Monday, August 17, 2015

Character Insight No. 158: Toral

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here 


Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile another Klingon character who spans stories in TNG and Deep Space Nine, that being Toral, son of Duras.

Toral 2368.jpg

(Toral from TNG days, courtesy

Toral is an illegitimate son of the Klingon Duras household, which leads him to be kept in the custody of his aunts Lursa and B'Etor. As you will recall from our segment on these Klingon villains from the movies, these sisters try to take over the Klingon Empire for themselves on multiple occasions.

In the first of these instances, Toral is put up by his aunts to be a rightful heir to the Klingon throne in the two-part episode Redemption. However, this plot falls apart when it is revealed that the Romulans are assisting the House of Duras, and only Worf's peaceful nature prevents Toral from being killed for his actions in this plot. He likely should have just left the family at that point, but like a good Klingon villain, he doesn't know when to stop.

The next time we see this character is four years later, which is after his aunts had been killed in the plot of Star Trek Generations. After meeting with a drunken Kahar Master, he sends a lackey named Soto to go retrieve the Sword of Kahless from the Gamma Quadrant. Unfortunately for his power-wielding plans, the sword is jettisoned in deep space rather than being turned over to him. So like his aunts, his plans to overthrow the leadership of the Klingon Empire just never pan out.

Toral: "I'm not giving the emperor anything. With the sword In my hand, I'll be leading the Empire."

In a relatively ironic twist of fate, Dax is the crew member who spares Toral's life after this plot is undermined in the Deep Space Nine episode The Sword of Kahless. So Worf and then his future lover and wife are the compassionate Starfleet officers which at least temporarily stop this son of Duras from ending up in the same dead fate as his aunts and former guardians. On the bright side, Toral is a guy, so he doesn't have to wear the incredibly sexist Klingon boob job outfits of this era.

This is another run-of-the-mill Klingon recurring character, but at least this one brings more story and life to the bumbling Duras family, one of the more entertaining plots when dealing with Klingon stories.

It may have been difficult to follow this tie when switching between the series because J.D. Cullum played Toral in the TNG episodes, while a different actor Rick Pasqualone played the role on DS9. Cullum likely earned the role thanks to being the son of Tony-Award winning actor John Cullum, of Northern Exposure fame. He recently appeared in Disney's remake of The Lone Ranger. Pasqualone does a lot of voice acting work for video games like Civilization V and Batman, Arkham Knight.

Until next time, keep busting into that glass ceiling Duras family. It's terribly entertaining to watch.


Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy. Until next time, live long and prosper...

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