Arms") Months later, Martok was instrumental in convincing Gowron to lend support to Starfleet's offensive to recapture Deep Space 9 from the Dominion in 2374. Although Klingon forces were late arriving at the battle, they played an important role in defeating the Dominion fleet in that engagement. (DS9: "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels")

The script for "Favor the Bold" provides some background into Martok's decision to convince Gowron to support the Federation operation; "The thought of being caught in a "political" situation between the Federation and the Klingon Empire does not appeal to Martok." [3]

Sisko and Martok on Deep Space 9, 2374

Captain Sisko congratulates Martok on his new position

As the war continued, Martok saw fit to remain with the Rotarran, making it his flagship. In mid-2374, he was appointed Supreme Commander of a combined Starfleet and Klingon Ninth Fleet, a position Martok resented due to the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy involved as well as his "elderly assistant", Darok. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited")

A few days after Operation Return, Martok sent several scout ships to the Cardassian border to check for signs of Dominion activity. (DS9: "Resurrection")

Later that year, Martok dispatched three squadrons of Klingon attack cruisers to bolster the Dorala system's defense perimeter. Colonel Kira Nerys was confident that Martok would ensure the Klingons held the line until Starfleet reinforcements arrived. (DS9: "The Reckoning")

In 2375, Martok temporarily commanded the IKS Ch'Tang during his raid on Trelka V. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")

In mid-2375, a Changeling named Laas was discovered and brought aboard Deep Space 9. During his time on the station, Laas killed one of the Klingon soldiers, resulting in a furious reaction from Martok, who asked for him to be detained while a magistrate determined whose jurisdiction the situation fell under. (DS9: "Chimera")

Klingon Chancellor[]

Martok appointed chancellor

Worf appoints Martok the new chancellor

As one of the most prominent military leaders in the war, Martok gained immense popularity in the Empire for his near-heroic exploits against the Dominion. Gowron, ever the politician, feared Martok's popularity and devised a plan to discredit Martok and end any potential threat to his authority.

In late 2375, Gowron inducted Martok into the Order of Kahless, and immediately assumed personal command of Klingon forces on the front lines, relegating Martok to a secondary command role. (DS9: "When It Rains...")

Gowron then began ordering Martok on near-suicidal missions against Dominion forces, hoping that a string of defeats would weaken Martok's popularity and discredit him as a military leader, or that Martok would die in battle and thus cease to be a threat to Gowron's authority.

However, Worf and Captain Benjamin Sisko recognized that Gowron was jeopardizing the entire war effort to satisfy his political ego. Worf tried to convince Martok to challenge Gowron for the leadership on the grounds of dishonorable conduct in orchestrating the discrediting of Martok.

Martok refused to betray his loyalty to Gowron, despite the latter's treachery. Worf then challenged Gowron himself, accusing Gowron of being a coward for squandering the Empire's resources on a petty act of vengeance.

Worf killed Gowron in the ensuing combat, becoming the new chancellor. However, he immediately resigned in favor of Martok. Martok tried to refuse, claiming he did not seek the leadership, but Worf responded by quoting Kahless: "Great men do not seek power, they have power thrust upon them." (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")

Following the successful conclusion of the war, Martok returned to Qo'noS to assume the role of leading the Empire and finally purging it of the corruption that had so weakened it in the past. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")

Martok remained chancellor through at least 2381, at which time, his likeness was used as the narrator/referee for the Ferengi video board game Bat'leths & BiHnuchs. (LD: "The Least Dangerous Game")

In the early 2380´s Martok sent Klingon genetecist Dr. K´ruvang to find a way to defeat the Klingons ancient blood enemy, the Tribbles. The doctor found a weeknes in their DNA to slow their reproduction but something went wrong and the Tribbles became stronger. (PRO: "A Tribble Called Quest")

Personal relationships[]


Martok and Sirella

Martok welcomes his wife Sirella aboard Deep Space 9

Martok was married to Lady Sirella, a noble woman. They had at least two children together, one of which was a son named Drex. A traditional Klingon, Martok viewed marriage as another form of combat, albeit a subtle and more disguised form of battle. Although he described Sirella as a "mercurial, arrogant, prideful woman", he did love her deeply. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "You Are Cordially Invited", "Strange Bedfellows")

The idea to include Sirella in the episode was a popular one among both the writing staff and actors. "Martok is such a Klingon." Ira Steven Behr noted, "And the idea that this guy would be cowed by this woman was just great. I thought that Sirella was a hoot!" Actor J.G. Hertzler compared the two characters to Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing, "When I heard that Shannon Cochran was going to play her, I said, 'Perfect!' because she has a Shakespearean background and I knew we could really feed that into the two characters' relationship." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 504) In "You Are Cordially Invited", Martok describes Sirella as the mother of his children, so Drex must have had at least one sibling.

Following their wedding, as Sirella was moving into their home, she "accidentally" left the door open, allowing Martok's beloved pet targ to escape. Martok never saw him again, though he did forgive Sirella eventually. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows")


Worf meets Martok

Martok and Worf meet for the first time

Martok and Worf first met during their time in Jem'Hadar custody and quickly developed a mutual respect for one another. With Martok injured and exhausted from daily combat, Worf was forced to take over as fresh meat for their Jem'Hadar guards. During each fight, Martok would stand by Worf's side, encouraging him to win. When the time came to fight First Ikat'ika, Worf was so physically exhausted that he considered allowing Ikat'ika to kill him. However, realizing Worf's plan, Martok spurred him on in what was a moment of tova'dok, giving Worf reason to continue on and defeat his opponent. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")

The relationship between Martok and Worf continued to grow. In 2373, Martok was detained by Constable Odo for throwing one of his men, K'retok, from the station's Promenade. Worf defended Martok's actions, claiming it was a disciplinary measure and that K'retok was not injured. As a result, Captain Sisko ordered the general's release but warned Worf that he would ask Gowron to assign someone else to lead the Klingon detachment if there were any future incidents similar to this. (DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs")

When Martok was appointed Commander of the Rotarran, he quickly realized that his time in confinement had dampened his command ability and requested Worf to join him as his first officer. When it became apparent that Martok was avoiding engagements with Jem'Hadar targets, Worf challenged his leadership to prevent a full-scale mutiny on the ship. During the fight, Worf realized Martok's confidence and tenacity had returned and permitted him to win, establishing his authority in front of the crew. This lead to the Rotarran's first victory over the Jem'Hadar, and the rescue of the B'Moth. Rather than punish Worf for mutiny, Martok thanked him for reminding him of his duty as a soldier of the Empire, and offered Worf a place in his House as a "brother". Together, the "brothers" turned a low-morale vessel that was on the brink of mutiny into an honorable Klingon vessel worthy of the Empire. (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

IKS Rotarran bridge

Martok and Worf on the Rotarran

With Worf a firm part of Martok's house, the two of them developed a close friendship over the coming years. Worf trusted Martok enough to ask his advice concerning his upcoming marriage to Jadzia Dax in early-2374. (DS9: "A Time to Stand")

Martok later participated in Worf's Kal'Hyah ceremony and when Worf got cold feet, convinced him to put the wedding back on track. After Jadzia died, Worf became concerned that her death had not been sufficiently honorable for her to enter Sto-vo-kor. Worf needed to win a glorious battle in her name for her to enter it, and General Martok gave him such a mission – destroy the Dominion shipyards of Monac IV. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited", "Shadows and Symbols")

Towards the end of 2375, it was Worf who made Martok Chancellor of the Klingon Empire after defeating Gowron in ritual combat. In return for this gesture, Martok requested that Worf be appointed Federation Ambassador to Qo'nos. With the permission of his superiors, Worf accepted, much to the delight Martok, who looked forward to having "an ambassador who'll go Targ hunting" with him. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")

Benjamin Sisko[]

Sisko and Martok discussing the Dominion War, 2374

Captain Sisko and General Martok

Though Sisko had met Martok's Changeling impersonator in early 2372, he and the real general didn't meet until his return from the Gamma Quadrant. Based on Worf's recommendation, Sisko requested Martok be the head of the Klingon contingent on Deep Space 9. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

When Martok requested Worf's presence as first officer on the Rotarran, Sisko was more than happy to grant it. (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

The initial draft of "Soldiers of the Empire" had Sisko questioning why Worf wanted to go with Martok on the Rotarran but in the end, writer Ronald D. Moore felt Sisko had the authority to grant his request without sending it higher up the chain. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 449)

In 2373, it was Martok who first made Captain Sisko aware of a coded message his ships picked up while patrolling the Cardassian border, about a swarm of cloaked Maquis missiles heading for Cardassia. He also informed Sisko that the Klingon High Council had given cloaking devices to the Maquis, which were intended to be used on Maquis ships. This information allowed Sisko to launch a mission to stop the missiles before they reached their targets, though ultimately it was revealed to be ruse by former Starfleet officer Michael Eddington to rescue his family. (DS9: "Blaze of Glory")

Following the capture of Deep Space 9 by Dominion forces, Martok and Sisko worked together more and more as military commanders. Indeed, when Sisko expressed his frustration with the war effort and his desire to, "get right back to the front lines", Martok agreed, promising his ship will be, "right by your side". This proved true when, shortly afterward, Martok rescued Captain Sisko and his crew from an uncharted planet in Dominion space. (DS9: "A Time to Stand", "Sons and Daughters")

The line in which Sisko thanks Martok for rescuing them was added to the teaser of "Sons and Daughters" at a late stage in order to provide some level of continuity from the previous episode, "Rocks and Shoals". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 500)

Sisko and Martok following recapture of Deep Space 9, 2374

"Captain, it would appear I owe you a barrel of bloodwine."

Prior to the launch of Operation Return, Sisko bet Martok a barrel of bloodwine that he would step foot on Deep Space 9 before the general. Though Martok eventually lost the bet, Sisko simply replied, "We'll drink it together".(DS9: "Sons and Daughters", "Sacrifice of Angels")

It was Sisko who recommended Martok for the position of Supreme Commander in 2374, much to Martok's annoyance. In turn for his new-found role as fleet commander, Martok requested Worf remain his principal intelligence officer on the Rotarran, a request Sisko happily granted. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited")

As Supreme Commander, Martok and Sisko continued to work closely together for the duration of the Dominion War. Martok had a hand in planning the First Battle of Chin'toka, during which he promised Sisko and Admiral William Ross they would drink bloodwine in the halls of the Cardassian Central Command within a year. (DS9: "Tears of the Prophets")

In 2375, while discussing a raid behind Dominion lines, Sisko promised Martok he would have ships waiting, "with phasers charged", should he bring back any company. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")

The relationship between Martok and Sisko soon developed into more of a personal friendship, with the two of them discussing personal issues such as Sisko's marriage to Kasidy Yates. Martok later invited the captain to the ceremony which saw his induction into the Order of Kahless. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows", "When It Rains...")

Writers Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler decided to include the conversation between Sisko and Martok for two reasons; firstly, as a way to remind viewers that Sisko had been married in the previous episode, but also to re-introduce Martok who, at that point in the series, had been absent from a number of episodes. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 688)

Sisko, Martok and Ross on Cardassia Prime, 2375

Martok, Sisko, and Ross on Cardassia Prime

After Gowron's announcement that he would be leading the Klingon forces for the rest of the war, Sisko sided with Martok, making clear to Gowron the mistake he had made by removing Martok from command. Gowron observed Sisko's loyalty to his friend, though the captain responded it had nothing to do with that. (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")

Following his appointment as Chancellor, Martok took part in the final Battle of Cardassia alongside Sisko. Upon landing on Cardassia Prime, he kept his promise of opening a barrel of blood wine. However, both the Captain and Admiral Ross declined to drink due to the death and destruction that lay around them. (DS9: "The Dogs of War", "What You Leave Behind")

Writer Ira Steven Behr intended for this scene to show the difference between Martok's Klingon background, and the Human characters of Ross and Sisko. "Martok enjoys the victory. He enjoys the bodies. He enjoys the triumph", Behr recalled, "But we Humans see things in complicated ways. It's tough being a Human. It's much easier being a Klingon. I told J.G. Hertzler, 'Give me a smile in that scene. Martok is having fun. To him, this is good. It's satisfaction.'" Hertzler agreed, "I thought it rang absolutely true", he noted, "It takes a certain amount of internationalization to say, 'War is wrong.' Cardassians brought it upon themselves. So Martok just enjoyed that one moment of, 'We won.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 709)

Julian Bashir[]

Bashir heals Martok's injury

Bashir heals Martok's training injury, with a little humor on the side

The relationship between Doctor Bashir and Martok developed during their time in the Jem'Hadar prison facility. When Martok was made to repeatedly fight their Jem'Hadar guards, Bashir was the one who helped him recover, patching up his wounds wherever possible. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")

Following their rescue and return to the Alpha Quadrant, it was Bashir who healed Martok following a severe shoulder injury that occurred during a holographic training exercise. Bashir, observing the General may have been pushing himself too hard, accused Martok of acting, "like a fool", especially when he had no sight in his left eye. Martok, though angered by the doctor's statement, restrained himself from lashing out. When Bashir offered to reconstruct the eye with a prosthetic and thereby restoring Martok's sight, the general instantly rejected it. Bashir continued his line of reasoning but Martok cut him off saying, "There are limits to how far I will indulge you." Realizing he may have pushed it too far, Bashir ended their conversation on a lighter note, jokingly instructing Martok not to come back to his infirmary dripping with blood as it "takes days to get out of the carpet". (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

The script for "Soldiers of the Empire" describes the friendship Bashir and Martok had developed in the Jem'Hadar prison; "Martok and Bashir have a bond between them that was forged in a Dominion prison camp, and while there is a bite in their words, they also genuinely respect and even like each other." [4]

Alternate timelines and realities []

Martok's skull

Martok's skull hung in General Picard's trophy room in an alternate timeline

In an alternate timeline created by Q when the Confederation of Earth existed, At some point before 2401, Martok was, according to Q, "[d]efeated in armed combat with General Jean-Luc Picard after a bioengineered virus – by all accounts, a nasty little creation – decimated his Klingon homeworld." His skull was later mounted on display in trophy room at Château Picard. (PIC: "Penance")

Memorable quotes[]

"There is no greater enemy than one's own fears."

- Martok, of Garak's claustrophobia (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

"Your... actions on the Rotarran – at the time I thought they were disloyal. But I have come to realize that your intention was to remind me of my duty as a soldier of the Empire and as a warrior. For that I am grateful."
"You did the same for me once."

- Martok and Worf (DS9: "Soldiers of the Empire")

"We keep falling back. The Dominion keeps pushing forward. I tell you Worf, war is much more fun when you're WINNING! Defeat makes my wounds ache."

- Martok (DS9: "Sons and Daughters")

"You never told me that your wife was opposed to this marriage!"
"Sirella is a woman of strong convictions; she believes that by bringing aliens into our families we risk losing our identities as Klingons."
"That is a prejudiced, xenophobic view!"
"We are Klingons, Worf! We don't embrace other cultures, we conquer them! If someone wishes to join us, they must honor our traditions, and prove themselves worthy of wearing the crest of a Great House."

- Worf and Martok (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited")

"We are not accorded the luxury of choosing the women we fall in love with. Do you think Sirella is anything like the woman I thought that I'd marry? She is a prideful, arrogant, mercurial woman, who shares my bed far too infrequently for my taste. And yet... I love her, deeply. We Klingons often tout our prowess in battle, our desire for glory and honor above all else. But how hollow is the sound of victory without someone to share it with. Honor gives little comfort to a man alone in his home... and in his heart."

- Martok (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited")

"I am a loyal soldier of the Empire. I would rather die than dishonor my uniform. By raising a hand to my chancellor in a time of war, I would bring shame to everything that I've fought to protect, everything that I believe in."

- Martok (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")

"Before you waste too many tears, remember. These are Cardassians lying dead at your feet. Bajorans would call this poetic justice."

- Martok, following the Battle of Cardassia (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")



Background information[]

Martok was played by recurring Star Trek guest actor J.G. Hertzler. According to the script for "Apocalpyse Rising", his name was pronounced as "MAR-tok". [5]

After auditioning for a number of Star Trek roles and not getting them, Hertzler told his agent, "Don't send me up to Star Trek anymore. They've seen everything I could possibly ever do and I haven't gotten a role. Don't waste their time or my time." However, shortly after his last audition, Deep Space Nine casting director Ron Surma came up to him and suggested he go for the role of Martok. In an unusual take on the role, Hertzler decided he wasn't going to be, "offensive, overbearing, self-possessed, arrogant, boorish. I'm going to be Patrick Stewart as a Klingon." The producers then asked Hertzler if he knew what a Klingon was and requested he play the character in the traditional sense. In response, Hertzler then picked up a metal chair and threw it against an old plaster wall. "I caught my thumbnail when I tossed it. I ripped about half my thumbnail off." Hertzler recalled, "I played linebacker in college, and to play football, especially linebacker, it's barely controlled rage. So that's where I'm coming from in terms of life, barely controlled rage. So the linebacker welled up in me and there I was, with a chair in the wall and blood dripping from my thumb, and I ranted and roared. They said, 'Well, thank you,' and they looked a little worried. I heard a day or two later that I got the role." [6] [7]

Martok was initially meant to be a one-time character to appear only in "The Way of the Warrior", but the producers were so impressed by Hertzler's performance that they decided to bring him back for "Apocalypse Rising", in which it is revealed he is in fact a Changeling. Indeed, this revelation was the idea of writer Ronald D. Moore, who was nervous about killing off long-time Star Trek: The Next Generation character Gowron. "He came to me after the story was broken and said, 'You know what? Can we make it Martok instead of Gowron?'" writer and producer Ira Steven Behr recalled. "'We ended Season 4 saying that Gowron was the changeling. And if we do a whole episode about going to kill Gowron the changeling then there's no surprise for the viewers.' Which was true, so I said, 'Yeah, sure. Why get the TNG fans freaked out.'" Looking back on the episode, Ira Steven Behr believed the "Martok twist" was the best thing they could have done; "Because I really think J.G. Hertzler is great, and it paid off in dividends." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 363-364)

Similarly Rene Echevarria commented, "This is the show where we fell in love with J.G. Hertzler as an actor. It was like, 'Hey, this guy is terrific. And here we are killing him.'" The producers loved Hertzler's performance as Martok so much, that they soon began thinking of ways to bring him back to the show. As Echevarria recalled, "We were killing a Changeling, which started us thinking, 'If he's been replaced, where's the real guy? Maybe he's not dead. Maybe we can find him.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 364)

Indeed, Hertzler returned in the role for the two-parter "In Purgatory's Shadow" and "By Inferno's Light". "We wanted to bring back Martok. We really like him," recalled writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Similarly, Behr noted, "We didn't have any particular plans for him. We just liked him. We thought it would give Worf someone from his own people that could like and admire." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 422 & 428)

J.G. Hertzler appreciated Martok's relationship with Worf; "Worf finally had a friend, somebody that he could communicate with. Their agenda is not one of scheming or plotting or politicking. It's warrior to warrior. I think that's what the writers like about Martok. Plus he's a crusty old bastard!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 428)

Dave Quashnick applies makeup to JG Hertzler

J.G. Hertzler undergoes his transformation to Martok

It's a Wrap - Martok's Klingon robe

Martok's Klingon robe was sold for $2275.50

When creating Martok's facial features for "The Way of the Warrior", Makeup Designer Michael Westmore went for a unique look. "He has a scar across his cheek and on his lip," said Westmore. "I made teeth for him and tried to do something a little different with them. All the teeth are from different molds, and they give a certain curl to the lip depending on which teeth I select." When Martok returned in "In Purgatory's Shadow", Westmore elected to change the makeup slightly, eliminating the scar while removing Martok's left eye. "We decided not to show an empty socket. So we did it as if the skin had been pulled down and sewn," Westmore explained. Though the design was unique, it did have its drawbacks. "It totally closes up that one eye," stated Westmore, "which made it impossible for [Hertzler] to do his own stunts because he no longer had any depth perception." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 262 & 428-429)

This lack of depth perception proved problematic for Hertzler at times, particularly when the camera had to move in for a close-up shot. "I remember doing a scene with Worf, and we'd rehearsed it – I had to run through this area to one side of me – and of course, the camera wasn't there in rehearsal," Hertzler reflected. "So when we actually shot the scene, I ran right into the camera. Bam! Because they forgot I couldn't see on that side." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 428)

Hertzler viewed Michael Ansara (Kang in "Day of the Dove") as an influence for his portrayal of Martok. Hertzler commented, "Ansara set the mold for me, because he has such tremendous dignity on stage and on screen. As a Klingon, especially a general, you have to be not only a loose cannon, but a loose cannon with great dignity. If you can find that balance, then you're extraordinary. That's Michael Ansara." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 21)

Like many actors, Hertzler had also developed a sort of background story for his character, particularly with reference to the scar on his face. "That scar was caused, it was determined, by Martok's biting through his lip with the tooth that sticks out, during some sort of combat situation, and it healed," he said. "I think Michael [Westmore] figured out that after they'd ripped out his eye, Martok had so many scars that they should get rid of some of them." Hertzler, whose father was a mechanic in the US Air Force and rose his way up to the rank of colonel, compared his character to his own family background; "We had a work-oriented home, and I believe that's what Martok's life was like. It was a soldierly, military family that never had any officers. Combined with what I'd already developed in my own mind as a backstory, Ron [D. Moore]'s take all made sense to me." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 428 & 622)

Hertzler was happy he was given the opportunity to show Martok's aggressive side in "Once More Unto the Breach". "It was an actor's dream," he said. "I got to really let loose my most venomous, vindictive anger at this old man, and just attack him relentlessly. I think that made some of the viewers uncomfortable, because it was hard to like Martok in those scenes, but we all do things people don't like. It made my character three dimensional, so I was happy." In order to further develop this side of Martok, Hertzler later approached the producers and requested he not join in the singing at the end of the episode. "They were worried about that, but I said 'Listen, Martok can give Kor all the due praise, but he cannot sing to him because the hatred is still there, underneath. He does not forgive what that man did.'" Hertzler explained, "I thought that was more important for my character than bringing him all the way around. I wanted to leave that show unfallen." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 622)

In "What You Leave Behind", Martok accompanies Sisko and Admiral Ross down to Cardassia, following the Dominion's near-destruction of the planet's cities. Hertzler commented: "Sisko and the Admiral and myself are walking among the devastated streets of Cardassia, and I have to revel in the destruction and victory, which is a little bit difficult in the face of Kosovo and the real things that are going on. It's a little hard for me to revel in the destruction of Cardassia. But as a Klingon it's not hard at all, and you have to make that separation. There is an arc there that I had to devote some thought to, to be able to get behind it. I had some real soul searching". (Cinefantastique)

Of Martok's darker side, authors Mark Jones and Lance Parkin wrote, "Hertzler's venomous invective is almost shocking and adds more colour to the Klingon General." (Beyond the Final Frontier, p. 260)

The final script for "The Way of the Warrior" describes Martok as, "an imposing, battle-scarred Klingon warrior." [8]

When filming for "Chimera", Hertzler, who also played Laas in the episode, was worried that Laas would be too much like Martok. "I was worried about damaging the image of Martok, since Laas kills a Klingon in the show," Hertzler revealed, "I don't like watching myself on film. But I really do enjoy watching Martok. I didn't want to do anything that would compromise the reality of that being." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 657)

Hertzler remains a popular actor with fans at conventions. As part of the 2011 Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hertzler appeared on stage with Gowron actor Robert O'Reilly, both in full Klingon makeup. During their 45-minute stage time, both actors greeted fans, answered questions and performed their "Klingon rap", later giving away several Klingon-themed limited-edition Monopoly board games. [9] O'Reilly and Herztler later performed their Klingon rap in-character during a 2013 interview in preparation for Oz Comic-Con in Australia. [10]

Several items worn or used by Hertzler were later sold off in the It's A Wrap! sale and auction. Among the items was a metal badge which represents the House of Martok (sold for $405) [11], a Klingon hospital gown as featured in "Tacking Into the Wind" (sold for US$192.50), [12] a Klingon robe (sold for US$2,275.50), [13] and a Klingon uniform that was originally made for the Star Trek movies and later worn by Hertzler in Deep Space Nine (sold for US$4,200). [14]


In the "season eight" storyline of What We Left Behind, Martok continues to hold the mantle of Klingon leader.



The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One

Martok on the cover of The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One

The story of Martok's reign as Chancellor following the events of "What You Leave Behind" is told in the two-part novel series The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One and Book Two, written in part by Hertzler himself. The novels depict Martok's return to Qo'nos and his quelling of a second Klingon Civil War. Martok is depicted as a King Arthur type character.

Martok's was referred to Doors Into Chaos as "Martok, son of Krigar", while the novel The Left Hand of Destiny and later novels refer to him as "Martok, son of Urthog".

A Time for War A Time for Peace cover

Martok on the cover of A Time for War, A Time for Peace

In the Pocket TNG novel A Time to Kill, Martok swears that revenge must be taken for 6,000 Klingon lives lost in an assault against a planet harboring previously-unknown weapons. He prepares a second fleet of nearly forty vessels. However, Worf obtains the Fleet Command Codes and delivers them to Captain Picard, who uses them to neutralize the Klingon fleet and claim batyay'a– complete control over a conquered foe. Martok, realizing that it could have only been Worf would could have accessed and delivered the codes, refuses to bring charges against his housemate. This story is followed up in the final novel of the series, A Time for War, A Time for Peace, which sees the Federation embassy on Qo'nos seized by terrorists who are determined to reveal a secret within the upper echelon of Klingon government.

In the Star Trek: Destiny novel Gods of Night, Martok rallies support of the Great Houses following a Borg attack on Khitomer, and pledges the support of the Klingon Defense Forces in repelling the Borg from the Quadrant. This is followed up in Lost Souls when he takes command of the IKS Sword of Kahless and leads a Klingon fleet in combat against the Borg. Martok later bears witness to the death and destruction the Borg cause during a devastating attack on Qo'noS.

In the alternate future of the Millennium series, Martok devises a plan to destroy the Bajoran Ascendancy with Project Looking Glass, which involves moving the entire Klingon fleet into the mirror universe where it travels to the mirror universe Bajor. There, it reappears in the "prime" universe and bombards the planet, destroying it and the Ascendancy. However, the Ascendancy ally Grigari intercepts the Klingon fleet and destroys it, thereby killing Martok.

Martok's mirror universe counterpart (β) is depicted as succeeding Worf as Regent of the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance following his capture by the Terran Rebellion in 2375 in the novels Warpath and Saturn's Children. In the subsequent novel Rise Like Lions, he is killed in honorable combat and succeeded by Klag in 2377, who is later killed and succeeded by Duras in 2378.

Video games[]

Martok also appears in the real time strategy game Star Trek: Armada in which he leads the Klingon Empire in a war against the Borg. In the sequel Star Trek: Armada II, he takes leadership of a combined Klingon and Federation force in order to put down a Cardassian rebellion that develops while the bulk of the Federation fleet is fighting the Borg in the Delta Quadrant. Martok is voiced by his Deep Space Nine actor J.G. Hertzler.

In the storyline for Star Trek Online, Martok is supposedly killed in ritual combat in 2393. His successor, J'mpok, leads the Empire against the Gorn and withdraws from the Khitomer Accords in 2399 when the Federation Council condemns the invasion of Gorn space. Despite his death, Martok's House is still influential; Worf serves as gin'tak to Drex, Martok's son and heir. In addition, Klingon players will be called to aid the Lady Sirella at the family estate in the Ketha Lowlands, avenge the death of her grandson M'ven, son of Drex, and fight for the House of Martok in the bat'leth competition on Forcas III, the same tournament where Worf won Champion Standing in "Parallels" nearly four decades earlier.

Martok makes his first appearance in Star Trek Online in the feature episode "Brushfire", in which he is again voiced by J.G. Hertzler. Set in 2410, it reveals that Martok has in fact been alive since his overthrow by J'mpok, kept in a secret prison in the Briar Patch run by the disgraced House of Torg and guarded by the Son'a; the metaphasic radiation of the Briar Patch not only healed the mortal wound he received from J'mpok's blade, but also alleviated the common aches and pains associated with age. Torg orchestrated Martok's removal from the Chancellorship so that he could undermine the less-popular J'mpok and become Chancellor himself, and eventually Emperor. General Rodek and the player character are dispatched by Lady Sirella to rescue him from the prison, just as Torg prepares to deliver Martok to the Tzenkethi, who refer to him as "the Butcher". Escaping the prison with the player characters' aid, Martok later beams aboard Torg's flagship, the I.K.S. charghwI', and claims the Right of Vengeance for his grandson M'ven. Slaying Torg in single combat, Martok takes control of his ship and joins Rodek and the player character (reinforced by ships commanded by Worf and Sirella) in fighting off Torg's Son'a and Tzenkethi allies before returning to Qo'noS with his wife and the warriors of his House. He pledges to J'mpok that he does not seek to reclaim the Chancellorship, and instead returns to the Klingon Defense Force with his old rank of General. Players then meet Martok once more as they fight to repel a Tzenkethi attack on Bajor. Just when it seems the battle is won, the Hur'q reveal themselves and Martok explains to the player that the Hur'q are the greatest threat the Empire has ever known, and then aids the player in repelling the Hur'q assault. J'mpok allows Martok to lead an expeditionary fleet as part of the Alliance forces to fight the Hur'q, making it clear that they will do so without support from the Empire. That stance changes when Worf's wife Grilka delivers the Sword of Kahless, reclaimed from an Iconian dreadnought by a Ferengi team led by Quark; Martok names Worf as the Torchbearer to ignite the Beacon of Kahless, forcing J'mpok to commit the full might of the Empire to the final battle against the Hur'q on the Founders' homeworld of Empersa.

Martok returns in the episodes "The Center Cannot Hold", at the beginning of a new Klingon civil war, and "Khitomer Discord", where he and the player travel to Alliance headquarters on Khitomer. J'mpok, aided by rebels of the time-displaced House of Mo'Kai (led by Aakar, the grandfather of Gowron), unleashes the Mo'Kai mycelium weapon on the planet and declares himself Emperor; Martok and the player are forced to ally with J'Ula, the Matriarch of House Mo'Kai who was betrayed by Aakar, to escape from Khitomer. In "Knowledge is Power", Martok accompanies J'Ula and Captain Adet'pa to Boreth, where they meet Tenavik and undergo a time crystal vision; J'Ula witnesses a warrior of fire wielding the Sword of Kahless, which causes some concern to Martok, as the present bearer of the blade. The following episode, "Leap of Faith", has Martok accompany J'Ula and the player character to Gre'thor, where they must find the spirit of former Chancellor L'Rell, the warrior from J'Ula's vision. During the episode "A Day Long Remembered", during the final battle for Qo'noS, Martok is wounded by Aakar, and is forced to return to the Rotarran, but not before willingly surrendering the Sword of Kahless to L'Rell, who shortly afterwards becomes the new Chancellor.

Hertzler first appeared as a Klingon in the non-canon video game Star Trek: Klingon, in which he played the character of "Elderly Klingon", along with Worf actor Michael Dorn. Coincidentally, a song featured in the game, and one which Hertzler and Dorn recorded together, ended up being used in the episode "Soldiers of the Empire". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 449)

Martok appears in the video game Star Trek: Conquest as the captain of a playable ship.

External links[]

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